After hunters trespassed on Susannah B. Lewis’ land, she decided that something had to be done about the matter. So, Lewis took things into her own hands by placing a warning sign on her property. But that wasn’t all, since she would also post a rather stark message online directed towards any potential intruders.
Lewis is an author and humorist known to many under her blog name “Whoa Susannah.” And through her social media channels, the mom of two regularly chooses to share her daily successes and struggles – some snippets of which have gone viral.
And while many of Lewis’ posts revolve around her daughter and son, in 2016 she took to YouTube with a video tackling an altogether different subject matter. It appeared that Lewis was experiencing some trouble with trespassers on her land, and she’d finally had enough.
The clip in question opens with Lewis standing by a tree, to which a sign stating “Private Property – No Trespassing” in bold red writing is attached. Then, as the camera rolls, the blogger taps the notice a few times with a hammer, as if to emphasize its importance.
Next, Lewis addresses her audience, saying, “Oh, hey y’all! It’s Whoa Susannah.” Explaining the content matter of her video – or, as she calls it, her public service announcement (PSA) – she continues, “Today’s PSA is about signage.”
Addressing any potential disapproval to her new warning, Lewis added, “I know. Signs, signs – everywhere, signs. What gives you the right to keep me out and keep Mother Nature in? Maybe you’re a Tesla fan, and I get it.”
However, while Lewis first appears understanding of why some people might think that trespassing is acceptable, it soon emerges that she’s unwilling to tolerate anyone creeping uninvited onto her land. And that particularly seems to be the case when it comes to hunters.
Displaying some of the signature sarcasm that her followers have come to love, Lewis opines, “Just because that big buck you’ve had your eye on walks off of your property onto someone else’s doesn’t mean you don’t want to shoot it.”
At this point, Lewis appears to be really getting into her stride. She continues, “I understand. You can just taste those venison steaks, you can just see that mount hanging on your wall. However, let me break down this sign for you here in Southern terms.”
Waving her tool towards the sign, she adds, “‘Private Property – No Trespassing’ means this ain’t your land, [so] stay off. See this little blank piece right down here? If you don’t follow those warnings, you can always write in, ‘or you will be shot.’”
Hammering her point home, Lewis asks, “Now what good is a venison steak going to do you if you’re dead? Am I right? So when you see these signs, please obey them. This ain’t your property, stay off!” Turning her stern facial expression into a smile, she then finishes her video with a “God bless.”
Then, after signing off, Lewis shared her warning video on both YouTube and Facebook. On the latter site, the footage has now clocked up more than five million views and has been shared over 32,000 times. Furthermore, plenty of people seem to support the blogger’s mission to stamp out trespassing.
Writing in the comments to the Facebook post, one user said, “You go, girl! Here in Yankee country, it translates the same exact way. One thing we can agree on!” Meanwhile, another person added, “Girl, YESSS!!! We’ve got trespassers who apparently can’t read those signs.”
And it seemed that Lewis wasn’t the only person who has had a trespassing problem. That’s because many of her Facebook followers recounted invasions of their own. Apparently, some of them had also placed warning signs around their property in an attempt to keep people away.
One woman revealed, for instance, “We have the same problem! People out for a walk [who] decide to cut through my neighbor’s farm field then cut through our yard! If you’re out walking for exercise, why are you taking short cuts?”
However, not everybody agreed with Lewis’ hardline approach to trespassers. “Are people really so overprotective and selfish about their ‘land’ that they’d put another life in danger over it?” one person asked. “It’s not YOUR land, and as far as I’m concerned Mrs. Nice Southerner Lady, it was never your land to begin with.”
While trespassing laws vary from state to state in the U.S., it is entirely lawful for property owners to put up “trespassers will be shot” signs on their land. However, such signs have no legal effect. Generally speaking, it is against the law to use deadly force in order to protect a property unless the home or land owner can prove they acted in self-defence – and even then only in certain circumstances.
On the whole, though, a number of people who display such signs are likely to do so as a deterrent. They no doubt hope that potential trespassers read the warning and decide not to risk their lives. Whether the property owner would ever pull the trigger or not is another matter.
And for Lewis, it seems that her sign was a last resort. On her Facebook account, she explained how she had already let poison ivy grow around some of her trees in order to put off any intruders. However, the rash-causing plant had proved ineffective.
And while it’s not known whether Lewis’ sign worked in preventing any more hunters from coming onto her property, the video of her warning certainly caused a stir online. Hopefully, then, potential offenders saw the footage – or the sign – and decided to take heed.