Don’t shoot! Tickle me to death instead.

On New Year’s Eve, a young Oklahoma widow and mother Sarah McKinley shot dead an armed intruder breaking into her home.  But it’s all good.  She was protecting her three-month old baby and the circumstances were in her favour as confirmed by local detective, Dan Huff:

“You’re allowed to shoot an unauthorised person that is in your home,” he  said.

“The law provides you the remedy, and sanctions the use of deadly force.”

This young lady did what she felt she had to do to protect herself and more importantly, her infant child.

I would have done the same, only I don’t have a shotgun.  But I do have a menacing carving knife and an iron bar somewhere in the shed.  I would have employed either, if it were necessary.

Somehow I don’t think my local law enforcement agency would forgive me if they were called to remove the body of a once armed, mutilated intruder from any number of rooms in my house.  In this country the invaded are encouraged to offer no resistance, even though the number of murders from home invasions are now regular features on the evening news.  Perhaps those people resisted, and died because of it.  Perhaps they were targeted to die regardless.

Nonetheless, the laws in Australian states are explicitly clear on how you entertain your unwanted guests. If you are a resident of South Australia you may feel free to do away with an intruder and the law will show mercy for doing so.  But it would be more advisable to murder him or her with a carving knife than a firearm.  Firearms are more affective but you need to have one close by.  In South Australia you don’t have that luxury.  Writing in Adelaide Now, John Goldberg provided a follow-up on an article he had earlier penned on the legal acceptance of killing a home intruder.  Like me, you may find the follow-up rather humurous.

[Since my earlier article] I have been contacted by the police firearms branch and it has been pointed out to me that I was in error, not on any of the matters that I have just mentioned, but in the hypothetical scenario in the column where I wrote that you killed the intruder with a loaded shotgun that you kept in your bedroom, yet you committed no offence.

It has been pointed out to me that it is a breach of the law to keep a loaded gun in your bedroom, even if you hold a firearms licence and your firearm is registered.

The regulations say that firearms must be locked up in the prescribed manner (generally a gun safe or strongroom) and all ammunition must be stored in a locked container separately from the firearm. A firearms licence is endorsed with the use to which the holder of the licence can put the firearm.

Now the use might be target shooting or hunting, but self-defence is not normally an approved use.

Even if you had the appropriate licence and kept your gun in a locked safe with the ammunition locked up separately, you would still not be able to use your gun to defend yourself in your own home unless there was an endorsement on the licence by the Registrar of Firearms specifically approving that use.

The Firearms Act says that you commit an offence if you use a firearm for a purpose not authorised by your licence.

An unsecured gun in your bedroom could cost you a maximum fine of $2500 and the use of the shotgun in breach of your firearms licence could incur a maximum fine of $20,000 or imprisonment for four years. This is so even if the intruder was armed and was threatening you.

In order to avoid breaking the law, you may need to beat the intruder to death with the unloaded shotgun.

I think I prefer the Oklahoma law.  They allow you the option of using either end of the rifle in order to avoid being a homicide victim.

Not all laws are completely stupid like the South Australian law.  Some are actually worse, as I found on this question and answer forum about home invasions in Australia.  Look at these two:

Q.  If I come face to face with a burglar in the middle of the night,what can and can’t I do?

A.  You can use force to defend yourself, however the force must be equal or less than the force being used by the intruder.

Q.  Can I attack them until they leave the premises?

A.  Not unless they are attacking you.

Does anybody else agree that such laws protect the assailant ahead of the victim?  And what is equal force?  Do you take it in turns of hitting each other over the head with a brick?  Again, I prefer the Oklahoma law.

Certain aspects of this case ‘amused’ me, where a Gold Coast man, after grappling with an armed intruder secured the firearm and shot the intruder in the leg who later ventured out into the street and bled to death.   It was this statement from the police that particularly amused me:

“I spoke to a couple of residents out there this morning and they were quite shocked that such a thing had happened in their quiet suburban street.

“To wake up and find a deceased male person laying in the middle of your street, who had allegedly been the victim of a gunshot, is obviously of serious concern.”

Really, I would have thought that coming home to find a pistol being waved at your head was far more concerning.  The lesson learned, is that if you want to grapple with an armed assailant, keep in mind the affects it might have on your neighbours.  Spare no thought as to what they might think if the assailant actually empties the gun in your head.  That is of no significance.  Nobody cares.

Again, the Oklahoma law wins me over.

