The Neighborhood Watch is NOT the Richest Guy on the Block

The Neighborhood Watch is NOT the Richest Guy on the Block

by Don Hall

Every neighbor on the block owns his own home.

Earlier in the year, Tom and Jack kind of went to war against each other.  First it was just namecalling and that sort of thing but then Jack keyed Tom's boat and all hell broke loose.  Vandalization of property begat slashing of tires and eventually, Tom and Jack, their wives and kids, were routinely out in their yards, hurling shit at one another and generally disturbing everyone on the block. 

The entire neighborhood took sides and things got so bad that once the authorities came in and calmed things down, Woody (the youngest guy on the block with the brand new place at the end) proposed a set of Block Rules so that everyone could settle this sort of nasty shit together.

The Block Rules were embraced by the homeowners (although Sam and Julia - both whom had the highest property value and the only four car garages on the block - were pretty obstinate about making sure they were signed up but also kind of in charge of things like enforcement and membership) and some of the Rules included:

 •  A weekly meeting.

 •  A prohibition on using paints, Clorox, or gasoline to destroy lawns.

 •  No one was allowed to "take matters in their own hands" or even openly threaten to do so.

These were human beings so there were rules broken and enforced once in a while but, for the most part, everybody agreed that the system, as long as everyone respected the Block Rules, worked.

Sam was kind of an asshole.  He had the most stuff - a Jet Ski, a satellite dish, an in ground pool - so he tended to bark orders at everyone else and often decided to act as the neighborhood leader.  Rarely did anyone really challenge him but once in a blue moon, Julia would step in and challenge him.  But that was infrequent.

One day, Assad decided to use chemicals on his own kids as a lesson.  It was kind of horrifying to watch him stand his five children on his lawn and spray them with RAID as he yelled at them for rebelling against the house chores.

Sam saw this and immediately went out to the street.

"Assad!  I can't believe you did that!  That's against the Block Rules!  Even against your own kids you can't use RAID on them!  I'm gonna kick your fucking ass!"

And he went to get his potato gun which he could shoot projectiles at Assad without ever leaving his own yard.

The neighborhood complained as he set up the gun.  His family balked at him unilaterally deciding to "punish" his neighbor with force.  His wife pointed out to him that he couldn't enforce the Block Rules by ignoring them.

"What rules am I ignoring?"

"No one is allowed to "take matters in their own hands" or even openly threaten to do so.  If the rules in place are worth enforcing, then they are ALL worth enforcing."

"Yes, honey," Sam replied.  "But no one really said anything when Julia, Tom and I tortured the Arab kids two months ago.  No one really complained that much when they found out that I installed hidden cameras in their homes last year.  And Assad sprayed his OWN KIDS with RAID!  If I don't shoot him with this potato, other neighbors will do it.  They might come over here and spray our kids."

She shook her head.  "Maybe we should take a family vote before you do something stupid, dear.  Other neighbors have punished their kids out in front of the neighborhood and you didn't aim that stupid thing at them.  You just don't like Assad because he thinks your pool and Ferrari are stupid.  If the Block Rules mean anything at all - if we expect anyone else to take them seriously - then you have to follow them, too."

Notes from the Post it Wall | Week of July 28, 2019

Notes from the Post it Wall | Week of July 28, 2019

The Minutes of Our Last Meeting - White Anti-Defamation League

The Minutes of Our Last Meeting - White Anti-Defamation League