Government overreach vs Water overreach, or the TeaParty Mind
This is a story from the small town of my childhood. It has always stayed with me because it exemplifies the Tea Party/Ayn Rand mindset, even before there was a Tea Party. It's also damned funny! And we need some stuff to take our mind off these primaries.
The 'hero' of our story is Mr S. Hated by most of our town, he made a comfortable living off various lawsuits and settlements in his favor.
Now the backyard of his nice little villa bordered on the river. The city wanted a 6-foot-wide strip of land along the river bank from all homeowners in order to build an earthen berm to protect against flooding. Flooding in that area was common - not a life-or-death danger, this is just a slow-flowing small river, maybe 100 feet wide. Still, having your basement flooded is a nuisance.
Mr S objected. No flood defense on his land. City said OK, fine. Next spring, guess what happened - his backyard and probably basement got flooded.
Mr S sued the city - and WON, according to my parents.
Now you may well think that perhaps there is more to the story. Perhaps Mr S just objected to the particulars, the City's plan was too costly, perhaps they wanted to cut down all his beautiful trees and make him pay for it ... sorry, I don't know these details, I am just relying on what my late parents told us kids, and they were clear in that this was a prime example of anti-social behavior.
But I do know another story, to illustrate how Mr S operated. His land was also close to the City's fairgrounds, there were a number of fairs each summer. And Mr S was annoyed by people relieving themselves in his backyard. So he posted 'No Trespassing' signs - did not help. He eventually started some kind of legal action - again, I don't know the details - for someone trespassing and peeing on his land. And that someone was the spouse of Mr K, the only millionaire in town. I can't see how you can sue for damages for that, but he did. So Mr and Mrs K denied the allegations. There was some kind of hearing, and it became apparent that the only evidence Mr S had beside his word was a grainy, black-and-white photo showing some female squatting against his hedge. There was no way to identify anyone from that picture. So Mr K counter-sued for damage to his and his wife's reputation, for a round Million bucks. The goal was to increase court costs and lawyer fees proportionally so that Mr S would have to give up.
Now this, my friends is where you and I need to listen and learn from a master. For Mr S did not give up. He claimed, after this had been the town gossip for a week or two, that a witness had come forward confirming his account.
Mr K, the millionaire, folded immediately, there was a settlement, and Mr S still lives in his nice little villa on the edge of the river.
And lastly, before you all become fans of Mr S for sticking it to The Man, here is this. A relative of his slipped, fell and broke her leg.
This allegedly happened on the sidewalk in front of a toy store, allegedly, and the sidewalk had not been shoveled at the time. Had they been able to prove that the incident took place there, they could have sued the shop-owner for damages, but this time there were no witnesses (no cellphones in those days). So the relative was in the hospital. The shop-owner then sent a bouquet of flowers with a get-well card, just as a polite gesture.
Ha! Mr S sued him, because that constituted an admission of guilt.
The shop-owner's liability insurance company joined that lawsuit, they really did not want to make that payout because it would set a precedent - they had the big-city lawyers move in and help with the defense. But Mr S won again.
Had to get these great old tales of small-town lore off my chest - thank you for listening!
If there's any lawyers out there who really want to look this up, message me and I can give you some names (I am just not good with court databases and such).