We Seek Not Your Counsel

CNN’s blog is running a story about how Europeans are stupid:

It all started so innocently as I sat with a group of Danish journalists just down the street from Bush’s ranch during a visit by Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The two leaders were having lunch on the ranch, so I was waiting at a nearby historic one-room schoolhouse with White House staff to interview Rasmussen after the meal. Then the prime minister was going to do a brief press conference with the Danish press corps.

Notice that “down the road across from a schoolhouse that has nothing to do with Bush except that some reporters were staying there” turns into “across the street from Bush” in the comments later.

Terkel Svensson, a writer for the Danish News Agency, could not get wireless Internet access at the schoolhouse to file a story. But Svensson could get his cell phone working so he called his editor in Copenhagen and started wandering across a quiet country road as he chatted away.

“I was just so occupied dictating my story that I didn’t really see where I went,” Svensson told me later. “I was just walking and talking.”

In Texas, this is called “being an idiot” and “trespassing”.

What Svensson didn’t realize was that he had stopped walking a couple hundred feet away, on the front lawn of an elderly woman. An elderly woman who looked through her window and didn’t like that a strange man was standing outside her house. An elderly woman who had, um, a gun.


Next thing you know the woman is outside, no more than a few dozen feet from the journalist, demanding that he leave. “Suddenly she comes out and she says, ‘Get off my property. You’re trespassing,'” recalled Svensson.

Which is what any sane person would do when a strange man is trespassing on your property for no apparent reason. You tell them to go away and be crazy somewhere else.

Svensson was too preoccupied to notice the pistol, and was not aware that Texas law gives homeowners leeway on using a weapon when someone is trespassing on your property. All of us journalists across the street were too far away to see the pistol at first, until a Danish photographer with a telephoto lens announced to a bunch of us that there was indeed a weapon in the elderly woman’s right hand.

In other words, she wasn’t brandishing it. She wasn’t threatening anyone with it. She just had it. Which is a prudent thing to do when you are an elderly woman dealing with a strapping middle aged man.

As word spread that the lady had a gun – which she did not use – I can tell you it’s a severe understatement to say White House and Secret Service officials were a bit concerned about the fact that they had just dodged an international incident. Ditto for Svensson, who was alarmed when he safely crossed the street and was shown dramatic still photos of the lady holding the gun.

Yes, the Secret Service was worried that the Dutch were stupid or biased enough to run a sensationalistic story about how Texas is full of maniacal gun waving old women. That is because the Secret Service tends to deal with credible threats.

“I will show the photos to my wife and children,” Svensson told me. “They thought I was on a safe trip.”

You were. Unsafe is when old ladies are forced to confront strange men trespassing on their property without a pistol.

And now… we get to the comments.

Corey, Maryland March 2nd, 2008 5:12 pm ET
All i can say to this is stupid Texans!!! This is why we need very strict gun laws in this country.Obama Richardson 08!!

Absolutely! We must protect the rights of foreign reporters to trespass safely!

wild schield March 2nd, 2008 5:16 pm ET
america the land of gun nuts….way to go rednecks. I am so glad i live in europe now where this kind of thing is not tolerated even the least little bit..
….with the danish prime minister right across the street no less can’t wait to see those pics all over the news tommarrow

You better go outside. I bet a bunch of teenagers are burning your car.

Daniel March 2nd, 2008 5:18 pm ET
This just goes to show how incredibly dumb some Texans can be. Most people would step to their door and demand the stranger leave. If you live in another country and are reading this comment, please understand that not all Americans are like this idiot. Most of us don’t own guns and most of us don’t come out of our houses brandishing one.

Actually, I answered the door with a shotgun last night. It was after 10pm and just some kid. And he never even saw the shotgun, because I kept it behind the door. (And it was a scary black one too, that looked like this. Don’t click that unless you are wearing rubber underwear, Danny!)

Cat March 2nd, 2008 5:21 pm ET
Wow! Talk about taking America’s image in the world down a notch! While people should be able to defend their life and property there is nothing about a man stopping in front of your house while talking on a cell phone that is threatening. Texas really needs to reexamine its laws because even though she didn’t use her gun, she threatened the man’s life for literally no reason at all. I can think of all kinds of benevolent reasons to approach someone’s house. Someone could be selling girl scout cookies, circulating a political petition, a new neighbor stopping by to introduce themself, etc. Bringing a gun out without a threat invites tragedy. This is absolutely ridiculous.

Cat, you are a moron, and for your own safety, I hope that no one dangerous ever comes anywhere near you, because you are completely incompetent in dealing with that sort of situation. Someone who walks up to your front door yacking on a cell phone for no good reason is a bizarre situation, and that makes it dangerous. People selling things and circulating petitions knock and announce themselves. He simply trespassed.

Further, she did not threaten his life. She held a gun in her hand. That isn’t threatening. If you think that mere possession of a firearm is a threat, then you must have a very twisted view of police and soldiers.

