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The Real Meaning of Crop Circles: Vandalism PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

cropgraffitiReader John calls our attention to a recent article in The Mail in which curious sightseers investigating a crop circle saw something unexpected flying overhead: shotgun fire. The report is a bit confused, but it seems that a farmer, one of his cousins, or a hired hand fired a shotgun over the heads of a group of Norwegian tourists who had come to see a recent crop circle.

Why do such a thing? Simple, he says. He was defending his property.

One onlooker was surprised to come under fire:

I have been visiting crop circles for a decade and have in various ways been told that we are not welcome, but this is the first time I have been threatened with a gun.

Farmers have the right to protect their land, but they have no legal right to threaten people. It was totally unnecessary and incredibly scary.

So, let me get this straight... she knows she's not welcome, and admits that famers have a right to protect their land, but these realizations aren't enough for her to stop trampling people's crops. Got it.

I've always wondered what crop circles meant for the owners of the fields where these patterns appear. At least one farmer has made it clear that he'll not tolerate the $2000.00 in damage one circle cost him in crop loss. That includes not only the circle itself, but also the crops trampled by the curious.

While I'm certainly not advocating violence against vandals, it is interesting to note that crop circle hoaxers are given a bit of a pass regarding the law. How is creating a crop circle any different from spray painting a mandala on the side of someone's house? Sure, crops are temporary, but they cost real money, just as repainting a house would. There are also concerns of public safety and equipment damage (irrigation piping is rather fragile).

So while I don't think hiring a masked man to shoot at people is the best approach for keeping from damaging one's property, I do think authorities should treat most crop circles as the acts of vandalism they are. Sure, they can be interesting and even pithy, but if an artist needs to express himself, he should pay for his canvas. In fact, there's an idea... struggling farmers could grow crops for the express purpose of having crop circles created. Maybe there could be a contest... a viewing platform. Might be an interesting addition to a harvest festival.

Failing that, it would be nice if folks just respected one another's property. Crop circles are just another form of graffiti in the end, and while we may snicker at the works of other vandal-artists like Banksy, we should take a moment to consider that art is no excuse for committing a crime.

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A little fertilizer, maybe ...
written by Rustylizard, July 19, 2009
Damned alien pests! Why must they alwasy flatten crops instead of making them grow taller? smilies/cheesy.gif
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written by Jeremy Henderson, July 19, 2009
Headline typo. Although Vandalsim gives me an idea for a videogame.

This article confused me at first, but then I realized why: it didn't take place in America. There are places in the US (I'm looking at you, Texas), where this farmer could have shot these crop circlists and displayed their skulls on fenceposts as a warning to future trespassers and gotten off with a littering fine for not picking up his spent shells.

I'm curious though: what exactly was the point of this article? There has been a lot of criticism lately on the site of articles that don't have anything to do with the site's stated purpose ("an education resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific and the supernatural"), and I can really see why. The article specifically states that crop circles are man-made, and the trespassers are described as "crop circle enthusiasts", but it isn't made clear that they believe they are paranormal in any way. Turning JREF into just another blog so that people can sound off on their views about vandalism and property rights seems like a waste.

EDITED BY JEFFWAGG: Yes yes, it was stealth advertising for my new XBOX game where you join a group of Brooklyn taggers and attempt to avoid the cops while spreading your tag all over town. (Thanks!)
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written by bosshog, July 19, 2009
Typical "eco-tourist".
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written by stacyhead, July 19, 2009
If property damage is your only problem here, I don't see what your problem with this tourist is.

Quite agree that the circle-makers should pay for the damage they cause, but they're so difficult to catch. It's not really fair to pick on the tourists because they're an easier target, is it?


Property damage as the only problem? In this case, it is equivalent to stealing. I know farmers, crop planting and maintanance costs money. Harvesting creates income. So, if a part of the crop is destroyed, it is equivalant to say buying a restaurant, hiring workers, paying them for training, only to have someone come in and set your building on fire with only partial damage. Then in comes vandals to finish off the rest of the building because they are rubber necking to see what happened. In that case, insurance would pay and you've still lost money on training. In the farmers situation, crops are difficult if not impossible to insure. And anyone who is wandering around on the farmers property without permission is not only destroying what's left of their income, they are also trespassing. Webster's definition of trespassing, "to go on another's land or property without permission". The tourists are just as guilty as the destroyer in this case. And to answer your question did she do damage to the crops, the evidence is in the photo. And RustyLizard has a great point, fertilizer which is often manure, would be a great deterent.
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written by Steel Rat, July 19, 2009
Sure, they can be interesting and even pithy, but if an artist needs to express himself, he should pay for his canvas. In fact, there's an idea... struggling farmers could grow crops for the express purpose of having crop circles created. Maybe there could be a contest... a viewing platform. Might be an interesting addition to a harvest festival.


