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The state is not your friend… and now Myleene Klass knows that too

In Britain, a woman alone in her own home cannot even brandish a knife to defend herself, let alone actually use one.

The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away. Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an “offensive weapon” – even in her own home – was illegal.

The lesson here is simple: never call the police. Never. Ever. They would have arrived too late to protect her had it turned violent and in any case Myleene Klass, who acted commendably by making it clear to intruders that she would defend herself and her child, was the only person who actually faced the possibility of arrest when the police did arrive.

If you have to defend yourself, do not call the cops afterwards and if possible leave the scene as soon as you can, no matter how clear it is that you are the aggrieved party. And if worst comes to worse and you get into a violent confrontation in your own home with an intruder, try to make sure your story is the only one the cops will hear (under no circumstances try to detain the scrot for the coppers to collect).

And if the cops do show up, just remember that your statement is not about speaking truth from a position of innocence, it is about not giving the state any pretext to arrest you. Stay nothing about what happened until your lawyer arrives.

Just remember that arresting you for daring to defend yourself is easier than looking for some criminal who attacked you because the police know where you live and getting any arrest shows up as a positive result in their statistics. Ideally just defend yourself and do not call them at all afterwards.

Myleene, you had the right instincts and you have my respect… your only mistake, and it is a big one, is to assume the cops in the UK are on your side and a young mum home alone with her child was legally entitled to defend herself. They ain’t and you are not. You have the moral right to do whatever it takes to defend yourself from intruders, but the police have no interest in such niceties.

The state is not your friend.

96 comments to The state is not your friend… and now Myleene Klass knows that too

  • Marky Mark

    Don’t disagree with your post but reminds me of a story told by my criminal law prof of tongue-in-cheek advice for American would-be self-defenders with a shot-gun:

    “Make sure the small hole’s in the front and drag them back onto your property”.

  • RRBB

    So what do we need the police for?

  • Kev

    So what do we need the police for?

    Well you know, someone has to check that people aren’t feeding ducks in the wrong area, smoking while they have a beer or taking pictures in the middle of London. Just think what society would end up like if no one did these important jobs.

  • Verity

    Marky Mark, when I had an intruder incident in Texas, the police told me: A- shoot to kill, not wound. B- make sure his feet are over your threshhold before you call us.

    That was about it, really. The rights of the homeowner. The right of the citizen to be safe in his own home.

    That the police in Britain could reprimand an individual, never mind a mother, for defending her territory is nauseating. The Stazi rules. Through fear and intimidation. Just as it did in the USSR.

    How did it happen that in Britain anyone, never mind a mother, could be scolded by the Sovietesque/Staziesque police for protecting her child and her home by threats! Not a gun! Just a woman by herself waving a knife in front of strong young males.

    An Englishman’s home is his castle. No. It’s Jack Straw’s castle.

    (Speaking of Straw, let’s not forget that his father was a Jewish refugee, accepted and helped in our country, who then refused to be called up and serve to defend our country in WWII. He spent the war as a traitor at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Safe, secure and fed.

    The lady protecting her home and her child was very brave and I suspect it took her a long time to come down from the adrenalin that flowed once she realised she was alone because the second aggressors were the repulsive British police.

    I’m glad she and her child made it through … as a result of her outstanding bravery on two fronts – the aggressive yobs and the British police. She should get out of Britain. So should everyone.

  • Verity

    Do we have the name or the badge number, if they still have them in these democratic days, of the police toe rag who bullied this gal?

    How abnormal is it to reprimand a woman who, alone, on her own property, threatened by males, essays to protect her child?

    Anywhere we can send complaints regarding this officer and suggestions for his career?

  • Laird

    “Words of advice were given in relation to ensuring suspicious behaviour is reported immediately.”

    What does that mean?

  • Eric

    Let’s say the youths entered the house and she knifed one of them. Could the crown get away with a prosecution, politically?

  • Eric,

    It has in the past.

  • Agree with every single word of that post – spot on, especially this:

    “And if worst comes to worse and you get into a violent confrontation in your own home with an intruder, try to make sure your story is the only one the cops will hear…”

    Whatever you do, do it quickly and don’t mess about.

  • Tony…what was his name?

  • And, somewhat similarly, but elsewhere and with significantly different results. Just sayin.

  • Frank S

    The legal system seems to exist to protect and recycle offenders, almost as if they were the lifeblood a lucrative business for some. Increasingly, people will seek to apply their own punishments when they have the upper hand, and the offenders will be the only ones who will want the police to be called.

  • Frank S

    This article helps explain how the police in some areas keep themselves occupied in between opportunities to protect offenders from the public: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1241994/Businessman-arrested-wife-son–anti-gipsy–email-didn-t-write.html

  • agn

    I’m beginning to wonder if the state isn’t actually in breach of the social contract. It can’t and won’t protect us from those who would do us harm; instead it comes after the law-abiding citizen and prevents her from defending herself, or forces her to undress (so far only virtually, but…) before allowing her to travel by air.

    Before which court can we drag the state to settle this contractual dispute?

  • Shigella

    This story tells me that I need to move a large sturdy knife to my bedside drawer because home invasions can only become more likely.
    If you are the kind of person who would break into someone’s home you’ll be rubbing your hands together with glee – all those cowed home owners out there too scared to defend themselves for fear of prosecution? Fantastic stuff!
    I have a couple of suitable knives and I would not hesitate to use them to protect myself and my family. Maybe I’d end up in jail, but I’d be alive.

  • Everyone should now keep a _very_ sharp small knife on their persons at all times, easily whipped out and used in extremis. It does not need to be long: 3 inches is enough.

    You must make sure, if frontally attacking, that you stab Upwards and not horizontal or downwards: you are less likely to injure yoruself, and you will damage much more of the scumbag more quickly that way, and with luck he will pass out from massive haemorrhage in about 10 seconds. He is then manageable (it is alwats “he”.)

  • Oh and make sure you twist it sharply while pulling it out to go again. It’s much easier and he’ll lose more blood.

  • John B

    Nightjack had similar advice: Never talk to the police without a lawyer, especially if you are in the right. He had a very good and comprehensive post on the subject (A Survival Guide for Decent Folk) and being a police man I guess he knew what he was talking about.
    His blog has been removed, now.
    Where can one find a copy of his post?

  • tomwright

    To paraphrase ranchers in the U.S. west said when faced with penalties for protecting thier herds from wolves:

    Shoot Stab, shovel, shut-up

  • Lee

    Old line: When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

    New line: When seconds count, the police are only minutes away – from arresting you.

  • permanentexpat

    This incident was posted over at ‘Counting Cats’ where I left the following comment:
    “When I lived in Germany where folk are allowed to protect themselves against intruders, I was advised that your defence should be lethal…it removes a whole raft of complications.
    Thank goodness I no longer live in The Septic Isle where the lawmakers, with their bodyguards & expensive security systems, deny basic rights to honest burghers.
    As for that assinine crap about the knife-waving…as any fule no…guns, knives, kitanas etc. are easily available to the bad guys who use them…but an honest citizen owning one or more of these dangerous horrors is a criminal.
    On the other hand, you stupid down-trodden idiots, you are entirely responsible for the situation & all else in the benighted country…by voting for the malevolent bastards who have brought the UK to its wretched knees….sorry, but true.”

