Wild West Law Needed in Bristol? The View From Texas
Brazenly breaking into a house in broad daylight, these two burglars don't look too worried about being caught.
And perhaps with good reason.
Despite this clear picture of the pair forcing a rear window open with a crowbar, the serial offenders have both walked free from court.
Matthew Clark, 28, and Stefan Poyster, 21, stole £1,400 of belongings from the three-bedroom semidetached house.
This image of the criminals in action was taken by a neighbour, who also alerted the police.
But despite the photographic evidence, Clark and Poyster escaped a custodial sentence.
The pair, who have a history of drug abuse, admitted burglary but walked free from Bristol Crown Court with a suspended sentence and supervision order.
Their victim Simon Duffy, however, lost a plasma television, a computer games console and a laptop in the midday burglary in Little Stoke, Bristol, last month.
Clark removed a double-glazed window and made off with the haul of electrical equipment while Poyster kept watch.
They then sold the stolen goods to buy drugs and gamble.
But the photographs provided to police by a neighbour were not enough to persuade Judge Simon Darwell-Smith to send either of the men to prison.
When you have finished grinding your teeth, please note the following:
Under Texas state law, if you were the lady with the camera, you could have shot both the little shits dead, and would not have been prosecuted -- indeed, you COULD NOT be prosecuted, under the "Neighbor Protection" law. Here's how it works.
Let's say I know I'm going to be away for a while -- at work, on holiday, whatever -- and I ask you to "look after my house" while I'm gone.
As your neighbor, I actually have more latitude in dealing with criminals on your property than you do. And the fact that one of the criminals was carrying a crowbar -- well, that's a "lethal weapon" under the law.
So if Camera Kate had been instead Pistol Patricia, in Texas, both those criminals could now be dead -- and all the cops would be able to do is congratulate her for her tight grouping (which, in our neighborhood, they would do anyway).
Sometimes, we colonials get a few things right...