Tag Archives: self defense

Jesus, Another Innocent Man Wrongly Convicted

bitter christianFew pastimes are more entertaining than witnessing a smug, non–orthodox Jew giving instruction on New Testament theology to Christians. Last Saturday the most reverend Lisa Miller in her Washington Post ‘Belief Watch’ column asked readers, “Is gun ownership Christian?

This puts believers at an immediate disadvantage because Christ did not spend much of his ministry discussing consumer goods. He mentions the odd cloak, fragrant ointment, sword and widow’s mite, but one would not confuse Him with Ralph Nader or other marketplace stalwarts.

Besides, since Miller picks and chooses what she believes in regard to her own faith, she has no problem distorting the Gospel in an effort to draft Jesus into Code Pink.

She begins by completely misunderstanding the significance of Jesus on the cross. Miller writes, “The Christian Lord allowed himself to be crucified rather than fight the injustice of the death sentence imposed on him.” To co–opt Mark Twain; this is an inability to distinguish between lightning and the lightning bug.

On the contrary, it was not a miscarriage of justice. The sentence was the fulfillment of divine justice. Christ willingly substituted Himself on the cross in place of a sinful mankind. God did not alter the terms of the first Covenant with Abraham. There was a price to be paid for man’s rebellion and he decided to pay it Himself. (This refusal to “evolve” on the part of the creator, should give pause to modern “Christian” leader’s attempts to revise and soften the New Testament, but it doesn’t.)

Consequently, Christ was not the earliest recruit for the left’s anti–capitol punishment movement. Christ died for our sins. He willingly paid the price we could not pay and ushered in the New Covenant.

There would be no Christians without Christ’s death on the cross. Even if the Jerusalem chapter of the Innocence Project had tried to get Him off the hook, He would have refused the offer, because to do so would have rendered His work pointless.

After that inauspicious beginning, Miller moves on to the point of her column, “How do such Christians reconcile their stalwart commitment to the Second Amendment with their belief in a gospel that preaches nonviolence?” And then she quotes Matthew 5:39 – “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

This leads me to believe Miller was also not a fan of the excellent “Machine Gun Preacher”

Then it left me wondering if I had missed a recent development on the violence front, so I did an online search on “strike AND cheek AND gunfight” to see if there had been a rash of concealed carry permit holders (CCW) lighting up people who slapped them.

That search string was a bust, so I tried “strike AND cheek AND shoot” with the same result. Evidently there is no problem with Christian gun owners initiating violence. Miller’s goal appears to involve persuading Christians to join the ranks of the defenseless. This decision, however, would not be made in a vacuum. Should a Christian head of household decide to disarm because he believes guns are inherently evil, like cigarettes or 16 oz. sodas, his decision would not affect him alone. His wife, his children and mom in the basement would all instantly become draftees in the War for Pacifism.

And the family would be misguided draftees at that. As Adam Clarke points out in his commentary on the passage, these “exhortations belong to those principally who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” Say for example, an orthodox Christian that leftists like Miller slap up the side of the head for refusing to support homosexual marriage. Following Matthew, the Christian would turn the other cheek as he said he does not approve of the homosexual lifestyle either.

The verse is most certainly not directed toward ancient or modern Christians with a desire to defend their persons or their family.

Then Miller snidely intimates that “conservative Christian leaders are not falling over themselves to proclaim in public their pro–gun theologies.” But then Miller proceeds to list various Christians who are doing just that.

She takes issue with Richard Land, a former Southern Baptist Convention official, who said during a December interview on National People’s Radio (NPR) that he supports arming teachers. And Miller concludes with David French, senior counsel for the American Center of Law and Justice, who told her “Turn the other cheek does not mean turn your wife’s cheek or turn your children’s cheek.”

Miller — who works for an organization sporting guards who check commoners before they are allowed to enter — replies, “Provocative, but unconvincing. Jesus identified with the weak, not the strong; with the victims, not the shooters (or the people with the guns).”

Wrong again. Jesus praised a Roman centurion who controlled his own sword and 90 others — for his faith, saying, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” What’s more, Jesus reached out to the weak and the victims, but unlike leftist community organizers, He considered Himself a shepherd and the shepherd doesn’t hand the wolf a napkin as he approaches the herd.

There is another verse that’s very germane to this discussion, although Miller manages to overlook it. Luke 6:42 advises, “Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Miller would do more to protect the innocent life of children if she would worry less about the imaginary threat of “assault weapons” in the hands of Christians and more about the real threat of “assault doctors*” who are responsible for the deaths of over 1 million innocents each year during abortions.

 

*Thanks to my wife, Janet, for this inspired term that aptly describes a depraved occupation.

