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89 Year Old Woman Arrested for Keeping Football

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She is not allowed to keep someone else's property, but she is allowed to destroy it?
No, she can throw it in the trash (or the street), and the owner can retrieve it if they want.
What I'm arguing for is that the children forfeited the right to the ball when they threw it onto the woman's yard. She did have to expend effort to take the ball, yes.
The woman took and kept the ball by force. The proper function of government is to limit the use of force, so that it happens only in a manner prescribed by objective law. By her improper use of force, she forfeited her right to her life, in a manner prescribed by law. It would not have been proper for the children or their parents to break in to her house to retrieve their property. Vigilantism is not the solution to disputes about rights.
I argued, "Why should she have to expend effort?" What I should have said was, "Why should she be forced to expend effort?" The first sentence would make more sense, both to you and admittedly to me, if I emphasize it in this way: "Why should she have to expend effort?"
Because she did expend effort improperly, in the first place. The fact that she willingly violated another person's rights does not mean that, in a just legal system, she should not be forced to expend effort to make up for a wrong act.

The ball would effectively and actually be hers when the court rules that the child's offense was great enough -- if it concludes that it constituted a punishable willful initiation of force -- that the court mandates a transfer of property, in compensation. By leaving the ball where it landed, the ball is in the kid's court, as it were, to seek legal permission to enter the property to retrieve the ball. Her defense for denying that permission could simply be that the children were acting improperly, to the point that they deserve to have their property taken from her.

I do not see a difference between arguing morality and law. Law is a specific form of morality, a way of subordinating society to the rights of the individual.

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Suppose she would have left the ball where it landed, and wouldn't let anyone inside her yard to retrieve it. Can we agree that in that case it would be the children's / their parents' obligation to get the equivalent of a court order to allow them onto her property to get the ball (if they cared enough to do so), and that the woman couldn't be held at fault for anything?

Edited by Soth
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Suppose she would have left the ball where it landed, and wouldn't let anyone inside her yard to retrieve it. Can we agree that in that case it would be the children's / their parents' obligation to get the equivalent of a court order to allow them onto her property to get the ball (if they cared enough to do so), and that the woman couldn't be held at fault for anything?
Exactly so.
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  • 11 months later...

Yes, she would have to return it to the owner if she won't allow the owner to retrieve it. But she's also within her rights to erect a fence to prevent the ball from landing on her property, and the burden really isn't on her to prevent this from happening. I'm not sure exactly how this would play out legally, but dumping trash or throwing footballs on someone else's property is a form of trespass, which is illegal. Then the law can require the trespassers to stop trespassing.Which it isn't. But anyhow, a person cannot legally steal the property of another person because it ends up in their possession. So in this case, she has to give the ball back to the kid, if she won't let the kid on to the land. Or, she can permit some other person to carry it.

Her fundamental error was thinking that she can rightfully take the law in her own hand, and did not need to heed the legal warnings or accept the citation. The real issue is whether we are to live in a civilized society governed by law, or do we live by force and mob-emotion. I sympathize over the annoyance of kids not keeping their balls under control, but this kind of contempt for law and the use of objective reasoning as the proper means of resolving disputes is a very serious matter. Thus, she is right that it's the principle; she just was completely wrong about what the most important principle is.

I usually agree with your well focused arguments but in this case you are completely incorrect.

You ignored Bluey's point that returning the object in question may be outside of her physical ability. Your case is based upon this and therefore holds no water. Outside of it, exactly how is the property to be 'returned'? I put that word in quotes because it was not taken in the first place. Throwing the ball onto her property does not grant the right to the thrower physical entry to her property. If this were the case, then anyone could gain legal entry to anyone else's property by merely using this loophold. And if it were an object that she could not physically move, then she cannot return it. What's left in terms of principle here?

Are you asserting a moral and legal principle based upon physical strength? If you do , then this IS a slippery slope as physical strength is not the only possible deterrent in such a situation. I could mention a myriad of other deterrents. Here is one. What if someone threw a very very tiny diamond into her vast bushes (imagine a very large acreage and a diamond accidentally flung from a slingshot by a kid mistaking it for a normal stone taken from his mom's bedroom). Do they then reserve the right to either her time and energy in trying to find a needle in a haystack or entry to her property? Supposed that it were supposedly lost in an area where she had private treasures very personal to her that she wanted to keep private?

She has committed no crime if she is unaware of the 'accidental' loss of property on her land. Refusing entry to her property on the word that something was lost is also not a crime. If it were, then simply stating that I MAY have lost my needle in your haystack grants me or the police the right to search your property. This is not consistent with individual freedom and it's corollary, property rights.

Carelessness should simply punish the careless. Does the swamp owe the careless the retrieval of misplaced property?

Views on social interactivity and/or pettiness is irrelevant.

Edited by dreadrocksean
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Sign on her fence solves the problem:

"Please be advised that beyond this fence lies private property. Do not trespass. Any item that violates the boundaries of this property will be returned after a 30 day processing period an is also subject to a $25 dollar return service fee. Thank-you."

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I go to my best friend's house every day and spend a considerable amount of time there. His family has more or less become my second family. He has neighbors that are JUST like this. Peope who won't return balls that go over a fence (the first time), people who tell us that we need to take our "racket" inside at 7:30 p.m. because it is, quote, "Time to call it a night", and people who just generally dislike us though we have never said or done a mean thing to any of them. The cops have been called on us several times, the one time we refused to go in at 7:30 when the sun hadn't even set yet. We apparently were "causing a disturbance" in our own backyard and "any noise that violates their rest is liable for citation".

As for this old hag, I would go out and buy about 200 different balls and throw them over her fence just to watch her struggle to pick them up, even if it meant I was in the wrong. But, I am a bit biased since I deal with irrational people like this on a day to day basis.

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The lady is a thief. What are the kids guilty of and how does it compare with her crime? It is beyond ludicrous to have had such a reaction to a ball bouncing into a yard, even if repeatedly. If there was damage to her property then she would have a legitimate claim. It should be clear that no matter how legitimate those claims may be, she must not take the law into her own hands. She may only legitimately take action to protect herself and her property from immediate necessary harm, a ball bouncing into your yard would not rise to any objective standard of immediate necessary harm. Her only recourse is to involve the police and the courts, they are the only ones who may legitimately deprive someone of their property in accordance with law.

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  • 9 months later...

She's 89...........

are we even sure she knew what she was doing?

If she was 50, i would say she was a stupid, bi#$% for not understanding that kids and even adults make mistakes, but, seriously, it's a damn football. Why the hell would you call the cops over a football? Principle, i guess, thus the parents are stupid asses. If I was a cop I would be furious that I was even asked to settle such a petty dispute, when i could be out helping people with real problems,

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