92 year old Missouri Farmer Pulls Gun on Three Thieves to Defend Ranch, 80 Year Old Chicago Resident Charged For Shooting Burglar in the Leg

March 28th, 2012

A tale of two cities. Well really, a tale of one city– Chicagoland– and one rural area in Missouri. Earlier this month, a 92 year old Missouri farmer pulled a gun on three thieves who had stolen from his property once before:

BOIS D’ARC, Mo. — An elderly cattle rancher recently came face-to-face with three thieves on his property, and he took the matter into his own hands. The thieves might have been arrested if Vance West had been able to get someone to help him.

Vance West, 92, is a veteran and father of three. He lives by himself outside Bois d’Arc on more than 100 acres.

“See, there’s where they left,” he told a reporter, pointing out tire tracks. “They will be back. I think they will be back.”

West says three men stole nearly $3,000 worth of equipment from one of his sheds. He missed the first time they came around, but not the second.

“He started climbing over the gate, and I told him not to climb over. He climbed over anyway, so I pulled a gun on him,” West said.

“I told him, ‘Do you see where it’s cocked?’ He says, ‘I can see,’” West said. “He was sassy. He told me he wasn’t going to do it.”

The men got away when West tried to flag down someone on his county road.

In Chicago: same story, different ending. An 80-year-old man and his wife woke up to the sounds of a burglar entering their property through a window. After he grabbed his 38.caliber pistol and shot a round into the intruder’s leg, the man was arrested and charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon:

An 80-year-old tavern owner in Englewood believes it’s “unjust” that he is facing charges after shooting a burglar, but believes he will prevail in court.

“It’s wrong,” Homer “Tank” Wright said as he walked into his bar after being released from jail this afternoon. “Unjust that I can’t protect me.”

Awakened by his 75-year-old wife, Wright confronted a 19-year-old burglar who had broken through some plywood over a bathroom window in hopes of stealing liquor, according to police. Wright grabbed his 38.caliber pistol, loaded with four rounds, and shot the intruder in the leg.

The suspect was arrested — but so was Wright. Because of prior weapons convictions, Wright was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, sparking calls by his family and neighbors for prosecutors to back down.

“If somebody breaks into a place where they are not supposed to be, I bet something will happen,” Wright said, adding that he was angry about the arrest. “That’s wrong.”

The Army veteran said his wife woke him about 4 a.m.at their home on the 6400 block of South Morgan Street because she heard noise in the bathroom. When he got there, he said he saw a shadow fleeing. A few hours later, they heard more noise and this time he saw the intruder and shot him, Wright said.

The similarities in the two cases are remarkable, which makes the contrasting results all the more stark. Both involve extremely elderly men (both of which are military veterans) who exercised their Second Amendment right to defend themselves from intruders breaking into their property to steal from them. Granted, the Chicago man actually shot at his intruder and the Missouri man only brandished his weapon, but I’ve got just a tiny intuition that if the Missouri man had felt it necessary to take a non-lethal shot at his attacker’s leg, that the police and prosecutors in good ole’ middle America would have been cool about it. Not so, for residents of Chicagoland. Defend yourself and your 75-year-old wife from someone who breaks into your place in the middle of the night, and the police send you to jail too.

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About the Author: Wes

Wesley Messamore, 24, is an independent journalist and political activist who believes in the Founding Father's vision of a free, enlightened, and moral America. He also blogs at HumbleLibertarian.com