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Trespassing teens learned lesson

SCAFOLK032Bx003Fd07Item0032.pdf

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Trespassing teens learned lesson

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Trespassing legend-trippers may still have learned their lesson. In spite of getting off easy, the impact of the experience may have had a greater impact than having the trespassing charges stick. Bruce Smith, former Herald Journal publisher, relates an experience from his youth as one of the most traumatic experiences of his life and one that he will always remember.
Trespassing teens learned lesson
By Bruce Smith
Herald Journal publisher

“I have never forgotten my experience with the sheriff almost 40 years ago. It was one of the most traumatic days of my life.”

My initial reaction a few weeks ago after a bunch of trespassing teen-agers were terrorized at the former St. Anne’s retreat was that although the kids certainly didn’t deserve the outrageous treatment they received at the hands of the watchmen, they probably learned a great lesson from it all.

The whole situation has brought back some very unhappy memories of when I was a teen-ager and, like most young people, did some very stupid things-and, of course, got an education in the process.

On one occasion I found myself with the wrong friends and in deep trouble with the law. I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

I had a .22 caliber rifle and enjoyed rabbit hunting. My friends and I had a favorite spot a few miles from home where there were thousands of rabbits. One Saturday afternoon on the way home from a day of hunting, we noticed some big new lights along a bridge crossing the Snake River. As we drove across the bridge, one of my friends stuck his .22 pistol out the window and began using the lights for target practice. He must have fired eight or 10 times at the lights as we crossed the bridge. Not one of us in the car did anything to stop him.

We crossed the bridge and went right through the middle of town and headed for home. We didn’t give a second thought to what our friend had just done. No one stopped us and we were sure no one heard the shots.

After we traveled a few miles down the highway we noticed a red light flashing behind us. It looked a lot like the flashing lights on a police car. We just kept on going. We were not smart enough to figure out that it was the county sheriff and he was after us.

The sheriff’s patrol car got closer and closer and was soon right behind us with the siren blaring. Only then did we realize it was us he was after. We pulled over and waited for the officer to tell us what he wanted us to do.

He ordered us all out of the car and then noticed that we all had rifles. He asked us all kinds of questions about the guns, where we had been hunting, who we were, and what we had been doing.

Finding the guns in the car, even though they were unloaded, was enough evidence for him to load us up in the patrol car and take us back to town.

He didn’t put us in jail but sat us close enough to the jail cell that we could see inside and actually touch the vars. He then told us that someone had watched us shoot at the lights earlier in the day as we crossed the bridge. The sheriff had us. We were guilty, the sheriff knew it, and we knew it.

I don’t remember all that was said by the sheriff, but I do remember I was absolutely scared to death. I could picture myself setting behind bars in the county jail. Facing my father and telling him the story was even more frightening. I didn’t do any of the shooting but knew it didn’t make any difference. I was in the car, and as far as the sheriff was concerned, I was as guilty as the person who actually fired the gun.

It seemed like we were questioned for hours and hours about our activities of the day. We listened to the police radio as the sheriff’s deputy drove across the bridge, examined each light, then reported his findings to the sheriff. Thankfully, my hunting buddy was a poor shot. He didn’t hit a single light.

We were all scared to death and knew for sure that we were going to at least spend one night in the county jail. Instead, the sheriff got our attention by giving us a severe tongue lashing. He told us that if we ever did anything like that again he would throw the book at us. To this day I am not sure why the sheriff let us go, but he did.

I have never forgotten my experience with the sheriff almost 40 years ago. It was one of the most traumatic days of my life. Thankfully, the law enforcement authorities saw fit to give me and my friends the benefit of the doubt and didn’t punish us as severely as they could have and as severely as we probably deserved. I suppose they decided there was nothing to be gained by throwing us in jail. I am sure it was obvious to them that they got our attention and that we were scared to death. We had learned our lesson.

It’s obvious the teen-agers who trespassed at St. Anne’s a few weeks ago were also scared to death and learned a lesson. The extreme treatment they received at the hands of the watchmen is an experience they will never forget. And I would guess that the punishment by parents in most cases has been more severe than anything the law enforcement authorities could do to them.

We were all teen-agers once, and we have all done stupid things. Let’s hope the experiences of a few teens at St. Anne’s will help teen-agers in the valley think twice before they find themselves in a situation they can’t handle or somewhere they don’t belong.

