Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Castle Doctrine or Shoot First, ask questions later?

As promised, in this post, I am going to explore the idea of Castle Doctrine. This is a section of some state's gun laws that allows for a person to protect themselves and their homes from an intruder who intends to harm them. In the wording of some laws, it is assumed that the defender will retreat first. In fact it is the responsibility of the person defending themselves in certain states to do just that. The problem with the laws are in dealing with the aftermath of the cases where justifiable homicide was claimed. It turns out that the law is used successfully in most cases. " In a legal context, therefore, use of deadly force which actually results in death may be defended as justifiable homicide under the Castle Doctrine."( from the link above).


31 states have a form of Castle Doctrine law that grants immunity from legal action under the justifiable homicide provision of the laws. In Minnesota, not one case of justifiable homicide has resulted in someone going to jail for protecting themselves. Minnesota law already allows deadly force to protect oneself and loved ones in one’s home. The law states: "The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor's place of abode." " 


Several cases in Minnesota are notable here. One is Gerald Whaley of Coon Rapids, Minnesota. " Whaley said he grabbed the loaded .22-caliber single-shot rifle that he keeps near his bed. When a man carrying a flashlight suddenly came into his room, Whaley fired a single shot." The intruder was unarmed. This one was considered justifiable homicide by the authorities. Another Minnesota case, Eric Cegon, shot his girlfriend's former partner in a justifiable homicide situation. In this linked article, read about the aftermath of the killing, " But he and Simons, 22, both say they have endured nightmares and violent flashbacks ever since." For both Cegon and his girlfriend,(Simons), life has been difficult after the shooting.


Back to my wondering whether extending the Castle Doctrine laws already in place are a good idea. In Minnesota, a proposed law would have unintended consequences as are pointed out in this editorial in the Star Tribune. " Giving people carte blanche can encourage vigilantes and promote even more gunplay while weakening police powers. According to a state police official, it's unreasonable to support laws that give citizens more authority to use force than cops." A lawyer friend puts it this way: "Once the defendant has met this burden it becomes the burden of the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the claim did not apply. The increase in the level of evidence necessary is very important. Simply put that makes it hard to prove. First of all it's hard to prove a negative - prove that something didn't exist. Secondly particularly if the other party is dead it's hard to attack a set of facts given by the defendant. All you really have to go on is trying to prove that the belief of fear was unreasonable. If shoot first passes it creates the presumption that the fear was reasonable and thus requires the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't. Secondly current law requires that there be an actual and honest belief of the fear, whereas the presumption removes that completely. So - you're afraid- shoot vs. I think I'm afraid and here's why and you agree that the fear was real and reasonable."


Other changes in a proposed Minnesota law would include ( from the editorial above): "The revision would give citizens more legal leeway to shoot or kill anyone they perceive as a threat. On the street or any other public place, there would no longer be an obligation to try to avoid trouble before using a gun in self defense. And the proposal would lower the standard for firing from fear of "great'' harm to fear of "substantial'' harm." Lowering standards of proof in cases of killing another human being seems to me to be a bad idea. What if it turned the other way and was used to get someone off "scott free" who shot a loved one or a good friend of yours?


The fact is, a drunk who comes to the wrong door can be shot and the killer is not prosecuted. This has happened in Florida. A gang member can use Shoot First as a defense in killing a bystander. This has happened in Florida. While in Texas, Joe Horn, a Texas gun owner who shot and killed two would-be burglars when they ran through his yard, regrets what he did. He was acquitted of murder charges by a Texas jury. From the article:" "It's been very traumatic. It's been awful. I'm scared to go somewhere people may recognize me," he said. "To be in a situation where you have to take two lives to save your own, you have no idea. No one wants to feel like I feel," Horn said." And this: ""There's too many imponderables in this law, whereas the previous law was working just fine," Warren Diepraam, the Harris County Assistant District Attorney, told ABC a few months ago. "Frankly, life is precious."" From Horn's point of view: " "You're listening to a man that is scared and alone," Horn said. "That is a man that has never, never been in any kind of situation like this in his entire life" and that his talk was more bravado than anything else." 


So because Texas has adopted a version of what some on my side call "Shoot First" or "Stand Your Ground" law, Joe Horn killed two people because of what he admits to be fear and then bravado. Would he have killed these two people if he had not had his gun in his hand? The answer is pretty obvious. He called 911 as he should have. The operator urged him not to shoot and said the police would take care of it. Indeed, there was an officer nearby ready to intervene. But because people think they have the right to act first and ask or be asked questions later, these situations have now begun to occur in other states where these new extended Castle Doctrine laws are in place. As the law enforcement officer interviewed in the linked article said, the old law worked fine. Why change it to now allow for lives to be taken with no accounting for the consequences? Did these two people need to be shot for what they were doing? They certainly needed to be stopped and arrested which would likely have happened given the 911 call details. 


There are considerations to be made when thinking of defending yourself and/or your home with deadly force. Here is a study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that should give pause to those who believe they will need to use deadly force in situations involving home invasions. How about the use of violence in home invasions? : ".. about seven percent (266,560) involved some form of violent victimization". What about armed invaders? " Offenders were unarmed in 61 percent of the violent household burglaries that occurred between 2003 and 2007. In 12 percent of violent household burglaries the offender possessed a firearm. About 23 percent of these firearm-related burglaries were committed by a stranger." Most home invasions ( burglaries) occur when no one is at home,(73%) " The rate of household burglary when someone was home remained stable between 2000 (9 per 1,000 households) and 2007 (8 per 1,000 households)." Considering this data then, what has the pro gun folks so freaked out about needing fire power such as large capacity ammunition magazines for home protection? Given the reality of home invasions based on the study above, there is really no justification for such an arsenal for defense. Reasonable measures can be taken. Another blog, New Trajectory has offered some great ideas for protecting yourself. Here they are. The blogger offers alternatives to using a gun, such as home security systems, a dog, locking all doors and windows, being aware and knowing your neighbors, motion sensing lights, etc. These are good suggestions and none will require taking another life. If all else fails, self defense with a gun, if considered necessary, can be used, if you happen to own a gun.


This does not mean that I or the people on the gun control side are saying that defense of the home is not necessary or right. Many people have guns in their homes for self defense or stored for hunting and recreational use. Some store their guns, loaded, next to their beds. Some do not lock their guns in anticipation of needing them in a split second. Yes, some cases occur that would make this necessary. Again, though, justifiable homicide provisions are in place in state laws. So to expand these provisions to allow someone to take another human life without facing any consequences once a review of the case is made, does not make sense.


Differing points of view exist, of course. This article about the law in South Carolina offers a good explanation of the opposing sides of the law.Between 2005 and 2009, the number of justifiable homicides by private citizens rose about 33 percent nationwide, from 196 to 261, according to FBI statistics." " These numbers make me wonder, then, if the new "Stand Your Ground Laws" have worked to the advantage of those who would otherwise have been charged rightly with homicide and are now getting away with murder. We may never know. Those who like the laws claim that it would stop the criminal, person in the wrong and/or their families in a home invasion case or self defense case from filing financial claims against the person who used a weapon in self defense. There may some rationale for wanting to protect the assets and integrity of someone against wrongful death claims if they are not legitimate. But I thought we had courts which would hear such claims and judges and juries could determine whether the claims are false or spurious. And in the cases of justifiable homicide, as mentioned in the linked article above, courts also most often side with the home owner over the criminal.


