This is What Happens to a Disarmed Populace: Australian Flame Throwing Shopkeeper Edition

“Two men with what appeared to be firearms tried to rob a store in Queensland’s Alexandra Hills at 6:30 a.m. local time Saturday,” reports. “Not taking that lying down, store owner Dan Rigney took up the weapons available to him to defend his shop: fly spray and a cigarette lighter. In other words, a makeshift flame thrower.” Funny or die? mashable think so . . .

The fiery surprise made the robbers temporarily retreat and stumble, as the security footage obtained by Nine News shows, before moving around to ransack the till and allowing Rigney a moment to escape. According to the outlet, they made off with A$680 (US$481), which doesn’t seem like much after being embarrassed by a can of pressurised insect repellant.

Hello? This was a life or death confrontation, where a shopkeeper was forced to use a non-firearm solution to a firearm problem. In short, despite the positive outcome, it’s not a good idea to bring a can of insect repellant to a gunfight. Nor is it a good idea to disarm the good guys, in case you didn’t know.

[h/t felix]


  1. avatar Yank-hee says:

    Hmm, funny how the criminals were able to pass a background check for their sawed off rifles.

    1. avatar Splitlip says:

      Is that even a real gun? Lever action, wood stock, stainless barrel, Uzi style 9mm box mag. Weird.

    2. avatar Narcoossee says:

      And in the UK at least, what he did would be considered illegal, as it is illegal to use anything as a weapon.

      1. Hi Narcoossee,

        As a Brit, I have frequently had to correct this misunderstanding here on TTAG.

        Under UK law it is illegal to possess any item for use as a weapon, whether that’s a skillet or a sawn-off shotgun.

        However, if you are threatened with harm you absolutely are entitled to respond using a weapon, of whatever kind, under the condition that your response is:
        • minimal
        • reasonable
        • proportionate

        In this case, therefore, improvising a weapon from items you might reasonably have behind the register, to defend against 2x attackers with firearms, would be just fine.

        In fact, if you had a legally owned hunting firearm and ammunition to hand, and loaded it and carried out a DGU, very strong odds are you’d be just fine.

        Going back to the minimal / reasonable / proportionate test – what this means, roughly speaking, is:

        Don’t use greater force than you need to in order to neutralise the threat.

        What the “reasonable man” would consider to be OK behaviour: if the bad guys is down and no longer a threat, don’t keep on shooting holes in him.

        This is the one that tends to cause the biggest issue with Americans to whom I’ve spoken. Basically, if they have a knife you need to make a very strong case for why you used a gun (as opposed to a knife). If you don’t know whether or not they’re armed you must assume they are unarmed and therefore respond without arming yourself – until you find yourself shit outta luck and they have a sawn-off…


        I personally feel our laws are – broadly – effective in achieving their goals, in the particular context of UK society where use of weapons in a crime is relatively uncommon (stats are skewed by gangbanger-on-gangbanger crime).

        I disagree strongly with the general presumption that you should treat an attacker as unarmed until they demonstrate otherwise. I mean, that is literally ceding the advantage and nothing more… But to be fair the case law proves that courts aren’t always stupid: where there’s a clear disparity in capability (eg. large male attacker / small female victim) there’s a lot of leeway there if the victim arms him/herself without the attacker having shown a weapon.


        Anyway, not meant as a rant and certainly not personal at you – but since this website is The Truth About Guns… I like to correct this mistaken belief when I come across it.

        1. avatar california richard says:

          Very informative and unfortunate. Reasonableness standard over here (for the most part) takes in to acount things like age and size disparity, number of attackers, aggressiveness of the attack (i.e. grounding and pounding in to sidewalk) and if the attacker demonstrates “fighting skill”. All of these factors can be used to articulate justfiable deadly force. But (like in UK) it has to be reasonable and you can’t go overboard.
          And when I say deadly force it means the gloves are off. A knife, gun , car, pencil, etc is fair game if you have to defend your life or someone else’s life.

        2. avatar Daily Beatings says:

          “Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife.” – Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Brown v. United States

        3. avatar Lurker_of_lurkiness says:

          “This is the one that tends to cause the biggest issue with Americans to whom I’ve spoken. Basically, if they have a knife you need to make a very strong case for why you used a gun (as opposed to a knife). ”

          Well yes and no.

          If you wish to harm me, I don’t owe you a fair fight.

          Spose you come at me with a knife, if I choose to use my pocket knife against you I am risking you stabbing me dead, or injuring me. Factor in the fact that I am not a knife fighter and for all I know you might be master of chopping and it just is not a risk for me to take.

          So I’d shoot you if you tried to attack me with a knife.