  • John B,

    Google “A Survival Guide for Decent Folk”, dozens of responses.

  • Simon Jester

    John B,

    Here, for example.

  • Richard Garner

    I imagine that, disarmed like this, Miss Klass is in need of a body guard. I will write and assure her that her body will be safe in my hands.

  • The entire Nightjack blog can be found here.

  • Robert

    The more I read about the British police, the more I despise them.

    They really are scum

  • The more I read about the British police, the more I despise them. They really are scum

    They are just doing what the legal system requires them to do, and the legal system is what the political system has made it. Most coppers I have known are perfectly reasonable people individually, but that matters little in practice as ultimately they do what the system directs them to do… and it directs them to do a great many things that are utterly iniquitous.

    The true enemy are the people whose directions the coppers enforce. That is where the appropriate loathing needs to be directed.

  • I don’t think the Police started out under”New” Labour in 1997 to actually _/be/_ scum.

    The final arrival at power, of the whole 60s generation of Gramscifically-trained FabiaNazis was what brought the Police to this pass. these “law-makers” and “movers and shakers” ensured – as part of “re-Policing for a Young Britain”- (I make that one up) – that all currently-allowed-to-stay and all future-police would be individuals that would behave like these have done.

  • I am wondering about what objects would perhaps be either considered legal to wave/shoot/thrust with, or which would also give a Court some trouble in quibbling with.

    A crossbow is clearly out, although legal to own. Modern ones which work properly and fast look too much like guns. Longbows are easy to own and to make but are cumbersome in a kitchen.

    Has anyone developed what I would call a “short-longbow” by any chance, perhaps made of some “smart material”, that would :-

    (a) be easy and cheap to make or buy,
    (b) pack enough punch to disable-fully a scumbag at short range say up to 30 yards, and
    (c) which can be drawn by a young woman or large child
    (d) have a high rate of fire, say a round every 4-5 seconds even without training?

  • I’ve just worked out a solution! (No pun intended here…)

    In the 1950s, we children were always told that “if you find a burglar in the house, throw THE AMMONIA at him! It will blind him painfully! He will run away!”

    “THE” Ammonia was the half-pint glass bottle of 0.880 ammonia solution, which was bought for indoor cleaning purposes, regularly, for One Shilling, from Messrs Astridge. These were the local ironmongers and tool retailers, in Ashtead Village, Surrey.

    We were also told to pretend, when the Policeman arrived to take the burglar away. that “the burglar accidentally slipped on the ammonia on the floor, which was being used to its top was unscrewed”.

  • That all misses the point David… under current law, anything that can be used to effectively defend yourself can also be defined as an “offensive weapon”. This means that whilst you are technically allowed to defend yourself if attacked, in practice using anything to make that defence possible if you are a yummy 31 year old model rather than Frank Bruno, is therefore illegal.

    Trying to come up with a legal weapon is impossible. Weapons are illegal and anything you use as a weapon is legally a weapon.

    The solution is to defend yourself without getting the cops involved, whereupon utility rather than legality becomes the main issue.

  • Many years ago, the various UK police forces (with the partial exception of The Met) each separately reported to a police committee consisting of county councillors and local magistrates. [Aside: Also in those days, we did not have multi-council police forces such as the Thames Valley Police; thus there was no doubt as to the political line of reporting of each police force: it was to a single local authority; that council got the policing policy they chose.]

    Nowadays, police forces look, at least to me, to be agents of central government (ie a single state police force). No other elected level of government has political and financial control: this is of the legitimised (ie lawful) use of force to constrain the behaviour (and otherwise subdue) the people.

    A longish time ago, these local police forces made their own decisions on whom to prosecute, and for what. Nowadays we have the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS): totally committed to and controlled by central government.

    Are things better, now than then, on law enforcement?

    Best regards

  • llamas

    I agree that this outrageous, on multiple levels.

    One can only hope that Ms Klass’s celebrity, and the added attention that this story will get as a result, may be an id to change.

    But let’s not be conflating what she did with the Tony Martin case. There is barely enough time left in the day to list all the ways in which the two cases are so completely different.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Well then, OK, Perry:

    But the actualilty of doing that means that the scumbag must not be allowed to remain in being at all, for the following reasons:-

    (1) He might get away, empty-handed but vindictive and remembering where you live, to grass you up, and his “mates” will be round later,

    (2) He’ll have your witnesses threatened, after he’s had you arrested for hindering his progress and causing him upset and stress,

    (3) You’ll go to jail in the case of (2), your property will be comprehensively done over by the scumbag and his mates in the meantime, your wife will leave you in terror, and your children will probably disappear into State “Night and Fog”, never to be relocatable by you again.

    Defending yourself without getting the cops involved thus logically encompasses the “ultimate sanction”. Once these thugs begin to disappear without trace themselves, the message will get through that death has entered the probability-stats: these droids are not stupid – far from it, as I have just commented on our own blog, on this same issue.

    http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/if-even-she-cant-wave-a-knife-at-scumbags-what-hope-is-there-for-us/

    (4)

  • Brian, follower of Deornoth

    I was advised (by a police officer, unofficially) that a claw hammer was the best indoor weapon. He didn’t advise that the intruder should be killed, but I got the impression it would be desirable for all concerned. When there is a dispute about what happened, the most Class-Friendly elements will of course be believed.

  • A claw-hammer sounds OK by me, if you have them really handy.

    But you’d have to attack the head-parts of the creature straight away, up close, to do enough disabling damage in the first half-second which is vital – and he is still un-disabled and keyed-up and you are not.

    This would make your chest and underarms vulnerable during the assault-phase.

  • You Know Who

    This is completely beyond the pale. I admit I’m only familiar with Ms Klass’ capabilities in terms of coaxing fine music from a grand piano, but even so, I’m sure she was only acting in her best interests.

    I know that some Samizdataistas are aware of the fact that I like to use reductio ad absurdum, as a device of reasoning. Therefore, here’s my view of burglars, and how to deal with them.

    1. Always remember, that burglary is an opportunistic crime. Burglars may inform their confidants what neighbourhood they are intending to attack before they go out, but they will almost never have the presence of mind to inform people of which particular property, they are about to hit.

    2. When faced with a burglar in your house, kill them, by any means available. Shotguns, airguns, swords, knives, concentrated ammonia, anything you legally hold – you get it.

    3. Yes, you read that right. If there is more than one burglar, ensure there are no survivors (sorry, Tony Martin, you should have had a pump-action, or at least, *another* twelve-bore, to hand).

    4. For all following steps, wear two layers of disposable gloves, if you can. Keep supplies in your house.

    5. Make *damn* sure the burglars are properly dead. Hammer a long Philips or Posidriv screwdriver through one of their eye sockets up to the hilt, and stir hard.

    6. For each burglar, do not dismember the body, in your house. Resist the temptation to take the head, for mounting on your wall.

    7. Smash you corpse’s teeth, with a ball-pein hammer. Retain the teeth for disposal, one at a time, over the course of maybe a week, in moderately disparate public waste bins, away from where you live.

