back to article Lawn care SWAT team subdues trigger-happy Texan... and other stories

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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

    I'm bored with it; they're welcome. I promise not to shoot!

    1. Dimmer

      Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

      In a lot of the major cities they will cut your yard or lot if you don't maintain it yourself.

      Unfortunately this is the first step of removing the owner from his home. The city will place a lien on the property to pay it's self for the unsolicited work performed, lawyer fees and fines. Next step will to to foreclose on the property and sell it on the court house steps. The sheriff will then show up and remove him at gunpoint.

      This whole process takes months, I guess this guy decided skip ahead and get it over with.

      1. DrSunshine0104

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        This is probably variable by state and city. I worked in community development in the US and only a couple times in seven years was I aware that code enforcement ever had to do this; nuisance code enforcement in my city was in community development, some cities nuisance code enforcement is part of the police.

        If a person refused to mow their lawn, we would hire a local company to do it; but only after months of court, and dozens of notices of violations. A police unit would accompany them specifically to deter this behaviour. We would then place a lien on their property for the cost of the mowing and the court costs.

        I have never heard of a city foreclosing on a property because a lien but the lien makes it impossible to sell or inherit the property until the lien is cleared. Property was usually auctioned at the courthouse if they didn't pay their property taxes for 3+ years, again after month of court notices.

        I never understood the cost/benefit analysis going on in these people's mind where thousands of dollars in fines and potential jail time is preferable to a couple hours work or 35USD to hire someone.

        1. gandalfcn Bronze badge

          Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

          "I never understood the cost/benefit analysis going on in these people's mind". Trump. GOP. Gaetz. Rand Paul. Taylor Greene. McConnell. Rudy Giuliani. Fox News. Texas stating the KKK are morally acceptable. See a pattern?

        2. My-Handle Silver badge

          Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

          I know I'm probably being naive here, but the concept of being obliged to keep your own property to a standard set by other people under threat of police action is rather disconcerting to me.

          I get that the neighbours won't like it if one property looks like it's bringing down the look of the area, but ultimately shouldn't it be down to the owner of the property to choose how he keeps it?

          I let one of my lawns grow for months at a time, before eventually hiring a gardener to mow it regularly for me. Horses keep the other lawn (/paddock) down.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

            As someone else noted upthread, in the US this varies widely by jurisdiction.

            Besides state, county, and municipality rules, many homes in the US are within areas governed by a home-owners' association (HOA); as part of purchasing such a home you have to enter into a contract with the HOA which can include all sorts of rules about the condition of the property.

            Sellers can also encumber property with certain restrictions. Part of the sprawling estate of the Mountain Fastness is an acre on which we are forbidden to place a "manufactured home" (which means certain types of dwellings manufactured at a central location and transported to the site, since obviously most human habitat is manufactured and not naturally occurring).

            But government jurisdictions, particularly local ones, often do have requirements such as maximum height of grasses and snow removal from sidewalks ("pavements" in the UK). There are good reasons for that, including:

            - Effect on the value of neighboring properties. If you live in a neighborhood and not out in the wilderness somewhere, you're receiving local services, and the social contract endorses a concomitant responsibility to avoid significant negative effects on your neighbors.

            - Public safety. This should be obvious in the case of snow and ice removal from public sidewalks, but it also applies to lawns since tall grass can be breeding grounds for ticks and mosquitoes, for example. Overly-tall lawns are also a fire danger.

            - Effect on crime. This is controversial – there are conflicting arguments and studies – but some municipalities will cite the "broken window theory" and other arguments for enforcing certain standards of maintenance.

            There's a right to maintain your property as you see fit, but as with all rights, that will be limited based on its effects on others. Your property doesn't exist in isolation.

            1. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

              grass is not a breeding ground for mosquitoes - eggs dropped in still water, which is where larvae feed and pupate.

              Long grass can be good for wildlife - birds love the grass seeds, lots of bees & other insects visit the "wild" grassland area we maintain.

              But I'm not in the "land of the free" - I'm in the UK, and ironically free to make my garden wildlife friendly

          2. ecofeco Silver badge

            Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

            To answer your question, it's a public health issue.