Zimmerman Heads to ‘Stand Your Ground’ Trail, Could Face Acquittal

George Zimmerman still stands accused of the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida. On Thursday Zimmerman’s lawyer announced via his website that there will be a ‘stand your ground’ hearing, based on the claim that Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in self defense. Via Fox News and the Associated Press:

A finding in Zimmerman’s favor would end the criminal case against him, as well as immunizing him from civil action.

“Now that the State has released the majority of their discovery, the defense asserts that there is clear support for a strong claim of self-defense. Consistent with this claim of self-defense, there will be a ‘Stand Your Ground’ hearing,” said O’Mara in a statement.

The law allows people to use deadly force, rather than retreat, if they believe their lives are in danger.

O’Mara described the hearing as a “mini-trial,” with arguments, witnesses, experts and evidence that would be included in a criminal trial, but without a jury. 

Tensions continue to run high in the city of Sanford and across the nation as many believe the shooting was racially motivated.

Al Sharpton’s National Action Network has been a staunch supporter of the Martin family throughout the ordeal. At the time of this post they could not be reached for comment.

Martin/Zimmerman: Fuel For The Democrat Attack Machine

Recently, the Huffington Post Enquirer ran a post regarding the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, entitled Trayvon Martin Case: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law At Center Of Shooting. The unwritten implication of this article is that enhanced self-defense laws, such as Florida’s, grant protection to murderers.

The left have already begun spinning this killing into an attack on Republicans. Note, for instance, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski making a sloppy attempt to connect this shooting to Rush Limbaugh. Jay at The Right Sphere reports Media Matters has already begun spinning this tragedy for political points in a number of posts.

Let’s debunk the assertion that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law somehow protected Zimmerman. To do so, we need to examine the 2006 changes to Florida’s Justifiable Use Of Force law, specifically, the portion contended here- Zimmerman’s immunity from criminal prosecution:

776.032 (1) A person who uses force as permitted (…) is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force (…) As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

Stated in plain English, Florida requires police officers to establish probable cause before arresting someone for using force in self-defense. This is a far cry different from HuffPo’s claim:

The Florida law lets police on the scene decide whether they believe the self-defense claim. In many cases, the officers make an arrest and leave it to the courts to work out whether the deadly force is justified. In this case, however, police have said they are confident they did the right thing by not charging 28-year-old George Zimmerman.

The failure, then, isn’t with the “Stand Your Ground” law- a point which even Al Sharpton concedes- but with the failure of Sanford police to thoroughly investigate the shooting. The recording of Zimmerman’s 911 call alone debunks his self-defense claim. From Doug Mataconis’ excellent article:

The police on the scene appear to have reached the conclusion that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense, but the 911 calls from that night raise some doubt about just how much danger Zimmerman was actually in, and the extent to which he may have pursued Martin despite being told by a 911 operator not to do so.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, the author of the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, wrote this op-ed for FOX News, summing up the issue thus:

Mr. Zimmerman’s unnecessary pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined by the castle doctrine. There is no protection in the “Stand Your Ground” law for anyone who pursues and confronts people.

The “pursue and confront” phrase is especially applicable here: While Florida has a very well-written and well-articulated law on self-defense, it is one of the few states which has no statute authorizing private persons to use force to pursue and arrest fleeing criminals. Even if Florida did authorize this use of force, however, Zimmerman still wouldn’t be justified, because Martin had committed no crime.

The anti-gun crowd, however, never let facts or the law stand in the way of their political agenda.

This law, championed by Republicans and vilified by Democrats, was contentious when it was passed in Florida in 2006; now there’s a murdered boy, and a wrongful claim of self-defense. This is an election year, and the Democrat attack machine feeds on accusations that Republicans are “bitter clingers” and racists.

Take this for what it is: the Democrat attack machine working to make all Republicans look like George Zimmerman’s accomplices and enablers.

SB1: Indiana’s “No Illegal Police Entry” Bill

Last night, the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1, which, once signed into law, will resolve a nearly year-long deprivation of the civil rights of residents of the State of Indiana. Readers who have followed me for the last year will be aware of my previous “Outrage In Indiana” posts on this very subject. For those who haven’t, let me recap.

In Part One, on May 13th of last year, I described the appalling decision by Indiana’s State Supreme Court in the case of Barnes v. State of Indiana. The court determined that a private person had no right to resist unlawful police burglary of their home. I detailed the 800-year-old legal precedents which allow for such use of force, and the farce of the court’s decision. In Part Two, I published an open letter to Governor Mitch Daniels, imploring him to take whatever action he possibly could to provide relief to Hoosiers subjected to police lawlessness. In Part Three, I published the very thoughtful response I received from his office.