    8. Burn your corpse’s fingerprints off, with a soldering iron.

    8. Within 3 days of your burglar’s execution, dispose of the corpse by means of your choice (I suggest burial in the back garden, under cover of darkness). Dispose of the hammer and soldering iron too, as per the teeth.

    9. Dispose of outer gloves, in one medical institution, and inner gloves, in another.

    10. Don’t bother informing the authorities, as they’d only misinterpret everything.

  • marc in calgary

    You Know Who, I’m not trying to be disagreeable, simply that information is power. :)

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=how+to+dispose+of+a+body&btnG=Google+Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=

  • You Know Who

    Hi Marc,

    That’s not disagreeable at all – it’s a really rather useful adjunct.

    Thanks for posting :-).

  • Stonyground

    There are some very scary comments appearing on this thread. It would seem to me that these are a direct result of our police force deliberately refusing to do its job and deciding to harass ordinary people instead.

    Welcome to Nu-Labours nightmare.

  • I didn’t mean to start that sort of thing, if some of mine are referred to. I was only offering already-well-available or commonsense-type self-defence advice, on how to handle tools and stuff like that.

    It’s the sort of thing that the kinder and more engaging Senior NCOs, with whom you like to have a beer at the end of the weekend and whom you have throroughly sat on the heads of during the sloping-hill-rugger game in the freezing rain, like to quietly teach the lads doing Basic training.

    It’s just useful for showing you that there is you have “nothing to fear” from scumbags who have “everything to hide”…

  • You could always BBQ the intruder…

  • Someone is watching too much CSI Miami?

  • Nuke Gray

    I’ve got the perfect solution! I saw this as a satire, but it’s time has now come! Attack thieves with bananas!!
    In the Monty Python original, the instructor shot the attacker with his gun, but that won’t happen now, will it? And you can eat the evidence later! (You do have bananas in Britain, don’t you?)

  • Nuke Gray

    Here’s a hypothetical- what would have happened if she had simply pointed a toy gun at them? Any instances of police warning about being nasty to intruders?

  • Boris Karpa

    “And, somewhat similarly, but elsewhere and with significantly different results. Just sayin.”

    He still went to prison. For possession of a Ruger 10/22 for the love of God.

  • Boris Karpa

    “And, somewhat similarly, but elsewhere and with significantly different results. Just sayin.”

    He still went to prison. For possession of a Ruger 10/22 for the love of God.

  • I understand lime and lye work wonders with getting rid of large, unwieldly organics…

    BBQing humans is not a good idea; apparently they smell just like pork and some Muslim in your neighbourhood might just complain about your ‘offending’ them.

  • They are just doing what the legal system requires them to do, and the legal system is what the political system has made it.

    So were the rank and file nazis.

    A decent person would resign their job if it required them to do unjust things, like prosecute people who were only trying to defend themselves.

    Don’t give police a pass for “just doing their job”. There are plenty of other jobs around that don’t require oppressing innocent people.

  • Don’t give police a pass for “just doing their job”. There are plenty of other jobs around that don’t require oppressing innocent people.

    I am not giving anyone a pass, but the police are not really the heart of the problem. Would that it was so simple but the poison runs through the entire system of state governance in Britain, which is rotten to the very core of its being.

  • Verity

    I remain in favour of the Texas solution, which is legal, open and for which you can be called to account. The police tell you that the minute someone puts one foot over your threshhold, uninvited, you are entitled to shoot them. (They advise that “shoot” should taken to read “shoot dead”. Never shoot to wound. They’d testify against you later.)

    This is why Texas and the other (I think) 41 states that have legal firearms have low crime rates. In Texas (and I don’t know how many other states), they also have “carry concealed”. In other words, if you’re out and about, you can have a gun all ready to go in your purse, briefcase or hip pocke. As you will have a license to “carry concealed” and the perp won’t, it’s an open and closed case. That’s why they say in Texas, “An armed society is a polite society.” (It was George W Bush, as Governor of Texas, btw, who signed this bill into law. A very fine individual.)

    In Britain, you have allowed the communists to get you to a state, via the excuse of religious freedom for muslims, of being in abject terror. The mohammadan brief is an instrument of control. I don’t think you will ever recover.

    For sure, repulsive, self-seeking, greedy wimp David Cameron isn’t going to turn on the ignition for that trip.

  • Mike

    You in the UK have my sympathies. Where I live, we have a “Castle Doctrine” law – anyone forcing their way into your home is presumed to have deadly intent, and therefore, all the legal requirements necessary to claim self defense are conveniently provided by the criminal.

    Additionally, I keep the ammonia under the sink, the hammer in the tool box, and knives in the kitchen drawers – where they belong. What you want to have for home invaders is a gun.

    I know they are difficult for the law-abiding to acquire, but your criminals don’t seem to have any problem getting them, and it may come down to defiance of the law in order to have the proper tools necessary to protect yourselves.

    Again, my deepest sympathies for your disarmed state.

  • MattP

    I remain in favour of the Texas solution . . .

    The Texas solution could be improved upon if they borrowed one idea from, believe it or not, California.

    In California if you shoot someone at night in your home, after they’ve forced their way in, and they are not a member of the immediate family who have a right to be there, the state must presume that it is lawful self-defense. Moreover, it is a priviledged act and his family, or the perpetrator if he lives, can not sue you.

    You can lawfully claim self-defense if any of the three criteria I listed above are lacking, it’s just that the state won’t automatically presume it to be the case.

    The CA law goes a long way to eliminating the need to worry about anybody testifying against you. If the criminal breaks into your house during the hours of darkness, they simply won’t ever be provided the opportunity in either a criminal or civil court, should the doctors be able to patch them up.

    It’s more than a case of an “armed society is a polite society.”

    If you have a society where a young mother, alone with here daughter, can be threatened with arrest for simply indicating her willingness to defend herself against criminals than you no longer even have a civil society.

    A civil society is one in which guns lie around unused because they are not needed, many rusting away because their owners aren’t enthusiasts. Not one in which they are legislated away so that those who do need them can’t have them.

    It is an uncivil society that forces its citizens to live in fear of both the criminals and police.

    But that does serve the interests of the hyenas at the top of the heap who know that a fearful citizenry that has no other recourse will be forced to demand more government.

    In that sense, the criminals are actually the partners of your political class, ensuring their job security. Obviously, the political class returns the favor by coddling the criminals.

  • Boris: I didn’t know that – I guess I got so overwhelmed with his acquittal on the main charge that I stopped following the case…

  • mac

    Perry nailed it. Britain today is even worse than Anthony Burgess portrayed in “A Clockwork Orange.” My God, how far you’ve fallen! If I hadn’t lived through it and seen it myself on occasion, I wouldn’t have believed it possible. How the Hell did the country of Rorke’s Drift, Lucknow and Trafalgar come to this pass?

    It’s going to take a revolution to get your country back and, to be honest, I’m not sure you British have got sufficient “bottle” in you to do it anymore. If you do, you’ll be wading in Muslim and yob blood up to your ankles before it’s over. That’s the cost of having waited so long. What was it Mr. Churchill said about if you won’t fight when you can win easily…?

