Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tribulations & the Trial

One of the downsides of rural living is occasional harassment by the local rednecks. I’ve been harassed since 1999 by a group of locals who apparently think that my posting of my farms interferes with their rights to hunt. Or something.

Anyhow, they don’t have free rein to do as they please on my property, and this galls them. Through the years they’ve tried various harassment tactics—running me off the road, driving slowly back and forth past my property, leaving a deer head in the mailbox/dead deer on the fence/deer parts by the “no hunting” signs, driving across the lawn, tossing beer bottles into the hay fields, shooting holes into my “no hunting” signs, removing my “no hunting" signs, tossing spikes into the farm driveway (March 2003), hanging headless deer less than 50 feet from my mailbox (one hung for six days in 2003), standing across the road and staring in the direction of my house, parking near my driveway and yelling at me when I go get the paper before dawn (November 2005), shooting close to me when I went to get the mail (March 4, 2006), etc. You get the picture. (And often I do, too. Thank goodness for digital cameras!)

At first, I didn’t notify authorities—except for my neighbor, an investigator for the sheriff’s department, who convinced the locals to temporarily behave on a few occasions—because I thought maybe they’d get tired of harassing me and I’d be left alone. I wasn’t. For the last two years, however—since I was surprised at the mailbox before dawn in 2005—I’ve been reporting offenses.

Recently, one harasser, who has been a nuisance since 2002 (this year he often walks the road past my house while he carries a big stick), apparently decided that—since the other tactics weren’t working—he would try a new one: he'd file warrants against my husband.

When Mr. Redneck walked by (with big stick over shoulder) one Sunday morning, my husband was unloading guns from his truck and decided to empty the small pistol into a target we have on our woodpile. I was sitting on the deck grading papers. Mr. Redneck wasn’t close; he didn’t come by until after I’d yelled at my husband for firing three shots that scared the birds. Mr. RN noted in his warrant, which he didn’t file until nearly four months later, that John had fired three shots. In court today, he said he only heard one shot. (Gosh, you think he would at least review his own warrant before going to court.)

His second warrant is the classic, though. (I’ve blacked out his name):



In case you can’t read his writing (click on the warrant to enlarge), this is what it says:
Walking up road got close to John he is push mowing side of road he pats his pocket to let me know he has a gun, he staresat me I stare back, walk to end of road come buck he has Lown mower in middle of road turn up side ways, standing behind Lown mower waiting on me made several cummats then said he would shoot me I stood there for awhile, then turn around gave him the middle finger and walk off.
Now, you don’t have to be much more intelligent than Mr. Redneck to see the holes in his logic:

If Mr. RN is afraid my husband has a gun, why did he “get close” to my husband? Why did he not go back the other way instead of going a few hundred feet and then turning around and walking past again?

My husband actually had a screwdriver in his pocket because he’d been having trouble with the carburetor on the old push mower he was using and figured he’d have to adjust it. Why did Mr. RN assume it was a gun?

As for Mr. RN’s remark “staresat” (sic), my husband did indeed stare at him. We both watch him because he is one of a group that has been harassing me for years. Given his past behavior, we’d be foolish not to keep our eyes on him when he is so close to us or our property.

He neglected to mention that he didn’t just stare back—he mimicked my husband by cupping his hands (thumbs to forefingers) and putting his cupped hands in front of his eyes and moving them back and forth. That’s when my husband, in a lapse of his usual good judgment, returned the rudeness by making an equally rude remark to him. He didn’t, however, tell Mr. RN that he would shoot him. The exact words: “You and your big brother ain’t [insert 4-letter expletive here].”

If Mr. RN misunderstood what was said to him and actually thought my husband was going to shoot him, why did he stand “there for a while” and why would he give my husband “the middle finger”? That doesn’t make sense. (Even for someone who isn’t very bright.)

However, it didn’t make sense either on March 4, 2006, when Mr. RN stood by and watched one of his buddies harass me by approaching me (within 20 feet) and shooting his shotgun three times into the ground by the side of the road as I was getting the mail from our mailbox. Yeah, I did report that incident to the sheriff’s department.

It also doesn’t make sense that my husband would be “waiting” for Mr. RN. My husband had no way of knowing where Mr. RN was going or for how long. Heck, he didn't even know that Mr. RN was coming down the road in the first place. It would not make sense for him to stand in the road where he could be run down. Our road curves so you can’t see what is coming, and many people speed along along that stretch. My husband was on our own property trouble-shooting his lawn mower. He had the lawnmower turned over on the side of the road (on our property!) because he’d just hit a stump while mowing and bent the blade.

If Mr. RN is so intimidated, why does he choose to walk past our property so often?

Anyhow, the trial was today. A couple of my other harassers showed up to give Mr. RN moral support. One even winked at my husband. A game warden was called as witness for the prosecution.

My husband acted as his own lawyer and called me as a witness. Because I was his witness, I was sequestered and couldn’t hear Mr. RN’s testimony. (However, before the trial got underway, my husband asked the judge for permission to tape the proceedings and it was granted, so I got to hear everything later.)

My husband declined to testify in his own behalf. (Why bother? I’d already said what needed to be said and the judge had copies of the strangely worded warrants. Plus he'd looked at my pictures of the alleged crime scene.) So, the game warden didn’t have to testify, and the prosecutor didn’t get to cross-examine.

The whole trial took less than 15 minutes.

The verdict? NOT GUILTY on both counts.

I guess there's some logic to that old saying, "The truth will set you free."

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3 Comments:

Blogger The Coffee Bitch said...

Well done you two. A nice result for the good guys

TCB

2:42 PM  
Blogger Mousie said...

if one day You've got a minute could you tell me what do you mean by rednecks, I can't find it on my French/English dictionary...
Your site and blogs are very interested and my friend Leslie said "Patches on the same quilt" was very good...must try to get it, if it's possible...france is so far from you...
see you
Mousie

6:40 PM  
Blogger RogueHistorian said...

Really, what else could you expect from a redneck? Too much cheap liquor and a little in-breeding and they're what you get.

Mousie - "redneck" refers to members of the rural working class in the U.S. Usually, it's considered a derogatory term. It comes from the fact that these people traditionally spent long hours working in the sun, so the back of their necks would become sun-burned and red. Often VERY conserative politically and socially. Many end up being bitter, angery, and intolerant.

10:01 PM  

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