            Do you like diseased rats? Because that how you get diseased rats. And poisonous snakes. And fleas. And ticks. And roaches. And many other nasty, dangerous vermin of various sizes.

            So no, contrary to popular crackpot beliefs, you DO NOT have the right to endanger public health.

            In rural, far less populated areas? Do as you please. But cities? Nope.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

              But providing an eco-friendly environment for wildlife is surely a good thing to do?

              We get deer, foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs and badgers here. Should I concrete my entire garden to make it inhospitable to them?

              You may think it's a public health issue, I think it's an attractive wildflower meadow.

          3. DrSunshine0104

            Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

            Usually it is under the reason of health, being keeping insects or animals that can spread disease from hiding in the grass nearby; also letting vegetation go wild can lead to trees or vines growing directly against the house that damage the structure. That said, I HATE doing yard work. Personally, if I didn't live in town, I would just mow enough to keep the vegetation off my house and own some goats/sheep to keep the rest down.

      2. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        Land of the free baby!

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

          Anyone who's had a baby in the US can tell you they are most definitely not free.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

            What, you don't get one free with every purchase of an automatic rifle? What's the world coming to?

            /s

      3. gandalfcn Bronze badge

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        Or maybe he could have acted like a grown up. Bit of a novel idea that I suppose.

      4. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        Itself!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

      Need for armored lawnmowers. Only in the US of A.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        Coalition of lawn-mowing Burmese, Palestinians and Afghans on line 1 ...

      2. gandalfcn Bronze badge

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        You really did upset the gun toting morons Septics.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

      Long grass is great for insect life, much better than a short lawn.

      1. gandalfcn Bronze badge

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        Agreed, which is why it is important not to destroy the countryside This is not the countryside.

        Some of the insects could be a problem however and other creatures as well.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        Also, if you have spring bulbs planted in the grass you don't cut the grass until their foliage has died back. Maybe people don't do that in the US.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

        Twelve inches (the limit cited in the story) is more than adequate for most grass-dwelling insects. Including many highly-undesirable insects and other arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks.

        Certainly in the US Southwest a very short lawn is a terrible idea – it'll either be a huge waste of water, or dead – but keeping it to, say, six inches would not be a bad idea.

        Of course, for much of the Southwest, xeriscaping with drought-tolerant plants is a much better one. Grass lawns in places where they won't grow naturally are stupid. I've always avoided watering the lawn at any of the houses I've owned; either the local climate support grass, or we let other things grow. (We do have some limited, high-efficiency irrigation for some garden beds for useful plants.)

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: Bloody hell, nobody told me the police would cut my lawn!

          Yep.

          I have a front yard that's partly dead/dying grass and dirt, because I've not had the money to either xeriscape the thing (i.e., put down native plants, rock/gravel, etc.) or put in a sprinker system to get the Bermuda grass to grow.

          I am annoyed that last year, the city's code compliance asked me to remove the two dead trees a month before Halloween- I was planning on using them as decoration and then cutting them down. They did not see my point of view on it, but did give me adequate time to get the job done in the baking heat.

  2. Janne Smith

    I'm reminded of the Dead Kennedys' "A Child And His Lawnmower".

    1. jake Silver badge

      Except that particular idiot apparently wanted to mow his lawn ... He shot his lawnmower because it refused to start for him.

      True story, BTW.

      1. Janne Smith

        "True story, BTW."

        If I remember correctly, a cutting of the original news story was pictured in the booklet that accompanied the "Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death" compilation.

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      You know some people don't take no shit

      Maybe if they did, they'd have half a brain left

      Just as true now as it was in Jello Biafra's time.

  3. cornetman Silver badge

    Regarding the person fined while under Covid quarantine, I'm unsure as to why *receiving* cigarettes would qualify as breaking their quarantine.

    Can anyone enlighten me?

    1. jake Silver badge

      More to the point ...

