1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

It's OK to knife a burglar in the UK

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by dmc, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. nior Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    11
    I often wonder why some people needed to think about the rights of thieves and burglars. Why is it that we even have cases of these offenders filling suits against homeowners who were simply protecting themselves. Shouldn't their rights be taken away the moment they decided to break the rights of other people? I mean, clearly they know what they are doing is a criminal offense so why should they still be extended human rights? I don't see why it should be wrong for me to shoot a burglar when he is trying to get away... with or without my stuff.
     
    Shoshino likes this.
  2. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    54
    Well, there are several reasons. One is the idea of proportional response. What is accepted against someone tries to kill you need not be accepted when one tries to pick your pocket or swears at you (which can be interpreted as an attack on your dignity, which is also a right). It's not easy to balance it all. For example, most people agree that if you find a burglar in your kitchen, he lunges at you with a knife and you break his skull with a handy object, you are blameless. If you see someone who, upon seeing you, tries to escape, and you shoot him in the back, things get trickier - you were in no danger, after all. And if a bunch of kids are playing outside, their ball goes through your window, and one tries to climb in to get it, and you shoot him, most people would be outraged (imo deservedly), even though he was tresspassing and trying to take something from your home. Likewise, if someone starts mouthing off at you and you eventually flip out and hit them, does that mean they are legally entitled to kill you? IIRC assault is no less of a crime than robbery.

    Another is that until you are proven guilty, you are legally innocent, and accorded due protection under the law. This is a fundamental principle, and trying to argue that it should be suspended for this or that is often considered a slippery slope. There are a lot of what ifs, especially in extended, not clearly cut cases (which, when people can bring nearly anything in court, necessarily exist). There can be mistakes and incorrect claims - and instances where the accuser has ulterior motives and hides or makes something up. Besides, as far as I know cases of self-defense are especially tricky because people will sometimes claim self-defense when they in fact assaulted (or killed) someone. Remember, we can talk about how the law works in theory, but in practice any law can be, and is, abused. Now, I don't know all that many policemen, but I imagine hearing stuff like "but he attacked me/started it/tried to hit me" are quite common among people who are arrested and later convicted.

    There's also one other factor that can stop some people - even a criminal may have a mother, spouce, or children. but what is a burglar to you may be a spouse, parent, or child to other people, and they will suffer from your actions. Sure, that doesn't automatically absolve a criminal of guilt, or deny you your right to self-defense, but it is a factor people should imo keep in mind when discussing the matter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  3. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    3,103
    Media:
    127
    Likes Received:
    183
    Gender:
    Male
    If someone breaks into my home while I'm present, chances are he hasn't considered, or gives a rats [donkey] about, whether I have an aged mother who would grieve at my passing, or any dependants who would be left in need. I don't see why I should care more for him and his family than he cares for me and mine.

    In the worst case, pausing to consider his rights and his family's feelings could get me killed. And I will have to assume the worst.
     
  4. nior Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    11
    The Shaman, all I know is that someone "consciously" break/walked into my house without my consent and tries to run away when he/she discovered I was there. What that person did was unlawful entry and attempt to escape (whether with or without my stuff). Why should I think his/her intention/s were good?
     
  5. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    26
    I think it's safe to say that what society deems an appropriate penalty to unlawful trespass or burglary is whatever you'd get if convicted in a court. So you'd be looking at maybe a few months or 2 years or so. You sure as hell wouldn't get the death penalty. If someone is trying to escape and is obviously not posing a threat I don't think you should be allowed do whatever you want to him.

    If you do have reason to suspect him to be a threat then fire away by all means.
     
  6. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,086
    Media:
    66
    Likes Received:
    79
    Gender:
    Male
    generally people dont break into homes with the intent of killing the occupants (in the UK), if someone is killed during an attempted burgulary it is normally because they have confronted the intruder. Im a trained professional, but even I wont go 1 on 1 (there may be more), with a potentially armed/violent intruder unless absolutely necessary, I have a wife and daughter to think about.

    I see alot of brovado thrown around "If someone breaks into my house, they deserve everything they get", the reality is that thankfully most will never have to deal with an intruder in their home, Ive always taught that the best way to win a fight is to avoid it in the first place, but its up to you to make the choice, do you risk it?
     
    joacqin likes this.
  7. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    54
    @ nior: chances are, their intentions were not good, sure. You certainly have a right to protect yourself and your property. That needn't necessarily translate into "I saw them here and I didn't invite them, so am morally and legally entitled to gut them and play skiprope with their intestines."

