19/09/2011

Man Stabs Burglar

dad stabbs burglarA tricky story leads the news today, but I think it's important to cover it.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after allegedly stabbing a burglar to death.

The 39-year-old businessman, Vincent Cooke, was at home when he answered his door to two armed men. In the fight he fatally stabbed one of the would-be robbers, and the other ran off.

It was only a few months ago that Ken Clarke said we had the right to defend our homes with possibly the ultimate force, and this will turn into the mother of all test cases.

Back then Ken said: "If an old lady finds she's got an 18 year old burgling her house and she picks up a kitchen knife and sticks it in him she has not committed a criminal offence and we will make that clear."

This is where it gets a little sticky. Vincent wasn't an old lady, but he had a wife and 12-year-old child who were due home any time. Old ladies probably only have cats that they live with. And let's be honest, if a cat thinks you're being attacked it will head off and leave you to it. I'm not saying cats aren't loyal but they look at you in a way that says, "As soon as you're dead, I'm probably going to eat you."

So, when an old woman kills a teen it's legal, but when a 39-year-old man kills a man in his early 30s he gets arrested for murder.

It will make us all examine the question, "Should you be allowed to defend your property by killing?"

If we are being practical, it should really depend on your property. Vincent Cooke lived in an expensive house in a stoke-broker belt. If someone was trying to burgle your caravan that's filled with stuff from Pound Stretcher, it's a bit much to think it's worth taking a life.

But that's the issue, isn't it. Do you think property can ever be more valuable than life? Because that's what you're saying if you defend your home with fatal violence.

I have to be honest, younger me would've had a big problem with this, but I think you get more right-wing as you get older, it must be linked to nose hair or something.

Younger me would've said, "There's no way the appropriate punishment for theft should be death." But older me has warmed to the idea. Older me really quite likes it. Older me keeps thinking, "How could I get Jedward to try to burgle me?"

We'll see what happens as this case carries on, and I guess not much of it will inspire humour, so it won't get mentioned here much. But this is the third time in six months that intruders have been stabbed to death by home-owners.

It makes you think, "What would you do if someone came to your front door with a knife and tried to rob you?" When you ponder on the issue of home-owners killing burglars you tend to think about other people, but if you imagine you're the home-owner being attacked, I imagine your response becomes a little harsher.

It doesn't take long before you're doing the full rant. "Crime is going up, prisons are reaching capacity. These home-owners might be many things, but at least they're helping that situation."

>Read the source story
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