Won't happen. Without the spectre of "aliens did it", people will ignore crop circles, and artists won't make them.
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written by Steel Rat, July 19, 2009
The farmers should just start up the combine, and any "tourists" who don't get out of the way end up in the local supermarket. "Organic Norwegian Spleen" might sell pretty well, who knows.
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written by rvitelli, July 19, 2009
It seems amazing that people think they can just wander onto someone's property without getting permission first. Quite the sense of entitlement there.
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written by redwench, July 19, 2009
Shame there aren't more places like Texas...

I am frequently amused/dismayed by the sheer number of people that think that trespassing doesn't apply to them because they have a good reason (to them) to be there. Got news for you. If you are on private property without the owner's/renter's permission, you are trespassing, and probably deserve to have the daylights scared out of you.
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written by Willy K, July 19, 2009
written by Jeremy Henderson, July 19, 2009 - There has been a lot of criticism lately on the site of articles that don't have anything to do with the site's stated purpose ("an education resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific and the supernatural"), and I can really see why.


I see this article as an important reminder that woo is NOT harmless! It has real costs to society. "Crop Circle" woo might seem to be fairly benign compared to what shysters like S. Browne and J. Edward do, but I kind of doubt the farmers who are victims really see crop circles as harmless fun.
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written by philandstuff, July 19, 2009
stacyhead: I don't see that you've described anything other than property damage. I don't see any evidence that the specific tourist interviewed did damage. I don't see any damage in the photo other than the crop circle itself. I myself have walked through many fields with crops while causing no damage, so it's certainly possible. I also find the comparison to stealing simply bizarre. I accept that trespass is illegal in England, but I don't see how you've answered any of my other points. If you're watching and causing no damage, is that morally wrong?

Where I come from, there is no such thing as trespass. In Scotland, you can walk on any land, regardless of who owns it. You have a responsibility to respect the land and its owner, without which your right to roam disappears. Trespass in itself is not considered to be wrong. You can even camp pretty much anywhere you like, without permission, provided you are responsible. This makes Scotland a fantastic country for walking, hiking, climbing and scrambling. Having been used to these freedoms all of my life, I find it strange that the "land of the free" doesn't have them.
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written by Steel Rat, July 19, 2009
Having been used to these freedoms all of my life, I find it strange that the "land of the free" doesn't have them.


Probably because we're used to being free from trespassers...
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written by philandstuff, July 19, 2009
So are we. There isn't a single trespasser in Scotland smilies/grin.gif
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written by LovleAnjel, July 19, 2009
I don't see that you've described anything other than property damage. I don't see any evidence that the specific tourist interviewed did damage.


I doubt the farmer was interested in waiting for the damage to happen.

Few people realize how fragile plants can be, and simply walking through a cornfield can do some mighty bad damage if you're not careful. Are you going to wait for the teenagers sitting on the hood of your car to dent it, or are you going to tell them to get off of it before that happens?
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written by Noadi, July 19, 2009
I've had a plan for quite some time to make a squid crop circle. However the biggest requirement I have for that is permission from the owner of a field to do it (maybe a hay field they aren't planning to cut again for the yearl). Crop circles are often beautiful and impressive but the vandalism really bothers me.

People wandering through fields causes damage and if you've already had part of your crop ruined you don't want more people in trampling on what's left of your crop (and most non-farmers aren't going to know where you can and can't walk).
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Is an un-harvested crop worth blasting someone's head off?
written by Metatron, July 19, 2009
No, I can't see that deadly force is called for in this case.

It should go without saying that trespass and vandalism shouldn't have to be tolerated.

But, if this farmer had actually unjured or killed one of those visitors to the crop circle, it would be criminal.
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written by Zoroaster, July 19, 2009
The onlooker states, "I have been visiting crop circles for a decade and have in various ways been told that we are not welcome..."

