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It’s the NRA’s Country, We Just Live In It

[ 151 ] April 8, 2012 |

Ain’t that America (or at least the America whose state legislatures under the sway of gun nuts):

When Billy Kuch knocked on the wrong door, he had a cigarette in one hand and a shirt in the other. The homeowner, Gregory Stewart, stepped outside, stood his ground, fired a round from his semiautomatic into Kuch’s chest, and in the eyes of the state of Florida, committed no crime.

Three years after that shooting, in a Land O’ Lakes subdivision called Stagecoach Village, Kuch is alive but damaged by his injuries and the shock of being shot at point-blank range. Stewart is free but lying low, still sought out by neighbors and others who want him to account for his actions.

“I have no problem with people owning guns to protect themselves,” says Bill Kuch, Billy’s father. “But somehow, we’ve reached the point where the shooter’s word is the law. The victim doesn’t even get his day in court. I don’t think most Americans realize it, but that’s where we are.”

In Florida and across the country, “Stand Your Ground” laws — the same kind of legislation that authorities cited for not arresting a neighborhood-watch volunteer after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida in February — have coincided with a sharp increase in justifiable-homicide cases.

Comments (151)

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  1. DrDick says:

    If they have their way, a lot of us will not be living here much longer.

    • R Johnston says:

      I’m a firm believer that the obvious commentary or joke shouldn’t be shied away from just for being obvious.

      I guess I’m saying you beat me to the punch.

  2. ChrisCicc says:

    Typical liberal twist. It says “knocked on”, a report from the time says: “On Aug. 1, 2009, their son, Billy Kuch, 23, was shot in the chest after he drunkenly tried to enter a home in the Stagecoach subdivision.”

    • burnt says:

      So, why haven’t you shot John Boehner?

    • GeoX says:

      Well, then. It was clearly justified to shoot him in the fucking chest.

      You ARE aware that this incessant “if the libruls are for it, ahm agin it” business is making you look even crazier than usual, aren’t you?

      • LKS says:

        Gunhuggers are apparently too stupid to close and lock the door and stay in the house and call the police.

        Or in Zimmerman’s case, too stupid to stay in their vehicles and lock the doors until the police they’ve already called can get there.

        • David M. Nieporent says:

          Ah, the counterpart to “Stand Your Ground”: the Cower In Fear Approach.

          Note that “Stand Your Ground” doesn’t actually have anything to do with the Zimmerman case. Zimmerman’s (dubious) story is that he was walking back to his car when he was attacked from behind by Martin, who knocked him to the ground and jumped on him. If so, Stand Your Ground wouldn’t apply; no state requires one to retreat in such circumstances. (If Zimmerman is lying and he wasn’t acting in self-defense, then SYG also wouldn’t apply.)

          • DrDick says:

            Wow! This is the most deceptive and disingenuous recounting of the case I have seen yet. Coming from a lawyer, it calls you qualifications to practice into question. The reason he was not taken into custody, investigated, and charged was owing to the Florida’s SYG law, as has been reported by everyone.

            • David M. Nieporent says:

              Many things are “reported.” Some of them are even true. When it involves legal analysis, that proportion goes down significantly. (Or perhaps I just notice it more in those situations.)

              I don’t dispute that the SYG has been cited repeatedly in media coverage of the Zimmerman-Martin incident. But based on the facts that have been reported, SYG is simply irrelevant. If — and I stress that this is hypothetical — Zimmerman is telling the complete truth, then he would have been entitled to shoot Martin in any state, with or without a SYG law.

          • LKS says:

            Ah, the counterpart to “Stand Your Ground”: the Cower In Fear Approach.

            Maybe I’m misreading, but it sounds to me like you’re saying that you’re a coward if you don’t shoot a harmless, unarmed drunk pounding on your door.

            And how is it that doing the sensible, humane thing of simply locking the door and calling the cops is “cowering in fear”? You have got to be pathological insecure about your manhood to even think that.

