Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mow Slaughter

Quiz time! If your lawnmower won't start, do you:

  • A - Ask the immigrant gardener across the street to borrow his (if you speak Spanish)

  • B - Find the manual (the what?)

  • C - Take it to be repaired

  • D - Get out your sawed off shotgun and shoot the SOB

If you answered "D" you're correct! (You're also in need of some serious anger management. Seek help, won't ye?) And if you're in Wisconsin and you're 53-year old Keith Walendowski, you're going to get arrested for a few things.

Mr. Walendowski, who looks about like what you'd expect him to, had become fed up with his mower when it wouldn't start. That's when he decided to teach the lawn mower a lesson. He went inside, grabbed his sawed off shotgun and shot it. "It" being the inanimate object "the mower". Naturally, those five words that are usually applicable in situations like this are, in fact, applicable here as well. "Alcohol may have been involved."

Mr. Waldenowski was very cooperative when the officers arrived and told them that he would tell them the truth. He said, "I got pissed because my lawn mower wouldn’t start, so I got my shotgun and shot it." I see. Well. Kudos for honesty, sir. But could you put the weapon down, please?

Mr. Walendowski was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct and felony possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle. (After his arrest, his leaf blower and his hedge trimmer both let out a collective sigh of relief.) The officers also found a shotgun, shells, a handgun and a stun gun in the house. (Geez. He could have taken out the entire Tool Corral at Home Depot with that stash.) His response to the officers when he was being arrested was, "I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want." And here's the thing...I'm sort of inclined to agree with him.

Now, granted, he's not supposed to have a sawed off shotgun. I can't agree with him having possession of that. So, I'm OK with the charge for possession of the gun. (The maximum sentence for such a charge is 6 years and three months. 6 years in jail seems a bit steep for just having possession of the gun, though. Seriously, SIX? I don't know, it just seems like overkill. Eh, pun maybe intended there.) And I can't find anywhere that says if he did or did not have a gun permit. But if he did and he went ahead and shot the mower, granted, it's nuts. But is it against the law? I don't think it is.

I can think of a bunch of things that he could have done instead of shoot the mower. He could have shot the woman who called the cops, for starters. Turns out that woman was his mother, so it would have been like a two for one kind of deal. (Oh, come on! Like he doesn't have an issue or two with her he'd like to resolve! He's 53, living at home in Wisconsin, drunk in the middle of the day and trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to mow the freaking lawn with an arsenal of weaponry in his home! Everyone involved should be glad it was just the mower.)

And really, while I think he was within his rights to shoot his own mower, I'm going to have to go out on a limb here and guess that it really didn't have much of an effect ON the mower itself. I mean, I highly doubt that the mower is there next to the garbage cans because it's taking a time out. It's not over there facing the wall thinking, "Geez. All right, I'll start next time! You didn't have to shoot me, for cryin' out loud. I was just trying to have a little fun, that's all. You crazy drunk." Yeah, see, things like this almost never turn out that way.

So while all the humans in this story escaped unscathed (although one will probably develop a rather nasty hangover), there is the issue of the wounded Lawn-Boy. Some reporter felt the need to ask an authorized retailer about the warranty on the mower and if it would cover this sort of damage. (Mow-slaughter?) Fortunately, Dick Wagner of Wagner's Garden Mart told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Anything not factory recommended would void the warranty." And since I have yet to see "shrapnel damage" as something that would be covered by any warranty (let alone "factory recommended"), I'm thinking Mr. Walendowski is going to be shopping for a new mower. Just as soon as he sobers up and gets out on bail.

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