          What about fists? Well ignoring the fact that I have no proof you aren’t armed….

          With fists one hit could KO me, leaving me unconscious at a criminal’s mercy; for all I know you could sodomize me, take my organs, murder me and sodomize my corpse. No thanks.

          Spose I am a better fist fighter than you (doubtful as I don’t go around robbing people via fistfight), I may break my hands on your face; I need these hands I make my career with them!

          Lets say you punch my mouth and get a cut or I punch yours. Well hello bloodborne pathogens! Did I just win a free bout of Hepatitis? Aids? Rabies? A sudden desire to vote for Bernie sanders? (j/k yall)

          A fist could destroy my eyes! It isn’t worth the risk to give a criminal a fair fight.

          So if you tried to fistfight me, if I could not disengage and skedaddle; I’d end your threat as quickly and safely (to myself) as possible: gun, knife, car I don’t care.

          Now this may seem uncivilized, but if one person is attacking another it IS uncivilized. Generally we try to give our fellow man the benefit of the doubt, BUT IF YOU ATTACK ME YOU LOSE THAT because it is a trapping of civilized society.

          Of course there is an easy solution, just don’t attack anyone and you shouldn’t need to worry about being shot by folks defending themselves.

  2. avatar John P. says:

    Now we’ll see what they charge the shopkeeper with. Indoor smoking?

    1. avatar Wrightl3 says:

      They’ll probably charge him with possession of a flame thrower.

      1. avatar James69 says:

        Attempted Arson or Terrorist act.

  3. avatar SuperG says:

    And the gun-grabbing politicians that made this man a victim continue to pat themselves on the back for a “confiscation” done well. One day though, a gun-toting criminal will rob and rape one of their daughters, and then maybe they’ll see their error.

    1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      They won, any more than Obama ever will. His own daughters have plenty of firepower protecting them. Enough so that they spend a few hundred K of tax payers money on armed guards creating traffic jams, just so they can buy $300 worth of politically correct groceries. But that is a-ok, since Obama and Obama’s is more equal.

  4. avatar passthebrass says:

    “Kudos to Rigney for his quick
    thinking. As a customer told the
    Nine News reporter, “I wouldn’t like to cross him, that’s for sure.””

    Encourages fighting back in ones defense but would probably “want to start a conversation about guns” if he had used a firearm to defend himself.


  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    This is the liberals dream of improving the human condition. It’s only money people! Only tangible objects! and impoverished criminals need this money. So no – you can’t shoot them. Just give them what they want. Insurance will pay for everything stolen (we’ll mandate it with legislation if not done already). So don’t worry about it. Just run away and give them space to take your stuff. A person’s life is more important than just some convenience store stuff right???

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      So don’t worry about it. Just run away and give them space to take your stuff.

      Well, at least Progressives are self-consistent in that regard … they want to take all your stuff as well so the Almighty State can redistribute your stuff to people who are more “deserving” (e.g. the ruling class but they let you think it goes to “less fortunate” people).

  6. avatar H says:

    Where did they get the guns?
    Wait, is that a stupid question?

    1. avatar Mad Marsupial says:

      Probably stolen from farms (very common) or very old pre-law change firearms (i.e. never registered, 40+ years old).

      Look like .22 sawn down.

  7. avatar MeRp says:

    Wow, he is lucky they didn’t blast him once they’d regrouped and taken control of the situation.

  8. avatar Mk10108 says:

    Always seeing an opportunity might I suggest an improvement. Instead if insect repellent, a light flammable oil with higher pressure. Range would be increased and flames would stick to the robbers. Of course the vendor, in good conscience would have a fire extinguisher ready ones the assailants illegal firearms were secured.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Wasp spray comes very close to this. It shoots every bit of 15 feet under fairly high pressure in copious quantities and it is extremely flammable. (It is basically charcoal starter fluid.)

      However, it might be almost too flammable and a lot of it might burn in the air before reaching your attacker. While that would produce a spectacular fireball, it wouldn’t do much to incapacitate your attacker.

      1. avatar John L. says:

        Spray for a second or two and then light the stream?

      2. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        I’d expect wasp spray would be pretty effective as is without igniting it. We use it on the occasional wasp nests we find under the eaves. It’s only a few feet up, but with the force it has, I could see that easily having a 15+ foot horizontal range.

        1. avatar Ken says:

          This is the correct answer. Basically, the effectiveness of the spray was lost in the fire. If this is all you’ve got (or able to have), direct spray to the face would have been more effective in incapacitating them or reducing their ability to continue.

  9. avatar dph says:

    What is really sad is, he had thought this through ahead of time. He had the spray and lighter right in front of him ready to go. You would think he could have come up with something a little more effective. But hey, Australia.