So I still have many questions that are unanswered. Why is it necessary to expand the provisions of the law? Why has the pro gun side found that what already exists is just not enough justification for homicide? In other words, what is this all about anyway? Is there common sense to extending the rights of gun owners to shoot to kill under the presumption that there is intent to harm? Does a gun owner have a right to shoot a person breaking into his car in the driveway when the person is not intending physical harm to the home owner? Does a home owner have a right to shoot a "stranger" who is trick or treating on Halloween night and is mistaken for someone intending harm? This famous case of the Japanese exchange student, Yoshi Hattori, is a case for leaving the Castle Doctrine provisions as they are without giving someone a reason to shoot to kill.  "There was no thinking involved," she testified at her husband's manslaughter trial." There may not be time to think fast enough in these cases but ask yourself what you would have done in the same circumstances. Would you have shot to kill? Would you have had time to see if this person had a weapon? Would you have thought to use a gun? On Halloween night when there are lots of people coming to your door, would you suspect someone of wanting to do harm? There are a lot of questions here. A young man's life was taken. The shooter did not have to serve time or suffer consequences. 


Is this case justifiable homicide falling under the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law? Would you take out your legally owned gun in public and threaten to shoot neighbor boys who are annoying you with their skateboarding? Would you then shoot to kill a neighbor who defends the skateboarders? Do you think the shooter should get away with murder in this case? " "It's a senseless act that didn't need to happen. The man knew what he was doing and we want the man arrested. DJ was a good man and loving towards his family. He spent 20 years in the military in both Desert Storm and the Gulf War and Danielle lost her best friend and she says she will miss him very much especially the motorcycle rides."" The victim was shot in front of his 9 year old daughter. Was this "standing your ground" or "shoot first/ask questions later"?


So when the pro gun guys on my blog challenge me about my stance towards "stand your ground" or "shoot first" laws, these are my thoughts and some facts to back them up. If they can justify that shooting to kill is necessary in the cases I have provided, I want to hear it. If they can justify that the people who shot to kill should not have been held accountable for their actions, I want to hear it. If they can tell me why the current Castle Doctrine laws now in place in many states and were in place in the states that have extended the laws to give people immunity from prosecution, I want to hear about that,too. I'm sure I will. Meanwhile, use common sense everyone. Lives may depend on it.

74 comments:

  1. OK, In a previous post by you on this topic, I mentioned Wergild: the value placed on every human being and every piece of property in the Salic Code. That concept was instituted to prevent blood feuds. Wergild was a part of the warrior code in the dark ages:
    “Sorrow not, wise warrior. It is better to avenge his friend than much mourn.”

    There are many problems with these castle doctrine laws which should trouble anyone who sees value in human life (a right to life). These laws say that human life is not as valuable as property.

    For those who would say that these laws would not create extralegal killing, we already case miscarriages of justice such as the Joe Horn incident.

    Quite frankly, these laws give the wrong message. Even "Dark Ages" Germanic culture was able to see that justice must be done and life needed to be valued.

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  2. OK, In a previous post by you on this topic, I mentioned Wergild: the value placed on every human being and every piece of property in the Salic Code. That concept was instituted to prevent blood feuds. Wergild was a part of the warrior code in the dark ages:
    “Sorrow not, wise warrior. It is better to avenge his friend than much mourn.”


    Uh huh, and I asked then and I will ask again how putting a price on a human life is "justice". What's someone worth, Laci? What's "300 oxen" in 2011 US Dollars- $500,000? So if I have $2,000,000 I can kill four people? Saying that Dark Ages Germanic culture valued life more than property because they penalized the offender by making him pay money (property) doesn't make any sense, because it in effect says that people's lives have a price. And like I pointed out the last time you brought this up, most of the people committing violent crime couldn't pay anything substantial anyway.

    And I don't know how quoting Beowulf telling Hrothgar to avenge his dead friend helps your case.


    Joan-

    Your link to a gang member killing a bystander links to the below story...

    "Under what is known as Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law," a Daytona Beach man recently avoided up to 15 years in prison for smashing another in the face with a 2-by-4 while defending himself and his girlfriend from a drunk attacker."

    ...which I'm completely comfortable with. Just curious if that was the wrong link.

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  3. Anon- in the article linked was this as well as the case you found: " In Daytona Beach, three men have been shot and killed in the past year in what police described as acts of defense during drug deals gone wrong.

    Murder charges have not been filed in those cases because the accused shooters had permits to carry concealed weapons and were defending themselves, Police Chief Mike Chitwood said.

    "We're seeing a good law that's being abused," he said.

    The most recent case involved the shooting death of Lekeefe Lee, 25. According to police reports, Lee was shot Dec. 10 at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue after arguing about a marijuana sale.

    The accused shooter, Emanuel Rivera, 26, was charged with delivery of a controlled substance and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, but not murder, Chitwood said, who has discussed the cases with prosecutors." Though not gang activity exactly, there have been cases of gang shootings where the shooter has tried to use shoot first as a defense.

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  4. Readers- here is a direct link to a gang shooting and "shoot first" as a defense http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/92183289.html " The judge ruled Monday that Jeffrey Brown and Andrea Tyler were acting in self defense when they shot and killed rival gang member Michael Jackson on Holton Street back in February 2008."

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  5. An excellent post full of anecdotal evidence. I won't comment on all the cases you've mentioned, because they've all but put up to the scrutiny of the prosecutors or juries and seen evidence that neither of us has been privy to. However, I do have some thoughts...

    " Giving people carte blanche can encourage vigilantes and promote even more gunplay while weakening police powers. According to a state police official, it's unreasonable to support laws that give citizens more authority to use force than cops."

    Not at all. Cops aren't generally attacked in their homes at night. The cops are also responsible for policing the behavior and actions of others, something which these laws in question do not give "regular" people (since cops are citizens too) the right to do. These laws regard the behavior during a defensive situation, rather than an offensive one.

    "The fact is, a drunk who comes to the wrong door can be shot and the killer is not prosecuted. This has happened in Florida."

    Actually, a drunk who comes to the wrong door cannot legaly be shot anywhere. In any state.

    Now, a beligerent drunk who breaks your door in because he is too blown out of his mind to know any difference can quickly become a deadly threat. If he is drunk enough to enter your home violently, he is certainly able to become a danger to the homeowner. I'd shoot too if my home was entered like that. Here in Illinois, it is widely believed that there is no castle doctrine in place. Our county state's attorney holds an annual lecture on gun laws, and has stated that Illinois law provides for the use of deadly force if someone enters your home "in a riotous or tumultous manner." His words, not mine. Seems to me that a drunk breaking down your door in the middle of the night after the bar closes certainly qualifies.

    Your solution is "don't shoot!" Mine is "Don't get drunk!"

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  6. ".. about seven percent (266,560) involved some form of violent victimization". What about armed invaders? " Offenders were unarmed in 61 percent of the violent household burglaries that occurred between 2003 and 2007. In 12 percent of violent household burglaries the offender possessed a firearm."

    So because we might not be harmed we should take the chance? Would you give the same advice to rape victims? "Well, chances are he won't kill you, so it's best not to fight back." I don't really care what the odds are. If I shoot a home invader, the odds go from seven percent down to zero.

    When it comes to the safety of my family, I like those odds!

    "Considering this data then, what has the pro gun folks so freaked out about needing fire power such as large capacity ammunition magazines for home protection?"

    I like how you worked this in. Say what you will about your policies and beliefs, you are nothing if not persistent. So because chances are we won't get hurt, we shouldn't shoot home invaders. And besides, ban those high capacity magazines!

    "The blogger offers alternatives to using a gun, such as home security systems, a dog, locking all doors and windows, being aware and knowing your neighbors, motion sensing lights, etc."