Jeff Wagg interprets this to mean, "So, let me get this straight... she knows she's not welcome, and admits that farmers have a right to protect their land, but these realizations aren't enough for her to stop trampling people's crops. Got it."

I would interpret it to mean that she has been told she is unwelcome at OTHER crop circles in more civil ways and she has respected that and left. I would think there are probably some farmers who tolerate if not welcome curious visitors on their property. Here in Oregon, many farmers cut giant labyrinths into their cornfields and charge tourists to go through them. The article does not state if there were "No Trespassing" or "Private Property" signs posted. These, or just a verbal warning, may have been enough to keep at least that one visitor away. Shooting a shotgun "over the heads" of anybody you don't intend to kill is just stupid.
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written by Steel Rat, July 19, 2009
No, I can't see that deadly force is called for in this case.

No deadly force was used. I'm sure the farmer could have shot them, but just used the weapon as a warning device.

So are we. There isn't a single trespasser in Scotland

Lol, no, just strangers pooping in your yards. Where do I sign up for that?
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written by Jeremy Henderson, July 19, 2009
written by Willy K, July 19, 2009

written by Jeremy Henderson, July 19, 2009 - There has been a lot of criticism lately on the site of articles that don't have anything to do with the site's stated purpose ("an education resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific and the supernatural"), and I can really see why.



I see this article as an important reminder that woo is NOT harmless! It has real costs to society. "Crop Circle" woo might seem to be fairly benign compared to what shysters like S. Browne and J. Edward do, but I kind of doubt the farmers who are victims really see crop circles as harmless fun.


Yes, but where is the woo here? You seem to be assuming that the creators of this circle are out to fool people into thing something paranormal is going on, but there's nothing to indicate that is actually the case.
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Vikings, not Vandals
written by MadScientist, July 19, 2009
I just thought I'd point out the obvious - the Norwegians are not Vandals, they're Vikings.

Farmers still shouldn't be shooting like that; they can be prosecuted even if people were on their property. They should go on over and tell people to go away and perhaps hang up signs telling people to stay away and not to trample their crops.

Most city folk are clueless and rather rude; they just never bother even asking farmers if they can go see thier crop circle (not that many would be happy to see their crops trampled). I suspect many would be happy to let tourists see the circles for a fee, some would just ignore the tourists, and then of course you've got the trigger-happy ones.
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written by Willy K, July 19, 2009
written by Jeremy Henderson, July 19, 2009 - Yes, but where is the woo here? You seem to be assuming that the creators of this circle are out to fool people into thing something paranormal is going on, but there's nothing to indicate that is actually the case.


Jeremy... where have you been the last few decades? Crop Circles have been mainstream in the world of woo for a long time. The crop circle mentioned in this article is not the only one ever made. Do a little research please. smilies/tongue.gif
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written by Jeremy Henderson, July 19, 2009
Yes, I know what crop circles are. I know that a lot of very foolish people claim they're made by aliens when they're actually made by people with sticks and ropes. But there is a big difference between the actual people making the circles, who are mostly pranksters, or "artists", and the people who later stand around in the circle talking about radiation levels and "impossible bending patterns in the stalks."

If the people who made these circles were trying to pass them off as the work of aliens then your point would be valid, but there is no evidence of that whatsoever in the article. The only potentials woos are the tourists who came to look at the circle, but they aren't the ones who created them, so you point that crop circles are evidence that all woo is damaging is meaningless in this context.
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written by philandstuff, July 19, 2009
Lol, no, just strangers pooping in your yards. Where do I sign up for that?

Bizarre assertions plus zero evidence. What are you doing on this site?
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Cashing in...
written by Gaius Cornelius, July 19, 2009
I have seen many crop circles from a distance, but the only one I visited had a man in a deckchair sitting with a rapidly filling cash box at the field entrance. £1 per visitor and it wasnt a very impressive circle, but there were many takers. I wondered if the farmer had made the circle himself; there again, I did just assume that the man with the cash box actually owned the land!
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Avoiding Crop Damage
written by RobbieD, July 20, 2009
As a soil surveyor I have to go around fields with crops in them most weeks. The simple way to avoid damaging the crops is to stick to the traffic control lines that are usually present in arable fields in this country. These lines are twin parallel tracks about 15m apart (clearly seen on the photo at the top of the article)which are used for sprayers and other farm vehicles to access the field without damaging the crop. The long-axis of the control lines is usually along the long-axis of the field, and across the headland on the short-axis there will be a perpendicular line joining all the traffic control lines together. You can get to anywhere in the field to within a few metres by following the traffic control lines and will not damage any crops. This is how the people who make the crop circles get into and out of the field without leaving tracks, though the crop circle woos were very slow to get a handle on this. The traffic control lines have also been used in the past to orient the crop circle pattern, and many of the photographs of crop circles I have see are clearly arranged around the traffic control lines - another dead give-away the woos were slow to spot.

