Poll: Shooting burglars justifiable

Online Poll

A large majority of respondents to
last week’s caycompass.com online poll said someone is absolutely justified in
shooting a person who has broken into their home.

Of the 585 total respondents to the
one-week poll, 375 people – 64.1 per cent – answered “absolutely” to the poll

“Nobody told the person to be
inside the house without permission,” said one respondent.

“Shooting them, bashing their heads
in with a baseball bat or a frying pan – whatever,” commented another person.
“A man’s home is his castle and he has a right to protect it and himself and
his family. I don’t feel badly at all for anyone hurt or killed breaking into
another man’s home.”

“Follow the rules of Louisiana: As
long as the burglar is inside your home and does not have his back turned to
you, then you have a right to protect your property,” said someone else.

Another large segment of
respondents, 186 people or 31.8 per cent – said it depended on the circumstances
as to whether someone was justified in shooting a person who broke into their

“Only if your life is threatened,
not your property,” said one person.

“Only if you believe your life to
be in danger,” said someone else.

Seven people – 1.2 per cent – said
someone would be justified in shooting a burglar in their home only if running
away or hiding wasn’t an option. Eleven people – 1.9 per cent – responded
‘never’ to the question.

Only six people – a little less
than 1 per cent – didn’t have an opinion on the matter and responded ‘I don’t
know’ to the question.

Next week’s poll question:

Would you eat lionfish?

Sure. Serve it up!

I’d give it a try.

Only if I were starving.

No way.

What’s a lionfish?

To participate in this poll, visit www.caycompass.com



  1. You see you have to be careful. By Law, just shooting someone who breaks into your home does not necessarily mean that your shooting is justifiable. There and then, you must feel that your life has been threatened and that using force was necessary for self-defense or the defense of someone else.

    Shooting someone because you found them stealing or because found them in your home as trespasser, is MURDER!

    Where you can get off a justified person, is only on the grounds of self-defense and fear for one’s life or life of another.

    See the Tony Martins 1999 case in the UK. He, being the homeowner was charged and sentenced for Murder because he shot to burglars in his home, one of them in the back as he was fleeing. Clearly the shooting for that case had nothing to do with self-defense.

    I think such cases like these, the Commissioner should bring up to the public. Because I seriously feel that you have people believing that they have the justifiable right to shoot anyone just because they found them stealing or walking on their land or property.

    Of course, I do not endorse a ban on the use of firearms by responsible homeowners.

  2. The shooting of this burglur has finally opened Pandora’s Box in the Cayman Islands; the question of the right to self defense in one’s home.

    With Cayman lagging behind in the establishment of a human rights regime and culture, this question is a very serious one indeed and has many sides to it.

    If this poll is to be taken as representative of a majority of opinion, it tells us nothing that we already don’t know; that Caymanians feel that the sanctity of their homes should be protected at all costs, including the life of an uninvited intruder, if necessary.

    This approach is entirely understandable but, unfortunately, does not confirm to the general rules in place under British law.

    British law, under which the Cayman Islands is administered, gives individuals the right to use ‘reasonable force’ in the defense of their persons and property. The law states that what force is used must be ‘necessary and proportionate’ to the threat being encountered by the defending party.

    These same principles hold true in the USA, although they vary slightly from state to state.

    In today’s environment, where criminals are resorting to more violent means and methods in committing crimes against person and property, the question must be asked; ‘what constitutes ‘reasonable force’ when a person’s safety and even their very life, might be at risk in a home-invasion crime ?

    What the supporters of the homeowner who shot this burgler needs to realise is that, in another jurisdiction, if this burgler was not armed and actually threatening the home-owner with a weapon and was shot to death, this same home-owner could very well be facing criminal charges himself.

    This case is by no means over yet and the ultimate results might surprise some people either way it turns out.

    For a certainty, what it will do is open a contentious issue for which there will be no quick answers or solutions.

