What would you do…if you like your music really loud, but you’ve got neighbors who are really close — and you have alcoholic biochemistry?
1. Listen to your favorite music at an appropriate level depending on the time of day?
2. Buy really good headphones so you can crank up the volume to your heart’s content?
3. Keep it down at night, but play it as loud as you like during the day?
4. Crank it up so loudly that, at 3 p.m., the cops are called our to your house; after being warned, you crank it right back up and as a result you’re arrested for disorderly conduct just an hour later?
Congratulations is you selected # 4, which is what Joyce Coffey, 58, of Epping, New Hampshire did. Not only did she get arrested on charges of disorderly conduct once but, shortly after being released, police received another complaint. When they went to the house—again—they arrested her—again. She was released again, this time on condition that she not play her stereo until after 10 a.m. the next day. But, since she has alcoholic biochemistry and the world revolves around her, we know she wasn’t listening.
Back at home, in something reminiscent of the last WWYD’s behavior (he talked to his cats to “reason out a plan” regarding his wife’s alleged cheating), Coffey contacted police at about midnight to “talk about” her music. She asked what a reasonable volume might be and an officer reminded her she wasn’t allowed to play any music until 10 a.m. She responded she would “try to keep the peace and not play her music loud.”
While you might think that by this time Coffey might be getting tired, another noise complaint came in at 1:10 a.m. and, as police again arrived at her house, they saw the stereo “placed near the doorway [while] the speakers were pointed out the door.” Her third arrest included charges for disorderly conduct and breach of bail conditions. Held without bail until arraignment, the judge released her on $10,000 personal recognizance bail the next morning, barred her from playing music between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. and suggested she look into getting some headphones.
Just when police thought they were done with Coffey, they were called back again (apparently by her) to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. She told police her nephew, Dan Letourneau, had pushed her and spit on her. In the meantime, Letourneau had already gone to the police station where he told police he’d gone to his aunt’s home to pick up some belongings; apparently she threw a frying pan at him. Police confirmed Letourneau had a lump on his head and a witness confirmed the assault. Coffey was arrested for a fourth time in what was, apparently, 26 hours.
Officers noted that “alcohol may have played a role in the series of arrests.” You don’t say? I’ll go out on a ledge here and suggest she had been drinking through her multiple arrests. Then why didn’t she fall asleep long before her third arrest? Simple: alcohol acts as a stimulant in alcoholics for much longer periods of time than for non-alcoholics. They become, as James Graham observed, agitated. Keeping in mind that alcoholics are capable of anything, she should not have been released after her first arrest until she was stone-cold sober. If law enforcement help alcoholics “wake up” surrounded by four unfamiliar walls, and if they help to forge the link between those walls and their (immediately) prior misbehaviors, alcoholics would get sober more frequently. It wasn’t too late for Evel Kneivel to get sober at age 68, when he could spend six months getting to know his son before dying. It’s not too late for Ms. Coffey.