Most modern combined-harvesters will be able to pick up a crop that has been pushed over - such damage is common after high winds or stormy weather, and I would think that the crop within most crop circles could be mostly recovered (a crop that has been blown or pushed over will still ripen). However, if the circle is further trampled by 'tourists' there is likely to be much greater difficulty in harvesting the crop if not total loss - though this does not justify letting off firearms.
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written by Steel Rat, July 20, 2009
Bizarre assertions plus zero evidence. What are you doing on this site?


Well, let's see. In Scotland anyone can enter your property and camp out. Presumably these are humans who consume food and drink, and therefore must defecate and urinate. Where exactly would they do this? Do all property owners in Scotland maintain a bank of porta-potties at various places on their property? Or is the whole place a septic tank?
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written by Steel Rat, July 20, 2009
However, if the circle is further trampled by 'tourists' there is likely to be much greater difficulty in harvesting the crop if not total loss - though this does not justify letting off firearms.


Why not? We don't know if the shotgun was loaded with only rocksalt, and since no one was shot, no harm was done except for some loud noises. No different from the cannons they shoot off at airports to scare birds.
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written by philandstuff, July 20, 2009
Well, let's see. In Scotland anyone can enter your property and camp out. Presumably these are humans who consume food and drink, and therefore must defecate and urinate. Where exactly would they do this? Do all property owners in Scotland maintain a bank of porta-potties at various places on their property? Or is the whole place a septic tank?

Apologies, I misunderstood you. I think this comes under the "be responsible" clause of your right to the use of land. If you camp wild, you dig a hole and bury your shit. You should bury it in a different place each night to prevent a buildup. You should respect farmer's crops, you should steer clear of watercourses to avoid spreading disease. Stick to these rules and most landowners probably never know it happened.

I'm not saying this is how it should be everywhere. What I'm trying to say is that it's not clear that trespass should necessarily be universally illegal in the way that murder and theft are, and to demonstrate this by describing Scotland which gets on fine without it. There is no movement in Scotland to introduce a trespass law. It is possible to get on fine without.
Why not? We don't know if the shotgun was loaded with only rocksalt, and since no one was shot, no harm was done except for some loud noises.

I actually have to agree here; while it'd be terrifying, and the farmer would be a dick to do it, he's not actually endangering or harming anyone.
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written by Steel Rat, July 20, 2009
Apologies, I misunderstood you. I think this comes under the "be responsible" clause of your right to the use of land. If you camp wild, you dig a hole and bury your shit. You should bury it in a different place each night to prevent a buildup. You should respect farmer's crops, you should steer clear of watercourses to avoid spreading disease. Stick to these rules and most landowners probably never know it happened.

I'm not saying this is how it should be everywhere. What I'm trying to say is that it's not clear that trespass should necessarily be universally illegal in the way that murder and theft are, and to demonstrate this by describing Scotland which gets on fine without it. There is no movement in Scotland to introduce a trespass law. It is possible to get on fine without.


No worries. Though such a thing wouldn't work at my place. My dogs would be digging up everyone's shit, lol.
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Where the woo is at.
written by Sadhatter, July 20, 2009
So i would like to clear up the entire crop circles thing with a disgusting analogy.

To all who don't know what an upper decker is when speaking of an act of vandalism it is leaving a #2 in the wrong part of a toilet.

Now friends of mine while inebriated ( and others around the world.) tend to attempt to leave these aweful presents where possible. Knowing full well ( though truth be told not caring much at the time) it is a negative action that could possibly lead to consequences of a violent or monetary nature.

Now because the cash amount would not be much ( no permanent damage done.) there is usually not a sense of guilt or purposely doing vandalism.

Now does this make it okay?

Everywhere is required to have some sort of bathroom facility for health and sanitation reasons,so no one can tell me not to go in the bathroom, in fact one may say it is my right to use the facilities anywhere i go.

