Saturday Reads: Snow Rage!

sick of winter smack a snowman

Good Morning!!

A few days ago, I posted a link to an article about a phenomenon brought on by the horrible winter of 2013-14–“Snow Rage.” I’m going to post the story again here, because this shocking behavior seems to be spreading. People who are disgusted and overwhelmed by endless snowstorms followed by shoveling have begun taking their anger out on snowplow drivers.

CBS Pittsburgh: ‘Snow Rage’ Pits Storm-Weary Residents Against Plow Drivers Just Trying To Do Jobs.

Eric Ramirez, a snow plow driver on Long Island, said an irate man went so far as to rack a shotgun Sunday and threaten to shoot him because he was piling snow in front of the man’s Manorhaven home.

“I see the guy is coming across the street; is coming to me. I say, ‘Hi.’ He talked to me,” Ramirez said, adding the man responded by saying he was coming to shoot him.

Raymond Hounigringer, 48, was charged with menacing in the incident.

In another example, “in Norwalk, Conn., Tony Thompson, also 48, was charged with assault for allegedly attacking a plow driver with a shovel.”

“They yell. They curse at you. They do all kind of stupidness,” said driver Zaheer Hussain. “They make snowballs and throw them at you.” ….

“It started with snowballs, and worked its way to branches; lids, anything they can find and now it’s to weaponry,” said Aero Snow Removal supervisor Sergio Vasquez.

Snowdrifts in North Dakota

Snowdrifts in North Dakota

CBS Pittsburgh also reported on a snow rage incident in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania: Man Puts Gun To Snow Plow Driver’s Head Over Snow Removal Dispute. According to the police report, Richard Eckert, 64, was arrested after he threatened a snowplow driver with two guns.

Police say Eckert became angry when the self-employed driver, John Abraham, accidentally pushed some snow into his yard while cleaning a neighbor’s driveway.

“I went like this to put it in park and there was a gun right here in my face,” Abraham said.

Eckert is then accused of taking a .22-calibur pistol out of his coat, and pressing it against Abraham’s cheek, telling him to remove the snow.

“He said, ‘what the (expletive) are you doing?’” said Abraham. “And I said, ‘what do you mean?’ He said, ‘you’re going to get a shovel and you’re shoveling that snow out of my yard and putting it back in the street.’”

Abraham says Eckert grabbed his arm and tried to pull him out of his truck when he says Eckert put the gun in his face when he refused to get out.

As I’m sure you know, Boston is a very old city with many neighborhood that predate cars. People who live in the older parts of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, for example, have to park their cars on the street–there are no driveways or garages. Where I live now, everyone has driveways, but when I lived in Somerville in the 1970s and ’80s, parking spots were hard to come by after a snowstorm. It’s still that way today. Once people dig out a spot, they are understandably very protective of it. They leave old folding chairs, trash cans, and other large objects in the space to let people know not to park there; If I went to do laundry I left a warm body in that spot and if you dare to take the spot anyway, you’re likely to get a tire slashed or worse.

I had friend back then who was living in East Cambridge. One day she moved someone’s chairs out of a shoveled parking spot and proceeded to leave her car there for several days. I warned her when she first park there that she was asking for trouble, but she didn’t believe me. Even after the “owner” of the space left a not on her windshield telling her to move her car, she did nothing. When she finally wanted to drive her car, she found it with four slashed tires. She had to hire a flatbed truck to haul it away. I guess people do the same thing in other places.

Snowdrift in Minnesota

Snowdrift in Minnesota

From the Lehigh Valley News: Tires slashed in Allentown snow rage incident.

Following the recent surge of wintry weather, some Allentown residents have started using household items, like trashcans and chairs, to reserve parking spots they shoveled clean. An Allentown woman, who lives in the 400 block of North 10th Street, said she parked in one of those spots this week.

“I parked right next to the chair, I moved it and placed it on the sidewalk and parked there and went inside the home,” she said.

Really bad idea.

When she returned to her car the following day, she learned someone had taken it too far. “I jump in my car and start driving. Within four blocks from my house I feel that my car is driving funny,” she said. Her tires had been slashed. She said it was revenge for parking in a spot that she believes was fair game.

Sorry, lady. Shovel your own spot. Just read the comments on that story. That’s Snow Rage. There’s even a #SnowRage hashtag on Twitter now, and at the Boston Globe there is a Snow Rage Gauge to measure your level of anger.

