“When a burglar invades your home they give up their rights”

After recently reading an article in The Telegraph which can be found here:

It raised the question, “Is it ever okay to harm, or kill someone?”

The ethics in this case appear to be situational, for example, if you are at risk, then yes, however if it is simply for the sake of harming another this is not ethically acceptable.

David Cameron UK Prime Minister is currently trying to provide householders who are confronted with force with more legal protection. The current law states that anyone in England and Wales can use “reasonable force” to protect themselves or others. Householders are protected from prosecution as long as they act “honestly and instinctively.”

After stating that he had been burgled many times, it is clear that Cameron is taking a stand on the matter stating that:

 “When a burglar invades your home they give up their rights.”

An issue is rarely straight forward, which is the case for this one in particular. By changing the amount of force the law allows, there may be repercussions. It is argued that providing people with more rights to fight back may have the opposite effect than intended in which people may take advantage of their new found lenience. For example, knowing that they are more protected in terms of using self-defence, people may use this inappropriately as they feel they would then be held unaccountable for their actions and can claim their actions were defensive when in reality they were not.

However, the possible change in law does state that it is okay to fight back as long as it is not with “grossly disproportionate force.” I feel that this statement provides boundaries for this potential issue as it proves that there will still be consequences if things were to go beyond self-defence.

To further complicate things, if the change were to take place, it is a possibility that it may increase violence on both sides of the spectrum.

Does this mean burglars will come more prepared with weapons knowing that householders may be more likely to fight back?

Will this lead to more victims being killed trying to oppose the burglars?

It is a difficult issue as it may ultimately encourage people to fight back which may be harmful or fatal. However, I feel that the change in law is more about educating people about their rights, dispelling any doubts about what they are able to do to protect themselves and what they are not.

Do you think Cameron is acting as the householders Superman, or is this the start of a more violent culture?

Written by Amy Lee.


3 thoughts on ““When a burglar invades your home they give up their rights”

  1. I think that reasonable force is adequate if the burglar poses a threat to you or your family. But killing is never right, unless accidental. For example, if you’re struggling with burglar and something happens. There is a fine line between reasonable and excessive. It’s reasonable to defend yourself and make sure the burglar leaves, but it is not up to you to chase the burglar and cause more harm, like that story that was released not too long ago about that guy who chased the burglar down in his car and ran him over. We have a police force for a reason and no one is above the law and should not take it into their own hands. Sorry for the really long comment, but this is a subject that I feel quite strongly about, and it needs to have better clarification from the government.

  2. Reblogged this on Street Defender and commented:
    A well thought out article on the change in the law, highlighting that the “carte blanche” issued by David Cameron may not be as straightforward as people thought. The “they come at you with a knife, you come at them with a gun” mantra may be applicable here. The first test case will tell.

    • It is always important to recognise the ethical consequences of a situation. The real question here is, do you think there is a way of clamping down on burglary without the consequences of an increased use of weapons and misuse of the law?

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