To review the matter at hand: Richard Barnes had an argument with his wife, and neighbors called the police. Upon their arrival, the Barneses had reentered their home, and no further argument was occurring. Officers Lenny Reed and Jason Henry (more on them in a moment) insisted on entering the home, and Mr. Barnes refused them entry. The police, unlawfully, entered the home anyway. Mr. Barnes attempted to use non-deadly force to expel them, and he was tased and arrested.

Eight centuries of legal precedent, from the Magna Carta to two 20th century SCOTUS decisions, explicitly authorize the use of reasonable force to prevent unlawful acts of the police. The laws of the state of Indiana do not privilege police officers from justified force if they are acting outside the bounds of the law. The Fourth Amendment, and a substantially similar provision in Indiana’s Constitution prohibit precisely this conduct- the unwarranted and unlawful entry into a private home by government agents.

Nonetheless, Indiana’s Supreme Court ignored the eight centuries of legal tradition, multiple decisions of the United States Supreme Court, the United States Constitution, and the Constitution and laws of Indiana, and determined that a Hoosier’s only lawful recourse was to sue the police agency for damages after being the victim of a violent crime (in this case, burglary and assault) committed by a police officer.

Our Second, Third, and Fourth Amendment rights were established by our Founding Fathers for expressly this reason: Prior to, and during, the American Revolution, armed agents of the British government- soldiers- would routinely enter private homes without cause, assault homeowners and arrest them without charges, and quarter themselves in private homes in order to intimidate homeowners into submission. Expressly for this reason, we have a right to keep and bear arms, a freedom from quartering in private homes, and a freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

We also have a natural, or God-given (depending on your outlook), right of self-defense, a topic which I have written about extensively. The instinct to protect ourselves, our families, and our property from violent attack is as natural to us as the need to eat. A government decree that a certain class of persons- namely, police officers- are “untouchable”, and may commit violent crimes at will, and the prosecution of private persons who exercise this right against them, is wholly offensive to the basic principles enshrined in our founding document.

Thankfully, Indiana’s legislature has taken up the cause of preserving individual liberties in this matter. Senate Bill 1, introduced by State Senator Mike Young and sponsored by numerous other state legislators, seeks to amend the Indiana Code to explicitly authorize the use of reasonable force against law enforcement officers who commit crimes against private persons.

In short, SB1 changes the language of the state’s use-of-force laws to state that “any person” may be the recipient of defensive force, and adds a section specifically addressing the use of force against police officers. This section authorizes the use of non-deadly force against “any law enforcement officer” to prevent the police officer’s criminal attack upon the person or property, and authorizes deadly force to prevent a law enforcement officer’s criminal attack which may inflict death or serious bodily injury.

Once signed into law, Indiana will become only the second state in the nation to specifically authorize the use of force against police officers acting unlawfully. North Dakota authorizes the use of force to terminate a police officer’s unlawful use of deadly force. Indiana’s statute would dramatically exceed this limited level of protection.

I applaud the state legislature for taking this necessary step to improve the right of self-defense. I also understand Sen. Young is facing a primary challenge this year. I hope Hoosiers will go to the polls in droves and show their support for this fine representative of the people.

And on a final, and ignominious note: Officer Lenny Reed, one of the two goons who burglarized Mr. Barnes’ home, and (ironically) the medic for Evansville PD’s SWAT team, was also involved in an incident involving racial profiling and substantial damage to an innocent man’s RV- which the man was delivering to a buyer- when Reed initiated a wrongful drug search. This incident occurred less than four months before the Indiana Supreme Court’s Barnes decision. Inexplicably, Reed was promoted to Sergeant during roughly the same time frame.

The other goon involved, Officer Jason Henry, resigned from Evansville Police Department after beating up a former sheriff’s deputy, only three months before the Barnes decision. The beating occurred at a meeting of the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, no less.

Residents of Vanderburgh County have ample reason to question Evansville Police Chief Brad Hill’s professional judgment. Apparently Hoosiers can’t even rely upon the common sense of local officials and police administrators for relief from police lawlessness, which makes the passage of SB1 all the more vital. Mary Beth Schneider of the Indianapolis Star tweeted last night that SB1 passed the Indiana Senate 38-12 and passed the Indiana House 67-26, and is now on its way to Governor Daniels’ desk.

Many thanks to my dear friend April Gregory for her invaluable assistance in researching this post.

