Friday, September 24, 2004


"Kwazulu-Natal's farmers feel under threat -- from criminals, the government's plan to phase out the commando system by 2009, and new gun laws that will curb farmers' 'firepower.' Spokespeople for the police and the army say farmers have nothing to worry about, and that a plan is in place to maintain law and order, even after the commando units are withdrawn. At the annual congress of the Kwazulu-Natal Agricultural Union in Pietermaritzburg, some farmers said recently promulgated gun laws would strip them of their ability to defend themselves against attacks on their farms. It was suggested that out of 12 500 recent firearm licence applications -- for self-defence reasons -- just 572 had been approved. This, along with the decision to do away with the commando units, was seen as a threat to rural security."

Nonsensical bear shooting case: "A Letcher County [KY] man pleaded no contest Monday to illegally shooting a black bear in his back yard in June. The plea came after his day in court ended in a mistrial when the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked. ... Brock entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes there is sufficient evidence for a conviction. ... Brock said he tried to frighten the bear away by banging on the side of his mobile home and yelling while his wife called the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for help. Craig Nicholson, a dispatcher for the state agency, said he took the call from the Brocks. 'My statement then was, 'Ma'am, if the bear is threatening you or your livestock, shoot the bear,'' Nicholson testified. Conservation officers charged Brock with illegally killing the bear on June 2."

Ban knives! : "New Yorkers are at least four times as likely to be punched to death than to be killed with an assault-style rifle, unpublished state crime statistics show. The eye-opening figures -- obtained by The Post from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services -- reveal that New Yorkers are also at least twice as likely to be clubbed to death than shot dead by an attacker wielding one of the semi-automatic rifles previously covered by a federal government ban that expired last week. The most recent statewide statistics -- murder-by-weapon-type figures from 2002 -- also show that New Yorkers are at least five times as likely to be stabbed to death with a knife than they are to be shot with an assault rifle."

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