At the Christian Science Monitor, Patrick Jonsson wrote about the #SnowRage phenomenon and attempted to explain why this winter has been so awful: While Atlanta adjusts to snow, Northerners shake fists at another winter storm.

At issue is a systematic barrage of so-called long-wave weather systems sweeping more deeply into the South than usual, creating a seemingly interminable run of weather across massive swaths of the land to the east of the Mississippi.

If Southerners – at least Southern schoolchildren – are growing used to this strange thing called snow, many Northerners are fed up. “Snow rage” is beginning to appear in tabloid headlines, amid news of shotguns being pulled on snowplow drivers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio complained after shoveling three times during last week’s storm that “the snow is getting really obnoxious.” ….

“Another week, another major winter storm. Literally that’s been the case in 2014, a year that is exactly six weeks old,” writes WPIX-TV reporter James Ford in New York. “The storm offers a chance to challenge some long established winter weather records. That’s small solace, however, for a metro area that’s grown weary of getting battered again and again by weather that’s severe, even for this season that’s supposed to be cold and snowy.” ….

The core engine of this storm pattern is a constant pumping of “long wave” weather systems pouring down out of Alaska every three to five days, pushing along cloudy low-pressure systems.

The trouble in particular has been a once-in-a-decade “statistical improbability” of cold and wet air that’s common in the snowy Midwest pressing more deeply than usual into the South, says National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Leary in Peachtree City, Ga.

As those storms move up and berate the North, the cycle continues. Rinse and repeat.

“These long waves are about three days apart, just a little more, and when that long wave moves down, there’s a pretty good jet of winds associated with it that push it along, and that’s when you get the weather,” Mr. Leary says.

Polar vortex of 2014

Polar vortex of 2014

The article also notes that many cities and states are running out of money to pay for snow removal. In addition, supplies of road salt are running out in a number of places.

That every three days thing is definitely happening here in Massachusetts. We had a huge storm on Thurs. Feb. 6, and another big on on on Thurs. Feb. 13. In between we’ve had smaller snowfalls every couple of days that are still enough that you have to shovel. Another storm is scheduled for this afternoon and overnight, and another is predicted for Tuesday. I don’t know how much more I can take.

It really hit me yesterday, because I had paid some guys $50 to shovel me out the night before. When they finished, I asked them to pile up the snow a bit more at the end of the driveway because I knew the snowplow would be coming during the night and would push a big pile of snow that blocked my car from getting out. This guy argued with me about it and they wouldn’t finish the job. I just didn’t have the strength to stand up to them.

Sure enough, I woke up yesterday morning and there was a foot of wet, packed snow at the end of my driveway. Not only that, more snow was coming down! I actually started to cry. I’m never hiring those guys again. I really hate being bullied; I’d rather shovel the damn snow myself.

Snowdrift in Antarctica

Snowdrift in Antarctica

I felt really down all day yesterday, and that’s when I started thinking about Snow Rage. It’s a real thing, and I’m going to have to deal with. I worked out some of my anger by shoveling most of the pile at the end of the drive way–enough so I can back over it. But I really need to be aware that this kind of weather creates a lot of stress. If you’re aware of it, you can work on your self-talk and counteract the depression and overwhelmed feelings.

Of course Snow Rage is not new. I found a Canadian article from 2008 that described incidents similar to those we are seeing this year.

Quebec City police say they received more than a dozen calls this winter from warring neighbors upset that snow was being shoveled onto their driveway or sidewalk by the folks next door.

The city was buried this winter in a record 460 centimeters (183 inches) of snow, and is running out of places to put the fluffy white powder until spring arrives and it melts.

In nearby Montreal, where residents are recovering from a ninth major snowstorm this season, a man was charged this week with threatening a fellow motorist with a toy gun over a rare parking spot on a snow-clogged street.

And in likely the worst case, an elderly Quebec City man pulled a 12-gauge shotgun on a female snowplow operator on Sunday for blowing snow onto his property, after warning her.

Even a psychologist weighed in:

“I’m seeing so much white that I’m seeing red,” echoed psychologist Luc Tremblay. “At some point, people feel overwhelmed, crushed. It’s playing on their morale and their nerves,” he told the Globe and Mail.

Yup, that’s the feeling: “overwhelmed, crushed,” and beaten down.

