"Get off my lawn!"

It’s an old-geezer cliche. A running – well, hobbling maybe – joke around here.

Suddenly it isn’t funny any more.

I can sympathise with the geezer to a point.

That point being that it annoys me when kids walk through my lawn. And my lawn SUCKS. It’s just that it’s an invasion of privacy, if they’re that close and they can see through my big picture window, I’m probably propped on my couch, in front of this laptop, in my underwear.

But I’ve never even yelled at them, though once or twice I opened the door as if to nonverbally and politely ask, “Yes, you need something? Selling Girl Scout cookies?”.

Killing a freshman in highschool over it? That’s a bit of a stretch.

I had a friend with a similar problem with kids on her lawn.

She lived directly across the street from a high school, which had a rule prohibiting smoking on school grounds. So the kids crossed the street, hung out on her lawn, smoked, threw cigarette buts all over, along with gum, candy wrappers, and misc. trash.

She had tried putting up signs asking them to stay off her lawn, going from polite requests to assertive commands to rude & profane ones. And she had tried stepping outside and asking them to move on. She just got insults and actual threats in response.

Finally solved the problem by installing an automatic watering system, timed to go on before school, at lunch break, and after school lets out.

Seems effective, and much less drastic than a shotgun!

The story is only half told. I wonder how many times he told that kid to stay off his lawn? Maybe the kid was extraordinarily rude or there was a long-standing feud. Not to say he deserved to be killed over it but I’d love to hear the other side of this. I doubt it was unprovoked.

They did say something to the effect that there was a history of bad blood between the neighbors.

In re-reading the article it does mention a 5 year feud but no details.

In his 911 call, he said that the kid and his parents had “tormented” him for five years, and that he finally couldn’t take it any more.

Right, but that does not justify shooting the kid. Spraying him with water would be much more appropriate, and have fewer lasting consequences.

Of course not-- very few things justify shooting someone. (Imminent threat of deadly violence justifies it, for example.)

However, if this family was really torturing this guy for five years, I don’t think we should look at this kid like he was an innocent little lamb mowed down by a psychopath. (Though, of course, even assholes don’t deserve a blast to the chest with a shotgun.)

I’m curious to see what the whole story is.

I hope the guy goes to jail for the rest of his life. I don’t care if the kid took a shit on his lawn, there is no justification for this.

Side story regarding kids off campus at lunch break: My friends and I used to do exactly this when I was in school. We’d walk down to the corner and sit on the sidewalk and smoke and eat our lunch. One day a woman came out and told us that our cigarette butts and our trash were really bothersome and that she would put up a trash bin for us to use. We apologized, she nailed a trashcan to the fence, and we never littered there again. Teens aren’t always aware of the effects of their behavior. If she had come out and yelled at us, we would have had a very different reaction.

Long ago, just around the corner, an old geezer of thirty or forty something yelled at a group of my friends. He called one of them a girl, meaning it in a pejorative way, since my friend had rather long hair, and the geezer was a fifties red neck sort of guy.

There were six of us. We were riding bicycles along the residential street in a careless early teenager sort of way. We replied with a babble of obscenities, and rode along after him. He turned into a house on the street directly visible from the athletic field of our high school, and went inside.

So, we knew where he lived. We dubbed him “Fat Butt” and began a campaign of minor terrorism that shames me to describe. We TP’d his house several times a year. We urinated on his fancy rose bush every night in the summer until it died. We sprayed the words “FAT BUTT” in his meticulously maintained lawn with tincture of nicotine. The words turned brown in days. When the poor man dug it up and reseeded, the words were still visible in the difference of quality in the new grass, which also began to die. He had to remove three inches of top soil in a twenty by ten foot area before it was finally repaired.

The four years of my high school career, and the one extra one because girly guy himself was a year younger than I were a concentrated hell for that poor man. But worse yet was in the cards. By the time we left high school, his easily visible house was so frequently vandalized that it became a default target for every sort of petty revenge by dozens of high school delinquents who never knew about the “Fat Butt” incident. I know of one very bad spray paint event that took place six years after I graduated.

About that time, one of my friends was a contractor in the area, and got the painting contract for Fat Butt’s house and garage. He met the owner. It wasn’t Fat Butt. My friend confessed to one the original TP incidents, and had a bit of a discussion about the house’s history of vandalism. Turns out, Fat Butt was the owners brother in law, just visiting I suppose. The owner was a nice guy. He didn’t even hold a grudge against “the kids” as he called the criminals (like me) who had done thousands of dollars in damage to his home over the decades. “I don’t know why they always pick my place,” he said, “I guess it’s just one of those kid things you can never figure out.”

I suppose even we didn’t deserve getting shot over it, but man, I would not be unsympathetic if he shot some kid doing yet another thousand dollars damage to his home, or car after ten years of unrelenting torment. The school was closed, and a Catholic school opened at its location a few years later. Evidently the curse was broken by that series of events. (Yes, I check it now and then, even thirty five years later. Guilt is a strong motivator.)


Not a heck of a lot of detail provided.

Sidewalks and streets are the public domain but the guy’s yard is private property. From what information there is, it would appear the kid was in the wrong and, unfortunately supported nevertheless by his parents, and the old guy, driven by a long simmering anger, overreacted. Neither his person nor property was in any danger whatsoever so that’s flat out murder. A monumentally stupid act too.

Again, we don’t know much at all here but I think the parents might have possibly been lax in instilling a sense of awareness and/or respect for the rights of others and, if it’s as perceived, this illustrates too both how unwise and dangerous it is to let minor issue fester.