Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Saturday, January 10, 2004
Ok I'm going to do some consolidating. Here are a nice variety of stories about the restrictions on the right to self-defense as practiced in the UK.

This article has both elements of this particular case.
"Tony Martin, the farmer who killed a criminal who broke into his house, has been denied a preparatory home visit before his release on parole next week because he is considered to be a "danger to burglars".

In a meeting last week with the wing governor at his prison and Annette Stewart, his probation officer, Martin was told that he had been refused a trial three-day home release because the authorities felt that he might reoffend even during that short space of time.

It is normal practice for prisoners awaiting release to be given a few days outside to introduce them gradually to the prospect of regaining their liberty."
Emphasis mine.

Then there's this one.
"A career criminal seriously wounded by Tony Martin during the burglary in which his teenage accomplice was shot dead has been granted legal aid to sue the jailed farmer.


Brendan Fearon, 32, was initially refused legal aid for his damages claim against Martin, who was convicted of murdering 16-year-old Fred Barras as he and Fearon tried to burgle Martin's Norfolk farmhouse three years ago. His conviction was reduced to manslaughter.

However, the Legal Services Commission, which oversees legal aid, confirmed yesterday that Fearon, of Newark, Notts, had now been awarded 5,000 to prepare his civil action against the 57-year-old farmer.

Henry Bellingham, Tory MP for North West Norfolk, Martin's constituency, said: "It just gets more and more absurd. People are going to be appalled. It's another example of how the justice system is being turned upside down." Norman Brennan, a police officer and director of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: "It is not right that Fearon should get legal aid as he was involved in a criminal act. If he wants some money he should get a job.

"It shows the complete contempt that the legal system has for victims of crime."

Fearon, who has more than 30 convictions for burglary, violence and other offences, received wounds to his legs and back during the shooting at Martin's dilapidated farmhouse. He was jailed for his part in the burglary. Martin, who is expected to be released in October, said he had been acting in self-defence but the jury accepted evidence that he had been lying in wait."
Emphasis mine.

So that's rural England. London, meanwhile, has 164 muggings a day.
" It is expected to show that the first six months of the police campaign against street crime - when officers got out of their cars and went on the beat in mugging hotspots - produced a steady fall to an average of 163 muggings a day. But there was a rise in the next six months, leading to the average for the year being 164.

The report will also warn that the clear-up rate for street crime is still too low. In London only 9.04 per cent of all street crimes were classified as "cleared-up" last year, far lower than the 14 per cent average for all crimes, but a rise from the 2001-2 figure of 8.7 per cent.

Fewer than one in 10 street robberies in London end with someone being charged or cautioned, the worst figure in the country. And, despite the rise in the clearup rate, the fall in numbers of street crimes meant fewer crimes were classifiedas cleared up and fewer muggers went to prison in 2002-3 than in 2001-2."
Empasis mine.

This article is written by an American but it has lots of good examples and citations as to exactly how ass-backwards they have it over there.
"Non-terrorist criminals also continue to get an easy ride from the government. Some teenagers who perpetrated an unarmed gang homicide on a random stranger were last week sentenced to terms of 2-4 years. The same week, reports the Evening Standard (4/29), "An evil young killer who stabbed a complete stranger through the ear with a hunting knife" was sentenced to seven years in prison. Meanwhile, the government is introducing a five-year mandatory minimum for carrying a gun illegally. So, merely carrying a gun merits a sentence in the same range as murdering someone.

Using force to resist a crime seems to trouble the government a great deal. A businessman who hit a pair of burglars with a brick was prosecuted and called "an unmitigated thug" by the government (Daily Mail, 5/1). Yet the jury acquitted the victim, since British jurors do retain the right to acquit a morally innocent defendant who has technically violated the law.

A masked man with a cape and a mask who was on his way to a costume party intervened to save someone who was being beaten by a gang of thugs. The local police spokesman was very unhappy with the man's altruism, since only the police are supposed to resist criminals (Daily Mail, 5/3)."


Or then there's this.
"A DISABLED man who used CS spray to fight off a robber is now facing the threat of legal action.

Wheelchair-bound Nicholas Ashworth, aged 22, sprayed his alleged attacker in the face with the CS spray.

He then climbed out of his wheelchair and limped across the road as the man screamed in pain. A passing police patrol spotted him in distress and stopped at the scene. Officers then arrested both men.

Today after being released on police bail pending further inquiries -- which could result in police prosecution -- Mr

Ashworth defended his use of the CS spray. He said he bought it to protect himself after being attacked in Bridgeman Street three weeks ago. On that occasion his attacker hit him in the face before pinning him back in his chair. The man then rifled through his pockets and stole 100.

Mr Ashworth, of Fletcher Street, Bolton -- who can walk just a short distance without his wheelchair -- said the incident left him feeling vulnerable.

Only days later he used it when a would-be robber confronted him as Mr Ashworth made his way to a nearby supermarket.

Mr Ashworth said the attacker held a knife at his throat and threatened to stab him. When he refused to hand over his money the man pushed him across the road and into bushes on the other side of the carriageway.

He said when he was threatened again he grabbed the CS canister and sprayed the man in the face.

He said: "I knew it was wrong and against the law but in my view I was acting in self defence. I thought the man was going to kill me.

"It is a sad state of affairs that disabled people like me have to carry such things like CS sprays for protection."

A police spokesman said that they were investigating the illegal use and possession of CS spray. He also revealed that a man was on police bail pending further inquiries into the attempted robbery of Mr Ashworth."


This article is from an academic journal. It's long and dense, but if you want the history of gun-control and how it ties in with the erosion of the right to self defense, read it.

It's not just about guns. It's about the right to protect yourself. Guns just happen to be the most effective tool for the job. Seeing as how pepper-spray and other improvised weapons are also banned, it's hard to say that these suggestions are reasonable. Especially when the probability that you'll be facing an armed criminal is so high. Oh the irony.

Turns out that when weapons are outlawed only outlaws have weapons. And that innocent people defending themselves in their own homes are turned into outlaws. Not surprisingly people are unhappy at the idea that they have a 1:51 chance of being mugged and that less than 10% of muggings are cleared up. Yet they are reduced to using a media gimmick to beg the state to allow them the right of self-defense. (Which is right up there with freedom of speech and freedom of religion, in that it is not granted by the state. It is an innate, god-given, inalienable right.)

posted by Rachel 1/10/2004
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Hmmm.
I think your quiz requires refinement.


Now how the hell did that happen?

posted by Rachel 1/10/2004
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Wimps! It's not news if it's the midwest... hmph.

I was actually discussing this with some friends from Boston, (originally from here,) just last week. They were remarking that there haven't been any "Don't go outside or you might die" warnings the whole time they've been there. Wimps.

[geezer voice] Why back in my day... I had to walk four blocks and wait 30 minutes for the bus when the windchill was 60 below. (It's true I really did.) The only temp that ever got the best of me was the time it got down to 80 below. You kids have it so easy nowadays... Don't give me this guff about it's cold. Put on a sweater. [/geezer voice]

posted by Rachel 1/10/2004
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