Justifiable assault with folding chair

Date:August 19, 2005 / year-entry #232
Orig Link:https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20050819-10/?p=34503
Comments:    23
Summary:Everybody's lunchtime conversation a few days ago was the riot at a used laptop sale in Richmond, VA. [Local coverage.] What got me was this fellow Jesse Sandler: "I took my chair here and I threw it over my shoulder and I went, 'Bam,'" the 20-year-old said nonchalantly, his eyes glued to the screen of...

Everybody's lunchtime conversation a few days ago was the riot at a used laptop sale in Richmond, VA. [Local coverage.] What got me was this fellow Jesse Sandler:

"I took my chair here and I threw it over my shoulder and I went, 'Bam,'" the 20-year-old said nonchalantly, his eyes glued to the screen of his new iBook, as he tapped away on the keyboard at a testing station.

"They were getting in front of me and I was there a lot earlier than them, so I thought that it was just," he said.

Because if somebody cuts in front of you in line, you are perfectly justified in assaulting them with a folding chair. That's one of the guiding principles this country was founded on.

Comments (23)
  1. tsrblke says:

    I say, he confessed of his own volition to a 3rd party. The City of Richmond should charge him with assult, it’s a slam dunk case. Ok so nothings a slam dunk case here. But he obviously has no remorse, so I doubt they could claim insanity.

  2. PatriotB says:

    What was that county thinking, selling them for only $50? Why didn’t they sell them for a cost closer to their actual value?

    Henrico County must not be as cash-strapped as most other counties around the country…

  3. bg says:

    thank god he didn’t have a gun

  4. Master Chief says:

    I’m camping for a laptop and somebody cuts in front of me?? He’s gonna get PWNED!!

    [pant pant pant] Sorry… too much Xbox….

    Seriously though, if you cut in front of someone in line, and an "excuse me sir, the line starts back there" doesn’t work, you deserve a smack with a large metal object.

  5. Pete says:

    This wasn’t that bad. The original video coverage on one site contained an old woman confessing to kicking several people in the crotch as hard as she could. They edited it out later that day and reposted.

  6. I’m with Master Chief on this one. We’ve been a rough-and-tumble country from day one: if something isn’t working, change it or destroy it. That’s even a Jeffersonian viewpoint of government itself.

    Legally the dude is liable but if we’re talking pure fairness, the line jumpers had it coming.

    Like that old joke goes, Rome didn’t become powerful by holding meetings…

  7. BTX says:

    2 days ago at the dog park, one guy had a pitbull, very aggressive dog, and this dog attacked a small dog, the owner of the small dog (a lady) got her dog out of the way somehow, and of course she and other people were angry, as aggresive dogs are not allowed on that park (it states it clearly at the entrance), but the owner of the PitBull was even more aggresive than the dog!, he started yelling at people saying that he didn’t tell the dog to attack the other dogs, that it wasn’t his fault, he even called the poor lady something, and he said that he would bring his dogs any time he wanted, blablabla…


  8. Master Chief says:

    Waiting in line is not a law — it’s a courtesy

    And not having a chair accidentally fall on your head is a courtesy too. Politeness exists to keep society going and you ignore it at your peril.

    If you cut in front of me, no matter what it’s for, I’m going to lay down as much smack on you as I can get away with, in an effort to discourage you from not doing that again.

    I don’t care if it’s for a laptop, a movie, dinner, or the last cup of water in the middle of the Sahara.

    Stand up for yourself man! Nobody else will!

    What surprises me is that according to CNN and the BBC: "one desperate buyer tried to drive his car through the crowd." and nobody here has mentioned that!

  9. Scot Boyd says:

    A folding chair is not lethal enough to be an appropriate penalty for line-jumping.

  10. Chris says:

    At this same event, one woman peed her pants to avoid losing her place in line. Line-jumping is not welcome.

  11. Keith Farmer says:


    Since when does fairness justify physical assault as a response to inconveniencing someone by not following what is at most a custom? Waiting in line is not a law — it’s a courtesy. If lack of courtesy were a crime, there’d be very few people not in prison.

    Was Sandler’s anger warranted? Yes.

    Was Sandler’s person being harmed? No.

    Was Sandler’s property being threatened? Again, no.

    Sandler was waiting in line for a luxury item, and someone cut in front of him. The only thing that would be justified would be to have the management evict the line jumper in a civil fashion. Obviously, as this and other anecdotes show, there was no management whatsoever.

    Instead, Sandler showed nothing more than base greed. He’s no better than the common thief who steals because he thinks they’re charging too much, or thinks he deserves a thing more than the next guy. I pity anyone who has to deal with this person.

