Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stand Your Driveway

While not much of an outdoorsman, I feel confident in offering one important survival tip: if traveling through the Southeast this year you should never, ever turn around in the driveway of an elderly white person. This danger is typified by several recent cases.

In January, 22-year old Georgia resident Rodrigo Diaz (accompanied by his girlfriend and another couple) mistakenly pulled into the driveway of Phillip Sailors after their GPS led them to think it was the address of a friend they had planned to go ice-skating with. The 69-year old retired Bellsouth employee and Christian missionary emerged from his house carrying a .22 revolver and fatally shot Diaz in the head. Sailors maintains that he believed the car’s occupants were potential home invaders and that he only fired because they “accelerated toward him.” The vehicle’s occupants (along with the subsequent police report) indicated that the vehicle was in the process of leaving the driveway when the Diaz was shot.  Sailors is currently awaiting trial for murder.

In February, a 71-year old North Carolina resident named Ralph Barker was charged with murder after killing 67-year old Danny Bowman with a shotgun. Bowman, tired of people turning around in his driveway, had placed cinder-blocks in a shared cul-de-sac to deter motorists. Barker took it upon himself to move said cinder-blocks and when an irate Bowman confronted him; Barker opened fire. He is currently awaiting trial for murder.

Just last month, Virginia resident Oscar Scott (accompanied by his wife and 5 children) were taking a scenic drive though Rogersville, TN when the road they were on became too narrow for their Chevy Tahoe. Oscar put the vehicle in reverse and was about to turn around in a nearby driveway when 72-year old homeowner Margie Ramey opened fire on the vehicle. Scott’s wife screamed out the window that they were just attempting to turn around when she fired a second shot. Although one of the shots struck the vehicle no one was injured. After being charged with seven counts of felony reckless endangerment, Margie explained that she had some trouble with people “tearing up her driveway”.

These troubling incidents have led to a facetious movement called “Stand Your Driveway”. The idea is that anyone with an AARP card and a private residence should be able to defend their driveway without fear of pesky legal repercussions like arrests or trials. Sure every now and then some innocent motorist with a woefully outdated GPS might take a round to the chest, but that is a small price to pay for the knowledge than some punk kids won’t be backing over your begonias.

It would be interesting to analyze why so many “driveway avengers” are elderly. Does a greater percentage of the populace utilize their driveways because they are well-maintained and more inviting than their younger counterparts or are they just more likely to perceive a driveway turnaround as an unprovoked act of aggression? Either way, it has to be easier to get an acquittal when your client can plead the “infirm & in-fear” defense. It is a shame that any of our elders find themselves living in constant fear, but perhaps the prudent course of action would be to observe before engaging. Otherwise their front porch is likely to become the scene of a massacre next Halloween. The police report would likely read something like this:

Suspect states that immediately after sundown on October 31st an unmarked van pulled adjacent to their home. As the engine continued to idle, several masked assailants emerged from said vehicle and converged upon his front door in a suspicious manner. Suspect advises that at least one of the aggressors was brandishing a trident and all of them appeared to be carrying bags of dry goods pilfered from unarmed neighbors. Once the mob began pounding on his door and making references to “Paydays” and “100 Grand” the suspect felt that he had no choice but to toss a grenade through the mail slot and then hit the getaway vehicle with a mortar round.

While not yet retired, the idea of someone turning around in my driveway is not particularly troublesome to me. Personally, I would be happy if my neighbors would stop throwing Black & Mild wrappers or blister packs of laxatives into my yard as they pass. There is even one guy up the street whom I suspect has trained his Labrador retriever to defecate just within my property line. Does that make me angry? Sure. Will my tolerance for such inconsiderate behavior erode as I age? Most likely. Does that given me carte blanch to shoot these people in the face without repercussions? Not really.

1 comment:

  1. NEVER trust anyone over 30 !!!!

    For reference see the old movie
    "Wild in the Street"


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