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View Diary: Gun-totin' property owner kills a guy trying to defend his cousin, who urinated on a gravel bar (374 comments)

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  •  A Kayaker's Thoughts (12+ / 0-)

    Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that I believe the charges of second-degree murder are appropriate. There is no possible excuse for shooting an unarmed, accidental trespasser in an area frequented by boaters.

    I enjoy whitewater kayaking in western North Carolina (where there are plenty of guns). Since whitewater paddlers are attached to their boats, and ww boats are much more likely to flip (exposing the paddler to drowning or rocks-to-the-head) than flatwater boats, you can't rent whitewater boats. So whitewater paddling requires training.

    This background info is relevant: After the basics, one of the first things I learned from my instructor was river "etiquette." While it included the usual things (no littering, river signals, right-of-ways between boats, etc.) it also included a discussion of pulling over/pit stops. Most of the rivers that beginning-to-intermediate whitewater paddlers favor out here wind through private property, even out in the boonies.

    My instructor, who knows the area well, warned us that we had to be very, very cautious and polite if we pulled over onto private property. Under no circumstances should we ignore a "Private Property" or "No Trespassing" sign. He emphasized that even when the laws were on our side, our own safety demanded that for all intents and purposes, a property owner (or anyone who confronted a paddler, for that matter) was the de facto boss of us.

    The urgently recommended paddler's response to an irate person on the property is sincere apologies and immediate departure. Many paddlers and "floaters" are frankly inconsiderate about trash and picnicking and hygiene, and many property owners no longer tolerate them, much less welcome them. Under no circumstances should a group of paddlers try to stand on law or custom in such a situation.

    Again--the paddlers did not commit a crime; the gunman did. The charges are, in my opinion, absolutely appropriate. And I agree that, after the Zimmerman verdict, we're likely to hear more stories like this. Just one more layer of outrage in my response to the verdict.

    I'm mostly writing because rafting and floating are popular in areas with pleasant, navigable rivers, so casual paddlers should take this to heart: Never argue with the person who claims the land. In rural/wilderness areas in North Carolina (and other places, I would imagine), folks are fairly likely to be armed, and the law may arrive too late to do you any good.

    One cat away from crazy.

    by IamGumby on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 03:05:43 PM PDT

    •  We Paddled A Very Small Flat Creek One Spring (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nzanne, IamGumby

      And I wondered how that would go because we were literally going though people's back yards at points, but people just laughed and said "We never saw a canoe up here before."

      Men are so necessarily mad that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 04:58:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that's key: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You were a novelty and, as such, welcome.

        When folks have 200-1000 people a day floating by, many of whom think they can / should / must stop, it gets old.

        "Only a Vulcan mind meld will help with this congress." Leonard Nimoy, 3/1/13

        by nzanne on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 05:46:21 PM PDT

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