Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Englishmans Castle

Disturbing news today. My wives best friend woke this morning to find that during the night she and her family had apparently been gassed rendering them in a deep sleep and then burgled. They even took her kids clothes that had been ironed. The scary thing though is the supposedly growing use of gas in such incidents here on the southern coast of Spain. Having been in Law Enforcement most of my working life I am all too aware of the risks of being burgled and also that even though it is a common offence it is still one of the most invasive nasty things that can happen to a person.

There’s an old saying where I come from, "An Englishmans home is his castle". I’m sure the sentiment is the same throughout the world. If you own a house, you naturally feel comfortable and probably secure in it. This is what is so disturbing about the offence of burglary. It is a truly invasive crime that has a huge knock on effect mentally for the victim. It sends the message, “You thought you were safe. You are not”. Now add this new phenomenon to an already horrendous crime and you enter in to a whole new ball game.

I know anything can happen in a tussle, and even the toughest of people can be brought down by bad luck alone. But I like to think that if anyone broke in to my house, they would be sorry about it. You can make your own luck you see. I’m no stranger to physical conflict. I used to do it regularly and in fact I came across violence almost daily in my work. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had a knife pulled on me and been slashed at or stabbed at, lost count of the amount of times I have been assaulted, punched, kicked, stomped on, headbutted, had boiling water thrown at me, oh yeah and boiling fat. That’s just to name a few of what I have experienced. And I have never lost an encounter. Out of the probable thousands of encounters I have always come out on top. So I reckon I might have a bit of a chance against a burglar, and even if they bring two or three of their mates (as long as firearms weren’t involved). But this new thing of gassing people is scary if it turns out to be true. It makes the most competent of people sitting ducks all in a row. For the burglars it really must be like shooting fish in a barrel.

What‘s even scarier though is the circumstances in this particular case. For all of the stuff that was taken, you would need at least three people. Meaning three strangers were wandering around her house. Now for the scary part. She is a single Mum to three young kids. All of them were in the house. Her young daughter is blonde with beautiful blue eyes. Living on the coast here, we all know that that particular look of child is much sought after by child kidnapping rings from Europe and Africa. Her daughter was asleep in her bed and there were at least three people in her house. They could have taken her children without her knowing a thing until she finally awoke all groggy the next morning to find them gone. Absolutely terrifying thought.

Something one must always consider in situations such as this is the fact the occupants may not actually have been gassed. It is a natural human reaction to attempt to reason and people simply struggle to believe that they had burglars inches from them in their house, but did not wake up. It is a very difficult concept to understand. But think about it. If you have a husband/wife/partner at some point in your relationship I bet you have had to wake them up and not found it as easy as you had thought. It’s simple. It can come down to just two things. We sleep very heavily at times and some burglars are sadly very very good at their jobs. I don’t know if this is a real phenomenon or not, but until we know for sure we must treat it as real.

The best defence against a burglar, even this new type of burglary? Yup, you got it. A yappy dog. It doesn’t have to be a huge Rottweiler, just something that makes a lot of noise whenever someone approaches your house. Best deterrent ever. It wakes you and makes the burglar think twice. It may not stop you getting burgled if you have something inside they really really want. But it has a high chance of pushing them on to a different property. And if they do decide to still go ahead with it, at least you have forewarning. I have no doubt if gas is used then a gas that incapacitates dogs also would be used. But it doesn’t stop the dog barking as they approach your property, or start setting their equipment up outside ready to ‘gas’ you. Yeah, your dog might be gassed too, but they can still give fair warning.

Anyhow, until next time...

Be safe & Be well.

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