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Palo Alto man, 71, arrested for gun threat

Original post made on Jun 26, 2012

A Palo Alto man's frustration over parking in front of his home escalated into a threat to return to his neighbor's home with a gun, police said Monday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 9:34 AM

Comments (62)

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Posted by terrorists
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 9:47 am

Easy access to weapons turns morons into terrorists


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Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:08 am

Okay alreadyg
lets not fall into the newspeak trap and start mimicing and
misinterpreting our terms. this man is not a terrorist. he may
be a bully. but lets not get on the bandwagon so easily, sheepishly using words out of context in this post 911 world. i suppose anybody who looses their cool and gets angry is a terrorist, and thus
(with our new laws) is subject to rendition, deported to some prison somewhere, nobody knows. It's a slippery slope to oligarchy. Stop paving the way.


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Posted by Mmmm
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:21 am

Too bad, Mr. Larsen lost his mind. But the neighbor may be a jxxk for a while, they need to be responsible too.


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Posted by Public-Streets-Belong-To-The-Public
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

Mr. Larsen is no terrorist, and if the police actually arrested him on those charges, he should seek some sort of relief via legal action against the police.

What's more interesting, however, is why Mr. Larsen, or anyone for that matter, fell that the street in front of his/her home belongs to the homeowner, and no one should be allowed to park there without the homeowner's expressed permission.


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Posted by Al
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:33 am

Lived at 3765 all through the 90's and boy I am not surprised. Neighbors were cool, except that one with a smart car, but visitors had no idea where or how to park. The street is tiny, should be one way.


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Posted by Don
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:34 am


Things would be so much better if people didn't make their own parking problems into someone else's problem (selfish). If your household has multiple cars, fit them into your own driveway, or park in front of your own house. Be considerate. Yes, the streets are public streets, but being selfish is not good.


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Posted by Former Palo Alto resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:37 am

So let me get this straight, Palo Alto property owners also own the street in front of their homes too. Really....I thought the streets were public, thus anyone can park anywhere on the street legally. Seems Mr. Larson has more of an issue with the neighbor's son [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:47 am

Don't confuse the commonly used "terrorist threat" title of this state crime with terrorism as it relates to homeland security issues. They are not related as it refers to this statute, so no one needs to compare this to a suicide bomber or the like.

California Penal Code Section 422(a), or the "terrorist threat" law, essentially states: Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime, which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, which is taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out. It goes on to state that the person being threatened must be in a reasonably sustained fear of their safety or that of someone in his/her immediate family.

If these conditions and elements of the crime were met, then an arrest would be an appropriate course of action. I don't think that the person's age should necessarily factor into this decision, anymore than dismissing what crime a young teen might be capable of committing. If this 71-year old man made these specific threats, and assuming that the victim was legitimately in fear for their safety, then he should be held accountable for everyone's best interest. There are plenty of examples of tragic endings that began as seemingly unlikely circumstances.


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Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:52 am

Larsen is out of line.

The street in front of his home is a public right of way. If parking is permitted there, the neighbor's son has a right to park there subject to local ordinances.

Larsen needs to modify his expectations regarding the street in front of his house. The neighbor's son may choose to be courteous and not park in front of Larsen's house if Larsen doesn't like it. However, he has a legal right to park there which Larsen failed to accept. IMHO, Larsen owes the neighbor an apology. And needs to learn acceptance.

You win more friends with honey than vinegar.


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Posted by Public-Streets-Belong-To-The-Public
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

Using Google/StreetViews, it's clear that La Selva Drive is too narrow to support parking on both sides of the street. The previous suggestion about the street being one direction seems like a good one, as well as the possibility of parking on one side of the street only should be considered.

The article doesn't offer us any information about how Mr. Larsen was actually inconvenienced by this car's being parked in front of his home.


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Posted by escalation
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:58 am

Neighbor has a long standing problem. Tell him not a good time. Neighbor says, But wait we have talked about this before. Nope not talking. Neighbor says do I need to get a gun for you to listen to me. (not doing this, not showing any gun, just showing frustration). Call the police and the neigbor gets arrested.


