Friday, October 1, 2010

When Garden Gnomes Attack

When Garden Gnomes Attack
David Moye

AOL News (Sept. 22) -- Zombies get more press, but garden gnomes may be a bigger threat to public safety.

Or so says Chuck Sambuchino of Cincinnati, who is on a one-man crusade to warn his fellow citizens about the looming dangers garden gnomes present to America's suburbs and rural areas.

"As many as 10 percent of unsolved cold cases probably involve garden gnomes," Sambuchino told AOL News. "It's a serious problem."

A more serious problem may be removing the tongue stuck in Sambuchino's cheek, but, fact is, he felt strongly enough about the looming threat of "lawn warriors" that he has written a book on the subject: "How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strikes (and They Will)" (Ten Speed Press).

"There has been an increase in the visibility of garden gnomes, partly from those commercials," he said. "In Cincinnati, where I live, it's common to see them wearing Cincinnati Bengals or Ohio State attire. It's almost like they hired a PR company to create a campaign that would make their image more cuddly, rather than the murderous murderers they really are."

If it sounds as if Sambuchino has an ax to grind, he won't argue with you, but he won't give specifics either.

"My case files are sealed," he said. "I'd like to go into it, but the lawyers would kill me."

Sambuchino's book explains which areas of the country are more prone to garden gnome attacks (the Midwest and the South), as well as keys to determining whether you're at risk.

"Honestly, your proximity to garden gnomes is the key," he said. "If you live in an urban area, you're not as much at risk. Also, how often you keep to a set schedule increases your chances of an attack. It's best to mix up your schedule so the gnomes don't know when to expect you."

According to Sambuchino, garden gnomes use a variety of weapons for their fiendish attacks, including slingshots, axes and spears, but their killing tool is the scythe.

"That's basically a sickle on a stick, and it's really scary because it reminds people of what the Grim Reaper uses," he said, adding that flashing lights are often a prelude to an attack.

Sambuchino also claims that garden gnomes are most likely to attack during storms.

"The rain hitting the roof masks the sound of drilling through the wall," he said. "They attack you in bed, which is why I recommend making papier-mache copies of you and putting them in the other bedrooms. That way, if they attack you, you have time to see it happening and escape."

Considering garden gnomes have been around since the mid-19th century, you'd think their deadly practices would be common knowledge by now. However, they've managed to get away scot-free.

"They are good at cleaning up their messes," Sambuchino said. "Usually, an attack might be blamed on, say, a moose. No one ever thinks of them."

If Sambuchino's book is successful, it's conceivable that garden gnome attacks could become an issue in the 2012 election. However, he warns people not to expect the government to do anything to solve the problem.

"The government can't do anything in a sweeping way," he said. "Basically, you're on your own. It's like when the police hold a neighborhood watch meeting. They never tell the neighbors, 'We're going to stop crime.' They say, 'We're going to stop crime in our community,' because they know they can't get rid of it entirely. They can only stop it from happening in their own community."

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