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Is it me, or have things taken a turn for the Hatfields and McCoys around here?

Not one, but two cases of neighbor disputes that ended in shootings — not enough to call a trend, exactly, but enough to give you pause.

First, there’s Joseph Pham, the 42-year-old Cedar Rapids family man who allegedly shot at neighbors Tracy Moses, Brian Wilson and Wilson’s daughter, Jayden, last weekend, after years of bad blood.

Wilson, 39, was hit. Last we heard, he was hospitalized in critical condition. Pham’s been charged with three counts of attempted murder.

The feud apparently began in 2005 between the Phams and Tracy Moses and her then-husband, Jamie, and continued after the Moseses divorced and Wilson moved in.

Pham’s family says it endured years of harassment and racially charged abuse at the hands of its neighbors on the 2900 block of 29th Avenue SW. Police records show complaint calls coming from both houses: loud music, rude gestures, broken windows, a battered mailbox, feces thrown. Years upon years of juvenile and irritating behavior, to say the least.

Who knows what prompted last weekend’s argument, or why it spun so far out of control, but it was only a couple of days later and a couple of hours’ drive away when the second shooting happened — this time, in Des Moines.

Police say Terry Wood tried to run Daniel Parr down with his pickup last Tuesday evening. When that didn’t work, they say he grabbed a shotgun and fired.

Parr was hospitalized with serious injuries, according to The Des Moines Register. I guess it was the second argument Wood and Parr, both 56, had gotten into that week.

A Des Moines Police sergeant told that paper: “It looks like this was a neighborhood dispute that went very sour.”

Sour’s one word for it, I suppose, although others come more immediately to mind.

Asinine, idiotic, lunatic, inane — take your pick.

When the weather is hot, tempers get hotter. But usually, it’s fistfights we have to worry about.

So why the throwback to frontier times, when property, family and honor all were guarded squarely down the barrel of a gun?

Story goes, this country’s greatest feud started between two men who couldn’t stand each other. Over the next three decades, a lot of people died — for politics, for vengeance — once, even, for a hog.

All grievances that must have seemed important at the time. But 100 years later, there’s only one thing to remember:

Nobody won.

Comments: (319) 339-3154; jennifer.hemmingsen@sourcemedia.net

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