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Posted by I get it
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:11 am

We have the same problem. People across the street want the shade from our tree so they park in front of our house instead of in front of their house. No, we don't own the street, but it's common courtesy to park in front of one's own house. From my kitchen window, I look out and see his car, while there is plenty of other street parking.

What can really be done about this if neighbors are complete jerks?


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:17 am

> Posted by terrorists, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, 38 minutes ago
> Easy access to weapons turns morons into terrorists

Could not have said that better myself. Sheesh, what a foolish move.


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Posted by Lost vs. Selfish
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

One neighbor was out of line, the other neigbor was selfish.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

How sad. Now an elder has a criminal record and the other neighbors get to be scared. Lost vs. Selfish is right - out of line & selfish clash.


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Posted by DoubleStandards
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

I'm with Don. If you are neighbors, try some respect for others. I'm so tired of comments like Former Palo Alto resident's. NO. Some people in Palo Alto don't think they own the street. What some people think is that to live side by side in tight spaces, people should show a modicum of courtesy to one another. There are a lot of selfish, narcissistic people in this City. They feel entitled to keep the front of their own homes clear, while parking their cars in front of the homes of other. They feel entitled to talk on their phones while letting their dogs crap on the lawns of other people. Even if they pick it up, they still don't realize that some of us have kids who play on those lawns and it would be nice not to have them rolling around in dog crap. They feel entitled to allow building on their property on a holiday, even though when they pulled a permit they are informed no construction on a holiday or Sunday. They also feel entitled to repair cars in their driveway at 5am, dropping wrenches and making a lot of noise. Or, walk by people's home's late at night or very early in the morning while yapping loudly on a cell phone. Common courtesy and respect for others is dead in this city, and I guess a man of Mr. Larsen's age has probably had enough. Not justification for his actions, just possible cause. Of course, as Palo Alto think goes, why have any compassion for Mr. Larsen? It's just not PC or politically sexy to have empathy for a Palo Alto landowner...no excuses for him, he's from the wrong side of the freeway!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:55 am

DoubleStandards - interesting comments & I understand your sentiments. Don't understand what you mean by wrong side of the freeway? He lives in Barron Park.

Having spent a lot of time in that area, I wonder if the neighbor kid had a loud car or used his stereo a lot, disrupting Larsen, or if parking being at a premium on that narrow street, Larsen wanted the spot for his visitors or vehicle?

The general deterioration of neighborhood civility is troubling. We have similar problems as well and the lack of consideration for those who have a legal right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes is staggering. It comes from residents and their vendors - gardeners, nannies, construction workers, visitors. We've literally lost needed sleep due to horrible neighbors and of course, there's only so much that can be done.

Maybe this kid will no longer park by Larsen's house.


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Posted by Barron Park
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Some comments/experiences (most eloquently DoubleStandards) seem to come from a place far, far away. I understand that that is his/her real and unpleasant reality. But I would like others to know that that is not the way it is in all of Palo Alto (and we live only a few blocks from the confrontation that initiated this discussion).

Folks on our street and the immediately surrounding area are, in our experience, congenial, considerate, and look out for one another. We have an odd-shaped lot and share fence with six (!) neighbors. Among those who are not already friends, we have had over the years reasons to be in contact, usually because of a problem. And the discussion was always civil, cooperative, and constructive.

Folks let each other know if there is to be a late party, help out when someone is sick, and readily share tools, dog-sitting, kid-watching, advice, and much more. Folks who move in often get a visit from more than one neighbor bearing gifts (and, of course, a visit by someone from the wonderful Barron Park Association).

I know this is not the experience of everyone, but it has been ours, and consistently over multiple decades. And for which we are quite grateful.


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Posted by I'm with "I get it"
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

"I get it" sounds like he/she hit the nail on the head. Shade could be an issue. People are creatures of habit. It's easy to continue to choose that location.