I do support the right to defend myself in what I perceive to be a life or death situation.  Especially in my own home.  I don’t keep a firearm – I actually hate them, the knife in the kitchen is too far out of reach, as is the iron bar in the shed.  In future I’m going to have feathers lying around the house.  I intend to tickle the intruders to death.  It might be legal.

102 comments on “Don’t shoot! Tickle me to death instead.

  1. Equal force means that if someone is coming at you with an old rubber boot you’re not allowed to shoot stab them with a pitch fork.

    BTW re the feathers, your own? Perhaps you drop them during the seasonal molt.

  2. There are a set of statistics in the US that the gun lobby likes to keep under the carpet and does everything in their power to suppress, and that is the amount of death and injuries by firearms caused to the owner, family member or friend of the owner by the owner’s firearm.

    That includes death and injuries caused by an intruder or perpetrator getting hold of the victims firearm and using it on the victim or victims.

    The figures show if there were far stricter gun controls in the US then there would be less death and injuries due to guns. A good example of this is Canada, which has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, yet has a hugely lower gun crime and injury rate than the US. The difference is stricter gun controls.

    The US gun lobby would like nothing better than to have Australia lax its gun laws, and have actively lobbied for this to happen, at one stage attempting to market women’s purse size self protection pistols so women could “walk the streets safely at night and be safe in their homes”.

    Keep the gun control laws in this country as they are and try to crack down on the illegal firearms is what I think should happen. If Australia ever gets to the stage I saw in one persons house in the US when living there, where he had five guns, some extremely powerful, secreted around the house to defend his family, then that is the stage Australia has really gone down the drain.

  3. Min, if a strapping young man came at me with an old rubber boot, I would need the pitch fork to even things up.

    We are into rubber I see. Yesterday black rubber, today, rubber boots.

  4. I do support the right to defend myself in what I perceive to be a life or death situation. Especially in my own home.

    100% agree. The right to defend ones self, family and property should be paramount.

    Keep the gun control laws in this country as they are and try to crack down on the illegal firearms is what I think should happen.

    100% agree. We need more customs and border protection from illegal imports which was massively reduced by the “levy for everything” government if I am not mistaken. More border protection against boat people but much less for customs inspections of criminal and contraband imports.

  5. I don’t know how good I would be at defending myself, and if someone wanted my property it’s not worth getting shot for. I hate guns and am not overly keen on sharp knives either 😦

  6. This is one I really struggle with, 1) I am totally against domestic gun ownership so don’t support any one owning a fire arm other than police, military and farmers with specific needs and licences… however it begs the question.. what possession do I have that is more important than the life of my family or myself… none..purely and simply pick up the kids and hightail it out the back door. If that isn’t an option tell them they can have what ever and hope they leave us alone. Tickling them to death seems ok to me but only if they hate being tickled. 😉

    Option 2) give everyone a gun but make bullets so expensive you need to own an island to afford them.

  7. Signe, Chris Rock had a great suggestion. Bullets should be $5,000 each. That way, there would be no more innocent bystanders. I tend to agree with him.

  8. Migs, “Really, I would have thought that coming home to find a pistol being waved at your head was far more concerning.”

    This reminds me of when eldest was househunting recently. The owner remarked, indicating the police tape surrounding the house: I’ve had trouble getting people to look at this place.

    Well yes, the fact that there was police tape blocking off entry might impact on that.

  9. I find it abhorrent that people shoot animals for ‘sport’. It’s only a white person’s sport, I might add.

    Yet I have no compassion for an armed intruder who is carried out of a house in a body bag.

  10. I’d probably start off by offering the intruder a drink….and if he refuses my hospitality, get my wife to tell him to leave. That should work. 😀

  11. Somehow I don’t think that having my home invaded by a duck and a rabbit would be very threatening..could probably cope with that one.

  12. Oh if only the US Constitution didn’t have the right to bear arms as a guaranteed right – the world would be a simpler and better place.

  13. 2353, and it doesn’t even exactly say that. The 2nd amendment specifies as part of “a well regulated militia”, citizens forces being essential at the time due to lack of manpower.

  14. A good example of this is Canada, which has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world, yet has a hugely lower gun crime and injury rate than the US. The difference is stricter gun controls.

    Many psychologists would disagree with your assessment Adrian and talk about the “culture” differences AND the socio economic differences between the two countries … (ie USA and Canada) …

    Queensland armed robberies have skyrocketed in the last ten years … particularly on the Gold Coast …

    I’m a firm believer in training and education for any weapon owner … but after being burgled last year the fact that its difficult to own a weapon to defend my family, and myself … to me, gives the advantage to the arseholes of the world!

