Live Slaved or Defenseless

Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as New Hampshire’s original motto, does it? Unfortunately, it would appear that the new motto is more accurate for Dennnis Fleming:

A New Hampshire man who fired his handgun into the ground to scare an alleged burglar he caught crawling out of a neighbor’s window is now facing a felony charge — and the same potential prison sentence as the man he stopped.

Dennis Fleming, 61, of Farmington, was arrested for reckless conduct after the Saturday incident at his 19th century farmhouse. The single grandfather had returned home to find that his home had been burglarized and spotted Joseph Hebert, 27, climbing out of a window at a neighbor’s home. Fleming said he yelled “Freeze!” before firing his gun into the ground, then held Hebert at gunpoint until police arrived.

While one can argue that the discharge might have been unwise, it is likely that he was attempting to get the alleged burglar’s attention without perforating his neighbors house. Many of us who are trained to respect the property of others might have done likewise.

Not only did the authorities charge him with a crime, they are already treating him as a felon by taking away his legally owned guns–most of which were not included in the incident and should not be retained as evidence of anything other than police overreach.

The idea that this homeowner would be punished for his actions as much as the alleged burglar might be punished for his would surely bring tears to the eyes of the first New Hampshirens.