Britain outlaws a homeowner’s self-defense against intruders

One of the most basic principles of Anglo-Saxon common law is a homeowner’s right to defend himself against intruders.  Oh, wait!  That’s not quite true anymore.  In England, which practically gave its name to the notion that “a man’s home is his castle,” homeowner self-defense is against the law (emphasis mine):

Myleene Klass, the broadcaster and model, brandished a knife at youths who broke into her garden – but has been warned by police that she may have acted illegally.

Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear’Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden.

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.

Mind you, the above rule is separate from the fact that the UK’s strict anti-gun laws have cut off completely one way in which homeowners can defend themselves against intruders.  The inevitable, is that burglars feel free to break and enter occupied houses, since they needn’t worry about staring down the wrong end of a gun barrel.  (Crime, too, has sky-rocketed.)  What’s different about the rule announced in the above article, is that it isn’t just about removing the homeowner’s most effective instrument of defense; instead, it’s about destroying entirely even the thought of self-defense.

I think Miss Klass is to be highly commended for doing whatever she could to defend herself and her daughter against these intruders.  After all, if she ever cracks open a paper in England, or turns on the news, she knows that Yob violence is out of control.  Britain has successfully turned itself into Anthony Burgess’ Clockwork Orange-vision of a nation equally divided between compliant victims, on the one hand, and brutal psychopaths, on the other.

Thank goodness that, at least in Oklahoma, people are still allowed to defend themselves against home intruders.  Otherwise, one very brave and frightened woman, instead of having successfully and with great physical and moral courage defended herself, could be as dead as the average British homeowner:

(You can hear the whole 33 minute long 911 call here.)

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  • Mike Devx

    The police are fantastic at arriving at the scene of a crime, and cleaning it up, investigating, and often nailing the predator(s).
    Preventing YOU from being the victim who gets cleaned up – or whose remains get cleaned up – they’re almost always useless – except when, purely by luck, they happen across the scene of the crime while it happens to be occurring.  I don’t intend to ever trust in, or hope for, such luck.
    For the life of me, I can’t understand how the British have gotten to this point, and why your average Briton isn’t up in arms about this.  Of *course* you have to be able to defend yourself against the predators!  Who would want to live their life as a sheep, living by the mantra, “Please don’t hurt me, please, please?”

  • socratease

    I don’t think this is anything new.  Britain has had their “offensive weapons act” for a long time now, I recall clipping an articles years ago about a loading dock worker who was sent to prison because he had a utility knife in his car when he was stopped on his way to work by a policeman.  “Self defense” in Britain isn’t exactly illegal, but you can be charged if you use more force than your attacker.  For instance, an old man who uses his walking stick to fend off a pair of teenagers trying to rob him could be charged with assault because his stick wasn’t “comparable force” to the fists and feet of the youths attacking him.  Many passive defenses are also banned, putting barbed wire on the wall around your house is illegal because would-be robbers could get injured, for instance.
    Britain makes an interesting counter-argument against gun control opponents.  Every increasingly restrictive gun control law passed in Britain has been followed by an increase in their violent crime rate.  This is also true in American regions with similar laws, but here the contradiction is explained away by claiming that the “crime guns” come from adjacent jurisdictions with lax laws.  (Leading to, of course, calls for yet more gun control laws, especially at the federal level.)  Britain, being an island, clearly puts the lie to that theory.

  • socratease

    “gun control opponents” -> “gun control proponents”  of course.

  • Right Truth

    This is what the Left wants for us here in the US.    It doesn’t matter if  Ms. Klass has a butcher knife or a butter knife,  the result would have been the same as far as the law there is concerned.  The fact that she could have been attacked, raped, beaten to death,  doesn’t matter — Oh my, she had a kitchen knife!  Heaven forbid.
    While here in the USA if someone tries to attack me, a legal gun owner with carry permit, they will quickly be stopped.
    Again, it makes a difference where in the US you live.  If you live in SF with you, Bookworm, it’s one outcome.  If you live where I do, … BOOM!

  • leftcoastconservative

    Right Truth:
    I never thought I would defend San Francisco, but…
    I live in San Jose, often thought of the working mans city in the Bay Area, and I think you have a strange view about SF.  It is true that many people in SF do not like guns, or the idea of armed self defense, but guns are still legal there, as some people will shoot intruders.  Of course that outcome is more likely in San Jose, especially in my house, but still a fact nevertheless.

