Halloween Trickers Go To School Principal’s House To TP His Trees . . . Neighbor Shoots Boy With Shotgun

1029a01_farris_t240In Franklin County, Tennessee, children may want to avoid the house of Dale Bryant Farris, 65, this Halloween . . . or houses near him. Bryant was arrested after shooting a 15-year-old boy who was with kids toilet-papering their principal’s front yard. Bryant came out of his house a couple of houses down from the home of Principal Ken Bishop and allegedly fired at least two blasts — one hitting a 15-year-old boy in the right foot, inner left knee, right palm, right thigh and right side of his torso above the waistline.

Tennessee is a Castle Doctrine state and we have seen past cases like the notorious Tom Horn case in Texas where homeowners claimed the right to shoot intruders on the property of their neighbors. I have long been a critic of such laws because the common law already afforded ample protections and the laws appear to encourage some people to use potentially lethal force. It is not clear if Bryant will argue that he was trying to stop intruders under the law, but it does not appear a good fit with the purpose or language of the law. The law speaks of breaking into a residence:

(c) Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury within a residence, business, dwelling or vehicle is presumed to have held a reasonable belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury to self, family, a member of the household or a person visiting as an invited guest, when that force is used against another person, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence, business, dwelling or vehicle, and the person using defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.

The law does have a curtilage provision extending the range of a home: ““Curtilage” means the area surrounding a dwelling that is necessary, convenient and habitually used for family purposes and for those activities associated with the sanctity of a person’s home.” However, residence is narrowed to mean “a dwelling in which a person resides, either temporarily or permanently, or is visiting as an invited guest, or any dwelling, building or other appurtenance within the curtilage of the residence.”

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Chris Guess seemed to have such a defense in mind when he said “The problem is they were not on his property and they were not doing anything to his property. Some kids got out at a residence over there to roll it with toilet paper and this gentleman came out of his residence a couple of houses over and shot one of the teenagers who was rolling this other guy’s yard.”

Farris faces a charge of aggravated assault and another of reckless endangerment. He could also face civil liability from the boy’s family. This would include assault and battery. There is a privilege of both self-defense and defense of others. This privilege included reasonable mistaken self-defense or defense of others. This would not fit such a claim since he effectively pursued the boys by going to a neighbor’s property and there was no appearance of a threat or weapon since they were only armed with toilet paper.

As for more carnage, well its anyone’s guess according to Sgt. Guess: “Don’t do anything that would cause anybody distress or make them think you might do them harm.”

So much for the trick in trick and treating. That leaves threatening to read bad poetry or play Barry Manilow tunes on Halloween. (Actually, even I would be pushed to violence with the Manilow trick and no jury outside of Vegas would convict me).  The good news is that Farris can now go to Halloween dressed as himself . . . once he posts bail.


Source: Times Free Press

31 thoughts on “Halloween Trickers Go To School Principal’s House To TP His Trees . . . Neighbor Shoots Boy With Shotgun”

  1. When I was a kid in suburban DC, people used to ride motorocycles through a farm. The farmer would be outside with his shotgun and shoot rocksalt at them. Nobody called the police or cried about it. The parents of the development gave a pretty uniform response to the situation, ” Well dont ride through his farm and you will not have to worry about it”

    Not saying the same situation is occuring here. Just observing how pathetic and pussified we have become.

  2. This is exactly the kid of guy that makes it bad for responsible gun owners.

    And his guns should be confiscated & his name should go on the black list.

  3. the only gun i’ve ever heard used on yard decorators is the one on the end of a garden hose.

    and it was a dam cold ride home in the back of a pick-up in late october.

  4. We call someone who hates Christmas a Jeremiah Ebenezer Scrooge or a short version of that. I wonder if there is a name for somebody who hates Halloween other than a crank or party pooper. Heck,we’re talking TP aren’t we? My door stays locked, my lights will be out. It will hopefully deter anyone from ringing the bell and making my dog bark like crazy. Didn’t grow up with Halloween and did my best during my daughter’s young life and unless I become grandma, I’m happy to forget about yet another way of getting money out of people’s pockets. Not to speak about the teachers who will be extremely exhausted by Friday night, the police and fire fighters who will have to deal with ‘stupid’, the doctors at the ER’s who will also have to deal with ‘stupid’ and children who will feel like failures because their costumes weren’t as cool as they had hoped for and more. Grumble, grumble.

  5. raff, rule here seems to be to find out if I stocked any of the sweet stuff. If I didn’t they show up and make me feel bad. If I stock up, they don’t show. I went out in the rain so they don’t have to get wet later. And I’ll have the goodies. 🙂

  6. I don’t think I will be seeing too many trick or treaters today as it is pouring rain outside here in Northern Illinois. I better get busy stealing those Milky Ways! 🙂

  7. Nobody out there is doing the poop on the stoop trick anymore. Here is how ya do it. In a paper shopping bag insert a large amount of dog poop, or human poop if there is no dog poop. Squirt some lighter fluid on the bag, and place it on the PrinciPal’s front porch at Nine pm while he is in the living room watching Popeye. Light the bag. Ring the door bell and run off to a place to observe. When he comes out and stomps all over the bag the poop will go all over him and his porch.

    This is much better than TP.

  8. Mike S.,

    If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect your father was a dentist. 😉

    (See How To Trade Halloween Candy thread: “Of course there was always the dentist passing out toothbrushes. His kids always spent their time apologizing to the rest of us and we felt so sorry for them.”)

    1. “Mike S.,
      If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect your father was a dentist. ;)”


      Nope car dealer, car salesman, scrapyard owner, “woven plastic” manufacturer and believe it or not Treasury Agent (at least that’s what he told me). If you think about it though 3 of the 5 have similarities to dentistry. 🙂

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