- Canadian Blue
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http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Sel ... story.html
Self-defence still an inalienable right
Incident of Alberta farmer protecting his homestead a perfect example
By Lorne Gunter, The Edmonton JournalMarch 29, 2009
The development of "consent policing" in the 19th Century was a great achievement. However, it did not extinguish homeowners' absolute right to defend their families, themselves and their property from criminals.
Prior to Robert Peel's creation of London's "Bobbies" in the 1800s, most policing consisted of a paid sheriff or village constable who pressed civilians into duty if ever a criminal was too dangerous for him to arrest on his own. Citizens, though, remained largely responsible for their own protection.
Still, even after people "consented" to hiring and authorizing full-time professional police forces, they did not relinquish their right to self-defence nor to the personal protection of their property and loved ones. Professional police were an add-on -- not a replacement for -- the citizenry's own authority.
In the nearly 200 years since, many of us -- including police chiefs and politicians -- have forgotten that police are the servants of the public. They exist to supplement our own very real personal right to protection. If we wish to leave our safety entirely up to the police -- as most urban dwellers do, me included -- so be it, but there is nothing that obliges us to. There are laws against firing a gun within city limits in most cities. And if you wound or kill an alleged perpetrator (or worse still, an innocent bystander), you can be brought up on manslaughter or even murder charges. Yet despite all those restrictions there exist ancient rights that empower all of us to self-defence.
Which brings me to Brian Knight, the 38-year-old central Alberta farmer who was charged by police Friday for vigorously defending his property. Police claim Knight witnessed his 4x4 all-terrain vehicle being stolen from his property far from any police station. He chased the thief off his land, rammed him into a ditch, shot him as he tried to escape and organized a posse to track him down and bring him in to police.
Knight is charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault and dangerous driving.
Knight's actions might seem a bit excessive just to keep a thief from taking an ATV. But it's not the ATV, it's the principle.
Burglaries are psychologically damaging. In addition to making the victim angry, they can leave him or his family feeling violated and vulnerable. Especially out where a police cruiser can be an hour or more away, if burglars are left unchallenged, they will come to feel freer and freer to commit their thefts.
It's bad enough in a city. The typical police response to a break-and-enter in a private home is to tell the victims there is little chance they'll catch the perpetrator. It's not worth the mess to their home a crime scene investigation would cause. So just come down to the station and fill out a form for an insurance claim.
At least in a city there is still a reasonable expectation that a 911 call will get the police to one's home in a matter of minutes if one is reporting a burglar in the house.
Not so out on the isolated stretch of prairie 30, 50 or more kilometres from the nearest RCMP detachment. There, the right we never gave up to defend ourselves becomes very real and practical.
Was Knight's response to the attempted theft of his quad more aggressive than I would have made in the same circumstances? Probably. But was it within the realm of what was reasonable? Certainly.
The attempted theft was not just about the loss of an ATV but about maintaining the thin web of law and order out beyond where professional policing is timely and consistent.
Knight's case puts me in mind of Tony Martin, the Norfolk, England, farmer who killed one teenage burglar and wounded another on his
remote piece of land in the summer of 1999.
Never mind that the between them, the burglars had nearly 100 prior court appearances, most for theft, or that they were rummaging around in the dark at Martin's farm in the middle of the night and that when he happened upon them he had no way of knowing whether they were armed or not.
Martin was convicted of murder for defending himself and his home. Even though his conviction was later reduced to manslaughter, he still served twice as much time in prison as the surviving burglar.
Police kept Martin in prison almost an extra year because the family of the teen he killed had made "specific death threats" against him and had placed a "contract" on his head. If he were released, police would not guarantee his safety. So Martin -- the possible victim of a criminal "hit" -- was locked up, while those who threatened him went free.
The final insanity was the approval of legal aid for the surviving crook so he could sue Martin for the wounds the farmer inflicted on him.
Let's hope our system does not become as topsy-turvy as the British one, where concern for the rights of the criminal, and police and prosecutorial mistrust of the citizenry has turned the whole idea of who the justice system serves on its head.
Don't prosecute Brian Knight.
- Mark S
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Old school...I kind of resonate with that type of justice too.HwyBear wrote:Bad guy got what he deserved....case complete, ATV returned!! 10-8
How do you know he was completly unarmed?MikeR wrote:The man was a thief yes, but he was completely unarmed, he didn't have any weapon on him, even a police officer would have been in trouble for shooting an unarmed person in this situation, so I would be surprised if this civilian gets off.
Maybe, but what what happens when the neighbours kid's dog runs onto this guys property after dark, the kid chases it, and the farmer shoots at him thinking that he is trying to steal his truck?MS wrote:Good for the farmer! Hope he gets off. Can't say as I'd do the same in the those circumstances, but I have ZERO sympathy for the thief. Of course someone will say that the thief was only stealing the quad in an attempt to fill the emotional void left by his father, who didn't hug him enough because he was too busy trying to feed his family. Yep, thats what someone will say!
First of all, farm's aren't packed together like the city. If a strange dog is running around in my yard and I don't recognize it or it doesn't answer, it will die. Farm kids also know better than to simply run through a farmyard. You stop at the house and say hi. And there's not a farm kid out there that would chase the farm dog for miles. Farm dogs either come back to the yard or they don't. You can always get another.Alberta Blue wrote:Maybe, but what what happens when the neighbours kid's dog runs onto this guys property after dark, the kid chases it, and the farmer shoots at him thinking that he is trying to steal his truck?MS wrote:Good for the farmer! Hope he gets off. Can't say as I'd do the same in the those circumstances, but I have ZERO sympathy for the thief. Of course someone will say that the thief was only stealing the quad in an attempt to fill the emotional void left by his father, who didn't hug him enough because he was too busy trying to feed his family. Yep, thats what someone will say!
"What if'ing" doesn't change the fact that a shitbag trepassed, stole and threatened a farm family. Yes, the farmer may have gone too far in the whole "chase down, crash and shoot situastion", however I do fully support the farmer's right to defend his homestead.
Sure he had at least one armTacticsPT wrote:How do you know he was completly unarmed?MikeR wrote:The man was a thief yes, but he was completely unarmed, he didn't have any weapon on him, even a police officer would have been in trouble for shooting an unarmed person in this situation, so I would be surprised if this civilian gets off.
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