  • mac

    By the way, if you don’t know the definition of the term “anarcho-tyranny,” look it up. This case is a perfect example.

  • llamas

    Verity wrote:

    “I remain in favour of the Texas solution, which is legal, open and for which you can be called to account. The police tell you that the minute someone puts one foot over your threshhold, uninvited, you are entitled to shoot them. ”

    Sigh. How often am I going to have to respond to this?

    It is

    Simply.

    Not .

    True.

    You may think it is. You may believe it is. I know you wish it to be so. But it is not.

    Texas law does not give you carte blanche to kill any intruder.

    What Texas law does do is give you the right to use reasonable force against any intruder, including deadly force.

    Here is a quick overview of the self-defence laws of Texas:

    http://www.self-defender.net/law3.htm

    Note the repeated use of the phrases ‘reasonably necessary’, ‘the the degree (he) believes to be reasonably necessary’ and so forth. Note also the definition of the circumstances in which the defence of justification can be lost.

    So Texas, like most other places, has a ‘reasonable man’ standard for the use of deadly force. Now, there is little question that Texas prosecutors and Texas juries have traditionally given wider latitude that some other places in the interpretation of what consititutes ‘reasonable’. I don’t necessarily disagree with a lot of that. But please, please, stop repeating this hoary old untruth that in Texas you are ‘entitled’ to shoot intruders dead.

    It’s.

    Just.

    Not.

    True.

    In Texas, as in most other places, your decision to shoot an intruder dead can and will be taken up by the prosecutor, and your blithe assumption that you are ‘entitled’ to do this may very well be challenged by evidence that rebuts or challenges your version of events.

    And heaven help you if you (as others here have suggested) drag the body inside your property or otherwise try to alter the appearance of what happened to try and reinforce your story. You get caught doing that, and your blithe assertion of your ‘right’ to kill an intruider will crumble into dust.

    Stop repeating thse assertions and/or suggestions. I know that they are comforting and appealing, because they support your views of how the world ought to be. Mine, too, to some extent at least. But that is not how the world is.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Indeed llamas, but I suspect in Texas, which has rather more sensible notions and thus allows effective self defence (which in the case of a woman facing two males means using a weapon), waving a knife at intruders through a window to scare them off would not induce the cops to warn the home owner that they were acting illegally.

  • Nuke Gray:

    Your humorous suggestion to use a banana reminded of the Roald Dahl story Lamb to the Slaughter.

  • llamas

    Our generous host wrote:

    ‘Indeed llamas, but I suspect in Texas, which has rather more sensible notions and thus allows effective self defence (which in the case of a woman facing two males means using a weapon), waving a knife at intruders through a window to scare them off would not induce the cops to warn the home owner that they were acting illegally.’

    Agreed. However, any Texas police officer who told a citizen

    ‘ . . . the minute someone puts one foot over your threshhold, uninvited, you are entitled to shoot them.’

    would be complete and feckless idiot. Texas does indeed allow for effective, even robust self-defence – and more power to them, up to a point – but it does not allow citizens a blanket entitlement to assassinate each other over matters as trivial as a civil trespass.

    The most-recent widely-publicized case on this issue in texas was that of Joe Horn, who shot and killed two burglars of a neighbour’s property. His case went to the Harris County grand jury, which took 7 months to return a no-true-bill. And probably the only reason he was not charged was that a police officer saw the shootings and was able to testify as to exactly what happened. Had Horn not had the benefit of such an unimpeachable eye-witness, I suspect that the prosecutor and the grand jury would have said ‘screw it, you persuade a (petit) jury that you had to do this.’ Certainly no ‘entitled’ about that case.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Paul Marks

    It should be remembered that all this evil (and it is evil) nonsense) did not start with the police.

    It started with the academics and media people, then it went on to the administrators and politicians – with their “laws” (statutes and judge made distortions of Common Law) and “policies”.

    A fish rots from the head.

    As for the police – any policeman who resisted the “Politically Correct” (a term from the Marxist Frankfurt School – which was then turned into the School of Social Research in the United States and Britain) tide found chances of promotion cut off – and was often just forced out of the police.

    I work with such a man (an expoliceman), and I know many serving police officers.

    They are good people – undermined by a rotten system.

    As for the history of this “politically correct” legal and criminal justice system…….

    I do not like some things about Peter Hitchins (such as his support for government railways), but his “History of Crime” is quite correct.

  • mac

    llamas is absolutely correct. I, too, would like to see anyone who crosses the doorstep forcibly subject to summary judgment by the homeowner, but it just isn’t so. If you shoot someone IN your home in most American “red” states, you can figure that you’ll probably avoid jail but you will still be out a considerable sum for lawyers. In a blue state, all bets are off.

    Clint Smith used to say that the first bullet out of your firearm, no matter how justified, carried a $150,000 price tag with it. Of course, if that keeps you or a family member alive, it’s worth it. After the Wichita Horror and Channon Christian/Christopher Newsom, it’s a simple choice: you or them. Fight or die after horrific torture.

  • John B

    Some of the top celebs and politicians in South Africa, I am told, have a system which when triggered simply anaesthetises everyone in the house and calls security. Including themselves. It does not seem ideal! Said intruder might bump head and sue one for headaches for ever after?

    But how about an anaesthetic gas dispenser one can aim. Actually I had one once. Hate to have had to use it. Probably gassed myself.
    Thanks Whoops, CC, and Simon for NightJack blog.

  • llamas

    In the interest of fairness, we should note that the Hertfordshire police are officially denying that their officers said anything along the lines of what it has been reported that they said to Ms Klass. I quote:

    ‘And for the record Hertfordshire Police say they didn’t tell Klass off at all about her knife-waving.

    “Officers spoke to reassure the home owner, talked through security and gave advice in relation to the importance of reporting suspicious activity immediately to allow officers to act appropriately,” says a spokeswoman.

    “For clarification, at no point were any official warnings or words of advice given to the home owner in relation to the use of a knife or offensive weapon in their home.”

    I don’t make any judgement, I don’t know who’s telling the truth here. I instinctively suspect that Ms Klass’s version of events is closer to the truth, and that the officers in question have been ‘counselled’. The jewelled word on which the spokeswoman’s carefully-constructed statement turns is ‘official’. But I can’t say.

    llater,

    llamas

  • John K

    Llamas:

    Who do you believe, Myleene Klass or a police bureaucrat in full CYA mode?

    As it happens, the “words of advice” allegedly given were wrong in law, but do give an insight into the mindset of our politically correct police.

    It is, in fact, quite legal to keep a weapon in your home for the purpose of self defence, and I keep a sword and baseball bat to hand for just that purpose.

  • Sunfish

    What llamas said. Seems like I keep saying that. But anyway…

    My state has one of the better SD laws. There doctrine of “retreat to the wall” simply does not exist in Colorado, even in public places.

    Inside a dwelling, any level of force (including deadly force) is fair game against a person who has unlawfully entered with criminal intent and who uses any degree of force, no matter how slight, against any occupant. That particular statute conveys civil immunity, and immunity from prosecution entirely (rather than just a pretty robust affirmative defense.)

