20 minutes ago I was mowing the front yard. On my John Deere riding mower. It has headlights. I had a few beers. It’s been dry here, so I was kicking up a lot of dust (a LOT of dust).
My grass needed cut bad, and I have friends coming over tomorrow, so I decided to cut it. It’s legal in my community to run a mower until 10PM.
As I was mowing a police officer pulled in the driveway and asked me to kill the mower, which I did. He then asked me for my driver’s license, which I *did not* give him. He then asked if I had been drinking, and I admitted I had. And I asked him what the problem was. He told me I was “kicking up too much dirt”. Damn, sorry about doing THAT in south Texas in the middle of a drought. When it doesn’t rain, stuff gets dry, ya know?
Anyway this officer and I talked a bit, but I refused to give him my name, or even my address (duh – it’s *probably* the address of the lawn I am mowing after dark, right?). I honestly just didn’t think he had any business asking me.
In any case, at some point I reached over to my cup holder (your mower doesn’t have a cup holder? Get a ‘Deere!) and took another swig of beer (it was DUSTY! out after all) and the officer then asked me to step off the mower. Again, I didn’t. I know I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was legally mowing my property, and I was legal until 10PM. Even after that it would have been at most a disturbing the peace citation.
I have a mower with great headlights. I was on private property. I was on *my* property. Instead of getting off the mower I called the mayor (EVERYONE in my little town knows the mayor!). I called my councilman. I called my neighbor. All this time the cop is telling me he was going to arrest me for “public intoxication”. Hmm. Public – my land. Intoxication (had a few beers – those that know me know that I can’t possibly be intoxicated after a few beers).
I felt strongly that I was well within my rights, so I stuck to them. Eventually even a San Antonio cop showed up – but just for a few minutes. I think he was better trained and realized he was wasting his time. (I live in a small community surrounded by San Antonio – we have our own cops).
As my neighbor came out the cop strongly suggested I get off the mower – so I did. Then he took out his cuffs.
About this time my councilman pulls up on his Yamaha motorcycle (we ride together). He talks to the cop, then me, then the mayor (on the phone).
And then they all leave – but not before the cop comes up and apologizes to me.
Small battles – big victories. My property is, dammit, my property. And I certainly wasn’t bothering anyone else by mowing at 9pm on a Friday night. And I have a “God-given” right to get as drunk as I want on my property – unless I am disturbing others. I wasn’t. Nobody complained, the cop just happened by.
Yes, I could have just apologized to the cop and parked the mower. He would have been happy. But I wouldn’t have been, and we were on my property, not his. I have strong feelings about my property. I think I should be allowed to do almost anything here (within the law) without having to worry about the Government getting involved. Too many of us assume the government has some kind of control over us that they just do not – not unless we give that control to them. I don’t plan to.
So there you go. Another exciting Friday night at my house 🙂