That’s all the news I have for you this morning, folks; snow has taken over my world. I’m depending you you to let me know if anything else is happening out there. Please post your links on any topic in the comment thread; and if there’s snow in your future I hope you stay safe and warm.

48 Comments on “Saturday Reads: Snow Rage!”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Let me make an admission to the old saying: ” What goes around, comes around”. It does.

    Yesterday morning my son in law once again plowed my driveway. However, my car was buried under all that snow.

    So rather than clean it off in the just plowed driveway, I drove it into the street and did it from there. My thinking was that enough traffic comes by that will flatten any snow I might have lifted off the car.

    I live on a wide street. Friday was trash pick up day and I was counting on those trucks to roll over the tons of snow I cleaned off the car.

    It took me up to 1/2 hour to complete the task and I drove the car back into the driveway figuring I had overcome the issue of a blocked entry.

    No such luck! Shortly after I finished two city snow plows came barreling down the street shoving all that was in the road to form a “wall” at the end of my driveway! Whatever I had just cleaned off came home to roost.

    So this morning I will attempt to shovel some of that unwanted snow away from the driveway entry so I can once again get out. And they are predicting more snow this weekend.

    To say that I am close to suicidal would be a misstatement. I have had it!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh no! I’m glad I’m not alone in being discouraged and fed up. I dread what I’ll see tomorrow morning when I pull back the curtains. I just hope I survive this nightmarish winter.

      • List of X says:

        Maybe this is the real reason people move to Florida.

      • Mary Luke says:

        No, BB and Pat you are not alone. I promised myself i would not complain about winter after the horrendous heat last summer. This morning, I was just about ready to cry at the thought of being stuck in the house another weekend. It’s just reached the point where with school snow days and granddaughter sick days, i can’t get anything done.

  2. RalphB says:

    It’s certainly no cure for snow rage but I was glad to read this story out of Florida. Running on ACA repeal may not be a good idea now.

    Some Republicans Love Obamacare

    By now, the Republican Party’s view of the Affordable Care Act should be pretty familiar, as in this ad from David Jolly:

    “I’m fighting to repeal Obamacare, right away. It’s bad for our families, and our economy.”

    But not all Republicans agree; one is Irene Jacusis of New Port Richey, who was uninsured until now.

    She knows that her party wants to repeal it. “But I don’t think they’re going to,” she said. “There are too many people out there who need this and require it.”

    She says her husband Ronald died last year from a rare sarcoma because he waited too long to see a doctor after he felt a lump.

    “If my husband had gone, if he had insurance at the time, when it was the size of a marble and had gotten an x-ray and taken care of it at stage 1 level, he would be alive today.”

    There are a few other people’s stories at the link. Hang in there BB, spring is just around the corner.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks for some real news, Ralph.

      • RalphB says:

        This is a great line…

        “I did not vote for Obama,” she said. “But I am so in love with this plan, with this health care plan, what can I do?”

        Southern states with big increases in ACA enrollment since December:

        Mississippi ↑ 116%
        Florida ↑ 88%
        Louisiana ↑ 87%
        Texas ↑ 75%
        Georgia ↑ 73%

  3. janicen says:

    I’m sorry about all the snow rage you guys are feeling. Growing up in the Buffalo area, I remember getting sick of the snow, but that didn’t usually happen until March or April. Then again, we weren’t experiencing major storms every three days.

    While snow rage is certainly the most significant factor, let’s not ignore the fact that in a couple of those incidents, people had guns. I doubt the dudes would have felt “brave” enough to confront the snowplow drivers without their guns. So now we can add snowplow drivers to the list which includes educators and students, of occupations that are made more dangerous and life-threatening thanks to the glut of guns in America. Yippee! Hooray for us! Add one more to the list! That’s progress!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I know. The gun thing is really scary.

      You have had more snow than usual this year, haven’t you? The other thing I know you’ll recognize is that my aches and pains are worse in this kind of weather. I guess it’s arthritis mostly.

      • janicen says:

        We have had more cold than usual and a little more snow, but we have actually been pretty lucky. This last storm, we were right on the edge and that made us verrrry lucky. We didn’t suffer the ice that they got south of us, and we got a fraction of the snow that they got north and west of us. There’s still more winter ahead, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

        Yes, there’s no doubt that winter storms bring humidity along with low barometric pressure, both ingredients for painful joints.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I’m glad the worst weather has missed you.