Mike March 2nd, 2008 6:02 pm ET
This is why every Tom, Dick and Harry does not need a gun. If we had better gun control laws and worked to keep them out of the hands of criminals we wouldn’t have incidents like this.

Riiiight. If we had “better gun control laws and worked to keep them out of the hand of criminals” we wouldn’t have law abiding women allowing Dutch reporters to not get threatened by guns. Umkay.

This wasn’t an “incident”. At least he is honest that the point of gun control is to disarm little old ladies, not dealing with actual crime.

Chris March 2nd, 2008 6:02 pm ET
Welcome to the US of A. This incident just goes to show that we can’t get any more barbarian in this country! Fortunately the senile woman didn’t choose to shoot him down. What a laughing stock we make of ourselves…
Craig Hayes March 2nd, 2008 6:03 pm ET
This is why we need to have gun control laws. We don’t need senile and paranoid old ladies going around with a loaded pistol.

Note: To a gun controller, anyone who is elderly is senile and if they have a gun, they are a senile barbarian. And paranoid.

Adam G. March 2nd, 2008 6:17 pm ET
For most people, the common sense thing would be to say “Excuse me, can I help you?” in such a tone that would imply: “Speak, or go away.”I don’t live in one of these co-called “stand your ground states”, but even if I did, it would be unfathomable of me to grab a gun and walk outside and threaten somebody to get of my property without knowing what they’re doing there.She should also know that, living next to the President of the United States and all, that there are going to be strange people on wireless devices, speaking strange languages, walking all over the place.I think this lady over-reacted, and I can only imagine the problems that would have resulted from an elderly woman shooting a Dane who was talking on his cell phone.

You are a fucking moron. She went outside and told him, “you are trespassing, go away” just like you suggested. “Stand Your Ground” had nothing to do with it. She isn’t living “right next to the president”, she is living down the road (which in Texas could mean quite a distance.) I don’t think she overreacted — I think you have an overactive imagination. And there is a very good chance that she was there before Bush, and certainly before he even ran for president, so she didn’t choose to have strange people all around.

And if a Danish reporter is stupid enough to threaten an old lady and get himself shot, all I can say is “Welcome to Texas.”

Suzie from Texas March 2nd, 2008 7:34 pm ET
I’m glad that he didn’t get shot…but this just represents the MAJOR problems we face with the Republicans, old ladies, and the lack of gun control. One man can fix these crazy old ladies and other menaces to our society… Barack Obama!!OBAMA ’08

Wouldn’t you love to see that campaign spot? “Obama — he will keep strange men off your lawn. And take your pistol.”

S Williams March 2nd, 2008 7:51 pm ET
What a stupid, lame-brained over reaction to someone in your yard.What if he was a cop? He would have had to kill her.

Ummm… no. He would have had to get out of her yard. It’s called “The Fourth Amendment.”

STAN March 2nd, 2008 8:15 pm ET
for all the people that agree with the old lady. If this had happen to an American any play in the world you would have said the people who live there are nuts. Example Cuba or France

No, Stan, if this happened any place else in the world, we would hear conspiracy theories about how Bush is dressing Marines up as reporters and using them to invade people’s lawns. In fact, it wouldn’t even be reported because there is no free press in France or Cuba.

HomoSapien March 2nd, 2008 8:58 pm ET
Moral of the story?? This is exactly why Americans are seen as violent by the rest of the world. In the rest of the world, it IS OK for a person to inadvertently walk on to someone’s property. Such incidents end with a “sorry” and possibly a handshake. Only in America do people pull out guns and shoot at each other.Uncivilized, is what it’s called.All morons with the “Don’t mess with Texas” comments and other macho wisecracks do not realize how completely ignorant they sound.Rednecks with guns – we are not laughing with you, we are laughing at you.

The incident ended with a “sorry”, not gunfire. No one pointed a gun at anyone, and no one was shot. The Dutch idiot said that he didn’t even realize that she had a pistol until he saw the photos later.

Illiterate, that is what you are called.

Remember, Eurovictims, we are laughing at you, not with you.

There are a lot of good comments there defending the woman, but there sure are a lot of panty-pissing idiots too.

(Via Teh Fat Guy)


  1. R says:

    What would have been funnier is if she was sitting on a rocking chair holding a shotgun and said, “You just keep walkin’ boy.”

  2. Northe says:

    HAHAHA awesome story.

  3. Tell them assholes to leave my Momma alone!

  4. […] Dutch, after what they deem a near international incident and we call a case teh st00pid, decide to lecture us on our gun laws. Well, Sparky, don’t look now but some youth just set your car on […]

  5. anonymous says:

    He was Danish, not Dutch.

  6. Phelps says:

    Noted. A mistake I should not have made having worked for several months with a Dane who was touchy about it. The CNN blogger was the real idiot in any event.