When is Trespassing Acceptable?

As a forager, I run into this concept and question quite often.

When is it acceptable to trespass on  someone’s private property in search of wild edible plants?

The answer, of course, is NEVER.

If it’s within arm’s reach of the road and you don’t actually have to walk ONTO the property, or if it’s fruit that is, say, hanging OVER a fence, and onto a public sidewalk, then that is different.

You may not however, EVER trespass on someone’s land without their permission, for any reason.

If they have signs up to the equivalent of ‘No Trespassing’, then even walking up to the door to ask permission is unacceptable, because they’ve made it known that your presence is not wanted, for any reason. If you really want to forage there, get the address off of their mailbox, and send them a handwritten letter asking kindly for permission. This will likely get you a positive response.

But apparently this rule doesn’t seem to apply to certain special classes of people doing other things.

*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!*

There’s nothing in the world I hate more than being woken up by a loud and incessant knock on the door. Well, maybe a few other things I hate more. But not many. Like idiots who call me and show up as ‘Unknown caller’ on caller ID, never leave a message, and then call 50 times a day. And when you answer it, it’s an automated collection call for some jackass who had the phone number before you did, and there’s no way in the world to get the service to stop calling you, because you never get a real human on the other end.

But I digress…

So there I was, having the best sleep since… oh… months at least, as I haven’t been getting much rest lately with all the work and research that I’ve been doing in the evenings, since it’s typically the only quiet time I get during the day, and I’m jolted stark awake by some SOB banging on the front storm door so hard I thought it was about to come off it’s hinges.

So in the milliseconds after being so unceremoniously jolted awake, my mind goes through the inventory of who it could possibly be knocking on my door, on a Monday, in the early AM.

It has to be no one we know. Everyone we know, knows that the front door is closed for the winter, and to come to the side door. So it can’t be friends, or neighbors. That means it’s a stranger.

Well, thinks I, I’m expecting a book that I ordered, so it’s probably one of the delivery services with the box. Likely Fed Ex. UPS just leaves it without ever knocking and the mailman just puts it in the mailbox. I have a huge mailbox just for this purpose. Book orders and anything smaller than a German Shepard, fit in my mailbox just fine. But even the UPS and mailman guys have figured out to use the side door for deliveries.

So, having come to this conclusion that it was most likely just the book I ordered the other day, I closed my eyes again.

*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!* *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!*

(Pause…)

*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!* *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!* *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!*

OMG, are you effin’ kidding me?

Someone’s house better be burning down for someone to be knocking on my door like this and not giving up.

Right about now, I’m pretty livid. The wife is not amused at being woken up either.

So, I crawl out of bed, throw some clothes on, and make my way out to the front door.

It only took about 45 seconds to go from my bed to the door, and they were gone.

There were, however fresh tire tracks in my driveway.

So… snow tracker time. I put on my coat and boots and went outside.

One vehicle, coming from the east, and traveling westward. Pulled into my driveway, only about halfway, and then stopped. Odd.
Two people exited the vehicle. The driver immediately walked over to my neighbor’s house, then walked back to the driver’s side of the vehicle. The passenger immediately walked from the vehicle to MY front door, knocked like it was going out of style. Twice, then immediately walked back to the vehicle.

My first thought at this point was someone selling something.

So I followed the tracks up to my front door. No package or anything else out of order, and nothing attached to the outside handle.
So then I opened the storm door, and on the INSIDE latch, there was a fresh rolled up copy of some Jehovah’s Witness literature. Yep. Someone selling something.

Why would these people be out early on a Monday? No one’s typically home.

Then my brain kicked in. It’s MLK Jr. Day. This explains why these idiots are out in the freezing cold on a MONDAY morning. They’re trying to get all the people who have the day off. And who obviously would be *thrilled* being woken up early on their day off to hear their JW spiel.
This isn’t ‘religious freedom’. It’s outright harassment. It’s also trespassing. Apparently that big sign I have in the window that says ‘No Solicitation’ will need to be altered. They either can’t read, don’t know what the word ‘solicitation’ means, or think it doesn’t apply to them, and their particular brand of unwanted harassment is somehow ‘protected’.

No, it isn’t.

But let me ask this. If Muslims, or any other religion other than a Christian, showed up on people’s front door, and left pamphlets with, say… Quran verses in them on people’s doorknobs, would people tolerate this crap for a minute?

Or would they crap gold kittens, and say they were being harassed, and demand to be left alone? Heck, they’d probably even try to author legislation that made it illegal to be ‘harassed’ by those groups.

But on a whole, we largely tolerate this crap even though we don’t like it. Why? Oh, because as my Catholic father once told me, they’re ‘Christians too’, and they’re just ‘spreading the word of the Lord, even if they are a bit annoying.’

People don’t dislike JWs (and Mormons) because of their beliefs. They dislike them because of their actions.

Because they show up at your doorstep, and try to shove their beliefs down your throat in your own home.

How this has ever been acceptable is beyond me. I find it intrusive and insulting.

You want me to read something unsolicited? Mail it to me. It’s got to be cheaper than going house to house. Especially with the price of gas.

If anyone wondered for even a moment why the general public’s tolerance of people who proclaim themselves to be ‘Christians’ is at an all time low, all you have to do is look at these groups who are actively working hard to give all Christians a bad name.

Categories: Foraging, Nature, Religiosity | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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