    At my age, a fifteen year old in my home at 2am is a threat to my wife and me .. if a person is in my home at that time, without my permission he/she has only harm in mind to me or mine! (and should have NO rights at law)

    I often argue with people who make the same statements I just have —- BUT … given a situation I described … you MUST be prepared to pull the trigger … if not – as you state – that weapon will be used against you …

    My opinion is that killing with weapons and home invasions have increased (and will continue) since Howard’s buyback BS ..

    Police can only attend if a crime is in PROGRESS!

    Remember too that this came about because of the Port Arthur massacre … another Bryant could be amongst us now … shooting people in ones and twos adds up to 36 very quickly over a year … (many weapons experts are still astounded at the number of people, Bryant, killed in such a short time, with the weapons he had and the skill he had)

    If there was another “Port Arthur” would the gun laws be repealed?

    How much do you really trust our law enforcement agencies to be watching your family and property during the day and more especially at night (early morning when the risk is highest!) ???

  15. But of course, how many homeowners have weapons and the training to use them correctly in a stressful situation…

  16. But of course, how many homeowners have weapons and the training to use them correctly in a stressful situation…

    My point, Baccy, taking weapons away from law abiding citizens opens it up for the arseholes of society …

    Reminds me of the “success” of Prohibition …

    Weapons are “tools” … in the hands of a madman a chainsaw is just as deadly!

    Or a kitchen knife …

    Bryant had the advantage of atomatic weapons but that’s not we are discussing …

    And, just in passing, “aiming” to wound an untruder in the leg or arm don’t work … police and military are taught to aim for the largest part of the body … middle of the chest … unless you’ve fired a handgun … you really won’t understand … (and “one in the air” just gives an aggressive, cornered, frightened intruder just enough time to charge you …)

    Question: When was thye first time you heard the term “home invasion” in relation to Australia?

    I’ll bet it was only a couple of years after the Gun Laws … do you really think the bad guys needed the money?

  17. Bacchus, the Gold Coast fellow I linked to in my post has been charged with manslaughter and whilst bail has been granted, the police prosecuter did oppose it. He shot the fellow in the leg and he bled to death. One may ask why his accomplices didn’t offer any aid. It is reasonable to suggest that he may have lived if the bleeding could have been slowed.

    I don’t think that anybody who shoots a person in the leg does so with the intent to kill, unless they are a lousy shot.

    I hope the charges are dropped, based on what we know of the case.

  18. But one wonders why the police want to throw the book at him, Bacchus. Is it because he was already known to the police, perhaps. Was it because it was drug related? Maybe.

  19. If I was to apprehend an intruder at the Cafe I’d have to lock him in the cellar until the police arrived. 😯

    I hope you don’t mind the company. 😉

    Perhaps you could give him a tour.

  20. Well I’m off to bed soon. I’ll just grab the pepper spray, knuckle dusters, boxing gloves, Samurai sword, sling shot, chainsaw, pet spider, carving knife, some feathers and a photo of Tony Abbott. If all else fails the photo of Abbott should scare him off.

  21. The police are not the judge, jury and executioner Migs. Someone died – they’ll charge him with causing that death. From there, it’s up to the legal profession to apply their judgement, starting with the DPP – usually that’s where it will end because of not meeting the requirements of a reasonable chance of conviction…

    Enjoy your sleep, but do try not to roll over and do yourself an injury 🙄

  22. I’m still up, Bacchus. Can’t find a photo of Tony Abbott anywhere. I’ll have to print one off.

    Do I want an action shot or one wearing smugglers?

  23. That’s why she is my wife, maybe you could borrow Marvins Death Ray Gun you two seem to be on talking terms these days

  24. My memory is dim on this but a couple of years back a US state outlawed guns but it was overturned on the grounds of racial discrimination. If African Americans couldn’t have weapons it was argued they’d be the victims of crimes. Go figure.

  25. I would have thought that a large dog would be a better deterent than a gun under the bed. Knowing myself I would probably stand on it and it would go off in my face, the gun that is not the dog.

  26. AntonyG, one of our neighbours was burgled last year and the cops asked me if I’d see anything. During the ensuing chat they mentioned that a dog was the second best deterrent, behind a burglar alarm. I have both.