Now if the owner of a restaurant caught me as i was sliding the top off of his toilet and dropping trow, should he have the right to say " Hey get out of my place!" and if need be remove me? Or does my right to poop give me the right to drop an upper decker just because it does not cause a large amount of damage?

I think the answer is obvious. Regardless of if your intending to cause permanent damage , someone has the right to tell you to leave if they feel something your doing is causing them harm, or hassle. ( among many other reasons.)

Now beyond the gawkers, crop circles themselves seem to be protected by some weird taboo. I mean strictly speaking it is an act of vandalism. But because someone is saying an alien did it, people don't really seem to mind all that much ( the public, and in some cases the farmers.).

This makes me laugh on a few different levels , but it can be summed up pretty quickly.

Could you imagine reading in the tabloids of mysterious feces appearing randomly in bar toilets? This sounds funny, but really they are in the same ballpark ( though crop circles cause lasting damage). They both consist of 2 elements that are usually in close proximity, ( humans and crops in the case of crop circles) , and they both rely on the fact that during the small time needed for creation no one other than the person doing it is there.

In fact using the same standard of evidence that crop circle enthusiasts use, i defy someone to debunk the upper decker as having anything less than a supernatural explanation.

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written by Steel Rat, July 20, 2009
Everywhere is required to have some sort of bathroom facility for health and sanitation reasons,so no one can tell me not to go in the bathroom, in fact one may say it is my right to use the facilities anywhere i go.


As far as I know, only places which serve prepared food are required to provide restroom facilities to their patrons. That doesn't mean you have the right to use anyone's facilities.
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How far afield we go...
written by Zen66, July 20, 2009
in the these discussions.

This piece is about the real damage done undercover of Woo. Whether it be damage from a true believer or an 'artist' vandalizing for his work. That the piece touches on the clueless nature of those who are more interested in ALIENS than the well being of real human beings, is a nice reminder of the tunnel vision we face in these folks.

The on-going argument in this thread is pretty silly, especially for like-minded skeptics. The single tourist was just an example of a multitude of people who regularly trespass on farmers property (your point, philandstuff, about 'it aint trespass in Scotland if you do no harm' is moot since the tourist -one of many- was blind to the farmers frustration and I doubt she stuck to field paths nor buried her shit. O'c'urse in ScoTlant one coult cross a fiel' an' do no 'arm simply steppin' from stone ta stone an' ne'er touch solit groun'! just kiddin', love Scotland). Any how...

This also is not an appropriate place for gun propaganda. When the issue is about shooting bigfoot because he slept with your daughter then I'll be happy to have that discussion here. Otherwise, there are enough political blogs out there for that. Also: Texas is crazy, there are some good people there but Waco isn't just a town deep in the heart of.

Great article, good to see the change of view on a subject. Keep exposing the bad side of woo for us.
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written by Steel Rat, July 20, 2009
Also: Texas is crazy, there are some good people there but Waco isn't just a town deep in the heart of.


But it is an appropriate place for anti-Texas propaganda apparently.
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Article or Speeding Ticket?
written by Caller X, July 20, 2009
written by rvitelli, July 19, 2009
It seems amazing that people think they can just wander onto someone's property without getting permission first. Quite the sense of entitlement there.


You can do it for hunting purposes in a lot of the U.S., probably including parts of Texas.

Jeff, are you on some sort of quota arrangement? I worry about your critical thinking and reading skills. The person said she (you said it was a she, I hope you got that right) was visiting a crop circle, not creating one. Look at the illustration accompanying your ticket, I mean article: what do you suppose those long straight lines are and how do you suppose hoaxers get on site without trampling crops? Do they fly in their UFOs? To say this article was offal would be an offense to Spam. I really think you can do better, but I've been wrong before.
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Septic
written by Caller X, July 20, 2009
written by Steel Rat, July 20, 2009

(Someone else wrote about Steel Rat) "Bizarre assertions plus zero evidence. What are you doing on this site?"



Well, let's see. In Scotland anyone can enter your property and camp out. Presumably these are humans who consume food and drink, and therefore must defecate and urinate. Where exactly would they do this? Do all property owners in Scotland maintain a bank of porta-potties at various places on their property? Or is the whole place a septic tank?


