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The state does not protect us and we may not effectively protect ourselves

Last night I had some friends and business associates around for dinner here in Chelsea. It was an agreeable evening at which some interesting conversations were had, some good food was enjoyed and some nice wine drunk.

And at around 7:00pm while all that was happening in my home, some 50 yards away my neighbour John Monckton was stabbed to death and his wife seriously injured by a pair of young vermin who broke into their house.

Of course the state forbids people like the Moncktons from owning the means to defend themselves. And the CCTV cameras on our street? I cannot tell you how much better they must make everyone around here feel. The police who have closed off my street are festooned with all manner of weapons and body armour but given that their actual role in modern Britain is little more than clearing up the mess after another disarmed householder has been butchered, perhaps waterproof coveralls and mops would be more suitable equipment for our tax funded ‘guardians’.

Bitter? You bet. The world is full of predators and we are required to face them disarmed and as much in fear of the law as the criminal who attack us.

The state is not your friend.

107 comments to The state does not protect us and we may not effectively protect ourselves

  • Paul Marks

    As you know the “Sunday Telegraph” has been running a campaign for a formal change in the law to allow householders to defend themselves (by whatever means they need to).

    The law of “reasonable force” has so mutated in Britain that no person can be sure that he can defend himself and then not be put on trial.

    And let us not be totally trusting of juries. There is no property qualification any more (snobish I know, but I doubt that being put on trial before a bunch of welfare recipients is a good idea – and sometimes juries are not even checked to stop people with criminal convictions sitting on them) and even if there was a property qualification “Guardian” readers are some of the most wealthy people in the land.

    The state forbids us to own weapons to defend ourselves, and even if a person manages to defeat intruders (who may well be armed) with his bare hands that person may still find himself before a court.

  • I would suggest voting with your feet.

    The State there has gone completely insane. Wild animals have more of a right to self-defense than you do.

  • Julian Morrison

    Gotta clarify here. The state doesn’t forbid the means, only the use. At least, not all possible means. I have a collection of decorative yet fully functional swords, as legal to own as kitchen knives. And I have this really nifty 80lb draw pistol crossbow with a fast-cocking mechanism that gives me about 1 bolt every 10 seconds fire rate, also legal, got it off a website for less than £20. Great for shooting targets. So, basically, the means are still there, if you choose to ignore the law and make use of them.

  • James

    Condolences to you on the loss of your neighbour, Perry.

    Another victim of stupid laws and flawed attitudes.

  • Verity

    Does anyone remember the name of that ghoulish Snowdrop woman who was such a prime motivator in getting guns banned? It was after Dunblane – she may have been from Dunblane – and she didn’t have any children of her own but she certainly knew how to get self-righteous, ‘caring’ face on television. It was her organisation that gave the government a cloak in which to sneak gun legislation through.

    That woman has the deaths of many innocent people on her hands.

  • Verity

    Anne Pearston, to answer my own question. And 007 Sean Connery was also in on the act, although he lives in Spain where guns are legal.

  • Verity

    After pronouncing her judgement that Charlton Heston was “remote from reality”, I see that Ann Pearston said the number of children killed by guns in America in the last 25 years was greater than the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam war.

    (Last post on this dreadful woman, I promise.)

  • John K

    Although it is true that legal pistols were banned in 97, they were owned purely for sporting purposes. When not in use they had to be locked in a metal cabinet, and thus were never to hand for self defence. It has been legally impossible to keep a gun for self defence since the passage of the 1988 Firearms Act. Before then a certificate holder could keep a shotgun in the house without having to lock it up, but now shotguns too need to be kept locked up when “not in use”. I will accept that this is a fair state of affairs when the prime minister and his cabinet have no police protection, then they will know how the rest of us feel. Our lives are as valuable as theirs are.

  • Paul Marks

    Well first I must apologise for not saying I was sorry to hear of the gentleman’s death – I did not even think of the fact that Perry might know him.

    As for Anne P. – yes in a debate she is supposed to have told Sean Gabb that she was in favour of a “slave state” if that was the only way to stop people owning fire arms. Dr Gabb may have a link, I do not.

  • Oh, THAT stupid woman (amongst many). I wonder where she’s showing her self-righteous mug now.

    People deprived of the right to self-defense have a practical status little different from that of livestock, and for the same reasons.

  • Verity

    Monique – You are right. The only thing is, they were bovine to allow themselves to be prodded into allowing politicians to do this to them.

  • Tony H

    Although it is true that legal pistols were banned in 97, they were owned purely for sporting purposes. When not in use they had to be locked in a metal cabinet, and thus were never to hand for self defence. It has been legally impossible to keep a gun for self defence since the passage of the 1988 Firearms Act. Before then a certificate holder could keep a shotgun in the house without having to lock it up, but now shotguns too need to be kept locked up when “not in use”.

    I do hate to appear pedantic, but every time this sort of thing happens – I mean the dreadful events described by Perry, and I add my sorrow re the Moncktons – we get a flurry of confusing statements on firearms legislation.
    First, handguns could always be “to hand” for defensive use if one was willing to face down the plods after using a gun: “I just had it out for cleaning when I heard this noise, Officer…” I’ve cited here previously the case of the Essex gundealer who shot an armed holdup artist, got off on justifiable homicide, then was prosecuted for having had a loaded handgun ready for use in the back room…
    It’s been “legally impossible to keep a gun for self defence” since the 1950s, not 1988: that’s when the Home Office instructed Chief Constables not to issue any more Firearm Certificates to anyone who gave self defence as his reason for wanting one.
    And technically the law does not require shotguns to be “locked up”, merely stored securely – it’s just that in practice the police make up their own rules and insist on this or that level of lockable cabinet, burglar alarm etc, knowing few people have the stomach or the money to challenge them in court.
    I remember Sean Gabb’s writing about the encounter with the Pearston woman mentioned by Paul Marks, and her damning admission about “slavery”. She was stupid, but a skilled self-publicist who came from nowhere and played the media game disgustingly well. I remember too one of the most revolting episodes of the 96/97 Election campaign, when she appeared as a guest speaker at the Labour conference calling for an immediate gun-ban, with Blair et al nodding in the front row, slimily acquiescent, reeking of opportunist insincerity.
    Will events such as this Chelsea atrocity lead to a restoration of traditional, natural rights of self defence any time soon? Not a chance. NuLab doesn’t give a toss, and the Tories are dead ducks who, in any case, enacted the great bulk of the anti-gun laws of the past 84 years themselves – and M.Howard voted in Cabinet for the handgun ban. The Lib-Dems are (beneath their touch-feely public face) virulently anti-gun, anti-individualist, statist bastards. The only chance I see of anything good happening is for a few more Tony Martin cases – there will be some, betcha – with perhaps more congenial, media-friendly scumbag-killers in the dock, who will inspire crowds of upright citizens spontaneously to march on the Old Bailey and forcibly set them free, throwing plods and court attendants in the river, and carrying the erstwhile defendants off shoulder-high to Hyde Park for a vast piss-up, with much firing of guns in the air…

  • Rubén

    And then, they say the right to live is protected…!

    Down here in Argentina where violent crime is skyrocketing the Estate is willing to recall all weapons in civil hands! May be they intend to make things easier for thugs!

    Check my comment about this post at my own blog downhere

    Rubén, from BlogBis (Argentina)

    PS: I couln´t post the adress, but it´s http://blogbis.netfirms(dot)com

  • ernest young

    Anyone want a wager on when, or if, Plod catches the perpetrators?

    100 – 1, that they are caught, and held, in less than seven days.

    50 – 1, if the above happens in a month.

    20 – 1, if the above happens in a year.

    Part 2, would be a wager on the sentence, if they are ever caught, and who will be the first ‘celeb’ to question their guilt.

    Anyone any comment on the small stature of the scumbags? 5ft. 3ins. – 5ft. 6ins. small even by teenager standards…. good luck to DS Jackson, (the man in charge of the investigation), – I think he is going to need it…

  • Tom

    In cases like this the state is an accessory to murder, by preventing citizens from defending themselves. State officials might as well be holding people’s arms behind their backs, while the thugs went about their murderous aims.

    I extend to you a heartfelt invitation to move to Texas, where defending oneself in one’s own home is not only allowed, but considered a civic duty. A trio of nearly-feral dogs from a neighbor’s house once tore through a screen door at my friend’s vacation cabin, and went on a menacing search for consumables. Hearing the ruckus, my friend rushed down with his rifle and, being a kindhearted sort, fired once into the air, to no effect. He then reluctantly fired to wound one beast and the other two scattered. The wounded canine crawled into a closet and expired. When the local Sheriff arrived, my friend explained that he had not intended to kill the dead animal. The officer responded “Why the f*ck not?! Now I’ve got to go hunt down the other two. Next time, you shoot to kill, and I’d be obliged if you got them all.”