    Verity: There are only two US states (Illinois and Wisconsin) that have no provision at all for the public to carry concealed weapons. Another few (CA, HI, NY, NJ, MD, MA, DE, RI, CT) limit such carry to licensees who get their licenses at the discretion of some issuing official. (There’s a continuum there, from Kern County, CA, where the sheriff is open-minded, to Hawaii, where IIRC the Honolulu PD armorer has the only license in the state.)

    Vermont and Alaska do not require a license to carry a concealed firearm in public.

    The remaining 37 are all variants of “shall-issue” states, meaning that state law lists criteria for licensing[1] and the issuing authority is required to issue the license to a qualified applicant within a fixed period of time.

    As for whoever suggested dragging a body back onto your property: you, sir, are so damn dumb that you make the baby Jesus cry.

    [1] Usually age 21, although Oklahoma is 23 and New Hampshire may be 18, no convictions for felonies or violent misdemeanors, and more often than not a training requirement ranging from 4-16 hours depending upon the state.

  • llamas

    What Sunfish said. Seems like I keep saying that. But anyway…

    Only to note that, while he rightly observes that the law of his fair state provides that

    ‘ . . . Inside a dwelling, any level of force (including deadly force) is fair game against a person who has unlawfully entered with criminal intent and who uses any degree of force, no matter how slight, against any occupant. . . . ”

    there is still a reasonable-man standard – the occupant of the dwelling must have a reasonable belief a) that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed by the intruder, over and above the mere intrusion and b) that the actor might use physical force (NMHS) against any occupant.

    Note the ‘and’ – it’s not an ‘or’.

    So in CO, if you should find an uninvited guest in your home, the law allows you to use force (including deadly force) against that person only if

    a) you have a reasonable belief that he has committed, or intends to commit, any crime, and
    b) you have a reasonable belief that he intends to use violence against any person, no matter how slight.

    and

    You had better be pretty sure that you can convince the prosecutor that you met conditions a) and b). Then, and only then, are you off the hook, criminally and civilly.

    So, for example, if you find an intruder in your home and there’s a bloodstained knife on the floor, and you see a bleeding victim laying on the ground – under CO law, you may only use (deadly) force againt him if you reasonably believe he is about to use any force against you or another – no matter how slight. So if he comes at you – double tap. No problem. But if he’s laying face down, spread-eagled in the dirt, and you have him at gunpoint – maybe not quite so much. Maybe you have a reasonable belief that he’s about to commit a violent act. Maybe you don’t. Can you persuade the prosecutor that you were actually defending yourself or another against a violent act, and not simply executing what appeared to be a self-evident violent criminal?

    That’s a lot different than ” . . . the minute someone puts one foot over your threshhold, uninvited, you are entitled to shoot them. . . .

    I gotta go. Back llater,

    llamas

  • Sunfish

    Just to clarify…

    You correctly note that “Make My Day” at CRS 18-1-704.5 is subject to a reasonable man test.

    A different statute (CRS 18-1-704) governs self-defense in general. Deadly force is an option in some cases (when faced with a threat of death or serious bodily injury, or to prevent aggravated robbery, first-degree arson, kidnapping, rape, or some burglaries, when one reasonably believes that a lesser level of force will not succeed)[1], but there’s no carte blanche to shoot anyone.

    Force may be used to protect property (again, subject to that “how much force would a reasonable man use?” test), but in the absence of a threat to a person deadly force is legally unavailable.

    And just to clarify something else, I’ve never heard of a jurisdiction where “inside a dwelling” includes the front lawn.

    This could be like an email discussion I sat in on in the mid-1990′s, several hundred messages about “In Texas, if someone steals your VCR you can shoot him as he runs away, but only at night.”

    What will drive some people nuts is, these legal defenses are mostly defenses at trial. By raising them, you force a jury to rule on your justification, which means that you’ve hired Johnny Cochrane to present this whole mess to a dozen people who couldn’t get out of jury duty.[2] MMD is the only one I can think of that, applied correctly, will keep a case from even going to trial.

    You also said:

    Can you persuade the prosecutor that you were actually defending yourself or another against a violent act, and not simply executing what appeared to be a self-evident violent criminal?

    An important point: if the investigator and the prosecutor think that your claim of self-defense is legit, they’re unlikely to waste hundreds of hours of their time on prosecuting you. If they think you’re full of something, they’ll spend the money, make you defend it, and let the court figure it out.

    And that being said, drop knives and drop guns don’t work particularly well. A classic case of a drop gun not working out for a self-defense claimant comes from llamas’ neighborhood, in which checking the serial number revealed that the drop gun was being stored in Detroit PD’s evidence locker. (Unless it was WA DC instead of Detroit. Other than a white stone dome full of retards, the two cities look remarkably alike from here.)

    Oops.

    There was another one where the drop gun’s mechanism had carpet lint consistent with the shooter’s house, and cat hair consistent with the shooter’s cat. Meaning that if you’re going to plant evidence, get tile floors and a chihuahua instead. But seriously, matching cat hair is a lot of work but when the guy’s story smelled like BS, further investigation was indicated.

    [1] The part of the law where all this breaks down: “..where a reasonable man would believe that a lesser level of force will fail.”

    [2] That being said, who the hell wants to make an arrest arrest and have his name in Box One on a loser case? I’ve not been called upon to arrest anybody who was claiming self-defense after shooting anyone[3], but in SD cases featuring lesser amounts of force, we usually try to avoid locking up the good guy. Naturally, someone is going to start sputtering about how I’m a liar for saying so and mention their father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate got screwed over by the pigs when he wasn’t doing anything wrong -this is the internet, after all- but such claimants know who they are and I’m not talking to them.

    [3] Not unheard-of after deadly force events, in order to keep people from fleeing the jurisdiction while their claim is investigated. People with ties to the community, or who are known locally, or who don’t have a track record of bragging in internet fora about how they’re going to shoot someone and drag his body across the property line tend to fare better.

  • jdm

    In Texas (and I don’t know how many other states), they also have “carry concealed”.

    Just to be pedantic, of the 40 or states that allow carried firearms, not all of them, perhaps none of them require the weapon to be concealed. I do know for a fact that this is the case in MN: it’s a Carry Permit, not a Concealed Carry Permit.

    Also, there is movement to promote open carry.

  • Sunfish

    Jdm-

    IIRC, several states do. Texas, for instance.

    CO has no state-level open-carry ban, but municipalities have some power to ban open carry.

    I think open-carry is usually a stupid idea for the public. I only do it when I’m wearing a clown suit and have a whole bunch of crap to carry.

    1) It tells a would-be criminal who to brain with a brick first.

    2) Most people have TSAOAFR, which is a problem next to #1.

    3) Keeping a holstered weapon from being taken away is a problem requiring specific training and a different sort of mindset. If you’ve ever noticed how cops are funny about, say, personal space or how they stand, this is why.

  • jdm

    Sunfish –

    I was just reporting – being pedantic.

    I can’t or don’t disagree with a thing you wrote. After taking my carry class, I was sufficiently intimidated by the ramifications, that I still haven’t gotten my permit. For example, in MN, carry holders are linked to their auto license(s). An interesting new twist to a simple traffic stop… And even if and when I get the permit, I’m not even sure I will carry.