    Great advice. It's certainly a starting point. Hey, you know who also gives good advice? The Illinois State Police. Since we don't have concealed carry in this state, they advise women on their website (or they used to at least, until they received a lot of attention) to avoid being assaulted by using nail files and gagging themselves until they vomit on their attackers. If that doesn't work, just urinate on your rapist. Is that common sense?

    Best of all, "none will require taking another life." Everybody wins.

    " But I thought we had courts which would hear such claims and judges and juries could determine whether the claims are false or spurious."

    We do. Just like we have judges and juries who determine if the stand your ground laws were followed and the person had reasonable suspicion to fear for their lives or not. Sometimes it seems as if you're saying that you can just shoot someone, say "He was coming right at me!" and no questions are ever asked again. This is of course not the case.

    " Meanwhile, use common sense everyone. Lives may depend on it."

    We do. That's why we don't shoot the mailman, the paper boy, and the girl scout selling cookies. That's why I've never shot people who've broken down in the middle of the night and knocked on my door asking for help.

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  7. "There are many problems with these castle doctrine laws which should trouble anyone who sees value in human life (a right to life). These laws say that human life is not as valuable as property."

    We do see a value in human life. Unfortunately what you suggest puts the greater value in the human life of criminals rather than the human life of victims. Or perhaps you'd like our country to be more like the UK, where homeowners are advised against burglar proofing their homes and sheds in case they might injure the criminal? Common sense, indeed!

    " Even "Dark Ages" Germanic culture was able to see that justice must be done and life needed to be valued."

    Sounds like they called them the "Dark Ages" for a reason! I'm glad we have progressed enough to get rid of these pro-criminal laws.

    Here's a piece of advice: Instead of trying to make defense against criminals illegal, why don't you try to convince criminals to stop preying on society?

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  8. "We're seeing a good law that's being abused," he said."

    So even the police chief believes this is a good law? Perhaps instead of scrapping the law we should modify it to prevent cases like these? I'd be in favor of that.

    Most of the anecdotes you quote seem ridiculous to us, but really we are being nothing more than "armchair juries" without all the facts. No, the man who went out and threatened the skateboarders (as an example) should not have gotten off from the evidence you provided.

    So lets work to fix the law from people abusing it, so that people who have been helped by the law do not suffer.

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  9. A perfect example of how most "victims" of violent crime are the people most richly deserving of it.

    "I find from the evidence, both sides to this shootout expected, anticipated and even welcomed the additional confrontation," Judge Terry Lewis wrote in his order.

    15 year old Michael Jackson was shot in the head when police say rival gang members faced off on in their cars on Holton Street that night in February 2008.

    From the comments-

    "a couple months before this shooting michael & his cousin jumped 3 people in one night..."

    Laws intended for the law abiding and then applied to career criminals will of course appear unjust.

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  10. "Is this case justifiable homicide falling under the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law?"

    No, of course not. A reasonable person would not think that a weapon needed to be involved at all, unless he's claiming a retired military member was attacking him for no reason.

    "Would you take out your legally owned gun in public and threaten to shoot neighbor boys who are annoying you with their skateboarding?"

    So ridiculous as to be inflammatory.

    "Would you then shoot to kill a neighbor who defends the skateboarders?"

    If he was trying to beat me to death with a skateboard, otherwise see above.

    "Do you think the shooter should get away with murder in this case?"

    Of course not, no one should "get away with murder". Hopefully they raise it from manslaughter to murder, because that's what it was.


    Valrico, Florida -- Neighbor Trevor Dooley, 69, has been arrested in the shooting of David James. Neighbors tell us he is known for complaining about kids riding their skateboards on the basketball court across from his house.

    Dooley was arrested at his Valrico home at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon on the following charges:

    * One count of Manslaughter
    * One count of Improper Exhibition of a firearm
    * One count of openly carrying a Firearm

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  11. We have covered one very important portion of this law. The removal of the need to flee if possible portion.

    As I have previously proven, most crime is visited upon those least able to defend or flee the situation. Like all predators, the primary prey sought is the old, the weak, the unable to defend.

    The law gives these people, the most likely to be victims and the least liky to be able to flee, the right to self defense without fear of prosecution.

    Joan, you have suggested thru this post that gun owners are somehow "itching" to kill someone. That because we have a gun we have this bloodlust we can not control. This is ridiculous, and even more ridiculous for those who have gone through the process and gotten our permits.

    Why? Because the average guy getting his permit has already lived at least twenty one years without crossing that line to violence. Most people it seems who get their permit are a good bit older and have maybe thirty or forty years of near perfect Citizenship, or they wouldn't get a permit.

    By nature, we are reasonable people averred to violence and crime. We have all heard the horror stories of the legal gun owner who messes up and either spends his life in jail or loses everything to lawyers. No one wants that outcome. What we do want is some security that if we are forced to use our guns in a defensive manner that there is some clear and defined limits on the costs to us and our families.

    Law abiding Citizens do no want to have to shoot anyone, never mind kill them, but if they force us to respond in that manner then we need legal protection under the law.

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  12. Yes, P, I agree with most of what you said. I am not saying that most gun owners are itching to kill someone. That being the case, as long as the Castle Doctrine works, why extend it to make it possible for someone who may think that the Shoot First law will protect them, to shoot someone. If they don't have the law to "back them up" , they might think twice about shooting someone and retreat and make darn sure they are acting in justifiable self defense. That is my point. My comments are not meant for ALL gun owners but once these laws are proposed, MOST NRA and other pro gun guys get behind them and make it seem as if they all must have these new provisions. What if they don't need them but have been convinced that they should have them? I think that is a possibility here.

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  13. "as long as the Castle Doctrine works"

    What some states' Castle Doctrine didn't previously cover was civil immunity. If the state declines to prosecute or you are found not guilty of a shooting, the victim or their families shouldn't be able to sue you into oblivion. If it was a bad shoot, then they can go after you in a civil suit. Innocent people shouldn't be held liable for damages sustained to attackers.

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  14. I agree with Laci that these laws devalue human life. Some of the big proponents of these laws refer to the dead burglars as "vermin" and "goblins," further proving Laci's point.

    I'm afraid many gun owners are not moral enough to rise above the outrage they experience when someone dares to break into their home. Many of these DGUs have nothing to do with lethal threat or fear thereof, and everything to do with, "how dare you, you scum bag."

    The Castle Doctrine attitude has evolved to include running people down in the street and executing them, or simply shooting at them as they run away. This is sick.

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  15. In the case of Joe Horn, he didn't exactly shoot two poor misunderstood Hispanic youths who had gotten lost and wandered into his yard. According to Wikipedia (not the best source I know, but I remembered reading this in an article when the shooting first occurred, and now I can't seem to find it again), the deceased "both were convicted criminals from Colombia who had entered the country illegally, and were members of an organized burglary ring in Houston."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Horn_shooting_controversy

    While this wasn't exactly a "good shoot" in the strictest sense of the law, don't expect me to shed too many tears for the passing of a couple of society's less-than-desirables.

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  16. @mikeb: pretty sure that "scum bag" comment was directed in response to a previous comment of mine. So if I understand your comment above - we're to allow criminals free and unimpeded access to our homes because if we don't, we've somehow devalued human life?

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  17. Two things come to mind with recent comments. One is that some of the folks shot in "Shoot First" cases are not criminals. Their lives are not disposable. Second, there is a real difference in philosophy here. My side looks at lives lost as unnecessary and all grieved by someone. There are a few where it could be argued that the world is better off without them. But some on your side believe that some loss of life is o.k. as long as you perceive that your rights are upheld and you have your own guns. Yours us more the " every man for himself" view. Mine us more what's good for public safety and preventing loss of life.