  • GCooper

    Golly, I’d like to be there if Tony H’s vision comes to pass!

    I must say, the role of the police in this anti-gun crusade seems to me to have been underestimated. By and large, my opinon of the police has worsened considerably in recent years as they seem to have slid from enforcing laws made by Parliament to advocating and agitating for the ones they want and, if they don’t get them, making the law up as they go.

  • Tom

    Perry, I share your anger. I knew John Monckton, a very nice man. His colleagues at Legal & General are in shock.

    As a result of the deliberate policy of this govt, people who live in supposedly nice areas of London are fair game. I feel rather frightened.

    Whatever happens, if any intruder comes into my home, is challenged and fails to show himself, I will kill the bastard. Sorry if any Guardian readers are offended, but there it is.

  • The experience of the couple’s nine year-old daughter, who was at home when the murder was committed, does not bear thinking about.

    I was going to say “unbelievable” – but it’s all too believable.

  • Julian Taylor

    It was reported recently by the UK Police Federation (aka the police ‘union’) that the principle reason for the reduction in burglaries in the UK are not, as the revolting Blunkett would have us believe, due to better police tactics, but rather more due to the fact that new TV’s, DVD Players, iPods etc are far cheaper – thus people would rather buy new products from retailers than not-so-cheap unwarranted products from druggies’ fences.

    They warned that as a result we should be on our guard for an increase in violent burglary, robbery and assault, as a consquence of druggies needing cash, rather than settling for redeemable electronic goods.

    Poor John Monckton seems, to me, to be one of the victims of this new desperate crimewave, although under Phoney’s regime the scum that did this will doubtless be given a tenner out of the poorbox and their train fare home from the Old Bailey paid for by the taxpayer.

  • Many condolences; a truly horrible thing to happen to anyone.

    Not going to descend into the political argument about guns – just a factual point to Ernest Young: there’s a 99/100 chance the police will catch the guys, and a 9/10 chance at worst that they’ll end up being convicted.

    The police are still very good at catching people (especially when they’re stupid drugged-up pikies who leave lots of clues) who do Very Bad Things; they just don’t have the (resources/willingness) to use the same tracking-down techniques against burglars *before* they kill people.

    Unfortunately, if you’re a stupid drugged-up pikie, you don’t think about the near-certainty of getting away with it if you don’t harm the people you’re robbing and the near-certainty of ending up in jail for a very long time if you do, because if you were clever enough to work that out then you’d be doing something more rewarding than burglary.

  • Harry Payne

    First and most important, I am sorry for Perry and for the Monckton’s daughter.

    Second, Julian, it may also be that the reason the number of reported burglaries for kit such as TVs has decreased is that the public know very well that most times by the Police are the last to visit the crime scene, well after the emergency glazier and the insurance rep.

    Third and finally, I repeat a statement I’ve made on this blog before: UK citizens are not defenceless in their own homes. Firearms are out, use of knives is a bit dodgy unless you could prove you were rudely surprised in the kitchen, but there an awful lot of household objects to hand at most times with interesting potential.

  • ernest young

    john b,

    So you want a small wager? – the odds are in your favour, – according to you!…

    p.s. That was meant as an attempt at a little cynical humour at the Plod’s expense….

    All very sad that things like this happen at all, but it is quite commonplace, – if you read the BBC’s news feed, it is just that it doesn’t happen too often to nice people, in nice ‘safe’ areas, just in remote farmhouses or ‘sink’ estates, or those ghastly suburbs……..

    p.s. And that was an attempt at a little political cynicism.

  • 1)
    Yup, I’d be willing to stake £50 to £5 on an arrest and £50 to £50 on a conviction (I only take bets when the odds are massively loaded in my favour, or when I’m drunk and they’re funny, which I am but this isn’t).

    2)
    It is more commonplace than we’d like to think (indeed, I’ve lived in Oakley Street SW3 and in various less “nice” places; while this is the first burglary-murder I’ve heard of within quarter of a mile of that house, it’s very much not the first murder within quarter of a mile of where I’ve lived) but the police do usually catch them, even when the victim’s poor.

  • rog

    UK citizens are not defenceless in their own homes. Firearms are out, use of knives is a bit dodgy unless you could prove you were rudely surprised in the kitchen, but there an awful lot of household objects to hand at most times with interesting potential

    The problem is getting to them in time, unless you are in the habit of walking around your own house expecting trouble, preferably pre-armed, and are quick on the draw.

    When I was rudely surprised at the kitchen door my immediate reaction was that the intruder in the kitchen was a workman sent round by the landlord to fix the boiler. It took a second to clock his knife and recognise his intent. Then my focus was on his knife and watching his movements & intent, while keeping him talking and trying to confuse him to regain "surprise". Even remaining cool, it would consume valuable time and concentration to consider weapons. He could slash me within a fraction of a second, it would take me a second or more to identify acquire and use an object as a weapon. Luckily my intruder was too spaced out to figure out what to do, and when he did take an incompetent swing with his knife I could parry with my arm, meeting force with deflection instead of counterforce in best unarmed fashion. Meeting resistance the scumbag decided he wasn’t up for it and ran away.

    Incidentally, from my personal experience, it’s one thing to play at disarming someone having a rubber bendy knife on a self-defence course, it’s totally another when there’s real steel attached to an irrational loon 18" from your face.

    Sorry to spoil your (and my) macho fantasies, but that’s the way it goes. As Sun Tzu says, in conflict "Surprise will lead to Triumph", and in many daytime home-intruder situations unfortunately the Surprise is with the intruder.

  • A terrible story. Even worse, one of many.

    What I don’t understand is why the people of Britain continue to elect politicians who refuse to remedy this. I understand that the majority of Britons want the right of self-defense.The UK is a democracy, isn’t it? If the party in power refuses to enact laws that the majority wants, get rid of them and elect a party that will.

    Or would that be considered rude?

  • but the police do usually catch them, even when the victim’s poor.

    What a relief to Isabel Monckton, who at the very least found her parents’ bodies in the street, even if she missed the spectacle of their slaughter. And I can only imagine how comforted Sabrina Monckton will be at boarding school, thinking that her parents’ murderer(s) will likely be caught and condemned to a lifetime of free healthcare, free meals, free shelter and educational and recreational opportunities beyond what they likely now enjoy.

    I am anti-death penalty, but this is the sort of thing that really tests that for me. I spend most days on Upper Cheyne Row and many nights; the nights when I am not there, I am walking past the Moncktons’ home on my way home. I wasn’t friends with them, but I feel real disgust and anguish over their murder – and not just because only on Sunday night my father was telling me how much safer I am in London than in Los Angeles.

    If only.

  • Rog has a point, but not all cases are similar: there are many instances where a homeowner can have enough time to grab their gun.

    I do agree with everyone here that law abiding citizens should be allowed to own weapons for self-defence. Still, somehow I doubt this will solve the current crime problem as it seems to exist in England. From afar, it looks like the main problem is with the law enforcement (or rather the lack of it.) Here in Israel the gun ownership situation is somewhere mid-way between the UK and the US: many people own weapons under special permits (most because of their connection with the military, which is most of the male population here, but it still does not mean that most males own guns). Still, as a female I probably could not obtain a permit just because I live in a wealthy neighborhood and my husband travels a lot. My point is, this, though: even though, as far as I know, most robberies here are not armed ones, no one in their right mind will think of prosecuting me for using my husband’s gun (under my husband’s permit) to defend myself against an intruder. And our police still knows who the real bad guys are, and they are doing their best to go after them (although their best is often not enough, as they are too underfunded and understuffed, because our economy is in the toilet right now). It’s the general attitude that makes all the difference, I guess.

  • esbonio

    I would also like to give my condolences to the Monckton family. Mr Monckton’s death highlights so much that is wrong with our society. He is only one of the many victims of violent crime whose number has grown under this government.