But for it to draw such ire, it sounds as if this was not the first conversation about this. It's not neighborly to be an annoyance to someone else. It's easy to just comply with a request NOT to park in someone else's area, given the option to park elsewhere- like in front of our OWN homes.

As for the PAPD arresting this senior citizen, it seems like an over-reaction to me, almost like the Children's Theater chain of events.

Was there really no other way to handle this?


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Posted by Big Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

The police know no other way-
the are trained automatons-
very rigid and inflexible-
no bend, just break.


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Posted by PA resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm

You might not believe this, I used to have a neighbor 6 houses down parked in front of ours for weeks. True, you can park anywhere on the street, but please show some courtesy and do not park in front of others while you have room in front of yours.


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Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Older citizen lost his temper due to previous encounters?
Or, older citizen losing good sense? had a bad day, depressed?
Yep, Palo Alto is becoming a city of the self-centered and self-absorbed.


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Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Hmmmm, wrong side of the freeway meaning that often excuses are made for the bad behavior of people from more depressed socioeconomic circumstances and neighborhoods...not by all, but by some. For more privileged people, if they act out in a way that is commonly seen in less fortunate neighborhoods every day of the week, they are actually more reviled than people of lesser means. Double standards are alive and well in this neck o'the woods.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

We need to be tolerant in a city where many families, despite openly professing to be "green" seem to require multiple luxury vehicles/toys. Some of us have modest vehicles and we use just the space we need...but not others.
Garages tend to be too small or not sufficient.
I agree some tolerance is necessary and putting up with people parking in front of one's home is understood to be legal, at times necessary, if we are talking about public streets.
However, there are some folks who are EGREGIOUSLY rude here and take advantage of others' good will and that is NASTY. Let's be clear about the type of situation we are talking about - this is it.
I feel really bad for the older man who got arrested. It can be really frustrating in Palo Alto with entitled people who own multiple cars and constantly park in front of someone else's yard instead of their own. Nobody has mentioned that these cars can block your view when carefully trying to back out of your own driveway. We have had neighbor's cars, their visitors' cars, and especially their multi-month construction workers' vehicles park in front of our home and overhang our driveway. That's when I've had enough and I try to catch those rude drivers and get them to move their cars. When it gets so I can't get out of my own driveway, I've had enough.


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Posted by Well done, PAPD.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

He threatened to come back to his NEIGHBOR with a GUN to settle a minor dispute about public street use. This was a clear threat of physical harm. It is illegal. He should be charged.

The neighbor was right to call the police and the police were right to take his gun from him and to charge him. They need a record that he made this threat in case, God forbid, he follows through. Further, gun owners, take notice that this kind of behavior is illegal and you WILL be charged if you do something similar.

Thank you, PAPD! This is no way for citizens to behave. I don't care what kind of day they are having. Well done.



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Posted by terrorists
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Mr. Larsen may not be terrorizing a whole country, but he surely is terrorizing a single family by threatening them with gun violence. He doesn't deserve Gitmo for his crime, but terrorism criminal charges are appropriate.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm

To "I Get It" and "Big Al", this man created the situation he got himself into and it was his actions that led to him being arrested. It wasn't the police department's fault, or anyone elses fault but his own. To deflect the attention and responsibility to others accomplishes nothing.

Please read the description of the state law that applies in this case which I have outlined in an earlier post. The law was created because seemingly benign circumstances have led to many violent acts. The age of the people perpetrating these acts doesn't matter. It can be an older person, or a younger person.

Bottom line, you cannot let your emotions and anger reach a point where you threaten someone with a gun under any circumstance. And remember that under the law the person making the threat doesn't even have to have the intention of carrying it out. The law is designed to discourage people from making these type of threats and stripping people of their peace of mind, leaving them to live in fear and anxiety. How about this for a thought. Put yourself in the shoes of the victim/s in this case for a moment and ask yourself if you might feel differently about it.

