March 22, 2023

Stay Off My Land You SOB Part III

Part I and Part II

Silly debate continues in Maine over a proposed bill, LD 128, that would implement fascist/totalitarian tactics on anyone picking a wild berry, or such, on private land without permission from the landowner. The link to Part II above, will give readers a chance to read the proposed bill as it is currently written.

Okay! I get it! I’m a Maine landowner. I cherish my rights, what few I have left, as a landowner, but do I want to cut off my big nose despite my ugly face?

George Smith, a Maine outdoor writer and activist, continues to whine about the crap he’s taking from people because it is his own creation, i.e. LD 128. He writes in his column: “It is very irritating to find that someone has grabbed the fiddleheads or mushrooms off my woodlot before I got to them. And clearly, anyone who is on my land to commercially harvest something ought to be required to have my permission.

“Some critics have suggested any landowner who feels this way should post their land No Trespassing. But that is exactly what I don’t want to encourage, because it would hurt those of us who hunt, fish, and otherwise enjoy privately owned property.”

Obviously he and I look at a half-filled glass differently. I have two basic issues with his approach. The first issue is that there are already laws that exist about stealing private property. Would crafting another useless bill prohibiting anyone from foraging for wild edibles, actually stop anyone? Americans are notorious idiots, incapable of thinking rationally, as this has been programmed out of them. They therefore keep piling on laws, and more laws and even more laws, exemplifying the perfect conditions of insanity, thinking just one more law surely will stop the criminal. I might even argue that this same activist would argue that making laws prohibiting the ownership, by lawful citizens, of guns, will do nothing to stop a criminal. How is this different?

The second issue is one about landowner responsibility. Smith says he doesn’t want to post his land to keep trespassers off, because he wants to continue to have the privilege of accessing private land to hunt and fish. What does he expect? This might be a bit of having your cake and eating it too.

When any person owns something, if they intend to responsibly care for it, requires doing all things necessary to protect it according to your value system and hopefully not the values dictated by other people. If I should decide to buy a perfectly restored antique auto, and one of my top priorities is to make sure the body and paint remain unblemished, it would be irresponsible of me to drive it after a snow storm in the salt and sand. It might even require me to build a garage to store it in. Will these efforts stop somebody from stealing my car? Yes, there exists strict laws against auto theft. Do making more laws help?

If Mr. Smith values his wild edibles on his own land that much, it is then his responsibility to protect them. It is fools folly to think pushing another bill through the Legislature would actually protect his wild edibles, no more than posting his land would. Sometimes, with land ownership, depending on one’s values and priorities, that ownership demands the owner do things he might not like. In addition, many landowners are not concerned if someone is picking wild edibles. As a matter of fact some of the landowners are quite pleased that the tradition continues. Totalitarian tactics of forcing lifestyles and/or political ideals onto other people doesn’t seem a neighborly thing to do to those who don’t care and would just as soon not be bothered with every Tom, Dick or Harry knocking on their door seeking written permission to pick wild food.

I recall teaching my children when they were very young that they were the ones responsible for themselves and not to depend on others. I also taught them that sometimes life seems unfair but we have to learn to deal with it in the best and most reasonable manner. We cannot always have everything just the way we want it – and that door swings both ways.

If it is so upsetting that even after a bill and another bill, and yet another bill is crafted to bar private land access for any reason, as well, you’ve gone to the trouble of posting your land, and still people enter your land and take things, perhaps land ownership is too large a responsibility.

I think this is more of a case of a landowner taking responsibility for what they have and how they value that ownership, than wasting the Legislature’s time pushing for yet another law that will do absolutely nothing to protect a patch of berries, mushrooms or fiddleheads.