That a 72-year-old Knob Hill woman had the presence of mind and just plain
pluck on a November night last year to grab her .38-caliber revolver and open
fire on a man who broke into her home was itself noteworthy, as we observed at
the time. Laudable, too; it was a judicious and, as authorities ruled,
justifiable use of potentially deadly force in self-defense.
He wasn't killed but was wounded, twice, and fled in his car only to be
apprehended later by police and eventually charged with burglary and
trespassing, among other offenses.
As it turns out, the shots she fired Nov. 18 at 40-year-old Anthony Peralez
may have done far more than stop an intruder in his tracks. In defending her
home, she also helped police collar the suspect in three home break-ins and
sexual assaults against middle-aged and older women in the Colorado Springs area
The Gazette reported this week that authorities have filed two sexual assault
charges against Peralez for incidents last August and September; Peralez also
has been charged with kidnapping, rape and burglary in a 1999 case.
Investigators had compared DNA samples taken from all three cases with blood
from when Peralez was wounded during the November break-in.
Other evidence and hunches had turned up along the way, but police really got
their break when an elderly homeowner drew the line and availed herself of an
inalienable right - to use a lethal weapon in self-defense - that has been much
There persists among some a misbegotten notion that self-defense is somehow
incompatible with civilized society. That if only we can enact enough laws and
dispatch enough law enforcers, the rest of us no longer will have to resort to
something as ostensibly odious, as retrograde as the use of violence in
self-defense. Government will protect us from all harm.
Whether or not that vision is even desirable - considering what we'd all give
up in freedom and taxes - it's just not possible. Sometimes, if we're in a
position to do so, we must stand up for ourselves.
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