  27. I have 10mm steel bars around my home … $3000 for a “lifetime” was cheaper than $5000+ for ten years for a dog (our family dog, a boxer, lived for 12 years and he was and still is irreplaceable) … so some hard headed numbers coupled with emotion …

    My daughter, next door, has two dogs that will bark at anything … on the night we were burgled (the burglars ripped up a steel sliding door) the dogs were inside not out as usual … with my son in law who was “pampering” them (he had just returned from overseas )…

    … we now have three solar powered security lights down the side path they entered … two large reinforced steel padlocks on the gate they broke through (it had a single medium sized brass padlock) … security lights under the pergola where they broke in … and an internal alarm system that rings me, then my son, who lives five houses away (my two eldest, adult, grandsons, who live next door are under strict instructions to simply call the police and/or wait for their uncle) … the security door they broke into has also been redesigned and fitted …

    … and I read in the local rag this morning that crime has decreased in my local area over the last twelve months … not sure where they get their stats from sometimes …

    Note: Boxers are unique in that they may allow someone into your home but they will never let them out … unless instructed to … they are also extremely faithful to their family …

  28. TB Queensland,

    Sounds to be the work of professionals. I have a couple of friends in the force who tell me that the majority of home breakins these days are all drug related. The preference is cash and alcohol.

  29. When I was in Japan in 1980 I recall the guide saying, ” in Japan there are two things we don’t need to worry about, water and law and order.” I wonder if it is the same today. Do they have home invasions in Japan or China or other Asian countries. (And before anyone jumps in, I know Japan had some worries with water last year.)

    Is home invasion a ‘European’ thing?

  30. TB
    At my age, a fifteen year old in my home at 2am is a threat to my wife and me .. if a person is in my home at that time, without my permission he/she has only harm in mind to me or mine! (and should have NO rights at law)

    I totally agree but it should be at any age if a person is in your home at 2am without your permission they are up to no good.

    The towns that I have lived in over the years have had some very ingenious criminals. Their methods were as follows using children of ages 6 to 11 to ensure no arrest if caught.

    1) Run to power box and switch off power to a number of homes in a street (not next to each other). Come back during the night and if there is no lights on and the power switch is still off then no one is home. This town now has all power boxes padlocked with the owners and the meter reading the only people with keys. The criminals resorted to method 2.

    2) Turn off water at the mains, come back the next day, during the day and check if water back on. If not then knock on door and if no answer no one is home.

    3) In one town a group of teenagers were found to be carrying a map of the town with houses coloured red or green. Took a while for the cops to wokr it out. Red had dogs and green did not.

    4) Walk down the street at night and knock on doors and hide. If no answer mark gutter with the time with chalk. Check again the next night to establish a pattern with a view to break and enter.

    All of these were not drug related groups but rather young groups of kids with their parents support seeking cash or goods they could flog for cash to buy items they wanted.

  31. A cop was telling me that it’s not unusual for a house to be cleaned out twice in 3 months. After the insurance has been claimed and the house refurbished with new stock the crims will come back for seconds. I would assume though that after the first burglary the home owner would have tightened security.

  32. Migs, I agree. If people were not so disrespectful and arrogant then things such as gay marriage would be a reality. Karma tends to get these types in the end.

  33. Isn’t the term “home invasion” a media beatup of the long established crime of breaking & entering with menace?

  34. 2353, an Americanism I believe. It was always termed break and enter. The law differs from State to State but in NSW under the Crimes Act it would be s112(1) Break and Enter and commit serious indictable offence or Break and Enter and steal.

  35. Roswell, also the term home invasion is probably the most accurate description because one doesn’t always have to break before entering…in TB’s case however, they certainly did a good job of it.

  36. “Home invasion” originally implied forceful entry to the home while someone is present in the home, as opposed to burgulary, where the home’s occupants were out.

    With common media usage, the term has now come to mean both of the above…

  37. It sounds very dramatic, which it is. A bit like an armed conflict. I wonder what they refer to it in court.

  38. Roswell, I’m so glad that you asked me (you could be sorry). 🙂

    The term home invasion can imply either the criminal offence of forced entry where no burgulary occurred or it can imply non-forced entry ie the person was invited in, but theft did occur and course a situation where there was forced entry plus theft or damage. Hence the reason that the law is more specific about the exact nature of the crime than the common usage term.

  39. I have been trying to think of a way to stop thieves in their tracks. Bars and security alarms seem as though they don’t always work.

    I think some good old Aussie ingenuity might save me yet. What about motion sensor activated music and lights? The part I am struggling with is not how, but, who? Who is so universally hated for their lack of musical talent (and don’t say Rick Astley, I’ve thought about this and after the Rick-Rolling fame of years past, neighbours would assume its a joke – I want them calling the cops to complain, not laughing because they think a geek friend is Rick-Rolling me). Conway Twitty perhaps?

