in the Night
Huntsville, Alabama --Two young
intruders broke down a door to get into the home of Reginald Acuff, a
Huntsville developer, just before midnight on Dec. 8. They had at least
one rifle. Mr. Acuff was able to get to his gun, exchanged shots with
one of the intruders and shot the other one as he was being attacked.
One of the intruders fled; the other one lay dead on the kitchen floor.
Mr. Acuff, although in a state of shock, was not hurt.
In times past, this would have been considered an open-and-shut case --
a burglar killed in the act of trying to steal from a law-abiding citizen.
In todays times, Mr. Acuff is a suspect who must be investigated
to determine if he had the right to protect himself and his property from
intruders. And, Alabama law is, to some extent, on the side of the intruders.
Alabama law say Iif these intruders had only intended to steal something
from Mr. Acuff, and did not threaten him with bodily harm, Mr. Acuff would
now be charged with homicide.
In other words, a home owner must think twice before shooting someone
who has broken into his home. He must first decide if he is in mortal
danger. And, while he is deciding, he just might be killed himself. In
todays society we seem to attach more importance to the rights of
criminals than we do to those of law-abiding citizens.
Rather than emphasizing the potential danger for Mr. Acuff from two armed
hoodlums, the report in The Huntsville Times spent most of its article
space on whether Mr. Acuff had the right to defend his property and himself.
One gets the distinct impression that crime has become the natural order
of things, and resisting crime may not be an acceptable response. What
Its outrageous, but I guess it is just a sign of the times.
is a retired NASA executive who writes about community matters. Some of
his articles are accepted for publication in The Huntsville Times; some
are not. This one was not.