10 December 2004

Burglary Abroad and at Home

Here's how you are supposed to react to a burglar in Britain and here's how you are supposed to react in the States.

second article found here


Mister DA said...

For those of you who might be wondering about the statement in the Macomb, Illinois story about the home owner/victim not having a permit and having his rifle seized, Illinois has had, for many years, a law that registers, not guns, but gun owners! Actually, it registers people who are eligible to buy/possess firearms. All the details are at the Illinois State Police website: http://www.isp.state.il.us/foid/firearms.cfm

I guess the idea in Illinois is, we don't need to round up all the registered guns when we can round up all the registered gun owners instead.

Aaron said...

I'm not sure what to make of the first piece. We have the opinion of a single person, ostensibly an expert, who suggests "If you attack the burglar, or react in an 'over the top' manner, as was recently illustrated in the case of Tony Martin who shot intruders in his Norfolk farmhouse, you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence that will far outstrip that imposed on the intruder in your own home." Perhaps for context it should be disclosed that Mr. Martin was convicted of manslaughter after he chased down and shot two teenage burglars who had already left his home, killing one. Perhaps, in that context, it is not surprising that his manslaughter conviction drew him a (slightly) longer sentence than a sixteen-year-old's burglary conviction, and he may well have done worse had he been tried for a similar act of "home defense" in the United States.

Also, despite being a bit wafty, the British advice has some merit. That is, you frequently do have (as, apparently, was the situation in the Martin case) young, inexperienced burglars out for a quick buck who may well panic when they burgle a home, and that the homeowner is at greatest risk of harm when such amateur burglars panic. If you confront a burglar in your own home, you don't have the means (or have the means but lack the inclination) to immediately dispatch the burglar to the next world, and the burglar does not leave when he sees you, what course of action would you recommend?

I would also not deem tracking down a burglar outside your house and holding the burglar at gunpoint to be advisable - that is, how a U.S. homeowner is "supposed to react" - but then, perhaps in Macomb, Illinois, the burglar is substantially less likely to be armed than appears to be the case where I live. Granted, though, it is a rough parallel of the Martin case, but with a homeowner who had justice on his mind as opposed to vengeance. And unquestionably, that reaction was better for all involved than Martin's.