Here’s one for the STUPID file: Woman arrested for letting her lawn get brown

Ok, in case you have not read the story (which is all over the news), take a minute to read it. Go on… I’ll wait.

Oh, good. You are back. Okay, so are you thinking what I am thinking? Like GOSH HOW STUPID CAN PEOPLE BE?

Never mind that this woman was technically resisting an officer. Never mind that they actually drove her down to the police station because she did not want to give a police office her name. Let’s get down to what started this whole snafu in the first place.

A woman failed to water her lawn and she is being charged in court for this.

In Utah, which I might remind you is a state in constant conflict within itself and with its neighboring states over water rights. ย  In Orem, UT, which I believe is located in a desert.

A woman failed to water her lawn and she is being charged in court for this.

Tell me someone else is not shaking their head and wondering what sort ofร‚ย screwed up society we live in where a woman WHO LIVES IN A DESERT is charged with a crime because her lawn is brown.

I just want to point this is another reason why I cannot ascribe to the environmental movement anymore. The government can preach to me all day long about how I need to clean up my act as a good citizen, but I don’t think it is really fair that the government makes laws counter to this preaching. Don’t overuse your water on silly things like washing dirty used cars, but by golly if you had better water that lawn or you will be facing some pretty stiff fines.

It is ridiculous. For god sakes… If I was on city council in Orem, I would be calling an emergency meeting and rescinding a few of these stupid lawn laws then apologizing as quickly as possible to this woman, the residents of Utah and the citizens of the US for being a mockery of the American justice system and the environmental movement in general.

31 thoughts on “Here’s one for the STUPID file: Woman arrested for letting her lawn get brown
  1. I’ve lost all respect for the environmental movement. Don’t get me wrong. I care about my environment. I do my best not to pollute, I try to be responsible about how I effect mother Earth. But I am so sick and tired of apologizing for being a human on this earth. Environmentalists are so busy making humans into evil destroyers they’ve forgotten something. We didn’t invade from outer space or come from some place other than earth. We are PART of the planet we live on. I refuse to feel guilty or apologize for that!


    Scott Reply:

    The fact of the matter is, human beings are destructive. In order to determine the limits of something, people surpass them. If you want to guess how much force it takes to snap a twig, you recall all the previous twigs you have snapped to draw a comparison. If you want to KNOW how much force it takes to snap a twig, you snap the twig. By the time we know the limits of the Earth, it’ll already be too late. Unfortunately, humans are also pretty stupid, so it’s inevitable.

    Ultimately human beings’ desire for knowledge will be our downfall.


    Johny Reply:

    Comment removed for failing to play by the rules. No name calling.


    Mihail Reply:

    Deleted for not follwing the rules. Play nice kids or don’t play.


    pyrodice Reply:

    The facts expand to include ALL life being destructive. It rearranges the previous order, breaks bonds, kills lesser lifeforms, changes the balance to suit itself… We’re just the only species to have a guilt-complex about things like… eating food.


  2. I live in Utah and have heard a bit more about the case, she was arrested for resisting arrest (she wouldn’t give her name to the officer, among other things) – I still think the whole incident shows massive amounts of idiocy on the part of the police officer, who was put on leave, but the media ought to stop making it a sensational story about her lawn when that was not, as I understand it, the reason she was arrested.


    Todd Reply:

    The problem you are not seeing is the woman should not
    have been arrested in the first place. Police do not have common-
    sense anymore and because of that they abuse their power.


    Lee Sager Reply:

    I think that the real issue is that it’s becoming increasingly common for police to use force that is nothing less than crazy. You can get on YouTube and see old women and men doing little to nothing being slammed to the ground as if they were 25 year old rampaging meth-heads. My dad is old, and old is ornary. Old has lived, fought in wars, wants to be left alone, and sometimes old just refuses to play along with sophmoric games in a system that has long since passed them by. They don’t understand today’s technology, attitudes or behaviors, and then they are confronted with it at their front doors, refuse to play, and receive an assault that is waaaay too much. I was in the Army for 9 years, and we had to study the principle of escalation in warfare. If a nation takes some of your citizens prisoner, you can’t drop a nuclear bomb on their capital! That is essentially what occured here…


  3. @Beadknitter: You are right, we are part of the planet we live on. But does this necessarily mean, we have to destroy it?