Yes, it's an enormous problem in Scotland, what with deer and badgers and squirrels and rabbits s'ing and p'ing all over the place; keeps the landowners quite busy with cleanup. Not to mention the salmon fouling the rivers and lakes. Don't even get me started on Nessie.
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I've got to nitpick
written by Sadhatter, July 20, 2009
"As far as I know, only places which serve prepared food are required to provide restroom facilities to their patrons. That doesn't mean you have the right to use anyone's facilities."

While i will state that i should have used less strong wording. I can think of few places that are not required to have facilities that have people in them on even a semi constant basis. Even within the building code, your home must have a toilet in order for someone to live there.

My statement could be more clear in the following manner.

Anywhere that is going to have people needs to provide a toilet facility for many different reasons. Including employee and customer usage.

But i don't think my analogy is harmed if the person happens to be an employee. The fact still stands that if they are caught doing something that is going to cause hassle, or disgust, it is within the rights of the owner of the property to use reasonable force ( or threat thereof) to stop the action. Regardless of the amount of monetary damage caused.
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written by Soapy Sam, July 20, 2009
I agree with Jeff that both making and visiting these things is vandalism- though walking on an already flattened crop is vandalism of a pretty minor sort.
Some farmers in England who supplement their agricultural income with tourist attractions like mazes have been suspected of creating "circles" themselves to bring in the punters, so it's not totally clear that they are always the injured party.

On the Scot's Law / trespass issue, you could always be sued for any damage done and you could be escorted off the land using reasonabvle force if necessary. The newer legislation is an attempt at a common sense compromise to increased (mostly rural) land use for recreation in a country with low average population density and a lot of pretty useless land. It's fair to say that the same solution would seem perfectly applicable in (say) Wyoming, but it's clear the attitude to privacy of land there is very different to that in Scotland. Whether that is connected to the attitude to gun ownership is another can o' worms.

These articles have an international readership and the readers bring their local cultural assumptions to what they read: Discharging a firearm anywhere near people, whether loaded with blanks or not, is seen rather differently on either side of the pond. Many Europeans would see the farmer's action as a disproportionate response- more serious than either the creation or the viewing of the crop circle. Many Americans might find it quite justifiable. And some groups will overlap. I'm sure Jeff is aware of that, but short of a tailored email shot, he can hardly please everybody.
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Seems people don't think trespass is a big deal...
written by Metatron, July 20, 2009
...or that shooting at trespassers is a big deal, either, judging by the voting down of my previous comment.

We have no evidence at all that these shooters were using rock salt. But, if they were, it is pretty non-lethal. I found a nice photo essay on a test done with 12 gauge shotshells loaded with rock salt here: http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot33.htm. Admittedly, their URL is suspect, but the test done seemed straightforward enough.

@Steel Rat: A whistle is a warning device. A shotgun is a weapon. People should never be cavalier about that distinction.
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written by Steel Rat, July 21, 2009
A whistle is a warning device. A shotgun is a weapon. People should never be cavalier about that distinction.


Who said anything about a whistle? A weapon can be used as a warning device. It tells the persons you're warning that you mean business. Right or wrong, it was the farmer's option. But blaming the victim for wanting hordes of people off his property is the wrong way to go. If he had actually shot someone, then we would be having a different discussion.
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Or, what's the limit?
written by Metatron, July 21, 2009
Indeed, Steel Rat, you could use a weapon as a warning device, but why would you?

If we take your suggestion to it's limit, how would it be to dig some holes in the ground near your feet with a high powered rifle as a warning? You'd certainly get the message, I'm sure. Would this be an acceptable warning to ward off trespassers or vandals? For example, I'm a very good shot. I won't hit you.

I'm guessing that sounds like a pretty foolish idea.

Had those shooters "missed", and landed a load of shot in someone's face, or even took out one of their eyes with a single pellet, would that have been a proportionate response to the trespass?

My point is only this. There are other ways of warning off trespassers that are not potentially so dangerous as shotgun fire.

Any professional will tell you firearms are lethal weapons. Their use is a last resort when the intent is to kill. This is their purpose. If a lethal reply to a situation is necessary, a warning is not only dangerous, but likely to put the shooter in the losing side. Our police services and military are trained to aim for center of mass, a kill shot. By the time such violence is needed, it is past the time for warnings.

