Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is spraying fox pee really a violent act or a practical joke?

I was reading an article today about a fifty-year-old man who was fed up with teens toilet-papering his house, and decided to take matters into his own hands:

A 50-year-old man who told authorities he was fed up with teens toilet-papering his house decided to defend his property — with a squirt gun filled with fox urine.

Now, Scott Wagar is in trouble with the law....

According to police, Wagar was on his property Sept. 16 when he used night vision goggles to see 15-20 people running toward his place. He told police that he told them to leave, swore at them and sprayed them with the fox urine. He also allegedly struggled with one of the teens.

It seems to me someone really trying to defend their property would have more than fox urine. If he really struggled with one of the teens, perhaps this should be looked into. However, if this man is in trouble, shouldn't the teens who were trespassing and proceeding to cause problems to his property also be in trouble with the law?


Blogger Trust said...

Personally, if there are no unknown facts that make a difference, I don't think he should be in trouble at all.

Our society is in the habit of making excusing for the guilty, punishing the innocent along with (or instead of) the guilty. We shouldn't be surprised that things are going to hell.

8:27 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

It must have been a slow night in Wilmar, MN. I'm intrigued as to where this guy got the fox urine, I would have just used my own. I like the fact that he was smart enough to use night vision goggles, I'm so going to have to get some of those.

I feel confident that if this happened in my area the police would have had a good laugh, told everyone to stay off each others property and then would have moved on to bigger and better things like a shooting or a stabbing. The Wilmar police department needs to get a life.

8:45 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger uncle ken said...

The homewowner was probably tired and frustrated from spending all day recounting ballots in the MN senatorial race.

8:49 AM, December 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fox urine? Ah, the mysteries of life.

10:19 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

I'm intrigued as to where this guy got the fox urine
For deer hunters.

10:45 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

A 1 ounce bottle for $5? How much fox urine did that guy use? I can pee a liter and it's free.

10:52 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Sam said...

More things like this man did should be done, and the fact that they no longer are done is why our communities are deteriorating.

I remember when I was a young lad and spent my afternoons looking for what was deliciously "no good."

One time, my friend and I were up town (small town) and we found some bottles in the alley, and proceeded to smash them against the brick back wall of the local movie theatre. Suddenly, the back door burst open and the owner of the theatre caught us red-handed - or rather, caught us by the earlobes and turned them red.

He marched us through the theatre to the janitor closet where we were both given brooms, and then marched us back out to the alley where he supervised our cleaning activities.

And when we were done, he poured us both a coke and sat down and got to know us.

This man never forgot me. When I went on my first dates to the theatre, I always got a wink, and sometimes maybe a little extra popcorn than what I ordered.

The last I seen Mr. X, I must have been about 28 or 29 (a decade ago - I no longer live there). He was still my friend, and still ribs me about when he "busted me" in the alley.

Good for him.

It was a good experience for me too.

11:13 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger OldTexan said...

This should be 'much ado about nothing' but I think the poor 50 year old guy is in for a lot of trouble if some of the parents are jerks and with that many kids the chances are good there are several jerk parents.

It comes down to reasonalbe response to a prank situation and while I can appreciate his response and think it is funny that is also the problem.

His response was a kid response and if he were a teenager it should not have been a problem. The fact that he was well prepared with night vision and fox pee makes his property defense as an adult rather strange.

A better response might have been extra ourdoor lighting and a camera to record what the kids were doing. However his response choice he indicates that this was not a situation of danger but a prank vs. prank.

Were the decision mine I would call it a draw, off setting penalties and shake hand and play nicer.

Our whole country is struggling with an ecomnomic meltdown and the press makes this national news, go figure.

11:32 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

When my father grew up in the 30s, he and his cousin would steal watermelons from a neighbor. The neighbor had special shotgun shells filled with rock salt to shoot them in the ass if he caught them.

Nobody objected.

Can you imagine what would happen in that situation now?????


11:37 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Obviously, the guy was pissed off.

Now that I have my bad pun out of the way, I agree this guy should be rewarded. I admit to "rolling" a few yards when I was a teenager. We worried about TMink's rock salt, mean dogs and worse. Fox pee would have been funny.

