And Stay Out

A man walked into my backyard today. Now my backyard is a fair way from the street and is fully fenced, so there was no reason for him to be there. We just happened to have the gate open because we’d had the truck in back doing various farmstead chores. We had someone visiting, a lady who had brought her daughter and grandkids to see the rabbits and the chickens. The daughter was thinking about raising small animals and wanted to see our setup.

The son decided to play tour guide (he really doesn’t want to write his essay!), so they went back there and he was showing them around. Because of the layout of the house I can’t see the front yard or the street from where I am. I can see the driveway and part of the backyard, and I happened to be walking by the window as this strange man skulked into our backyard.

My first move was to holler to my husband that there was a strange man in the yard. My second thought was to head for the gun. It probably would have been my first thought if the husband hadn’t been home. Our gun is only an air pistol, but it looks like a real pistol, and while it would offer no real security, the intruder would not know that. I did not get it, but the thought was there. This is the first time I’ve had this thought, and this from someone who grew up with guns in the house. All I knew was that someone was trespassing on our land without permission and was back with the children and animals. I figured the husband could handle it, but I had my cell phone in my hand ready to call 911.

It turned out just to be someone canvassing the neighborhood with political flyers. Instead of coming to the front door and ringing the doorbell, which is acceptable behavior for a stranger, he heard the noise from the yard and simply followed it. He wanted to talk about the politicians he was supporting, but he was promptly shown off the property. I said he had no right coming into our backyard like that, that it was creepy and scary, and no, I was not going to speak with him. I did take his flyer so I could email the folks on it and let them know what one of their canvassers had done.

The man didn’t seem to understand what was so wrong with what he had done. He was a young college age kid, who was probably all passionate about his first campaign, but with no common sense. He probably thought that since he thought he was harmless, that made him seem harmless, but it didn’t. Hopefully he won’t make that mistake again, but since he didn’t get it, he probably will.

Am I overreacting? Maybe. It’s hard to say. It’s not like I was shooting first and asking questions later. I didn’t even get the gun. I sure thought about it though. I’m coming from a place where just a few short years ago, when we were living out at the old house in the mountains, my daughter’s friend, a girl I had watched grow up, was murdered just a few doors down from us in her own home by a man we all thought was harmless, and I learned to trust people less. And just this summer the house next door to us was broken into in broad daylight (though neighborhood watch had spotted them and called the cops).

In these last few years the world has not become a safer place. Strangers do not need to be wandering to the back of anyone’s home, for their own safety as well as the safety of the homeowner. There is no benefit of the doubt anymore. Not from me. I will be glad when we move and can get dogs and put up signs on the parts of the farm no one needs to access but us. It’s just another layer of protection that might have prevented this from happening in the first place.

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13 thoughts on “And Stay Out

  1. I don’t think you were overreacting–especially since your yard was fenced in.

    Even with our house off a busy-enough street and no fencing around the “livestock” (aka chickens, quail and rabbit), I get bristly at people walking up to my side yard unless I see them approach from some known location–and only if Mike is with me.

    When I’m home alone, though, I am very watchful. If I saw someone I didn’t know in my side yard, well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wouldn’t put my dog out in the backyard (fenced in) to scare them off if need be.

    While a gun isn’t usually my first thought, even if a stranger walks up to the house and knocks on the front door I take one of two actions: I stand in the middle of the house where I can’t be seen and wait to see if they go away, or I leash up my dog and walk with him outside. I don’t think that’s very different.

    I’m rambling (sorry, you made me think about something I think about often!), but I think we both come from the same place: the world just isn’t like it used to be. There’s so little community to keep the fear and crime down.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      I think I was just really shocked that the gun came to my mind at all. I’ve never had that happen. I think part of it was that I got a really bad vibe off the guy that almost sent me into panic mode.

  2. No, I don’t think you overreacted. He was trespassing, and he’s an idiot for thinking his behavior might have been acceptable. I’d be interested to hear how his group responds to your email.

  3. Val Bjerke says:

    Not over reacting at all – we have a driveway gate – not only to keep all animals on the property, but to keep the uninvited OUT. Even at that – I’ve had people climb the gate, crawl through the barb wire fencing next to it – survey takers, people handing out religious pamphlets, one idiot wanted to know if we would sell him a part off one of our cars. There is nothing that puts me on full alert like an uninvited stranger on my property. I have never had to chase anyone off with a gun – but am certainly prepared to should the need arise.

  4. Jamie says:

    I think you under-reacted 😉 The backyard is all yours!

  5. heidiskye333 says:

    No! You are not overreacting! I have trained myself (and my husband) to think “Get the gun” first and then “get inside” second. It took several months to re-train my brain but I believe it may save my life one day. There are no police in my town and even if I did call 911 it may take 30 minutes for someone to show up. Criminals aren’t going to allow me 30 minutes. I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  6. Well, I think I’m going to have to go against trend here and say maybe (not definitely) you over reacted a tad. I’ve moved from suburbia where no one knocked on my door without asking (generally phoning) first to a farm where people come and go on a whim. People arrive and walk on the property to ask if I’ve got pecans to sell (it’s a pecan farm – or used to be when the woman who lived here before us harvested them) if the house is for sale/rent, if there is work here or in the area, to pick weeds (that pecan orchard is apparently nurturing some goodies), following their dog, for ??? I have learned to get huffy (though never considering grabbing a gun of any description) if I see someone wandering the land who didn’t come to the house first, but I have also learned that most (everyone so far) are really nice people, maybe a bit bold, but not threatening or dangerous. I’d prefer no one come onto my land without my permission, but I’m trying not to overreact if they do. I’m even trying to embrace it as the rural life where people don’t lock doors, trust each other and help each other out in their time of need. You can’t have that if you panic every time someone wanders past an open gate. Maybe I’m out of touch and living in the wrong century.

  7. LuckyRobin says:

    Yeah, I still don’t know. I just got such a bad feeling from him. He made my skin crawl. I just…gut instinct was telling me there was something wrong about him. That is very rare for me, but when it happens it is always spot on. Add to that the group he was canvassing for said they didn’t have anyone in our area yesterday so… If this had happened on a farm where I was selling to the public it would be different. And I will have a dog before that ever happens. So yeah, probably a touch of over-reaction, but maybe not. I am confused.

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