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Squirrelly confrontation. (Exercising the Right).

Britain's domestic disarmament regimen, often lauded by U.S. anti-gun zealots, has come under heavy fire in recent months. On November 8th, for instance, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that the "rising level of gun crime on Britain's streets is putting increased pressure on hospital staff who have to deal with the victims." Noting that recent "Home Office figures show that the number of offences where firearms were used went up by nearly 10% last year," the BBC quoted a former Army medic as saying that medical personnel "are for the first time seeing gunshot wounds on a regular basis."

Such are the fruits of anti-gun regulations that disarm peaceful citizens and leave them defenseless against criminals who simply ignore the laws anyway. Yet armed Brits still rise to the occasion and help restore order in their communities, even when the violent troublemaker is nonhuman.

Recently, the town of Knutsford in central England was besieged for several days by an extraordinarily vicious gray squirrel. The rodent's victims included a man attacked while mowing his lawn and a woman bitten on the ankle as she walked along a street. The latter, Sheila Eyre, described the creature as "the squirrel from hell." "I pulled away but he just kept coming back at me," she told the November 7th London Times. "It was a bit of a shock. You don't expect that sort of thing from a little furry squirrel. Everyone is now scared to go out. He has caused chaos all over the neighbourhood."

The November 6th Knutsford Guardian quoted one town resident as saying, "We're scared to leave our windows open and we can't hang our washing out," while another confided, "My husband goes out to make sure it's safe before I'll walk to the car." Some townfolk considered not leaving their homes at all.

On November 5th, two-year-old Kelsi Morley noticed the squirrel while she was strolling through a wooded area with her mother. As Kelsi paused to admire the squirrel, it suddenly pounced on her face and sank its teeth into her forehead. Kelsi's mother told the Guardian, "It was awful because she [Kelsi] was spinning around and we couldn't get it off. From the amount of blood there was, I thought it had taken Kelsi's eye out." The angry animal eventually let go. The injured tot was rushed to a hospital, where she underwent surgery for the forehead wound and was given antibiotics to prevent infection.

When Kelsi's grandfather, Geoff North, learned of the attack, he decided that enough was enough. Grabbing an air rifle, he went hunting for the rogue rodent, eventually locating it in a nearby thicket. "When I tracked him down I was surprised how big he was," he told The Sun (a London tabloid). "He came down a tree and headed for me, but I shot him before he jumped." It was, he said, a "shame" that the squirrel "went nuts, but I couldn't let this little beggar hold the town to ransom." The 61-year-old school caretaker was lauded as a local hero by relieved Knutsford residents.

Since the squirrel was apparently not rabid, authorities were baffled by its unusual behavior, though they speculated that it may have been kept as a pet. An animal sanctuary warden told the Guardian that when these animals "are tamed young and then let go, they can become aggressive."
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Author:Lee, Robert W.
Publication:The New American
Date:Dec 16, 2002
Words:562
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