No, rural Prairie dwellers, you can't shoot to protect your property -

No, rural Prairie dwellers, you can’t shoot to protect your property

Gerald Stanley never claimed such a right, but his trial resurrected a dangerous fallacy among residents that could cause future grief

Gerald Stanley enters the Court of Queen's Bench for the fifth day of his trial in Battleford, Sask., Monday, Feb.5, 2018. Stanley is accused of killing 22-year-old Indigenous man Colten Boushie. (Liam Richards/CP)

The trial of Gerald Stanley stirred debate beyond the courtroom about the use of deadly force to protect property (Liam Richards/CP)

The death of Colten Boushie has exposed many ugly attitudes in Saskatchewan, and few as troubling as the idea that a person has some inherent right to shoot to protect property like ATVs, trucks and tools. The argument has taken root in online debate around the trial of Gerald Stanley, the man accused of killing Boushie, and it’s hard to say what’s more astounding: the ignorance underlying it, or the arrogance it implies.

Ignorance, because anyone with a passing familiarity with the Criminal Code as it pertains to self-defence should know the argument has zero basis in law. Worse still is the swelling tide of rhetoric about how it should be legal in Canada to shoot to protect property “like it is in the United States.” (It’s not legal in the U.S. either—homicide is defensible only in some states under specific circumstances. Use-of-force laws vary by state, as does their interpretation by police, prosecutors and judges; even in so-called “stand your ground” and “Castle Doctrine” states, there is no allowance to attack without cause, and the law varies regarding use of lethal force.)

Arrogance, because only someone with a grossly inflated sense of him- or herself would consider his possessions more valuable than a human life. Think of your sister, your father or your son, then think of the all the material objects over which they should be killed. Can’t think of any? How, then, can you apply that standard to someone else’s sister, father or son?

Yet it’s stunning how many people are trotting out this argument, stirred anew by Stanley’s trial in the death of 22-year-old Boushie, who was part of a group of First Nations individuals who had come up Stanley’s rural Saskatchewan driveway in an SUV. Stanley testified that—far from shooting Boushie to protect himself, his family or his property—he’d approached the vehicle when the gun he’d been wielding discharged accidentally. He told court he’d previously fired a few warning shots into the air with the semi-automatic handgun, but removed the magazine before he approached the car and thought the gun was disarmed. He was reaching in across the steering wheel to turn the keys off, he testified, when the gun somehow went off.

RELATED: What the tragedy of Colten Boushie says about racism in Canada

“Protecting your assets is a part of protecting your life,” said Darryl on Facebook, one of many commenters leaving similar posts on news stories covering the trial.

“I’m sorry but I have recently had my garage broken into and I feel violated as I grew up and was taught you don’t touch people’s property,” said Gary. “I have lived in Peace country of AB to South western SK and I’m sorry, properties are being violated and I don’t care if the violation is done by white, Asian, African, indigenous or a lawyer, it is wrong and people need to protect their property.”

Well, Gary, you’re in luck, because you can protect your property. You can lock it up, you can build a fence, you can get big dogs, you can even get insurance. What you can’t do is shoot another human being to defend it.

You could dismiss the views of Darryl and Gary as drivel from the online fringe if they didn’t echo a much louder, collective signal set off by the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM). Seven months after Boushie’s death, 93 per cent of delegates attending SARM’s 2017 annual convention voted in favour of a resolution to lobby governments for expanded “rights and justification” for concerned property owners dealing with what was described by the resolution’s proponent as “out of control” rural crime.

Saskatchewan’s Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) immediately condemned the resolution and its implications. Vice-chief Kim Jonathan said she was “disgusted,” and concerned it could lead to “more violent confrontations and (the) deaths of more innocent people.”

RELATED: In Saskatchewan, a trial’s jury selection reveals a legal injustice

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron asked SARM delegates to reconsider the message they were sending with an overwhelmingly, almost unanimous voice.

“We understand protecting your property, protecting things like that,” Cameron told reporters. “But in all honestly, let’s get back to the human spirit — is a tractor tire or a stolen vehicle worth killing someone? I don’t think so … We’ve got to continue working together.”

But let’s consider, for a moment, this scourge of rural property crime rocking the Prairies. According to Statistics Canada, total actual incidents (meaning all reported incidents minus any the RCMP deemed unfounded) of criminal code violations involving property crime in rural Saskatchewan increased 10 percent from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2016. The sharpest increase was between 2014 and 2015, which coincides with the drawing to a close of Saskatchewan’s resource-based economic boom, which arguably hit the province’s oil patch and its workers hardest.

RELATED: Canada’s most dangerous place, North Battleford, is fighting for its future

Stats Can reported that in 2016 there were 33,863 actual incidents (meaning all incidents reported to law enforcement, minus any that were deemed unfounded) of property crime in 80 rural Saskatchewan communities. Some 8,500, or 25 per cent, of those incidents were committed in just six rural Saskatchewan communities. Four of those six communities are in the upper north quadrant of the province—far from the vast majority of those complaining about property crime, who largely seem to live south of an imaginary line crossing Saskatchewan from Lloydminister to Prince Albert to the Manitoba border. Further, only 10,000 per 100,000 of the rural population, or 10 percent, were affected by property crime. Seems high, perhaps, until you consider that number is skewed by northern Saskatchewan communities where the rate of property crimes committed per capita reaches anywhere from 68 to 92 percent.

