Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Home & Self Defence

The government says it is trying to make it easier for home owners to defend themselves against intruders, home invasion and situations where self defence is called for. At present the term "reasonable force" is applied, they are proposing that the new term be "not gratuitously excessive". At the end of day nothing has really changed, but what they have managed to do is, do nothing by doing something. Any act of self defence will still need to be judged by a jury as to whether it was either "reasonable" or "excessive" as you will still be deemed as a criminal until proven innocent. For example if you are unfortunate enough to have a home invasion, being prepared, is currently the worst thing you can be. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will determine that as you had, for arguments sake a baseball bat by your bed, you had malice forethought in harming the intruder. You had already determined that should the occasion arise you would defend yourself and family with the said instrument. However, the same scenario will play out differently should you use your nice onyx bedside table light. The difference being that it is assumed that a bedside light could be found in anyone's bedroom but not a baseball bat. This is despite the fact that you may well have the same pre-determination as what to do should the need arise. The bedside light may serve you well if there is only one intruder but if there are more you may well be out of luck.

Those who continue to see the criminal as the victim have stated that this new wording will encourage these criminals to now undertake their actives with more arms than before, in other words escalating the possible violence level. The last three cases, which have brought the issue to the fore, have involved a married couple, the victims, being overrun by a gang of up to four assailants all armed with knives and in one case firearms. The victims have been tied up and tortured in an effort to obtain details of items of value to be stolen by the criminals. If you are the victim at what point do you decide that, if I do something to them it will make things worse. Of course by the time you have been tied up and tortured it's a bit late.

In another argument the same protectors of the criminal classes state that, "this will lead to an American style of home protection and self defence", and that the streets will run with the blood of criminals being killed by home owners. What these people fail to realise is that for the past twenty years or so the American home defence system has been honed and in many states enshrined in law. These laws detail how and in what circumstances you can legally use up to and including deadly force. Shooting an invader through the door for example would land you in court and more than likely prison as would, shooting a fleeing invader or ejecting the invader then chasing after them and beating or shooting them. The "Castle Doctrine" accepts that your home is your castle and invaders do so at their own peril. But, these laws also offer protection to the invader in the circumstances given above. They identify that you may use what force is necessary to protect yourself and family but only whilst there is a clear and current threat. Once the threat has gone any subsequent action you take to harm or injure the invader, turns you into the assailant.

What the government needs to do is identify the parameters in which self defence is acceptable. This of course is not likely to happen with the scare mongering undertaken by the protectors of the criminals, but this issue needs to be addressed. After all, the boy scouts motto is "be prepared", something everyone should be in regard to home invasion but which is currently outlawed by the grey vagaries of the current legal system and its guidelines. You should be legally allowed to keep such instruments as you consider suitable on your person or within your property to afford you the ability to defend yourself and or loved ones and on the understanding that any weapons such as firearms are held in compliance with current legislation.

Living in a country where such thoughts of self defence of one's self, family and property are near heresy, little thought is given by many as to what they would do in a situation where they needed to defend themselves. The vast majority of those asked say they would run away. An admirable thing to do, but what if you can't, say you're in a wheel chair, on crutches, or there is a group of attackers, you may not be able to run quite as fast as them. Some others say that they have items such as a nail file, pen or small scissors in their hand bags or about their person. All well and good but this means that you will need to be in very close proximity to your attacker or attackers before you can utilise your weapon of choice. And the last group of victims reply "I would just give them what they want and then they would leave", there are many traumatised, raped and dead individuals who have thought that way, compliance to an attack is not an option.

I can hear your thoughts, "what I need is a gun!" no it's not, or rather yes it is. When you decide that you wish to protect yourself and your loved ones, having a gun will not solve the problem. There is a huge commitment and a great responsibility when handling any firearm and as such this option is not suitable for everyone. There is a great deal of training and practice needed, after all you practice driving your car every day so that when you use it you are able to handle it correctly and safely. The same applies to a firearm that you obtain for your protection. Should you ever need to employ your firearm in defence of yourself or others, you will be subject to a great deal of scrutiny and may well face a severe police interrogation with regard to the circumstances of the incident. Like I said it will not solve a problem but it does enable you to distance yourself from the threat and keep that threat at a distance. In the vast majority of instances where a firearm is produced by a victim, their attackers leave with all due haste and the firearm is not discharged. But if it doesn't work out that way, you must know how and be prepared to use your firearm.

At the end of the day, thankfully, attacks on the person and home invasion are still relatively rare. Then so are car crashes and house fires but we all wear seat belts and have fire extinguishers, these are the right tools for the job if you know how to use them properly. The best tool for your personal defence and the protection of those you love is a firearm but until attitudes can be changed and the nay say'ers silenced we will have to put ourselves closer to the danger and use what is available to hand. Of course you can always call the police, but when seconds count the police are only minutes away. Response times in my area for emergency calls are approximately 20-30 minutes, but as one local resident found out, tell them that you have a gun and are prepared to use it in your defence this time goes down to 6minutes 30 seconds; quicker but not quick enough. It was a calculated risk, but on this occasion the broom handle scared off the intruders, who were never caught.

No comments: