Beat the Burglar

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Are you a proud owner of the latest gadgets? Mobile phones, laptops, iPods, game consoles…all attractive to the guy lingering around the corner waiting for the opportunity to sneak through your open window. Politicians have announced that in the situation of being presented with an uninvited visitor,  as English and Welsh home owners, anyone can use "reasonable" force to protect themselves, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. As a student, what can you do to keep your clobber safe? The question is what is “reasonable” force?

The problem with the term “reasonable” is that it constitutes many different meanings to different people. Can you throw a boiling hot pot noodle in their face? Can you crack him in the head with the spine of a heavy text book? Or are you restricted to telling him to kindly stop what he’s doing and exit the building?

In America, it is legal for home owners to use such extreme force on those intruding on their property. 92 year old World War 2 veteran Earl Jones has recently been hailed a hero upon him shooting and murdering an intruder in his home in Kentucky, USA. Upon hearing the intruder break in through the basement, Earl chose to remain in his property where he sat prepared with a gun, consequently murdering the intruder. Why is it allowed there and not here? Old fashioned British values of discussing matters over a cup of tea are clearly a thing of the past.

Without wanting to imply that a free for all murderous rampage should always be on the cards, if ourselves, family or friends are placed in a position of risk or danger, wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to prevent it? You grab their gun and you shoot; whether that be their crotch or their head. Have those who created these rules on force restrictions been placed in these dangerous situations themselves before? Probably not.

In 1999, Norfolk farmer Tony Martin shot dead an intruder in his home. He was jailed for life for murder but appealed and had the verdict reduced to manslaughter, serving three years in jail. Quite frankly, the intruder chose to take the risk of being attacked when he illegally entered a stranger’s home. Maybe if Martin simply let the intruder steal his widescreen TV he wouldn’t have faced so many complications, but what message would this send out to criminals?

At least now more is being done to grant the victims more rights to protect their property than worrying about protecting a selfish criminal in case he cuts his hand on the broken glass or happens to fall down the step on his escape.

Whilst there is this grey area over what is reasonable, ensure you lock your windows and doors in the meantime, just in case. You don’t want your degree certificate being posted to your cell.

Nicole Jones

Recently graduated from uni with a media degree... I am a typical 21 year old-love shopping, partying, socialising, venting and lots of cups of tea!


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