    It is hard to know what we can do given the complex issues involved. The first thing would be for the government, crimininologists, the police and the criminal justice system to accept that we have a growing problem which needs addressing instead of brushing it under the carpet. Rises in crime are forever being explained away. We are told that crime was under-reported in the past. I say on the contrary. It is only recently that people have felt it a waste of time to report so many crimes. Alternatively we are told that it is a question of perception and that people are overly concerned about crime. Tell that to the victims. The facts speak for themselves but are rarely discussed openly. Homicide rates have grown steadily over the years. The current criminal justice system does not provide sufficient deterrence and this is not because the perpetrators are all drug addicts. Whilst murderers are likely to be caught, it is a sad fact that most criminals will not be caught. Even if caught all is not lost for the criminal. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act, in its quest for spotless justice, imposes a heavy burden on the police; the CPS will have to decide whether to prosecute; if they do the criminal can rely on state funded legal aid to pay for a defence lawyer; in court the rules of evidence are likely to disadvantage the prosecution. And even if found guilty the criminal is unlikely to suffer a long sentence or even one which will be served for its full term.

    All these factors combine to create a culture which appears to enable if not encourage crime. Intentionally or not ( and I fear the former), our criminal justice system seems to favour the criminal. This injustice is exacerbated by the sense that the police and the CPS will bear down on you very heavily should you have the temerity to do the criminal justice system’s work for it and try to defend yourself and your property. Horrific events such as yesterday’s contribute further to a sense of despair and cynicism with the rule of law.

  • The net result of the criminalisation of otherwise law-abiding citizens and the refusal to punish actual criminals will be the withdrawal from the state of entire sectors of society. I am sure that Perry and his Chelsea neigbours are even now considering pre-dug pits and sacks of quick-lime in case they should be luckier than the Moncktons in the case of a burglary… Why on earth would a sensible person get the Police involved, after all? Scrote broke the law, scrote’ll break the law no more…

    On a more serious note, my condolences go to Mrs Monckton and her daughters. I doubt I’ll be able to walk down the road again without thinking of them.

  • craggy_steve

    Home Office guidance that Self-Defence was not good reason for possession of a firearm was issued iirc in 1967, however the definite existence of this policy was suppressed as the original instructions were classified under the ’30 year rule’ so we have only recently had our suspicions to be true. The policy certainly predates Dunblane, and as far as I’m aware results from the belief that an intruder has the same rights under law as anyone else, a theme echoed in some of our public liability legislation.

    If you use anything to defend yourself which the Police may reasonably assume that you possessed for self-defence then the current attitude seems to be that you will be considered for prosecution if the intruder claims he was assaulted:- use of purpose-designed weapons is obviously out, but so is the use of other common items if the Police believe you possessed them not for their common use but for the purpose of self-defence by inflicting injury on your assailant. A poker by the hearth is fine, but behind the front door is premeditated assault. The concept of ‘instant arming’ is almost impossible to achieve given the way the police and courts currently interpret the law.

    While the law of the land permits self-defence, Police policy is that any claim of assault or injury caused to the assailant in that self-defence has to be investigated, and if it can be argued that the force used is more than the minimum required then a trial is likely (especially as they don’t have to go looking for the perp).

    It is the bizarre concept that a criminal retains his rights under law when in the act of commiting a crime that has emasculated the Briton in his home, if the intruder is entitled to the same consideration under law as the occupant then it is very difficult for the occupant to successfully defend himself without violating the rights of the intruder. Absurd though it may be I sympathise with the Police in their execution of policy, because however unfair it may seem to further persecute the victim of a crime, they are implementing the guidance and law given by our politicians. The onus is on the politicians to correct the law to remove the rights of an individual while he is willingly engaged in illegal activity.

    On access to firearms, current Home Office Guidance to Police is quite specific, and weapons may not be accessible to unauthorised persons (all non-certificate holders and any certificate holders who don’t have those individual weapons listed on their certificates). About the only way of legally having readily accessible firearms would be to ensure that every occupant of a dwelling had a certificate and that the firearms in question were listed on everyones certificate and that the building could be shown to comply with strict security requirements. In practice the Police would never grant even this extreme scenario because visitors might be admitted who did not have certificates, the building might be burgled etc.. I don’t see the law changing on this even if the so-called “rights” of criminals are withdrawn, but at least the use of other weapons would become acceptable for self-defence.

    Sincere condolences to all who knew John Monkton.

    While it is of no consolation, each high-profile victim of the stupid ‘liberal’ laws and policies that give rights to outlaws is another step along the path to correcting the problem. Unfortunately ordinary little people don’t count.

  • esbonio

    It is the same crass double think which results in our no longer being able to deport aliens considered a potential threat to our country. Again and again the interests of the law abiding majority are sacrificed for a minority intent on breaking the law. We would not need all the this government’s authoritarian legislation (both in force now and proposed) if the law recognised the natural moral distinction between the criminal and the victim of his/her crime. Both our law makers and our law enforcers in the form of parliament, judges and the police are awash in a sea of post-modern relativism.

  • Duncan S

    Today’s Sun reports what appears to be glimmer of sanity: A judge has praised a householder who chased and beat up a drug addict burglar saying “What they did is not only beyond criticism, but positively to be commended.”

    It’s ‘OK’ to hit burglar

  • Tony H

    Home Office guidance that Self-Defence was not good reason for possession of a firearm was issued iirc in 1967

    I wish I could locate the reference, but I am certain you will find that it happened in the ’50s – and I wouldn’t call it “guidance”, but administrative fiat.

    If you use anything to defend yourself which the Police may reasonably assume that you possessed for self-defence then the current attitude seems to be that you will be considered for prosecution …….. The concept of ‘instant arming’ is almost impossible to achieve given the way the police and courts currently interpret the law

    I don’t wish to quibble too much since Craggy Steve expresses things very well. The concerned citizen is obliged to plan very carefully for the eventuality of self defence, or else be preternaturally quick thinking. Some Home Office “guidance” from the past:
    “You have every right to defend yourself, with reasonable force with items which you have with you, like an umbrella, hairspray or keys, which can be used against the attack. The law, however, does not allow carrying anything which can be described as an offensive weapon.”
    Actually there are some people who think this is incorrect, but arguments based on the Bill of Rights or anything else that undermines current thinking do not get far in court.
    In the alarming situation described above by Rog, it would take remarkable courage or idiocy to take on a knife-wielding druggy while armed with a hastily-grabbed hairspray… And of course, if the plods decided you had put the hairspray to hand for self defence, with malice aforethought, then watch out.
    I cannot support Craggy Steve in his sympathy for the police. With absolute consistency they have supported illiberal anti-gun measures, sometimes agitated for these themselves, aggravated already onerous laws with “guidelines” and “practice” of their own devising, harrassed and vilified gun owners, and generally behaved like arrogant shits. Oh, and they’re much more interested in “managing” the population than catching thieves and protecting the decent majority from the viciousness of the criminal element. If I saw a police officer in trouble, I really would have to think, Well, you lot have actively conspired to erode my rights, bullied & harrassed my friends, failed to catch the criminals who vandalised my car/stole my camera kit/burgled my aunt’s house (to mention only one’s personal experience) and demonstrated widespread incompetence in crime prevention. So why the fuck should I help you…

  • llamas

    The terrible assault described would sicken and sadden any civilized person. It would sicken and sadden me more if it were not becoming such a commonplace in the UK.

    How long can it be before Britain can learn a useful lesson from the US? and implement the two measures which will reduce the rates of such horrible insults to our civilization, to wit

    1) the immediate across-the-board legalization of the right to keep and bear arms for the defence of the person, and

    2) the building of enough prison space to securely exclude such monsters and their kind from society for a very, very long time, along with the laws and the judicial will to put them there.

    All this talk about how common household items may be adapted to the defence of the person against an armed intruder without too great risk of running afoul of the law are the pitiful, snivelling whinings of a people that is already enslaved to outlaws and doesn’t even know it. In a free and civilized society, an innocent and law-abiding person has the natural right to the explicit and effective means of self-defence and no reason whatever to apologize for having it, and having it to hand. A government that strips away that right from the individual is nothing but a tyranny, and, indeed, the disarming of the citizenry is the absolute hallmark of every tyranny in recent memory.

    When will you rise up and cast off this tyranny? I’m minded of the dark days at the beginning of WW2, when US sportsmen sent firearms by the carload to the UK to help in its defence against the tyranny that lay in wait just across the water. Is it time for another such effort? I’m sure that many, many US sportsmen would gladly contribute to such an effort – I know I would.

    So sad, so sad.

    llater,

    llamas

  • I am still waiting for someone to tell me that all of this is made up – no such luck, it seems.

