- As humans, since time immemorial we have and keep the right to self-preservation and self defence. Possibly even a duty to do so.
- Travellers in inhospitable country have always been able to defend themselves from brigands.
- In the modern western state, citizens are required to rely on the state for their protection unless the state is unable to provide for that immediate protection.
- No state at any time in history, including the present, can protect its citizens in every place for every second.
- It is at those times and places that the right to self defence survives. Proportionality and necessity apply.
- There is a clear distinction between defence on the Street and defence while at home.
- This arguably includes the right, specially for the frail and weak to bear defensive weapons.
- Any such right does not seem to extend to the possession of weapons of deadly force. This seems so even in the USA where the right to bear arms is a constitutional one rather than at common law.
The question is where to from there. What can be worked up to a policy position.
I have been testing the waters on this for a few months amongst friends and contacts - young and old.
Little support for the right to bear firearms in the street – mainly through fear of escalation.
Great support for the right to carry in public mace or capisicum spray subject to a permit system – specially for young women. Obviously it would be an offence to misuse.
No support for carrying Tazer in public – fear of misuse and escalation.
Reasonably amount of support for Tazer for home defence – subject to regulation and safety requirements – such as securing by a thin cable to the wall as a last resort in the bedroom. Specially the old and frail and single women as a last resort against home invasion. A video camera and sim card message to police on activation will enhance safety and prevent misuse or theft.
I had this letter in the local press – three days later I received a random firearms check from Police and all was OK.
Why can’t I have a Tazer?
I am now in my late fifties and last week was broken into and burgled again. That makes it 6 times now, as well as having had two motor vehicles stolen. I don’t think I am particularly vulnerable, I have had several business premises and a few homes, and I don’t feel paranoid about being a future target.
On one occasion, when I was around fifty, I caught the breaker inside my premises. I was younger and fitter then. I tackled him and held on, dragged him into the street and restrained him until the Police arrived. Even at the time I was having a re-think. I was nearly too old and I nearly lost. If I am confronted again I will think more than twice about it.
So what can I do? I intend to grow older, and necessarily more frail. The “Law” says I am permitted to defend myself, specially from a home invader, and yet the “State” permits me no actual capacity for self-defence.
Now that Tazer’s are so readily and cheaply available there is no need for me to ask for a gun. Tazer’s have never been available to the SA public and yet they are constantly in the media in the hands of criminals. The cats are already out of the bag. There is no strong argument left that by permitting me to have a Tazer, to be kept in my home, it will make them more readily available for criminals.
Criminals already seem to have ready access to Tazer’s. It is the defenceless and law abiding who are denied them. If an intruder breaks into my home. As I get older must I simply suffer it?
The balance of power is awry. The line in the sand is drawn in the wrong place.
Why can’t I have a Tazer?