When every second counts the police are only minutes away.When you criminalise possession of guns only criminals will have possession of guns.
Even as clichés go these two are pretty well worn, yet not only are both still true nonetheless true but from time to time that’s demonstrated in a single incident. That’s right, I am about to give you an example of that. How’d you guess?
A great-grandfather has told how he used a baseball bat to fight off two thieves who were ransacking his gun cabinet and stole a cache of weapons.
The 70-year-old grandfather-of-10, who has one great-grandchild, told Perthnow he swung his bat at both young men who were smashing into his gun cabinet and attempting to steal his utility at his Alexander Heights home early today.
Now straight away the problem with this should be obvious. Thieves were stealing his guns – his unquestionably legally owned guns which he kept in gun cabinets in accordance with WA and Commonwealth law – and he had to defend his property, and his life if they’d arrived armed or managed to load a gun and turn it on him, with a baseball bat. Surely it’s not just shooters who can see the stupidity in this, but just in case it’s not I’ll note that if they’d stolen a car from his driveway the law would not have insisted that if he chose to give chase he should do so on nothing faster than a bicycle.
Oh, and that subject they did nick his car too.
He described how he was awoken just before 5am to find his prized Ford XR6 ute on the driveway with its doors wide open and a man smashing his gun cabinet open with a sledgehammer.
John, who lives at the home with his wife, was awoken by loud bangs from his garage just before 5am.
When he went outside to investigate he found the men trying to break into his gun safe and fought with both of them with a baseball bat before they fled in his ute.
As the robbers drove off John smashed the vehicle’s windscreen with the baseball bat.
And predictably enough the ute was found burned out a short time later, minus the six guns the thieves had got away with, natch. As Vincent Vega put it, what’s more chickenshit than fucking with a man’s automobile? Well, I suppose there is nicking his guns as well, safe in the knowledge that he’s highly unlikely to have one out and ready to use to defend himself against you because that’s against the law, and the overwhelming majority of legal gun owners are scrupulously law abiding no matter what they might think. And the recently disarmed John is a case in point.
“I’ve got a crook hip [he took a blow to the side from the sledgehammer - AE] but I’m not as sore as they are,” he said.
“If they came back I wouldn’t have any hesitation . . . (to do it again).
“I confronted them because this is my house, and I’ve got a right to protect my property.
“Had I had a pistol in my hand, I would have used that as well.
“They’ve got no right to come in here, I would have used anything to stop them, I’ve got every right to do that.”
He shrugged off suggestions he was a hero for standing up to the two thugs.
“It’s just something you do to protect yourself and your property and I feel we’ve got every right to,” he said.
“I’d do it again now, right now, if they were here.
“I think everybody should have a pistol under their bed and use it.
“Had I had my pistol under the bed I would have used it and bugger the consequences . . . this has got to stop.”
But of course John did not have his pistol under the bed, because neither John nor anyone else here is allowed to keep a pistol under the bed. Yes, at least law abiding Australians are allowed to have pistols – providing the local police give permission and that owners comply with various state and Commonwealth laws, of course – and clearly this is a better situation than not being allowed to have one at all. But it’s not as good as being at liberty to have one, especially since if self defence is not a valid reason for wanting a pistol, or any other type of gun for that matter, and the law insists that you keep it unloaded and locked away then it’s quite useless when dealing with sledgehammer wielding intruders anyway. Jeez, you can have half a dozen guns and for all the good they do you locked away you might as well defend yourself with a baseball bat and hope for the best. Oh, actually that’s exactly what happened, isn’t it? John didn’t have his pistol to hand and resorted to a baseball bat because at least he’s allowed to have that lying around, and now doesn’t have his pistol or his other guns at all anymore by the sounds of things.
Six guns were stolen including a shotgun and two air rifles.
Terrific, score six for the bad guys, even if John did get a few good whacks in with the bat before they got away. And what about the good guys?
A description of the thieves has not yet been issued by police.
Well, that’s not exactly an auspicious start, is it? And of course it’s not long before we’re reminded to leave it all to the police.
WA Police Sergeant Graham Clifford said the law did give people the right to defend their lives and property, but it was a grey area.
If the defence went too far and became a form of punishment, people would probably be charged, he told AAP.
Which is fair enough, but I don’t think home owners dealing with intruders, possibly violent and possibly armed, really give a tinker’s stuff about punishing them for breaking in. Driving them off or failing that making them no longer a risk to the occupier and any family there, yes, and if achieving that means one or more intruders lying face down and approaching ambient temperature in a pool of their own vital fluids, well, so be it. Nobody made them break in to someone else’s home and put the occupants in fear for their lives, so the consequences of their decision to commit crime are on their own heads. But punishment? Seriously, Sgt Clifford, how many people do you think would honestly give a stuff about punishing intruders when just getting rid of the danger they present is all that matters in that instant?
“Really what we’d prefer people to do is back off and observe and let us know what’s going on and we’ll chase them down the track,” Sgt Clifford said.
And I wouldn’t want anyone other than trained, professional police investigators doing that, but as for the backing off part, what about when you’re at home and have nowhere to back off to? We know we’re still supposed to call the cops and let you guys sort that out too, but the problem is the intruders are there already. And in case it’s not clear why that’s a problem that can be tackled only by people being at liberty to defend themselves we only need to ask one simple question: how long did it take WA police to respond to the report of a break in at the home of a registered firearms owner?
If it was more than five seconds there’s your answer.