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The Corner

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An Englishman’s Home Is Was His Castle



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In Britain on Sunday, four criminals invaded the rural home of a young married couple in the middle of the night. Sensing danger, the husband fired at two of them with his shotgun, injuring them and forcing them to flee. The result, per the Guardian:

A Leicestershire police spokeswoman said: “A 35-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were arrested in Melton on suspicion of GBH and four men aged 27, 23, 31 and 33 were arrested at Leicester Royal Infirmary on suspicion of aggravated burglary.”

Of course they were. In modern Britain, what could be more objectionable than defending your property, life, and family? And why do you need a gun anyway? It’s not as if your home is going to be invaded.

It is understood [the man] took a legally owned shotgun and shot two of the four intruders before calling police. He and his wife were arrested in Melton on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. Neither had been injured. The arrested man’s mother said the couple’s house had been broken into before. “They have been robbed three or four times,” she told the Sun. “One of them was quite nasty. They have not been injured but property has been stolen.”

Paramedics treated a man with shotgun injuries after the couple called police at about 12.30am, Leicestershire police said. It is understood that a second call was made by one of the suspected burglars. Later, a second man was treated for shotgun injuries after presenting himself at Leicester Royal Infirmary. The two men, whose injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, along with two others, were all arrested at the hospital on suspicion of aggravated burglary.

As they are so proud of telling Americans, the British have long been denied their right to bear arms. So it is no surprise that the corollary right to self-defense is also all too often denied to those forced to exercise it:

The case has echoes of previous incidents that prompted debate on the amount of force householders should be permitted to use to protect their property. The case of Tony Martin, who was given a life sentence for murder for shooting the 16-year-old burglar Fred Burras in the back at his remote Norfolk farm in 1999, became a cause célèbre, as he won the support of a number of politicians, commentators and members of the public. On appeal, his murder conviction was changed to manslaughter, for which he served three years in prison. Another notorious case was that of Munir Hussain, a millionaire businessman who beat an intruder with a cricket bat, leaving him with brain damage. The intruder had kidnapped Hussain’s family and held them at knifepoint. Hussain was initially jailed for 30 months before the court of appeal replaced the sentence, in 2010, with 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

In a similar vein, in January of 2010, TV presenter and singer Myleene Klass was warned after waving a kitchen knife at intruders to scare them away from her children. As the Guardian explained at the time:

Klass was in the kitchen with her daughter upstairs when she spotted the youths in her garden just after midnight on Friday. She grabbed a knife and banged the windows before they ran away.

Hertfordshire police warned her she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an “offensive weapon”, even in her own home, was illegal.

Men who have to delegate defense of themselves and their property to the state are not free men. And, if expected to survive without the capacity to help themselves, they will almost certainly end up dead men. Once upon a time, British authorities understood this; now, as I never tire of observing, the British are increasingly running away from principles that they themselves established. The “Castle Doctrine,” which is strongly supported in law in the laws of all but five American states (plus D.C., natch), was brought to the New World with the colonists. It was recognized and codified as a staple of common law as early as 1628, and derived its name from an aphorism coined by Sir Edward Coke in his seminal work, The Institutes of the Laws of England.

Modern elite British opinion, meanwhile, holds that there is no need for such outdated thinking in the modern world. This week, as every week, the dining tables of the British chattering classes will glimmer with the smug fancies of a post-violent society, secure in their heavily policed London streets. After a brief acknowledgment that burglary is a Bad Thing, the conversation will turn to other questions: Why did the couple have a gun? Was it all just a misunderstanding? Are the intruders victims of society? How are the Tories to blame? Most likely, there will be little focus on the criminals and a great deal on the victims who fought back. These are symptoms of a sick society.

One can’t help but suspect that being “modern” is the last thing on one’s mind when one’s home is being invaded by a gang. Nor are hollow odes to “civilization” likely to comfort much the parents of those killed. With this in mind, one can only hope that the police come to their senses and decline to put the victims and their families on trial for exercising their right to self-defense. But in modern Britain, I wouldn’t count on it.



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