Source

Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives, FOLK COLL 32

Rights

Reproduction for publication, exhibition, web display or commercial use is only permissible with the consent of the USU Libraries Special Collections and Archives, phone (435) 797-2663.

Relation

Utah State University Folklore in the news collection, 1973-2012, FOLK COLL 32
http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv04849
St. Anne's Retreat

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http://digital.lib.usu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p16944coll20/id/44
SCAFOLK032Bx003Fd07Item0032.pdf

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Text

Trespassing teens learned lesson
By Bruce Smith
Herald Journal publisher

“I have never forgotten my experience with the sheriff almost 40 years ago. It was one of the most traumatic days of my life.”

My initial reaction a few weeks ago after a bunch of trespassing teen-agers were terrorized at the former St. Anne’s retreat was that although the kids certainly didn’t deserve the outrageous treatment they received at the hands of the watchmen, they probably learned a great lesson from it all.

The whole situation has brought back some very unhappy memories of when I was a teen-ager and, like most young people, did some very stupid things—and, of course, got an education in the process.

On one occasion I found myself with the wrong friends and in deep trouble with the law. I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

I had a .22 caliber rifle and enjoyed rabbit hunting. My friends and I had a favorite spot a few miles from home where there were thousands of rabbits. One Saturday afternoon on the way home from a day of hunting, we noticed some big new lights along a bridge crossing the Snake River. As we drove across the bridge, one of my friends stuck his .22 pistol out the window and began using the lights for target practice. He must have fired eight or 10 times at the lights as we crossed the bridge. Not one of us in the car did anything to stop him.

We crossed the bridge and went right through the middle of town and headed for home. We didn’t give a second thought to what our friend had just done. No one stopped us and we were sure no one heard the shots.

After we traveled a few miles down the highway we noticed a red light flashing behind us. It looked a lot like the flashing lights on a police car. We just kept on going. We were not smart enough to figure out that it was the county sheriff and he was after us.

The sheriff’s patrol car got closer and closer and was soon right behind us with the siren blaring. Only then did we realize it was us he was after. We pulled over and waited for the officer to tell us what he wanted us to do.

He ordered us all out of the car and then noticed that we all had rifles. He asked us all kinds of questions about the guns, where we had been hunting, who we were, and what we had been doing.

Finding the guns in the car, even though they were unloaded, was enough evidence for him to load us up in the patrol car and take us back to town.

He didn’t put us in jail but sat us close enough to the jail cell that we could see inside and actually touch the vars. He then told us that someone had watched us shoot at the lights earlier in the day as we crossed the bridge. The sheriff had us. We were guilty, the sheriff knew it, and we knew it.

I don’t remember all that was said by the sheriff, but I do remember I was absolutely scared to death. I could picture myself setting behind bars in the county jail. Facing my father and telling him the story was even more frightening. I didn’t do any of the shooting but knew it didn’t make any difference. I was in the car, and as far as the sheriff was concerned, I was as guilty as the person who actually fired the gun.

It seemed like we were questioned for hours and hours about our activities of the day. We listened to the police radio as the sheriff’s deputy drove across the bridge, examined each light, then reported his findings to the sheriff. Thankfully, my hunting buddy was a poor shot. He didn’t hit a single light.

We were all scared to death and knew for sure that we were going to at least spend one night in the county jail. Instead, the sheriff got our attention by giving us a severe tongue lashing. He told us that if we ever did anything like that again he would throw the book at us. To this day I am not sure why the sheriff let us go, but he did.

I have never forgotten my experience with the sheriff almost 40 years ago. It was one of the most traumatic days of my life. Thankfully, the law enforcement authorities saw fit to give me and my friends the benefit of the doubt and didn’t punish us as severely as they could have and as severely as we probably deserved. I suppose they decided there was nothing to be gained by throwing us in jail. I am sure it was obvious to them that they got our attention and that we were scared to death. We had learned our lesson.

It’s obvious the teen-agers who trespassed at St. Anne’s a few weeks ago were also scared to death and learned a lesson. The extreme treatment they received at the hands of the watchmen is an experience they will never forget. And I would guess that the punishment by parents in most cases has been more severe than anything the law enforcement authorities could do to them.

We were all teen-agers once, and we have all done stupid things. Let’s hope the experiences of a few teens at St. Anne’s will help teen-agers in the valley think twice before they find themselves in a situation they can’t handle or somewhere they don’t belong.

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