      ... if the authorities are going to imprison an addict for a couple weeks, Shirley it makes sense to ensure that they have the means to imbibe their drug(s) of choice for the duration of imprisonment? It is well known that addicts will do almost anything to feed their jones ... breaking quarantine would mean nothing to most smokers in need of a nicotene fix.

    2. Irony Deficient Bronze badge

      I’m unsure as to why *receiving* cigarettes would qualify as breaking their quarantine.

      I’d guess that her stepping onto her room’s balcony to pick up the delivery was viewed by the authorities as leaving her room, thereby breaking quarantine.

      1. gandalfcn Bronze badge

        Re: I’m unsure as to why *receiving* cigarettes would qualify as breaking their quarantine.

        Nope. Not at all. Not a little bit.

    3. Dimmer
      Pint

      I don’t understand closing the bars - is not alcohol an antiseptic?

      Is there any stats on drunk COVID infections?

    4. gandalfcn Bronze badge

      Being in contact with something she was not supposed to be. Simple really.

    5. yetanotheraoc

      Regarding the person fined while under Covid quarantine

      Should have put a mask on the drone.

  4. jake Silver badge

    Male mosquitoes ...

    ... don't "bite" humans. It's the females that are the bloodsuckers.

    1. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: Male mosquitoes ...

      You’re right but I don’t think that really matters when there’s billions of the buggers swarming about in numbers that make it difficult to see where you’re going!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Male mosquitoes ...

        So step away from the female, then. A couple of yards/meters will do.

        It's not exactly rocket surgery.

        1. gandalfcn Bronze badge

          Re: Male mosquitoes ...

          Bless!

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Male mosquitoes ...

          How are you identifying the males from the female(s)?

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Male mosquitoes ...

            How are you identifying the males from the female(s)?

            Carefully and with extreme magnification.

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Male mosquitoes ...

            See whether it tries to stick something into your body.

            (The same procedure can be adapted for some other species by reversing the sense of the outcome.)

          3. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Male mosquitoes ...

            How are you identifying the males from the female(s)?

            Easy. Swat at it with your right hand. If he scoots off to the left and up, it's a male.

            But if she scoots off to the left and up, it's a female.

            Simples really.

            Here to help

    2. Schultz
      Go

      Re: Male mosquitoes ...

      The Canadian travel guide back in the days advised the anxious hiker ...

      to step out of the cloud of mosquitoes and into the next body of water,

      to take some time to calm down and assess the situation,

      and then to go on with the business at hand (hiking, setting up the tent, scaring away the bear, ...).

    3. swm Silver badge

      Re: Male mosquitoes ...

      I recall, where I worked, a swarm of honey bees decided to swarm near one of the entrances. The swarm was 2 to 3 stories tall so I walked to the middle of the swarm to see if I could locate the Queen bee. It was like being in a wind storm with bees hitting my face etc. Other people thought I was crazy but swarming bees are relatively safe. Eventually one of the lab technicians joined me and we had a discussion in the midst of the swarm.

      They were all for calling an exterminator but I convinced them to call a bee keeper. He came and said that the bees weren't ready yet. As the day progressed the swarm got shorter and shorter until it was only about 3 feet tall. The bee keeper returned, plucked the Queen out of the swarm and put it in a cardboard box. Most of the bees followed - the rest the bee keeper shoveled into the box and then drove away with a whole box of bees.

      Bees are interesting creatures.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Male mosquitoes ...

        Intellectually I know all that, but I'd still not be that OK with wandering into a swarm. One alone worries me already enough to stay well away, let alone a swarm.

        Maybe I need to take up bee keeping.

  5. Dr_N Silver badge
    Flame

    The Lawnmower Man

    Pretty harsh. In France, in red fire-risk zones, you have to clear 50m around your house.

    Even possibly having to pay for clearing parts that may not be your property.

    With a €100/day charge for each day on non-compliance,

    And €15000 and a year in jail if a fire starts on, or propagates over your uncleared land,

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: The Lawnmower Man

      I'd be chuffed to have 50M of land round my house.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The Lawnmower Man

        So sell your house in the city and purchase another in the middle of an acre/hectar of land (or more). I did. I'll never go back to the rat-race. It's simply not worth it. Humans need elbow room, they aren't built to live like hamsters in a habitrail.