Bottom line, he created the situation, and now he needs to be held accountable. Maybe next time he and others will think twice before they allow themselves to react in this troubling and unacceptable manner.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Many commenters are misunderstanding what these charges mean & why he was arrested, even after Phil explained what they mean. Police are obligated to arrest when violence w/a weapon is threatened - & a threat sans weapon is also grounds for arrest. The man also owned a gun. Terrorist threat laws have nothing to do w/Gitmo or 9/11 but everything to do w/domestic violence. The penal code has been renamed "criminal threat" & used to be called "terrorist threat". the person can be charged w/a felony or misdemeanor; if charged as a felony, it's a strike.

I hope this man is evaluated properly, both for the sake of his neighbors & his own sake. Given his age, there may be other factors affecting his decision-making process.


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Posted by Goes both ways
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Threatening to grab your gun and return with it is inexcusable, but I suspect the neighbors contributed to the bad situation. Unless this was the first time Larsen ever mentioned the parking problem to the neighbor (doesn't sound like it) then the neighbor wasn't being neighborly by refusing to listen or fix the problem. People should go out of their way when they realize their neighbor is upset, not push them away. The neighbor could have made an appointment with Larsen then and there for the evening instead of giving him the brush off.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

My parent's neighbor threatened them when his unregistered car was towed from in front of my parent's house. The neighbor later beat his own father to death. Expressing extreme violence is one indication of a real problem.

My neighbor's daughter quit parking her car in front of my house when I would always park my old truck in front of her house. Her parents were quick to complain to me but understood my "disgusting lower class truck" would be in front of their house if they took the parking spot in front of my house ... and made a choice.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm

>The neighbor's son may choose to be courteous and not park in front of Larsen's house if Larsen doesn't like it. However, he has a legal right to park there which Larsen failed to accept. IMHO, Larsen owes the neighbor an apology. And needs to learn acceptance

That's true. However, Larson can then park his car in front of his neightbor's house, right? If his neighbors complain, then they owe him an apology, right?

A more rational system would be to be get a parking permit system over there in Barron Park.


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Posted by Barron Parker
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

We do not need a parking permit system in Barron Park. How many of you have driven down La Selva? It is a tiny lane left over from days gone by. Charming to live on but difficult to drive, more difficult to park. They need to settle the parking problem at their next block party.


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm


when we were graduate students in Cambridge MASS neighbors would use ice picks to resolve parking disputes--flattening all tires

That is a real horror in the winter


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Posted by Aldo
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Norman was merely "standing his ground". What's the problem? Oh, that's right. It's Palo Alto, California not Florida or Texas. Sorry, wrong state.


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Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Larsen is not a terrorist but this shows again why most people should not be allowed to own and carry firearms. The rights of innocent people not be shot to death by idiots, hotheads, violent prone and mentally disturbed individuals is greater than the right to carry arms. You know, the right to life and pursuit of happiness which the gun crazies don't take seriously. You want to own a firearm, you pay for exhaustive psychological tests to determine whether you are mentally, psychologically and temper-wise fit to own one.


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Posted by Carol
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm

>They need to settle the parking problem at their next block party.

And, if they don't? Trust me, parking permits are about to hit big time in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Mr. Ironic
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I'm with the old guy. I hate when neighbors park in front of my house and not their own house, especially when there is a lot of parking available in front of their house. I think its just neighborly to park in front of your own house or in your own driveway. I don't park in front of my neighbors house so I don't expect them to park in front of mines.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I agree with the man that stands accused here as well Mr. Ironic. I too believe that it is a common courtesy to not consistently park one's car in front of neighbor's house. It may be legal, but it's just not courteous, respectful, or neighborly.

That's where my agreement with this man ends however. There is absolutely no excuse to threaten someone with a firearm over an issue like this. None. None of us on this forum know the background of those involved in this case, but I can think of many other alternatives on how this could have been dealt with short of making a threat.


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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm

It seems that people today confuse, legal with neighborly. It is it legal for me to park my car or cars in front of someone else's house, then I should be able to do it and my neighbor should just shut up and like it.