  3. I don’t know about being justified for shooting burglars. I think it all depends upon the circumstance.

    However, when it comes to self-defense, and the burglars in your home decides to use a weapon, such as a knife to assist them in commiting a crime, right away I know that a great fear for my life will overwhelm me, and most naturally, I will arm myself with that which I believe to be effective in protecting me from harm if cornered by these criminals.

    And most naturally, if I am a rational person, I would be prepared for such an incident if I know such incidents are occuring in the community. As a rational person, I will have something reliable in my bedroom and it won’t be a pillow for a pillow fight. Some feel safe with a machette.

    As for me, I would feel alot safer with certain security equipment install around my premises, and a firearm in my bedroom. That is my taste in preparing for worse case scenarios.

    I just don’t understand how you could have folk come and say that homeowners should not have such options available for their self-defense. I can’t see how government can stop people from protecting themselves and families.

    I personally do not have a 100% confidence in the police force or someone else in protecting me. I would not be human to allow someone else to be my arms and legs. I am capable of protecting myself.

    anyways… that’s all my 2-cent

  4. I am apalled at the suggestion that it is justifiable to "kill" and "beat their heads with a baseball bat" are comments coming from a civilised country. Its almost as if stealing is a justifiable reason for taking another persons life. I strongly suspect that these same people would rant and rave in protest if there were a hanging in Cayman because someone took anothers life. Those of you who think that killing is a just punishment for somebody breaking into your house, you need to give your head a shake.

  5. I am going to point out one thing these bleeding heart hippies are entirely missing.

    Senario. It’s 2 am in the morning (most break in’s occur at night). It’s dark. You cannot see the burgular. Or barely see him/her.

    YOU DO NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK THEM "hey mr burgular, are you armed?"

    You shoot first, then ask questions.

    Because the moment you pause. The moment you start second guessing. The moment you hesitate. If that person is armed with a gun. You are dead.

    what don’t you people understand about this?

    "justifiable" LOL. I am appalled at the stupidity of that word used in a "break in" context for shooting someone. If you do not want to be shot, YOU DO NOT BREAK INTO HOUSES.

    The day people start feeling sorry for the criminal. Is the day when the criminals have won.

    ya, it is terrible to kill someone. No one wants to do this. But, to protect you, your family and your valuables. Deterrents like this. Work.

    And to Jack. When your house gets broken into. Your wife, raped. Your kids killed. Still going to think that shooting is the last resort.

    You stated the word civilized. In civilized society. you do not go around breaking into someone’s house. People who do that, are deemed animals. And in order to control animals, that can kill you. You put them down.

  6. All these points are very valid and I agree with both sides, it is wrong to commit murder but you do have a right to defend yourself at all cost, when your property but most importantly your life and the life of your family are in danger from an unwelcome intruder. If I were in the same situation, I would have probably did the same thing as wrong as it is. One of the things we have to take into account with this situation, is that the homeowner was not a young man,he was up in age somewhat, which may have compelled him to own extra protection without having to make actual physical contact, and may or maynot have been in a position to defend himself in a fight, of course I’m not suggesting he should have taken that chance.We also have to remember that when fear grips us, and all the most horrendous worst case scenarios run through our heads and there is something to lose as our life or a lovedones, some of us freeze and scream in fright,some run, some hide,some fight back,some if they are in the position,call the police and some of them if they have the means to,shoot when someone just entered your home while you and your loved ones were asleep and now they are standing right in front of you and you feel there is no other option.You don’t know what they are capable of doing or how far they are willing to go to hurt you and get what they want.Just think about how this man felt,knowing now that while he was fast asleep,peacefully waiting for the next to come,some evil person is outside one of his windows,slowly prying off his shutters so he could get into his house, when in fact he should have been home,with his ankle bracelet on,abiding by the law for once in his life.If he hadn’t been so stupid and devious, he would be alive today.So in the end it’s all his fault.

  7. None of the information released to the media by the police could provided any evidence to suggest that Mr. Rivers had unlawfully entered the occupied home around 2:00AM of the said morning to ONLY steal material objects. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to limit the debate to the shooting of burglars. Mr. Rivers was armed.

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