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Monday, March 06, 2006

Deadly Force: The Response

Last weeks question of the week was:

If you are inside your home when someone breaks in, do you have the right to use deadly force?

The Virginia Assembly has squashed the idea that this should be part of the Virginia code. As things are the matter of self-defence is decided on a case by case basis. When you opt to shoot that intruder you better be justified. Here are some of the responses from readers:

AS said...
I am glad it didn't become law. I can just see a couple going through a divorce, the husband tries to get into the house to pick up his stuff or to see his kids... and the woman (or vice-versa) shoots the guy alleging breaking and entering...Maybe an extreme case... but if someone can make a million dollars from hot coffee... everything is possible. By the way, I am not against self-defense... I think judging each case one by one, instead of giving a "license to kill" a better way to approach it.

I said...
Thanks for the comment as. In Virginia this has always been a gray area with many misconceptions. When I got my concealed weapons permit, one part of the instruction was what constitutes self-defense. Self-defense with deadly force should always be the last alternative, but one that I personally would not elimate as an option.

Charlie a blogger from Britian said...
Interesting Bob! Tony Martin sent to prison for ten years, later lowered on appeal to five, for shooting an intruder climbing up his stairs at 3am in the morning in his desolate farmhouse. John Monkton city banker in London, two youths tricked there way into his house posing as postman, Monkton ended up stabbed to death, his wife, bathing their daughter upstairs came down to help her husband, was stabbed also, nearly loosing her life. In the UK two types of people are allowed guns? Farmers and criminals, and the police are not keen on farmers having guns. I know what I would do though.

Jeff said...
I have always felt that if someone was breaking into my house (with my kids and all), they have signed their death warrant. It is all about how you articulate the circumstances. If I awoke to an intruder, possibly armed for all I know, breaking into my home, I would be able to articulate that I felt that my life and the lives of my children were in danger, thus allowing the use of deadly force. This sounds better than saying "Well hey, he came into my house and I blasted him!" Still, shooting someone outside the home, or over property, is not a good idea, and can well end you up in prison. I agree that a blanket law permitting deadly force is problematic, but we do need some clear cut definitions instead of it being a legal crap shoot. There is an axiom that most police I know abide by. "It is better to be judged by 12, than carried by 6"My sentiments exactly.

Melissa O. Markham said...
I think it definitely needs to be taken on a case by case basis. If I were to wake up in the middle of the night to find someone in my home who didn't belong, I would do whatever I had to to protect my family. There are all kinds of situations and I am more comfortable with it being a case by case basis. I have always heard the person actually has to be in the house though. If the person is in the yard and you shoot them, it is a lot harder to prove self-defense. My dad used to say, if you shoot them on their way in the window and they fall back out, be sure to pull them back in before you call the police;) He was mostly kidding...I think:)

My thoughts if someone is breaking in my house I am going to shoot first and ask questions later.


At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how this blog seems incapable of sympathizing with Cory Maye, who was faced with just such a circumstance. Because of increasing militarization of the police force, we're going to see a lot more people convinced their homes are being invaded, and, unfortunately, more cops shot dead.

It's always the victim's fault until it happens to you I suppose.


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