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: The Lawnmower Man

          I don't know where you are from, but house prices here have gone crazy over the last few years so selling mine I'd make a massive loss, and a house in any decent out of town location would be eye-wateringly expensive.

          Oh, and having been retired for some years, I'm reliant on state pension and savings.

          1. gandalfcn Bronze badge

            Re: The Lawnmower Man

            Ah, the joys of Tory's and their Shires.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: The Lawnmower Man

              "Ah, the joys of Tory's and their Shires."

              What is it that Tory owns that owns Shires?

        2. gandalfcn Bronze badge

          Re: The Lawnmower Man

          To some degree. But humans are amongst the most sociable of animals. People have been living in cities for rather a long time now and many have evolved to like it.

          I agree that living away from the urban jungle is nice, but then I am a country boy who spent many years at sea, and that's pretty isolated on most merchant ships. I have also lived in the Sprawl, which was OK. In many countries living in close proximity to others has been the norm, in the UK it hasn't until relatively recently and many Brits have an aversion to living in high rises etc. That may be a class thing though.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: The Lawnmower Man

          Hmm. Is an acre enough? Let's see ... units(1) says an acre is about 4047 m2, so an acre that's square in shape is about 128m x 128m. So if you have 50m from each exterior wall of your home, and it sits in the center of a square-shaped acre, you have a home that's 28m x 28m. OK, that's plenty large even by US standards.

          I suspect it's less that 50m from the exterior wall to the property line for one side of the Mountain Fastness, but that's because of the shape of the lot and the position of the house. The MF is only about 90m2, not counting outbuildings. (The Stately Manor is a good big larger but we're getting rid of that now that we don't need to stay in that area for extended periods any more.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Lawnmower Man

        .. especially since I live on the 4th floor ..

        :)

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: The Lawnmower Man

      Here in California we're not quite that draconian, but we're getting there. Now if only we could convince the Federal Government to pay to clean up their parts of the property ... Those bastards are fucking slobs!

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: The Lawnmower Man

        @Jake

        You also have P,G&E who I believe are not keen on basic maintenance around their utilities.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: The Lawnmower Man

          PG&E is a whole 'nuther kettle o'worms. Don't get me started ... Suffice to say I'm working on a master-plan to take us completely[0] off-grid. I've had it with those fuckers. (Not the guys & galls in the trenches with hardhats & work boots, I'll hasten to add ... it's the suits and ties that are the issue!)

          [0] Pseudo-off-grid, I should say. We'll still have gas/petrol, diesel and propane.

          1. gandalfcn Bronze badge

            Re: The Lawnmower Man

            And sun and wind and nuclear.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Lawnmower Man

        Commiefornia has all sorts of other rules to come and shoot you and your dog(s)

    3. Keven E
      Pirate

      Re: The Lawnmower Man

      I can understand a certain amount of *control needed in fire risk zones, but...

      "Being shot at trying to make the community look better"

      ... don't tell me what "looks better"!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: The Lawnmower Man

        To some it's weeds. to others it's insect, bird and small mammal habitat ... fish and amphibian, too, if you are on a watercourse or other wetlands. All you have to do is "accidentally" find a plant or critter on the protected species list, and <bam>, no more yard work!

        Now all you'll have to do is convince a Judge not to allow the local greenaholics to evict you.

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: The Lawnmower Man

          "To some it's weeds."

          I tell my neighbors, "They're not weeds. It's an exercise in biodiversity."

          1. gandalfcn Bronze badge

            Re: The Lawnmower Man

            LOL. Indeed, but there is a difference between a lawn in a city and a country hedgerow. If you don't want to live in a city/neighbourhood and live by its rules than you are perfectly at liberty not to live there. But if you do choose to then stop bleating.

