Ben and his family needed a place to live. They had been evicted under pretty rough circumstances at their old address. They were good people, but some other folks just didn’t like them and wanted them out of the boardinghouse. When the landlord says you have to move out, you don’t have much of a choice but to go.
A group of folks heard what had happened to Ben and his family and decided to give them a leg up and a new start somewhere else. They happened to find some property available…it happened to be Ben’s family homestead. These nice folks made sure a house got built for the family and that Ben had things handled, then let Ben take over the care of his family.
A few years went by and Ben had done well. He had expanded the house as his family grew. He added a swing set out back as well as a small barn for stuff that really didn’t have a good place in the house and stuff that didn’t belong in the house to begin with. They cultivated their land and produced plenty of food to put on the table.
They became pretty self-sufficient. They traded with those around them to be able to obtain goods that they didn’t produce themselves. They were known for good produce at good prices. When neighbors around them were in need, Ben and his family stepped in to help.
Neighbors around them started getting jealous of the nice land on which this produce was grown also. They wanted it.
Also, the neighbors had been hearing stories about Ben ever since they moved in. Someone would say that their cousin’s boyfriend’s little sister knew someone that lived next door to Ben in the old neighborhood. She would say that she heard they just weren’t good people. These stories were told more and more until it convinced them that Ben and his family needed to go.
They began to be a nuisance. Not anything that could land them in jail, but maybe enough to make Ben and his family want to move. Someone would run through a fence allowing the cows to get out, then Ben and his family would have to round the cows back up, get them back to the pasture and fix the fence. Or clean up the mess after someone drove their pickup through the watermelon patch.
Ben would call the police when some of these things happened. The police would drive up, look at the results of whatever happened and say something to the effect of, “if we see them doing it again, we’ll tell ’em to stop.” Basically, Ben and his family were left to deal with it all as best they could.
Once it was established that the authorities weren’t going to do anything, the events would get worse. Once, one of Ben’s sons was working with the cows when someone shot one. The cow fell over dead from a bullet to the head not ten feet from where he was standing. To this, the police said, “show us proof of who shot the cow and that it wasn’t an accident and we will do something about it.”
One day, Ben and his family were eating dinner at the table, when a bullet came through the front window and lodged in the kitchen cabinet. Ben looks out the window and sees one of the teenage neighbor kids charging the bold on his rifle getting ready to shoot again. Ben reached over and took the M1 that his father gave him off the wall and took it off safe. When the next bullet came through the window, he returned fire.
Ben’s bullet hit the kid’s rifle about three inches forward of the trigger splintering the wood. The wood splinters flew in all directions. A few of them hit the kid in the face.
The kid dropped the rifle and ran.
A little while later, a police car rolled into the driveway.
The officer said, “I’m the chief of police in this town.”
Ben said, “I know who you are John.”
The officer said, ” Yeah, well, we have a complaint that you’ve been shooting at folks Ben.”
Ben said, “they were shooting through my front window into my house…while we were having dinner.”
The officer said, “I’m sure he didn’t mean any harm.”
Ben said, “he was shooting a gun at us.”
The officer said, “but it was just a .22, and you shot back with a 30.06”
Ben said, “what difference does that make?”
The officer said, “that’s a more accurate rifle. It put him at a disadvantage.”
Ben said, “durn straight it did.”
The officer said, “folks don’t like it when you use excessive force with the neighborhood kids Ben.”
Ben said, “well tell ’em to stop shooting at me and it will all be good.”
The officer said, “I am just warning you that, if you do something like this again, there will be consequences.” Then he drove away.
About that time, Ben spotted someone standing over by his barn watching everything…