Late Saturday night I was reading a chapter of Mockingjay aloud to my husband Calvin. I read Catching Fire to him and he enjoyed it so I promised MJ. At any rate, I was halfway into a chapter at 11pm when the phone rang.
It was the neighbor who lives next door to our church (our church is downtown). She was distressed because a lot of cars were parked in the church parking lot—apparently a club/bar opened a block away and the patrons were using the church parking lot to park. As Cal talked with her, he kept telling her to call the police, etc. Cal hung up and said, “I have to go down there. She’s making it sound like there’s a gang war going on in the church parking lot.”
I told Cal, “Take Luke.” Our 19 year old son Luke has one of the most tender hearts that I know, but he’s broad shouldered and has a menacing scowl. As soon as they left, the neighbor called back and told me that we needed to have all the cars towed out of the parking lot. Then she went on to talk about her gun. Okay... I tried to be nice and told her that everything was going to be resolved.
So I sat at home and waited. And waited. And hoped that the neighbor didn’t go postal with her gun. After 12:30am, Cal and Luke arrived home and told me the story. When they got to the church, there were indeed a dozen cars parked in the parking lot and that was it. In all fairness to the neighbor, down the street some home owners were throwing a raucous party—an arrest was made and Cal saw a drug deal going down.
Back to the church parking lot. A police officer arrived. She was a tiny blonde who looked about 18 and still had teenage acne. Cal explained the situation. He didn’t want all these cars towed, just moved. The officer went to the bar and asked patrons to move their cars. (Cal said a crowd of men followed the little officer, according to Cal, they could’ve totally taken her out before she could’ve drawn her gun if they’d wanted to.) Then, the patrons dutifully moved their cars.
As they were moving their cars, the neighbor asked the police officer if she could shoot anyone who wandered onto her property. The police officer said, “Well, you can in Texas and maybe some parts of Georgia.” At which point, Luke laughed—it was a bit surreal. But the long and short of it, if someone wanders onto your property in downtown Chattanooga, No, you can’t shoot them.
Moral of the story: Don’t wander onto someone’s property in Texas.