          I can’t remember a winter this cold in the Boston area, and I’ve lived here for 47 years. Our normal temperature is in the 20s to 30s in winter, and we have had day after day in the teens and single numbers. I can certainly recall winters with lots of snowstorms, but this every 2-3 days thing is weird.

          • Mary Luke says:

            Yes, it’s the every three days thing that’s frustrating. You just can’t keep ahead of anything. We are close enough to the shore to get the snow, sleet, ice phenomenon, and the ice is really scary. Still, I’d take it over the 95 degree heat. Extreme heat and i don’t mix well.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I’m just glad to be in the all-snow zone.

      • Joanelle says:

        I think we (NJ) are on the cusp, as it were. We’ve had some snow practically every day. It seems that some of those storm turn out to sea just at northern NJ, lucky us

  4. Beata says:

    It snowed here again yesterday. We have over a foot of snow on the ground now. It has been there for weeks. Snow on top of more snow. Also ice. I can’t remember a colder, more snowy winter than this one.

    I am grateful to the men and women who plow the snow. Their job is a diffficult one, indeed. It does bother me that they usually cover the sidewalks when they plow. It is hard enough for me to get around with my walker in good weather on our sidewalks. I can’t drive so I don’t have to worry about getting my car out of the driveway. I don’t have a car.

    I have spent most of the winter indoors. It makes getting over my mother’s death that much harder. I look forward to spring. A friend is going to help me plant a small garden in memory of my mother.

    Take care, everyone. Spring will come.

    • Mary Luke says:

      Beata, the garden is a lovely remembrance.

      • Beata says:

        Thank you, Mary Luke. You are always so thoughtful. Planning the garden allows me to focus on something positive.

      • NW Luna says:

        Oh Beata, what a touching and soul-full action. I hope it will further the healing to plan and plant growing things. I’d love to hear you describe it, every so often, as you and your friend bring this to actuality.

    • bostonboomer says:

      You’re right, Beata. Spring will come. I’m going to focus on that. Take care of yourself. I just wish I could give you a hug right now. Planting a garden for your Mom is a wonderful idea.

      I’ve lost so many people in the past few years, and it is hard. I think about my Dad every single day. I never stop missing him. And I miss Richard, my grad school mentor so much. I saved some of his e-mails and I still can’t look at them.

      You always make me think. I’m just glad to have you here.

  5. RalphB says:

    U.S. Justice officials accuse Montana prosecutor of bias against women in rape cases

    The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday that its investigation into the handling of rape reports by prosecutors in Missoula, Montana, has found substantial evidence that the county attorney’s office discriminates against women.

    The 20-page letter caps a nearly two-year inquiry into how the Missoula County Attorney’s Office deals with sexual assault. It was made public days after County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg sued the U.S. Justice Department, accusing its attorneys of overstepping their bounds by trying to oversee local prosecutors.

    Among the investigation’s findings were that the county attorney’s office gave sexual assault of women low priority, failed to properly train its prosecutors and treated victims with disrespect.

    That the local prosecutor has sued the DOJ in an attempt to stop the investigation tells me all I need to know about this case.

  6. RalphB says:

    WaPo: High cost of an ego trip

    Very few Americans know how close the country came to catastrophe this week.

    The final tally shows that the Senate voted by a wide margin Wednesday, 67 to 31, to break Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster of an increase in the debt limit, thus avoiding a default on the United States’ full faith and credit.

    Very few Americans know how close the country came to catastrophe this week.

    The final tally shows that the Senate voted by a wide margin Wednesday, 67 to 31, to break Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster of an increase in the debt limit, thus avoiding a default on the United States’ full faith and credit.

    Watching the chaos from the side of the chamber was the man who caused it: Cruz, his hands in his pants pockets and a satisfied grin on his face. The Texas Republican strolled to the clerk’s table to check on the vote count and was met with a look of disgust from Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). And the feeling was widespread: Moments after Cruz walked into the Republican cloakroom, four senators emerged from it and changed their votes to “aye.”

    Cruz reemerged from the cloakroom, chewing gum, his hands again in his pockets. He smirked as his colleagues finally overcame his filibuster after a ­59-minute struggle.