  4. Muum – I realize that the reason she was arrested was because she resisting an officer, but that does not change the fact that the city sent a police officer to her house to question her about having a brown lawn. Frankly, if I had a police officer show up on my doorstep asking me why I had not watered my lawn (in a desert), I wouldn’t give my name either. I’d be asking isn’t there a robbery or some form of real crime that he should be investigating? What a waste of taxpayer money.

    And I do think that they should have this splashed across newspapers. This is exactly the kind of municipal waste and stupidity that our newspapers should be covering, instead of what time Britanny Spears drug test is at.

    Beadknitter – I personally feel like I have lived my whole life at the edge of some “enviromental” crisis, thanks to the chicken little attitudes of enviromentalists. I no longer know what is a real concern or just another “Sky is Falling” idea.

    heiner – You are right. We shouldn’t destroy it. But at some point in time the enviromental movement needs to stop making people feel that EVERYTHING they do is bad. That is really all they have done for the past two decades. People are now at the point that they feel so overwhelmed that they are no longer willing to do anything.


  5. This is both ridiculous and sad. I’m glad to live in a country where we don’t have these laws. If I don’t water my lawn and it gets brown, nobody gives a hoot. And that is just as it should be IMO.


  6. Speaking as a biologist,and a researcher–I have seen things get steadily worse each year. I very much fear for our future, and the ability of the planet to support humans at a comfortable level long term. I also have NOTHING to do with wackjob groups like Greenpeace.

    Just because the media packages things in an alarmist way, that doesn’t mean there isn’t really a crisis.

    I volunteer at a bird sanctuary, and when we aren’t dealing with owls and hawks dying from west nile virus, we’re trying to figure out how to get rid of starlings and preserve habitat. That’s just one example.
    Food is a bigger issue, as is water. Expect shortages in the future, or at the very least higher prices.

    This is a crazy story. WTF are police doing enforcing laws about lawns?
    Symbol of our ‘appearance over substance’ obsession, these days.
    Want less pesticide use? Accept an apple with blemishes.

    *bug stomps off in disgust, muttering*


  7. Blaming Enviromentalists for the condition of the planet is like having a house full of kids and talking about over population. I ride a bike to work, even in winter. I live close to work. I buy as little packaging as I can. I conserve electricity. I volunteer at a nature preserve to help educate kids. I AM part of the enviromental movement. This issue is about neighborhood standards. It is about people wanting stupid things for the sake of appearences. This woman was roughed up for no reason. I feel lawn sprinklers should be outlawed. Thank you for letting me rant on the stupidity of mankind. Perhaps the planet would be better off without us. And don’t get me started on the concept of a god puttong us here to destroy the planet, he is only going to anyway!!!


  8. That is nuts. There was a gentleman in my hometown who planted a wildflower meadow in the front of his business rather than a lawn. It was beautiful and required no watering as it was made up of all plants native to the area. Of course, some nitwit had to complain about the “weeds.” The business was located between an empty used car lot and a plumbing supply store with no lawn, just a stone parking lot. At first the city told him he had to mow it down, till a petition was submitted with hundreds of signatures on it from folks saying how much they enjoyed it.
    By the way, I think we need to start a drive to replace grass with Creeping Charlie as the official lawn plant. You don’t have to mow it, it smells good when you walk on it, it has pretty purple flowers, and you sure as heck can’t kill it! Apparently it also has uses as a medicinal herb and in beer making. Who knew?


    Alex Reply:

    The wildflower lawn is an awesome idea, something I’ve always wanted to do. The reason we don’t replace grass with Creeping Charlie is probably because is can be poisonous to dogs and cats, and grass isn’t.


  9. I agree, it’s wrong to make people feel that everything they do is bad. But I think it’s still a good idea, to lay a finger on the things, that are actually bad.

    Many people (me definitely included) often simply don’t know about all the environmental consequences of their doings. But once I know that I’m doing wrong, the only way to prevent these guilty feelings is to try to change my behavior.


  10. This is just another in a continuing litany of massive stupidity among government bureaucrats of late. First there was the cutting down of the native plant garden in Toronto, then a woman in Buffalo is probably going to be charged for HER yard, someone else in Colorado has grass that’s too long (see Garden Rant and Ketzel Levine’s Talking Plants blogs for details)…If it wasn’t scary, it would be hilarious. How do these idiots get elected and make these sorts of bylaws, anyway?


