Shooting back at Armed, Masked Intruders Might be Legal
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The leftist Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) has raised an incredible possibility, apparently something they just noticed: Self defense might be legal!
This is not a parody. This is not in the opinion section. This was written as a straight news article. As a common practice, writers search for sources they can quote, which will give the spin their outlet desires.
In the United States, self-defense has a long history. Self-defense has never been illegal. Self-defense must meet certain criteria. People are not allowed to murder another person, then claim it was self-defense. That has been the law for hundreds of years. It has always been lawful to meet the threat of deadly force with deadly force. Self-defense is considered a natural right.
The justification to use deadly force to repel robbers at night goes back to Mosaic law. It is not a new concept.
The case referred to happened near Conyers, Georgia, in the early morning hours of 16 September 2019.
In the article, a summation of the event is given, as the police understand the situation.
Three masked intruders attempt to rob three residents of a home, at 4 a.m. One of the intruders fired several shots at the residents. The homeowner returns fire, killing all three masked intruders. After the police arrive and start the investigation, they find the three masked suspects were 15 and 16 years old.
The AJC article is structured to make it appear, with these facts, there is merely a possibility the defender would be justified. From ajc.com:
Though professor Covey isn’t involved in the investigation, he said it’s possible that the homeowner will not face charges because he acted in self-defense. If the homeowner believed his life or the lives of others at his home were in danger, he may have lawfully fired at the three teenagers, Covey said.
That is a bizarre way to look at the case. Given the facts we know at present, the probability falls exactly on the opposite side. A rational way to phrase it would be:
The homeowner could face charges if it is determined he was not justified.
The presumption of innocence is an essential part of American law.
The investigation is ongoing. Some highly unusual circumstance may surface. It could happen.
To characterize this possibility as the most likely outcome is extreme spin. Quotes can be taken out of context, so it is not clear Professor Covey is saying it is more likely than not the homeowner will be charged in this case. The AJC seems to be saying exactly that.
The following quote indicates Covey is saying the doctrine of self-defense, itself, should be re-examined to determine whether it makes sense. Covey correctly notes the investigation is ongoing. Then he uses the incident to opine on the doctrine of self-defense:
Without all the facts in the Rockdale case, it’s hard to say whether the homeowner broke the law, Covey said. The incident raises the question of whether it makes sense to authorize people to use deadly force in similar situations, he said.
Consider the facts as known so far. What else could be the basis for Professor Covey’s assertion? What about the incident, as known, raises a question about the doctrine of deadly force in similar circumstances?
1. Three masked intruders approach a residence at 4 a.m.
2. One of the masked intruders opens fire at the residents with a Glock semi-automatic pistol.
3. The homeowner returns fire, killing all three intruders.
It is difficult to construct a more clear cut case for self-defense with deadly force than being fired at by masked strangers, who approach you, uninvited, at 4 a.m. at your residence.
How does any of the above raise any question about the doctrine of self-defense?
If such a case is questionable, all self defense is questionable.
I doubt you could find 10% of the population who would question the homeowners right to defend himself, his relatives, and his home from masked intruders, at night, who open fire on him and his.
It seems likely the homeowner used a semi-automatic rifle. That is not mentioned in the AJC article. Nor should it be relevant. With the current media push to demonize semi-automatic rifles, the AJC or the professor might consider it relevant.
There has never been a duty to retreat unless you can do so safely. It is difficult to consider a less safe time than while you and your family are under fire.
The AJC attempts to tie this case to the Stand Your Ground law in Georgia, as do several other media outlets, including The Washington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times. There is no connection. Given the facts as known, Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law does not apply. Self-defense would be justified with or without Stand Your Ground.
It is easier to effectively disarm the population, it the doctrine of self-defense is questioned. The utility of arms for self-defense must be denied. In England, in Canada, in Australia, in New Zealand, their gun control laws specifically claim the use of firearms for self-defense is not legitimate. None of those countries allow self-defense as a legitimate reason to own firearms.
When the utility of arms for self-defense is acknowledged, the right to keep and bear arms naturally follows.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.