  • Bookworm

    Left Coast Conservative:

    San Francisco has tried to become a gun free city.  It simply hasn’t succeeded.  I’m sure some in the government there will try again, and while there are San Franciscans who are conservative and pro-gun, it’s the anti-gun progressives who keep voting in the politicians.

    As for me, I use to contribute money to all sorts of anti-gun causes.  When I became conservative in my politics, I still had a really hard time comprehending that guns could be anything but instruments of death, usually in the hands of gangs.  It was Hurricane Katrina that changed my mind.  I finally figured out then that (a) cops, under the best circumstances, usually show up after the fact and (b) sometimes the cops don’t or can’t show up at all.  Crooks need to know that they’re still in trouble even if the cops aren’t around.

    Anyway, I do appreciate your comment.  Nothing is completely black and white, and it’s hard to envision rules, policies or even morality that work in all places, at all times.

  • JKB

    Well this is just the Progressive ideals inflicted on a national scale.  The fools imposed such thinking on American urban populations in the Seventies which led to their becoming cesspools of crime.  Hollywood even took advantage of this but also exposed it with such movies as the Deathwish franchise, Warriors, etc.  Of course, America is large and people were able to escape from the cities forming defensive settlements in the suburbs.
    California is well on its way to disarm the population.  Rational from the viewpoint that the ruling class are very worried that the population will  hold them responsible for the man-made disaster the state now is.  On Jan 1, laws went into effect that effectively stops the selling of ammunition to CA residents by cost effective sources which result in ammo only being available to wealthier citizens.  Many vendors have decided to also stop selling to government agencies and police in the state as well given the risks imposed by the law.

  • jj

    It’s a nuance, it seems – though it shouldn’t be: it should be obvious.  You put your finger on it in the above, Bookworm, when you said you had a hard time comprehending that guns could be: “anything but instruments of death.”  Well… of course.  What the hell else is a gun intended to be?  No one has ever argued that a firearm is not a potentially dangerous apparatus – that’s pretty much the point.
    So the thrust of the gun banners is really that no one should be allowed to have a potentially dangerous weapon.  (Or maybe the gun banners are like Islam and sex: they can’t trust themselves so they don’t want to trust anybody.)  The problem with that is that the world is and has always been exceedingly well stocked with potentially dangerous weapons, and human beings – some of ’em – have the nature to use them.  Cavemen who got mad at their neighbors didn’t have recourse to Smith & Wesson products, or even well-stocked kitchen drawers, but somehow or other still managed to find ways to do each other in.   They had to get closer to one another than a gun requires – at least within spear range – but they got it done.
    So banning guns on the basis of the argument that they kill people looks increasingly ridiculous.  In the long history of the human race, so do bare hands, rocks, branches, spears, bows and arrows, just plain arrows, swords, knives, noxious substances, pollows, ponds, streams, rivers and oceans, etc., etc.  It is, apparently, a very dangerous world – about which San Francisco can do nothing.
    I’m in a heavily armed state.  A lot of our crime is perpetrated by people while flying on some controlled substance and not quite in their right minds.  Empty houses get burglarized, but generally not occupied ones because everybody knows that the inhabitants are likely to be as well – or better – armed as the burglars.  It makes burglars careful.  When they’re too stoned to be careful they often end up dead, and self and/or property defense are pretty automatic: when someone breaks into your house he’s on his own, you have every right to blow his face off, and generally what the cops have to say about it is along the lines of: “nice shot.”
    My wife sells real estate, a lot of her customers are from out of state and nothing more than e-mail contacts.  She generally has a shiny little plated .38 in a shoulder holster beneath her right arm (she’s left-handed) when she goes out to meet some total stranger.  The only actual permit you need here is to carry – owning is done simply by having a driver’s license.  When she was filling out the application and being finger-printed by the sheriff’s department, she got to talking about why she wanted the carry permit.  The sheriff said: “damn right,” and she had the permit within six days.  She has thus far avoided killing anyone.
    I’ve head guns and permits to carry them my whole life, she’s had them around forever, and has been able to carry one on her person for a couple of years.  We have both somehow managed to avoid killing – or even wounding – anyone.  Apparently guns do in fact not kill – none of ours (3 38s, 2 9s, a .357, a 40, 2 shotguns, a couple of 22 target rifles, and a very unfriendly so-called “assault weapon”) have put so much as a scratch on anyone.
    The idea of disarming the populace, as England has done – is an old one, and England isn’t the only place to have had this thought.  The result has generally been, as seems to be the result in England as well, that crime statistics spike.  Cliches only become cliches because they are in facts truths, and it seems that “when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns” is turning out to be as solid as any other.  Outlawing outlaws is probably a better idea.