Teen Mom Who Shot Intruder To Defend Baby Is Justified

Authorities said they have no plans to file charges against a teen mother who shot and killed an intruder in her house on New Year’s Eve while stalking with a 911 dispatcher on the phone. Assistant District Attorney James Walters said, ”Our initial review of the case doesn’t indicate she violated the law in any way.” according to The Oklahoman.

When 18-year-old Sarah McKinley asked if she could to shoot the intruder, the Grady County dispatcher replied, ”I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

Prosecutors said McKinley acted in self-defense as Oklahoma law allows the use of deadly force against intruders. According to court documents, the intruder was holding a knife when he died.

Oklahoma Self-Defense Act

TITLE 21 § 1289.25 PHYSICAL OR DEADLY FORCE AGAINST INTRUDER

A. The Legislature hereby recognizes that the citizens of the State of Oklahoma have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes or places of business.

B. A person or a owner, manager or employee of a business is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of
imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force
that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

1. The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and
forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle,30
or a place of business, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against the
will of that person from the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle, or place of business; and

2. The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible
entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

National Right To Carry: An Individual Right, Not A State Right

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on National Right To Carry on November 16th.

An unusual argument against gun rights has been presented by the small-government crowd, of which I consider myself a member. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air best describes this issue:

For permit holders like myself, the ability to travel with my pistol into other states without having to worry about reciprocity issues would be helpful indeed.  But that doesn’t address other fundamental issues involved, such as the ability of states to set their own rules for permit issuance and carrying.  Some states, like Minnesota, require a certain amount of training to get a permit, while others do not.  Should Minnesotans be forced by the federal government to have non-residents carrying in the state under less-restrictive conditions than their own citizens have to address?  For that matter, should Minnesotans have the right to carry in Illinois while the state forbids its own residents to do so, even apart from the question of whether Illinois’ policy is intelligent?  (Let’s just stipulate that it’s idiotic, but also that Illinois voters don’t seem to be in a rush to correct it, either.)

To put this argument in context, I ask the reader to consider the following (intentionally absurd) “news story”:

A debate is brewing in Congress over the National Right-To-Not-Be-Murdered (NRTNBM) Act. This act, if passed, will allow bearers of state-issued No-Murder permits to resist murder in other states.

But some small-government thinkers challenge the validity of a federal no-murder mandate.

“We must respect the right of states to determine who may lawfully resist murder” says Bob Walters of the State’s Rights Institute. “There are legitimate public safety concerns here. If State A issues a No-Murder permit to anyone, but State B only issues No-Murder permits to persons who can prove a need to not be murdered, should State B be forced by the Federal government to recognize State A’s lower standards? I respect the right of people to be murder-free, but states should be free to decide who may be murdered and who may not.”

Rob Parker of the National Anti-Murder Association disagrees. “Every American has the right to not be murdered, whether they happen to be standing in New York City or in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”

Legal analyst Bobby Jones gives us insights into the legal framework of the bill: “To date, the Federal courts haven’t ruled that the ‘Partial Faith & Credit’ clause of the Constitution extends to the right to not be murdered. However, the Eleventeenth Amendment explicity states that the right to not be murdered ‘shall be infringed in a manner prescribed by Congress’, so the courts will likely rule that this law, if passed, would meet Constitutional muster.”

48 of the 50 states have procedures for issuing no-murder permits. Vermont allows any person over age 16 to resist murder without a permit. Only Illinois requires that all residents submit to murder. If the NRTNBM Act passes, Illinois would not be required to recognize other states’ no-murder permits.

Murderer-rights advocate Robert Brady strongly disagrees with the intent of the bill: “In a civilized society, only police and military should be murder-free. We’re all safer when the government exercises a total monopoly on murder. Allowing just any common citizen to decide whether or not to be murdered will mean blood in the streets. Besides, studies say that a person with a no-murder permit is 347.9 times more likely to kill their own children than to resist murder, and I promise we didn’t fund that study.”

I use this farce to make a point: Each of us has an inalienable, natural right of self-defense. We have a right to go about our lives unmolested, and a right to use whatever means are necessary to assure that condition. We have a right to keep and bear arms for that purpose, which- despite the absolute phrase “shall not be infringed“- has been infringed upon to an intolerable degree by the federal government and by states and municipalities.

For those who mistakenly invoke “states’ rights” and resist a “federal mandate” recognizing individual rights, let’s take a trip back through history. At the end of the Civil War, southern states began writing laws to disarm newly-freed blacks (freed, incidentally, by a “federal mandate”). These states claimed a “states’ right” to deny gun rights to blacks. The federal government created another “federal mandate”- the Fourteenth Amendment- to combat this tyranny. As Justice Clarence Thomas explained in the McDonald decision (incorporating the Second Amendment on the states), the Fourteenth Amendment was created specifically with the First and Second Amendments in mind, and it is historical and legal irony that the Second Amendment was among the last of the Bill of Rights amendments to be “incorporated”.

