Two Letters Re: Love Thy Neighbor…Trust No One

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HJL,

The writer of this letter is waking up to the unfortunate reality that, thanks to our national leadership or lack thereof, the law only applies to those who adhere to the law. Lawbreakers have been taught by our own government that there are no consequences for breaking the law. On the contrary, lawbreakers are now actually being REWARDED for breaking the law. This will only get worse. As the author of the letter has discovered, we’re going to have our hands full in the coming times. May God be with us all. – Pete H.

o o o

HJL,

Before he confronts the trespassing neighbors, I would suggest doing online research to find out what kind of people they are. Google their names and see if they have a social media presence. Most courts have searchable online dockets. Search the court in your own community and in surrounding jurisdictions as well. Look at both the civil and criminal dockets. On Ancestry.com, you can find any previous addresses. Search the courts there, too. (Libraries often have a version of Ancestry.com you can use for free.)

I learned this the hard way. I have a neighbor who is engaging in dangerous and illegal open burning practices. I politely expressed my concerns to him, but he became enraged and threatened me. Ironically, I was trying to be nice about this and did not want to get him in legal trouble. After this incident, I searched the court sites. He has a lengthy criminal record in the town where he used to live. Had I known that, I would not have approached him.

Now the only thing I can do is wait for the Darwin Awards to claim him and hope he doesn’t hurt any innocent parties. – V.L.

HJL Responds: I certainly agree that a bit of background research can go a long way in helping a person decide how to handle the situation, but I would caution against just letting the person do whatever they wanted. It is, after all, your property. It sounds like your neighbor is being a bully, and ignoring the situation never resolves it in those cases. Conflict should be a last resort, but sometimes it is unavoidable to establish firm boundaries. You can’t always choose your neighbors, but good boundaries always make them better neighbors.

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