At least two of Walt's agents -- numbers 3 and 17 -- have expressed concern about a citizen's inability to defend his home by shooting intruders, or at least shooting at them, without being charged by The Authorities with a firearms offence or worse. Agent 17 has sent us a cute little story which makes the point.
George Phillips, an elderly man from Walled Lake MI, was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.
He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?"
George said "No, but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me."
Then the police dispatcher said "All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available."
George said, "Okay."
Then George hung up the phone, counted to 30, and phoned the police again.
"Hello," he said, "I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I just shot and killed them both. My dogs are eating them right now," and he hung up.
Within five minutes, six police cars, a SWAT team, a helicopter, two fire trucks, a paramedic and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips' residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.
One of the policemen said to George, "I thought you said you'd shot them!"
George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"
Great story, eh! But it does have the air of the urban myth -- like the vanishing hitchiker and the exploding toilet. And sure enough, Snopes.com reported this one way back in 2001, at which time it was supposed to have been a report in the Meridian (MS) Star. Still "George Phillips" though!
Walt also heard a variation on this story a couple of times while residing in Ha-ha-harare, the fun capital of Africa, where the reason for the cops' non-attendance was supposed to have been lack of transportation.
Still a great story, and never let anyone tell you there's no truth in it. Ask Agent 3 who once took a potshot at an intruder -- a warning shot across the bow, as it were -- and quickly found himself being Further Dealt With According to the Law.