  11. I tawt I saw a lawn here… Utah a brown lawn here. I did i did !

    So how did the officer of the law find her house and the brown lawn and not know her name ? A regular sherlock holmes, eh ?

    So could she paint it instead of watering it ? eco paint of course !

    The lawn, not the officer, that would be another ticket !


  12. Yes, someone in the old part of Houston had a beautiful wildlife garden the city removed too. Lawns are so bad for the environment. She was doing us all a favor by neglecting it. ( By not wasting water or using toxic chemicals to keep it green. )

    Last I knew I did not live in a police state and you were not required to carry id or id yourself to police. I do not think she was under any legal obligation to id herself to the officer? Anyone know different? Have things changed that much?


  13. actually, under the patriot act, you are required to identify yourself. Carrying ID is not required, but refusing to produce it when asked is illegal now.

    Yes, things have changed that much.


  14. Okay. Let’s be legal-minded here for a second (which is not always the same thing as logical). It’s true that she was not arrested directly for having a brown lawn–but at the same time, had she not this brown lawn, there wouldn’t have been a PO on her doorstep grabbing her by the arm and asking her who she was.

    Perhaps, when she went into the house, she was going to get some ID to show him. Not very likely, from the way I read the story, but it’s possible. Or, being a 70-year-old woman home alone and faced with a PO, she could well have been alarmed and overwhelmed and scared and intimidated.

    According to the law, are you allowed to grab someone like that if the person is simply walking away? Does that constitute resisting arrest? In any case, when a 70 year old falls and hits her nose, there’s the potential for much more damage than when a 30 year old falls and hits her nose.

    And now, for the whole green lawn in a desert thing. Allow me to ask this question: WHERE OH WHERE IS THE CITY OF OREM GETTING ALL THIS WATER FROM? I’ll tell you where. Dams. Dammed rivers. Which has created all manner of fucked up wildlife and ecohabitats and whatnot. By comparison:

    The City of Denver requires that at least ONE of the faucets in your home be a water-saving/aerating faucet. (and this was the last time I was there, in 1993. I suspect the laws are more stringent now)

    The City of Spokane actually LIMITS the number of days per week and the number of hours per day (not to mention which hours) you can water your lawn.

    Can we say California?

    The bottom line is, an ecosystem can only support a certain amount of life. At the root of it (pun not intended but very ironically appreciated) the amount of life it can naturally sustain is in direct relation TO ITS WATER SOURCES. We can mess with that, artificially draw water from other sources for a limited amount of time, etc…..but the bottom line is, that water’s got to come from somewhere else, which therefore has an impact on another ecosystem. To water LA, you need to drain Colorado. To water Orem, you need to drain….???? Somebody.

    Apparently it’s this little old lady.

    And seriously. In the middle of a DROUGHT? They don’t have droughts in the DESERT. It’s called THE DESERT. The people in Orem who decided this phenomenon of having no rain was a drought are the same people who think lawns should be green in Utah. Hello. Lawns should be green in Utah for about ten minutes after it rains for that week in April. Then it’s okay for them to turn brown. Because that’s what non-native “lawn” grass species do when you plant them somewhere that has insufficient water for it.

    Otherwise, it would grow there in the first place.

    Duh, duh, and duh.

    Thank you, Hanna, for getting me into a lather once again. ๐Ÿ™‚


  15. My gas guzzling truck’s bumper sticker reads “Stop Global Whining”.

    It’s time to stop all the whining and actually “do” something about it. This little lady was helping in her own way, whether she knew it or not. Could be, she just didn’t have the strength to drag the damn hose all over creation!

    I live in a climate where I need a 4 wheel truck and snow plow, so I try to do whatever else I can to keep from polluting even more; I, hang clothes out to dry, wash them in cold water,compost my kitchen waste and use it to fertilize my garden, turn off lights I don’t need,grow as many of my veggies as I can, feed birds and other wildlife, keep dead trees up on my property to give the wild life a place to live – I could go on and on. Each of us must do what we can to help the environment without going to stupid extremes. Just my opinion.


  16. There really is no ‘live and let live’ anymore is there? I think it is human nature to ‘one up’ each other and that applies to the environmental movement also as evidenced by the necessity to list our contributions of earth friendly actions. We cannot go back to the 16th century and no one wants to do they? I like the washing machine, the indoor plumbing (although a composting toilet sounds like a good idea), the car and yes, the computer. All driven by fossil fuels. Let’s work together to get our politicians ranting and hollering for tax credits for alternate energy sourcing. And, let’s be tolerant and supportive of those less enlightened which includes all of us at certain given moments.