Nevertheless, the narrative prevails, and local Indigenous residents have been implicated as the culprits.

“In Saskatchewan ‘rural crime’ is a dog-whistle term that means aboriginal people,” wrote Postmedia columnist Doug Cuthand last summer in response to the provincial government’s announcement of a new “rural crime response team,” which included expanded powers of arrest for conservation and highway officers as well as more rural cops. “This is an act of aggression on our people and it will only result in more incarceration and a siege mentality among our people.”

While Cuthand’s ratcheted rhetoric isn’t particularly helpful, he’s not wrong about the coded language. Inherent in every comment insisting that the right to use lethal force to defend property isn’t racist, is the silent addendum of “it’s not my fault the criminals happen to be Indigenous.” True, it may not be directly, but if we’ve learned anything by now, it’s that the current, largely colonialized societal systems in place fail to serve, in fact are further hurting, the Indigenous population.

RELATED: Moe problems: The tall task awaiting Saskatchewan’s new premier

Many Saskatchewan residents appear to cling to the idea that by being “tough on crime” we will reduce crime rates. Yet the social science research makes it clear that harsh punishment, or the high rate of incarceration for Indigenous peoples, has been linked to systemic discrimination and racial prejudice, which in turn feeds substance abuse and intergenerational loss, violence and trauma.

Anyone else see the problem here?

Suffice to say, it’s hard to imagine Stanley’s trial doing anything to ease the distrust already sown—regardless of the evidence heard in court. If he walks, or is convicted on a lesser charge, it will feed a vicious cycle, reinforcing belief among Indigenous people—and those non-Indigenous people who believe it already—that all the systems, including the justice and correctional, value property over Indigenous lives. Given what they’ve heard in the court of public opinion since Boushie’s death, could you blame them?



No, rural Prairie dwellers, you can’t shoot to protect your property

  1. I will respectfully somewhat disagree with the author. While I do not believe that you should shoot someone who is stealing your property, I mean its just stuff (and no in the US you cannot shoot someone over stuff either), the line for me is when someone breaks into an occupied home. Urban or rural does not matter either, as at that point who or what is to say that person or group of people are not there to harm you. We do have a right to defend ourselves in Canada despite what the author states, and yes I do consider my life and that of my wife and children to be above any person who invades my home and would cause them harm. I also hope like hell I never have to defend myself or them like that. Someone who is willing to use force to harm another will only understand force used in return.

    • You can only defend yourself with force equal to with what you’re being attacked. if it’s a hatchet, you can use a hatchet. If it’s fists, you can use fists. If it’s a gun, you can use a gun. But if it’s fists you better not shoot them.

      • I believe the courts have a responsibility to discern what “equal force” constitutes.

        To a 90 lb woman facing a 300 lb attacker, a .357 magnum is the only “equalizing force” she can hope for.

        • It is taught by police that one does not bring a knife to a gunfight. A person in a dark house with an intruder endangering them and their loved ones has no knowledge of the level of danger they are in. The very presense of a an intruder immediately moves that person to the highest level of danger and it would be difficult to convict a homeowner of harming the intruder. Not unlike Mrs. Chretien when she hit an intruder over the head with a soap carving. The potential of that being deadly force was present and charges were not even considered.

      • don’t be ridiculous. If someone is attacking you, you have no way of knowing how they will do it. You are able to defend yourself with the means at your disposal.
        what you can not do is continue to harm your attacker after they have stopped attacking. ie you can hit your attacker with a bat if you happen to have one, but you can not continue to hit them once they are unconscious.
        it is rare that people in Canada happen to have a gun at hand so it is not a common issue. Although someone breaking into your house at night could cause you to get a gun as it is reasonable to assume that they mean to harm you or your family.

      • Fumbler… Wrong. If you fear for your life you can use whatever force you have available. If you are attacked by a pencil wielding lady I suspect you would not fear at all, so no gun. You may have some old street code in mind but not a law.
        That has little to do with this case any way.

      • Wasn’t there a rifle in the vehicle that Coulton was in? Didn’t he have 4 drunk friends with him?
        You don’t think that was an equal enough force to act on?

        • Exactly. I am not sure if appropriate force was used, as I was not there to see what transpired, and I am not sure if the verdict was correct but I am certain if Mr. Boushie and his friends weren’t driving around drinking with a rifle in someone’s possession stealing things and looking for things to mess with and/or steal Mr. Boushie would be alive and his family would not be going through this horrible time in their lives. Accountability is a two way street and unfortunately is getting diluted in this current atmosphere of guilt created by partial, one sided and myopic narratives

    • It seems to me if a burglar, breaking and entering, having a gun leveled at you, would in the future, to carry on this type of self-employment, would in the future, give cause to think twice before committing a b&e. Remember, no one invited them in.

  2. Think this through. What can you do to protect your property?

    Can you get between the criminal and his path to escape?

