April 9, 2013

“Man Faces Charges After Defending Himself from a Bear in His Own Yard”

Just as the founders and framers would have wanted it! Reason:

Richard Ahlstrand, of Auburn, Massachusetts, faces criminal charges after encountering a bear in his back yard and shooting the damned thing to avoid being mauled or eaten. Specifically, as noted at Reason 24/7, he’s charged with “illegally killing a bear, illegally baiting a bear, illegal possession of a firearm and failure to secure a firearm.” All of these charges, once translated from Massachusetts to American, seem to stack up to outrage that Ahlstrand didn’t make his yard completely inhospitable to animals that are rarely seen in the area, and then investigated a suspicious noise with a weapon in hand rather than cower under the bed. Worst of all, he actually defended himself when he encountered danger.

According to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Ahlstrand had a 50-gallon drum of birdseed in his backyard, and this appears to be the basis of the “baiting”charge against him. Leaving the birdseed outside might be considered a foolish idea in an area where bears are known to congregate, but the same article quotes the police chief claiming that “bear are not common in Auburn” with the last such sighting about a year ago. So Ahlstrand shouldn’t have had birdseed because … ?

When confronted by the bear, Ahlstrand had a shotgun with him — in his own backyard, remember — because he’d heard a noise and thought he’d seen a bear the day before.

From CBS Boston:

Richard Ahlstrand told WBZ-TV he was stocking his bird feeder Friday night when a bear about seven feet tall and 300-to-400 pounds started chasing him.

That’s when he turned his shotgun on the bear.

“I didn’t have time to aim through the sights, but I aimed in the direction of the head on this thing and I pulled the trigger before it got to me.  It just dropped,” he said. 

Ahlstrand said he was carrying the shotgun Friday night because he thought he saw the bear in his yard Thursday.

The police version from the Telegram:

Chief Sluckis said the bear is believed to have been attracted to a 50-gallon drum of birdseed Mr. Ahlstrand had in his backyard. He said Mr. Ahlstrand told police he heard a noise outside and felt in fear of his life.

“He went back inside, retrieved a shotgun and decided to shoot the bear,” Chief Sluckis said. “Obviously we believe if Mr. Ahlstrand was truly in fear for his life he would have stayed secured in his home and would have called the police.”

– Who are under no legal obligation to defend you.  And of course, you could have always avoided trouble by staying safely hidden inside, in your closet, or under your bed.  Or if that doesn’t sit well with you, I suppose you can fake your period, vomit on the predator, or use a whistle to alert others to your plight, so that they, too, can choose to lock themselves up inside their homes and tuck themselves away in a closet or under a bed.

[...]

In both the Telegram and CBS articles, “authorities” are quoted as saying they don’t think the bear was a threat to people. I suppose it’s possible that the black bears in Massachusetts are a kinder, gentler breed than the one that mauled a man near Payson, Arizona, last June. Or the one that tore up a woman in the same area in May. And then there was the bear that did a job on a woman near Pinetop …

This isn’t to say that bears are usually dangerous or should always be shot — not by any means. And the fact that something wild like that still roams free in so many places makes the great outdoors that much more interesting, so far as I’m concerned. But anybody who finds himself being chased across his yard by a big, toothy bear has good reason to feel a bit of concern and to take some action.

As for Auburn Police Chief Andrew J. Sluckis Jr. … He should be sent out at night, unarmed of course, to make friends with some of those big, fuzzy creatures that are “not a threat to people.”

Ridiculous.  He’s a police chief! As such, he has more rights than you do — and when it’s his ass on the line, you can be damn sure he’ll shoot first and ask procedural questions later.   And that’s because he’s not going to arrest and charge himself for making a judgment call on how best to protect his person from an imminent bodily threat.  And why would he?  He’s a law enforcement professional.  And only professionals should be allowed to defend the safety of both themselves and non-professionals, else we have anarchy, with every last guy with some land and a shotgun taking it upon himself to shoot every last bear that enters his yard and starts chasing after him with ill intent.