  17. yolanda elizabet – is it though?

    bug_girl – I know what you mean but how can I tell the difference between true crisis and blown out of proportion?

    gus – I don’t blame enviromentalists for what is happening just for spending too many years telling us that the world is ending. Eventually people stop listening, is all.

    Nana – I think that the Creeping Charlie in my lawn have already made the executive decision to replace my lawn. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    heiner – point taken.

    jodi – It is so sad, isn’t it?

    Uncle John – heheheh

    Linda MacPhee-Cobb – Exactly!

    thefirecat – You go, woman! (feel free to rant anytime ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    Giddy – And that is how it should be.

    Layanee – Wisely put.


  18. I’m in Qld, Australia in the thick of drought and
    anyone that waters plants in their front yard has a
    little sign that says *we use tank water or
    recycled water* to prevent the neighbours on the
    block from having a few loud things to say about it
    . I’m not even game to wipe my car over with a
    wet rag in view of the neighbours.

    No one has a green lawn…we don’t use hoses or
    sprinklers, wash the outside of houses or hose
    cement..all against the law. We can only water
    our gardens 3 days a week before 7am and after 7pm.
    And you wouldn’t want to be doing too much of
    that either as the goal is 140L per household. But goodness, its enforced by city council
    (but mostly by public opinion alone)…not police.
    And anyone over seventy who broke those laws
    because they couldn’t lug buckets or follow those hours ….sheesh….
    you wouldn’t have anything to say about it.

    I can’t even remember what a green lawn looks like.

    Wow, and in another part of the world you can go to jail for NOT watering your lawn.


  19. Spurwing Plover on

    The outright stupididy of greens what else will they try i mean only a idiot would have anything to do with ether the SIERRA CLUB or GREENPEACE


  20. Blitz'd on

    As far as I understand it, not giving i.d when asked is ‘failing to provide i.d. when requested’, which can get you arrested. Maybe that’s what he was doing when he grabbed her, she pulled back (natural), he yanked, she being lighter then she looks coz she’s old, she falls. Now either pulling her arm away, or falling to the ground, therefore out of his grasp, could, if the PO wishes, be called resisting arrest. Lets face it, anything and nothing can and is used by police as resisting arrest. The was the case of the boy who fell off an overpass and broke his back. 5 or more cops showed up. he was moaning and asking for help, cops yelling for him to not move, stay down. Cops surround him all fire tazars, multi times. Report says he resisted arrest and appropriate force was used.
    Police are trained to react to violent, dangerous situations and people. The training is relatively quick and general, leaning more towards how to quickly incapacitate deadly and armed desperate criminals with nothing to lose. Then sent out to deal with stupid humans with every day situations and crimes NOT containing terrorists or madmen with automatic weapons, but old ladies; aggravating, little shitheads(who do need a good flogging IMHO); and crazy, backward, inbred, under-educated morons(i.e. the rest of us). In other words things they are not trained to deal with. Also remember that POs are people to. That is stupid, moronic, etc…
    Then there is the macho attitude of LEOs, those type of profession attract bully-boys and a-holes, and of those who are not, the way they are looked at and treated by the public quickly sours them.
    I feel sorry for most coppers, disdain for all of them generally and glad that, as bad and all that they are, we had them coz sometimes, just some times, they do really good and we need them.
    But really, it’s not so much the cops as the law makers that make stupid laws that allow cops to bother us when we are NOT killing or robbing or raping.


  21. Blitz'd on

    Oh! Like almost everyone else I over looked the main issue. The lawn. Now I understand some neighborhoods have some kind of ascetics standard. But that would be enforced by the local council or neighborhood committee, they would issue fines. Eventually they may take legal action, unpaid fines or failure to fulfill contract or some such. Then, if worst came to worst, the bailiff, sheriff would call and arrest “Mrs J. Doe”, not some random copper driving past asking “…oh and by the way, what’s your name and do you know how to get back to the station from here?”.


  22. Pshh. Wait….we have to water our lawns? O-o Guess I never got the memo…
    That’s just dumb. I’d resist arrest too. -facepalm-


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