A lot of articles in the main stream media like to portray Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws as enablers of violent action. They don’t understand that these laws only give us permission to use potentially deadly defensive force when we are already in imminent danger.
The one important thing I believe they do provide is some extra legal protection when we are forced to defend ourselves. In a Jurisdiction with a duty to retreat we are at greater risk of criminal and civil action if we determine that turning our backs and attempting to run from a violent criminal will result in our death or the death of a loved one.
I believe fleeing is often the best option in many cases and should be the first choice when it is clearly safe to do so. But in cases where trying to flee would put us and/or other family members at increased risk it is nice to know the law will back up our right to defend ourselves and others. But I think it is clear that in no way do these laws give us the right to shoot someone who is not directly threatening us or others with death or severe bodily harm.
I think most firearm owners understand this but perhaps the guy in the article below did not. Or maybe he is just using it as a legal strategy to defend his actions? I won’t judge this guy without all the facts but If they occurred as described this appears to be a needless use of force. I think the scenario laid out in this article presents a good incident for us to analyze.
My analysis took the time reading the article…When I got to the backing out of the driveway, my thought process was complete.
Reminds me of a local forum where a young worker noticed a customer open carrying, mentioned it to the forum contributer who knew the gun and holster type, and while explaining to the coworker that open carry is legal, was interrupted by the carrier who stated he had the right to shoot the employees for talking about him…
These 2 should be cellmates imo, though the former should warm his cot a lot longer than the latter, like forever.
The scenario presented in the article is that a man wakes up at 3 something in the morning. Notices there is a car pulled just off the street at the end of his driveway with the lights on. Grabs his gun and starts approaching the car which starts backing out of the driveway as he approaches. The man claims he saw that the person in the car had a gun so he shot him. The driver was unarmed and apparently lost.
Not sure how he determined the driver had a gun with their headlights blaring at him. Even if they had the dome light on. Don’t think race plays an issue either for the same reason. Though it is possible the shooter approached the car from the side.
I think most criminals are not going to park in your driveway with the lights on. But on the off chance they were criminals I wouldn’t want to expose myself to the people in the car or their possible friends who could be hiding on either side of my house.
I would likely take up a defensive position in my house and call the cops if they didn’t leave quickly enough.
In this situation, I would NOT leave the relative safety of my house, but would observe what was going on. If no one gets out and the vehicle reverses and leaves, I shrug my shoulders and go back to bed, which has always been the case, to date. If someone ever gets out and I hear breaking glass or someone trying to kick in my door, different preparations are called for. As I see it, in this case, Stand Your Ground does not apply since the individual advanced in in a confrontational manner while the vehicle was retreating.
It appears police took their time (2 weeks!) before they arrested the homeowner. How come? Is something not mentioned ib the article, like he was receiving threats prior to the incident, or the deceased was known to police, etc.
Or maybe the home owner knew the police. Or the police believed the homeowner’s self defense story until they investigated it further. Or the homeowner’s story evolved as he was presented with the facts the police found.
Any which way it seems likely the description of the shooting was relaid to the police by the shooter. Connections between the two seem unlikely unless this is a total hit piece by the reporter leaving out critical facts.
We obviously can’t be certain how much of this story is properly reported facts vs incomplete conjecture or bias. Which is why I am withholding judgement of the shooter at this time. He is innocent until proven guilty. But I do think the events as described in the article are worthy of a cautionary what if discussion.
Note that the shooter’s attorneys said they are going to defend him based on the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground - that doesn’t mean they believe they have a chance in hell of winning the case. But its all they’ve got. I am not a lawyer nor do I know anything about Texas law but in my state, the Castle Doctrine only applied to the INSIDE of your home or vehicle. It did NOT apply to your property or outbuildings. We just switched to Stand Your Ground which effectively negates the need for the Castle Doctrine concept. In my state - under either doctrine - the shooter may well have lost his right to self defense when he voluntarily placed himself in danger when there was no immediate and reasonable threat to him or others. He should have just called the police and kept watch.
Maybe the family or friends of the driver contacted CAIR because they had a hard time figuring out why he was shot for turning around in a driveway? Or CAIR may have seen the story and thought it was worth checking out to make sure the driver wasn’t targeted because of his ethnic background.
from the article:
“…noticed a car parked in his driveway…retrieved his gun, and…came outside…”
Tactical calamity proceeds from unnecessary, to unwise, to tragedy — and plausibly to prison. Lots of appropriate precautions might wisely follow the initial observation. From the provided sketch, confrontation would not be one of them.
From the story, it sounds like it took law enforcement a couple weeks to reject the shooter’s alibi. I don’t think survivors of most victims think that is a reasonable response — whatever support network or community a person might have is likely to start pushing within a few hours to a few days.
Standing your ground/no duty to retreat implies there is a threat present, and you can defend yourself, without being backed into a corner, so to speak. This case, says becoming the aggressor without cause to me.
Recently, I heard a noise in my yard. Something hit my house, and then there was a very loud beating on my door. I looked outside, and then went outside. Why? Because it was some youth from our church TP’ing us. We had a good laugh, and I went back in. Had I used the example in this article, I’d have 3 dead teens in my yard.
In this scenario, since he didn’t know who was in the driveway (or did he?) why did he leave the safety of his (castle). Also, had it been a person intent on harming him, he just gave away his position, and left his family exposed if it was a group of assailants, not just one. If all the pertinent information is in this article, he’s going to jail, and rightfully so.
Simple rule for me even before my carry days, If threat is heading away from me it is a no shoot scenario. I always . When my HH6 and I started carrying we became even more aware of things. Also kept up laws and regulations to.
The USCCA has helped us greatly with all of that. I have been carrying 15 yrs HH6 for10
The media could do an enormous public service by publishing articles on the application and limitations of the castle and stand your ground laws. This should be a monthly event. Lives would be spared by telling the criminals what to expect and the homeowners where to draw the line. Media outlets don’t have any problem using their precious space to refer to these laws as controversial and rail against the fact they exist. Personally I think Texas did a descent job enacting these laws and included some civil immunity for justifiable use. Some of this wasn’t well received by the ambulance chasers that make civil litigation their livelihood.
As far as this man being killed by an overly aggresive homeowner is concerned, I don’t think it had anything to do with this guy being a Muslim, that’s media hype. If this homeowner gets convicted it could serve as a wakeup call that will prompt people to find out what the castle and stand your ground laws actually allow. Too many people in many states get their information by word-of-mouth and then cherry pick what they want to hear.
After I retired I traveled to several states looking at property for my next move. People in each state had differing views on what the castle and stand your ground laws really meant. In one lake side community I talked with a little grey haired lady realtor that informed me they recently passed the “Dirty Harry Law”. When I asked her what she meant, she said you know, “make my day”. She didn’t know many details about the law, but now she carries her gun with her all the time. The laws don’t need to be changed, they need to be understood.
The anti gun media is certainly guilty of spreading disinformation surrounding these laws. If you read their headlines and misinformed and biased opinions I guess some people might actually think they give you way more protection in a self defense situation than they actually do.
This is why it is important to not rely on the media (either left or right) when making important decisions. Go to the source. The language is pretty clear in all these laws that I have looked at. You can defend yourself and others from an imminent serious threat of great bodily harm or death. Which for the most part is the same thing you are allowed to do in States that don’t have these laws. They mostly just supply law abiding citizens with additional legal defenses but only if the use of force was justified.