  • rockdalian

    Among her many talents, Myleene Klass is an accomplished piano player. This video is of her playing  Cinema Paradiso, from her 2007 album, Myleene’s Music For Romance.
    The idea of self defense in Britain has been an issue for some time.
    From the Mises Review, fall 2002:
    “You can imagine the legal position if someone goes so far as to use a real gun to defend himself. As British law now stands, you cannot even use a gun in your own home to defend yourself against burglars. In a 1999 incident, Tony Martin surprised a professional burglar and his accomplice while they robbed his home. He fired, killing one of them.
    Did the government commend Martin for his bravery in confronting the burglars? Quite the contrary, they tried and convicted him for murder. “Thus an English farmer, living alone, has been sentenced to life in prison for killing one professional burglar and ten years for wounding another when the two broke into his home at night” (p. 216). Fortunately, our story has a “happy” ending: the court of appeals reduced his sentence to five years, on grounds of “diminished capacity.”

  • Mike Devx

    rockdalian #10:
    > Did the [British] government commend Martin for his bravery in confronting the burglars? Quite the contrary, they tried and convicted him for murder. […] the court of appeals reduced his sentence to five years, on grounds of “diminished capacity.”

    Rockdalian, that story fills me with anger and outrage.  (Whereas my contemplation of Book’s post on government forcing ingredient listings causes me no emotional response at all.)   The intensity of my complete loathing tells me that when the government moves to strip me of my natural God-given right to self-defense, the government will have lost all legitimacy in my eyes.

  • Ari Tai

    Forgotten in all this is violent crime is much worse than murder in its effects on the individual and society (imo, an order of magnitude worse).  I believe violent crime is enslavement, and has its roots in slavery, while murder is a but single, terrible act with little societal impact beyond the tragedy, the loss of the individual and their memory.   
    Violent crime leaves its victims and friends permanently marked and less free in their own thoughts, dreams and actions.  Fear reduces freedom, period.  It affects how the victims face their day for the rest of their lives.  In reduces civil society along an axis towards anarchy and Hobbs.  It’s impact lingers for decades if not a lifetime.  Between violent crime and murder, murder has markedly less social costs.
    This is the true impact of all these laws and conventions that result in a loss of the ability to defend yourself, your family and your possessions, by limiting individual’s access to weapons that equalize the weak and the strong.  They increase the amount and degree of violent crime and enslave the survivors.  (isn’t it curious how even when the criminal knows that the sheep will give up all without a fight they can’t resist giving a good beating more often than not.  Not new, consider the pictographs from Egypt, slave master and slave, the human condition).
    Be good to know if and how the amount and level (physical damage) of violent crime differs between countries like the U.S. and Britain.  It may be our relative freedom, happiness and even prosperity is due to our willingness to respect the rights of the individual more so than they, and bear the burden of more deaths (accident and murder) in return for a more civil society.

  • Ymarsakar

    This is why the British need TFT more than others. By being capable of killing without the need for external tools, it is far harder for them to 1. be harmed by criminals and 2. be harmed by the legal system.
    The British government has intentionally let in violent Islamic fanatics to transform and control the British public. The Brits lost their chance to reverse this course a long time ago, back when they kicked out Churchill after WWII. What did they think that would do, voting in Labor and replacing Churchill as PM? They thought it would give Britain prosperity and security and unity, the same as they had during the war. As if.

    Criminals will often avoid targeting people they think will fight back. Crime is about profit, not taking risks. But in Britain, you get motivation for the criminals. When they believe they have nothing to lose or are protected by the law, they’re not going to moderate or take less risks.
    A criminal that thinks they are in attack range of you and that you haven’t even noticed, is now setting you up for a crime. If you make it plain that you aware of him, are yourself setting up to attack him, then often he’ll pick another target.
    British law is designed not to allow this to happen. They want crime to happen, so that the people will clamor for more and more government intervention. Even as that intervention does nothing to help the people. It’s an interesting social experiment, but what else did you expect from the Left. They are nothing but enemies of humanity to begin with. They exist to be hated.