After a hunting trip, I once accidentally dropped and broke a bottle of fox pee on my backporch. In just a couple of minutes, every dog in the neighborhood was sniffing around my house.

Bottled fox pee is used as a cover up scent so deer don't smell human scent. Foxes are not a natural enemy of deer. It is intended to be put on your boots and pants and you leave the fox scent as you walk through fields and the woods instead of your own scent. What this man did was little worse than squirting the kids with water.

11:55 AM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

Personally, I would prefer a 12 gauge loaded with shells full of rock salt.

12:00 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Vinnie said...

Yet it is ok for banks to use indelible die packs to "mark" criminals. How is this any different?

12:08 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

gwainsghost --

No, no you would not. My brother was shot in the ass with salt when he and a delinquent friend of his were mucking around the railroad yards. He was climbing the fence to escape the yard detective.

Sir, that shot went where the sun don't shine and he was dancing until around 3AM in an hilarious (to me) agony.

12:51 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger papabear said...

Is this an example of a litigious society that has lost common sense?

1:38 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger papabear said...

Is this an example of a litigious society that has lost common sense?

1:38 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

No, this isn't a litigious society that has lost common sense. Remember Helen's post about kids who think they are more ethical than everyone else?

When these kids found themselves on someone else's property holding several roles of toilet paper and covered with fox urine, they immediately reached for their cell phones and called the police. To them. the property owner was in the wrong for covering them with a foul smelling liquid, they didn't think far enough that they could be guilty of something themselves. Remember, the kids probably think they are more ethical than the property owner.

I hope the Minnesota judge that gets this case handles it appropriately.

1:58 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Where does Cabells's get fox pee?

Hmmmm. Maybe I don't want to know.

3:27 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Draft all teen trouble makers....6 years service.

4:55 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

A high volume OC dispenser, like the ones used by law enforcement for riot control, would have been a far more effective choice than fox urine. A bit more expensive, though. On the other hand, the guy already invested in night vision, which is not exactly cheap, so money is probably not an issue for him.

6:28 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I was referring to if I were the shooter, not the shootee.

7:43 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Every once in awhile years ago I would have a group of kids out late at night in front of my house carrying on. I also used to own one of those laser pointers. Nothing would disperse a group of kids faster.

Then they outlawed laser pointers. I miss those days.

8:34 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Norman Lathers said...

I thought you couldn't get squirtguns these days. The powers that be decided they look too real (especially the green ones. Actually I think there *was* at least one incidence of a kid getting shot by cops, but that's kind of off-topic).

Maybe this guy had one left over from his childhood.

9:31 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

“I thought you couldn't get squirtguns these days.”

A quick search of a major toy store web site shows seven Super Soaker models for sale, which bear almost no resemblance to actual firearms.

I still think he should have OC'd the vandals. It leaves a more lasting impression than urine.

10:00 PM, December 13, 2008  
Blogger Jennifer Stites said...

We have 5 boys, all adults now, thank God. But I still don't want to think about super soakers and pee in the same discussion. Wow.

9:45 AM, December 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trey's story reminds me of one my dad told about his youthful adventures.

He and a friend took two girls out on a date one night and as the evening progressed, they thought it would be a great idea to sneak into a farmer's garden to steal a watermelon.

Just as they are about to pick one, the farmer comes out of his house and fires a shotgun into the air a couple times.

The two girls scream and run out of the man's yard as fast as their legs could carry them. Meanwhile, my dad and his friend are rolling on the ground in tears from laughing so hard.

Yep, earlier in the day the guys had called the farmer to let him know what time they would be there. It was a setup from the very first moment.

Needless to say, they didn't get second dates with the two girls!

10:18 AM, December 14, 2008  
Blogger Michael M. Butler said...

Words Twice:

Minnesota statute 624.731 says that chemical irritants can be used for reasonable force in defense of a person or their property. (Emphasis mine)

Want to bet that a DA wouldn't decide the force was disproportionate and charge the homeowner with assault? What am I asking... of course you want to bet that.

Reasonable minds may differ.

10:43 AM, December 14, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

“Want to bet that a DA wouldn't decide the force was disproportionate and charge the homeowner with assault?”

