Letter: Rural crime and taking matters into our own hands

Re: Rural property owner attacked by prowlers.

Here lies the classic example of what rural property owners face in Central Alberta when it comes to intruders on their properties with criminal activities in mind.

In the past couple of years, there’s been an ongoing, emotional debate about the rights of our rural neighbours’ protecting their properties. The Olds’ incident demonstrates we are now dealing with armed criminals targeting rural areas. One of the intruders attacked the property owner with a knife, while the other kicked him. The intruders then fled to a waiting vehicle which struck the landowner during their escape.

Police continue to urge rural residents not to take the law in their own hands. And by all means do not engage in gun play or seriously injuring intruders using a shovel or baseball bat to resolve the issue. Police warn landowners if such actions were taken they could be charged with a criminal offence because such a force was not reasonable under the circumstances. So in the eye’s of the law, whose rights are we protecting here? The rights of the intruders, or the rights of landowners?

By no means am I advocating the use of firearms to deter rural crime. But when a landowner is confronting an intruder armed with a knife late at night, the Criminal Code states property owners can use “reasonable force necessary” to deter the intruders.

In the Olds’ case, the property owner would be justified in using a firearm to defuse the situation. His life was in jeopardy because the intruders attacked him with a knife, kicked him, then hit him with the getaway vehicle. There’s a lot of creeps out there today, cruising country roads and picking out property targets. And now they’re carrying weapons.

Rick Zemanek, Blackfalds

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