            • David M. Nieporent says:

              I am not saying that you are a coward if you don’t shoot a harmless, unarmed drunk. I am saying that I don’t think much of people who contend that the only legitimate advice to give to someone who reasonably feels threatened is “hide.”

              I don’t know whether that guy’s actions were reasonable or not; I wasn’t there and I haven’t talked to any witnesses. However, if he reasonably — key word — feared for his family’s safety, then there was nothing wrong with him defending them, rather than hoping that the guy didn’t break in before the police arrived.

              • mark f says:

                Of course, he could’ve sat on the other side of the door (or window or whatever) with his gun, and shot the guy if actually did break in before the police arrived. While waiting he could’ve even shouted warnings that the police were on the way and that if the guy insisted on forcing his way in he would be shot. A broken jamb or sash is not an inconvenience worth murdering someone to prevent.

                • DrDick says:

                  Unless you are a libertarian, who holds property rights as sacred. Human rights don’t count.

                • R Johnston says:

                  Even if all you care about is your own property, better not to waste a bullet and force yourself to spend time scrubbing blood stains off the porch railing.

              • joe from Lowell says:

                then there was nothing wrong with him defending them

                Putting a locked door between your family and a threat is defending them.

                The wingnuts have done something very Orwellian with the word “defense.” Instead of meaning “secure one’s safety from a threat,” with the use of force against that threat being only one means of defense, they have changed it to mean that using force against a potential threat is the only definition of defense.

    • Kal says:

      God knows if some drunk party-goer stumbled into my abode in the middle of the night, I’d kill them.

      Oh, wait, no, because I’m not a horror-movie villain.

      • Kal says:

        On the other hand, I’m not a father, so this is speculation, but I have a feeling that if somebody shot my kid, and was getting away with it, I would confront him. And I might feel threatened, reasonably so – after all, I know this person is a killer! But would I retreat? No, I think much more likely I would stand my ground, pull out my concealed weapon 0 that in this scenario I carry lawfully – and shoot him dead. All legal!

        I’m honestly surprised something like that hasn’t happened already. Family vengeance is a world-wide phenomenon prior to the rise of the modern state with its monopoly of legitimate violence, and if that monopoly has been surrendered…

      • R Johnston says:

        And if a drunk stumbled to your door, knocked on it, then loitered harmlessly outside your home?

        Anyone who thinks this was a justified shooting on the presented facts is not just wrong but is a menace to himself and to society who should be behind bars or at least civilly committed.

        • DrDick says:

          I would do exactly what I have done when that has happened in the past and call the police. Real simple and no hassle.

        • David M. Nieporent says:

          The “facts presented” — not by the Post, but by local papers — are not that he “knocked” on the door. Rather, he tried to get in. The homeowner was able to scare him off. Then he tried to get in again. The homeowner came out, tried to get rid of him, he wouldn’t leave, the homeowner pointed a gun, and he still kept advancing. That’s when the homeowner fired.

          Whether he was actually in fear, and whether that fear was reasonable, I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Neither were all the people here pronouncing him stupid or evil, of course. But seems like the crazy drunk guy who repeatedly tried to break into a house deserves a little bit more of the blame.

          • mark f says:

            The homeowner came out, tried to get rid of him, he wouldn’t leave, the homeowner pointed a gun, and he still kept advancing. That’s when the homeowner fired.

            If only there was someone the homeowner could’ve called to handle the situation some other way while he waited safely inside.

          • DrDick says:

            That is why we have police departments, who are very good at dealing with these kinds of situations, as I can attest from my own experience. He had no need to do anything else other than call them as the guy was not actually breaking into the house.

            • David M. Nieporent says:

              “was not actually breaking into the house.”

              The report said that the guy tried to get in. I don’t know whether tried to get in means that he tried to turn the knob, couldn’t, and gave up, or whether it meant that he turned the knob, couldn’t get it open, and (as drunk as he was — 0.3!) tried to force it open.

              In any case, we have police departments to come after the fact and take witness statements, not to protect you from crimes actually in progress. I don’t have the blind faith in government that some appear to have here.

