Battle Reenactors Slashing Criminals and Innocents
A convicted criminal learned ‘another’ hard lesson while breaking into the home of a weapons collector when he was chopped with a sharpened battle ax. On Wednesday night, Ben Ball, 36, was playing computer games and relaxing in his Michigan apartment, when Alex Rawls, 33, began banging on his door.
Rawls, a convicted violent offender, had previously dated Ball's roommate. Fearing Rawls might have a gun, Ball, who fights in recreated medieval battles, fetched his double-headed carbon steel battle ax, which he calls ‘his baby’, and stood waiting for Rawls to break in.
In a Douglas Digital Daily article, Ball, is quoted telling Wood TV that when the door opened he grabbed the ax, then “step, step, hit” striking the perpetrator at least once in the torso before the two men started brawling, and there was a “bloody mess everywhere” Ball said.
Hounds Track The Criminal’s Bloody Trail
Grasping his open wounds, Rawls fled Ball’s apartment while a neighbor called 911 and police K9 units soon followed his bloody trail which led to his arrest and charge of “first-degree home invasion”. Police said Rawls suffered substantial injuries and spent the night in the hospital before being transferred to the Kalamazoo County Jail. Rawls had previously been convicted of assaulting and disarming a police officer, and fleeing and eluding police. He now faces a maximum of 20 years behind bars.
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The police K9 unit apprehended the burglar who was injured by the battle reenactor. (Machiko Arita / Public Domain)
It is not often you can slash someone with a massive ax and walk away, but Ball will, and Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Jim VanDyken told Wood TV that avoiding confrontation with a robber is “usually” the safest course, but he said people have a right to defend themselves in their own home and Ball will not being charged with anything.
Battle Reenactment Drama
Every few years a story pops up with “battle reenactment” in the headlines and perhaps the most dramatic story in the US was described in a 1997 Washington Post article when 48 year-old Timothy Landacre died of a heart attack while reenacting the Union attack, commemorating the 135th anniversary, of the Battle of Antietam. On its own this one unfortunate event is not “dramatic”, but that same afternoon a woman suffered “serious burns” when photographic chemicals caused her costume to go up in flames.
A battle reenactor died and another one was injured while reenacting the Battle of Antietam. (Gaertringen / Public Domain)
While the battle reenactment organizers expressed their regrets about these two incidents, Don Warlick, site manager for the commemoration, said at the time that the death of Timothy Landacre “was a nice way to go”.
Big And Brutal Reenactment News From Russia
Only yesterday, in Russia, Tass.com reported that, Oleg Sokolov, a lecturer at St. Petersburg State University, and the “founder of the battle reenactment movement in Russia”, had been detained on suspicion of murder, in the hospital where he is being treated for hypothermia. A spokesperson for St. Petersburg’s department of Russia’s Investigative Committee said the lecturer “is formally charged” after human remains, of “two female arms and a traumatic pistol” were found in his backpack, reported TASS.
The associate professor at the New and Modern History Department of St. Petersburg State University has authored a series of monographs on the Napoleon-ruled French military and the personality of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 2003, the French president Jacques Chirac signed a decree awarding Sokolov the Order of Legion d'Honneur, France’s highest decoration, for his studies and enormous contribution to popularization of the history of France and its army. In 1976, Sokolov founded the first group of battle reenactors in the Soviet Union and the Russian Military History Movement, which unites military history clubs in 52 Russian regions and was founded in 2006 under Sokolov’s leadership.
Oleg Sokolov and historical reenactors, in the armor of medieval knights, at the 6th scientific and educational forum Scientists Against Myths in St. Petersburg on February 11, 2018. (Eissink / CC BY-SA 4.0)
Yesterday, Crime Russia announced that Sokolov lawyer Alexander Pochuev, said his client’s involvement in the murder has not yet been proven as a psychiatric examination has been ordered for the teacher, RBC reports. On Saturday morning, police detained Sokolov, who was “trying to drown severed female hands” in the Moika River embankment in St. Petersburg and a gun was found in the 63 year-old teacher’s backpack.
It’s all go with the reenactors!
Top image: Medieval battle reenactor defended his home using an ancient battle ax. Source: alexmina / Adobe Stock.
By Ashley Cowie