Incidentally, I have twice criticized Herman Cain for holding to this absurd “states’ rights” view (here and here).

Why were these “federal mandates” legitimate? Because one of the legitimate powers of our government is to guarantee and protect the rights of the individual. The fact that our government frequently fails to exercise this power, does not mean that it should be prevented from exercising it. Without the power to “mandate” the recognition of both natural and Constitutional rights, our country would cease to be the republic our Founding Fathers created, and would become a majority-ruled democracy, where individual rights are subject to popular will.

Let’s also be clear about something else: Governments don’t have rights! In our form of government, people have rights. Governments have powers, which are limited in scope.

Stated differently, we already have a series of “federal mandates” on the subject:

The Second Amendment, which provides that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed”;

The Ninth Amendment, which extends protection to all rights (including the right to self-defense), not merely those rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights;

The Fourteenth Amendment, which imposes the Bill of Rights on the states;

The ‘peaceable journey’ provision of the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, signed by President Reagan in 1986, which requires states to allow persons to transport firearms during travel;

The ‘Full Faith & Credit’ clause of the Constitution, which requires states to recognize the comparable acts of other states.

In sum: If we assume the Second Amendment’s “well-regulated militia” provision doesn’t reference Congressional authority (Article I, Section 8) to train and discipline (in other words, to “regulate”) the militia, but rather authorizes Congress to “regulate” individual behavior;

And if we assume the Ninth Amendment is an “inkblot” which doesn’t actually guarantee the exercise of unspecified natural rights;

And if we assume that government, rather than our Creator, grants us our rights;

And if we assume that the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is limited by the violent acts of others;

And if we assume that the Fourteenth Amendment was only intended to guarantee “certain” rights;

And if we assume the word “Full” in “Full Faith & Credit” is actually a synonym for the word “Partial”;

And if we assume that states have “rights”, rather than “powers”, and among those “rights” is the right to decide who may exercise civil liberties and who may not;

And if we assume that our Founding Fathers didn’t intend us to have “a republic, if you can keep it”, but instead intended us to suffer the “tyranny of the majority” of a popular democracy, and intended for government to enforce popular whims rather than protect individual rights;

Then perhaps there is a valid argument against a “federal mandate” recognizing greater freedom of personal protection.

Or we can ‘mandate’ that people learn how to read before interpreting the Constitution.

North Carolina Bill Finally Allows Citizens to Defend Themselves

North Carolina has unreasonable restrictions on self-defense, but that seems ready to change with the passage of Senate Bill 34.

AN ACT TO PROVIDE WHEN A PERSON MAY USE DEFENSIVE FORCE, INCLUDING 3 FORCE THAT IS INTENDED OR LIKELY TO CAUSE DEATH OR SERIOUS 4 BODILY HARM, AND TO  CREATE A PRESUMPTION THAT A PERSON IS 5 PRESUMED TO HAVE HELD A REASONABLE FEAR  OF IMMINENT PERIL OF 6 DEATH OR SERIOUS BODILY HARM IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.

The Castle Doctrine, SB34, passed the North Carolina Senate this past Monday.  Now the House takes up the measure as House Bill 52. The bill will expand the situations in which a victim is allowed to defend themselves with deadly force. Currently, only attacks that occur in the victim’s home can be met with a deadly weapon.  All other situation require the victim to honor their  “duty to retreat”. Basically, if you are in public and someone comes at your with a knife, baseball bat, gun, samurai sword or whatever .. you have no legal recourse but to run. What if they’re faster than you?

The retreat statute emboldens criminals as they know that any concealed gun owner has been made aware that he cannot use that weapon .. much of anywhere or in most situations. Clearly this favors those who who would do harm.

Progressives are up-in-arms (ok, uh, up-in-words since they hate guns) over the furtherance of this legislation. The main argument against seems to be that this somehow give gun owners the right to shoot just about anyone – the now famous “make my day” clause.

Lawful gun owners are not the issue. We aren’t going to run out and start shooting people because they look mean or are acting funny. Instead, it gives criminals something to think about before attacking someone or their property.

This bill also contains a provision that prevents criminals who get shot while committing a crime from suing the victim of the crime.

A person who uses force as permitted by this section is justified in using such force 50 and  is  immune from civil or criminal liability for the use of such force, unless the person 51 against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer..

Feel free to read the entire bill, it’s only 3 pages long!! This has been too long in-coming and I am thrilled that my votes for North Carolina legislators in 2010 is already paying off.