    If the criminal then threatens your life, can you fire in self defence?

    • So let’s see if I got this right… Robmisek, mighty defender of the unborn, is okay with shooting burglars?

      • Babies are completely helpless and innocent.

        Murdering abortionists and criminals who intend to do harm will lose their lives from time to time in the commission of their crimes.

        For them I won’t shed a tear.

  3. If I have built a fence, and put locks on gates, and taken all the proper steps to prevent thieves from taking what is not theirs to take, and someone goes to substantive effort to circumvent those roadblocks, why should a property owner be expected to just let those people walk away with said property? If confronted with a firearm, a thief chooses to ignore a warning from a property owner, then I can’t be convinced to give a rat’s ass if the thief ends up taking a dirt nap. I really can’t. Why, for God’s sake would I? Why should I care if someone gets killed while committing a crime? Why?
    Personally, I favor the admonition of a certain American sheriff. He suggested residents of a rural area that was plagued with property thefts to load a shotgun with three shells. The first a blank round. The second one should be loaded with rock salt. And the third should be double-0 buckshot. His deputies would easily be able to determine if a homicide was justifiable. If a dead guy had both rock salt wounds and buckshot wounds on the front of his sorry carcass, case closed.

    • I’m pretty sure you’re referring to the disgraced, fired, and federally convicted (though later pardoned by Trump) sheriff from Arizona. That guy is a complete authoritarian and criminal nutcase. You’d do better to find a better roll model.

    • And yet in this crazy country in which we live. Had that young perp stolen the ATV and gotten into accident in which he was killed. The farmer would have been sued. You cannot win.

      • You are awful presumptuous calling the dead man a perp he was asleep in the car, then you lie by saying a victim of theft could be sued if the person dies after the theft, we can see what your words are worth.

        • Your saying Mr. Boushie was asleep. The timeline of events indicate that the truck entered the property in the evening.

          Entering onto private land at night is treated much differently, and implied permission does not extend to trespassing at night, which is a criminal offence. The Criminal Code makes it an offence to loiter or prowl at night on the property of another person near a dwelling-house situated on that property. “Night” is defined by the Criminal Code as between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 am. “Dwelling-house” is defined by the Criminal Code as a permanent or temporary residence and anything attached to it.
          The essence of loitering is wandering about apparently without a precise destination. It is conduct which essentially has nothing reprehensible about it as long as it does not take place on private property where the loiterer has no business. The substance of prowling is to move about stealthily, furtively, secretly, and clandestinely or move in small degrees.
          The prosecutor does not have to prove that the accused was looking for an opportunity to carry out an unlawful purpose. Where prowling is proved, it is up to the accused to prove he had a lawful excuse for being there.

        • Wrong. His girlfriend was asleep. He was wide awake and trying to drive away after his friends bailed and took off running.

        • He wasnt asleep??.) he wasnt unarmed as the weapon was pointed out the window and nearly intentionally ran over stanley from behind. His kid almost crushed infront of the suv and close enough while they attempted to hit the windshield. The gun and colten were both found front drivers seat until girls pulled him out. All the witnesses have long long criminal history 3 of which already breached. Broke gun laws and werent allowed to have in possesion. Look it up. There probations were all breached!!! So its Stanleys fault there thugs?? Broke into, stole and vandalized previous yards?? The parents of these kids history should be brought out as well seeing as the stanleys names are being drug threw the dirt. Ooops youd find out they also have a ton of charges that still stand almost exactly the same only warrants for some like these adults classed as kids. Bunch of bs. 22 is hardly a kid as mine was 3 already by the time i was 22 and already working and living on own for 5 years with no help. Yet these guys are classed as children??? Get fd the law shouldnt even be involved after seeing and listening to testomony of lies lies lies and same story from beginning to end with stanley.. weird how truth is easy to remember compared to lies

        • Please see “Rankin’s Garage & Sales and its owner, James Chad Rankin, were sued for negligence by the teen”.

          The judge found the vehicle owner guilty under “care of duty”.

          In Saskatchewan ANYONE over the age of 18 can start a lawsuit.

          • I don’t think you understand that case

      • “Had that young perp stolen the ATV and gotten into accident in which he was killed. The farmer would have been sued.”—I don’t believe that even you believe that, Chip M. Why make fantasy comments like this?

    • slow down and think Bill. what is to stop someone from firing 2 extra times even if the thief takes heed of the warning shot? the idea that this would absolve someone of guilt is weak at best

    • You may not care, but the shooter will still be guilty of murder.

  4. As a boy I was taught that you could only defend yourself with equal force, meaning that unless you are being shot at you can’t shoot somebody. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. I’m pretty sure that’s still the law of the land.

