Here’s an excerpt from Joe O’Connor’s piece:
…The search ended without any arrests, but it has triggered a movement among the province’s farmers to openly declare themselves armed and prepared to protect what is their own. Photos of rifles in Combines proliferated on social media in the days after the episode near Fiske. A Facebook page — Farmers With Firearms — was launched. Its members sprang into action this past Monday evening, providing updates on a high-speed pursuit involving a green pickup truck that had been spotted in a farmyard northwest of Rosetown. Several farmers gave chase. Local RCMP were called twice before responding, according to a farmer privy to the details of the chase, who requested anonymity. RCMP would not confirm the incident, or whether any arrests had been made.
Barry Kidd doesn’t fault the Mounties. They are overwhelmed, he says. Kidd now sleeps with a shotgun next to his bed. It used to be for coyotes. The third generation wheat grower met with 10 other farmers recently to discuss forming rural patrols and using drones to monitor their land near Rosetown. Two years ago, his house was robbed. Now he padlocks all the doors that he once left open.
Dallas Ostrom, another grower, with land west of Saskatoon, told CBC that, like Kidd, he has always had a gun handy to dispatch an ornery skunk, but now carries the weapon for “personal protection.”
More coverage of the story here. This is not a problem confined to Saskatchewan, either. There have been some high profile cases recently in Alberta where rural residents have used force to protect themselves and their property. In the cases of Joe Singleton and Brian Knight, charges were laid but ultimately dropped.
Rural residents obviously have some unique concerns about crime, and understandably feel the need to protect themselves and their property, since any sort of police response is going to well after the fact. These Saskatchewan farmers are clearly frustrated about the crime they’re dealing with, but there’s the added racial tension stemming from the recent fatal shooting of a young aboriginal man.
Let’s hope no one else has to die.