Then some neighbors do just that because legally they cannot do anything, but no one likes it when their neighbors impinge on their lives or property.

It all just seems to be whatever you can get away with, and that drives moral nice people up the wall often the meekest mildest people finally just get fed up. If our government would protect the minority.weak like it is supposed to and control the majority/strong, but there again over time we get the strong abusing the system with their influence and passing laws that just kind wink-wink at anything they might do that is offensive.


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Posted by @Phil
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Speak for yourself, and quit making uneducated assumptions. Actually that goes out to MOST of Palo Altans keep your uneducated assumptions and theories to yourself if you don't know something, find direct and proven sources for information. & don't think that your thoughts and ideas must be right because you think they are..

I for one know the victim, and know the victim's neighbor. The spots in front of people's houses are PUBLIC PROPERTY, no one cares about this neighborly courtesy bogus. If i have the right to park somewhere, then i sure as heck am going to park there.

If someone thinks they're entitled to something they're not, then they can either confront me man to man, or get sued for whatever any damage or problems they cause due to being a hard headed KNOCK.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

My neighbor parks his car in front of my home on Bryant Street every night when he returns home from work. Yet there is available parking in front of his home. The same family is constantly taking their dog for a walk so that he will poop in everyone else's yard and not theirs. Some people are inconsiderate.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Have any of those siding w/the accused checked out La Selva? You can't park in front of every house - it's a super narrow street. None of us know what the background here is - but obviously the tempers flared. Maybe the kid's a jerk, maybe the accused is a jerk, maybe they're both jerks and Dad didn't have time to deal with it. Sad.


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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm

What is most troubling is the labeling of Mr. Larsen as a "terrorist." This is a simple dispute between neighbors, and clearly Mr. Larsen was driven to the edge by the endless parking problem. Sometimes good people do rash things when deeply frustrated, and I hope this will be taken into consideration.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Miss Nora - he's not labeled a "terrorist" at all. The type of crime he's been charged w/is called "criminal threats", also called "terrorist threats" - & it's not about being a 9/11 style terrorist. These laws were passed or tightened - I don't recall which - as a result of all of the domestic violence incidence where there had been a pattern of threats.

As sympathetic as Larsen is, his words escalated the situation. Nowadays, people get scared when they're threatened by gun violence & they call the police.

If they didn't call the police & a gun was used in a future confrontation, we'd all be shaking our heads, wondering why they hadn't reported his prior threats.

If he has no criminal history, his crime is likely to be reduced to a misdemeanor. Given that they're neighbors, there is a likelihood of further problems, so that'll be factored in, too. He'll probably have to undergo some type of anger management along w/whatever else the judge doles out. Remember - the police (espec in Palo Alto) always charge as high as they can w/crime, knowing some of it'll be reduced and/or thrown out. The police are *obligated* to arrest w/criminal threats - & the guy did own a firearm.

I truly hope that peace results from this, and he doesn't lose his house. Now I'm betting the neighbors don't park in front of his place, though.


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Posted by Doug
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm


We don't know the history leading up to this incident, but if the kid is like the "kid" (now mid-20s, still at home) next door, he is spoiled and has been raised to feel entitled to do whatever he wants, and disturbing the neighbors or inconviencing them is something he feels entitled to do, with his parents' blessing. Guns aren't acceptable in Palo Alto, but I bet the man just got disgusted and fed up.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm

To @Phil, I never said that parking in front of someone's house was illegal. We all know it's something we can do, but even though we can, it's generally not something that by most standards is considered neighborly or considerate.

I also don't think that it's productive to summarily dismiss and disregard the opinions of others, especially on an open forum like this. That's what these forums are for. I respect your opinion even though I may disagree. No reason to get defensive and through out accusations of people being uneducated about their theories and opinions. As I see it that's precisely what you're doing by making that statement so you may want to look at yourself in the mirror.

