"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Sunday, December 12, 2004

In Britain a "Man's Castle" May No Longer Be Forcefully Defended

Belmont Club offers a plausible reason why Europeans, in this case, those in the U.K. are uneasy about protecting themselves for burglary, aggression, or even invasion.

In the U.K. it is illegal to use any kind of force when confronting a burglar in one’s home. Dr. Ian Stephen “an Honorary Lecturer (Forensic Psychology) at Glasgow Caledonian University” and “a consultant to forensic psychology television series Cracker” gave some advice to householders on the appropriate way to handle a home invasion. The advice was given in response to heightened public fears caused by the murder of British financier John Monckton who was tricked into opening his door by burglars impersonating mailmen. Dr. Stephen gives some advice to U.K. residents that would astound Americans

if you attack the burglar, or react in an "over the top" manner, as was recently illustrated in the case of Tony Martin who shot intruders in his Norfolk farmhouse, you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence that will far outstrip that imposed on the intruder in your own home.

That being the unfortunate case the Briton is advised to make the best of a bad situation by acting in the following way.

When individuals are confronted by intruders there are some actions they should follow. Direct contact should be avoided whenever possible. If unavoidable, the victim should adopt a state of active passivity. In most cases the best form of defence is always avoidance. If this isn’t possible, act passively, be careful what you say or do and give up valuables without a struggle. This allows the victim to take charge of the situation, without the intruder’s awareness, through subtle and non-confrontational means. People can cooperate but initiate nothing. By doing nothing there is no chance of inadvertently initiating violence by saying something such as "Please don’t hurt me".

"Cooperate but initiate nothing". We will return to that phrase in a moment, but first we must continue with Dr. Stephen's cautionary advice. He says it is important not to affront or startle the burglar in any way, not simply out of a regard for their feelings, for whose hurt the householder may liable, but to avoid arousing an aggression which it is expressly forbidden to resist.

Sometimes the perpetrator of a burglary is even more terrified than the victim and in many cases when things go wrong it is the perpetrator of the crime who panics. Although they sometimes go equipped with weapons, in most cases they probably don’t intend to use them but in the heat of the moment, and the fear of either getting caught or attacked themselves, they use them. They don’t expect the person they are trying to hold up to retaliate or react. Mostly the knife is there simply for intimidation rather than intent to use it and they finish up killing somebody by accident rather than design.

If you are stabbed or shot it is your fault, as the Moncktons learned to their cost. You are advised to simply stand there, eyes fastened on the floor as if nothing were happening in the hope that you will not be noticed.

The poster, “wretchard,” goes on to infer that Dr. Stephen’s advice “to take no unilateral action” must have been offered to Kori Annan, and he follows with a passage from George Orwell that describes what happens we passively allow ourselves to become victims. It’s worth the read.

Obviously in the U.K. one’s home is no longer his castle, or better still, the U.K. seems to be no longer their home as they are being run out by pushy immigrants.


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