Sometimes the preservation of social order requires that a few unfortunate people follow the law and die in service of maintaining the rules.  At least, that’s what professional law enforcement people seem to often to believe — some pigs being more equal than others.

(h/t nr)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 8:56am
80 comments | Trackback

Comments (80)

  1. He did a lot better than the cops did, in the town I grew up in, back in 2008. It is only alluded to slightly in the story but taking on a bear with .223 and 9mm in this case resulted only in a wounded, hurt animal continuing to wander around until it was trapped in a tree.

  2. they don’t think the bear was a threat to people

    I think that’s a hypothesis that they should put to the test, personally.

  3. Insty comments “. . . now that the Supreme Court has recognized a constitutional right to self defense, such prosecutions should fail.”

    Yes sure, but what happened to the part about those idiots bringing the prosecutions hanging upside down by their heels in the town square, eh?

  4. Where’s PETA with their li’l helicopters, in this scenario?

  5. That is, there’s “deterrence” [shotgun blast to bear's face] and “deterrence” [tyrants treated to public ignominy] to be considered here.

  6. they don’t think the bear was a threat to important people

    FTFH.

  7. Or does the prosecutor consider the bear to have been interfered with in the process of just doing its job, i.e. ridding the world of a 76 year old troublemaker before ObaZmaCare’s death panel has to do it?

  8. fascist cocksucker piggy piggy pension whore maryland cops

    prize our freedoms but cheaply

    but they nothing special in that regard

  9. oops piggy piggy pension whore Massachusetts cops I mean

    same difference

  10. Those drones that would stalk hunters would make for some great target practice, methinks.

  11. ” Chief Sluckis said. “Obviously we believe if Mr. Ahlstrand was truly in fear for his life he would have stayed secured in his home and would have called the police.””

    Belief? On what do they base this belief? And he used a shotgun, just as Vice president and space-scout Joe Biden recommended. What’s the problem here?

  12. Same difference except that Maryland deserves recognition for being the more lockstep of the two these days. After all, Maryland has worked very hard to achieve this object, so it wouldn’t be just to deny it to them.

  13. From the drone article:

    The group may want to carefully monitor its drone—last year, an animal rights group drone was shot down while it was attempting to monitor pigeon hunters in South Carolina.

    Talk about a “no duh!” moment.

    PETA thinks we are weird critters to be monitored much like wildlife photographers film predators for nature programs. Plus, they don’t seem to understand how guns work.

  14. if Mr. Ahlstrand was truly in fear for his life he would have stayed secured in his home and would have called the police

    …who would have told him to call animal control, who in turn would direct him to the fire department, who would tell him who he really needed was the police.

    It’s almost as if no one’s ever taken that particular merry-g0-round ride.

  15. 30 minutes later, he’d be mauled to death by the bear while still on hold to the Boston Zoo.

  16. Cops aren’t paid to shoot bears. They’re paid to shoot family pets.

  17. From the Telegraph article:

    *** “After looking at the bear and the area, he stated that he was concerned there may be cubs waiting in the woods,” Chief Sluckis said.

    Chief Sluckis said this time of year bears are likely with cubs.

    “Not only was the bear not a threat to people [People other than the non-people person it was charging at the moment it was shot, that is -- sdferr], it may have had cubs waiting for it,” he said. ***

    This is precisely how a young woman should think prior to pulling a trigger to protect herself from a predatory rapist: “He may have young children waiting at home for his return. I’d best not interfere and just accept whatever predation he visits upon me, rather than upset little children.”

  18. It’s really quite simple… gun owners are less-than-human, by definition. All the right-thinking people can agree on that.

    Ergo, any so-called ‘self-defense’ by one of those icky gun people is actually a terrible, terrible crime, as it will invariably entail the worthless, gun-owning-scum shooting someone or something possessed of a much greater Value to Society.

    You know, like a drugged-up black teenager in a hoodie. Or a bear.

  19. A simple saying also applies…
    “A fed bear is a dead bear

    I’m thinking the guy may not be totally innocent, and the cops perhaps not completely off base….