    Just to add to my previous rant: in Israel there is this whole separate issue of a sentence service. Criminals, including murderers, are entitled to regular vacations from prison, on Jewish holidays, among other dates. Needless to say, many do not bother to return. There are areas where on Jewish holidays the burglary rates go drastically up. “Lifers” routinely get early parole, and on average serve 17 years, if I heard correctly. This has nothing to do with the police (which naturally is opposed to this), and everything to do with policy and attitude. I am curious what is the situation like in Britain.

    Poor little girl, I hope that at least her mother’s life is not in danger.

  • You should take some karate lessons for getting protections, that’s all …

  • llamas

    Check your odds, one suspect is already in custody. 2 to 1 says he grasses up his accomplice within 24 hours.

    http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/topstories/display.var.550568.0.arrest_in_city_directors_murder.php

    llater,

    llamas

  • The arrest is good and unsurprising news, although as Jackie says, it will do nothing to bring back Mr Monckton and little to deter other drugged-up little scrotes from behaving similarly.

    The suggestion that this is becoming commonplace in the UK is not sensible, however. UK homicide rates rose 1% in 2002/03 compared to 2001/02 (excluding Harold Shipman, whose crimes were recorded in 2002/03 even though they took place over the 20 years beforehand).

    The UK’s incidence of homicide by “quarrel, revenge or loss of temper in furtherance of theft or gain by a stranger” fell from 112 in 2001/02 to 106 in 2002/03.

    That’s a 1 in 600,000 chance that it’ll happen to you in a given year. It’s also roughly equivalent to the absolute annual death toll in the US from auto collisions with deer (yes, I know the US population is six times higher, but still…). We’re not living in a lawless wasteland; if we were, then Mr Monckton’s killing would neither be shocking nor news.

    (stats sourced here).

  • It’s all the more shocking when this happens on your own doorstep. Condolences to the Moncktons.

    Charlie Eklund asks why the British don’t elect politicians who remedy the self defense situation. The trouble is that the majority of British people don’t see legalisation of self defense as the answer. They really believe that society would descend into chaos if people were allowed to look after their own safety.

    A colleague who visted the company’s Israel office was shocked to discover employees bringing their guns to work with them. The conversation turned immediately to scenarios of insane, disgruntled workers going on killing sprees. That’s what people here think of when they think about weapons. My suggestion that all those guns in fact made them safer was met with incredulity. I nearly always get the same reaction. I have to read Samizdata to discover people who don’t think like this.

    Eric Raymond has an email signature that talks about hoplophobia: the irrational fear of weapons. He suggests that hoplophobes, “fear their own “forbidden” feelings and urges to commit violence”. This may partly explain it (I have to wonder about people who admit they wouldn’t trust themselves to carry a gun), but this attitude could also just be down to fact that we’re not used to having guns around any more. Spending time in a place where people carry guns as a matter of course without indiscriminantly shooting at passers by would be a worthwhile education for most British.

    Another aspect of this is that taking matters into your own hands is often seen as a Bad Thing. Dominic’s suggestion about what Perry and his neighbours might do to defend themselves reminded me of a BBC docu-drama in which the horrific climax of rising crime was (gasp!) people hiring their private security firms. Every good Britsh subject knows that the solution to all these problems is More Police.

  • esbonio

    john b is too dismissive of concerns regarding the homicide rate and blaming shipman will not do.

    Although there are complications due to changes in recording, it cannot be denied that the homicide rate has risen steadily since the 1960s when it was around 225/250 pa to the current level of around 900 homicides a year. (There were I think three yesterday). This rise is not a result of an increased population which there is a poor correlatiopn. It can be argued, although this is disputed, that the rise is attributable to the abolition of the death penalty. Whichever theory you accept, it cannot be denied that homicide is and has been on the increase since the 1960s.

    One might suggest that if it were not for modern surgical techniques the figure might be even higher.

  • Tony H

    we’re not used to having guns around any more. Spending time in a place where people carry guns as a matter of course without indiscriminantly shooting at passers by would be a worthwhile education for most British.

    Absolutely, Rob Fisher – but this has happened only very recently. In the ’60s my Cadet Force chums and I could march between railway stations through central Reading, on our way to summer camp, with rifles over our shoulders, and no-one turned a hair. Do that now and there might be panic in the streets. But cross the Channel, and on Sunday mornings you might see Luc, Marc and Jean-Pierre ambling through the village with (uncovered) shotguns, on their way for a bit of la chasse - and nobody there turns a hair to this day. It’s a matter of use, aided & abetted by relentless pressure from the Establishment and its media lackeys to render us ever more impotent – and dependent. The great British public, 70% of whom are alleged I see (other thread) to believe there is too much State interference, in fact love being told what to do and are terrified at the prospect of being responsible for their own safety – or for anything at all, really. Frankly I see no way out of this, unless and until things get so outrageously intolerable that something snaps and we get massive outbreaks of communal violence which will either entrench the State in absolute tyranny, or break its power in favour of greater liberty. Depressing really.

  • Jim

    that is very sad…. can I suggest getting a dog, in particular I would recommend the american bulldog (essentially what the english bulldog was before the outlaw of bull baiting in u.k.) these dogs are excellent intelligent family dogs. they would allow children to gouge their eyes out without so much as a single growl, yet in the face of someone attacking a family member they would be fiercely protective. i’d take a bulldog over a shotgun for home defense any day! they have been man’s protector for millennia and are still the best option.

    i know there are some restrictions in communist u.k. against certain breeds, but certainly at least one suitable mastiff breed is legal

  • dalmaster

    I hope there will be justice.

    I’d expect the dwellers of these £3m homes to pool their resources and transform their homes into one resembling those much-famed US walled estates, with security – only I don’t think that’ll be much good if the burglars have a “right to roam”.

  • James

    that is very sad…. can I suggest getting a dog, in particular I would recommend the american bulldog (essentially what the english bulldog was before the outlaw of bull baiting in u.k.)

    So now we switch the burden of one’s defence from the police to an animal? Same sickness, different symptoms. Plus, you can just as quickly be sued for not controlling your dog as your fists.

    You’ll get attached to the animal. That’s what happens with pets. Your kids will get attached to it. And like any family member, you’ll be loathe to send it into battle, and one should be ashamed to send it in one’s ‘stead anyways. Would you send your wife to investigate that bump in the night? How cowardly would you feel doing that?

    Dogs can be a fine early warning device, but don’t send a dog to do a man’s job. Dogs can coordinate with each other, but it takes training to develop that between a human and a dog. Their noise and movement can give away your position. And they’re ruled by instinct, not reason.

    There’s no way I’d choose a dog over a shotgun, and anyone who sits down and thinks about it would come to the same conclusion. The dog is for telling you there’s a problem. The shotgun is for solving it.

    Dogs are companions, not proxies. It’s your job to protect them, too.

  • craggy_steve

    I am wrong about 1967, apparently it was in 1969 that guidance was issued that self-defense was no longer good reason for possession of a firearm. The following from the American researcher Joyce Lee Malcolm is a good summary of the situation in Britain today:

    “Whatever became of the Englishman’s castle? He did not lose the right and means to protect himself at once. It was teased away over the course of some 80 years by governments claiming to be fighting crime, but actually fearful of revolution and disorder. When the policy began, crime was rare. For almost 500 years, until 1954, England and Wales enjoyed a declining rate of violent crime. In the last years of the 19th century, when there were no restrictions on guns, there was just one handgun homicide a year in a population of 30 million people. In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world.

    The practical removal of the right to self defence began with Britain’s 1920 Firearms Act, the first serious limitation on privately-owned firearms. It was motivated by fear of a Bolshevik-type revolution rather than concerns about householders defending themselves against robbers. Anyone wanting to keep a firearm had to get a certificate from his local police chief certifying that he was a suitable person to own a weapon and had a good reason to have it. The definition of “good reason”, left to the police, was gradually narrowed until, in 1969, the Home Office decided “it should never be necessary for anyone to possess a firearm for the protection of his house or person”. Since these guidelines were classified until 1989, there was no opportunity for public debate.”

    I am delighted that someone has been arrested for this outrage, but any justice done will never mitigate for Mr. Monkton’s death or the fact that he was effectively denied the means to defend himself in our absurd society.

  • Jim

    James – have you ever seen a dog attack, how quick and tenacious they are? A dog will hear the intruder before you. These dogs are called bulldogs because they were bred to deal with bulls; yes, one ton animals. Larger mastiffs were bred used by roman armies to take on calvary – they locked on the snout of the horse and shook violently until it bucked it’s rider and fell to the side. 18,19, 20th century southern american farmers used them to catch unfenced boars and cattle and to defend livestock and the family from wolves and bears. All the dog requires of you is food and love, it will snap into defense without any need to be sent into battle. Yes, you’ll become attached you your dog, and it more so to you. It could never be used against a family member, nor accidentally kill a family member.

