This is a picture of the yard in question. It looks like any other average suburban yard to me. Certainly nothing to shoot anybody over. Certainly no what I was expecting from the comments in the news story.
There was an extremely disturbing story on AOL this morning. It happened in Ohio, but given the few comments in the posts, I suppose it could have happened anywhere. On one side an older gentleman, totally devoted to what was described as a meticulously maintained lawn. (see comments below of the picture of the actual yard) On the other side fifteen year old boy who walked across the lawn. The boy is dead and the lawn owner is in jail.
The guy with the lawn stated that he’d had trouble with the next-door family for over five years and he finally flipped out. The article was fairly brief and didn’t give details of problems between the neighbors. What got to me were the few posts that I read before climbing out of the cesspool. Several rational posters have suggested that if the yard was so important to him, maybe it should have been fenced. Good point. But, some of the other posts. That a kid deserved to die because he trespassed on a neighbors yard. Heck, our yard in Oakridge got its corner clipped regularly.
We had an empty lot behind our house that was the neighborhood favorite for pick up baseball games. The kids were welcome to come in and retrieve balls as long as they closed the gate afterwards. Heck, they were welcome to make a side trip to visit the berry patch as long as they picked the ripe ones and didn’t throw the green ones. And we got along pretty well. I think my folks figured that if the yard was kid friendly, they’d always know where we were. J They were right too.
There were some pictures with the story. Frankly, given the man’s reaction, I was expecting a really fancy yard. Reality was a little different. Small ranch type houses, big yards, no sidewalks and no fences between the houses. Since it’s the end of winter the yard didn’t look that great. I don’t know about lawns in Ohio, but out here it’s nearly impossible to keep a lawn green past July unless you really work at it. And Imean really work at it. We’re talking major investments just in water, not counting weed killers, fertilizer and really good seed. That’s one of the reasons we have a yard full of lavender and other stuff. But, I’m getting off track here.
Frankly, there aren’t enough details in the story to say what the previous harassment was or wasn’t. No statements in the story from neighbors or police describing previous harassment or calls to police for trespassing or the like. My experience with wide open, no fence neighborhoods is that the kids regard the whole block as one big backyard. So, we’ve got a dead kid, a man with a shotgun in jail, and a lot of folks talking through their hats about something they don’t seem to know much about. What is really scary is that a good third of the posters seem to believe that having someone walking across your property gives you the right to use lethal force. I’m sorry, but having problems with your neighbor does not warrant vigilante justice.
And would somebody care to tell me the difference between this and the abuser’s excuse of ‘if you didn’t make me mad, I wouldn’t have to hit you” or the “if you weren’t insisting on getting in my way on the freeway I wouldn’t have to ride your bumper.” There were a lot of comments about how kids aren’t as respectful as they used to be. But, there was a time when flipping out and shooting your neighbors wouldn’t get nearly as many supporting comments as I’ve been seeing the last few years. I’m afraid that there is plenty of disrespect from all ages and classes to go around.