  20. Cops aren’t paid to shoot bears. They’re paid to shoot family pets.

    Quite true regarding a certain deputy in these parts.

  21. Need some of these for PETA’s drones.

  22. I’m thinking the guy may not be totally innocent, and the cops perhaps not completely off base….

    I’m not sure I’d think of birdseed as bear food, and without some sort of errant history on this 76 year old guy, I’d err on the side of not being a fascist dickbag.

  23. I’d err on the side of not being a fascist dickbag.

    That’s one reason you aren’t law-enforcement material in the new world order.

  24. I hear birdseed and speculate the fellow may have had a suet feeder or two stinking up the joint.

  25. ” I suppose you can fake your period”

    Fake, maybe, but real ones may be contraindicated in the neighborhood of large predators, or so legend has it.

  26. I’ve been baiting birds into my yard for years with suet feeders and seed feeders. I have interloping squirrels and raccoons occasionally, but no bahrs, so far.

  27. I’m not sure I’d think of birdseed as bear food

    You don’t have to, but bears do. Did you read the link? The connection between bird feeders and nuisance bears isn’t new, or mysterious.

    This reminds me of the story about the guy shooting at the fleeing burglar suspects. Everybody’s story of events sounds a little shady to me.

    By the way, I wonder what came of that other story?

  28. It occurs to me that Michael Moore would make a damned fine suet feeder. But just try and find a tree branch to hang him from.

  29. I just want to point out that we at B.A.I.R. that our mission is to enhance understanding of bears, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American bears, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. .

    B.A.I.R. condemns all acts of violence against humans by any individual bear, den or sleuth

    I suspect we will find out there is more to this story and we should hold off condemning all ursine for the behavior of this possibly overly provoked and starving mother bear.

  30. ‘fess up, bgbear. You’re related to the killer bear, aren’t you?

  31. If you look at what police usually do when large dangerous animals are about, they shoot them. Dead.

    It is almost certainly what would have happened had they been called in this case.

    If you read the comments most of them are sympathetic to the bear or complain about the man’s “illegal guns”.

    What an awful place.

  32. I don’t no him/her from Yogi.

  33. The report said black bear, and bgbear looks more colorado than oscuro.

  34. black bear in cinnamon phase, thank you.

  35. Were there any pique-nique baskets in the area? That would truly be baiting that bear.

  36. Oh, delusions of maduro.

  37. black bear in cinnamon phase, thank you.

    Then shouldn’t you be red, gummy, and delightfully spicy?

  38. I am taking the bait. . .

  39. Cigars or the footballer, SW?

  40. oh, wait don’t shoot, I don’t like cinnamon gummy bears! phew.

  41. It’s a colour, usually referring to the cigar wrapper, leigh.

  42. I am taking the bait. . .

    “I was a cock-teaser at Roosterama, I used to enrage the bantams before the big bouts. Not an easy thing, I tell you.”

    “Did you ever get into bear-baiting”

    “No man, I never… I was into there, for a while, bear-hating. I hated those bears, man. I see a bear coming, I’d just go the other way, that’s how much I hated…”

    “They hate you too, man. You can’t train them to do nothing, you know. They whiz whenever they want; they cannot be trained.”

  43. You don’t have to, but bears do. Did you read the link? The connection between bird feeders and nuisance bears isn’t new, or mysterious.

    Right. From the link:

    Although many people find it difficult to believe, an animal as large and powerful as a black bear is very attracted to bird feeders as a source of food

    While it’s true, it isn’t necessarily common knowledge. Baiting would seem to require intent and dude’s birdfeeders would seem to indicate his intent for the barrel of seed. Barring some other evidence, Occam’s Razor precludes a bear baiting charge on this one.

  44. I don’t know why some bears are into that crunchy granola stuff.

  45. Thanks, SW.

  46. So Masstards’re going to go after Connecticut shade growns now? Bastards! Lock ‘em up!

  47. I am not surprised this is happening in Massachusetts (if you choose to continue to live there you have to be on notice shit like this could happen), but what is scary is it almost happened in Idaho (but the governor intervened).

