I preface posting this story with a reference to the longs threads that developed on Gates of Vienna in response to the Baron’s question: “What If the Brits Packed Heat?” and his other post, “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”The comments were plentiful and lively, ranging across the spectrum of opinion on the morality, wisdom, and efficacy of private citizens’ gun ownership.
One commenter, who really got the thread going, said:
No thanks. We don’t want a gun culture like you have over there. You can keep it.
I couldn’t help but think of this remark when I read the following story - the sad, insane quandary of Dr. Chan:
The ordeal began when Dr Chan, a father of six, returned from a two-week holiday in France on December 30. In the early hours of New Year’s Eve as the family slept, thieves smashed through the back door of his home in Belsize Park, North London.
They grabbed three computers worth more than £3,000 and a pile of unopened Christmas presents.
The heist was especially heartbreaking because the laptops contained hundreds of precious photographs of his wife Zaide, 35, their children and his grandchild, as well as the text of more than 150 lectures on radiology.
Dr Chan said the Metropolitan Police did not send a single uniformed officer to investigate the crime, although a forensics expert paid a visit to dust for fingerprints and DNA evidence.
Well, that was nice of them - to dust for fingerprints, I mean. How…rigorous.
Dr. Chan said:
“When my wife and I discovered the burglary, we rang the police and they didn’t want to know.
Five hours afterwards, after complaining, they sent a single forensics expert round, but they said no police officer was available to investigate thefts or break-ins.
I was astonished because we are close to three police stations.
The forensics person was very nice but they effectively told me, ‘I wouldn’t hold your breath for your belongings’.
I didn’t hear anything else from them and I was appalled.
I have lost ten years of family photos and 20 years of work. It has been heartbreaking.”
So what did Dr. Chan do with his heartbreak? Did he go on a rampage? Did he steal in return? No, he did what any hog-tied, helpless person would do: he begged for his belongings to be returned and he even put up signs around his neighborhood offering to pay for their return, no questions asked:- - - - - - - - - -
“I put out an advert offering a reward on railings, in streets and even on trees locally.And what did he get for his trouble? Well, let’s just say he got the British bobby treatment: they offered to arrest him if he didn’t take the notices down. Seems that making such appeals is against the law in Britain. Again, Dr. Chan says:
I was offering a huge reward, no questions asked.”
“Then a couple of weeks later I got a phone call from the police warning that I could be prosecuted for trying to buy stolen goods.
I said that they had not done very much to get my things back.
They said that they had everything under control, but I pointed out to them they had not even come round to take the serial numbers of the computers.”
Under section 23 of the Theft Act 1968, it is illegal to advertise rewards for return of goods stolen or lost using words to the effect that no questions will be asked.
Anyone convicted faces a fine of up to £100 and will get a criminal record.
“Everything under control” indeed! More like “everyone turned into sheep.” ‘Tis no wonder Dr. Dalrymple moved to France. Perhaps Dr. Chan will consider joining him.
Is there a point of no return in the journey down this path of compelled helplessness? Would any culture forced to walk that way know when they’d gone too far to return to a world of justice?
To our commenter I can only reply sadly:
No thanks. We don’t want a sheep culture like you have over there. You can keep it.
Even Orwell couldn’t have dreamed up Dr. Chan’s nightmare.