    A shotgun must be locked away, rounds found, properly aimed so as not to accidently hit a family member. You must be very well trained and alert. It can accidentally kill a family member or be used against you. It comes with very significant liability, much greater than the chance of an unwanted attack from a family pet. Besides most unwanted attacks are by mistreated and untrained animals.

    A dog requires a commitment (heaven forbid personal responsibility in today’s world) but it is a legitimate and effective means to protect one’s family that predates civilization.

  • Tony H

    I am wrong about 1967, apparently it was in 1969 that guidance was issued that self-defense was no longer good reason for possession of a firearm.

    No, still wrong, “Craggy”… But if you don’t believe me, I suggest you consult Steve Kendrick (I see you contribute to the Cybershooters forum) who confirms what I say: after WW2 the Home Office guidance to Chief Constables increasingly discouraged them from issuing FACs for self-defence, and this became absolute by 1954.
    I don’t know where Joyce Lee Malcolm got her info about 1969. Are you quoting from her book – or from the piece she did in the S.Telegraph a few weeks ago? They rejected a remarkably similar feature by me a year ago – but I’m not an American academic…

  • Maiadd

    This thread brings to mind the bumper sticker occasionally seen on cars in the US: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”. I’m no fan of the NRA, but they got this right. A bit simplistic, but the citizens should have the ability and the right to defend themselves in circumstances where the police either cannot or will not.

  • Verity

    Maiadd – we’ve been through this X million times and you are right. It doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. The British have allowed themselves to be disarmed, which was exceedingly stupid of them, and no succeeding government is ever going to return such a plum to the citizenry. Whatever a government does, the Brits will be allowed to demonstrate peacefully, of course. It’s a democracy, after all! But they will not be able to oppose the guns trained on them by the military on the roofs along the demonstration route.

  • Susan

    Very distressing news. This sort of thing seems to happen in the UK with increasing frequency. Even the Osbournes said it was safer in LA. . .

  • David Gillies

    As soon as I can get the necessary scratch together, I’m marching off down to the armería and buying a Remington Model 870 pump-action shotgun. If any little toerag breaks into my place I will cut him in half with a volley of double-ought buck. I won’t live in a country that doesn’t let you execute burglars.

  • craggy_steve

    Tony_H,

    I tried to e-mail you but I can’t seem to get guns@bustysubstances.co.uk to work! Mine should be OK, e-mail me if you want to continue off-line, and I’ll explain why 1969 is definitive.

  • I suggest “owning the means to defend themselves” is rather a broad generalized statement that can be confused in a number of ways.
    It sounds like you’re saying that owning an alarm system is forbidden.
    If that family was so wealthy, why didn’t they have an alarm system??? Certainly they could afford one if they could afford an expensive home.
    Furthermore, why did they fight these so-called burglars if they were outmatched? I’d rather lose any amount of material items than risk my life.
    Though frankly, it doesn’t sound like a typical burglary to me… Generally house breaking theives strike when the houses are unoccupied.

  • Verity

    Thank you, Chloe, for an outstandingly stupid post.

    Or are you the first troll to file a little thought in quite some time?

  • James

    Jim,

    Yes, I’ve seen dogs attack, and I’ve seen the biggest of them oh so easily dispatched by a commited human. Dogs savage children and the elderly. They’re no match against a fit male human, and you’d be surprised how quickly the fight goes out of most dogs once they’ve had a leg snapped. Biting a horse’s snout is one thing, trying to take down a human who can deliver targetted blows to vulnerable spots is another.

    I own a Daschund. They are bred to take on badgers in their dens. They are used to run down deer, and have also been used to hunt hyenas. There’s NO WAY I’d put one against a human. It would be easily outmatched. I wouldn’t put a pack of them against one man.

    Dogs are the original burglar (or more correctly, wolf and bear) alarm, not the original spear or sword.

    Whether a gun is safe or unsafe in the home is down to the owner, but there’s simply no question regarding which of the two is the most effective in a broad range of scenarios. And let’s not forget that millions of people keep their guns around their families year after year without anyone blowing their toes or head off.

    Studies in the U.S. put the number of defensive gun uses around 1.5 million per year. I’d doubt the number of times a dog actively stopped an attack at much, much less than that.

    Once the intruder’s broken your dogs back or crushed it’s skull, what’s your next line of defence?

  • bobderfisch

    I think the state’s attitude here is adequately summed up in the article Perry linked to in the post: ‘ Mr Jackson said a burglary gone wrong is a “key line of inquiry”. ‘

    Ah yes, if only the burglary had gone *smoothly,* none of this would have happened!

  • For your interest, there has recently been quite an astonishing (in a good way) success in an individual case involving a shotgun. A man took his shotgun with him when he went to have a talk to some youths.

    “The man decided to attend to the incident himself but fearing that the men may be armed, he took his shotgun with him as protection.

    He attended at the said beauty spot and found the three Asians still there. He approached their car with his 12 gauge over his arm and spoke to them. They gave him their undivided attention.

    After a brief conversation, he told them that if there were any further incidents, he would report it to the police, and then he left.

    Following this incident, he was interviewed by the police, his firearms and shotgun certificate were revoked and his guns taken from him.

    After contacting me, I worked on his defence, which was then fed to his legal team over the months.

    I advised the man that under no circumstances should he run with any other defence and he agreed to this.

    His defence was that he had a Common Law duty to prevent a breach of the peace, such breach had now been committed and he was now under a duty to attend.”

    Take a look here if you are interested in the rest.

  • Monsyne Dragon

    “Generally house breaking theives strike when the houses are unoccupied….”

    … In the United States, yes. In England, increasingly, no. Burglars in the UK are developing a fondness for breaking in when people are home, so that they can force homeowners to open safes, etc for them.

  • Jake Walters

    Perhaps some of the american readers can answer this.
    The whole concept of widespread gun ownership bieng a means to a safe and civil society, sounds fine, and there is much evidence supporting its truthfulness but one or two thorns remain in the argument. First of all, in the American inner cities firearms possession is widespread. It is illegal, but a great number of people there are armed to the teeth, nonetheless crime rates in these places are high enough to make a barbarian cringe. the means to self defense is widespread, yet where is the decrease in crime?
    Jake

  • Julian Morrison

    Jake Walters: that’s simple enough.

    Legal firearms => good guys have the most guns.

    Banned firearms => bad guys have the most guns.

  • Chloe,

    Your information is years out of date. Burglar alarms are not a way of defending yourself: they put you in greater danger. Most burglars in the UK used to look for empty properties. The thing is, though, burglar alarms are typically switched on when the place is empty and off when the occupants are at home, which has encouraged burglars to switch to home invasion. Contrary to what you think, a lot of burglars will attack their victims regardless of whether they attempt to defend themselves.

    I wonder how long it’ll be before insurance firms catch up with the latest reality and stop offering discounts on houses with alarms fitted. If there are any firms out there who offer both house insurance and life insurance, I suspect they’ll be first.

  • llamas

    Jake Walters – the decrease in crime may be found quite clearly in eg the DOJ crime statistics (which I regard as suspect, as I regard all state-generated statistics) or in independent analysis such as the ICVS survey conducted by the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Both are widely available on-line. Both clearly show that the US rate of violent crime – including murder – is gradually decreasing and has been for some time.

    You might also take a gander at the work of John Lott, whose book ‘More Guns, Less Crime’ shows, with impeccable statistical analysis, that higher rates of legal weapons possession produces lower rates of crime. Even his most ardent critics (and I am no statistician, or at least, not in that league) have had to admit that his analysis shows, at the very worst, that increased legal possession of weapons has no effect on crime rates, good or bad.

    To expand your quick simile, it should be noted that crime rates are highest in those US cities which most completely ban legal ownership of weapons. The shining example is Washington, DC, where private ownership of firearms is essentially outlawed (unless, of course, you are an influential media figure or a liberal politician) and which has had the highest rates of murder and other violent crime of any US city for some years now.

    To be sure, crime rates are higher in urban areas where many people have illegal weapons. They are called ‘criminals’. Crime rates are also typically the lowest in areas where virtually everyone owns weapons – they are called ‘law-abiding citizens’. We may contrast this with the UK, where crime rates are high everywhere – much higher than they are in the US – and yet the only people who have weapons are criminals and the police. I suggest that this strongly supports the argument that high crime rates are a direct result of outlawing weapons. Unlike the US, where laws vary from place to place and where comparisons can be hard to make, the ban on weapons possession by law-abiding citizens in the UK is pretty-much universal – and so is the contemporaneous steady increase in crimes against both person and property.