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  18. There have been some horror stories over the years about people confronting armed intruders in their homes and shooting to protect themselves then being charged because they could have left the house.

    Even in states where you could legally defend your home you were in limbo in your car or place of business.

    Even if you shot an armed intruder in your home in a situation deemed to be justified you could still be sued by the deceased's loved ones.

    What castle doctrine does is say you do not have an obligation to retreat before you can defend yourself. If you are where you are supposed to be and did not do anything to bring trouble upon yourself you may use deadly force to stop an attack upon yourself or others.

    You will also be protected from lawsuits in that if you are sued and win the suitbringer must pay all your legal costs. Lawyers may take a case on contingency but if they have to pay out of their own pocket if they lose they aren't quite as interested.

    However, even if I am involved in a case that is found to be totally justified I am going to lose the weapon I used for the foreseeable future, I am going to be arrested (there is a saying, if you are involved in a shooting you are going for a ride, you can only choose the kind of vehicle) and I am going to be out between $6000 and $10,000 for legal costs going through the Grand Jury process. At least I won't lose my house and business to the legal costs of defending myself from civil suits brought by a crackheads relatives seeing a chance to change their station in life.

    Because of this cost I am not going to shoot anyone unless it is clearly them or me. As a matter of fact if I am armed and I see you being attacked the most I will do for you is call 911.

    If a DA is saying he can't prosecute criminals because of the Castle Doctrine he is either incompetent or not telling everything. There have been a multitude of convictions despite using Castle Doctrine as a defense.

    This is the same office that decided that they would ignore the law, arrest people with guns and make them pay a lawyer to defend them when they hadnt broken any law, just because the DA didn't like the current law.

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  19. @mikeb302000 "The Castle Doctrine attitude has evolved to include running people down in the street and executing them, or simply shooting at them as they run away."

    Do you have any proof to support your statement? My understanding of the law is that the shooter will be arrested for murder if the CSI folks can prove the victim was shot as he was running away, even if the victim was a Colombian criminal that had just finished raping and murdering the shooter's sister. The jury might be lenient with the shooter, but the shooter will still be arrested for murder.

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  20. "The Castle Doctrine attitude has evolved to include running people down in the street and executing them, or simply shooting at them as they run away."

    Right, that never happened before Florida enacted castle doctrine (which comes from English Common Law and is centuries old, by the way). I'm sure that that Tigh Croff was thinking, "well the street is KIND OF my house..."

    People are going to do the things that they are going to do. The best we can hope for from a legal system is to protect the people who make good decisions, even if a few bad decisions slip through on a technicality.

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  21. "...some on your side believe that some loss of life is o.k. as long as you perceive that your rights are upheld and you have your own guns."

    The cost of having highways and high speed conveyances is that people are going to die, but I don't see anyone crusading against the personal ownership of automobiles. Is that because we don't respect human life?

    As our society is now, the cost of having a person's home respected as off limits to criminals is that criminals are going to have to get shot, and some of them will die. Human beings are creatures of habit. The ONLY thing that reliably changes behavior is mortal fear. Ask any cop or probation officer how many criminals spontaneously turn their lives around- it is exceedingly rare, and in those rare instances it usually accompanies someone getting killed. It is as the saying goes- "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."

    "Yours us more the " every man for himself" view. Mine us more what's good for public safety and preventing loss of life."

    Negative. What is good for society and LONG TERM public safety (and the individuals involved, provided they live through it) is for those who engage in criminal behavior to understand that working and earning a living is a better way to go than crime. This is not achieved by protecting criminals as was done in the UK. That just convinces them that working for it is for suckers.

    This is done by providing education and work training as the "carrot" and allowing potential victims of crime to defend themselves as the "stick".

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  22. Again- comparing cars to guns is apples to oranges.

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  23. Japete:

    "Offenders were unarmed in 61 percent of the violent household burglaries that occurred between 2003 and 2007. "

    If they are "unarmed", but violent, am I to assume that means they used physical strength (punching, kicking. wrestling, etc?)

    There are clear physical mis-matches that would lead to risk of deadly harm, such as a 200lbs. man trained with martial arts punching a 90lbs. elderly woman.

    Does such a victim not deserve the right to defend herself with a firearm in that example?

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  24. Japete: “Considering this data then, what has the pro gun folks so freaked out about needing fire power such as large capacity ammunition magazines for home protection?”

    Are you dismissing 266 thousand victims of violent home invasions as being insignificant?

    Second, I believe criminals have every right to protection under stand your ground laws as well as law abiding citizens. A lot of our laws are specifically used to protect criminal’s rights- it is cornerstone of a free society. Being involved in gang/drug activity greatly increasing the chance of someone trying to kill them- so yeah, it is going to come up. In the case you pointed out, the drug dealer was still charged with drug charges and felony weapons charges, but not murder. I think that situation is very plausible and the correct ruling (if that is what the evidence backed up)- remember he is still a criminal, he’s just not a murderer. Granted, any prosecutor/jury is less likely to believe a career drug dealer’s story so they’ll need some pretty solid evidence of self-defense. In short, you seem to be overly hung up that a criminal is going to get away with something because of stand your ground laws. The fact is criminals get away with crimes *all the time* specifically because of our laws that presume innocence and ultimately protect criminal’s rights. And I don’t think you would want it any other way.

    Finally, your general tone is that people are gong to change their behavior based on these slight changes in the law. Personally I doubt that. I doubt that during a life or death situation, the person who is fearful for their life is going to be thinking of castle doctrine laws. No, they are operating on survival instincts, and whatever the law is will not affect whether they run, draw their weapon, or fire their weapon. These laws only change the legal outcome after the mess is sorted out, and I am all for any law that keeps people who defend their lives out of prison. I think the one case you can make where the law could have affected the actual shooting is Joe Horn, because he was actively considering castle doctrine laws during the incident. But I think you’d be hard pressed to find another case like it.

    If someone gets away with murder because of castle/stand your ground laws, then so be it. It won’t be the first time that someone got away with murder because our justice system favors the innocent.

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  25. Sean- again, I didn't say people don't have that right if they choose it. The stats speak for themselves. The facts make note of the armed or unarmed burglary attempts and the fact that most home burglaries occur when people are not at home so we are talking a small number here. For all of that, the gun lobby has people convinced that these things are happening all the time so they must be armed when, in fact, they are not. So having a gun is a choice but it could be the wrong choice depending on whether it ends up getting used in a suicide or homicide instead of self defense. I didn't see that the report specified as to punching, kicking, etc.

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  26. Interesting logic there, TS. I'm not sure it works but at the least, I don't agree with it. I suppose it is true that sometimes people get away with murder but why make it easier instead of harder?

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  27. japete said...

    Again- comparing cars to guns is apples to oranges.
    March 7, 2011 12:48 PM

    Joan, you responded to the first half of the first sentence of my comment, which was four paragraphs long.

    Here's the second part of that sentence again, in case you didn't bother to read it.

    "...but I don't see anyone crusading against the personal ownership of automobiles. Is that because we don't respect human life?"

    The point is we tolerate a death toll associated with transportation because of the benefit. Is that because we don't respect life? Of course not.

    Likewise, we can exercise our rights to self defense without somehow losing all respect for human life.


    CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
    SECOND EDITION

    2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

    If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.66

    In other words, discouraging people from defending themselves is ITSELF disrespectful of human life.

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  28. Answer is the same for the whole paragraph. I am not a member of the Catholic Church. I am a member of a church that expouses peace and supports efforts at gun control. But thanks for sending this. I have many Catholic friends in favor of my posiiton and actively working towards gun control measures. They must not have read their Catechism with those words. Or maybe those words don't preclude measures to save people's lives by passing reasonable measures. If life is important, it is important to prevent the taking of it.