    Were I the guy who got assaulted by Sandler, I’d be perfectly justified in filing charges. The fact that the police did absolutely *nothing* to deal with the whole affair (of which Sandler was only a part) is disgraceful.

  12. Cheong says:


    Was Sandler’s property being threatened? Again, no


    Personally, I think it depends.

    I don’t know what’s the case there, but in Hong Kong, the queue position for buying "whatever" can sometimes be exchanged for good amount of money, depending on what the queue is for and how long is the queue.

    Should there be Hong Kong, I may say the one who cuts the line is no different compare with stealing money from everyone behind him, and the line cutter deserves any kind of punishment a thief deserves.

    Although I DO think a folding chair is a bit too much. It can be lethal if she hit it too hard.

  13. IUnknownMinusOne says:

    I’ve seen (just seen – didn’t feel like experiencing) such mindless crowd in Bombay suburban trains – but not intentionally violent, it just happens so when you got to board and get off the train in 8 seconds.

    Can’t imagine something like that in VA. It is probably the XBox…

  14. I’ve complained before that people become violent over mere objects, but I’m sick to death of the people in this country selfishly acting on the assumption that no one will kick them in the teeth for having wronged others.

    Line-jumping in this case was done with the clear intent of depriving someone else in favor of the tardy line-jumper’s desires. Social convention does indeed lead to implied contracts (try getting up at a restaurant and telling them that they never told you that you had to "*pay* for all of this food"), and being polite to selfish people obviously isn’t working.

  15. Stephen Jones says:

    I think I would probably do the same. Line jumping is exceptionally common in queues at airports going to and from South Asia, and I can well imagine myself graduating from appearing threatening, which has sufficed so far, to carrying the threat out.

  16. JamesW says:


    Wuss ;)

    The Mumbai trains are more exciting than any roller coaster and well worth a ride. I wouldn’t call it mindless though: it’s just a case of lots of people wanting to use the train coupled with a tight platform turnaround time. I admit that I chose to sit *inside* the train – hanging off the door and window frames, like the keener commuters, was a bit extreme for me.

  17. Rune says:

    Was Sandler’s property being threatened? Again, no.

    Actually… His future property was being threatened. The linejumper could potentially affect the supply to a sufficient degree as to deny Sandler his property. Specially if others noticed that he wasn’t going to take action with the linejumper. It would’ve encouraged potential linejumpers and Sandler would eventually wind up at the end of the line.

    I can sort of relate to the argument that this was a luxury item, thus not that important, but in that case: It only makes the act of linejumping even worse! If this was a breadline or something similar and someone worse off than me cut the line, then I for one would gladly accept that.

    I’ve been linejumped once (by two bigger guys), but as there were other lines I would’ve lost out bigger in case any of my actions held up the line for any duration. So I bit my tongue. However, if there’s a red light and I see any of those two guys crossing, I won’t stop. So just because you’re successful at treating others like dirt, don’t think for a moment that it won’t come back to haunt you.


  18. muro says:

    I don’t know… it’s just a thing, hitting someone for it? That makes me no better. Somehow, I value his head more than a queue position. I would object, but not try to do more harm.

  19. Asd says:

    This is why you need to learn BJJ or Judo. Don’t hit him just choke him out!

  20. James Curran says:

    > What was that county thinking, selling them for only $50? Why didn’t they sell them for a cost closer to their actual value?

    THe iBooks weren’t new. If I recall correctly, the were four-year-old used computers, formerly used in the local school.

    The article only mentions that "new iBooks" go for $1000-$1300, but ignores that fact that used iBook on eBay go for $150-$600

  21. "Was Sandler’s property being threatened? Again, no."

    Yes it was. His proximity to the goods (along with his money) was the basis for his claim to it.

    "Instead, Sandler showed nothing more than base greed."

    And what of the line-jumper(s)? I pity anyone who has to deal with them.

    What some won’t grasp is that, regardless of legal system, you forestall threatening situations when you don’t provoke people. This includes not jumping in line, not cutting people off on the road, and not running around Harlem yelling, "I hate n*****s."

    Otherwise, at the very least, you can hardly expect me to feel sorry for you.

  22. lykmc says:

    Perhaps Raymond was not being sarcastic. The rest of you might want to read up on the "Boston Tea Party" that was the beginning of the war of independence.

    For my money though, a chair is overdoing it. A sharp elbow to the teeth followed by a hearty, completely (and obviously) insincere apology would be better.

  23. decheung says:

    Why do you hate our freedom? :)

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