Better to stay out of those situations, by far.
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my experience
written by MonkeyBoy, July 21, 2009
I would never use lethalforce or force of any kind to "protect" my crops or land.
I have been at the wrong end of a violence threat for asking people to stop trampling through my winter wheat.A group of students decided it would be "funny" to make one of these circles and it was reported in the local newspaper. People drove from kilometers around to see this "mysterious phenomenon". Where should I start?. With the people trampling even more of the crop, blocking routes to my other fields with their cars, going to the toilet anywhere they felt like, letting their dogs do the same, one stupid man even setting up a barbecue!!!.Believe me asking politely did not work. Verbal attacks and the threat of violence from one man were the answers. Anyway long story short. I removed the circle (about 24m across)by mulching it. The people stopped coming one woman asked how I could destoy this "miracle".I gave up. I wish people like her would see the true miracle on that field that happens with more or less success every year without fail or on second thoughts maybe not.

@RobbieD the lanes are not for walkers!. You must know very well the dangers in walking through without asking permission.(my friend Hardi says hallo).

To the comment about crops blown down. This is not the same. We accept that nature sometimes gives us a hard work we always get more back. What I do not accept is why some human would do this on purpose it has no purpose.
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written by Steel Rat, July 21, 2009
Indeed, Steel Rat, you could use a weapon as a warning device, but why would you?


Ever heard of a "warning shot"? Firearms are used as warning devices all the time. Sometimes it's just enough to show someone you have one and they'll stop acting silly. Maybe the farmer should have quickly beaten his plowshare into a sword and brandished it.

Perhaps the farmer had tried being polite, then less and less polite, to no avail. We simply don't know. We DO know that he didn't shoot anyone, nor is it implied that he was aiming at anyone. So taking the analogy the extreme isn't justified here.
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Of course...
written by Metatron, July 21, 2009
Sure, Steel Rat.

I'd like to hear your tune if you are ever on the wrong end of a "warning shot".

I am curious, how do you differentiate between a warning shot and an incompetent miss?

Worth noting, is that we do not know that the shooters weren't aiming at anyone, either.
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written by Steel Rat, July 21, 2009
I'd like to hear your tune if you are ever on the wrong end of a "warning shot".


How do you know I haven't been?

I am curious, how do you differentiate between a warning shot and an incompetent miss?


Simple. If you can see the shooter, and he's pointing the weapon clearly not AT anyone, then it's a warning shot, or just for fun. Did I really need to explain that??

Worth noting, is that we do not know that the shooters weren't aiming at anyone, either.


Seems pretty clear to me he wasn't. There was no description of trying to hit anyone, and no description of people running away screaming as someone tried to shoot at them. Did I really need to explain that too?

The point here is, people were trespassing, the farmer was trying to protect his property. He acted within the law, I believe. Show me otherwise.
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Carry on, Steel Rat
written by Metatron, July 22, 2009
Blast away, pal.

Clearly, nothing is going to change your mind on what is acceptable or even necessary force.

I for one, am glad to know your views are in the minority. I hope you or someone like you doesn't end up killing a trespasser. The truth is though, that someone will.
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metatron
written by Steel Rat, July 22, 2009
You've obviously read a lot more into what I've said than I actually said, nothing I can do about that. FWIW, I've been a gun owner for over 20 years, served in the military, never had to use a weapon in anger. Heck, I've never even taken them out of their cases except to clean them or go to the range. So yeah, you're making a lot of ASS-U-mptions.

I'm sure trespassers have been killed, and will be in the future. Tragic, but it happens. Perhaps they shouldn't have trespassed, perhaps the property owner shouldn't have used lethal force. But unless you're going to go over each case separately, your generalization is pretty pointless.
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In sane countries,
written by Paul Murray, July 25, 2009
In places sane and civilised, you do not in general have the right to discharge firearms at people except (possibly) to defend your own life or the lives of another. And even then, it's iffy.

There are parts of the world whose laws and constitution were penned by the owning classes, where property rights trump every other legal principle, to the point where all other legal principles have to be framed as "rights" (things that you somehow "have" and which can be "taken" from you) in order to get any legal consideration at all, but England is not one of them.

Although it's not important, crop circle do not damage crops, which spring back in a few days. At a guess, this farmer might have been growing something among the wheat that he didn't want looked at by too many people.
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written by Steel Rat, July 26, 2009
In places sane and civilised, you do not in general have the right to discharge firearms at people


Again, show me where the farmer shot "at" anyone.
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