Imagine a scenario where you and your wife are suddenly woken in the middle of the night by broken glass and hard footsteps. As you burst out of bed, you hear unrecognizable muffled voices across the hall. You grab your shotgun and leave the bedroom to find four masked men inside your home. Scared out of your wits, you fire, wounding two and sending them all packing.
Scary scenario, right? Hang on, it gets scarier.
When the commotion dies down and the police arrive to take a report, instead of being lauded as heroes for protecting your home and hearth, you and your wife are placed in handcuffs and carted off to jail.
Would this bother you? It should!
Of the rights we are given by our Creator, the right to self defense is perhaps the most foundational of all. Remove it, and for all practical purposes we’re little more than slaves, “owned” by any entity or individual that sets its attention upon us to do harm.
The English philosopher John Locke, drawing from Biblical tradition, considered the right of self-defense the “first law of nature.” Correctly reasoning that nature – and by extension God – has not given men despotic, absolute power over our fellow man, Locke validates our God-given, fundamental right not only to meet an attempt upon our life and the lives of others with deadly force, but also to use that force to protect our property from the thief who would take it from us without consent.
After all, if someone has the moral depravity to violate our home, to steal our belongings, why would we expect them to then safeguard our lives?
Locke’s views, of course, merely summarized what had been a pillar of Western legal tradition for centuries before and after his time.
Far too often governments today, instead of enshrining, preserving, and protecting the right to self defense at all costs, discourage and even criminalize it.
These days, any attack on self defense seems to begin with gun control. It’s a slippery slope that’s far too real. The two seem to be inexorably linked.
First, liberals go after guns in the name of public safety. Among other tactics, they push their agenda by blowing mass shootings, that fit the preferred propaganda profile, entirely out of proportion. By the level of mass hysteria surrounding them, one would think these mass shootings occur every day on every street corner in every city in America and that the only logical solution is mass disarmament.
Then, inevitably, they go after the right of self defense itself. Oh, they’ll tell you that’s not true, that they just want reasonable restrictions, you know, for the children and movie goers everywhere. But you don’t have to look all that far to see the next step.
In England, ironically the place where the term “castle doctrine” got its name, there tragically exists no such thing today. Crime victims are tacitly expected to run, cower, hide, and pray the police can make it on time. Dare to defend oneself, and risk imprisonment for a longer term than the burglar!
As would be expected, this state of affairs has helped create and sustain a shocking wave of violent burglaries, to the tune of one every 30 minutes. If the only deterrent to a hassle-free evening of Viking-style plundering and pillaging are unarmed cops 15 minutes away from every victim, what’s to stop those bent on such activities?
So, what about that fictional scenario I described at the beginning of this article?
Sadly, this “fiction” is all too real. In 2012, Andy and Tracey Ferrie of Leicestershire, England, went through that exact ordeal.
Thankfully, the example I chose is a rare but mildly encouraging case where common sense managed to prevail because local authorities declined to prosecute the couple. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t have, however, and that’s a point well worth considering. Any place with laws that allow someone who shoots an intruder in their own home to be carted off to jail, even for the night, and prosecuted or not based on a whim is a place where those laws need to be fixed.
In America, various states have codified our God-given right to self defense by passing laws built around such common sense concepts as “stand your ground” (which remove any “duty to retreat” from an attacker before force is used to repel) and “castle doctrine” (which allow homeowners to use deadly force against anyone who enters their home unlawfully).
These laws not only help deter crime, they also remove a lot of the legal ambiguity that would otherwise surround those who are forced to defend themselves. After all, isn’t the process of going bankrupt to stay out of prison after defending oneself against an attacker really an undeserved punishment in itself?
Consider Ontario, Canada resident Ian Thompson. He dared use a pistol to defend himself from four masked men who tried to burn him alive inside his own home. After two and a half years of financially crushing legal defense against his own government, he eventually beat the rap, but not the ride.
Could a well-crafted “castle doctrine” law have saved Mr. Thompson lots of time, money, and heartache?
Those who lobby for strict gun control are the same ilk that lobby for the abolition of “stand your ground” and “castle doctrine” laws. They do so out of supposed solidarity with some criminal or other who has managed, often through his own reckless and predatory actions, to get himself killed by someone. They would take the right of self defense not only from the police, but from the rest of us as well.
They will tell us their intentions are lofty and good, that they only want what’s best for society, but in truth their intentions are sinister and evil. The case for gun control is shallow, vacuous, and based on mindless emotion rather than logic. We don’t hear about the countless examples of successful firearm-related self defense on the front pages or the evening news. Instead, we hear about mass shootings and the occasional, tragic, gun-related accident.
Why does the scenario like the one described at the beginning of this article bother most of us? Why is it that the same me that wants to see the likes of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes swinging from a light pole can also feel sympathy for those who have fallen victim to the state for nothing more than the act of self defense?
I’d like to think the answer lies in the deep sense of justice shared by most of humanity. When injustice rears its ugly head, the red-blooded among us bristle. We chafe. It’s how we feel when we hear about when certain groups of people were made to sit at the back of the bus, and it’s how we feel when a British homeowner is arrested for shooting a masked, armed intruder in the middle of the night.
The real question, of course, is why doesn’t everyone feel this way? More importantly, why are the people who DON’T feel this way so hell-bent on taking away our freedoms?
What kind of monster creates laws that victimize victims and empower criminals?
The answer is beyond chilling because it’s just another shade of a monster we’ve seen before – the kind that began ruling Russia in 1917 and passed the world’s strictest gun control laws a decade later … then went on to murder more people than any other group in human history.
Feature Image: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
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