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  29. "If life is important, it is important to prevent the taking of it."

    ...by ensuring people can defend themselves without fear of legal retribution from misguided prosecutors or civil liability despite the complete absence of criminal wrongdoing.

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  30. Your answer to all of THIS...

    As our society is now, the cost of having a person's home respected as off limits to criminals is that criminals are going to have to get shot, and some of them will die. Human beings are creatures of habit. The ONLY thing that reliably changes behavior is mortal fear. Ask any cop or probation officer how many criminals spontaneously turn their lives around- it is exceedingly rare, and in those rare instances it usually accompanies someone getting killed. It is as the saying goes- "It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others."

    "Yours us more the " every man for himself" view. Mine us more what's good for public safety and preventing loss of life."

    Negative. What is good for society and LONG TERM public safety (and the individuals involved, provided they live through it) is for those who engage in criminal behavior to understand that working and earning a living is a better way to go than crime. This is not achieved by protecting criminals as was done in the UK. That just convinces them that working for it is for suckers.

    This is done by providing education and work training as the "carrot" and allowing potential victims of crime to defend themselves as the "stick".


    ...is "apples to oranges"?.

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  31. "The Castle Doctrine attitude has evolved to include running people down in the street and executing them, or simply shooting at them as they run away."

    Under Common Law, not only did victim have the right to chase down a fleeing criminal, he had a legal obligation to do so - and so did every bystander.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hue_and_cry

    "By the statute of Winchester, 13 Edw. I cc. 1 and 4, (1285) it was provided that anyone, either a constable or a private citizen, who witnessed a crime shall make hue and cry, and that the hue and cry must be kept up against the fleeing criminal from town to town and from county to county, until the felon is apprehended and delivered to the sheriff. All able-bodied men, upon hearing the shouts, were obliged to assist in the pursuit of the criminal, which makes it comparable to the posse comitatus. It was moreover provided that a hundred that failed to give pursuit on the hue and cry would become liable in case of any theft or robbery. Those who raised a hue and cry falsely were themselves guilty of a crime."

    Which is why Robert Peel included among his principles:

    "Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."

    This idea that we should step aside, and leave it to the professionals is inherently contradictory to the foundational premises of a free society.

    "How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?"
    - Jeff Snyder, "Nation of Cowards

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  32. I don't agree with your thoughts, here,jdege. As I have said, you are an extremist and these thoughts confirm that.

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  33. Japete: “I suppose it is true that sometimes people get away with murder but why make it easier instead of harder?”

    It is so that we don’t put innocent people in prison for murder- or God forbid, execute them. It is a pretty liberal stance, so I’d be surprised if you don’t agree with it in principle- it is just that your mind changes when it involves guns. Innocent until proved guilty, the right to remain silent, the right to defense attorney, the right to trial jury, and… self-defense laws- these are all laws that protect innocent people but also have the consequence of freeing the guilty. The idea is it is better to let a guilty person go free than to lock up an innocent one.

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  34. "I don't agree with your thoughts, here,jdege. As I have said, you are an extremist and these thoughts confirm that."

    If by "extremist" you mean that I agree with the principles that were the foundation of Western Civilization, yes, I am an extremist.

    "Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them."

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  35. Jdedges comments are right on the money. They clearly show the origins of a responsibly to the community as a Citizen.

    Ever been to plimoth vllage? Ever go to old sturbridge village or Colonial Williamsberg and listened to the people speak? Everything was for the common good. Fire prevention, crime prevention, self defense, harvesting and more.

    The Posse was a common event in the 1700's and 1800's and it was usually made up of those in town with the most to lose.

    It has not been until recently that people have detached them selves from the role of the police as part of the community. Tv showed the change. Andy of Mayberry to Dragnet. Friend and neighbor to professional detached law enforcement man.

    You decide if that pattern has worked. I think it has failed miserably.

    Involved people who feel like stake holders in their neighborhoods and who view the police not as report writers and ticket writers but as friends and neighbors.

    Cops who are friends and neighbors would have known loughner was a risk and done something about it. Cops who as friends and neighbors know that Joe Smith has been in business for sixteen years and never had a single problem. When the cops show up because he had to shoot some hoodlum breaking into his house with a crow bar, they have a good idea this was a decent man who had a clean record and a community reputation as a calm and reasoned businessman.

    Report writers show up and arrest him because they see a guy facing away. Never mind that the first bullets hit him in the middle of the chest. This is the core issues.

    Legit people are afraid of being misjudged and raped by the legal system over one ten second incident in their life. In almost all of these cases it's clear in a heartbeat who the good guy is. Clean record citizen vs rapsheet hoodlum with several layers of prison tats.

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  36. I just don't get this, P. " Report writers show up and arrest him because they see a guy facing away. Never mind that the first bullets hit him in the middle of the chest. This is the core issues. " What are you saying here. The police officers in my community have a lot of friends in the community and I count one of them as me.

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  37. I was saying just because of the body position he is charged with shooting a guy running away even though the evidence says otherwise.

    This has happened.

    I was stressing the point that honest citizens are to be given some protections and giving the Citizens the protection of this law is a good step.

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  38. "I don't agree with your thoughts, here,jdege. As I have said, you are an extremist and these thoughts confirm that."

    Ah, here we go with the name calling again. I'm confused, because I thought we were here for debate? Or is name calling only allowed when it isn't a four letter word and when the person isn't on your side?

    I guess it's no matter. I can't speak for jdege personally, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of people commenting on your articles would find the word "extremist" quite the compliment when it is in reference to civil rights.

    I know I do.

    As for jdege's comments regarding the police, I personally feel this is an excellent facet of English common law. Our gradual movement away from so-called community policing has brought nothing but trouble for our society. I liken it to the lazy worker to sits around saying "Not my job!"

    Do you ever wonder why the police find it so difficult to find criminals in inner cities where the mantra of "Didn't see nuthin'!" pervades? There is a difference between vigilanteeism and what is called for in jdege's quote. It would also serve to eliminate some of the "Us vs. Them" attitude so many people have towards law enforcement these days.

    As a fireman, we've been asked numerous times to help the police with our thermal imaging cameras (to find suspects hiding in cornfields), with floodlights (to search for victims), and with manpower to assist with missing persons.

    This is little different from the "hue and cry" comment and can only serve to make our communities safer and closer knit.

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  39. jdege- sometimes I think you talk in quotes.

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  40. We're dealing with issues that have been debated for centuries. Your positions have been raised many times, and proven incorrect, both by simple logic and by sad experience, many times.

    "A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, and dares say to reason, `Be thou a slave'; who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.

    "The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons."

    Cesare Beccaria, "Of Crimes and Punishments" (1764).

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  41. Seriously, Alcade- you keep sending me these quotes from the 18th century. My eyes glaze over. I just don't get what they prove. I could find a whole lot of old quotes, too, to prove something on my side. What good would that do? These are the thoughts and opinions of people- many of whom were wise- that may resonate in some way but may or may not affect current opinion. I am a pragmatic, and practical person and like to deal in realities. I just can't throw quotes out hoping that will change the minds of people. If I wanted to study 18th century literature, history, philosophy or political thought, I could attend a class or two. That is not my current interest. Plus, what does it have to do with my post? I am interested in hearing and arguing about what is going on out there every day in 2011 and going forward.

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  42. "Plus, what does it have to do with my post?"

    We're talking about fundamental issues of governance. Some understanding of how efforts at strict gun control have gone wrong throughout history should be a prerequisite prior to forming an opinion on the issue - let alone trying to advocate for a position.

    "The majority falls prey to the delusion - popular in some circles - that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth - born of experience - is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.

