Castle Doctrine: A Means To Make Us Safe Or Is It Vigilantism?
It was only a matter of days that the ban on handguns in Washington DC was overturned by the United States Supreme Court. This ruling has had much profound effect throughout the country. Many other cities are planning to follow suit. Similar suits have been filed in San Francisco, California, and Chicago, Illinois.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has filed a suit against the city of San Francisco to overturn the ban on handguns in public housing.
However, critics of gun rights have brought up the aspect of suicide. A CDC study shows that most of the gun-related deaths are suicide. 90 percent of gun-related suicides are successful the study had added.
This is just an example on how the overturning of handgun bans can and will be put under further scrutiny.
Now, there is the issue of the Castle Doctrine. This doctrine is a “right-to-defend-yourself” law. Virtually half of the states have passed this law or have their own version of such a law. In the state of Texas, its version of the Castle Doctrine was passed.
This encompasses two things: Your home is your castle. You have the right to defend yourself and your property.
Both points are understandable. Your home should be treated as your mini-castle. You are the “ruler.” You have to protect and maintain it. At the same time, you have to defend the people and things inside from being besieged.
Burglars, rapists, vandals, and so forth can be considered as the invaders laying siege to your castle.
On the issue of gun rights, a further examination of the Castle Doctrine came to light. 62-year-old Joe Horn of Pasadena, Texas is one such person that seemed to have exercised the Castle Doctrine.
This incident had taken place back in November of 2007. Two men broke into the house of Horn’s next door neighbor. They decided to run across Horn’s lawn to escape. It was a bad move on their parts.
Horn dialed 911 about the break-in. On the 911 tape, Horn said to the dispatcher that he was going to kill the two burglars. It is alleged that Horn did just that. Horn is alleged to have stepped outside and peppered the backs of the two burglars with his shotgun. The key word is “alleged.”
On Monday, June 30, the grand jury of Harris County refused to give Horn an indictment.
While a small group came to protest at Horn’s home, they were filtered out by a larger group of bikers and residents. The larger group was chanting the name of the country.
Still, the Castle Doctrine is very popular with many people. This is due to us believing that criminals and other scum have way too many rights. In turn, law-abiding citizens constantly get shafted.
In the case of Horn, the main debate is if the court’s decision not to indict him is the result of the Castle Doctrine or another prior law. Ultimately, it rounds down to how the laws are interpreted. This is where the Judicial Branch comes in. Something like the Castle Doctrine will be interpreted by the courts.
But the main question presented is: Is the Castle Doctrine law meant to allow people to defend themselves or is it a form of vigilante justice?
Further examination of the Castle Doctrine makes it look like a double-edged sword. In this case, you could get a clean shot in or the shot gets deflected back in your direction. If you get the proverbial clean shot in, you’re good. If you don’t, it will hit you where the sun doesn’t shine.
In Horn’s case, two burglars crossed over his lawn. The court ruling was in his favor.
There was another case also in Texas. A man shot his teenage neighbor who he thought was an intruder. The boy was crossing the lawn with a friend. His friend’s mother drove them. Unfortunately, a drunk driver hit them. The mother was killed by the drunk driver. The boy’s injuries became worse.
While the man was safe with the Castle Doctrine, the case got turned over to the grand jury. The man got indicted.
In short, one would ask: Does this law make us safer or does this give motivation to people to take matters into their own hands?
Expect a possible political field day in the future with this one. While the Castle Doctrine itself has merit, there are some bumps present such as the shooting of the teenager perceived to be an intruder.
Ultimately, it will depend on how the Castle Doctrine will be interpreted. Again, that is up for the courts to decide.
Remember, guns don’t kill people. People kill people. As long as reasoning is provided, anything can be used as a weapon. If a person has the intent to kill, then a gun is a killing weapon. If the person has the intent to give a warning, then a gun is a tool to fire a warning shot in the air.
Tags: Castle Doctrine , Gun Rights , Nra , Guns
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