Earlier in the week I came across the story of Betty Perry, 70 years old, who was arrested after she scuffled with a police officer who went to her home because she had let her lawn go brown. During the struggle Perry fell and injured her nose and according to her attorney, Gloria Allred, she was handcuffed with "bruises and blood." Betty Perry is being charged with resisting arrest and failing to maintain her landscape, both misdemeanors.
Pause here and reflect on the fact that we live in a society where resisting arrest and not watering your lawn are considered equal. The city attorney of Orem, Utah, having eradicated all forms of crime, is still pressing charges because there's nothing better to do or he/she really loves lawns. Don't get me wrong I know that resisting arrest is not something that should be taken lightly or ignored but the arrest stemmed from her having a brown lawn. Various media outlets report at the end of the story that Betty Perry had the water shut off at her home for nine months while she continued to live there.
It doesn't take a bleeding-heart liberal or a tree hugger to empathize with the woman in this case. A 70 year old woman maybe somebodies mother, grandmother-could be yours-made the choice to live in a home without running water for nine months. I'm more concerned with the reason why Betty Perry made the choice to live in her home without water than seeing her tried and convicted for failing to maintain her landscaping. I can't imagine someone living without water for that long without very good reason. City officials should be ashamed of themselves and I hope the media's spotlight on the case causes them to reverse their decision to press charges over the lawn.
The plight of Betty Perry reminds me of an incident involving the police and my family last summer. I woke up from a nap to the sound of people running up the stairs to the second floor of the house and my sister exclaiming, "They're only cactuses!" Curious and confused I got up and ran downstairs where I found my sister, mother and foster brother sitting on a couch surrounded by three police officers, two males one female, who had their hands on their holsters.
After some discussion I learned that my sister had let the police into the house when they knocked on the door and said that they had heard we had a marijuana farm in the house. Where they got this idea from is beyond me considering that the windows that house my cacti and houseplants aren't visible from the street or houses nearby because my neighbor's roof line blocks the view to these windows and plants. I also don't use Sodium Vapor lights or any kinds of grow lights, for that matter, that could give the impression of plants being grown indoors.
Once the police officers left the house I informed my sister of two things; her rights against unreasonable searches and seizures and that the plural form of cactus is cacti not "cactuses." Considering what happened to Betty Perry I can forgive her for allowing the police to come into the house without a search warrant but I've told her many times before that the proper word is cacti.
On the web:
Betty Perry pleads "not guilty" to charges of resisting arrest and having a brown lawn.