    I showed you the decrease in crime when weapons are more freely available, and the increase in crime when weapons are taken away. What was your question, now?

    And – What was your second point?

    llater,

    llamas

  • Rollo

    As if a fucking gun would do *any* good in a lot of these situations. In this case, the victim answered the door, which was forced open. How do you think a gun would have helped in this case? Should we all answer the door armed to the teeth?

  • Gravid

    Kennesaw ( Georgia?) in the USA has a law making it illegal NOT to own a firearm. Any burglaries there??

  • craggy_steve

    >> Should we all answer the door armed to the teeth?

    If you put yourself in the shoes of an illegal intruder, would you be more or less willing to enter a property if there was a significant risk that the occupant was armed?

    As in most situations, it is the deterrent that prevents violence, not the use of it. Shooting an intruder has to be an action of very last resort, but unless we are permitted to do so then we have no effective deterrent, certainly most burglars do not see being caught as a deterrent, they know the Police clear-up rate statistics just as well as the rest of us..

  • llamas

    Rollo wrote (minus the obscenity) : ‘In this case, the victim answered the door, which was forced open. How do you think a gun would have helped in this case? Should we all answer the door armed to the teeth?’

    Why not? I don’t open my front door willy-nilly to unannounced strangers – and I live in the country, with a low crime rate and two Dobermans in the house. This is just plain common sense – I take measures to keep four-legged rats out of my house, I’m not so stupid that I don’t think rats come on two legs also.

    Leaving that point aside, we can all spin scenarios where something either would or would not have ‘helped’. But the fact is that, whatever Mr Monckton did or did not do to place himself at the mercy of his attackers, one thing he could not do, regardless of the circumstances, was to have a known, proven, highly-effective means of self-defence at his or his wife’s disposal – because the law forbids it, and he was a law-abiding man. Your argument is absurd – that, because you can spin a scenario where eg a pistol might not have saved him from being butchered like a hog, therefore, pistols are completely ineffective and useless at all times and all places.

    One thing’s for certain – if a few home-invasion attempts ended with the attempter dead on the doormat because a homeowner or two did ‘answer the door armed to the teeth’ – and if the law was such that any homeowner could legally do so – I’ll bet you that the rate of home invasions like this would drop like a rock. A hot rock.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Tony H

    For your interest, there has recently been quite an astonishing (in a good way) success in an individual case involving a shotgun. A man took his shotgun with him when he went to have a talk to some youths…………………(snip) Take a look here if you are interested in the rest.

    I did. I am. Quite encouraging – but it reminds us that anyone with the guts to do this sort of thing, commendably facing down the thugs, faces months or years of legal harrassment, intimidation by the police, the deprivation of his guns & sport, and daunting expense even to the extent of financial ruin. Will the man retrieve his costs in their entirety? He’ll be lucky. Will the police apologise, and compensate him for his enormous trouble? I doubt it. Did his local news media paint him as a gun-nut? Has his reputation suffered? I hope not, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
    I see Cybershooters still includes total f*****g idiots like Neil F, one of the reasons I dumped the Cybershooters forum a long time ago.

  • When I lived in Glasgow, had I been allowed to own a gun, I would definitely have picked it up before answering the door. Come to think of it, in Glasgow, I’d never have put it down.

  • speedwell

    Yeah, I lived in Kennesaw, Georgia, where every household is required to have a gun for home defense. It is a good-sized town, a suburb of Atlanta.

    There are a few burglaries a year… not everyone actually does get a gun, there is a four-year state college there with its share of liberal gun haters, and there are some people who are just too poor to afford a gun. People’s cars get broken into, kids’ bycycles get stolen, stuff like that.

    Murders? A couple a year. There have been years with none at all, my neighbors told me once.

  • llamas

    Here is the latest crime data for Kennesaw, GA:

    http://kennesaw.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm

    More to the point, here’s comparative data for the crime rate in Kennesaw before and after the gun-ownership ordinance was passed.

    http://www.kennesaw.ga.us/PoliceDepartment_CrimeStatistics.aspx

    The specific crime of burglary is down from 1,030 per 100,000 population pre-ordinance to 265 per 100,000 today (one-third the national rate), even though the town has almost 4 times the population that it was when the ordinace was passed and has become much more suburban.

    All that being said, this in itself does not prove the ‘more guns, less crime’ hypothesis, but it sure does make one severely doubt the opposite contention. High rates of weapons ownership manifestly does not necessarily lead to high rates of crime.

    llater,

    llamas

  • John K

    Tony, although I am sure we are in agreement on the vileness of Anne Pearston, I feel you are indeed being a bit pedantic about the ability to own guns for self defence. In the scenario you mentioned, to have had a pistol to hand for “cleaning” would not have been legal, because you would not really have been cleaning it. And as you accept, de facto shotguns now have to be kept under lock and key when not in use. Before 1988 they could be kept to hand, and I am sure a lot of rural people did keep them handy, if only to deal with pests such as foxes. The fact is that in mainland Britain today shotguns and rifles must be kept locked up when not in use and thus legally are bugger all use for self defence. Now as I said if Phoney Tony were to do without his armed poice guards and live like the rest of us I would not mind so much, but obviously his life is far more valuable than that of any of the peons who will pay his £190,000 pa pension.

  • Steve

    There are two contradictory results of gun ownership in the US.

    One is that the homeowner often becomes the victim of his/her own weapon at the hands of the criminal. That may be due to lack of training or the element of surprise that the criminal has.

    The other is that criminals interviewed have said the thing they fear most is a homeowner with a gun.

    So, it’s not the actual use of a gun that keeps crime down, it’s the potential or the perception that it will be.

    By taking away guns, that potential is gone, leaving nothing, except maybe getting a big nasty dog, standing in the criminal’s way.

    Oh, wait. They’re starting to make having a big nasty dog illegal and already have made them uninsurable, so even that potential is gone.

    Considering getting an attack tabby kitty.

  • As if a fucking gun would do *any* good in a lot of these situations. In this case, the victim answered the door, which was forced open. How do you think a gun would have helped in this case? Should we all answer the door armed to the teeth?

    Posted by Rollo at December 2, 2004 01:32 PM

    Actually, I do answer the door with a firearm tucked in the back portion of my waistband, out of sight. I would encourage everyone in free countries to do so. Especially persons small enogh to not be able to resist having their door forced.

    As for home invasions … I have lived through three of them … in all three, the burglar was surprised by my presence, they thought the house was un-occupied … I was working graveyard shift at the time. When the burglar noted my presence, fully dressed ( i.e., stark naked with a large calibre pistol in my hand ), they bolted and ran like rabbits. Which is why they didn’t get their asses shot off.

    Yes … A firearm locked up and out of reach is useless. Which is why in most states in the US, concealed carry is perfectly lawful, and why I keep one pistol and one rifle loaded and outside my gunsafe when at home.

  • — snip —
    One is that the homeowner often becomes the victim of his/her own weapon at the hands of the criminal. That may be due to lack of training or the element of surprise that the criminal has.
    — snip —
    Posted by Steve at December 2, 2004 04:57 PM

    You are refering to the Kellerman study. Which has not been subject to peer review, and Kellerman is also refusing to reveal his data for analysis. Basically junk science.

    I would suggest getting ahold of Gary Kleck’s Point Blank study, which was peer reviewed, and had received the American Criminalogical Societies highest award in 1993.

    He came to exactly the opposite conclusions. Here is an interview of the man.

  • llamas

    I often answer the front door, even to welcome and expected company, with a pistol in my pocket. There’s a fair-to-middling chance that my welcome guests are similarly equipped. I don’t ask them, they don’t ask me. One thing’s for sure, I don’t open my front door to anyone that I don’t know who it is without a pistol in my pocket.

    To all those folks who say ‘get a dog to use against intruders’ – screw you! I love my dogs, and my dogs love me. It’s my duty as their guardian to keep them just as safe from harm as anyone else in my house – not to send them as a surrogate to do what I don’t want to do myself. If an intruder breaks into my house, since when is the the dog’s duty to fight, and maybe die – for me? To be sure, two big and noisy Dobermans are a fine deterrent to the average mope, I’m sure. But that’s their only responsibility to me – to be themselves, and if that scares goblins away, that’s fine. But they didn’t sign on to protect me – I signed on to protect them, and I will.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Tony H

    Tony, although I am sure we are in agreement on the vileness of Anne Pearston, I feel you are indeed being a bit pedantic about the ability to own guns for self defence. In the scenario you mentioned, to have had a pistol to hand for “cleaning” would not have been legal, because you would not really have been cleaning it.