    All too many of the other great tragedies of history - Stalin’s atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few - were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars.

    My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed - where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once."

    - Alex Kozinski, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

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  43. Alcade- by now I realize that you are sending these quotes to annoy me. I will not continue to publish these since they are not offering anything to the conversation. Your views are extreme and I don't know why you continue to even read my posts since it is very obvious that we are fathoms apart in our views. If you want to have a practical discussion, good. Otherwise, continuing to provide me with long quotes is getting nowhere fast.

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  44. Joan,

    he's not trying to annoy you, he's doing what all educated people do, He is using historically significant documents, things studied in Universities and beyond as statements of wisdom and discernment regarding the pivotal issue of humanity.

    He has quoted a Judge, a philosopher, a Statesman, all trying to show you that the epic discussion of freedom vs servitude have been thoroughly discussed by far greater minds than ours and it has always proven that you can not control where the future goes, but by reading history you can understand trends and factors which might influence the future.

    We all know what has happened in the world, Everywhere there has been a people subjugated, they have been disarmed and abused. The Pograms of Russia, the Armenians in Turkey, the Kurds in Iraq, the Victims in Rwanda, the jews of Europe, the Cambodians under the Kymer Rouge, the Hmong under the vietnamese, and the list goes on and on and on. EVERYSINGLE TIME a people have been disarmed, they have been crushed.

    These are the fears of an intelligent person. These are the fears of an educated person. you keep saying it can't happen here. I can show you several places where it did happen here, New Orleans, Los Angelses/Watts, Detroit, Harlem. and more. Its not just fantasy. Its not paranoia to at least consider the possibility of events happening that could cause general unrest.

    China has been trying for years to crack the US Banking systems. Like idiots we outsource an incredible amount of our banking and credit call centers and data processing to India, Pakistan and elsewhere, What happens if one of those nations along with say, China, decides to muck up all of our banking records, all your credit cards are turned off, all your cash is gone from the bank, all your retirement is missing. (if you think i am dreaming, then why is this one of the top scenarios at the FEMA gaming tables.) How long are people gonna be placid when they can't buy food, gas, or ammunition? if the trucks cant pay for fuel with credit cards, how are they going to deliver the food or gas, Most Cities only have a 6 to 9 day supply of food on hand. thats it, Do you think people are gonna sit down and take it, waiting for the Government to use paper copies to re instate all your money? Are you goning to sit still and starve while someone else hordes all the food?

    Is this a likely event? no, possible, yes, No body thought about the effects of Katrina resulting in months of civil unrest, and that was just one city and a few counties around it...

    Even more than the physical issues of freedom, there comes the psychological aspects of freedom. A free people are a productive people, they are stake holders in Society, one of the reasons we as conservatives get so angry at the national debt, we have become indentured servants to a government that has spent more than can be fathomed in a search to get re elected, Had anyone had any sense, we would have been screaming from the bulwarks years ago, "Hell, no, we wont take this anymore...."" My families portion of the national debt is several times our annual income. just to pay off what we owe today, would take us forty years or so, and thats if they balanced the budget today and forced the Govt to never borrow again in those forty years. If you look at the numbers as real money you and I owe in additional taxes to shore up a failed concept of spending other peoples money like its free, it makes you sick. It took us 206 years as a nation to reach 1 trillion dollars in debt, it has taken us 9 years to reach 14 Trillion dollars in debt. It can not go on, it has to stop.

    P as anonymous due to a faulty computer at home..

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  45. Laci could you explain how the life of a stranger has more tangible value than property to the owner of that property?

    Why would you expect the owner of property to care enough about the non-tangible value of a stranger's life incur tangible losses when doing so would be against his self interest?

    Are you willing to compensate the owner for his lost value in exchange for retaining the value of the criminal's life?

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  46. P- really? " months of civil unrest" That is not what comes to mind when thinking about the after math of Katrina. Your view of the world is like the end times. I do not believe in it. Please stop sending me these tirades. They are useless. As I said before, they will not be printed. Keep it simple. This is a bird walk-from the Castle Doctrine to Armegeddon.

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  47. To Alcade, P and jdege- your comments are often similar in nature and your talking points are quite similar. You maybe get them from the same place or you are all coming at the issue from the same point of view. You are all sending quotes from similar sources that are long and involved to try to explain your world view. I get it. Your world view, as I have said, is vastly different from mine. We may never meet anywhere close to in the middle. I don't mind an exchange here but when we get into such lengthy explanations involving long quotes from 18th/19th century historians and philosophers, it is not practical for the sake of discussion. My having ro read them and refute them is a distraction from the issues before us about which I am blogging. Keep sending them if you must but let's engage on a more practical level about what the laws will or will not accomplish. Your comments about freedom and liberty also are not shared by me and represent what I consider to be an extreme point of view. I know you will be upset with my saying it but it's what I think. This does not make me you right and me wrong or vice versa. We approach things with our different colored glasses on and have come to different conclusions.

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  48. "To Alcade, P and jdege- your comments are often similar in nature and your talking points are quite similar."

    I cannot speak for the other two, but I can tell you that your arguments are nothing I haven't heard before. As you can probably imagine, I read an incredible amount of firearms related information: newspaper articles, blogs, magazines, etc. What you believe is really nothing unique, nor are your talking points. I can well imagine that most of your pro gun visitors have read and will quote many of the same sources as myself.

    "We may never meet anywhere close to in the middle."

    No, we will never come anywhere close to agreement on this issue. It is a matter of political philosophy that extends far beyond firearms rights. I don't believe anyone comes here to make comments hoping to change your mind; I know you never will. I come here because I believe that by refuting your ideas with my own I am doing my own small part to help gun rights, should any undecided person come along. And to be quite honest, I enjoy debating people. It's just plain fun.

    "My having ro read them and refute them is a distraction from the issues before us about which I am blogging. "

    Then don't refute them. I certainly don't have time to refute everything in your blog entries. If I felt compelled to write an entire dissertation on everything you wrote I'd do it on my own site rather than piecemeal in your comments and with the risk that they would not be published. As it is, I'd comment on your entries even if you didn't publish a single one.

    " I know you will be upset with my saying it but it's what I think."

    I am not in the least insulted by being called an extremist. When it comes to civil rights, I don't consider that derrogatory in the least! Coming from a member of the Brady org. I'd say that's quite a compliment. However I do consider it a double standard for you to use what you admit to possibly be upsetting labels and then cry fowl if others do the same (and no, I'm not speaking of bad language).

    "We approach things with our different colored glasses on and have come to different conclusions."

    Yep, nothing wrong with that. My comment to you that you chose not to publish was more irritation that you directed a response to me personally rather than the one who made the comment. I recently misquoted you, but I apologized for the error.

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  49. Japete,

    I've generally made a conscious effort to only post responses that will be at least partially received by you.

    While I may not employ the same tactics as Jedge/P/Alcade, I feel the need to get this off my chest. I also don't care if you post this.

    History does matter. The reasons my 3x great grandfather emigrated from central Europe 140 years ago matters.

    I was fortunate enough to have known several elderly folks who lived through the great depression, fought and/or live through WWII. Some of the sacrifices people made, even in THIS country are amazing, and make me almost guilty for having things so easy.

    It saddens me how so much of that wisdom has been lost on modern day society. Everything is taken for granted. I believe that attitude leads to complacency and surrendering liberties to our government to avoid personal responsibility is the worst example.

    Being "progressive" is a very delicate thing. Of course times change, and we all must cope. I've had to learn to work alongside people from around the world. I have friends that are same sex couples, and their children play with mine.