  • Ymarsakar

    When the Left is allowed guns, what you get is the Iranian Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, WACO, Cuban Revolution, aka death and misery for millions untold.
    Don’t ever allow Leftists to get a hold of guns or any other weapons like explosives. They’re not adults. They don’t have what it takes to handle that power.
    Not to mention they are piss scared of physical violence and death to begin with.
    A Democrat that is against guns isn’t using their head, but their fears as counsel. Their insecurity is telling them to ban guns because they can’t handle guns, they don’t want to face a gun, and they can’t handle the thought of wielding violence against another or having it wielded against themselves.

    Some are hunters, of course, and they are for banning guns. They seem to have their own rationalizations on this level, but those are the minority. The great majority simply have one reason: fear.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ari Tai – that’s a very good question you pose at the end.
    Violent crime tends to be much more localized in U.S. than in Europe. What is frightening in Europe is that you really can’t escape it. For the individual victim, of course, it doesn’t make much difference.
    I knew a woman, mother of two, who got raped in a small town and never got satisfaction from the law. She ended up committing suicide one year later on the anniversary of the event.
    I suspect that worse than being the victim of violent crime is the knowledge that you cannot get justice. I heard that vigilantism in Belgium is sky high. When there is no governing law, people create their law. Can’t say I disagree with them. In Britain, “justice” has become a joke. Frankly, I don’t know what I would do if I was the victim of a violent crime in Britain but I suspect that it would be pretty ugly.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Incidentally, the last time I looked (about a year ago), violent crime is much higher in Canada, Britain and much of Europe than in the U.S. Murder rates are significantly higher in the U.S., though. Property crimes are also much higher in Europe.

  • Ymarsakar

    When a person has no confidence in the law and will be punished regardless of what they do, they will have no reason to hold their limits in check. That means whatever response they have to a perception that they are in danger will be more and more disproportionate because they can no longer count on proportion to save them.
    British politicians like Blair specifically wanted to protect Muslims from British law, so he wouldn’t enforce the law against them while using every part of the law to suppress native Brits.

  • Ymarsakar

    It’s a perfect description of Book’s anarchy and totalitarian hybrid.

  • Ymarsakar

    There’s more murders because the gangs have a limited amount of territory to fight over. Limited resources means more competition.
    In Britain, people don’t need to kill the cows because they got them locked up for the slaughter whenever they want.
    In the US, there are safe zones and less safe zones. The less safe zones are dominated by black jungle mentality, which is similar to the Islamic inferiority complex. This is such that they won’t tolerate ‘insults’ because losing face is the same as dying in such a jungle environment. This includes various gang territories, inner cities, and what not. Most of them are either funded by Democrat welfare programs or drug running from Mexico/Latin America.
    Because the US is so large and has so much territory to cover, much of it protected by local armed force, the crimes such as burglary and such are much less because most Americans don’t live as the prey of criminals. As you get into denser population centers or certain Democrat controlled neighborhoods and slums, it changes. But there is only a limited number of crime that can be committed even there, and even such is limited by the fact that if you rob a store too many times the owner is going to get a shotgun and kill a few of the robbers next time. Which did happen, even in cities like Chicago.
    Since gangs are primarily motivated about status, which then gives them money, they are often more interested in fighting amongst themselves for territory and street cred than anything else. Check out the youtube videos that they post glorifying their operations. Drive bys got very popular once they saw that such a thing would get coverage on the news, and the little inferiority obsessed minds of these people love that kind of attention, cause it equals ‘status’.
    It is far harder for a gang to expand their territory outside into the greater US, because there are more armed people outside than inside a ghetto. So it is much easier for criminals to focus on each other. More convenient. Less resource intensive.
    In Britain, London specifically, you had some crime ridden areas back when the British aristocracy held balls and what not. But that was limited to the Chaucery or whatever they called it. The crims couldn’t get much out, because the rest of the city was frequented by Aristocrats, which could call in the law or their own armed guards.
    Britain now, who is there to protect the people from the expansion of criminal networks? Nothing and nobody. People will have to protect themselves. The law is not allowed to protect the people. The police aren’t allowed to do. And the politicians have no interest in the sheep.

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  • Ron19

    People buy guns so they can kill people?  Maybe the gang members do, but if that was true for most gun owners, there wouldn’t be anyone left alive by now.
    Well, then, how about most people buy guns for a further back reason, so that “me and mine” don’t get killed, raped, etc?

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