Thursday, December 13, 2007

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

By Capt. Fogg

He pulled out his gun and then he said,
If you make a crooked move, you both fall dead.

. . . He loved the women and he hated the law
and he just wouldn't take nobody's jaw.

Doc Watson -Otto Wood the Bandit-


When I first heard that a Texan by the name of Joe Horn had shot and killed two men he saw exiting his neighbor's house carrying a bag, my reaction was that he was a long way outside the "castle doctrine" law that allows one to defend one's life with deadly force without the requirement to wait until an intruder shoots you or to first attempt to flee.

At least in Florida, my state of residence, this law does not allow one to shoot someone to protect property or to shoot someone in the back as he runs away. Air America spent a lot of time yesterday discussing this case and while listening to the callers, two things struck me forcibly: In Texas it's legal to kill somebody over a watch or a toaster, even if he's no threat and is running away, and that public sentiment seems to back the idea that anyone can shoot anyone observed to be engaging in criminal activity even long after the crime has been committed.

Just how far down the freeway of fear have we traveled that one reads comments in the New York Times like these:
"His actions were absolutely and inflariously [sic] justified. It was his Christian duty to protect and defend his neighbor."
"Anyone who breaks into someone's home with the intent to steal, rape or whatever is a worthless human being and deserves to be shot."
" so as far as i [sic] am concerned, the thieves gave up their right to life when they broke into someone elses [sic] home."
The idea that theft is a capital offense and that any witness has the right to enforce capital punishment without even a casual nod to due process or Jesus is something that would have been radical in the illegal mining camp of Deadwood in 1875. Do I have to admit, after half a century of believing in the basic decency of most people, that all that now separates my fellow Americans from unprincipled savages is the threat of violence at the hands of the law?

Of course the years of Republican fear mongering have had an effect. Of course years of Reganite insistence that Government has no answers to any problem have had an effect. Years of declining violent crime rates have done nothing to convince much of the rabble that civilization itself is not the culprit and that the wages of lawbreaking is and should be instant death by the hands of any vigilante or self appointed deputy with the few hundred bucks it takes to buy a decent firearm. Of course this case has been further inflamed by the fact that the burglars were illegal aliens and you'll read that fact cited in may of the arguments that such people have no rights at all much less the right to remain alive.

As for now, I still cling to my childish naivete, but I'm coming close to the point where I will have to declare that I live in a nation of vicious, bloodthirsty, bigoted and stupid cowards more like a baboon troop than a nation.

Cross posted from Human Voices

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Blogger ECOPHOTOS said...

Captain, my friend Carol Roberts (famous for serving on the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board and the one who called the Florida recount, year 2000) told me last summer that two teenage boys were blown away simply for trespassing. The gun-crazed curmudgeons who shot them got off under Florida’s so-called “Make My Day” law.

The law is a license to kill with impunity. The law itself is a marketing ploy of the NRA to turn citizens into crazed gun-owners. How much more innocent blood will be spilled before this atrocity of a law is finally repealed?

Truth be told: If there is no return to sanity after next year’s election, I am seriously considering moving back to Europe, where I have legal residency rights. I getting so damn sick of this shit.

9:11:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I've read the Florida law over and again and I can't imagine that it would legalize such a thing. It's very specific about credible threats to life and the circumstances under which you're entitled to use deadly force, and trespassing is not one of those unless the trespassers were openly and agressively displaying weapons. I would blame some renegade judge rather than the law.

There have been a lot more people killed, raped and injured by home invaders than by trigger happy home owners however.

I do however, believe in one's right to defend one's self and family and I don't side with laws that forbid one to do so as the case has been. Shooting someone that comes through your door at midnight shouldn't be considered murder, nor should you be prosecuted because you didn't throw your wife out a second story window or hide under the bed or wait for the intruder to shoot first instead of defending yourself.

I've had firearms most of my life. I've never pointed one at anyone, would go to great lengths to avoid it. I don't shoot animals. I hate to see anything die. I enjoy going to a range with my friends from the yacht club and shooting targets with a .22 pistol on weekends, yet to some, that makes me gun crazed. I don't think I am, any more than I'm fishing rod crazed or camera crazed.

10:31:00 AM  
Blogger ECOPHOTOS said...

I would blame some renegade judge rather than the law.

Speaks for itself, doesn't it? But why bother even owning a gun when there is Rod and the staff to comfort you?

1:51:00 PM  

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