Self Defense in Great Britain

The title to this post is an oxymoron, and could be the best example of an oxymoron. Perhaps it is just oxymoronic since an oxymoron is usually just two words juxtaposed which contradict one another, such saying someone was falsely truthful.

In England self defense is illegal. Carrying any article or instrument, even a pencil, with the intention of using it to defend oneself from attack, is a crime called carrying an offensive weapon under the Prevention of Crime Act of 1953. If attacked, one is to flee. If the victim is 75 and the attacker is 17, that might be a bit of a problem. When the victim harms his attacker in any way he will be charged with assault. If someone aims to kill you and you kill him to stop him from killing you, a murder charge awaits you. British subjects are to rely exclusively on the police to protect them from violence. Sometime between about 1970 and 1990 the police abandoned all pretense of protecting anyone from attack. But the laws against self defense remain unchanged. Not oxymoronic, just moronic.

So what usually happens to the burglars, the street thugs who assault the innocent or rob them at knife or gunpoint? For the most part, nothing. Crime and violence have soared in recent years. Only a moron (there’s that word again) would fail to see the reason why this is so.

Law professor Joyce Lee Malcolm has been studying and writing about British crime and its idiotic self defense laws for years, and has a great piece in the Wall Street Journal, titled The Soft-On-Crime Roots of British Disorder.

The Brits are buying base ball bats on Amazon so fast Amazon can’t fill the orders in a timely fashion. Of course, every one of those baseball bats constitutes an illegal offensive weapon under Britain’s senseless laws.

This is a sad symbol of the failure of the British approach to crime—with its sympathy for offenders, intolerance of self-defense, and unwillingness to pay for adequate crime control. A people once proud of their peaceful country and unarmed policemen had to resort to clubs to protect life and limb.

Great Britain’s leniency began in the 1950s, with a policy that only under extraordinary circumstances would anyone under 17 be sent to prison. This was meant to rehabilitate young offenders. But the alternative to incarceration has been simply to warn them to behave, maybe require community service, and return them to the streets. There has been justifiable concern about causes of crime such as poverty and unemployment, but little admission that some individuals prefer theft to work and that deterrence must be taken seriously.

Read the whole thing.

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