The problem with a lot of the laws regarding any sort of weapons is that they are almost invariably written (and interpreted) by people who know nothing about the subject of weapons or the employment of weapons.

“What am I asking... of course you want to bet that.”

This reminds me of the arguments that timid people use against any kind of forceful self defense, even when it is entirely appropriate. 'What ever you do, don't use FORCE! You might get in TROUBLE. Just give them what they want. Lie back and think of England.'

“Reasonable minds may differ.”

I am not a lawyer and I don't play one on the internet. However, I do know a thing or two about the use of force, and chemical irritants in particular. In fact, I am certified as an OC instructor. According to the information that is available, Mr. Wagar's actions were indeed reasonable and appropriate in relation to the threat and the other options on the force continuum.

The fact is that employing chemical irritants is among the tactics that law enforcement would use to disperse a group of vandals destroying property. I suppose that is okay because their badges give them magical police powers, whereas mere mortals should just be resigned, watching helplessly as their property is damaged and/or destroyed.

Many people believe that using force, even a very low level of force, to defend their own homes (or even themselves) is unacceptable. These are the same people that conflate self defense with vigilantism. They are an easy mark and will be targeted again and again. I find it difficult to feel sorry for them.

Frankly, I think a large part of why Mr. Wagar was arrested is the unusual solution (no pun intended) that he decided to use. This story made headlines because of the revulsion that people feel towards the idea of being sprayed with urine. Had he used OC, I'm not sure it would have gotten the same kind of attention. A headline like 'Man pepper sprays vandals' just doesn't have the same sort of impact.

Reading the comments on the various news articles I have seen regarding this event, it seems that public support is vastly in favor of the property owner and many people are angry that he was arrested. Good. Now they need to let the politicians and police know that.

1:38 PM, December 14, 2008  
Blogger Michael M. Butler said...

Hmm. I tired to post a reply and am not seeing it. Apologies for the repetition.

I lived in MN for ten years, and I hear reports that the social stucture there is under some strain in the intervening 20. However, MN is a shall-issue state, and hurrah for that. So the odds might be better there than I project.

However, it is worth noting that out here in CA, pepper-spraying a purse snatcher is specifically shown in the training materials as something that'll net you a felony conviction. How the DAs here would see a householder using OC on vandals is not in doubt.

*Any* time one uses force, one must be prepared to explain why one did it, not just to cops, but to a judge or jury. And one must be willing and (optimally) able to spend kilobucks in the effort.

That's just a reality check. As an OC instructor, I hope you teach your students the principles I mention in the above paragraph.

There gonna be times when life is not in jeopardy where the answer to "do I have $40k to defend myself from criminal and civil charges?" is no.

This fact is independent of what you (and I!) think this fellow's moral ground is.

2:02 PM, December 14, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

“However, it is worth noting that out here in CA, pepper-spraying a purse snatcher is specifically shown in the training materials as something that'll net you a felony conviction.”

If that is true, it's pathetic, and just one more reason not to live in CA. As I said before, the laws are written by clueless people. Essentially, they are criminal enablers.

“*Any* time one uses force, one must be prepared to explain why one did it, not just to cops, but to a judge or jury. And one must be willing and (optimally) able to spend kilobucks in the effort.”

Of course. I don't think there is anything in any of my statements that indicates otherwise. However, as you pointed out, laws can vary considerably from one place to another. I always recommend that people research their local laws, and in many cases people are surprised at what they discover.

“There gonna be times when life is not in jeopardy where the answer to "do I have $40k to defend myself from criminal and civil charges?" is no.”

People will disagree on whether or not defense of property merits the use of force and if so, to what degree. After being repeatedly victimized, Mr. Wagar decided that it did and is getting railroaded. Maybe this incident will draw attention to the criminal enablers in MN and the citizens will remember who they are and try to do something about it. Sadly, many good people are afraid to stand up for themselves, in no small part to the mistrust of the “justice” system. They realize that you will get all the justice that you can afford.

Did the poor, misunderstood pranksters get charged for their vandalism? If not, why not? Are their parents fretting about criminal and civil penalties and legal fees? If not, why not? I hope Mr. Wagar gets a good lawyer and goes after all the people involved in this.