    I can believe and practice a different world view than my parents, and their parents before them did. That does not mean I don't honor and respect those experiences.

    A popular example is Thomas Jefferson. He owned slaves, and wrote the constitution. If we can discredit him personally as a slave owner, can't we then discredit all his work?

    Many liberals and atheists try a similar tactic with religion. We can all find some horrendous biblical examples in text (stoning, and other harsh old test. stuff). It's "commonsense" that no one would agree with those things - so does that negate the word of God or His place in our lives?

    I want you to know, that I will continue to promote my values to my children and the community I live in.

    I attend church, volunteer with boy scouts, am a member of the local PTA and at the local level follow political developments closely.

    Before you call me right wing, I've supported democrats to get elected and voted against corrupt republicans. In my thinking, politics sometimes is a necessary evil, but I try to work outside of it whenever possible.

    That's my problem with you, your group and those similar. You work with politicians to pass MORE legislation.

    Can't you do a traveling seminar, pass out free trigger locks outside of Cabelas, or buy ad space?

    Stop involving corrupt, inept politicians from places like New York, who don't know an assault rifle from a post hole digger.

    Immeasurable sacrifices have been made for our freedom, and I feel you're willing to just toss that awkward burden aside in the interest of being "progressive".

    Thanks for letting me rant. God bless.

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  50. Wow- Sean, that was a rant all right. It must have felt good to get it off your chest. Just so you know, my parents lived through the great depression. My mother gave up going to college to get a job to help her family get by when her father lost his job. She was the only one of 4 not to get a college degree. My Dad fought in WWII in the 34th Red Bull division from Minnesota. He served in North Africa and Italy and landed at Anzio in Italy where he saw some horrific things. He rarely spoke about the horrors but had panic attacks and develeped an excema which the doctors thought came from stress. I grew up in a very middle class if not lower middle class family, Both my sister, my brother and myself were college educated- me with a Master's Degree equivalent though not the actual degree ( too long to go into that). I recognize full well what my parents went through and sacrificed. My husband's family was even less well off than my own. He and his brother both went on to professional degrees. This has allowed us to live a pretty good life style. I value all of it and recognize all of it. I grew up in a conservative Democratic household and I became more liberal than my parents as I went to college and matured. I learned to argue with my Dad about politics and sometimes won the arguments. As you know, my brother served in Viet Nam. I am not tossing any of that aside with my own views. I am just as patriotic as the next person and even as you guys. I happen to see the world differently and who knows how we all came to our positions on issues?

    I have attended many traveling seminars and led many discussions as well as lobbied and organized campaigns. Sometimes gun guys have been there. I have held press conferences. My state organization has been involved in giving out trigger locks with local L.E. We are doing it all. We have bought ads when money allows. But we are not going to stop advocating for sensible gun laws because we know the public is on our side and we know it is right. That felt good for me as well.

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  51. Joan.

    I am not an extremist. You are. I am a very logical mainstream person in almost every way, exceptmwhen it comes to civil rights. All civil rights. I want every person to have the same opportunity to succeed, I want every person to have a voice. And I want every person to have the ability to defend themselves and their rights and liberty

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  52. "But we are not going to stop advocating for sensible gun laws"

    Nobody is asking you to. We're just asking you to approach your judgment over what is or is not a sensible gun law from a more knowledgeable perspective.

    The only way to deal with gun crime is to deal with criminals - measures aimed at law-abiding gun owners at best accomplish nothing.

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  53. "Given the reality of home invasions based on the study above, there is really no justification for such an arsenal for defense."

    That's easy to say as long as your name isn't Raul Flores.

    "But I thought we had courts which would hear such claims and judges and juries could determine whether the claims are false or spurious."

    You are assuming that courts are competent and unbiased. The case of Brian Aitken proves the contrary.

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  54. quite the allegations, there Aztec. I don't think you guys trust anyone.

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  55. "Given the reality of home invasions based on the study above, there is really no justification for such an arsenal for defense."

    The question is: Who is best placed to make such a decision?

    The answer is: The person concerned.

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  56. I find it interesting that you have no problem citing statistics saying that 0.01% of home invasions might require self defense with a firearm and that we shouldn't worry about it.

    Then in practically the next breath, you'll say we need to pass legislation to try to prevent misuse from 0.00005%* of gun owners.

    How about this in the interest of fairness? When the number of gun owners committing crimes goes above 0.01% (a 20,000% increase) then we'll support your legislation.



    *(6 million permit holders, 288 "Concealed carry killers")

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  57. I haven't plowed through all the comments here -- just read the OP.

    There actually might be some room for agreement here. Alaska's Castle Doctrine laws suit me: I don't have to retreat in my home, my business, my place of employment, or in the presence of any child or any member of my household. I'm allowed to use deadly force in the face of threatened death, serious physical injury*, kidnapping, sexual assaults, arson, carjacking, and robbery. It also allows lethal force to be used in accordance with common law (the AOJ triad we've talked about previously).

    That's 100% valid. All of those crimes are serious crimes against the person.

    I would not be upset to see a provision that allows lawful defenders to assume jeopardy (i.e. criminal intent) to be met by any home invader. I don't know if an unwanted guest is in the house to steal my TV, or to kill me and rape my wife. I don't intend to ask them what they intend to do. I intend to hold the top of the stairs with my wife backing me up, and shout, "We've called the police, we've got guns, get the heck out of here right fricking now!"

    We also have a civil immunity statute. I'm of mixed views on these: on one hand, yes, the court system should sort out if a criminal or their family (and their bloodsucking ambulance chasing lawyer working on commission) is due anything. However, practically, that can bankrupt many lawful defenders. While I'd prefer to see the state provide a free lawyer to a lawful defender, that costs taxpayer dollars. Given the realities, the civil immunity statute is the best that can be done. I'll take it over the alternative of no protection, and being financially ruined by a thug that tried to attack me.

    Alaska is considering expansion of our "stand your ground" provisions to cover any place where you can lawfully be. I don't know that I'm a huge supporter of this. I actually think the current law is close to broad enough, although I wouldn't mind seeing that jeopardy provision added in the home.

    Unfortunately, your side insists on using overheated rhetoric to denounce any sort of legitimate self-defense. You blow the downsides out of proportion, far beyond anything that we've actually observed in reality. You ignore or are willfully ignorant of the common law which backs up all lethal force claims in all 50 states, which imposes substantial requirements of AOJ and reasonable fear of grave bodily injury in almost all cases. You refuse to accept that people who choose armed self-defense -- not always a good option, but maybe the best of several bad options -- are also victims of violent crime. You seem to want to chip away at the right to armed self defense and erase it. I'm certainly not going to help those laws be chipped away at. So while I don't lobby my legislators to support even more enhancements to Castle Doctrine, I'm not opposed to it, either. If you took the extreme position you tout off the table and displayed more empathy for victims of violent crime then there might be more agreement here.



    *Under AK law, "Serious Physical Injury" basically equals "Grave Bodily Injury" elsewhere...

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  58. Chris- I have provided some examples of "Shoot first" laws gone wrong, in my opinion and that of many who support my position. While there may be some hyperbole in language used, most of the reasons we oppose expanding the castle doctrine laws are because of the possibilities of using it as a way to shoot someone and then claim self defense when the incident should not be a legitimate self defense case. I don't think I put that very well but I hope you know what I mean. We, by the way, recognize the legitimate need for laws to protect home owners in self defense cases. The language you used to describe what you would say if someone broke into your house is a great example of what a home owner should do in that case. We can all hope we won't be faced with the need to use a castle doctrine provision. As the studies showed, there are not many cases, in fact, where it is necessary, thankfully. So from your side, the need for a gun for self defense is actually rare. From my side, the cases where someone is shot accidentally in a "self defense" is also rare. That is why I think the laws as they stand without expanding places where "shoot first" can be used are unnecessary and also I do think the courts will sort this out. It sounds like you don't trust the courts to do the right thing. In Minnesota, there is not not one case of someone using a gun or other weapon in self defense being sent to jail. I believe the courts did sort these out and found the legitimate use of self defense.