  40. I need some of those Roswell. All the dogs I’ve owned thus far have been too spoilt, and waaaay too lazy.

  41. Min, the problem with that would be hoardes of random 30-somethings and older running wildly into the streets to see if they still remember ‘the moves’.

    Footage of that would be worthy of YouTube though!

  42. I once shared a house with 3 Army reservists, they came home one Sunday after excercises and found a person ransacking the house, so they grabbed him, stripped him, and tied him to a clothes line and proceded to torture him with a hose and high pressure water before throwing him out onto the street.

  43. As Bacchus pointed out home invasion is when the occupant is at home, what sickens me about it is that they are targeted, usually the elderly or those who are perceived to be unable to defend themselves, therefore the invasion is pre-mediatated by cowardly little people, and to a degree would have to agree with Migs about the Oklahoma law. My small anicdote was a random burgulary.

  44. Someone once suggested I buy an old cricket bat to use as a weapon if necessary. Are they kidding? They obiously never saw me play cricket.

  45. Augustus that reminds me of a story from a couple of years ago. A bunch of thugs thought that they would publicly harass a couple of blondes. These girls were dressed up for a night out, high heels and mini skirts.

    A very funny sight for passersby. It eventuated that the blondes were not only guys who liked to dress in style but were both karate black belts.

  46. Migs, listening to the 12th man tapes, there was a scene where Max Walker was off the commentary team so he forced his way into the commentary box before the match, when Richie Benauld said you can’t be here, Max’s reply was I have a F%^king big cricket bat that says I can

  47. Exactly Augustus – my wife’s aunt (94 years old) has been “robbed” 3 times in the last 6 months or so, twice while at home in bed. Police think the same woman is responsible. Jewelry and money was taken in all cases.

    Friendly neighbour has fitted a security door at the back where she was coming in, so hopefully that will stop the perpetrator.

  48. Migs, I guess that’d be a better option than rolling over and impaling yourself on:
    pepper spray, knuckle dusters, boxing gloves, Samurai sword, sling shot, chainsaw, pet spider, carving knife, some feathers and a photo of Tony Abbott.:mrgreen:

  49. Bacchus, maybe I could round up my ex house mates and sell tickets with all proceeds going to your wife’s aunt.

    Public humilitation is the way to deal with these maggots.

  50. I once shared a house with 3 Army reservists, they came home one Sunday after excercises and found a person ransacking the house, so they grabbed him, stripped him, and tied him to a clothes line and proceded to torture him with a hose and high pressure water before throwing him out onto the street.

    Sounds like a good sentence to be passed into law.

  51. On the same note, when I was living at Billinudgel there was a well known druggie. He was generally harmless but when he was high would come into people’s houses and help himself to whatever in the ‘fridge.

    One day a bloke who had been ‘visited’ several times was quite fed up, grabbed him, stripped him and sent him out onto the street nekkid. The druggie never visited that house again.

  52. This morning while reading the news on my iPad the main story was about a Sydney fellow who has escaped conviction for the killing of an armed intruder in his house. The four month wait – to see if he was to be charged with manslaughter – drove him insane. As soon as I arrived at work I intended to post the link here.

    Naturally it is no longer on news.com. It has been replaced by major stories such as sex, porn, and spiders.

  53. Naturally it is no longer on news.com. It has been replaced by major stories such as sex, porn, and spiders.

    What no union thugs sending millionaires broke ?

    No Millionaires claiming they can pay no more than a bowl of rice to Aussie employees ?

  54. You might have guessed that the home intrusions that involve aliens abducting – or ‘borrowing’ – humans interest me the most.

  55. This is true: I just drove past the Lodge and a dead fox was on the road outside. Now I hate seeing dead animals on the road, but I saw this one as an omen that sly, cunning creatures will never make it to the Lodge. 😀

  56. Migs, back onto your topic 🙂

    I’m pleased to see that common sense prevailed with the chap whose home was invaded being let off from a manslaughter charge. I eventually found the article and the police decided that it was a clear case of self defence.

  57. Common sense prevailed.

    I always believe that for every reaction there must first be an action. Without the home invasion (the action) there wouldn’t have been a reaction (the killing).

  58. A. You can use force to defend yourself, however the force must be equal or less than the force being used by the intruder.

    A young girl here at work, who you could pick up and put in your pocket, questions how she could ever respond with equal force.

  59. Gun control laws and policy vary greatly around the world. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have very strict limits on gun possession while others, such as the United States, have relatively modest limits. In some countries, the topic remains a source of intense debate with proponents generally arguing the dangers of widespread gun ownership, and opponents generally arguing individual rights of self-protection as well as individual liberties in general.;

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