“This fact is independent of what you (and I!) think this fellow's moral ground is.”

This is true and not in dispute. Many laws and the interpreters/enforcers of them are immoral. I think the people of Minnesota need to give their officials and law enforcement a “reality check” and let them know what they think about this, loud and clear.

3:08 PM, December 14, 2008  
Blogger Mario said...

It's over 30 years ago now, but once when my brother was maybe 6 years old, he rode his Big Wheel down the driveway and out into the street. A guy coming by in a car had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting my brother. He got out of the car, visibly shaken, chastised my brother and gave him a little swat on the behind.

My father came over, hearing the commotion. Now, take my word, my father didn't take crap from anybody. He demanded to know what was going on. When the guy told him, my father gave my brother an even bigger swat on the behind.

That that sort of thing is almost inconceivable today is part of what's wrong with this country.

7:51 PM, December 14, 2008  
Blogger El Duderino said...

Hmmm, let’s see. There are some miscreants pestering you so you do what exactly? Spray them with fox urine. Of the fifty billion substances one person could possibly propel towards another how does one settle upon fox urine? Wolf urine too macho, cat urine too bad apartmenty - fox urine just right. Personally I would have opted for marmoset urine, it’s far superior for this sort of application, but that’s just me.

9:37 PM, December 14, 2008  
Blogger Terry Foote said...

@El Duderino - taking urine...from amphibious rodents...for uhhhh, home defense....that ain't legal neither.

10:02 AM, December 15, 2008  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

All you do is wait until they are well on your property and then decide it's the perfect time to water the grass. Soaking wet in Minnesota in December? Problem solved.

12:44 PM, December 15, 2008  
Blogger LarryD said...

May I suggest a solution of Butyl Mercaptan

3:11 PM, December 15, 2008  
Blogger Wayne said...

Cham - above you said that if you were going to do something like Mr. Wagar did, you would use your own urine instead of fox urine. You do realize that if you then turned out to have a communicable disease, you could easily be charged with some far more serious crime, right? A substance like that from a licensed merchant would either be from an animal that has an incredibly low likelihood of being able to swap diseases with humans, or else it would have been sterilized before being packaged.

Also, sorry if I haven't noticed in the past, but where the heck are you that laser pointers are outlawed? Or were you joking about that?

4:00 PM, December 15, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I'm not joking. Back when laser pointers were popular in the early 90s there was a scare out there, something about if you pointed one of those cheap lasers into someones corneas for an extended period of time one could potentially fry the cornea. I was never sure that it was true but someone got into a political hissy fit and banned the laser pointers. I have no idea whether the ban is still in effect.

Not only can you not carry a laser pointer, but no stungun, no taser, no mace, no numchucks, no stars and, best of all, no bullet proof vest. Here in the land of 250 murders per year you aren't allowed to prevent bullets from flying into your chest area by wearing something you can buy for $500.

This is probably why the nogoodnik kids felt confident enough to slash the tires on Saturday night of about 60% of the cars in my neighborhood including my own. It's a freeforall around here because you can't protect yourself. Oh, and Helen would like this, I heard the kids while they were slashing my tires but I didn't realize that was what they were doing. I thought they were kids simply having a conversation near my car. Guess what.....girls! Such teen hijinx!

5:05 PM, December 15, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

“I was never sure that it was true but someone got into a political hissy fit and banned the laser pointers.”

Technically true but highly unlikely. That's just the usual hysteria masquerading as public safety. It's for the Common Good®, you know.

“ numchucks, no stars ...”

They want to protect you from ninja attack.

6:54 PM, December 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's for the Common Good®, you know.

Actually, it's For The Children®.

9:40 PM, December 15, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

Ahhh yes... For The Children®, I forgot. I probably should have included the VAWA also.

9:52 PM, December 15, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

It seems to me that if toilet paper is the problem, pee is an appropriate and balanced response. Put that way, most juries would snicker and refuse to convict.

9:18 AM, December 16, 2008  
Blogger Alex said...

Let me guess, Cham lives in D.C. or Philly. My condolences.

5:03 AM, December 17, 2008  
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