The recent news story and drastic events of last week bring up an interesting issue regarding home ownership.

I see heated discussions regularly regarding homes and property at area township planning commission meetings.

Unfortunately, residents react in violent ways at times, the shooting of a man by his neighbor over a property dispute, an example.

What is it about homes and what is attached to them that elicit such a response?

Monday, during a township meeting, the idea of ordinances regarding trees angered some. Township officials wanted to require that trees be protected on land that is not yet developed.

The regulation would not allow the homeowners to cut down the trees on their property once they have moved in. Audience members felt that that was a violation of a homeowner's freedom.

It seems to be something innate that makes people fight for their residences. It becomes their territory.

I live in a small, isolated area with only a few neighbors.

One of my neighbors that owns open fields recently littered them with numerous 'no trespassing' signs. The former owner allowed people to walk and ride horses or bikes on the land.

Following the changing of ownership and posting of the signs, several people did not heed or maybe didn't notice the owner took action. He hid, waited and photographed persons on his property.

He then took his neighbors to court.

It is his property, signs were posted and they were being inconsiderate.

But they were just passing through.

The concept of a stolen home inspired a book and a movie this past year. People seemed to respond to the idea and the anger that would result.

Similarly, a homeowner feels violated if their home has been broken into.

Homes are more than a place and warehouse for our things. A home can express and possibly define a person or family.

The style of a home, the decorations and landscaping are points of pride or soreness for and between neighbors.

The appearance of a home serves as some assessment to many home owners. They are generally ashamed of a messy house or unkempt yard.

The "American Dream" has, at its base, the ideal of home ownership. Others moving into that sacred area is unthinkable. Yet laws continually delve closer and closer into personal lives and what we are doing at home.

Some welcome that, as reasoned by a vested interest in serving the greater good, while others believe that their home is entirely their own.

As I am finding, after my boyfriend and his brother moved into their first home last weekend, a home is a symbol of adulthood and accomplishment.

A fixer-upper, the house will require time, money and sacrifice.

All of these things are done willingly, happily even.

Owning a home is a rite of passage.

Home can also be status; an uglier side of civilized society.

Space and seed of our lives, a home can embody all of the aspects of the family that resides there.


Kate Saunders can be reached at

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