    S/he is a burglar and a criminal. You are not. Why should you feel obliged to follow their moral lead, here?

    Oookay, but I wasn't necessarily talking about that. I was just giving an example of why people might not necessarily think a burglar should be knifed/strangled/shot at sight. So consider this scenario - if you come across someone in your house, they carry something - you don't have time to see what - and they try to flee, would you feel immediately justified in using lethal force, despite not currently being in any danger?

    If it comes to a life-or-death situation, sure, your right to self-defense trumps other issues. That doesn't necessarily mean they have no rights, just in that situation you are allowed, legally and morally, to put your survival above any of them. Chances are, if you are trying to avoid a knife to the gut you don't have time to think about the other guy's situation anyway. However, not all cases are like that.

    Remember, though, that if you pursue a thief and start a fight, it's a life-or-death situation for him as well. If you're fighting for your life, so is he. I think I'm fairly safe in saying that he'd much rather be tried by twelve than carried out by six, too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
    Shoshino likes this.
  8. nior Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    11
    My point is not exactly that I am given all rights to do anything I want to an offender but rather why these offenders were still given "too much" rights when they consciously violated other people's rights.
     
  9. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    3,103
    Media:
    127
    Likes Received:
    183
    Gender:
    Male
    @Shoshino, The Shaman: Unfortunately, a new fad the last few years among criminals in this country has been "Home Robberies" where criminals break into a house they know to be occupied, wake up their victims with a fistful of knuckles to the face, and proceed to beat them up until they give the criminals a tour of their home and hand over their valuables. In at least one case, a victim was beaten to death with blunt weapons. So if one or more criminals break into my home when I'm there, I will have to assume they are there to assault me, at least until I see them run out the door.

    Once they take flight, I won't pursue. I probably wouldn't be able to catch a fully fit burglar anyway. But as long as they willingly stay in my home, they are a threat to me. I can't avoid a fight with a bully who insists on fighting.
     
  10. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    54
    They are given all due rights until they are proven guilty in a court of law. That is how it works with pretty much anything. Once proven guilty, they will most likely face jail, where their rights will be quite limited.

    @ Montresor: yes, if an intruder in your home is hostile (or tries to assault you), then obviously we are talking about self-defense. That is a different story from simple stealing, imo, and pretty much no one anywhere takes an issue with that. What can cause some issues is if you do get them to a point where they are no threat, then proceed to beat them up, kill them, call some friends to have a group beatdown, etc.
     
  11. nior Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    11
    I'm very sure everybody knows that. It's probably a reason why some of us would prefer to just dish it out to them when we can. Have you ever wondered what if you and I broke into the house of a burglar? Do you think these burglars would ever consider our rights? I don't know but I'm guessing they'll just go ahead and gut us.
     
  12. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    54
    Now, I can imagine that if you find someone trying to steal your stuff, you would be angry. You may want to punish them. That it's tempting and you want to do it may make it natural, but it doesn't necessarily make it good and moral. Now, I can imagine (and I think it happens) that the courts cut people some slack for acting in such circumstances. A broken tooth will likely be overlooked (and I can't say I object), a slit throat may be a different matter.

    Look, just because a law isn't easy to accept when you are a side in a conflict doesn't mean it is wrong. The law does not presume guilt, and I'd much rather it did not. Not everyone accused of robbery is guilty, after all - whether due to misunderstanding or wrongful accusation.

    As for the arguments "but criminals don't care for our rights", so what? There are many millions of heartless immoral SoBs on Earth already, why should that mean I have to be one - because my morality should be governed by the least common denominator? Heck no. By the same criteria, if they steal and assault people, so should we - thanks, but no thanks.
     
  13. LKD Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Messages:
    6,284
    Likes Received:
    271
    Gender:
    Male
    Shaman, point taken, but self defense is not immoral. Neither is the defense of your hard earned property, no matter how much people deride it.

    Once they are in your house, I see it as eminently fair to respond to that invasion with extreme force. If the guy is running, carrying away your property, I also see no problem with shooting him dead. The idea that at 2am you're supposed to stop and consider his feelings, family, rights, whatever, is just mind bogglingly dumb, IMHO.
     