    Actually, as a result, I am of the opinion that everyone should have to take a carry class. There are so many positive aspects. It’s not just the handgun familiarization aspect, it’s also the legal aspects, the psychological aspects.

    PS. TSAOAFR?

  • Sunfish

    TSAOAFR: The Situational Awareness Of A ****ing Rock. Meaning someone who does not pay attention to the world around him. The driver who puts on lipstick while selecting a radio station, eating a powerbar, texting her kids, and making an unsignaled lane change all at once, e.g. (Yes, I have seen precisely this combination. She was a petite blonde in a Ford Excursion, and I almost went off of the road avoiding her, which could have been fugly b/c the SV650 isn’t really an off-road bike.)

    Whether or not to carry is a very personal decision. My own personal opinion is that being unarmed at that one bad moment could have much worse ramifications, though. But I also only leave the house unarmed if I’m planning on drinking. Most people haven’t sunk to that level of paranoia.

    But you’re an adult and know your own background and situation and temperament better than I do.

    In my state, in theory, when someone is issued a license that’s entered into CCIC. When I run someone for wants and warrants, if they’ve been licensed then in theory I should see the CFL. Which sounds like what you’re describing being done in MN.

    I can count, on one hand and still be able to scratch, the number of times that I’ve been present or heard over the radio a traffic stop where the dispatcher said that the driver had a CFL, and this became a problem for the driver. In all three cases, the officer in question was either very new and from out-of-state (MA, specifically) or was the one we politely refer to as “That Guy.” Which probably doesn’t make the driver feel all that much better, even if he were to have known that the rest of us think That Guy is an overstimulated moron.

    [1] Unless they live in one of the counties whose sheriff refuses to enter them into CCIC, that is. Apparently, a few of them have gotten this notion that listing people in government databases is an invasion of their privacy. Funny, that.

  • Verity

    llamas, sorry that you misunderstood my clearly written post.

    Here is what your confused post said: “And heaven help you if you (as others here have suggested) drag the body inside your property or otherwise try to alter the appearance of what happened to try and reinforce your story. You get caught doing that, and your blithe assertion of your ‘right’ to kill an intruider will crumble into dust.

    I am not grouped with “others here who say” … I cannot imagine any officer being stupid enough to advise a householder to “drag the body inside your property”. And I made no such ignorant assumptions and I am not one of the “others who here so suggested”.

    You cannot drag someone who was outside your door sill, no matter how threatening and offensive, over the doorsill and shoot them! Or shoot them and drag them in afterwards!

    Go back and read your Texas law.

    Sorry, llamas, I don’t know where you live, but in the Texas jurisdiction I lived in, if an univited individual put one foot over your doorsill, you could blow that sucker’s head off.

    “Dragging them over the threshhold” would for sure get you charged with murder.

  • Verity

    Texas has concealed carry, which is ace protection for all citizens, but the notion of open carry is bad because it means that anyone without a visible firearm is vulnerable. Concealed carry means the malfeasants/thugs have absolutely no idea who is carrying and who is not.

  • Verity

    One hundred per cent endorse what Perry said at: Perry de Havilland at January 11, 2010 04:25 AM

    llamas at January 11, 2010 08:12 PM -llamas, what state are you referring to?

  • Rich Rostrom

    Verity: Your comparison of these police actions to the Stasi is unfair – to the Stasi. They were political enforcers for a vile regime, but they were not so insane as to punish citizens for self-defense against genuine criminals.

    (It’s also a bit unfair the other way. These police are enforcing stupid policy, not suppressing political dissent. Now the East Sussex police incident, that’s more like it.)

  • llamas

    Verity – my comments about ‘dragging the body inside’ were not directed at you, but at another commenter who made that suggestion. It was a general observation, and I was not trying to suggest that you had recommended or endorsed that course of action. I apologize if I was unclear.

    Now, as to this:

    ‘Sorry, llamas, I don’t know where you live, but in the Texas jurisdiction I lived in, if an univited individual put one foot over your doorsill, you could blow that sucker’s head off.”

    Once again, I say – pay attention now -

    It’s.

    Simply.

    Not.

    True.

    You told me to

    ‘Go back and read your Texas law.’

    and that’s the problem – I know the Texas law. It’s you that doesn’t.

    Here is the Texas statute, in relevant part:

    § 9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE’S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person in
    lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is
    justified in using force against another when and to the degree the
    actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to
    prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful
    interference with the property.
    (b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible,
    movable property by another is justified in using force against the
    other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force
    is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the
    property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit
    after the dispossession and:
    (1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no
    claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or
    (2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using
    force, threat, or fraud against the actor.

    § 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is
    justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or
    tangible, movable property:
    (1) if he would be justified in using force against the
    other under Section 9.41; and
    (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the
    deadly force is immediately necessary:
    (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of
    arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the
    nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
    (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing
    immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated
    robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the
    property; and
    (3) he reasonably believes that:
    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or
    recovered by any other means; or
    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to
    protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or
    another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.”

    Nowhere in this Texas statute law are you provided with the entitlement to use deadly force againt anyone for the act of civil trespass and nothing else. Nowhere.

    The Texas law imposes a ‘reasonable man’ standard – exactly as I said. You are not simply ‘entitled’ to shoot trespassers, as you have repeatedly claimed – your act must be ‘reasonable’, having regard to the other provisions which the law requires.

    Read it carefully. It means what it says. Section 9.41 allows you to use force other than deadly force to terminate or prevent a trespass. Section 9.42 allows you to use deadly force only to prevent (the specific list of crimes given) or to prevent the criminal from fleeing. And all is subject to a ‘reasonable man’ standard.

    Once again, you obviously believe that you are/were “entitled” to shoot uninvited guests. You truly wish it to be true. You think that that’s the way the world should be. Perhaps a Texas police officer told you this was the case – in which case, he or she was an idiot. But – once again -

    It’s.

    Simply.

    Not.

    True.

    and you should stop insisting that it is. Heaven forbid that someone were to act on your persistent misrepresentations and find themselves in a small room, with a chair that’s chained to the floor, telling the officer that he read on the Internet that he was entitled to shoot any uninvited guest dead.

    llater,

    llamas

  • llamas

    Sunfish wrote:

    ‘A classic case of a drop gun not working out for a self-defense claimant comes from llamas’ neighborhood, in which checking the serial number revealed that the drop gun was being stored in Detroit PD’s evidence locker.’

    What a memory you do have, to be sure. I’m failrly certain that this oldie-but-goodie dates back to the halcyon days when Bill ‘Poker Stash’ Hart was Chief of the Detroit PD. Around 1991.

    The odd places and circumstances in which guns that were once held by DPD have turned up would surprise you.

    Not.

    DPD used to make a big public thing about how confiscated and evidence guns were tossed into the crucibles at the Rouge plant. It was always good for a photo-op. But once the gun went ‘splot’ into the molten steel – the only record you had was the evidence envelope. Sure, it said that serial number XYZ had been disconcerted into its constituent molecules – but you had no way to know that the gun that went ‘splot’ was the same gun recorded on the envelope. Nobody checked.