In your last paragraph you suggested outcomes that could involve confronting someone man to man, or suing them for damages. Here's another outcome for you. How about if you lack enough self control and discipline that you threaten someone with a firearm then you could get arrested and face criminal prosecution. It is unacceptable and indeed a crime to threaten someone in this manner over a parking dispute. That's it, simple as that.


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Posted by DDM
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm

@Doug


The "Kid" is around 19-20 (maybe 21), finishing up his 2nd year in college. He isn't as spoiled as 90% of the the rest of the financially well-off children of Palo Alto are...

Quit making assumptions, you're all making yourselves sound dumb.


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Posted by Mark
a resident of University South
on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Phil, thanks for posting the CPC definition of a terrorist threat. I was a little confused reading the article until I read your post - that was very helpful!


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 27, 2012 at 6:14 am

More of that famous "Palo Alto Community" in the spot light here as
well as in the comments section. Its becoming tiresome on a daily basis.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2012 at 8:34 am

I suppose in some way it's a double-edged sword Observer. There is indeed an extremely high level of engagement here in Palo Alto along with a wide range of opinions. Sometimes it even gets a little messy. Despite that I believe that this behavior is an indicator in many ways of a vibrant, caring, and connected community. What's the alternative, apathy?

I find it interesting that a news story like this one, and others much more benign, can generate what seems like an endless stream of comments and opinions. Conversely, there are two other stories on the cover page of this edition of Palo Alto Online that deals with men that were shot and killed in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. One story has I believe a half dozen comments, the other has none. Kind of sad if you stop and think about it. And it's not like this publication doesn't serve those two cities. I've seen plenty of those identifying themselves as Menlo Park and East Palo Alto residents commenting on this forum, often time about issues that only indirectly effect their communities.

Call it what you will, but I'll take a little public discourse and difference of opinion any day. It's a healthy sign.


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Posted by YSK
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

What are people supposed to say about the shootings? As deplorable as they are, there's nothing to say that hasn't been said before, that won't cost people their jobs, or that will fix it. Half of the time, any commentary is offensive to someone, or over the top. Have you given any thought to the fact that the more benign stories may relate to the daily lives of Palo Alto residents? If their are no comments on that other page, then you are welcome to make your comments there rather than your rather than post your hypocritical input here.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2012 at 9:23 am

Let me ask you this YSK, respectfully of course. If either of these shootings took place here in Palo Alto, do you think for a second that the feedback would be as limited as it is in these two stories? Not a chance. The point being that if the benign stories draw that much attention, imagine what a major incident would generate.

I also believe there are many comments that could be made in the case of two tragic stories like this that aren't offensive. I have often time read people commenting on similar incidents that offered their condolences, referrals for victim outreach, suggestions on how these cases could be avoided, or simply giving people a forum to release some of the anxiety and fear that occurs when something like this happens so close to home. You're right, the offensive comments should be taken for what they're worth. But generally speaking I believe the dialouge that takes place on forums such as these are healthy and valuable.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2012 at 9:36 am

One more thing YSK, just to address any concern of hypocrisy that you might have, I didn't comment on either of these two stories primarily because they did not occur in my own community. Now if I had some information or thoughts that I thought might be valuable I might very well have.

The purpose of sharing my initials thoughts was to simply point out a subtle difference in how people, at least publicly, respond to news stories and events in their communities. I'm not trying to slight anyone at all. I just believe that Palo Alto's high level of engagement and varied opinions is a good thing. I'll take that over apathy and complacency any day of the week.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 27, 2012 at 9:44 am

People are used to reading about crime in EPA, including violent crime. One of the big differences between the terrible violence that is concurrent w/this story is that it's more than likely that the victims were also criminals. It doesn't sound like it's the case w/Mr. Larsen. It's easier to relate to Mr. Larsen or his neighbors than it is the guy in the stolen car who rammed a law enforcement vehicle & went on a high speed chase. He's only 19 & already has a criminal history. Personally, I don't relate to that & I met the guy on a number of occasions. The same can be said for the unfortunate victims of the most recent shootings. Do any of us commenters know what it's like to live a criminal life or a life that is very street oriented? I don't & I live in EPA.

