Reader Michael in GA writes:
“It is a good Independence Day weekend when the cops don’t come to your house,” I sarcastically told my wife as we relaxed poolside listening to the Beach Bar Lounge channel on Pandora Saturday afternoon. Then the phone rings. It is my neighbor. She tells my wife that the police are at her house asking if they know anything about gunfire in the area. Her husband was in his driveway when the County po-po rolled up. He told them he had heard shots earlier but did not know who was doing it. This was two hours after the last loud bang rang out and I heard it too, because, I was the one shooting . . .
at 1/4 pound exploding targets. My neighbor had been shooting also, but not with me and not at exploding targets. He lied to the police, and they moved on…to my house.
After the phone call, I decided to see if the county mounty was in my driveway. My teenage son and his friend and my older son were in the house so I wanted to be the one to answer the door. I headed to my room to put a shirt on. I have seen enough episodes of COPS to know which guy gets cuffed.
As I peeked out the front window, I saw the grill of the cruiser. I froze. Then he pulled away so I leaned out to watch him leave, but suddenly he pulled forward again. I ran to my room to get that shirt. When I returned, he was leaving. He had pulled forward so he could back out without hitting my son’s car.
I had been thinking what I would say. I don’t think I would have lied. Is it legal to shoot on my property? Yes, and no. County law says yes because we are in a residential/agriculture zone. State law, however, requires 275 yards distance from your neighbor’s house. I am about half that. All the boys were upstairs so I went up to ask them if they heard a knock on the door or the doorbell ring. They said they heard nothing but that isn’t surprising. They are boys whose selective hearing is limited to “Supper’s ready!” So who called the cops? Back up one day to Friday, Independence Day.
I didn’t buy fireworks for the 4th. My son, the future engineer attending Southern Polytechnic State University this fall, mentioned wanting to buy $50 worth of Snap N Pops and combining them to make a bigger bang. I suggested we just get Tannerite and that $50 worth would be more bang for the buck…literally. My LGS didn’t carry Tannerite brand but had a similar product made by H2Targets that was rated for .22 and pistol calibers. I bought four 1/4 pound targets and two 10 pack Baby Boomers. The shop owner threw in another 1/4 pounder for free.
Friday afternoon we mixed up the five 1/4 pound jars and one 10-pack of Baby Boomers. We set out three of the jars and five of the little ones. I didn’t want to be too close to the 1/4 pounders so we shot them with my AR from about 40 yards. We had to move in close to hit the 1 1/4″ Baby Boomer targets with the 9mm. What a blast! Good times were had by all. All but the neighbor on my other side.
After shooting most of the targets, we heard a woman yelling “Stop!” from the next house over. They have a pool and there was a handful of people over there playing horse shoes, corn hole, swimming, yelling, cheering. Typical Independence Day noise. I figured the sound of M 80s, cherry bombs and bottle rockets were typical sounds this weekend as well so shooting wouldn’t be much different. That’s when my neighbor on the other side started shooting. I decided to give it a rest for a while and the boys wanted to wait til it got darker so the flash would be more visible.
Later on, just before sunset my son and his friend came out snickering. They said the 20-year-old girl next door came over wearing just a bikini and smelling of alcohol. She was yelling at my son that if we don’t stop shooting then she would call the police. My son advised her that we were not the only ones shooting. She said that we should tell them to stop too. I don’t know if my son told her to tell them herself. That would have been my reply.
Then this bizarre exchange took place. She asked my 18-year-old “Are you Nick?” (my 23 year old). He said “No, Nathan”. She said “Is Nick short for Nathan?” I think he just gave her a blank stare at that point. I know the gunshots and explosions didn’t bother her because of what she told my son next. “I have four small children from 1 to 4 years old and your cannon is scaring them!” (LOOK AT THIS BABY!) Then she said “You don’t shoot on Holidays when people have company over!” I guess I was brought up differently because that’s when we most likely shot and especially on Independence Day. By the way, she doesn’t live there. She was visiting her mother.
Let’s put aside the fact that a drunk bikini-clad 20-year-old girl who has 4 children already is at my door complaining about my “cannon fire” in a neighborhood she doesn’t live in. It’s The Fourth of July! If you can’t blast your cannon once a year in celebration of America’s Independence, when can you!? At any rate, I dispensed with the celebratory gunfire for the remainder of the evening and was relegated to listening to all the other celebratory mortars and bottle rockets going off throughout the countryside.
The next day, however, I had all these unexploded targets to dispose of. Once you mix the two ingredients, you can not safely store them. I waited until mid day and then properly disposed of them, shooting the two jars and four of the small targets and throwing the last one in a fire. It discharged as expected. On cue, my neighbor popped off several shots from his rifle. The girl who complained the day before and her family were not outside at the time.
So I’m pretty sure I know who called the police. I’m also pretty sure what time she called and that it took them two hours to respond. They respond soon enough if it is a real emergency. I just imagine the look on the face of the deputy when he was asked to go investigate loud bang noises on the Fourth of July weekend. Really? Out in the country? The audacity of some people.
My only regret is that I didn’t have some “official noise-making devices” such as M80s and cherry bombs. You know…typical Independence Day percussion devices? She did leave me an option…”not on Holidays when people are visiting”. I guess she doesn’t give a crap about her aging mother who has to live next door to me. It’s for the children.