  5. as my name suggests I believe that the media has been the prime “pusher” by deliberately reporting very biased stories. Since this event happened every media outlet has led with “Indigenous boy killed by white man” or something similar. yes the death is tragic, the choices that led to his death is tragic but why such an emphasis on the backgrounds of the people involved?? because its a way for the media to gain readers or viewers. They push the racism card and then stand back and watch the responses then add more fuel like this article. Ms Roberts, you weren’t there that day, you have no idea what happened and yet you proclaim all these suppositions like they are truths. Another trial just wrapped up in Saskatoon where a First Nations man was killed and very little media attention. Why? isn’t his family suffering as much as the Boushie family?? I believe its because the man who was convicted was also First Nations so there isn’t a story about racism to be pushed so its ignored by the media. Our RCMP sends reports to our newspaper. They report “a person was arrested and charged with drunk driving” or “a person of interest” – no gender, no cultural/racial background mentioned. Why can’t McLean’s and all the rest of the media do this??? Because they won’t get the reactions that spur more readers/viewers and it won’t push someone’s agenda to make all white Canadians look like bigoted idiots. We are better than that even if our media outlets aren’t. Rural crime is frustrating to anyone who lives there, but we aren’t out stalking our property lines with guns. If someone truly needs help they are going to knock on the door or call out before they start going through trucks and trying to start a vehicle in the yard. We have had people stop that need gas or air in their tire – yes even First Nations people – and they have received the assistance readily. They have been polite and thankful. There are just as many white people going around committing crimes but if it had been a car of white young adults that day I wonder how the media would have reported that???

    • If it had been a car of white young people, no one would have been killed. Canadians have an irrational fear of First Nations people. It is as if they are the fierce warriors of the old western movies, ready to scalp at a moment’s notice. there is no coming together of the two cultures except in rarified academic circles. there are rare, individual friendships between the groups that do not grow beyond those boundaries.

      • Irrational fear? Tell that to Simon Grant’s widow in La Ronge. Sixty-four year old Grant was robbed and brutally murdered by three FN men in April 2017.

        And maybe you would characterize them as “fierce warriors”, but the three are little more than cowardly jackals in my books.

  6. Supposing you’re and older, retired person, and a young and physically stronger person invades your home. He wants to rob you but he first assaults you and you face the possibility of being seriously injured or killed. The attacker has a knife but you have a gun. Do you have the right to use the gun to defend yourself? Is this a moral dilemma? Of course it isn’t. You shoot the attacker then call 911 to send the police and an ambulance. There is no moral or legal imperative to get into a fair fight with a person attacking you. If you have an advantage, use it. I have read too many stories of victims being assaulted and killed by a person invading their home or property. I’m quite certain that Gerald Stanley was very concerned for his own and his family’s safety when it was invaded by five people who were acting like criminals.

    • Listen to yourself questioning if you have the “right” to protect your own life or the lives of others by any means available.

      You won’t find any Americans with the same confusion.

    • You argument is NOTHING like what happened though, the farmer shot INTO a car the same farmer had illegally loaded guns around his farm. It was daylight it was not in the house in was at the entrance of the farm the dead man was was actually asleep most definitely not acting like a criminal.

      • It was 5p when the SUV trespassed.
        How was the deadman asleep? I thought he was behind the wheel?
        Look at the arerial photos. House is furthest from the entrance. The SUV ended up next to house. Not even close to entrance. The SUV drove past the barn and the work shop.

    • Mr. Stanley testified the gun went off by accident. He is not arguing self defence.

      It is certainly legal to use lethal force to defend yourself if your life is at risk. That is the law in Canada. So I am not sure what you are so upset about.

  7. Perhaps the “gentlemen” might consider Texas as a place to live. You can take a gun almost anywhere. How Canadian is this? Proof that the “gun culture” does indeed pass boundaries.

  8. It is clear the author has never come into muhc contact with criminals.
    The author writes with the assumption that a person committing theft is only going to steal.
    You have no doiea the motives or the level if crazy a random thief is at. They may in fact be willing to cause harm or death to make their theft.
    The person being attacked by the thief does not know in advance their willingness to cause injury or death to their victims.
    Perhaps we should be discussing how to ensure that there are no loopholes that can be abused in the laws that allow people to protect themselves and others.

  9. Obviously the Redneck population of Canada is out in force on this forum. No one should shoot first and ask questions later… No one deserves to die because of a stupid mistake. These young men were not invading this guys home and were not shooting at him or even threatening him. Why would anyone need to fire a weapon? Manslaughter or murder is the only question for the judge to decide.

    • This young man certainly was, he had a loaded firearm in the vehicle, also the family was outside of the house and were in danger due to how this young man was driving

      • The young man who was shot was asleep in the car.

        • LOK who told you that? You are seriously misinformed, go read the trial notes, there is tons of coverage of it.

        • You should reread what you read as the one who was asleep was his girlfriend. He was trying to drive away after his friends bailed out of the car and started running.

    • Also thank for being so inclusive as to refer to those who are willing to defend themselves as “Rednecks”

    • Graeme: learn a little about the system we live under. It is up to the jury to decide Murder – manslaughter – not guilty. The jury decides on the evidence they hear and how they believe it. The judge only makes certain everyone follows the law.

    • Ohh definitely. Like who doesn’t wander onto private property and try to get in other peoples vehicles as adults. Who doesn’t break something they own on another persons vehicle’s window. Geeze they were good people who just wanted help with their tire which was why first thing they did was jump on an atv and start driving it around. Everyone knows you start messing with other people’s private property when seeking help rather than knocking on the door and trying to ask for help.

