Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mailbox Baseball
Homeowner knocks two out ... and gets benched

Every homeowner harbors a common suburban revenge fantasy. They all dream of ways to confound -- and possibly wound grievously -- teenagers who play "mailbox baseball," a late-night game in which vandals skulk around destroying mailboxes with baseball bats. My personal fantasy involves rigging a small nuclear device to the mailbox that explodes when somebody hits it with a bat, killing or blinding everyone within 16 feet at the moment of impact ... presumably the cretins who bashed the mailbox.

Like most fantasies, making it happen is a lot harder than imagining it over and over. I admit I know nothing of making nuclear devices, especially ones that would be limited to 16 feet. And I like my mailman too much for there to be an atomic accident that would kill him and all my neighbors and their pets. And I'd hate to cause nuclear winter, even though it might be preferable to global warming. And I'm not sure when I transitioned from fantasizing about swimming with Farrah Fawcett to daydreaming about nuking some pimple-faced hoodlums.

But I now have a new hero. His name is Lee Yattaw in Colonie, N.Y. A couple weeks ago, Yattaw surprised some mailbox-baseball players with his own bat and knocked them both out of the park! One of the vandals even required 12 stitches for a head wound. Purposely destroying a mailbox is a federal crime that's theoretically punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says, but it rarely happens. These two underdeveloped creeps -- not teens but aged 27 and 33 -- face misdemeanor charges.

But Yattaw faces up to 7 years in prison on two counts of felony assault. For defending his own property? No, says the DA, for taking the law into his own hands.

OK, we can't have vigilantes prowling around with darker intentions of taking the law into their own hands, but as we learned in the case of the two paroled veteran burglars who invaded a Connecticut doctor's home and wiped out his family after both had served time on at least 20 prior burglary convictions, sometimes the justice system simply doesn't dispense justice. And that's frustrating. It leads to vigilante action ... and to nuclear fantasies.

(If you feel strongly about this, you may contact the Albany County, N.Y. DA through his website.)


Chancelucky said...

I'm okay with the notion that you can defend your self, family, and property, but you can't use "excessive" force in the process. He probably should just have kneecapped the two.

If I ever get a package from Ron Franscell in the mail, should I run it through a geiger counter first?

Ron Franscell said...

I think I have access to a really good cache of glow-in-the-dark material from an old Seiko watch, but that's about the extent of my radioactive arsenal.

Only terrorists can get that stuff in commercial quantities.