Early Tuesday morning at Johns Hopkins University, an undergraduate student heard noises coming from behind his off-campus residence, and noticed the door to his garage was open. The student then grabbed his samurai sword and investigated.
Discovering an intruder in his garage, the would-be ninja threatened to call 911. According to police, the suspect then lunged at him, and the sword-wielding student sliced the suspect’s left hand, almost severing it. The intruder was mortally wounded with an upper-body cut, and was dead when police arrived.
Because the intruder was later identified as a habitual offender only three days out of jail, it’s likely the student won’t be charged. In Maryland, where the confrontation occurred, home invasion self-defense reports are evaluated on a case-by-case basis before deciding to prosecute.
But reading this story got me wondering what would happen if such an incident happened near St. Thomas. Residence halls don’t allow weapons, but burglaries, break-ins and robberies occur regularly both on-campus and off-campus.
And while students who pack heat are probably in the minority, most do have some kind of sharp blade in their homes. And to a charged-up defender, every room is full of objects that could become deadly weapons.
Minnesota doesn’t allow homeowners to defend their property with deadly force the way Texas does. But we’re an impulsive group of young people with a poor understanding of local laws, and few of us have the experience to think clearly in a crisis. We’re around a lot of alcohol, and if I know anything about St. Thomas students, they don’t like people messing with their stuff.
The student in this story had been burglarized the day before, so it’s understandable if he was a bit edgy. But few college students have the money to survive a trip through the courts on manslaughter charges; it’s definitely not worth a MacBook.
I know you may be scared when a stranger is in your house without permission, but it’s better to call Public Safety. And make sure not to startle your friends if they own anything from The Rising Sun.