    The number of guns that swam to the edge of the vat of molten steel, hauled themselves out, dusted themselves off and were found years later in perfect working order, would surprise you.

    Regarding this:

    “I’ve never heard of a jurisdiction where “inside a dwelling” includes the front lawn.”

    Some states – including Texas, IIRC – adhere to the principle of ‘curtilage’, which is a somewhat-hazily defined concept of the area around a dwelling, not roofed or enclosed (necessarily) but which is considered to form a part of the “dwelling.” It’s considered to be the area in which you have a heightened expectation of privacy and/or security. A front porch, or a fenced back yard, has been held to form part of the ‘curtilage’.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Matt

    Maybe it’s time to start an import business – importing revolvers for sale to ordinary Britons. Would there be a market?

  • llamas

    These is/was a class of pistols in France – I think it is the 7eme, someone will correct me, I’m sure – which requires/required no paperwork to purchase. These are/were what you might call ‘garden guns’, single-shot pistols chambered in cartridges like 22 short, 6mm rimfire and 9mm shot. They are/were sold for despatching vermin and similar purposes. I can’t swear to how it is today, but I know that less than a decade ago, these guns and the ammunition for them were sold in hardware stores in country districts with no registration or controls whatever.

    I would not want to be shot with any one of these, not even a little bit.

    I bet that the flow of these weapons through the Channel Tunnel would make a magnetometer twitch.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Verity

    Shigella writes: “This story tells me that I need to move a large sturdy knife to my bedside drawer because home invasions can only become more likely.”

    No. A knife is the worst weapon because you have to be too close to the intruder to use it and if he is stronger/taller than you, he can turn it against you. Honestly, a gun is your best friend.

    llamas writes: “A front porch, or a fenced back yard, has been held to form part of the ‘curtilage’.” Not when I lived in Texas. The police told me to be sure his entire body was over the threshhold before I called them.” And, sorry, but whatever you think, you can, in Texas shoot an intruder who enters your home uninvited. You will not be charged. And it’s best to shoot them dead, because that way they can’t argue in court that you invited them in.

    BTW. someone wrote an interesting question on one of the blogs today. How did the police know Ms Klass had brandished a knife? Did the would-be burglars run down to the police station to report her?

    (The first three number of the Turing code for this post were 911.)

  • Sunfish

    Re: curtilage…

    I’m familiar with the concept in Fourth Amendment terms. I have not heard of this concept being used to include a house’s exterior as part of a dwelling for those states that have different armed self-defense provisions for inside the dwelling vs. outside.

    I know that a vehicle might be an extension of a dwelling here, but “make my day” does not apply to cars.[1]

    Re: garden guns…have not heard of them. I imagine that they’d be better than nothing. However, IIRC, France’s laws on armed self-defense are relatively civilized, at least by European standards. If a better option is available, then by all means.

    [1] Unless someone is living in the car, a point which has yet to be litigated in my state. A bill was brought up in 2007 or 2008 to extend MMD to businesses and automobiles, but the legislature didn’t go for it and Mr. Ag Trespass would likely have vetoed same.

  • llamas

    Verity wrote:

    ‘And, sorry, but whatever you think, you can, in Texas shoot an intruder who enters your home uninvited. You will not be charged. ”

    Wrong.

    Again.

    “LAREDO, Texas (AP) – A Texas jury acquitted a man accused of killing a boy who broke into his home looking for a snack – a case that sparked outrage in this border city, where many thought the man should not have even been charged.

    It took the jury of eight men and four women three hours Friday to find Jose Luis Gonzalez, 63, not guilty of murdering Francisco Anguiano, who was 13 when he and three friends broke into Gonzalez’s trailer to rummage for snacks and soda one night in July 2007.”

    “SAN ANTONIO — Two years have passed since a college student was shot for entering another man’s home in the 9800 block of Autumn Star. The homeowner, who had claimed that he was protecting his home and property, was indicted and arrested Thursday in the death of the young student.

    Police said that on the morning of Aug. 4, 2007, Raymond Lemes, 49, awoke to find Tracy Paul Glass, 19, in his home. According to family members, Glass was visiting his sister, who lives near Lemes’ house. Glass apparently got confused and accidentally entered the wrong house.”

    “LIBERTY COUNTY, TX (KTRK) — Two homeowners have been charged with shooting four people, including two children.

    One of the children, Donald Coffee, Jr., 7, died Saturday morning at Memorial Hermann Hospital. The other child shot, Destiny Coffee, 5, was discharged from the hospital Friday.

    Liberty County officials tell us the homeowners claim the victims were trespassing on their property in the Westlake subdivision last night, but investigators say the shooting was not justified.”

    “In a somewhat similar case here in Clark County in the fall of 1998, a local resident shot two burglars he found in his own home. Prosecutors decided no charges were justified for the killing of a burglar who struggled with the resident in his own home, but did file charges for the shooting of the second man, whom the homeowner chased down the street. The homeowner was charged and convicted, but his sentence was suspended.”

    and I can go on all day if you like. In other words, there’s plenty of cases of Texas homeowners who shared your entirely-incorrect understandin gof the Texas law concerning deadly force ou’re this far in the hand intruders, and got themsleves arrested, charged and sometimes convicted – something you just finished telling us does not happen.

    When you’re this far in the hole – it’s generally considered a good idea to quit digging.

    Once again – read and understand the law. It does not give you the ‘entitlement’ that you claim it does – and as these reported cases clearly show.

    Having entirely demolished your faulty understanding of Texas law regarding intruders and deadly force, I think we’ll let the readers decide whether your opinion on of Texas law in the matter of curtilage is worth the electrons that were expended in expressing it.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Verity

    Incorrect.

  • Nuke Gray

    A better way alround would be to import dangerous animals, and release them to breed in the wild- then people really will need weapons, and will clamour for them! Aussie crocs might not do well in the cold, but wolves would be suitable, and a few bears- polar bears might soon be walking to Britain on their own! I wonder if the persistent sightings of Big cats is because someone is trying to re-introduce danger into staid english lives?

  • MattP

    llamas wrote:

    So in CO, if you should find an uninvited guest in your home, the law allows you to use force (including deadly force) against that person only if

    a) you have a reasonable belief that he has committed, or intends to commit, any crime, and
    b) you have a reasonable belief that he intends to use violence against any person, no matter how slight.

    and

    You had better be pretty sure that you can convince the prosecutor that you met conditions a) and b). Then, and only then, are you off the hook, criminally and civilly.

    Not that it seems to be an issue, but just to clarify the point I was trying to make. I wasn’t advocating the idea that you are entitled to kill intruders. I was referring to a CA law which makes it unnecessary for those who exercise their right to self-defense in their own homes to have to convince prosecutors or police the elements of lawful self-defense were present. The law presumes it as long as certain conditions exist (I see that I was under the misconception that one of those criterea involved the time of day):

    California Penal Code § 198.5 Presumption in favor of one who uses deadly force against intruder – Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.· As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.··

    Which I find to be an improvement over the systems in other states which require the individual to convince investigators and prosecutors that their actions were legal.