I do talk w/old friends about people we know who've turned into criminals. Some of the stories are really funny, but they're not PC. But where I do relate to & am saddened by the violence here is that every criminals is someone's beloved child.


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Posted by Phil
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

Well stated Hmmm, and indeed a sad result of a community that has been hardened and calloused by a history of violent crime. It should never reach a point where violence and tragedy becomes common place or the norm. I also acknowledge the fact that many people do become victims as a result of this violence. I wish your community the best of luck in dealing with these issues, and look forward to better times.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

Thank you, Phil. I may be gone by then but I do wish this community the best.

There's the harsh but pragmatic distinction law enforcement makes between criminals & the rest of us. If someone is a victim of violence, they're either legit/a real citizen or not. I've learned that the subjective value I ascribe to one's life is based on criminality or lack. That's on me; I don't advocate this pov for others, but it's the type of organizing our minds do when we live in a town w/a lot of real challenges. I think it's a very realistic reaction to dealing w/variances in human behavior that impact society - & unfortunately, much of the problem behavior is caused by anti-social types who don't care about the well-being of others. I don't mourn them - but I am sad for their loved ones & I regret their lost potential.

Is Larsen anti-social? Is the neighbor kid a real problem? We don't know.

I'd love to hear from someone who does a drive by on La Selva or knows the street well enough to know why this kid insisted on parking in front of Larsen's house. For all we know, Larsen's too territorial for such a narrow street where tolerance is required from everyone.


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Posted by Vern
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 27, 2012 at 10:55 am


Maybe the Palo Alto Weekly could try to give more information in their news stories. It would save us huge amounts of time spent speculating about what happened and the background/history leading up to the incident and who is to blame.


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Posted by Barron Park resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

I like many people in my neighborhood understand that it is common sense to park their car in their own garage, driveway or in front of their own house if possible. I am surprised that Mr. Larsen neighbor did not even contemplate this idea and or acknowledge why Mr. Larsen was so frustrated. Yes I know that he does not own the road in front of his house but I am surprised that this family has not figured out that it is more courteous to park their car in front of their house if that is possible.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I think homes are supposed to have one covered and one not covered spot on the property. That means each house should be able to absorb at least two cars that are not on the street. I have multiple neighbors who keep all of their cars (up to 4!) on the street, just cuz they feel like it. It inconveniences all the rest of us. Whole street feels claustrophobic. Keep your gas guzzling, dirty machines on your own property! And remind your kids and guests of the respectful location of their cars. (Or teach them to be inconsiderate, if that's what you think makes a good neighbor and person.)


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Posted by Calm Down
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

We really need to calm down. So what if someone parks their car in front of your house. It is not your property. You have no right to complain or demand anything. There are more important things to get bothered by- like our economy, education system, ...etc. Don't you agree?


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Posted by Alan
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jun 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I feel sorry for Mr. Larsen; he had finally reached his breaking point. Clearly, this has been an ongoing problem and his neighbors have chosen to continue to annoy him. You don't threaten nice people with a gun, but you can be driven to threaten nasty people. The street is not his, nor is it his neighbors,' but common courtesy would suggest that his neighbors park in front of their own property. For years, we had to put up with a neighbor's son screeching home in the middle of the night, stereo blaring, and loud conversations with friends as he parked right in front of our bedroom windows. We spoke to him and we appealed to his parents, to no avail. They had plenty of parking on their driveway and in front of their house, but I guess they didn't want the kid disturbing them. Our revenge came when those neighbors wanted us to sign a petition blocking their other neighbors' plan to add a second story, thus blocking their view. Needless to say, we didn't sign it. What goes around comes around.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2012 at 3:33 am

This story scares me.

Gun ownership scares me. It isn't about parking, or offleash pooping dogs, or bad neighbors. It is about a gun owner making threats. This is not the wild west. We can't have neighbors threatening each other with guns!


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