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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I tell my neighbours to cut their axe-throwing out?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neanderthal neighbours—three 20-something roommates—have caught on to the recreational axe-throwing phenomenon and have begun doing target practice in the backyard. There’s a six-foot fence between us, but that’s small comfort for my wife, toddler and me. An indoor league exists for this kind of thing. Surely there’s a law against doing it alfresco. They won’t take kindly to my cease and desist request. Any advice on how to go about it?

—Axe to Grind, Crescent Town

You can’t raise chickens or blare music in your backyard, but you can—go ­figure—hurl razor-sharp metal willy-nilly. And I can see how the fear of an airborne axe would make sunbathing/gardening/child-rearing a fraught experience, no matter how high the fence. That’s just got to stop. I suggest you bake a banana bread, gather up your vitamin D–deprived cherub and knock on their door. Be friendly, and say that while you don’t doubt their marksmanship, you’re scared that a slippery handle might end in disaster. Inform them of the new indoor league that just opened at Lake Shore and Cherry. If they balk, ask that they keep their axe-related activities to the evening hours and to give you a heads-up first. Your trump card is to say you’ll call the cops about “threats to ­public safety.” Axe-throwing isn’t specifically covered by a law, but your neighbours probably don’t know that.

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  • D Jeremy Brown

    Interestingly enough, the “recreational axe-throwing phenomenon” actually started in the founder’s backyard. The B in BATL stands for “Backyard”. Backyard Axe Throwing League. The founder of the league already dealt with having neighbours worry about it, and police determined that there was no issue.

    So the next time you recommend someone attempt to deceive a neighbour with a spurious call to the police, perhaps you should think twice – threats aren’t really diplomatic, and there is a significant chance that you may have your bluff called, creating further issues.

  • Sybil Eastman

    Also, the reason why they are throwing axes is because they are probably already part of the league….

  • MaullyHatchet

    *High fives a fellow axe thrower*

  • Sybil Eastman


  • The Berserker

    Why not just ask them to reverse the direction of their throws?

  • disqus_uImL0sSiy8

    When BATL was still in a backyard, they had hung safety netting over ten feet high between it and the adjacent dead end laneway (which was the back entrance to a few businesses, not the yard of a family with a small child).

  • Jeremy Dangerhouse

    Note the difference: “already dealt with” means neither ignore nor disdain. So the police in the original BATL scenario made a judgement based on the considerate and/or preemptive actions of the league, including assessing the overall location. Do you seriously believe that a call to the police in this instance is spurious, or that suggesting referral to that mediation is a “threat”? As opposed to a flung axe, which most sane people would call an accident waiting to happen.
    Say…wanna play blindfold lawn darts?