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.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Justice prevails

Even Stand Your Ground cases go wrong when a jury of peers is involved. This case of a Texas man shooting his neighbor over money is telling:
"A jury has convicted a Texas man for murdering his neighbor during a confrontation over loud music two years ago, rejecting a claim that he was within his rights to fatally shoot the man under Texas' version of a "Stand Your Ground" law.
Raul Rodriguez, 47, faces up to life in prison for the killing of Kelly Danaher, 36. Sentencing is scheduled to begin on Thursday.
"I'm just glad he can't hurt anybody else," Danaher's wife, Mindy, said. "I love my husband, and I miss him so much ... and he helped all of us get through this today."
It took the jury less than six hours Wednesday to decide between self-defense and murder. Jurors, apparently agreed with prosecutors that Rodriguez, a retired Houston-area firefighter, was a trigger-happy neighborhood bully.
"He felt like he had ultimate control, control to determine who lives and who dies," Donna Logan, Harris County Assistant District Attorney, said.
Rodriguez recorded the argument in May of 2010 when he killed Danaher, an elementary school teacher, and wounded two other people. The 22-minute homemade video was the key to the trial as Rodriguez's lawyers argued it was self-defense under Texas' version of the so-called "Stand Your Ground" law, which is also at the center of the Trayvon Martin case in Florida."
I wrote about this case the other day in this post. The fact that the man came prepared with his gun, his flashlight and a video camera ready to argue with and shoot his neighbors should send shivers up your spine. This man did not deserve to go free. Though he tried, his claim of self defense did not convince a jury. That is because his claim was totally ridiculous and cynical. Thankfully, some of the Stand Your Ground claims are so heinous that the shooter does not get immunity from prosecution and has to face a jury. But Rodriguez fully expected that he could shoot first and ask questions later. That is clear from this article:
One neighbor testified that Rodriguez, who had a concealed handgun license, bragged about his guns and that he told her a person could avoid prosecution in a shooting by telling authorities you were in fear of your life and were standing your ground and defending yourself.
Texas' version of a stand-your-ground law is known as the Castle Doctrine. It was revised in 2007 to expand the right to use deadly force. The new version allows people to defend themselves in their homes, workplaces or vehicles. It also says a person using force cannot provoke the attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time.
Let's look again at that last statement:" ...a person using force cannot provoke the attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time." What about that statement do the gun rights extremists not get? George Zimmerman apparently also believed that he could provoke Trayvon Martin and then shoot him in self defense. How has the gun rights community come to believe that Stand Your Ground laws give them the right to shoot someone even though it is clearly not in self defense? According to this recent study, to which I referred in a previous post, there has been an increase in gun homicides since the Stand Your Ground laws have passed in 23 states. Is that because permit holders have been drinking the NRA's "kool-aid"? These cases are self defense gone wrong. They are self defense to the extreme. That is what the NRA and its' minions have become. If you don't believe me, check out the biographies and extreme statements and actions of members of the NRA Board at Meet the NRA. Right there on the first page is a video of the recent rant of NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre who also brought us the "guys with the guns make the rules" statement. The result of this dark version of America is cases like that above and of George Zimmerman and other now exposed Stand Your Ground shootings discussed at the recent hearing in Florida about the law. People are speaking out about the law and did so in a recent hearing in Florida about the law.
After hearing from residents and experts on stand-your-ground cases, the group will prepare a report for Scott and the Florida Legislature. In doing so, officials hope to balance individual rights and public safety, Carroll said.
Trayvon’s parents and members of the Second Chance on Shoot First campaign, a coalition that includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NAACP and the National Urban League, held a rally outside Northland Church where the task force is meeting.
“We will be doing everything in our power to make sure these hearings broadly and accurately reflect the reality of shoot first laws,” said Chris Brown, a spokesman for the campaign. “We hope to demonstrate that the public is concerned about the recklessness of these laws and the negative impact they have in making communities safe.”
There is no common sense when it comes to the NRA's version of our country. Public safety should be of utmost importance in American life. We should be safe from the idea that just anyone can carry loaded guns into every public place in our communities. There are way too many senseless shootings in America. More guns have not made us safer.


