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right to defend oneself taken too far?

Posted on 2014-07-31
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came across this article earlier today, and it got me thinking whether or not he went to far.

A quick summary of what happened was an 80 year old man came home to discover 2 people attempting to harm him. When they saw him, the attacked him, which lead to him inevitably getting a-hold of his gun. When they saw he was armed, the turned and fled, and he followed, eventually catching up to them and killing one of them.

do you all think we went too far, or does his right to defend himself extend to off of his property?
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Question by:Big Monty
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by:Kimputer
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Good for the old guy! I'd say it's justice. I live in a country where if you fend of a burglar, and he receives a small bruise (since we're allowed guns), you would probably end up being convicted (with a fine or some community service), while the burglar might even receive punitive damages.
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Yeh, he went too far.  But they went too far first.
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by:SunBow
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With only this article as basis for 'fact(s)',

> do you all think we went too far,

yes

> or does his right to defend himself extend to off of his property?

yes

Parts of 'problem' omitted: complete health of resident, resident access to phone, prior adjudications, if any, for other crimes perpetuated and response times to 911 incidents, final shot's distance - not called 'execution' style, testimony of witnesses.

>  Instead, he was stalking his prey.

Not yet, resident was prey who had been stalked.

1>>  at this point, Greer was no longer defending himself b

He remained wounded by both culprits who chose to try to run away (to revise  attack plan?), rather than surrender.

2>>  If Greer shot Miller in the back, it makes it hard for him to argue that he wasn't in control

If they ceded 'control', they would not be running.

3>> Greer should have called police and waited

- and culprits get away again. If he had phone in hand. Others call 911 and die while waiting for help.

These culprits were not youngsters experimenting and bungling, they were in their 20's, he 80's, near 60 year advantage. Habitual criminals who effectively started an escalating targeted war, even if only on a small scale.  

>> He's a victim

yes

>> Gus Adams has been found and arrested on suspicion of murder

!!

>>This wasn't premeditated

Thus resident was not some 'stalker'.

>> .22 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver

Not as 'fatal' as .45, not a sniper rifle with a scope. Not 100+ bullets fired. Not emptying gun. They continually refused to cease robbery attempts, and escalated to physical violence and enduring robbery

Conclusion: Agreeing with Kimputer and Dave Baldwin

Answer: "he went too far.  But they went too far first."

<sad> I'd prefer to have more idealistic optimism, or optimistic idealism, but must face the more pragmatic.
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by:SunBow
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Not so dissimilar a question, I remain uncertain of own 'answer', I'll pose it as MQ separately if others care to attempt to comment on it:
http://www.freep.com/article/20140723/NEWS02/307230038/Renisha-McBride-porch-shooting-trial

Gist may be: drunken teen has vehicle accident. bangs upon doors of house, resident grabs gun, shot goes through one door killing one teen. Other 'facts' questionable.
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by:BigRat
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I have never quite understood the law around this.

Two people go into a bank and rush out with the loot. As they are speeding away in a car, are the police allowed to shoot at them?
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Actually, that depends on the circumstances.  Since shooting at a car on a public road has a high likelyhood of endangering others the answer would generally be No.
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by:SunBow
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Seems worthy of separate discussion, I think I'll go "depends, generally yes". I'll post it and hope to see y'all there:

Shoot at bank robbers?
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Other/Politics/Q_28489687.html
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by:frankhelk
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By law: Yes - he went too far and could be charged for murder.

The right to defend oneself has its border at the point when the immediate danger to life and body is gone. As the story is laid out, that point was reached exactly in the moment when the agressors turned away and fled. The old man then had the right to call the police, but not the right to chase the agressors ...

If they had not turned away, he would be allowed to apply JUST measures (which might be laid out wide) to stop them. "JUST measures" mean that "overkill" is not allowed. Allowed: Kill an offender who wants to stab you with a knife. Not allowed: Kill a weak burglar without a weapon.

There's only as much force allowed to stop the offence, but not more.
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by:tliotta
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Because he had been "robbed before", an argument could possibly be made that the final shot was indeed premeditated. (E.g., "I bought a gun after being robbed, and this time I was going to carry through to the end.")

Not enough info in the article to make a certain guess if the criminals would have been caught by law enforcement. It seems likely that sufficient DNA evidence at the least would be found if there was a fight. But the subject chose to put himself into the position of police, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner.

We either support our laws or we don't.

Tom
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by:ScottPletcher
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He's *80*.  He's been attacked.  Easy to say he should "back up and call the police".  But are the attackers coming back?  Maybe to finish him off?

Obviously the second, and fatal, shot is the most problematic.  But he's in an agitated state.  And he's *80*.  And he's got a *broken bone*.  If that's not mental impairment, I don't know what is.

Yes, the local authorities should take it a grand jury / jury.  And that jury should nullify the case.  That's one often overlooked and hated-by-the-statists reasons for a jury system -- nullification in the very rare cases when it's appropriate.
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by:frankhelk
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@ScottPletcher: Soory, but - no. At the moment the culprits turned and fled, his "self defense voucher" expired. It would be reinstated if the decide to come back, but in a situation as described, it's not allowed to go after them and kill 'em. If the don't flee, he may hold 'em at gunpoint till the police arrives and takes over, and shoot 'em if they attack him again.

