Hmmm. This makes too much common sense. For those who believe a gun is the answer to everything this advice might seem arcane or irrelevant. If you are not a gun owner as most of us are not, actually, what do we think we will do in the case of a home invasion? Have you thought about this?"Luckily, there are many non-lethal options available to deal with that possibility, and non-lethal might be the safest way to go. After all, those menacing shadows behind your house could just be kids taking a shortcut through the neighborhood.Perhaps the single most-important item to have handy when an intruder is on the property is a telephone.Telephones and TASERs"Call 9-1-1 immediately, and then retreat for safety," advised Steve Tuttle of TASER International, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company that makes the well-known electric-shock devices.If you feel you must protect yourself, your family and your property, a TASER or stun gun, especially one that shoots a TASER projectile, is a possible option.As Tuttle explained, "It allows a 15-foot zone of protection and a 30-second window of opportunity to get to safety."Check to make sure you're allowed to possess a TASER or stun gun. They're restricted or illegal in eight American states and in most other English-speaking countries."
Or would you do what Byron Smith did in the recent Little Falls, Minnesota shooting of two teen agers who broke into his home? Let's hope not. Shouldn't shooting somebody be the last resort instead of the first resort? It appears now that the teens had broken into other homes looking for prescription medications. The teens were at fault for breaking into homes and most particularly the home of Mr. Smith. We don't know what happened after the break-in and more details are sure to come as law enforcement learn more about the crime scene. But this was not a case of simple self defense. Could a 911 call have saved the lives of the teens? Could Mr. Smith have left by the basement door which, in a photo of the home, looks like it opens directly to the outside? There is no evidence that the teens were armed. Many people would, as Mr. Tuttle from the linked article above suggest, call 911 and retreat to a safer place in the home or go outside via a different door, if possible.
The shooting in Minnesota as well as the recent shooting of a Florida teen by a law abiding gun permit holder have put a spotlight on self defense and the use of guns for self defense. From the article:
Mr. Dunn is likely to have an uphill battle in convincing a jury that shooting at a car full of teens for playing loud music was a justification for the murder of one of the teens. What did he think would happen when he fired 8 bullets into a car? Why didn't he call 911 if the music was that offensive? This case has received national attention, as well it should, for its' similarity to the Trayvon Martin case:When he was arrested, Dunn claimed he was going to turn himself in, but it does not explain fleeing the scene, or the county, or why his girlfriend failed to alert law enforcement about the shooting. After his arrest, Dunn told detectives “he felt threatened and that is the reason he took action.” Police in Jacksonville said the teens were unarmed, and Dunn is being held without bail and was transported to a jail in Jacksonville Monday to face murder and attempted murder charges . On Monday he pleaded not guilty in Brevard County court, and his attorney claimed “it will be very clear that Mr. Dunn acted very responsibly and as any responsible firearms owner would have acted under these circumstances.” On Tuesday, his lawyer told a different story and claimed “he acted the way any responsible firearms owner would act in a similar situation because a shotgun was aimed at him,” and that her client was “devastated that anyone was harmed in this instance.” Dunn did not tell police about a shotgun, and it is incredulous that he fired eight or nine shots into an occupied parked car and was devastated anyone was harmed. Police still claim the teens were unarmed, and that they admitted their music was loud, but that the confrontation was a verbal exchange over loud music. Apparently no-one left either vehicle.A Florida attorney said using a “stand your ground” defense was tricky because “Mr. Dunn is going to have to answer the question, ‘Why did you not call the sheriff’s office? If you are reasonably protecting yourself, why did you leave the scene, get in the car, and the next day, flee the jurisdiction of Duval County?’ There’s no indication that Jordan or anyone else in that car had a gun, there’s no indication that they were any threat to Mr. Dunn.” Maybe the threat to Dunn was that 17-year-old Jordan Davis was African American, or that after just leaving his son’s wedding he was alcohol impaired; police will never know whether alcohol was a factor because they did not locate and arrest him in another county until the following day.
