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On July 23, 2007, two men were apprehended at the scene of a crime – the Petit family home in Cheshire, Conn. The culprits were Joshua Komisarjevsky and his accomplice, Steven Hayes. Their crimes:

  • Raping Mrs. Hawke-Petit and her 11-year-old daughter, Michaela.
  • Strangling Jennifer Hawke-Petit.
  • Setting the family home on fire, thereby killing Michaela and her 17-year-old sister, Hayley.

Dr. Petit, who had been beaten and bound in the basement, managed to escape. He had hopped up the stairs and made his way to a neighbor, who called the police. Twice alerted, the cops were conspicuous by their absence.

The crimes were premeditated. The two career criminals had stalked the Petit women. They “messaged” one another in anticipation of an orgy of violence. At one stage during the six-hour ordeal, Hayes popped out to purchase four gallons of gasoline. He also escorted Jennifer Hawke-Petit to the bank to withdraw cash. She had the wherewithal to alert a teller. Right away, the bank manager rang the police to report that a crime was underway at a home on Sorghum Mill Drive.

Hostage to procedure and self-preservation, police concerns were allayed by the late Mrs. Hawke-Petit’s optimistic assessment of the situation. She told the bank teller that her assailants were “being nice,” and that they likely wanted money, nothing more.

Last year, Hayes was sentenced to death. Komisarjevsky’s turn has arrived. In court today, Capt. Robert Vignola hearkened to Mrs. Hawke-Petit words to explain “why police decided not to enter the home.” “The police had no reason to believe anyone was in immediate danger,” seconded CNN stupidly.

Media and law enforcement are in the habit of describing a deadly home invasion as “a robbery gone wrong.” Consequently, homeowners have been culturally conditioned to consider the uninvited house guest as one would a modern-day Jean Valjean. Like Victor Hugo’s protagonist in “Les Misérables,” the “thief” is likely looking only to take a loaf of bread and leave – that is unless he openly announces his intentions to harm his reluctant hosts.

One extremely conservative writer even bristled when a news reporter broke protocol and applied the “home invasion” appellation to the offense of breaking and entering:

“… burglary is when a person illegally enters private property and steals things. A home invasion is when people illegally enter a home in order to terrorize, harm, or kill the residents. … If we start calling all burglaries ‘home invasions,’ we lose the distinction between them.”

The sooner we lose this distinction the better! All burglars are home invaders in the making.

Confronted with a criminal breaking and entering, there’s precious little the occupant can do to divine the intentions of the invader. It should be assumed that anyone violating another man’s inner sanctum will willingly violate the occupant.

The law should give latitude to the invaded, not the invader – it ought to regard all burglaries as potential home invasions and forgive the resident who finds himself using deadly force to defend hearth and home. The Castle Doctrine used to proceed from just such a premise. But exceptions to the doctrine are fast becoming the rule.

If you believe in the sanctity of life, you should fight for the sanctity of private property. It is a man’s right – even obligation – to defend his life and the lives of the loved ones living under his roof. Arguably, a right that is not vigorously defended is as good as a right forfeited.

Life is too precious to skirt an indelicate matter: Komisarjevsky and his accomplice entered the Petit home through an unlocked rear door. In correspondence with author Brian McDonald, child killer and rapist Komisarjevsky revealingly wrote the following:

“Hayley is a fighter; she tried time and time again to free herself. … Mr. Petit … ran away when he thought his life was threatened, and ran away to leave his wife and children to madmen. … Had Mr. Petit fought back [at] the very beginning, I would have been forced to retreat. … You’re the first line of defense for your family, not law enforcement.’”

The least a man can do is lock up the house before he retires. If he refuses to arm himself, let him arm an alarm system.

From inside his home in Cape Town, South Africa, a man close to this writer watched as two men waltzed into the backyard on a Sunday afternoon, as the family relaxed by the pool. The man saw his wife flee as in slow motion. He rushed to the safe, and retrieved the gun. He aimed at the invaders and roared, “Get the hell out of my home.” They obeyed.

Since then, this man has strapped a piece to his ankle.

Petit family members or friends are particularly well-placed to take up the cause of self-defense and Second Amendment rights.

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