Saturday, June 30, 2012

Good for the Police - Good for Everyone

Today's Times-Standard front page headline says: A question of self-defense - Fickle Hill shooting highlights complexity of state law. Then goes on to detail the following circumstance highlighting the so-call "shooting."
According to the Sheriff's Office a "highly intoxicated" man "wandered into the wrong home, thinking it was his." Quoting the newspaper:
The homeowners -- a 24-year-old male and an 18-year-old female -- were awakened by their dogs barking and quickly realized they weren't alone. The male homeowner then confronted the intruder in the living room, telling him to leave. The man refused, telling the couple to leave his house, according to the sheriff's office.  
The couple then left their home, taking refuge at a nearby neighbor's house, before the male homeowner and his 42-year-old neighbor decided to go back and confront the intruder. According to the sheriff's office, the neighbor grabbed his shotgun for protection.
Important to note what also happened here as detailed by the Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Knight:
"...the wife at the neighbor's house, reporting the intrusion and stating that her husband the neighbor were returning to the residence." 
Here, the couple clearly did what every sane, responsible person would do in the face of a "highly intoxicated" person who honestly believed he was in his own home and defending and protecting his right to be there, safe and secure. The police were called, the people were in a safe place. Going back with a shotgun forced a fatal or potentially fatal confrontation that, under the circumstance would easily been handled a deputy or two. To claim "self-defense" under such circumstance, regardless of the home-owners rights is TOTAL NONSENSE!

The homeowner and his adult neighbor created or initiated the confrontation, similar to George Zimmerman's shooting of the unarmed teenage boy, Trayvon Martin. Once the couple left their home they ceded any right they may believe they had, specially once they called the police, to deliberately confront what they knew to be a belligerent intruder to reclaim their home. That is why they took the shotgun.

The problem we all have with the continued discussion in the paper by a couple of "law professors" regarding the individual's "right to self-defense" with the use of lethal force against an unarmed man, in particular enforcing what he justifiably believes is his right to self-defense, is the escalating use of lethal force demonstrated by the police and the unilateral dismissal by the District Attorney to justify such police action as essentially justified "self-defense" - they "felt" their lives were threatened when they initiate the unjustified confrontation. Locally the most current situation that comes to my mind was the shooting to death of Jacob Robert Newmaker by Fortuna police officers Maxwell Soeth and Sgt. Charles Ellebrecht discussed on this blog here.

The problem here, is that the District Attorney Paul Gallegos is hung by his own petard when he allows the unjustified use of lethal force by police officers resulting in the deaths of innocent people simple, in most cases, reacting to the police assault by defending themselves in the same way any human being would act.

Clearly, these two individuals, the homeowner and his neighbor, should be in jail charged with, if the man is still alive and remains that way, attempted murder. However, as a life-long believer in the citizen's inherent right to self-defense I find this application really troubling. Reason why? Because of what was also in today's Times-Standard Opinion Page under "From Time To Time" by The Rev. Eric Duff: Visit to fair triggers thoughts on guns. He concludes his social judgment of the Constitutional rights under Law by saying:
No one should be allowed to use or have access to a gun without training. Guns are not toys; they are weapons. There will always be honest people who choose to own guns for legitimate (hunting) purposes. The rest, the hand guns and the repeaters and so on should be limited to security professionals, who have been trained, and who know the consequences for an accidental, or intentional, shooting.  ***
If you own a gun, are legally qualified to use it, and have safety measures in place, by all means have it. What needs to end is the mindless and needless effort to make guns available to anyone who wants one. This doesn't do any good for anyone.
I DO NOT own any gun for "legitimate (hunting) purposes. I do own a legally registered gun for "legitimate (self-defense) purposes. This is the kind of mindless judgments people have come to expect from an elitist religious preacher. Unless you are "trained" so as to "know the consequences" you are unfit, too stupid and incompetent to own let alone use a weapon to defend yourself. It is this kind of mindless thinking that produced the Mubaraks, the Saddam Husseins and the Bashar Assads of the world that cause the current situation in the Middle East and currently in Syria and Mexico. This is what the Reverend Eric Duff's of this country would bring to America. To understand this, you have to go no further than see how the police across America treated the Occupy Movement people.

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