Stand Your Ground laws are and should be under scrutiny. From this linked article in the Minnesota Post:Police said they didn't find a weapon in the SUV with the young men, and Ron Davis said he doesn't believe Dunn's claim that he saw a gun. He thinks Dunn is searching for an explanation."They were just 17-year-old kids that were having a good time, coming from the mall," he said.The shooting has revived the debate over Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force if they believe their life is in imminent danger. Dunn's attorney hasn't said whether she will argue the shooting was justified under the statute.The law came under harsh criticism after Martin was shot in February by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who believed the teenager was acting suspicious. Martin and Zimmerman got into a fight and Zimmerman said he thought Martin was reaching for his gun. Authorities didn't arrest Zimmerman for more than a month after the shooting, adding to the furor."This case is so far from Trayvon Martin's case," Ron Davis said.University of Miami law professor Tamara Lave, who has closely followed the Martin case, agreed."I don't see how he is going to prevail under 'stand your ground,'" Lave, a former public defender in San Diego for 10 years, said of Dunn. "You're allowed to own a gun. Even if there was a gun in the car, that doesn't mean the gun was used to threaten him in any way."The shooting unfolded about 7:40 p.m. when Dunn stopped at the gas station with his girlfriend after going to his son's wedding, police said. Dunn's girlfriend went into the store, and he told the young men to turn the music down."It was loud, they admitted that, but that's not a reason for someone to open fire on them and take action," Jacksonville Sheriff's Lt. Rob Schoonover said.Dunn fired eight or nine shots into the car and Davis was hit a couple of times, police said. Dunn's girlfriend ran outside."When she came out, she said, 'What's going on?' and supposedly his statement was, 'I just fired at these kids,'" Schoonover said. "At that time I don't know if he knew that he struck anyone in the vehicle."Dunn and his girlfriend drove off and spent the night at a hotel. Dunn was arrested a day later at his home in Satellite Beach, about 160 miles away, when police tracked his license plate.He told detectives he had been in the process of turning himself in to a neighbor, who was in law enforcement."His side of the story is he felt threatened and that is the reason he took action," Schoonover said.Dunn was described by police as a gun collector who shot at local ranges. His attorney, Robin Lemonidis, told The Florida Times-Union her client "absolutely" saw someone with a shotgun in the SUV. She only said "we'll see" if Florida's "stand your ground" law would be part of her defense.Police didn't know if Dunn had a concealed weapons permit, but said he had the gun for a "long period of time."Lemonidis told the newspaper Dunn was "devastated that anyone was harmed in this instance."Phone calls made to his relatives were not immediately returned.Police said they were looking into whether alcohol was a factor, but didn't know. Lemonidis said it was not. An assistant for her said she did not want talk more about the case more until the trial.
Yes, the rules have changed. Law abiding gun owners feel emboldened to shoot teens ( or others) for being naughty. This is not how it has always been. This a result of the extreme agenda of the NRA and its' minions. In some cases, the Stand Your Ground defense is not helping the shooters. That's a good thing. But why have the laws in the first place if that is the case? The laws just might be creating more situations where a gun owner feels as if they can shoot without consequence. Without the laws in place, would the mentality be different? I'm just asking but I'm not the only one who is asking. How many more of these cases will it take for the citizens and legislators in states that have Stand Your Ground type laws to reconsider how the laws are actually working. Real people are being shot to death about things that don't deserve killing. There are non lethal ways to deal with people doing naughty or even unlawful things. Do these people deserve to be shot to death? We should remember that George Zimmerman, the shooter of Trayvon Martin, had already called 911 to report what he thought was "suspicious behavior" by Martin as he walked through a Sanford, Florida neighborhood unarmed. That's where Zimmerman should have left off and the police should have taken over. If Martin was doing anything wrong the police would have discovered that. But he would have been alive today. Taking the law into one's own hands is not often a good idea. If Mr. Dunn was offended by the loud music coming from a car full of teens, why not call 911? Police might have come to suggest that the teens turn the music down. But since when is playing loud music a criminal offense? The intolerance of others and the shoot first, ask questions later mentality exhibited in these high profile cases is frightening.For Ms. Stilling, the main problem is expanding the scope of the these laws beyond the home."When you're talking about the sidewalk immediately outside your house, it seems to me that's going to be an area where there's a higher potential for kids, perhaps naughty but innocent of any destructive intent, could end up," she says. Just talking to teenagers reveals stories "about underage drinking parties, or 'Risky Business' parties, and how everybody ran from the cops and scattered into surrounding yards, where they could end up in a position to frighten someone."In an opinion article for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, she wrote: "I do think that someone needs to tell the kids that the rules have changed."If the recent incidents raise concerns about an increased danger to teens, however, they also show that prosecutors retain power to take action against those who, they say, misapply the law.In Florida, Mr. Dunn has been charged with murder and attempted murder. His lawyer says he will invoke stand your ground in defense. Dunn claims he saw a shotgun being raised in the back seat of the car. Neither witnesses nor police report seeing or finding a gun.In Minnesota, Mr. Smith has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder. While the initial shootings may have been defensible under Minnesota's new castle law, prosecutors said, Smith's decision to shoot the injured teenagers again is likely not covered under the law, since any bodily threat to him had been effectively neutralized.
With more cases like these in daily news reports all over America, attention should be focused on whether Stand Your Ground laws, conceal and carry laws and the mentality of the gun rights advocates are leading to more safe communities. There are cases of legitimate and justifiable self defense. Most states have statutes that allow people to defend themselves. But the NRA wanted more. They have overshot their influence and should be helping to deal with the problems created by their own laws. As long as people continue to believe that they are justified in shooting and killing another human being over loud music, walking through a neighborhood while unarmed and Black, or in an unarmed burglary, we will have vigilante justice carried out in our communities. Common sense tells most people to deal with these situations differently. Take the advise of the first linked article, above. Call 911. It will save lives.
Please read this great article about what MSNBC show host Melissa Harris-Perry had to say about the shooting of Jordan Davis in Florida by a law abiding gun owner:
On Saturday, Harris-Perry drew parallels between Davis' death and the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was also unarmed when he was shot and killed by George Zimmermann earlier this year. One similarity, she said, was "that sense for those of us who know them and love them that this country is no place for young black men."Citing the gruesome murder of Emmett Till in the 1950s, she said that one thing has remained the same over generations of American history: "No presumption of innocence for young black men, no benefit of the doubt. Guilt not determined by what they did or said but presumed to be inherent in their very being. They need not wield a weapon to pose a threat because if you are a young black man, you are threat enough."