Real trouble triggered by minor bother

Published 10:04am Thursday, May 30, 2013

Isn’t it funny how emotions and tempers can escalate rapidly, until you’re fighting over something that in normal time, wouldn’t be a trifle, much less an actual problem.
Lets return this week to the files of the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office, which sets our scene late last week on the mean streets of Elmore.
Everybody’s had static with a neighbor at some point. Even in the wide open spaces of northwestern Elmore County, fencepost flareups and deer-stand disputes occur from time to time.
But as one gets closer to the people on his or her right or left, the chance of dispute increases, and the true significance of the trigger becomes microscopic.
To hear Ms. W tell it, her little home on Flatwood Road was the picture of tranquility. But then the boundary road was overrun by a band of pint sized outlaws, wreaking havoc with small plastic guns.
“The neighbor’s children,” a deputy reports, “pointed toy guns at (Ms. W).”
At that point it was on, metaphorically speaking.
Ms. W. yelled at the children to stop or she’d tell their mother. Then the momma in question emerges from her home and, far from interested in what her neighbor has to say, begins “yelling and cursing at victim from her yard.”
This drew the attention of Ms. W.’s dog. It ran into the yard of Ms. K., identified by deputies in a second incident report of “harassment.”
So, Ms. K. threatened to shoot Ms. W.’s dog. Elmore County Sheriff’s Deputies were summoned soon thereafter.
Ms. K.’s summary of events is a bit more colorful in language, but suffice to say, take the previous tale, more or less reverse the characters, and there you go.
It’s funny the things that can set a person off. Sometimes anger or annoyance is boiling beneath the surface, almost unnoticed in a day’s activities.
Then something happens. A loudmouth kids starts yelling “bang-bang” and popping toy caps at you. The neighbor’s lawnmower slings a rock that almost shatters a bedroom window. The salt shaker goes missing in the couch.
The next thing you know, everybody’s running around screaming at whomever will listen. The kids are crying, the dogs crawled under the house, and someone just hurled a trident through the heart of mom’s favorite garden gnome.
Governments are susceptible to the trigger-reflex, too. Just look at some of the wretched decisions made by Congress after a few unsuccessful bombing attempts post-9/11.
Did anyone then think they were giving Uncle Sam permission to touch you in ways even a doctor would refuse each time you boarded an airplane? Did anyone contemplate the brilliantly conceived Department of Homeland Security would grow to dominate federal and even state governments in barely a decade? That an airline would kick you off a flight for having more shampoo or mouthwash than the law allows?
Best I can tell, Ms. K. and Ms. W. survived their tempest of temper on Flatwood Road, and stayed on the good side of Sheriff Franklin’s Gray-bar Hotel. This time, at least.
Ms. K told a deputy that the two of them “had an ongoing feud for some time.”
All it takes is a random capgun to ignite the smouldering feud. If you’re not careful, the cascade of bad decisions can pile up, becoming a mountain of trouble.

david.goodwin@thewetumpkaherald.com

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