Where We're Headed
With your heart pumping,
you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun.
You rack a shell into the chamber,
then inch toward the door and open it.
When the intruder brandishes
it as if to strike,
you raise the shotgun and fire.
The blast knocks both thugs to the floor.
One writhes and screams
while the second man
crawls to the front door
and lurches outside.
In your country,
most guns were outlawed years before,
and the few that
are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless.
Yours was never registered.
"What kind of sentence will I
"Only ten-to-twelve years," he
as if that's nothing.
"Behave yourself, and you'll be out in seven."
you're portrayed as an eccentric vigilante
while the two men you
shot are represented as choir boys.
Their friends and relatives can't
find an unkind word to say about them.
Buried deep down in the article,
authorities acknowledge that both
have been arrested numerous times.
But the next day's headline says
"Lovable Rogue Son Didn't Deserve to Die."
The thieves have been transformed
from career criminals
into Robin Hood-type pranksters.
The surviving burglar has become
a folk hero.
Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you,
and he'll probably win.
After the last break-in,
you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time.
The District Attorney uses this
to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.
When you take the stand,
your anger at the injustice of it all works against you.
Prosecutors paint a
picture of you as a mean,
The judge sentences you to life
On August 22, 1999,
Tony Martin of Emneth,
killed one burglar and wounded a second.
In April, 2000,
he was convicted and is now serving a life term.
It started with the Pistols Act
This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons
and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license.
The Firearms Act of 1920
expanded licensing to include not only handguns
but all firearms except shotguns.
Later laws passed in 1953 and
outlawed the carrying of any weapon
by private citizens and
mandated the registration of all shotguns.
a mentally disturbed man
with a Kalashnikov rifle,
walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw.
When the smoke cleared,
17 people were dead.
The British public,
already de-sensitized by eighty years of
demanded even tougher restrictions.
(The seizure of all privately owned handguns
was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)
Now the press had a real kook
with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners.
Day after day, week after week,
the media gave up all pretense of objectivity
and demanded a total ban on all handguns.
The Dunblane Inquiry,
a few months later,
sealed the fate of the few sidearms still owned by private citizens.
Authorities refused to grant
gun licenses to people who were threatened,
claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun.
Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists
were charged while the real criminals were released.
after the Martin shooting,
a police spokesman was quoted as saying,
"We cannot have people take the law into their own hands."
All of Martin's neighbors had
been robbed numerous times,
and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings
by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences.
a collector of antiques,
had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.
When the Dunblane Inquiry ended,
citizens who owned handguns
were given three months to turn them over to local authorities.
Being good British subjects,
most people obeyed the law.
The few who didn't were visited by police
and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn't comply.
Police later bragged that
nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.
The guns had been registered and licensed.
Kinda like cars.
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