Van Buren, Maine is a small town in the extreme northeast corner of the state, hard against the St. John River which forms the US-Canada border in that part of the continent. Van Buren is — was — the home of Ronald Cyr who was concerned enough about the security of his residence that he rigged it with a variety of home-made “security devices.”
One of those contraptions involved a handgun that was set to fire if anyone opened the front door (not pictured above). Perhaps forgetting about the booby trap, Cyr himself opened that door Thursday night.
The door device worked exactly as designed and shot Cyr when he opened it. According to WAGM TV after the 65-year-old Cyr dialed 911 . . .
Officer Chandler Madore and the Van Buren Ambulance Service arrived on scene, assisted by the US Border Patrol, and provided emergency medical assistance…
Unfortunately, Cyr later died at a local hospital.
The place was equipped with enough additional traps that the local PD called in the state bomb squad the make the place safe.
According to the BBC, booby trapping your home is a bad idea for all kinds of reasons.
It is illegal to set up devices in your home to protect it from intruders, if those devices can cause harm.
The legal argument is that life is more valued than property and that the devices have no means of preventing accidental harm or distinguishing between targets.
Even if the trap targets a criminal, the trap-setter, though having the right to protect their home, has no right to determine the punishment.
Injury can lead to lawsuits. In the 1971 case of Katko v. Briney, in Iowa, two homeowners were held liable for injuries caused by their spring-loaded shotgun to a trespasser intent on stealing from a vacant property.
The court ruled the deadly force was not reasonable and awarded the plaintiff $30,000 (£23,000) in damages.
We’ve seen this movie before. Last year Edwin Smith, a North Carolina man, much like Mr. Cyr in Maine, was shot when he opened his own booby trapped door. That one was rigged with a shotgun.
JUST IN: a 68-year-old man is seriously injured after Cleveland Co deputies say he got shot by his own booby trap. Deputies say he booby-trapped a back door with a shotgun, but around 11:30 am, he opened the door to feed some squirrels. The shotgun went off and hit his arm. pic.twitter.com/DCDfNqdgmr
— Brandon Goldner (@BrandonWCNC) October 15, 2018
Unlike Cyr, Mr. Smith survived his mistake.
Don’t try this at home, kids.