    John, I’m glad we agree about Pearston, but allow me to suggest it’s you who is being pedantic: I mean, bugger the law, if you have a gun to hand you can defend yourself with it. This is actually accepted: if you’re found in court to have been in fear of your life, even an illegal, unlicenced weapon might be used in “justifiable homicide” – though later the plods will try to make your life a misery…
    “Before 1988 (shotguns) could be kept to hand”, true – but these were not certificated for personal protection, because the Home Office/police ceased to approve that as a “good reason” by 1954…
    As for not wishing to answer the door armed to the teeth, or the risk of one’s gun being seized by an assailant, I’d be willing to take my chances – though I’m not sure many assailants would be happy to try, and I’d do my best to ensure they paid the penalty.

  • Julian Morrison

    I doubt the thing where your own gun is siezed and used against you is some sort of unavoidable risk, with Bruce Lee burglars snatching your weapon from out of your closed fist. More like, people who in a pinch aren’t truly prepared to pull the trigger sometimes get their bluff called.

  • Verity

    Absolutely no point in having a gun if you’re not prepared to pull the trigger. In fact, if you’re not prepared to shoot to kill, your gun can be seized and used against you.

  • John K

    Tony,

    Essentially we are saying the same thing. Before 1997 a certificate holder could indeed keep his pistol to hand, but if he ever had to use it, even in legal self defence, his firearm certificate would be toast, the police would see to that, because legally he was obliged to keep the piece locked up. He would therefore have been in breach of the terms of his certificate, which is grounds for revocation.

    As for shotguns, before 1988 there was no sort of “good reason” requirement, one had a right to a certificate so long as one was of good character, which is as it should be in my opinion. Thus one could legally keep a shotgun for home defence, because the police had no right to ask you what you wanted one for. In my experience they did in fact try to ask, but if you told them it was for clay pigeon shooting that was their answer.

    I would say that the 1988 Act, which mandated that shotguns had to be kept securely when not in use, meant that one could not legally keep one to hand for self defence, and was thus unconstitutional. As if the government gives a toss about our constitution!

  • Absolutely no point in having a gun if you’re not prepared to pull the trigger. In fact, if you’re not prepared to shoot to kill, your gun can be seized and used against you.

    Posted by Verity at December 2, 2004 08:51 PM

    I agree. If you are not capable of pulling the trigger and inflicting deadly force on an attacker, do not keep a self-defence firearm.

  • Ray P

    If the State has removed a civilian’s* right to self-defence, can the state (law enforcement) be held liable for failure to provide the higher level of protection inherently promised by the change in the State’s policy?

    * Obscure R. Heinlein reference

  • Maggie

    Kristopher Barrett, I guess you shouldn’t keep a baseball bat around either, if you weren’t prepared to use it to bash the brains out of an intruder. Oh, gee, but the intruder could pick up the bat and bash your brains out. Logic is missing.

    As for gun laws, the matter is very simple. LAWS ARE MADE TO KEEP HONEST PEOPLE HONEST. Criminals are not going to be stopped by laws. That’s why their criminals.

    When I went for my pistol permit here in NY about 15 years ago, I was told by the Sheriff giving the safety class that of the thousands of permits issued NO PERMIT HOLDER HAD EVER COMMITTED A CRIME WITH THEIR PISTOL. Once you have it, you don’t want to lose it.

  • James

    To all those folks who say ‘get a dog to use against intruders’ – screw you! I love my dogs, and my dogs love me. It’s my duty as their guardian to keep them just as safe from harm as anyone else in my house – not to send them as a surrogate to do what I don’t want to do myself. If an intruder breaks into my house, since when is the the dog’s duty to fight, and maybe die – for me? To be sure, two big and noisy Dobermans are a fine deterrent to the average mope, I’m sure. But that’s their only responsibility to me – to be themselves, and if that scares goblins away, that’s fine. But they didn’t sign on to protect me – I signed on to protect them, and I will.

    llater,

    llamas

    Well put and damn straight.

    As Devo once said “Are we not men?”

  • Daveon

    Murders? A couple a year. There have been years with none at all, my neighbors told me once.

    Sounds, in that case, a bit like Kennsington and Chelsea. So far 1 murder this year, the tragic killing of Mr Monkton and none last year.

    Sometimes reading Samizdata is like taking a trip through a parallel universe. It doesn’t bear any resemblance to the one I live in.

  • Jake Walters

    First to Mr Morrison:
    what youre saying is true only to an extent, because its very simplistic. The circumstances in the inner cities are a lot more complex then just that. For example, even though the guns are illegal, I can imagine that if the crime rate gets bad enough law abiding people will say in essence; Fuck the laws! Im getting a gun and shooting the next bastard that tries something. So in places like washington D.C (Americas crime capital…in more ways then one hardy har har!) this is either not happening or if it is, which I believe could be the case, theres some other factor mitigating its effectiveness.

    To Llamas: First read the above, secondly You largely repeated what I already know, good information but im familiar with it already. My question was roughly the contents of my whole first post, and I cant remember my second poin, I was drunk somewhat at the time.

    To all of you talking about Kennesaw earlier heres Kennesaws crime statistics: http://kennesaw.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm
    and here’s a town in New York of comparable size: http://newburgh.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm
    New York has strict gun laws. Anyone notice anything funny????

  • Daveon,

    That’s not a one-to-one comparison you’re doing there, is it? A more valid camparison would be with the whole of central London, including Lambeth, rather than just two small posh parts of Central London. After all, I’m sure Kennesaw’s crime rates are even more astonishingly low if you exclude all the parts of Kennesaw with relatively high crime rates.

  • Daveon

    That’s not a one-to-one comparison you’re doing there, is it? A more valid camparison would be with the whole of central London, including Lambeth, rather than just two small posh parts of Central London. After all, I’m sure Kennesaw’s crime rates are even more astonishingly low if you exclude all the parts of Kennesaw with relatively high crime rates.

    Well, yes, it isn’t a fair comparison – however, there is a bit of “we aren’t safe in our beds in Chelsea because we can’t defend ourselves”. I just thought it would be interesting to actually look at the crime rates in Kennsington and Chelsea against Kennesaw which appears to be a relatively low crime part of the US.

    K&C has something like 6 times the population of Kennesaw and it is sandwiched between a number of poorer areas which, if necessary villans could get too on foot – although there’s probably a black hot hatch waiting somewhere. So given the nature of the rich pickings that K&C is, and it’s colocation with places like Brent and Lambath one would expect that the inability of the locals to protect themselves would lead to the rich needing Gated Communities as somebody upthread had suggested.

    Let’s just take a look at the 2003 Met total crime stats for K&C. Pop. 158,000 – Burglary 203 (business and residential), Theft crimes 1235, Rape 16 – frankly, given this is a suburb of a major city with easy rat runs to places to hide, these look pretty damn good to me. Looking at the total “crime” index and adjusting for the population difference K&C is slightly worse at 565 and Keenesaw has 535.

    Now I’ll freely admit that this is dreadful comparison. So why don’t we do the same comparison for the WHOLE of the Metropolitan police region – that’s 7.2 million people, something like 288 times the population of Kenessaw.

    The total crime index for London based on the Met’s published 2003 stats is 117223 – which, my possibly wrong working when adju;sted for the population gives a crime index of 410. Much lower than Kennesaw’s.

    There’s a lot more murders in there, of course, but that generally indicates that London, taken as a whole is about the same, crime wise as Kennesaw.

  • Tony H

    there is a bit of “we aren’t safe in our beds in Chelsea because we can’t defend ourselves”. I just thought it would be interesting to actually look at the crime rates in Kennsington and Chelsea

    There’s a bit of that, true, but I thought the general tone of this thread was one of regret that awful events such as the Monckton case were facilitated by the general defencelessness of British households, and the usual discussion about the merits and likely effects of householders being able to deter such crimes by being armed.
    I suppose one’s level of complacency about armed crime depends a lot upon whether one has been/is/is likely to be one of the statistically unfortunate few. And whether this is likely or not, there’s a profoundly important issue of individual liberty here – the freedom to choose to arm oneself against potential attack.

