Things We Take for Granted

This story on a campaign to win the right to defend oneself in one’s own home, located via Katherine’s Blog, floored me for a couple of reasons.

First and most obvious, the realization that the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness aren’t universal. If you can’t legally defend yourself in your own home, you do not have the right of your own life, and that is the most basic right that exists. That England, most civilized of nations, does not currently acknowledge or defend this right floored me.

Second, a foreign publication noting crime statistics that are better in the US than in the country of publication seems surreal. In the US, we’re constantly being told that all crime here is worse than all crime everywhere else, or at least worse than crime in all other First World nations. Startling to discover that isn’t true.

Crime is devastating wherever it occurs. And I freely confess that it’s bad here. But to be denied the right to protect one’s life or the lives of one’s family, to have the government position be: “… listen to the advice of Her Majesty’s Constabulary, which is to lock themselves in their bathroom and wait for the police to arrive.” — that’s horrible.

And if a man can be convicted of murder for protecting his family from a criminal who breaks into his home intending harm? Think about that. We take some rights for granted that we never should.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

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