Neighborhood Watch

I live in a nice little rural area.  We’re all separated from each other by a few acres, but we can see our neighbor’s houses.  Its a community of mostly senior citizen, but quirky enough to fall into the entertaining category instead of the “you kids get off my lawn” kind.  We know each other by sight and usually get together for a BBQ or two during the summer.

A fly landed in the ointment of our little wonderland, in the form of the two new tenants of a rental property right next door.  Two days after the man and his girlfriend moved in, the news burned up our telephone lines as we all found out he was a twice-convicted rapist and registered sex offender, classified as violent.

I was alarmed.  I got online to check the state’s sex offender registry to see what he’d been convicted of.  The most recent charge involved the rape of a local woman less than seven years ago (it was a relative of the victim that got the word out in our area).  That’s bad enough, but it was his previous charge that had me foaming at the mouth with rage.  This putrid mass of diseased flesh violently raped and sexually battered a child when he was twenty-one years old.  I did some research on the legal terminology of the state this conviction was from and “child” was considered to be aged thirteen and under.  Also, there was only six years between that charge and his most recent one, meaning he didn’t serve near enough time for the future he stole from that child.

I told the neighbor that had initially called me what I’d discovered, knowing she’d get the word out.  We found out his girlfriend and the owner of the rental house were both aware of his history.  I made sure my own son understood explicitly he was not to go near the new neighbor and to let his father or I know if the man tried to talk to him.  And I got on a first-name basis with his probation officer.

It was later the next week in the middle of the day when my son was at school and my husband was at work when there was a knock at the front door.  I saw it was him through a gap in the front window curtain (recognizing him from his mug shot on the registry) and my heart began to race.  It was a lucky accident that I just so happened to be prepared to deal with the trash on my doorstep.  Because a sick bastard had moved into my neighborhood, I had been getting ready to go to the firing range to refresh my target shooting skills and the lockbox where I stored my gun was right there on my kitchen counter.

I spoke to that asshole through a crack in the door, with it chained and braced against my hiking boot, gun in my hand, hidden behind the door.  He wanted to borrow a ladder to work on his roof.  I honestly don’t know if that was the truth or just an excuse, but I quickly refused, told him to get off our property, slammed and dead-bolted the door.  I was on the phone with his probation officer before he even made it back to his truck.

He explained that he had already told the asshole to stay away from the neighbors, but  that he would tell him again with the warning that if he did it again, he’d recommend sending him back to prison.  I told the officer the precautions I’d taken in answering the door and that he’d better explain to his felon that we’re not putting up with his shit out here.  Furthermore, you tell him this, we all know what he was convicted of, both times and he should still be locked up.  We don’t care about his civil rights and we do not want him here among us.  We may be forced to tolerate his presence, but we don’t have to like it.  He better keep to himself and watch every step he takes because we’ll be watching as well.  We’re a country community, we look out for each other, and we are all armed.

He still lives there, but the only time any of us have seen him in the past year is when he’s getting in our out of his vehicle.  And that suits us just fine.