Ok, I admit it, I watch Investigation Discovery far too much. But the less sensationalized stories are often compelling.
I had dozed off and awoke to an episode of “Fear Thy Neighbor”, which I had not previously seen. I missed the first 15 minutes or so but it was pretty easy to pick up the story which was told by the participants with no voiceover narration.
Two families lived on adjacent properties in rural Lenoir, N.C. One couple had two pre-teen daughters and the older man next door had his daughter and her fiance living with him. He also had a semi-vicious dog which fact seemed to trigger the entire absurd but ultimately tragic series of events.
Apparently the young girls had either been directly attacked or seriously threatened by the dog. That instigated a feud that kept escalating. Petty shit like throwing scrap logs onto each other’s property and other minor incidents of vandalism and raised voices and threats, and other childish acts drew the attention of the local sheriff’s office on more than one occasion.
The log throwing battle was particularly egregious because the one father had his two young girls tossing them back onto the other property while he drove his tractor. He happened to have only one leg, though I am not sure why. But he carried a pistol while working in the field. As the neighbors tossed the small logs back and forth he brandished the weapon. The older man picked up a rock and tossed it hitting the younger man in the head slightly injuring him while knocking him off his tractor.
The cops soon arrived and took the older man and his daughter’s boyfriend to jail where they remained for two weeks. Upon their release the daughter and boyfriend moved out. The rage was irreversible, the tension palpable, the climax unavoidable.
The mother of the young girls had a job which required her to travel for the workweek, coming home for the weekends. One night after her departure her husband heard noise on his porch and the old man’s dog was at his door growling viciously. He shot it. The man next door heard the shot and learned his dog was dead. He didn’t take it well.
He loaded up his shotgun and fired toward the neighbor’s house as the man emerged with his daughters. He and one girl were wounded. A 911 call brought two deputies who were immediately fired upon, wounding one severely in his arm. The old man kept them pinned down. Help arrived with more deputies who decided to push the squad car towards the house as a shield to get the injured family members out. The old man was lying in wait and shot again, wounding another deputy. Fire was returned and….you guessed it…the old man was killed.
All the other wounded survived—–physically.
What struck me almost immediately was that none of the adults involved in the feud seemed to have any sense of the stupidity of the whole affair. None took steps to deescalate and cool tempers. Instead they decided to use guns to reinforce their misplaced notions of exercising their Second Amendment absolutism. None utilized that argument but more demonstrative evidence would be difficult to present if the case were in court about those “gun rights”.
Yes, exercise those gun rights to the extent that an immature dispute results in the blood of five—yes five—people was shed. And three of them had no skin in the game. The deputies were simply doing their duty. And the little girl who was shot? Shot in the back? Her irresponsible father made her a pawn in this wicked game of neighborhood chess. But just as chess pieces are designed to represent the mythical notion of the glory and nobility of war so using this little girl represents the mythical notion of the righteousness of being armed against thy neighbor.
Having the guns available and being all too willing to load, aim, and fire them precluded the possibility of any peaceful resolution of a battle that began as something less worthy of respect than two toddlers fighting over sand box space and then descended into the pits of hell leaving none of the feuders with any dignity or honor.
All for the love of guns…but nothing for the love of god.