              (Unless, of course, it involves minorities, in which case all of the sudden the police can do no right.)

              • Malaclypse says:

                I don’t have the blind faith in government that some appear to have here.

                Well, not in this thread. In this thread, you are a gun nut Principled Libertarian. Ihe other thread, where you you don’t know enough to question Ryan’s numbers, well, I suppose Republican hackery is a sort of principle…

              • Hogan says:

                In any case, we have police departments to come after the fact and take witness statements, not to protect you from crimes actually in progress.

                Which is why high-speed police pursuits are entirely unheard of in this country.

              • Anonymous says:

                Oddly, I had no problem getting the police to respond in a timely fashion in either Chicago or my current city.

          • witless chum says:

            The homeowner came out, tried to get rid of him, he wouldn’t leave, the homeowner pointed a gun, and he still kept advancing. That’s when the homeowner fired.

            Exactly. The sober(?) homeowner turned a scary situation into a life-threatening one by going outside to confront the guy while armed. They taught us in hunter’s safety that you should never point a gun anywhere you didn’t want to shoot it. By introducing the gun into the situation, he was deciding that he wanted this guy off his lawn more than he wanted him alive.

            So, yeah, pretty big asshole who’d have been better served if he hadn’t had a gun at all and thus no option to get into the situation of shooting drunks.

            This is all assuming that a drunk advancing on you justifies shooting them which, y’know, maybe. Depending on the relative sizes and strengths involved. But I’m kinda dubious on that one, too.

          • DrDick says:

            Assumes many facts not in evidence and several others counter to the published account. Are you seriously telling me you haven’t been disbarred for legal malpractice yet?

    • Timb says:

      Yeah, the article said he tried the door, cause he thought it was the house where the party he was attending was.

      Turned a door knob = home invasion to America’s constantly peeing themselves brigade

      • mark f says:

        At college in a very hill-billy northeastern town, my (black) roommate did this very same thing. Except that in his case the door was unlocked and he passed out on a couch. He woke up to a police officer and a very concerned family staring at him. He spent a night in jail and I think ended up paying a fine. According to ChrisCicc and Regular Guy I guess the better solution would’ve been for the homeowner to have shot him.

      • R Johnston says:

        In a real home invasion in Florida, the invader knows the law and shoots anything that moves.

        The beneficiaries of these kinds of laws are people who commit homicides when they aren’t actually in danger. People who are actually in danger are already dead because the violent criminals know that under state law they’d better shoot first.

  3. Murc says:

    How the hell is this legal, even under stand your ground laws?

    I’m dead serious in that question. My experience has been that prosecutors like to win convictions, and that police departments, despite a whole host of pathologies, dislike it when they look incompetent. (Looking BRUTAL is one thing. Looking INCOMPETENT is a whole nother story.)

    Why couldn’t this idiot have been prosecuted? Stand your ground laws require a person to reasonably believe they’re in danger. What’s to stop a prosecutor from arguing to a jury that no reasonable man would have stepped out his front door and blown away a man knocking at the door, and savagely attacking his lame attempts at justification? I’ve seen prosecutors do more with less.

    • STH says:

      Maybe they could have tried to prosecute him, but if resources are limited, why not focus on easier cases? (I almost wrote “targets,” but thought better of it.)

    • Mike Schilling says:

      He was justifiably afraid of secondhand smoke.

    • That does seem like the real problem here, to me. Even more so than by the letter expansive SYG laws, it’s really the public’s willingness to fear that they’re going to be the victim of some brutal home invasion any day now and thus empathize with the shooter to the point of taking any claim of feeling threatened as “reasonable” that creates this dynamic.

      • mark f says:

        Exactly. Get everyone thinking that In Cold Blood happens to everyone eventually, and remind everyone that “when seconds count, the police are just minutes away,” and this shit is bound to happen much more than it should.

    • witless chum says:

      Given that this gentleman lived “in a Land O’ Lakes subdivision called Stagecoach Village” I think the other issue might have been that he could afford a very competent defense and would be more likely than average to take the case to trial. Even if the prosecutor wins, it’s going to be a lot of effort/resources.