  10. Let me get this straight…. the FSIN is upset at rural land owners for being upset at the rising crime and wanting more rights to protect their property. They are also upset that the government now has rural crime response teams. Is this not the FSIN condoning their people’s crimes off reserve?!? All races commit crime. I could care less of race stats. The fact is crime is happening and we have a group condoning the crime. This should not be justified. The “human spirit” way is to respect each other and their property. I understand the aboriginal ideology of community and sharing. To take what you need to survive and any more is wasteful. But I live in a country with laws, and in this country it’s against the law to steal.
    If a bank robber was upset about added security in the bank, would you take them seriously and respect their requests?

    • So out of all that, you choose to believe that it was a robbery, not a flat tire, where 2 witnesses testified, and where the accused had walked over to the vehicle, turned off the engine, and accidently shot a boy in the head. Lets pretend for 1 minute this was a white boy. Who had a flat tire and was shot in the head and died. Your son perhaps. Your going to stand by ur bullshit about protecting ones property and agree with the courts that killing is now acceptable, because of hear say evidence, that i was defending my property and your son lost their life to it… Property…. This is example, your white son with a flat tire looking for help? Its totally okay for a man to killing because he was defending his property. “Accident” as he says?

      • Come on. It is a fact they were drunk. It is a fact that they tried to steal a vehicle on the first farm they visited. It is a fact they had an illegal gun in the SUV (why??). It is a fact that rather than ask for help with the tire, they tried to steal an ATV on the Stanley property. These weren’t boy scouts, they were drunken thieves threatening the Stanley family.

  11. I will disrespectfully disagree with the author! If some low-life has nothing better to do with his time than drive around the country looking for someone else’s things to take, that person is giving up his right to be free or alive. He is disrespecting the person he’s stealing from, he is disrespecting the law, he is disrespecting the things he’s been taught from young and he’s disrespecting himself. He doesn’t deserve any sympathy anymore. The author obviously hasn’t been robbed or in any way violated or her point of view would be different from this lunacy she’s preaching! And I’m sure she’s never left the pavement of the big city yet. Maybe if she’d ever done something of note, built something to be proud of she’d realize you do not violate someone else’s property!!!

    • “he is disrespecting the law”

      And shooting someone is respecting the law?

    • The man turned off the boys car engine. How was the boy stealing from ones property? 2 witnesses, who were in the vehicle said they had a flat tire. How is this robbery and how is this killing justified by 2 storys and no evidence other then 1 is dead!!!

  12. Also Ms Roberts, we have a saying out here in the west that you should familiarize yourself with: It’s better to be judged by twelve than to be carried by six. If that isn’t clear enough for you then it’s time for you to go back to common sense school!

    • I have lived in Alberta for over 50 years – have never heard that one.

      • This is also applicable: “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes”.

    • Sounds more like Wild West than Canadian West.

  13. Well if the law doesn’t say we have to turn tail and run away from a criminal on our own property, and the criminal threatens us, then we should be able to use reasonable force to eliminate the threat.

    Is the onus on us to attempt escape on our own property and be victims of crime?

    • Reasonable force yes, a gun isn’t reasonable force for someone who is looking for help to fix a flat tire.

      • Why did they try to start his ATV?

        That’s clearly not the behaviour of people looking for help, except maybe to help themselves.

        Robberies are often violent, proven by the fact that they did have a loaded gun, so preparing to protect oneself from unknown assailants will always include getting a gun when one is available.

  14. the author suggest that you can get big dogs to protect your property. The obvious conclusion is that the dogs would bite a thief who tried to steal from you.
    dogs could easily injure or even kill an intruder or thief. how is that different than using a firearm to accomplish the same task? This piece lacks logic.

    • While I was in high school our home was invaded by three intruders. They shot our dog and we were lucky no family was home. Materials can be replaced but a loyal “man’s-best-friend” on duty can not. The problem here is the initial trespassing and theft. It is natural human instinct to defend what it rightfully ours.

  15. Tammy, criminals come on to your rural property. They have a gun and you have a gun, you say no I can’t shoot someone who is committing an armed robbery and stand there as they shoot you dead and take your things because you have no use for them any more and also no more opinion..

  16. If someone feels that they or others are in imminent danger of harm or death, then of course deadly force may be used. This is not only legal, it is my right and others to do so.

    • Almost – there must be a reasonable basis for that belief.

      • That is what the jury is deciding right now!

        • Nope. They had to decide whether it was an accident.

          • And apparently they did!!!

  17. This is just another channel in our cable bundle system of partisan politics.

    One bundle says we have the right to defend ourselves and our property from wrongdoers with lethal force if necessary and the other says we do not, that we must be disarmed, weak and be satisfied with being victimized until the time law enforcement gets around to us.

    Nothing gets done because wimpy politicians don’t want to take sides and risk losing some votes.

    So our laws are ambiguous and ineffective.

    Eliminate the wimp factor. Have regular referendums like they do in Switzerland. Ask the question. Do we have the right to protect ourselves or must we be perpetual victims?

