So you’re sitting at home minding your own business and you hear noises from the place next door, which hasn’t been occupied for months.
You look outside and see two people, an older man and woman, at the front of the place, trying to open the door. What do you do?
Bake your new neighbors a pie? Call the police to report strangers next door?
If you’re Robert Canoles of Porterville, you apparently take it upon yourself to grab your teenaged son, arm him and yourself with AR-15s, then march next door to confront and hold the terrified couple at gunpoint until sheriff deputies arrive.
Read the story by the AJC’s Christian Boone. Once deputies arrived, the older couple were arrested, charged with loitering and prowling and forced to spend the night in jail. Nobody paid much heed to their explanation that their son had just purchased the empty house and that they were changing the locks at the place they planned to make their new home.
But it turned out they were telling the truth.
As a result, the couple has been freed. Canoles and his son, on the other hand, have been arrested, charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal trespass. They now sit in jail.
“I don’t know what they can charge me with,” Canoles is quoted as saying before the arrest. “This is my Second Amendment right. Look, this is the country out here, and we protect our own.”
The good news is that this time, nobody got injured or killed, which under the circumstances was a definite possibility. But it also illustrates what can happen when loose talk about “Second Amendment rights” becomes translated in certain minds into a license to become vigilantes.
– Jay Bookman