Tuesday, September 30, 2008

ZenTiger Deadly Force in Self Defence

"What we don't want is an Americanisation of our laws that encourages people to arm themselves and take the law into their own hands by shooting first and asking questions afterwards. - Phil Goff, 2004

Fast forward a few years, and however the stats are spun, the stabbings, burglaries with assault, murders and police deaths aren't going down. Peter Cresswell and Russell Brown argue about this, and especially where and how the government can reduce domestic violence. I'll come back to this. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis this week:

INDIANAPOLIS - A convicted sex offender (Myers) died Sunday during a struggle with a father who found the naked man in or near his 17-year-old daughter's bedroom, police said.

and he'd been in jail for 10 years on previous offences...

Police said Meyers was naked except for a mask and latex gloves and had entered the home through a window near the girl's bedroom with rope, condoms and a knife.

Well, evil intent seems obvious.

"If a person breaks into your home, you are justified in using deadly force in defending your family," said Police Sgt Mount. "In this situation, I don't think he was trying to kill him, he was trying to hold him down."

Fair enough too. This is basically what New Zealand law says. Phil Goff clearly agreed in the the link to my opening quote, but then I thought he began to back out with (to repeat):

"What we don't want is an Americanisation of our laws that encourages people to arm themselves and take the law into their own hands by shooting first and asking questions afterwards.

This comment was aimed at a dispute around some of the changes to our self-defence laws some time ago that Stephen Franks had pointed out as being uncalled for. Back to the matter at hand - I think shooting a naked, knife wielding intruder in your daughter's bedroom in the early hours of the morning is a situation where shooting first and asking questions later seems justified. Remember the recent case in New Zealand when a hero rushed in to help a women defend herself against a knife wielding thug? He died.

Where criminals show up in your home uninvited and with weapons, shoot first and ask later has to be permissible. The debate between PC and RB indicate one thing - we first and foremost need to be responsible for our own defence, and the state has no right to remove our own right of deadly force in self-defence.

Obviously, they have to establish the facts of the matter, and breaking and entering some-one's property with a weapon seems to be a reasonable threshold.

Here's the tail end of the Indianapolis story:
Police responding to a call from the city's northwest side about 3:20 a.m. found 64-year-old Robert McNally on the hallway floor with his arm around the neck of 52-year-old David T. Meyers, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The girl awoke and screamed when she saw the man in her room, police said. The father responded and struggled with the intruder while the girl's mother phoned 911.

Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Mount said Meyers had a heart condition and may have had a heart attack. An autopsy was planned.

Meyers had served 10 years in prison for criminal confinement and sexual deviate conduct and was wanted in Boone County for failure to register as a sex offender. He was registered as a sex offender in Marion County.

He said his daughter went to church Sunday after the incident.
There are other small twists to the story - like the culprit knew the targeted victim in some way, but the point of my post was to raise the issue behind domestic violence in our society and general violence in our society and noting that these problems are rooted in a whole bunch of causes that we all argue over endlessly, as things get worse (or at least no better).

So as we try to figure this all out, and look at the law and order policies, welfare policies and social justice policies of our various political parties, one thing I'm clear on is that the right to use deadly force in self-defence, is a sad necessity in life. There's one case recently I can recall where some-one acted in self-defence, and went to jail for it. It seemed that if ever threatened by a gang of thugs, you are not forgiven if you suffer stress, freak out and react badly.

There was also the Diary Owner down in Christchurch that repelled some machete waving robbers with an air pistol. I don't know if there has been a decision on that case as yet, they were seeking legal advice days after the incident.

Said the police:

McGregor was adamant that dairy owners should not arm themselves..."What we're saying is don't offer any form of resistance." He had his reasons, but those reasons didn't help the Indian liquor store owner Navtej Singh, who was murdered by robbers in South Auckland in June 2008.

The self-defence issue seems to be another of those issues that can get the blood boiling with what the State is or isn't doing. It seems the Police don't want to see robbers escalate the violence, but then again, any watcher of westerns know that the violence continues to escalate until some-one stops it. In this, it seems, reality mirrors fantasy.

Related Link: Sex Offender Dies on the job

7 comment(s):

universal said...

Yes Mr Goff, I am going to pour a cuppa for the possibly armed and dangerous intruder into my home and discuss the issue rationally...

Psycho Milt said...

Re the Indianapolis case, I encountered in Kuwait an American who'd killed an intruder in his house. I wrote about it on my old blog.

The cops had no problem with that shooting - if the intruder mofo didn't want people to shoot him, he could have tried not creeping into their houses at night. Fairly straightforward stuff, as it should be.

KG said...

"we first and foremost need to be responsible for our own defence, and the state has no right to remove our own right of deadly force in self-defence."
Absolutely.
Disarming law-abiding citizens means the state has entered into a contract to defend them and it's obvious the police cannot do that.They don't have the numbers to do it and they never will have.
A realistic right to self-defence means the use of firearms by citizens who have undergone some training and background checks first, because most ordinary people will never be as expert in the kind of violence thugs who grew up with it routinely employ--and firearms level the playing field.
Florida's experience with "shall issue" laws have proved that they work and work spectacularly well.
(something like .01% of gun crimes committed by owners of legally issued firearms. Prof.John Lott, 'More Guns, Less crime')

universal said...

"Disarming law-abiding citizens means the state has entered into a contract to defend them and it's obvious the police cannot do that."

Worse still, it assumes the State is always out to defend you. This is not the case so if the people cannot use deadly force neither should the State. That is of course ridiculous so both should have the freedom.

greg said...

If violent crime is not declining and offenders are not being rehabilitated the nett result of the "Justice System" is not to punish offenders but rather to give the impression of a strong boundary.

Thus, the "law-abiding" middle classes are mustered into a befuddled mob and kept politically salivating at the thought of "law and order".

MK said...

You only have the rights you can and are prepared to defend. When they state takes our guns away, they take our rights away. Fortunately for them, enough of us only figure this out when one day some scumbag walks into our lives and decides what we can and cannot do. and it's too late by then.

universal said...

Which is why I wish we had a Constitution with a 2nd Amendment... and that our Government actually respected it (unlike the US).

Post a Comment

Please be respectful. Foul language and personal attacks may get your comment deleted without warning. Contact us if your comment doesn't appear - the spam filter may have grabbed it.