  14. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Messages:
    12,434
    Media:
    46
    Likes Received:
    249
    Gender:
    Male
    In the US, he actually has to make it out the door for it be illegal to shoot him. Anyone who comes into your house uninivited in the middle of the night is considered a clear and present danger to you and yours. If you lock up your house when you go to bed, and someone breaks in, you're pretty much allowed to use lethal force.
     
  15. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,086
    Media:
    66
    Likes Received:
    79
    Gender:
    Male
    under that circumstance, there isnt really much you can do but cooperate and hope they wont kill you.

    In the UK the current craze is breaking into houses to steal car keys, since its easier to break into houses than modern cars, generally theyre in and out and off with your car.
     
  16. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    54
    Fair enough. I consider extreme force reserved for only cases where you (or someone else) is in immediate danger, because it will likely lead to the other party responding in kind if able. However, as I see it as long as it is within the realm of self-defense, a lot is justified.

    The point is not necessarily that YOU, as the aggrieved party currently under great stress, should stop to consider such details, especially if your life is currently in danger. Some may, and I consider that an honorable thing to do, but I can't realistically expect it of everyone. In moments of extreme pressure, people likely lose track of a lot of things that normally matter. However, it is imo a factor for when an objective third party (judge, jury, whatever) considers the case and considers guilt and punishment.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  17. nior Gems: 24/31
    Latest gem: Water Opal


    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    11
    @Shaman, I understand your side about the law. And believe, I too am aware of those stuff you are pointing out. But I'm in the same boat as LKD that the burglar IS in my property unlawfully. And that it is really my rights to defend it in however way I have thought of in that very instance. Given the situation, (i.e. fear for my safety and those I love) and that I'm just an ordinary citizen, if I saw a stranger in my house I don't think that it would be natural for me to think that this person doesn't mean any harm. That person may be just as scared as I am but really, how can I be sure of that? Do your think it's going to be easy for me to think what is the right or moral way to deal with this person? For all I care, I could be dead if I have to pause and listen to my conscience. My property, me and my family's safety and well being, and I have to be considerate to an invader? I don't see why I can't knife him if I can. Besides, rights and morality changes according to one's beliefs and the laws they are under. It's not as simple as black and white.
     
  18. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    54
    It never is. But hey, you asked me why anyone would need to think about the rights of criminals, and I answered. That you might not agree with those arguments in some cases is your own viewpoint. No one is saying to greet any would-be robber with a glass of wine and invite him to dinner, by the way ;) .

    Personally, I'm no saint or Gandhi either. If someone tries to harm me and I have no option to avoid them (and in my home, I probably won't), I will defend myself with all available means. If that means I end up killing them, well, pity about that. If they are just trying to take some stuff, I might try to scare them away first - we can always go to plan B if it doesn't work, but if it does I'll have saved myself a lot of trouble. Though, since (thankfully) none of these has happened yet, I'm not quite sure just what I'd do if it came to that. Hopefully I won't have to find out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  19. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    4,101
    Likes Received:
    203
    Gender:
    Male

    And how will you live with yourself if when waiiting to see if plan B is needed, you are too late and harm comes to a love one? You would of just risked their life to avoid legal issues. Not a risk I am willing to take. Are you sure you are?
     
    Gaear likes this.
  20. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire


    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    54
    As I said, I'm not sure - because it hasn't happened yet, and I don't know which way I'd go if it does. That's why I said "might." What I think now might not be what I think then. That doesn't make me wrong, by the way - people under stress and an adrenaline rush aren't famous for making the right calls.

    Now, first, remember I said I would do that only if they are trying to take some stuff - which presumes no one else is around or endangered. I think I'd do much more for people that I would for a TV set. Second, you say that giving the other guy the option to flee might put others at risk; do not forget that a fight (whether with knives or guns) can also put them in danger. When bullets are flying or you are fighting with someone, there is no guarantee the people nearby will not get involved. You have also made the other guy a lot more desperate - and if he wins, a lot more interested in taking it out on everyone around. I think the risks for the people near you are actually higher. Now, that obviously doesn't mean it's immoral to defend your home with violence - but it's not necessarily the safer option.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.