  • John Ellis

    David G:

    As soon as I can get the necessary scratch together, I’m marching off down to the armería and buying a Remington Model 870 pump-action shotgun. If any little toerag breaks into my place I will cut him in half with a volley of double-ought buck. I won’t live in a country that doesn’t let you execute burglars.

    Thank Goodness for that! That you won’t be living in my country, I mean. Execution for theft was outlawed here many centuries ago – even judicial execution.

    Having the death penalty at all is another argument, but living in a country where we are all self-appointed Judge Dreads would be truly scary.

    Mind you, at least it discourages kids scrumping your apples….

  • My stuff is my life, Ellis, no matter what you or anyone else thinks about it.

    Anyone attempting to take so much as a pencil off my desk takes their life in their hands, and god fucking help them if I get the drop on them, because they’ll be out of the game.

    Period.

  • Perry,

    My sincerest condolences to you, and to the Monckton’s family.

    Remember that you (and all the other Samizdatians) are always welcome in my house — and you’d be quite safe here, I promise.

    On the related topic: actually, what’s interesting about that saying that “your own gun can be used against you” is that included in the underlying statistics are the criminals themselves.

    Just recently, I featured a Righteous Shooting where an armed goblin broke in to rob a place. The homeowner wrestled the goblin’s gun away from him, and shot him dead.

    It happens quite often.

    Anyway, someone is quite welcome to try and take my gun away from me. While he’s doing that, my wife will be cleaning out his ears with her gun.

    Oh, and I agree with what Mr. Beck said. If people think that a criminal’s life isn’t worth a pencil, know this:

    I didn’t make that decision for him. By violating my property, he made that decision for himself.

  • Tony H

    My stuff is my life, Ellis, no matter what you or anyone else thinks about it.
    Anyone attempting to take so much as a pencil off my desk takes their life in their hands, and god fucking help them if I get the drop on them, because they’ll be out of the game.
    Period.

    Bit embarrassing to find oneself even tangentially on the same side as the occasional psychopath…
    Remind me not to knock on your door asking you to buy a ticket for the church raffle. Christ…

  • Verity

    Kim du Toit and the Mrs – another fine post!

    Righteous shooting. This is my favourite phrase of 2004. An extremely fine phrase.

  • ernest young

    Quite the little dramatist, aren’t you Tony…

    Maybe you would confuse a legitimate caller at your door, but please don’t assume that an adult would make the same error.

  • Julian Morrison

    Jake Walters: what I meant was subtler than “…only outlaws will have guns”. More like: only outlaws will control the supply and distribution of illegal guns, and thus by definition have the most of them.

  • Tony H

    Maybe you would confuse a legitimate caller at your door, but please don’t assume that an adult would make the same error.

    Ernest Young: leaving aside your flip, patronising remark, do you actually think the bloke (Beck?) has all his wiring in place? Does he resemble any of your friends? Rhetorical question I suppose, no answer required or expected. Have a nice day.

  • ernest young

    Tony H,

    My remark had nothing to do with Beck, it was meant solely for you…

    and no, he does not remotely resemble any acquaintance of mine, but obviously, you are familiar with the type, hence your difficulty in discerning ‘friend from foe ‘.

    Nothing patronising about my remark, your closing sentence is a good example though, glib, cliched and patronising, a ‘three’fer’. :-)

  • I’ve never had any problem discerning people of peaceful intent, Tony. I don’t know what your problem is, but I don’t have one like it.

  • andy

    My condolences to the gentleman’s loved ones.

    Almost as tragic as this man’s death, though, is the State’s complicitness in horrors like these. Until Britain recognizes the right to self-defence, it won’t be possible to call it a civilized country.

    Orwell’s probably rolling in his grave.

  • Tony H

    My remark had nothing to do with Beck, it was meant solely for you…
    and no, he does not remotely resemble any acquaintance of mine, but obviously, you are familiar with the type, hence your difficulty in discerning ‘friend from foe ‘.
    Nothing patronising about my remark, your closing sentence is a good example though, glib, cliched and patronising, a ‘three’fer’. :-)

    writes Ernest Young, in green ink no doubt.

    Well, irony doesn’t travel well in these postings, and perhaps your humour quotient is low. Anyway, it’s nice to know your remarks were straightforward, unsubtle invective. But leaving that aside – with admirable forbearance I feel – perhaps you simply don’t get the point.
    It ought to be clear from my previous posts that I am entirely in favour of a radical change in the current perverse & oppressive discrimination in favour of criminal assailants, to a vastly more liberal one in which citizens are free to use deadly force when necessary in the defence of themselves and their property. It goes without saying that we trust the majority of our fellows to use adult judgement…
    Nearly everyone here seems to agree.
    Trouble is, this sort of discussion always attracts a few Neanderthals, mostly (for some reason) from the USA. I like America (on the whole) and like most of the Americans I meet; but there quite a few libertarian Brits for whom America is beyond reproach, as is anything said by Americans, and so suck up to even the most lowbrow examples in a distressingly grovelling way. Perhaps you are among their number. Personally, when I come across the “Steal One Of Mah Paperclips And I’ll Waste Yo’ Ass With Mah Bazooka” school of regressive redneck bullshittery, I feel distaste and alarm. No doubt you think differently. I won’t wish you a nice day, just goodnight.

  • Barrance

    All the comments posted here ring so true.
    But some of us realised the way that the wind was blowing years ago.
    Small people like us are of little consequence in UK nowadays, and our “old fashioned” attitudes are just sneered at.
    So we voted with our feet and went where there is little violent crime, no car crime, few louts – other than holiday makers, no car alarms – not needed, people frequently leave their doors open on fine days and pretty well all are cheerful and friendly.
    Where – The Isle of Man of course!
    Good luck to you all back there indeed!

  • First, please accept my regrets on the loss of your neighbor, and on the life situtation his daughter now finds herself in. I was amazed to read so many posts without any thought as to what will become of her. Maybe life across the pond is significantly different than here, but it would seem like some kind of outpouring for her future (ie college, etc.) should be in order.

    Second – I move to second the motion that you are invited to relocate (I think the poster was from the great state of Texas) to America. God knows we have our problems, (I’m from a blue state) but at least one here can secure one’s home in whatever manner one sees necessary. I myself do not own a firearm, but as a single woman and mother, it has crossed my mind, and at least I could if I so chose to do so.

    I find it shocking that you cannot arm yourself. Maybe because that right is guaranteed me. I don’t believe that untrained people should arm themselves (hence, my lack of firepower – no training) but hell, the training and equipment is getable should I desire it. You should be able to defend yourself and your home. Shocking that you aparently can not.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    May I add my comments to this debate.My home has been burgled 5 times in the previous 8 years,besides getting no help from the police(it was entered as another statistic of local crime)the insurance company refused to cover me for normal houshold cover,but would, for extra premiums(50% increase).One day I returned home to find the intruder walking out of my patio door(which he had smashed with the patio furniture)with most of my lounge electrical equipment,I grabbed hold of him,he struggled so I hit him rather hard(need I say more)I phoned the police who said that they would send a officer when they could.When the police constable arrived (2hrs later) he asked why the intruder was still there I told him that I had restrained him from leaving.The officer told me that was not the thing to do as the intruder could press charges against me for holding him against his will(kidnapping).The outcome was a court appearance for both of us,the intruder was given 100 hrs community work.I(the criminal?)£200 fine for assault.Will the police be called again?I do not think so.

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  • Michael Boughton-Fox

    We should be able to protect ourselves, our families and property by any means available without fear of prosecutation and/or being sued by the criminal.
    My website http://www.victimsagainstcrime.com has always supported victim’s rights.

  • R M Middleton

    Re: Anne Pearston, mentioned above – The Centre for Defence Studies in London, showed that criminal use of handguns increased by 40% in the two years immediately after their 1997 ban on handguns. It is now believed there are over 300,000 firearms in Britain, which are readily accessible to anyone with murder on their minds. When Anne Pearston, a leader in the anti-gun campaign was presented with these figures, she dismissed them with, “But this completely misses the point of what we were trying to do. We never thought that there would be any effect on illegal gun crime, because this is a totally separate issue. What we were campaigning for was to make sure that a civilian could not be legally trained to use a handgun.” http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/crispin5.html Unethical Academics by George Crispin January 18, 2005

    A fraud has again been perpetrated on the subjects of the UK. In the name of serving the people, the crown (government/aristocracy) has instead been served. How many of us must be victimised before we see the truth of what is happening. Robert Burns saw it in 1791 “Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation.”