  18. Why is that when white people have guns laying around their property it’s assumed the guns are for law- abiding purposes, but if a person of any other colour has a firearm it can only be for nefarious reasons? Maybe the FN kids in the car had a gun because they were shooting cans at the lake that day. I, and many other white Canadians, have been guilty of the same “offense”.

    • Guns laying around? What planet are you from?
      In this instance there was a loaded .22 between the legs of the driver. The landowner went to the shop and loaded a handgun mag with 2 (or 3) rounds then returned.
      That was stated in court.

    • Yeah and why would they assume it was a criminal act to break that gun against a locked vehicles window on another property? Why us white people do that all the time to check to make sure the glass isn’t past it’s expiry date.

      Hell why wouldn’t they assume that the first thing you do when seeking help with your vehicle is try to access someone elses vehicles and then drive them around? Everyone knows you have to get on an atv and ride around for exactly 41 seconds to show you are trying to get help for car trouble.

      I’m kidding it’s very apparent they weren’t just nice people seeking help with a missing tire.

    • you seem to assume a lot my friend. Most others haven’t jumped to any such assumptions

  19. It is indeed illegal to kill someone just because they are stealing your property. You can rant and rail that you should be able to kill someone who is stealing your property – a state of affairs that I am quite confident most of the people in this country would not agree with – but it is not, in fact, legal to do so.

    This is not a case of killing someone because he threatened Mr. Stanley’s life. He is not arguing that. He testified that the gun went off accidentally. So go ahead and express your opinion on what he should be able to do if his life is threatened (in Canada you are entitled to use lethal force to defend yourself if you have a reasonable belief that force is necessary to preserve your own life), but that has absolutely no relevance to this case.

    Was it an accidental shooting or not? That is what the jury must decide.

    • How many robberies become violent?

      There is no sure way to know if any criminal willing to rob will become violent.

      I’d rather be ready with my gun, than assume a criminals good intentions.

      • Awesome. Hope you are also ready to go to jail. For the rest of your life.

    • Gayle. Did you read the court revelations today?

      It appears that the driver of the vehicle rev’d the engine while Mr. Stanley was standing in front of the vehicle before any shots were fired. Now the court will be deciding was there intent on the driver’s part to injure Mr. Stanley with the vehicle.

      • Really no. I read the evidence of the accused. He does not assert self defence.

        • All you have to do is plant the seed of doubt.

          The accused could not see his wife. Thinking she may have been under the truck he bent down to look underneath. It was at that point that the engine was rev’d. Thinking he or his wife were in danger of a moving vehicle. He than moved to the driver’s side of the vehicle in an attempt to turn it off.

          Now some of the evidence says Colten was asleep. Some of the evidence says he was in the driver’s side of the vehicle behind the wheel. Some of the evidence says he was holding the rifle. What’s is this all about? How does a sleeping driver get behind the wheel of the vehicle with a rifle in their hands.

          Unfortunately the pistol went off as the accused tried to shutdown the vehicle.

          Are you sure you read the evidence?

          • Absolutely sure. He testified it went off by accident.

  20. Thank God you are not a juror. You have already made up your mind this was about property and not about a perceived threat to Mrs Stanley. No one will justify death for the protection of property, partly because there are no property rights guaranteed in Canada. The evidence is in today (Feb 9) and the real jurors will decide if the threat was perceived and real enough to justify any action. It all happened in seconds and we have ha months to digest this tragedy so a few more days will not hurt. As for your racist rant about prairie folk — look in your Toronto back yard before looking down your self-righteous nose!

    • According to the accused it was not about a perceived threat to his life.

  21. Just felt i had to post this. He was just found not guilty. The judge even stated that he was within his right to grab a firearm and fire the warning shots.

  22. The author fails here these two ideas are not related. Social science reasearch needs to be on wether being tough on crime reduces crime rate. “….cling to the idea that by being “tough on crime” we will reduce crime rates. Yet the social science research makes it clear that harsh punishment, or the high rate of incarceration for Indigenous peoples, has been linked to systemic discrimination…..”

  23. I’m curious as to why the narrative immediately goes to systemic racism as being the prime mover in this tragic story. The man was dealing with a group of thieves on what was described as a remote rural property. With criminals, there is no way to know until afterwards whether or not the crimes would stop at loss of property. If one guesses wrong in a situation like this and a loved one is hurt or killed, what then? As for the writer’s comment that “the current, largely colonialized societal systems in place fail to serve the Indigenous population”, what a load of crap that is. Is she implying that stealing and other criminal behaviors are a part of indigenous culture? That sounds racist to me, that a race or culture is predisposed to behaviors that are criminal in nature and therefore should not be judged as such under Canadian law. I live in a remote area and will defend myself, my family and my property against criminal threats, period. Nobody threatening my life, liberty or property will get a pass because of race, religion, color or the fact that the current, largely colonialized societal systems in place fail to serve the bastard’s needs. Criminals are not victims. Counseling, hugs and bunny farts won’t make it all better.

  24. Once again, Macleans proves to be full of it and nothing more than bias opinion garbage… The Jury got this dead on… Glad justice was served. Sad a life was lost, but protecting the lives of a loved one and ones self from harm and chaos should not be punished. Hopefully both sides can find peace they seek.