    His actions suggest Cruz has put himself before his party and even the nation’s solvency. And in this sense his actions are typical of the 2016 GOP presidential field. Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul are mucking up the gears of government in ways that will earn them favorable attention in the primaries.

    Rubio, of Florida, is pushing legislation that would undo Obamacare in such a way that would cause chaos in the insurance market and likely leave tens of millions of people without health coverage and cost the government billions.

    To nobody’s surprise, Paul and Rubio sided with Cruz in Wednesday’s debt-ceiling filibuster. Had they prevailed, and had 12 of their GOP colleagues not been more responsible, the likely default would have added far more to the national debt than the legislation did. It also would have caused markets to crash, the economy to swoon and American standing to decline.

    But for Messrs. Paul, Rubio and Cruz, those aren’t the top considerations.

  7. Joyce L. Arnold says:

    Twenty-something years ago a major ice storm in Tennessee (and other southern states) brought down power lines, and lots of trees. I was fortunate to only be without power for about a week. In rural areas, fair or not, it naturally took longer, at least three weeks in some cases. I remember stories of people confronting electrical line workers with guns, demanding power be restored to their home. I guess that was Ice Rage. The frustration, and more, is understandable. But I think the point made above about the use of guns is very important. For some people, immediate access to a gun is really not a good idea.

  8. List of X says:

    I have street parking only, and the parking it usually not a problem when there’s no snow. And since I’d rather shovel than go to the gym, I started cleaning out two spots (one for me and one just because) when I have the time.
    But I’m still glad that we sold the 2nd car, because to clean two spots every snowstorm just might be too much.

  9. Fannie says:

    Jury is in – Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis – Florida: Judge speaking to lawyers.

  10. Fannie says:

    Mistrial on one count. Waiting.

  11. Fannie says:

    Count One – Murder in first – mistrial

    Count two, three, four, five: Guilty.

    I’ve got to go for a walk and get some fresh air.

  12. Fannie says:

    As an anchor was standing outside the court, a car full of men called out “Not Guilty”………no respect, the family of Jordan gets no respect. It makes me sick.

    • bostonboomer says:


      • Mary Luke says:

        He’s not “not guilty”. He’s guilty on four counts and he’s going to prison for a very long time. It’s going to be awfully hard for any jury to convict for first degree murder on this ill-drafted, imprecise law. This abomination of a statute is going to have to go back to the voters. And what’s really bad is, if the prosecutors can’t get a conviction, the statute will never be clarified by the appellate courts.

  13. Fannie says:

    I went for that walk, not a very long one, but short distance. As I did, the chill of the wind was upon my face, and I didn’t cover my head, as I do on most of my walks in the winter. I welcomed the chill, and thought about the parents of Jordan, who would have been 19 years tomorrow if he had lived. As a mother, I could only think of my son, my womb, and wonder why other mothers must go through living hell, a hellish nightmare like this. I wouldn’t be able to sleep and if I lived in Florida, with laws of stand your ground, knowing that the powers to control the very lives – the very last breath a child takes on this earth, that fear just drags me down, and I would have to get the hell out of there. The hate is so intermingled, it’s a mental war of the first degree. We need to open the pages of racism and discrimination, open it up wide, and don’t put the book down. We need to see and feel the pain, the sharpness that it is, and how regular it has become. Mama might have buried her baby, but she didn’t bury this kind of ugly pain, and fear that surrounds us in this here society. It will be up to us to stop the stand your ground laws.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I agree. What Dunn did was horrific and evil. It sounds like he will get some prison time, but I don’t understand why they didn’t at least find him guilty of manslaughter. He’s guilty on 3 counts of attempted second degree murder and firing into a car. So why not second degree murder or manslaughter. The judge had instructed they could do that.

    • RalphB says:

      National Science Foundation poll could explain that verdict and a lot more.

      1 in 4 Americans unaware that Earth circles Sun

    • RalphB says:

      According to the story in Slate:

      Judge Russell Healy, who is presiding over the trial, has asked the jurors to keep deliberating. Via CNN:

      “I want you to go back into the jury room, then taking turns tell each of the other jurors about any weaknesses of your own position,” the judge told the jurors, several of whom looked down and nodded as he spoke. “You should not interrupt each other or comment on each other’s views until each of you has had a chance to talk.”

      If jurors are unable to reach a decision after several more hours or days, a hung jury on this one count is possible.

      That may be totally wrong!