    • Heron says:

      That brings up an interesting question; if a Florida citizen shot and killed a cop during one of their frequently mistaken home invasions, would that citizen be protected under SYG laws? I suspect not.

      /Of course, he wouldn’t be liable to survive the night anyway

  4. mb says:

    I read things like this and get really outraged until I realize: fewer Floridians.

    • Hanspeter says:

      The problem being that the Floridians that are left are the ones you constantly hear about in the news (and not the good news).

    • Furious Jorge says:

      Fuck you, dipshit.

    • Furious Jorge says:

      I know you think you’re funny, but you’re talking about my friends, my family, and my neighbors. So no, you’re not funny, just an asshole.

    • actor212 says:

      Errr, it’s really a case of evolution working in reverse, if you think about it.

    • LKS says:

      Being a Floridian myself, I’m not entirely unsympathetic to this, as I am about to put my life in the hands of the crazies on US19 to go buy Corona Light at $3/12-pack less than I can get it at the grocery store across the street.

      However, I do think we should do intelligent cullling of the herd, and instead of shooting all of the many Hispanics, non-whites and liberals, we should simply round up all the gun nuts and ship them off to Arizona, along with the Keep Your Hands Off My Social Security geezers who vote Republican.

    • joe from Lowell says:

      I know where you’re coming from, but consider: none of these people are Florida cops.

      It’s really the cops throwing off the grading curve that gives Floridians in general a bad name.

  5. Anonymous says:

    In Florida and across the country, “Stand Your Ground” laws — the same kind of legislation that authorities cited for not arresting a neighborhood-watch volunteer after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida in February — have coincided with a sharp increase in justifiable-homicide cases.

    Wasn’t that the point of the law?

    • mingo says:

      I have to ask, is it stupidity or malice that accounts for how carefully you ignore the glaring scare quotes around the word “justifiable”. It is obvious to those of us with even a shred of conscience that broadening the definition of “justifiable” to extend to anything a shooter says might turn many of these “justifiable” homicides into murder.

      These SYG laws are nothing more than License to Murder laws. Particularly if you are considered disposable by the powers-that-be, such as minorities, poors, uppity wives, etc.

      • c u n d gulag says:

        I often find that ‘stupidity’ and ‘malice’ go hand-in-hand.

        Analnonymous is just another example of that.

        • mingo says:

          I’m with you here, c u n d – I’m a both/and sort of person. Just wondered if it wanted to answer a ‘when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife’ type of question.

      • Lee says:

        My guess is that there a lot of people who want to be violent but are very scarred of the consequences of violence in modern society. They achieve political power and pass SYG laws in order to indulge in their desire to shed other people’s blood.

        Your right, its a license to murder.

        In law school, one of my professor’s father moved back East because he thought that Western states were way to broad in defining self-defense. Personally, I believe in New York’s absolute duty to retreat version of self-defense.

        • Dana says:

          SYG laws seem to me to be something of an unholy alliance between the far left and the far right. NRA types like them because they codify their rhetorical position that we would be a safer society and will have fewer murders if everyone is armed. Anyone who is human and has a soul knows this cannot be true–people are fallible and emotional, they misinterpret and misunderstand, they get fearful and angry and irrational and violent. If armed with guns this produces deadly results. SYG justifies the shootings that will inevitably happen in these circumstances. If these killings are no longer murder then by definition there will be less crime.

          On the other hand, defense attorneys–esp. public defenders–like SYG laws because they make it easier to get their clients off. And we know what a bunch of bleeding-hearts lefties they are.

          • Heron says:

            Defense attorneys have one of the hardest jobs in our society; fighting for clients in a legal system grossly weighted to the prosecution’s benefit. While I certainly find SYG laws despicable, I hardly consider them, or the callousness of juries willing to let those who deploy violence unnecessarily walk free due to the nature of their victims, to be the responsibility of defense attorneys.

