Defense Against Intruders and Governments

If you don’t know who Myleene Klass is, don’t fret — I didn’t know who she was, either.  And, quite honestly, who she is really doesn’t matter quite as much as why she’s important.

While she might be popular–over in the United Kingdom, that is–for her work as an actress, singer, pianist and television presenter, she’s important for a whole other reason.  To me, at least, she’s important because she’s a posterchild for the very possible adverse consequences of an anti-gun mentality gone wild.

This past Friday, Klaas received a slap on the wrists by British police for daring to wave a kitchen knife at a pair of intruders breaking into her garden shed as her own two-year-old daughter slept in a bedroom in the adjacent house.  No, really, I’m serious.  Check out the article in the Daily Mail:

The musician was alone in her kitchen, with her two-year-old daughter asleep upstairs, when she grabbed the knife and shouted ‘I’m calling the police’.

Officers who arrived at her house in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, on Friday warned her that it was illegal to carry an ‘offensive weapon’ even at home.

Jonathan Shalit, Myleene’s spokesperson told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘Myleene was aghast when she was told that the law did not allow her to defend herself in er own home.

All she died was scream loudly and wave the knife to try and frighten them off.

‘She is not looking to be a vigilante, and has the utmost respect for the law, but when the police explained to her that even if you’re home alone and you have an intruder, you are not allowed to protect yourself, she was bemused.

‘Her questions going forward are: what are my rights, and what are you actually allowed to do to defend yourself in your own house?’

I live in Pennsylvania here in the States, separated by a few thousand miles and an ocean from Klass’s home in Hertfordshire, but even with my home state’s relatively weak Castle Doctrine the two places couldn’t be further apart. For instance, if someone were stupid enough to break into my home while my three-year-old was sleeping upstairs, there would be no kitchen knife and no warning — the police would be called, and if whoever was in the house took a step toward my family, the police need only bring a body bag.

That’s the beauty of freedom. But I’ll tell you what — as we watch our blessed nation slip into a mentality where government is solely responsible for keeping the American people safe, healthy and green, for facilitating a playoff system in college football, and for ensuring that everyone receives the correct number of Chicken McNuggets in their Happy Meals, Myleene Klass’s story is one we need to take to heart.

Klass violated British law because she dared to “carry an ‘offensive weapon’” in her own home.  A kitchen knife.  My goodness, if she’s slicing some potatoes to eat with some Yorkshire pudding next week, would that make her a repeat offender?

Is there any better example of the basic, fundamental difference between our two systems of government than this story?  (Well, while there is still a fundamental difference, that is.)  In Britain, rights like the right to defend yourself and your family in your own private home–with a kitchen knife, no less–are provided to citizens by the government.  Here in the United States of America, we understand that such rights are provided by God and preserved by our Constitution, a document which provides for a limited government, a document which came about because our founders knew that human nature tended to move toward a more statist perspective like in Britain and wanted to protect their great American experiment from such tendencies.

Our Constitution preserves “the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation . . . [where] the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”  Those are the words of James Madison, who actually acknowledges the fear of other governments to trust their people with arms, nonetheless freedom, and notes the unique nature of the great experiment which was this constitutional republic.

“Besides the advantage of being armed, it forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of,” Madison wrote. “The governments of Europe are afraid to trust the people with arms. If they did, the people would surely shake off the yoke of tyranny, as America did. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors.”

It’s so tempting, when confronted with a story like this one, to be myopic and focus solely on the Second Amendment implications, but this story is about more than just the difference between Great Britain and the United States of America when it comes to matters of guns and knives and self-defense.  This is about the proper role of government, and how people become desensitized to it.  This is about energy policy and taxes and health care and every other aspect of governance-in-progress with regard to which we’re only a decade or less behind our friends overseas.  In Great Britain, the National Health Service wields the power of life and death, can deny surgeries and delay appointments and ration procedures at will.  If that were implemented overnight here, the American people wouldn’t tolerate it — but they do in Britain, because just as most accept the fact that it’s illegal to wield a kitchen knife in your own home if all of the vegetables have already been cut, the people have become desensitized to the reality that government and not the individual control the daily lives of British men, women and children.

Yet Great Britain’s own slide toward tyranny didn’t happen overnight.  The government whittled away at the people and their freedoms, just like we’re seeing here.  No, Myleene Klass’s close call in her garden is about much more than a TV presenter’s denied right to self-defense.  Her story is about what happens when governments and people lose sight of freedom and the hard work it takes to maintain it.

The forced erosion of our freedoms presents a situation not unlike that which inspired Pastor Martin Niemoller to write his famous poem about German apathy in the face of rising Nazi power.  Only this time, however, the targets are a little different.

First they came for my health care decisions, and I did not speak out–because I was healthy;
Then they came for my gross income, and I did not speak out–because I made enough;
Then they came for the guns, and I did not speak out–because I thought the world better off without them;
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak out.



  1. KJ Kaufman says:

    Brilliant article Jeff. One of your best.

  2. Jeff Schreiber says:

    I wouldn’t go that far, but thank you.

    Listen — I’m off to bed (finally), but be sure to check back in several times today, there’s already several good pieces in both the Featured Commentary and Assigned Reading sections almost ready to run, including a great work by Robert.

  3. Boston Blackie says:

    This is the same government that recently charged a man for unlawful pocession of a firearm that he turned into the police after finding it in his garden. Next time, throw it over the fence and let the neighbor deal with it.
    This reminds me of mASSachusetts back in the 70′s when Mike Dukakis was governor. He actually had a law passed that stated that if your home was invaded, you MUST take any and all course of action to leave YOUR HOME and if you confront the intruder, you will be prosecuted. Un-frezzin-believable.
    Thankfully, the next governor, Ed King, reversed the law.
    Is Mike Dukakis over in England these days!?!

  4. Wow. So what they’re telling intruders is “Go ahead and break into anyone’s home; they’re not allowed to harm you.” Nice message.

  5. Sherlock Holmes says:

    Lets all go vacation in, and burglarize, London. I wonder how many more Jack the Rippers are in the making? I will never go to England with my vacation dollars.

  6. Ronald Reagan says:

    “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”

  7. Congress Works For Us says:

    Although these idiotic laws were passed after I left, this is a perfect example of why I migrated to the USA from that Godforsaken country…

    So much for “An Englishman’s home is his castle…”


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