  1. So apparently this means that Stand Your Ground laws don't automatically mean that all you have to do is claim that you "reasonably believed" you were in danger and get away with murder. Wow, who would have thought that?

    1. Yes Robin. It must be a huge surprise to Mr. Rodriguez who was so sure he could get away with murder. That is my point in case you missed it. The NRA sold elected leaders and gun rights extremists a lie. And now people are dead as a result. Cynical and senseless.

  2. I don't think many gun owners would object to this verdict.

    I'm not sure what this has to do with SYG doctrine. If this idiot heard voices telling him to shoot his neighbor, or incorrectly believed a law permitted it, he is still wrong.

    Removing "stand your ground" laws would not necessarily prevent such shootings, but the criminal defense would have one less potential tool during trial.

    Is your hypothesis that with fewer legal defense options, people would be deterred?

    1. It is clear, Sean, that Rodriguez assumed he could shoot someone and not be held responsible. That is my point, right? So the answer to your last question is yes. Others of my readers are trying to twist what I have said. Without the SYG laws, some people would be less likely to think they could shoot someone and get away with murder. I don't know how to make it any clearer. But you guys are good at muddying the waters. What I said in my post is what I meant.

  3. Guys,

    The SYG laws are quite clear. You must be in a place where you legally can be (I.E. not trespassing, burglarizing, etc..). You must not have provoked the attack (that is started an argument, fight, or such.) You also must be in fear of your life and be able to articulate what that fear was (say they had a gun, knife, club, or there was a disparancy of size/numbers, etc..)

    Now as for Zimmerman, we do not know IF Zimmerman had any argument with Trayvon, or if he followed Trayvon and provoked an attack. No doubt the trial will bring out all the facts and we know what exactly happened but for right now the only witness IS Zimmerman.

    Now in the case of Rodriguez, we have taped information, witnesses, statements made before and after, etc... and those show Rodriguez did provoke the attack. And thus the SYG law does not cover him (and didn't as he is now going to Huntsville!)

  4. There is only one place that I have ever heard ANYONE saying that it was "Ok to shoot someone if you think or say your in fear of your life"... and that is in the media and the left wing liberal anti gunners. The NRA and other responsible legal firearms owners have long held this is not the case....you must actually be in peril or you will be spending the rest of your years in jail. Like this nutjob. Now....I wonder where this guy got the idea that all he had to do was claim he was in fear, when actually there was no reason for him to be?.....hrm...where have I heard that before. Most likely the same place he did.

    1. Well remember, this guy is one of yours, not mine. He sure as heck wouldn't get his ideas about self defense from the " anti gunners" since we had nothing to do with writing the laws. That's all on the plate and the agenda of the NRA. That is where " nut jobs" like Rodriguez get their information and their education. Remember what he told his neighbor. Like Joe Horn in Texas, he was sure the law would protect him. Too bad Joe Horn did not pay for his crime. After the Trayvon Martin shooting, SYG laws are looking different.

  5. http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/authorities-say-hitchhiker-shot-himself/article_726e35cc-63b1-5dc5-ad4c-3843a50bbbbd.html

    1. Robin has found an article about the hitchhiker in Montana whose shooting I wrote about a few posts ago. it turns out that he shot himself and was not shot by an oil field worker as the story was originally reported. Why would this man have shot himself? Stupid and dangerous.

  6. Who said SYG laws were a license to kill, who said all you had to do was say you felt threatened and could blow anyone away, anytime, anywhere. It certainly wasn't the NRA, Alec, or any legislator who wrote the law. Its obvious this moron got his knowledge of the law from the anti-gun side and is now paying the price for his ignorance.


    1. No Harold. That is patently false. He got his idea from the law itself. The fact is the fact. That is what the man said. My side had nothing to do with writing these bad laws. That's all on your plate.