Going after them to shoot 'em would be murder (of a lesser degree maybe, due to the state of mind he's in), but never self-defense.
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by:ScottPletcher
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That's wonderful *theory*.  But in practice, it's *not* that simple.

How do you know if they are armed or not?  The *first* thing the police do is search for weapons and remove them.  He *cannot* do that, so he's a great risk whether they flee or not.  

When detaining others, your own safety must come first.  If someone refused to allow a weapons search, the police would use force as well, deadly if necessary.  This old guy has *no* training like the police get.  

We shoot people fleeing banks, and that's only money.  Here we're talking about an old man's safety.  

Here's a hint to people: if you don't want to get shot, don't break into other peoples' homes or businesses.  There, problem solved!
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by:frankhelk
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Just to be clear ... it's a matter of precise definition, and it massively depends on the situation of the moment.

The culprits attempt to rob the old man: Force is justified.
They flee: The IMMEDIATE danger is gone (for the moment, but anyhow).
They turn and attack: Force is justified.

To shoot somebody who is on the run from your gun is wrong in any case.

This situation is theoretical, and so is my answer - a analysis of the situation as it's described.
No reading between the lines.
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dhsindy earned 50 total points
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(Not a lawyer but I can read)

Location, location, location - the law varies by location.  And, several facts are omitted from the question.  But, I only have time for two - where in the alley did it happen.  Legally an alley is an easement, the old guy probably owned half of the alley adjoining his property.  So, maybe it happened on his part of the easement.

Those who instigate a crime (in this case a felony) by law are responsible for all the consequences of that crime.  So, the question really is who instigated the crime and when did it end.  If the crime ended before the old man shot, then he is guilt.  If  crime was still in progress, then the guy and girl are joining responsible for everything that occurs, even the old man shooting her.  And, probably much should depend on facts that will not  be allowed in evidence, like the old guys health (how vulnerable was he), what kind of experiences he has had, why did they break in (to feed a drug habit or needing food).  And, they committed two crimes burglary and assault.

When, it isn't clear exactly what happened when, and where.  Then ,we need the lawyers to argue the fine points of the laws that apply and have a judge or jury to decide the outcome.

My big problem is with CNN and other news outlets giving us biased facts and judging people in the media (sometimes ruining peoples lives).  Simply to pad their bottom line and they rave on about it after it is no longer news.

Like in Ferguson, MO right now and in the recent past.  Some throw water on it while others fan the flames.  Everybody has their own agenda instead of looking at the big picture.  Life isn't fair - get used to it.
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by:tliotta
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@ScottPltcher:

If that's not mental impairment, I don't know what is.

I'd never have taken you for a 'bleeding heart' type. But there you have it. Nor would I have expected you to argue against the "Rule of Law". But again, there you have it.

Beyond that...

You clearly are unable to grasp the difference between the phase in the process that determines guilt or innocence and the later phase that establishes punishment for the guilty. It seems irrefutable that Greer murdered the woman. The first shot took her to the ground and possibly could have been excused, possibly even under an assertion of "mental impairment". But then to approach her while she was wounded on the ground and shoot her dead, that was simple murder, probably second-degree. (Though as I mentioned earlier, a sharp lawyer could potentially work a 'first-degree' argument.) Easy enough.

The only question after that is determination of punishment. E.g., multi-year probation might be appropriate.

It's not clear if you have any sense of how our legal system works. One wonders why you claim to care about it at all. (You do, don't you?)

Tom
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by:ScottPletcher
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Easy for you in perfect safety to condemn someone defending himself from a deadly threat that originated **in his own home**.  That person is a *threat to return* until I deal with that threat.

Could someone shoot up a school, then move two blocks away, and be immune from being shot?  I don't think so.

You don't want to be killed, don't try to kill others.  Sometimes the law must be practical not just theoretical.
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by:dhsindy
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Follow up article (note Gus Adams' mother, Ruby Adams, also charged - pre-hearing conference October 10th.)

http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20140905/mother-son-plead-not-guilty-in-fatal-long-beach-robbery-attempt
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by:tliotta
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Easy for you in perfect safety to condemn someone defending himself from a deadly threat that originated **in his own home**.

Easy for you to bring up an irrelevant point as usual. You seem to dislike numerous laws of the land and principles behind those laws. It's a wonder you keep writing as if you like this country.

Once the threat is removed from the home, it's a police issue, not vigilante. Once outside the home, it becomes highly possible to encounter a different couple who just happened to be taking a walk down that alley. Once it becomes a public event, simply firing a loaded gun becomes a public safety issue. Firing even in the home, no one was hit. Firing outside in the open...?

Far too many serious problems arise that form a separation around 'defense of self and home'. It's a police issue period.

Tom
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by:ScottPletcher
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Yeah, the police can write up a report over your dead body.  As for me, I'll be fighting back, not waiting for "daddy" to rescue me.
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