    • Except this was never about protecting loved ones.

      • Sorry gayle that is exactly what this is about. The media likes to push the racism card but i can almost bet that if it had been a group of white teenagers in that suv that this would not have been anywhere near as big a storey.

        • He testified the gun went off by accident, NOT that he shot him because he felt that he had to do so to protect his family.

          • Gayle, the claim was that he fired warning shots to scare the intruders away (ie, defend his family and property). One of the rounds that he fired was a hang fire and went off while he reached into the vehicle. This IS about protecting his family. Stop being so obtuse and pushing your biased narrative.

          • So why didn’t defence counsel assert self defence in his closing?

            Answer: because this was not a self defence case.

  25. People will always need personal protection. The only equalizer between a 90 lb weakling and a 300 lb criminal, is a gun.

    Common sense dictates that people, not guns need to be registered.

    Canada does a better job than the US at making sure properly trained and honest people can acquire and use firearms. But we can and should do more.

    There is no reason why citizens interested in personal and public safety could not be vetted, trained and regularly certified to responsibly carry a sidearm in public. The regular certification and testing guaranteeing proficiency in recognizing and taking the responsible actions in every potential situation.

    The US does little in this regard but allows personal protection, while Canada is more willing to accept personal responsibility but not personal authority.

    Too bad people are too polarized, ignorant and arrogant to recognize common sense regarding this and pretty much all issues.

  26. When the two protagonists in this tragedy woke up that morning they had vastly different plans for their day. Gerald planned to work quietly to support his family. Colten planned to get drunk and go terrorize his neighbours. That doesn’t justify Colten ending the day dead but there also has to be some personal responsibility for how we live our lives. Good people living good lives sometimes still have bad things happen to them. There’s no need to load the deck in favour of the evil that can befall us.

  27. It’s absolutely incredible how one-sided the media has been and continues to be on this story. Apparently Stanley should have assumed the fetal position and allowed Boushie and his thug friends to do as they wished to him, his family, and their property.

    • Obviously none of them who are critisizing Stanley have ever been in a position where their lives were in danger.
      Pity that the editor would allow such inexperienced snowflakes spout off about something they are so ill equipped to understand.
      Of course, when they were out at university pub crawls with their friends, nobody owuld have done anything violent or scary to strangers, right? And nobody would ever do anything bad to them in their insulated little elitist worlds.

      • R u kidding me? In such danger that he coukd walk over and turn off the alleged thugs car?!?!?! Fuck off! They had a flat tire and needed help. 3 white boys have a flat tire stanley would of baught them all breafast after giving them a lift to town and calling their parents!

  28. Has the author of this piece of drivel ever been in a situation where she felt threatened?
    The deceased was drunk. He was driving, He had 4 drunk friends with him. and they had a rifle in his vehicle.
    Who wouldn’t feel threatened?
    Obviously, the warning shots were ignored. And you’re saying that between the five of them, no one had a cell phone to call for help, if that was their intention of trespassing on Stanley’s property in the first place?
    Sorry- but unless you have been in that position – you don’t know what you’d do.
    The farmer didn’t go out and actively hunt down Coulton, and shoot him in cold blood.
    Get your victim attitude out of the way.
    I probably would have felt the same way, & done the same thing.
    Not intentionally – but out of fear.

    • Stop making stuff up. His defence was accidental shooting, not self defence.

      • If you ever had a family and thugs threatened their lives.

        Would you stand idly by, or pick up a weapon as Stanley did?


        The fatal shot was the only accident that day.

        Being an accident makes it neither right nor wrong.

        The jury acquitted him based on his intent and actions knowing that accidents do happen.

        • Jury deliberations are confidential. But we can assume they accepted his evidence it went off by accident. His motives for having the gun in the first place have no bearing on that.

          • What makes you believe that to be true?

          • Because that was the only defence left to the jury. They were told that if they believe it to have been an accident they must find him not guilty. What other conclusion can possibly be drawn? Certainly not that he acted in self defence as they were not permitted to do that.

          • I see.

            Because the crown went for second degree murder, which requires proof of intentional action.

            No, an accident cannot be intentional.

          • Note to self:

            Always fire a warning shot to demonstrate intent.

    • Problem now is that the big mouthed politicians have weighed in. How do you know find another venue when the PM has blabbed his mouth off?

    • Unless there has been a fault in legal procedure or if there was a tainted juror the Crown can’t appeal. You can’t appeal based on voir dire, that is a process that happens within a trial to discuss whether or not something is going to be presented at the trial for example, so it isn’t a basis for appeal.

  29. Canadian laws are backwards. In rural areas there are not enough enforcement officers to provide safety to those that live in these areas. My sister lives in rural sask and in her area there are 2 officers to maintain a vast amount of area. And she had an incident in the past year with someone harassing them. At one point this man was racing up and down their road with a firearm. Her sister in law lived a few hundred yards down the home with kids. The men were out seeding. It can take 30 mins to over an hour to get a police response. I don’t care if it’s minor theft, no matter what some liberals leftist say a person does have the human( not people)right to protect themselves. Any situation can change in a moment and it’s better to be more active then less. Lost in all of those is these people were also criminals. But in this liberal world where we payout terrorists a criminal has the most rights.

