No. 236



The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution is known as the Bill Of Rights. One of these rights that we all cherish is the right to private ownership. It was the genius of our forefathers to permit every citizen to hold ownership in a home, a farm, a business or other forms of tangible wealth. Article five states in part, Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation. The term private property is what I want to focus on for our visit today.

I was visiting with one of our neighbors the other day and he told me that he was down on the backside of his property the day before and someone had built a fence right across the corner of his property. Since he owned it and was paying taxes on it, naturally it did not sit well with him. It turned out that a man had bought a piece of property adjacent to his and without having it surveyed, he just put up a fence where he thought his line was.

It took a little doing to get it straightened out and for this man to move his fence but here was a clear case where a property owners rights had been violated. Sadly enough, the disputes over property lines have caused a lot of conflicts and hurt feelings and sometimes with tragic consequences. When it comes to our rights, especially our property, it does not take most of us long to swing into action.

As I was thinking about this I was reminded of a story my friend Bob Murphy told several years ago. It seems a government agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture came by to see this farmer one day. He walked up on the porch and knocked on the front door and the farmer came out. The government agent said, Ive come by to inspect your grain program, your livestock, to check to see if you have any soil erosion and to make sure you are complying with mandate No. 428 with regards to building a pond on your land.

The farmer, being a little miffed, said, I dont have time to do all these things so get off my property. At this point the government agent pulled out his card and said, I represent the United States Government and I have a right to check on your grain program, I have a right to check on your livestock, I have a right to see if you have any soil erosion and I have a right to see if your are complying with mandate No. 428 with regards to the construction of your pond. The farmer said, Well, do all those things you have a right to do then get off my property.

After this exchange, the government agent walked out to a little trap, which is a holding pen for loading cattle to ship to the sale barn, and crawled over the fence. What he didnt see around the corner was a very big bull. When the bull saw this man, he taken to him and the closest thing to him was a small tree with some low hanging branches. This government agent barely made it to this tree and grabbed on a bottom limb and pulled himself up just barely out of reach of the bull that, by now, was hooking the air just below the seat of his pants. After a bit he started to slip, as Bob said, he had been with the government for some time and then he started to holler, Come get this bull!

He kept on hollering until finally he roused the farmer from inside the house and he came out on the porch. It didnt take him long to size up the situation and the government agent kept hollering, Come get this bull! At this point the farmer cupped his hands so he would be sure and hear him and he hollered, Show him your card. My friend Bob Murphy just has a way of telling a story but there is a real message here. While most of us respect the rights of others, some people and most bulls dont. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)