    1. avatar Felix says:

      I noticed that too. Had all the ingredients right at hand, and didn’t fumble combining them. Makes me wonder if that makes a weapons charge more likely, just to make an example of him. Premeditation and all that.

      1. avatar Mad Marsupial says:

        If he had a baseball bat behind the counter, he might get into trouble – that item in theory has ‘no place’ and could only be there as a weapon. Doesn’t look good in court.

        Obviously a sporting goods store has good reason to keep baseball bats laying around…but if he was a member of the local cricket team and his kit bag and cricket bat *just happened* to be behind the counter, then he’s fine. ; )

        A can of bug spray and a lighter are stock items in this store, so even if he had deliberately put them there to be weapons he still looks ok in the eyes of the law since the items are not ‘out of place’ and they really can’t prove pre-meditation.

        I know it sounds strange, but it is something the police and magistrates do take into account. My dad was a Crown Prosecutor – similar to a DA – for many years. We used to have the odd field hockey stick laying around since my sister played it and they were ‘to hand’ if we needed to use one for defence (we did at least once when the doctor’s surgery next door was robbed after hours by drug addicts).

  10. avatar Cloud says:

    Pathetic. Australians who wish to be free need to stand up to this madness and demand a restoration of their rights.

  11. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    What kind of short barreled rifle was that on the counter? It looked to be lever action and it also looked like it had a magazine that holds .22 LR cartridges.

    1. avatar JT says:

      Looks homemade, possibly fake.

      1. avatar James69 says:

        Fallout 4…. pipe pistol..

  12. avatar Ross says:

    I wonder if the shop keeper will charged with a crime for using a WMD.

  13. avatar pres stone says:

    10-1 says the shop owner will be prosecuted for torture or some bullsht like that. thanks obama

    1. avatar Felix says:

      Obama? Australia? methinks you are fixated on Obama a wee bit much.

  14. avatar DerryM says:

    Great way to effect an escape, but he is lucky one of the robbers didn’t shoot him (maybe they had guns, but no cartridges). It may be only money, but I have seen/read too many stories where the shop cashier who doesn’t resist gets shot anyway (usually execution style in the head). I don’t know the statistics of how many shop clerks get murdered over a small amount of money as opposed robbed and left alone, but no one in their right mind would want to be the one killed over a paltry sum of money. This guy had a strategy and it worked, hope the cornholes in the Legal System there don’t charge him with anything.

  15. avatar the ruester says:


    “Rubber band powered auto slingshot/hairspray flamethrower with bayonet.”

    Your welcome.

    1. avatar dph says:

      Slingshot may or may not be considered a prohibited weapon in Australia.

  16. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    At that range, a spear may have been a better weapon.

  17. avatar pres stone says:

    yeah pretty fucking disgusting how they think this is just all fun and games. and if he had shot the clerk they would force more gun control. what a crock.

  18. avatar Layne says:

    Well it’s an amusing video, especially considering they *probably* had no bullets anyway, but 100% ineffective at repelling the attack or buying time to escape. In fact it wastes time he could have used to escape, so it’s even worse than ineffective. Any counterattack that cannot prevent them from firing their guns is probably worse than just running away.

  19. avatar James69 says:

    oh, I thought this was California. oops. He needs some of those Tactical Sandals like they have overseas.

  20. avatar George in VA says:

    Marlin made a lever .22 with all wood stock(Levermatic ?) a bunch of years ago that looks very similar. But all I’ve seen had a tubular magazine. Sort of ruined the collector’s value by chopping it didn’t they ?

  21. avatar Priest of the center mass says:

    A good atta boy Dan is in order!
    At least some aussie’s have retained their instincts to protect themselves and this vid hopefully inspires more to do so.
    I’m going to add this one to my tool kit. Flol

  22. avatar Treedodger says:

    And according to Obama & Hillary we should follow the Australian model. No thank you………

  23. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Dang! It got my attention. Too bad he didn’t fry those 2 miscreants(maybe they were already fried). And NO-nothing funny about being robbed…

  24. avatar AnhydrousWater says:

    Don’t bring a can of hair spray and a lighter to a gun fight….

  25. avatar Sammy says:

    A preview of mikey bloomberg’s America.

  26. avatar lamenterms says:

    so sad that the good citizens of Australia suffer from their governments ineptitude, only allowing them a last resort of self defense that include a hairspray can and a lighter when defending themselves against armed criminals. even sadder that they are cheery on this second time the criminals only got 600 dollars. there should have never been a second time. unacceptable. i can only say….this is a very scary situation. i truly feel very bad for that individual who only had a can of aquanet as his defense.

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