For What It’s Worth

Assumptions can be wrong

Interesting what can happen sometimes when assumptions are made.

Last week, for example, drug agents swarmed onto a property in Union County, Illinois, expecting to find a meth operation. Instead, they discovered a man’s hobby of making homemade maple syrup.

Resident Laura Benson told a TV station reporter that the drug agents acted on a report of a meth lab on the Bensons’ property. Why would the agents have such a report? Apparently, Benson suggests, because of an assumption. “I think my neighbors on their way to church see the buckets and stuff and think we’ve got a meth operation going on here,” she said.

The “buckets and stuff” are used to extract the sap from the maple trees and turn it into maple syrup, a hobby Benson’s husband has enjoyed for the past five years. She explained this to the drug agents and gave them a sample of her husband’s syrup for their enjoyment.

You might say this wrong assumption had a sweet ending, but things were a bit stickier for an elderly woman in Riviera Beach, Florida, when police raided her home in search of drugs and left the house with considerable damage.

The raid by Riviera Beach police occurred about 1 p.m. Dec. 18 at the home of a 90-year-old woman, who has lived at the residence for 25 years. She said she was sleeping and was awakened by a loud noise, “like a bomb or something.”

Windows were broken out, a door broken, and marks inside the house suggest a flash-bang device has been set off. The woman said she didn’t know how police got in, but she found them in her house talking about drugs. Police searched the house using drug-sniffing dogs but found nothing.

As with many TV new reports, the story reporting on the incident was short on information. It reported that police said they obtained a search warrant based on evidence of criminal activity at the house, but didn’t give any detail on what the alleged activity was. Nor did it indicate if police knocked before smashing through the door and setting off a flash-bang device. Police said the search warrant was executed at the correct address and, while the woman may not have had any knowledge of drugs being sold from her house, that didn’t mean the criminal activity didn’t happen.

However, the TV news report says, the police department since has done some temporary repairs and agreed to pay for new windows and door. The door is to be replaced this week and the new windows in place by Feb. 28.

At times, things are not as they may appear to be or we assume them to be; and, when we act on the basis of appearances or assumption, the results may not be what is intended. While the outcome may be maple syrup, we risk something more serious happening.

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