A small writing exercise… inspired by a fence. The goal was to write something quickly, without spending long on it.

In the modern age of cotton-bud-rich helicopter parents, furious but depressingly lazy keyboard warriors and opportunistic lawyers (whose antics mortify those with common sense), the idea of home defense has been buried between the graves of personal rights and personal responsibilities.

Take for example the common property boundary of a steel fence with upright bars and sharpened ends. This fence is a superb palisade of spears that any medieval general would happily camp behind. The strong metal and cruel points ensure that an invader either comes with a ladder or a significant deficiency of wit. All but the most foolhardy would be encouraged to remain on the ‘right’ side of the property line. “Would”, of course if the fence has been allowed to do its duty, but instead it’s cold black steel has virtually been decorated with pink bows. The sharpened steel points have been neutered to avert the do-gooders wrath: blunted or affixed with some danger-less ornament. The functional became the pretty; which protects or dissuades no one.

And so house after house, property after property lay open to the thief and criminal, now comfortable in their knowledge that entry would be as easy as if the door remained open. “Come at will.” our political correctness said, and so they did.

Not so the house at the end of the street, number 167 Barrington. It’s fence might appear the same as all the others but it was the opposite of neutered, quite the opposite. Every bar had been sharpened to such an edge that by touching it at any angle would leave a vicious cut. For the man living at number 167 did not like to be bothered, by friend or foe alike.


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