  30. Well I have a comment as an aboriginal women who father was murdered.
    My dad had lived in Toronto 2 months before being murdered and robbed in his home by another aboriginal man. The charge was second degree, which later got dropped to manslaughter. My dad was in his home, which he shared with other people, drinking, and went to bed as he had to go to work. One of the residents family member who was visiting, broke into my dads room, took his cash and beat him to death with a steal toe boot. It is of my option, and option of others that the court in Toronto ON treated this case as an Indian killing an indian, and played a game of “lets make a deal” this is case where the accused fled to another province, was captured, was charged with second degree murder, delayed court proceedings by firing and hiring lawyers, had charge dropped to manslaughter and give 1 year, 21 days for taking my dad, granddad and brother. There is racisim in the court system. Period! There was no juctice! He broke the lock to my dads room, stole the cash from his wallet and killed him. Because, i feel, he was a victim of generation genocide himself. Does not give him the excuse to take my dad and my sons only living grandfather. Nor is it the excuse of an Indian killing and indian and let him back into society with teachings or lessons to be learned. My main point to this is racism is in the court system no mattet what when it comes to first nations. Either white or red killings and judged and sentenced improperly. The affects of generational genocide are being felt as of yesterday and today.

    • There is racism in the aboriginal community.

      “Your” people will be better off when you accept the responsibilities that create our civilization in Canada that you simultaneously require and reject as colonialism.

    • You are correct there is sometimes a different investigative standard when the victim is Indigenous. I know from personal experience.

      I am sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a loved one in that way and then face indifference from the people who are supposed to bring the perpetrator to justice.

    • if both of the people involved were native how can it be a racist issue? your story sounds tragic but it doesn’t equate to racism that the man who killed your father didn’t get a sentence that you agree with

  31. What Stanley should have done is first worn an unobtrusive digital video and audio.recording device that automatically transmits to “the cloud”.

    Then called 911, explained and hung up.

    Then taken a loaded gun directly over to the youths trying to steal his ATV and fired a warning shot and warned them to stop and wait for the police to arrive.

    Once they turned their vehicle into a lethal weapon driving it recklessly and dangerously, threatening his life and the lives of others, he should have tried to stop the vehicle, by firing his gun either at the vehicle or the driver.

    That is essentially what police would do, so why would it be OK for police but murder for Stanley?

  32. So many people live in fear. I think it is too simple to say “human life is more valuable than property.” Who would argue with that? The fear is that if someone drives onto your “property” and tries to steal your ATV in front of you, maybe they could do much worse? The scariest part about being raped is the question — what happens next? If a person can rape, they can kill. And — it happens, as we know.
    We are an irrational lot. None of us were there, in that farmyard, or in court. I don’t imagine the jury took a lot of pride in the decision they came to. The law stresses “reasonable doubt.” If you have a titch, an inkling, a smidgeon of “reasonable doubt,” you must acquit. Otherwise you are making a decision based on emotion, which is what lynch gangs do.

  33. Too bad for you guys, because the courts have just said that yes, we can defend our property and our lives.

    As if we need your permission, LOL.

    If native teens don’t want to get shot, they can stop committing crimes and abusing drugs and alcohol.

  34. This is easy for a writer, no doubt living in a big city, because help is always just down the street. In the country, the RCMP is, what, thirty to forty-five minutes away? How was Stanley to know that they were going to stop with things outside his house?

    I”m sorry, but I find this writer’s premise more than a bit mind-boggling. Stanley wasnt just protecting his property. He was protecting his family as well. I dont think you can get insurance to cover their replacement.

  35. “Arrogance, because only someone with a grossly inflated sense of him- or herself would consider his possessions more valuable than a human life.”

    So what about the guys who consider your possessions more valuable than your life? Guys who would beat or kill you if you get in the way of their taking your stuff? Sorry, but if someone comes on my property, knowing that it’s occupied and people are home, looking to steal my stuff, I can only assume that they may mean me harm, too. What are we supposed to do? Retreat into a safe room, let them do whatever they want, and call the police (who will do nothing) afterwards?

  36. What next, No, First Nations swimmers, you don’t need a gun to go swimming….

    I agree with the author to a point but unlike him I cannot choose to ignore the fact that those who were trying to steal the property of the farmer were carrying a firearm. Why indeed not ask the question, does one need a firearm to go swimming?

  37. Tammy Robert – do you live in Saskatchewan? I will assume you do not. I will also assume that you have never spend any time there.
    Now you might think you know things, but let me say this.
    Here is Canada, there is law. The law says that you can defend yourself and even kill in defending yourself. It is commonly known as self-defense.
    Now, here is Canada, if you are charged with a crime, you will be in court and most likely with self-defense, face a jury of your peers. Yes, your peers, not some know-it-all from Toronto.
    And let me add something, in Saskatchewan, that jury will know a lot more what is and what is not going on there, and I think even though you do not agree with the verdict, most of the people in Saskatchewan do, and are happy with it.

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