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  59. Migo, feigning ignorance, asked, "Do you have any proof to support your statement?"

    Here's one: Tigh Croff.

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  60. mikeb302000 said...

    Migo, feigning ignorance, asked, "Do you have any proof to support your statement?"

    Here's one: Tigh Croff.
    March 10, 2011 9:51 AM

    Oh, Good grief, Mike. Yet again- Tigh Croff chased a guy down and shot him in the street, and he's in prison for committing a felony.

    And just pointing at Tigh Croff is IN NO WAY "proof" that legislation to protect legitimate self defense somehow encourages people to execute unarmed criminals in the street.

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  61. It sounds like you don't trust the courts to do the right thing. In Minnesota, there is not not one case of someone using a gun or other weapon in self defense being sent to jail. I believe the courts did sort these out and found the legitimate use of self defense.

    I'm specifically most concerned about civil cases. Without a civil immunity statute -- often a key part of Castle Doctrine laws -- Someone can be totally innocent of all criminal charges yet still face debilitating civil cases. The attacker who got shot -- or their family -- can sue for their medical expenses, injuries, lost wages, wrongful death, etc. Because the criminal court holds a relatively high bar of "guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt" and the civil court holds a lower bar of "preponderance of the evidence," the defender has to go through a lengthy court proceeding -- again.

    And for this proceeding, there is no right to a state-provided attorney. Your defense comes out of your pocket. As for the perp who is suing you -- given that many lawful defenders have at least some assets to go after (a home with equity, autos, income from a steady job, etc), ambulance-chaser lawyers are happy to take the cases on commission. That is, the lawyer takes a huge chunk of the judgment or settlement if they win and the perp gets a slice too, but the perp doesn't need to pay anything out of pocket.

    Even if the civil case also decides against the perp (not always a sure thing -- there's also no right to a jury in civil cases, so if you are heard by a judge who hates self defense or guns then you're hosed), you're still out the total costs of your legal fees which can run in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Someone's life can still be ruined without being sent to jail.

    Alaska's civil immunity statute allows you to recover those costs if things go your way. Additionally, the mere presence of the statute reduces frivolous civil cases. The perps and their lawyers know that they will foot the bill if things are decided against them. They actually have something to lose. If they don't, then they might as well sue you and see how deep your pockets are.

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  62. If you run after someone in the street and shoot them down or you shoot someone in the back, you will go to prison unless a jury intervenes on your behalf which is highly unlikely. It's extremely difficult to envision a self-defense justification against someone who's back is facing you or that you were chasing. Ask any DA, judge, or lawyer friends that you trust.

    Joan, publishing MikeB's inflammatory comments weakens your cause. It pains me to say that because his comments actually help the pro-freedom movement, but that's the best common sense advice I can give you today.

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    1. See further down. My grandson was shot twice in the front, once from the side and once from behind, and the DA ruled self-defense. He was a prosecution witness, but the DA has the final say in these things. Why she would accommodate such a situation is a mystery to a lot of people. I think it was murder 1, and maybe she had too much trouble on her plate. But I have no say in it. There will be more of this kind of thing, be sure of it.

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  63. Migo- since I publish inflammatory comments from your side, I publish some on my side. You guys don't like it. Neither do I when you do it.

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  64. True, but inflammatory comments against you, help you. MikeB's comments are not helping you.

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  65. "Does a home owner have a right to shoot a "stranger" who is trick or treating on Halloween night and is mistaken for someone intending harm? This famous case of the Japanese exchange student, Yoshi Hattori, is a case for leaving the Castle Doctrine provisions as they are without giving someone a reason to shoot to kill."

    Hattori approached the house and an armed man with a huge gun. It was reasonable to assume that he might have been under the influence of something. Hattori's friend testified that when he saw the gun, he retreated while Hattori moved towards the armed homeowner. The homeowner gave plenty warning for Hattory to stop, he didn't. He kept warning him to stop and only shot at the last possible moment. As evidence showed by the powder burns on Hattori's clothes, the homeowner shot the gun when Hattori was less than 4 feet which would place him under the carport and thus, the house.

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  66. Miguel- I don't think too many people feel that way about what happened to Hattori on Halloween. He didn't speak the language. He was intending no harm. This is not a good case to hold up for extending the Castle Doctrine.

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  67. @japete

    Didn't speak the language? He was approaching a shouting man holding a gun, I don't think the language barrier was a huge factor.

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  68. Migo, I don't believe you. You don't really find my comments inflammatory, you're just trying to be disruptive. It's good that japete isn't bullied by your complaints.

    Anonymous, Tigh is in jail for a minor felony, while he ran a guy down and murdered him. I realize the law doesn't say that's permissible, but I also know that the Castle Doctrine Mentality does. Apparently the jury in his case, all fed up to the teeth with street violence and sympathetic to the homeowner, felt the same way.

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  69. @mikeb302000: That's the second time you try to get inside my head and incorrectly deduce my motivations. I suggest you read Marshall B. Rosenberg's, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life It's an excellent book on successful communication skills.

    If this is a distraction, it's only because you continue to make false judgments about me. You absolutely do not know me, my history, or the work that I've done to help others. Even after being discredited by a lawyer, you continue to make an unusual connection between the criminal Tigh case and the legal Castle Doctrine.

    Also, I didn't bully Joan. Apparently you also need a dictionary. I sincerely gave Joan some advice that might help her, much as it pains me. She is of course free to disregard my advice, as she obviously has done. That's not bullying nor is it a complaint.

    Also, Joan, I answered your questions regarding "What state are we talking about here?" I resubmitted a slightly shorter version just in case it was lost in the Internet. It's important to me that my answers to your questions are posted because I don't want it to appear like I'm ignoring you or that I don't take your questions seriously.

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  70. Mike, there's no such thing as a minor felony. And by your own admission, the jury was responsible for the manslaughter charge vs. murder.

    Ergo, once again- Castle Doctrine had nothing to do whatsoever with this case.

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  71. When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.

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  72. The truth is that all these people who spout off how they will blow an intruder away have no idea of what they are getting into if they actually do it. If you are really rich (and I mean REALLY rich), know the DA personally, etc., you might get preferential treatment, but if not then there is a high probability that you'll go to jail, like the pharmacist in Oklahoma City who shot a would-be robber to death. The DA perceived that he used excessive force, and he got murder 1 (and it stuck). The big mouths ignore all of that, but I know that it's true, even in castle law states. Hoping for a DA that's on your side is like rolling dice. Stay out of such situations to the extent that you can. Check out my blog about castle law failures at:

    http://www.cliffs-of-cotter.com

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  73. Brice Harper, shooter, stated publicly several times that he had a gun, wasn't afraid of Dan, and once even said he 'would blow Dan's head off'. When he and Heather were going around the block and knew Dan was following them Brice had TIME to decide what he was going to do. In a self defense situation the confrontation happens and you have to decide. Brice was driving around processing what he was
    going to do. So he DECIDED on murder. He didn't decide to lock his house and call 911. He didn't decide to keep driving and call 911. He didn't decide to drive to the cops and get help. He DECIDED he was going to get out of the car, get a 40 caliber revolver and MURDER Danny. If THAT is self defense, we should all be terrified. https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForDanFredenberg

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