  48. Thanks, EBL. I was just about to ask what happened to that guy. I guess he wasn’t supposed to protect his children from Mr. Bear. Just let him pick them off one at a time.

  49. Fine the guy for taking a bear out of season and move on.

  50. Is bear hunting even an option in Massachusetts? I thought there was a problem with that in New Jersey when the bears were using suburban backyards for shortcuts.

  51. “Not only was the bear not a threat to people [People other than the non-people person it was charging at the moment it was shot, that is -- sdferr], it may have had cubs waiting for it,” he said. ***

    Bears with cubs are the most dangerous bears of all.

  52. If there’s no bear season, I’d argue a bear in the backyard was vermin.

    In which case, fine him for disturbing the peace and move on.

  53. I can give it to the guy who shot the bear roaming his own backyard, even if it was so premeditated he shot from his second story window.

    I acknowledge this places me against our Disney and Sesame Street society. Oh well.

  54. Bears and pigs are in the same family and a nasty, loutish family it is.

  55. If there’s no bear season

    What do you recommend, juniper berries and bay leaf?

  56. Yes, to start. Salt heavily, pepper, garlic and a bottle of gin. You may split it with the bear.

  57. What do you recommend, juniper berries and bay leaf?

    I don’t remember what my mother used in the marinade. Lots of worchestershire sauce and brown sugar, I think. That was thirty years ago, give or take. And anyways, black bear is too greasy for anything to make it taste good.

  58. Does it have to be a good gin? I hate sharing good liquor. Speaking of which, is there any such thing as good gin?

  59. Not really. Cheap gin is for pickling the bear and the cook’s helpers.

    Good gin? You jest, sir! Bombay Sapphire is tolerable, if you’re already half gone.

  60. Plymouth, top notch. This is quite good too.

  61. See? We only get garbage like Beefeater’s here, unless one lives in a large city.

  62. I’ve heard good things about this new Islay gin. Haven’t found any in my local store yet.

  63. Scotch gin? Abominable!

  64. Ice storm is getting worse here, so I’ll chat with all y’all again tomorrow.

    If the power is still on.

  65. Au contraire, mon ami, the Blackwoods Shetland gin is so good I had it straight up.

  66. “Speaking of which, is there any such thing as good gin?”

    I hear that there is and it is hiding behind the Higgs Boson.

  67. Scotch or Irish Whiskey, please.

    Gin? pfft.

  68. Scotch gin? Abominable!

    The kids are all drinking this one these days.

  69. I confess that gin & tonic was once my “usual.”

    Of course, that was in a place where it was about the only thing they didn’t put an umbrella in.

  70. Gin is the drink that makes you go woof.

  71. Used to drink the Dutch stuff by the gallon back in the day, and saw neat betting tricks with a brim-filled shot glass taking dime equivalents dropped slipped into the shotglass one at a time — “Betcha I can put ten of these in there without spilling a drop” type stuff, building a wondrous meniscus piled atop the glass.

  72. A man named McGehee who drank gin and tonic?

    The SMoD cannot come too soon.

  73. At the time I thought I was Irish, and there was just no cachet in drinking Irish whisky.

  74. Gin is the drink that makes you go woof.

    I get shitfaced on gin in a hurry, but unlike with tequila, I generally retain my pants. Bourbon keeps me out of trouble.

  75. Tequila makes your clothes come off. Gin makes you smell like gin for three days. Bourbon is safe territory, unlike vodka which sneaks up and makes you walk sideways.

  76. Note to self: bring tequila to Oklahoma.

  77. “Obviously we believe if Mr. Ahlstrand was truly in fear for his life he would have stayed secured in his home and would have called the police.”

    Yes, because bears know to wait around for the police.

  78. When I have a cocktail nowadays (rarely, usually I have a beer if anything) it’s a real old-school martini. No stinkin’ vodka need apply.

  79. “Speaking of which, is there any such thing as good gin?”

    It’s in that funny-shaped bottle with Tanqueray Ten on the label.

  80. You bad, Mistah Red.

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