            1. Citizen of Nowhere

              Re: The Lawnmower Man

              Where I live the authorities do not cut back growth on many of the public grassed areas, nor do quite a lot of owners, right here in the city. Nobody seems to mind. It allows insects on which we depend rather badly to thrive. It is cut at the end of the season ("late cutting"). Makes more sense to me than all those lawns cut with stripes and bushes pruned into ridiculous geometric shapes. Of course, as in most things, opinions and local ordinances vary.

        2. gandalfcn Bronze badge

          Re: The Lawnmower Man

          Bless. It is your ilk that has resulted in the massive environmental damage. loss of habitat, millions of endangered species, AGW and so on. The "aholics" are you lot but you have little empathy you are totally divorced from the natural, i.e. real, world.

  6. DS999 Silver badge

    Who had "mosquito tornado" for summer 2021?

    I had my money down on Australian spiders sneaking in a shipping container and ravaging the US west coast, maybe next year!

    1. skeptical i
      Thumb Up

      Re: Who had "mosquito tornado" for summer 2021?

      Because Shark-nado was not enough, we now have ... Skeeter-nado?

    2. HammerOn1024

      Re: Who had "mosquito tornado" for summer 2021?

      Take my up vote!

      Also, "We'll need a bigger can of RAID!" comes to mind.

  7. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    On 11 June a drone was spotted by a hotel staff member delivering a packet of cigarettes to the balcony of her room [...] The hotel notified police, who interviewed the recipient of the unconventional drop-off. She was later fined AU$1,300 (£697, US$955) for breaching her quarantine conditions.

    What a ridiculous overreaction.

    I'm guessing the real crime (from the hotel's perspective) was that she didn't order her smokes from room service.

    Assuming she got to keep the delivery, the fine was probably still cheaper than the hotel's cigarette price.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Smoker, are you?

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Actually, no.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. gandalfcn Bronze badge

    All pretty hilarious but Texas takes the biscuit. Lost the plot it seems.

  9. EricB123

    If I Only Knew....

    If I had the known if I didn't mow my lawn the police would have mowed it for me! I think of all the time I wasted mowing my lawn myself.

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    "Being shot at trying to make the community look better? That just proves the dangers of this job."

    Nope. This proves that's totally nuts to allow anyone to have a gun

  11. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

    How do they measure the 12" the grass is allowed? Is it maximum for any one blade or is it the lawn average, is it the erect height or is it the bent over height?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it's tall enough to hide the sniper with the assault rifle, it's too tall.

      1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
        Happy

        Or the perfect length... depends which end of the sniper's rifle you are...

  12. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Lawns

    On the other hand, years ago a fellow in Reston, Virginia, got in trouble with his Homeowners' Association (HOA) for mowing his lawn. The HOA preferred the rowhouses to look as if they had sprung up in a meadow. I don't think that I ever heard the resolution, but I bet the HOA won, for it is very hard to prevail against them in court.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    American codes and covenants are some of the weirdest things around, the grass length in this instance being one, my lawn, I'll do as I wish, I'd put some 4' concrete bollards in it, just too close, and spaced in such a way as to make it impossible to get a human with a strimmer through them.

    Other great ones include not being able to hang washing out in your own back garden, and then they wonder why they have such high energy usage.

    Or insisting on nail plates to protect cables as they pass through stud work, but then allow the cables to run horizontally across the width of the wall, that's safe, no chance of ever hitting that hanging a picture.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Downvote on the nail plate comment. The plates are only needed if the cables are within a certain distance from the front of the stud. If installed properly (i.e. middle of stud), none are needed - and then the horizontal cable is likewise that far in.

      Just don't use 3" screws to hang a picture! Hanging a picture in drywall, NOT going into the stud, should take something like a 1" nail. Most of that length is in the drywall, part of it is hanging out, and only a tiny bit is poking through the other side. A cable strung between studs would have enough give that the nail would not puncture it.

  14. Marc 13

    Where's the deep-fake video lot when you need them?

    The NK video needs a dancing sunflower to replace the plastic one back of shot.

    https://youtu.be/sUZebHmsv9c

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Roundup and lawn care are not compatible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just followup the Roundup with some green spraypaint. http://lawnlift.com/

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