    A lot of people here are worried that they’ll be sued if the intruder lives through the act of self-defense. Maybe true in other jurisdictions; it certainly seems to be true in England. Not true under CA law; § 50 of the civil code codifies the priveleges of self defense. § 847 further details the immunity of property owners from any liability if a person is injured on their property during the course of committing enumerated felonies.

    That said, the presumption of in favor of the use of deadly force against an intruder under CA law isn’t a license to murder. It’s a rebuttable presumption. While a CA resident wouldn’t have to convince a prosecutor that he or she acted lawfully, there will still be an investigation. And if the evidence shows that the act wasn’t lawful self-defense then the prosecutor can present that evidence to rebut the presumption.

    I’m sure making statements like “he was making for the door, stealing my TV, and I wasn’t about to miss ‘Wheel of Fortune’ tonight” would go a long way to convincing the powers-that-be thaty you didn’t really have the reasonable beliefs the law presumes you had. Or if the physical evidence shows you executed the intruder with a bullet to the back of the head as he was kneeling and facing away from you.

    That’s no more legal in CA than anywhere else. By advocating the TX “solution” I was simply advocating a robust right to self-defense. And while TX is friendly to self-defense, it could be improved by having a law presuming the act of self-defense to be legal.

    Such a law is simply a nice step up from the situation llamas describes in CO. Instead of the individual having to prove anything about his beliefs being reasonable, if the crime he describes were to take place in CA the prosecutor has the burden of proving they were not.

    Whether you prove lawful self-defense, or the law presumes it to be the case, CA law provides that you can’t be sued. Neither can the landlord, if you aren’t the owner of the property and the perpetrators or their relatives attempt to go the deep-pockets route.

    I would be surprised to find CA is unique in the fact that no liability can be assigned to someone who exercises his right to lawfal self-defense. Or that a property owner can not be liable for injuries or deaths that criminals engaged in or having committed felonies may suffer while on that property. I’m sure other states must have similar laws.

    If not, they need to have such laws. As does Great Britain. A person does not deserve to be assaulted multiple times. First by a criminal, then by a legal system. Laws like CA’s presumption in favor of the use of force against an intruder puts the legal system back on the right side of the fence.

  • llamas

    MattP – you are right and I agree. I like the robust self-defence expression of the CA law In many ways, it is superior to those of other states, including Texas, which are generally-held to be strong ‘castle doctrine’ states, because it says, in effect

    ‘The homeowner is entitled to the presumption that the force he used was reasonable and justified, unless there is evidence to the contrary . . ‘ or, IOW, innocent until proven guilty,

    whereas the law of those other places often says, in effect

    ‘The homeowner’s use of force is ringed around in the law with caveats and distinctions, such that he can never be sure whether or not his actions will be judged as reasonable and justified’ or, IOW, innocent if you can say the right words and there’s no-one around to dispute what you say and the person you killed was an unsympathetic individual and the prosecutor is up for re-election soon.

    I’ll take door #1, Alex.

    The latter approach always leads to an escalation of violence, for several reasons, namely

    - acts which are on-their-face unreasonable and barbaric, such as the shooting of a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old, are argued by some as being ‘reasonable and justified’ because of a fear that if they are not held to be so, then the defence of justification may be weakened for the next homeowner.
    - there is a positive incentive for the homeowner to use excessive force against the intruder, either to eliminate him as a witness (the preferred technique of the Mafia, always an approach that we want the law to encourage) or to lend verisimilitude to an otherwise-unconvincing narrative – I would not have shot him seven times unless I was really in fear of my life, would I? This was/is the argument made by the Texas man who shot and killed a 13-year old boy he caught stealing Twinkies – the kid was face-down in the dirt, at gunpoint, and I had already beaten him with the butt of my shotgun, but then – he suddenly made a threatening move towards me! I had to blast him in the back and kill him!
    - uncertainty about what the law does and does not aloow leads to wishful thinking and misinformation – as we may see in the case of Verity – and the enforcement and consequences of a person’s actions become highly-subjective and situational. When people truly, honestly believe that they have the entitlement to kill anyone who sets foot over their threshold uninvited – what do you suppose the ouitcome will be? The rule of 90/9/1 works in Texas just as it does elsewhere, and people who are deluded, or foolish, or who have poor judgement, or who are simply sociopathic, will act on their mistaken beliefs. As we see in some of the cases I cited – only a sociopath would argue that killing a 7-year-old child for simple trespassing is a reasonable or justifiable act.

    Jefferson wrote that laws should be ‘clear, and knowable’, and the practice of Texas law in this area has become one of custom and mores as much as it has about the law. No statute law would countenance the killing of a 7-year-old child for mere trespassing - it is only the social climate in that part of the world which allows a person to argue reasonable justification for an act like that. That makes your fate a matter of a popularity contest, and not of law. If that’s what you want – you had better hope that you are a popular guy. But I’ll take my chances with a clearly-written law, IIATSTY.

    llater,

    llamas

  • In CA, of all places – interesting. MattP/Ilamas, do you happen to know how old these laws are or their history?

  • JohnK

    BTW. someone wrote an interesting question on one of the blogs today. How did the police know Ms Klass had brandished a knife? Did the would-be burglars run down to the police station to report her?

    Verity:

    I imagine Myleene told the police what she had done, in the naive belief that they would be on the side of a young mother facing a gang of youths. She’ll know better next time.

  • perlhaqr

    Harry Brown, anyone?

  • Among the things the police seem to have forgotten entirely is #7 of Sir Robert Peel’s principles:
    7) Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

  • MattP

    In CA, of all places – interesting. MattP/Ilamas, do you happen to know how old these laws are or their history?

    Alisa, I don’t know when § 198.5 of the CA penal code became law; I know it’s over 20 years old.

    I had been born and raised in CA, but I didn’t become aware of the law until I moved back to CA in 1990 as my first duty station in the Navy and became interested in buying a handgun. It had already been existence for a few years, at least.

    That said, it’s obviously not a law about guns per se, but self-defense. It is a very civilized law. I know the UK government says that you all are allowed to use “reasonable force” to defend yourselves, but it has always seemed to me that no one knows what your prosecution service will deem “reasonable.” The way it looks from our side of the pond, the answer is always “less than you used in this instance, householder. Guilty!”

    It would be good to have a nice, clear statement about what force your government will automatically presume to be reasonable, isn’t it?

  • Resident Alien

    Florida law describes circumstances when it is appropriate to use “deadly force.” This makes it quite clear what level of force is permitted. Deadly force is permitted when in fear of your life or serious injury and to prevent the commission of a violent felony – burglary is automatically a violent felony.

    We suffered an attempted burglary, last year. It wasn’t a very serious attempt. I told the police that I had taken my gun and gone outside to see if I could catch them. The officer did not bat an eyelid, did not advise me and did not even ask to see the gun etc..

  • Mattp

    We suffered an attempted burglary, last year. It wasn’t a very serious attempt. I told the police that I had taken my gun and gone outside to see if I could catch them. The officer did not bat an eyelid, did not advise me and did not even ask to see the gun etc..

    Resident Alien, I was advised once by deputies working for the county under similar circumstances in San Diego, CA.

    The advice? “Just don’t miss” was the advice.