Well, if you're going to let your dog pee on a lawn, don't do it in Park Forest, Illinois, which is located about 30 miles south of downtown Chicago. And specifically, don't let your dog pee on the lawn of one Mr. Charles Clements, age 69. This great grandfather already shot and killed Joshua Funches, a 23-year old father of three, for letting his dog pee (pee!!!) on his lawn. And to make matters more horrifying, a judge let Clements walk on his second-degree murder conviction with just four years of probation.
There is so much wrong with this story. But more than anything, it seems to me that neighborly love may be becoming a thing of the past. What is the world coming to? People are becoming aggressively awful to one another. What ever happened to "Love Thy Neighbor" anyway?
So, of course, there's more to the story. Of course, Funches looked at Clements "with a smug and defiant look on his face" before he let his girlfriend's dog pee on his lawn. That's when Clements confronted Funches over previous dog deposits found recently around his yard. This led to a nasty verbal confrontation, at which point Clements showed Funches the loaded.45-caliber pistol in his pocket.
This is how guys do things, I guess. Talk smack to me, I show you big gun. I'd like to go back to the time where they just beat their chests.
And Funches, also being male, wasn't going to let the old man threaten him, so he came back with "Old man, if you pull a gun on me you better plan on using it" and punched Clements in the face.
I guess Clements snapped at that point because he then shot Funches in the stomach, which ultimately killed him.
So was it self defense? The judge obviously thought so.
But these two men, one young and one old, lived in the same neighborhood, on the same block. Funches grew up on that street and had recently fixed up and moved into his mother's house there with his girlfriend and the mother of his kids (she was pregnant with #3 at the time of his death). Why did Clements feel the need to carry a gun on his front porch? Why didn't these two have the words or the skills to have a civil conversation? Why didn't one of them simply walk away?
Shouldn't these two have had good things to share with one another? Like fellow neighbors, fathers, and men? Why, instead, did they have this meaningless, awful confrontation that ended in death for one and left three children fatherless.
What's going to happen to us? When the neighborly love or, at the very least, civility is gone, we really have nothing left.
Image via ellie/Flickr