        • David M. Nieporent says:

          Personally, I believe in New York’s absolute duty to retreat version of self-defense.

          Which leads to injustices like the prosecution and conviction of John White for defending his home and son from a gang of attackers. (Fortunately, Gov. Patterson did the right thing.)

          • Karate Bearfighter says:

            Begs the question; the John White case is an example of how the system should work. John White was not “protecting his home and son from a gang of attackers”; he charged out of his house to confront a group of teenagers with his gun. His son was safely inside the home before the confrontation, the teenagers were not attempting to enter his home, and White had the opportunity to call the police before they arrived. He should have been convicted.

            His sentence was reduced because of his character and the circumstances surrounding the shooting, and that was also proper. Then the executive branch decided that this was an unusual situation where the operation of the law was working an injustice, and commuted his sentence. Ultimately, he served 5 months for shooting and killing a kid when he had other options.

            • David M. Nieporent says:

              John White was not “protecting his home and son from a gang of attackers”; he charged out of his house to confront a group of teenagers with his gun.

              I don’t see why your description necessarily contradicts mine.

              His son was safely inside the home before the confrontation,

              His son was inside the home, but who says “safely”? Police may wait for a warrant before entering your home (or maybe not!) but that doesn’t mean a lynch mob will.

              the teenagers were not attempting to enter his home,

              Begs the question. Were they not attempting to enter the home because they were just jerks whose bark was worse than their bite? Or because White was standing there with a gun?

              Look, I’m not saying that people should shoot first and ask questions later. If you’re going to use a gun in self-defense, you’d better be pretty certain that it’s necessary. But an awful lot of Monday morning quarterbacks seem to be pretty certain that it’s not necessary. And that appears to revolve more around their dislike of firearms than a dispassionate assessment of these situations.

      • DrDick says:

        He does have a point. This is exactly what these laws were intended to do. As I have said in the past, these SYG laws are just n****r hunting licenses and if a few nonbrown people die in the process, it is just collateral damage.

      • BradP says:

        Justifiable homicide is a legal term, and at no point in that post were scare quotes used.

        The point of the law was to protect those who use deadly violence in a justified situation.

        Since those who support the law believe that people who killed someone in self-defense are likely to be tried unfairly, and those who oppose it think people who killed someone without exculpation will escape justice, bringing up an increase in justifiable homicides is merely begging the question.

        In Florida, there are about 40 more justifiable homicides a year from before the SYG law. One would need to break those down to see whether the situations involved an unjustified use of force or not to have any useful info.

        Under the completely unlikely scenario that all 40 represent individuals who acted in self-defense and would have been unfairly tried without the law, the SYG law would be an unmitigated success, precisely because of the increase in justifiable homicides.

    • actor212 says:

      Did you bother to read some of the cases?

      There were 8 justifiable homicide cases in Florida the year before the law was enacted. THere were 40 the following year.

      Included in the increase were multiple barroom fights where the shooter actually picked the fight and a particularly “cute” case of a homicidal maniac who shot a man for making eyes at his girlfriend.

      • Lee says:

        SYG laws are being used to justify “honor killings”? Thats the only way to describe murdering a man for looking at a woman.

        • actor212 says:

          Consider the 2007 case of 19-year-old William Wilkerson, who got into an argument with Jason Payne, 22, at an outdoor party in Wellington, Fla. According to state records, Payne was drunk and angry that Wilkerson was flirting with his girlfriend. A squabble ensued, and Wilkerson put three bullets into Payne, who died. Wilkerson, who claimed self-defense under “Stand your ground,” was acquitted of murder, although prosecutors were able to eke out a conviction for discharging a gun from a vehicle. Wilkerson got four years.

          Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2110471,00.html#ixzz1rYLygcSF

          • Timb says:

            It was a drive by “stand your ground” shooting

          • Wait, if I’m reading this right, it was actually the guy who started the fight who wound up getting shot, no?

          • BradP says:

            In that case Wilkerson was asked to leave for supposedly making eyes at Payne’s girl. As he was leaving the party, a drunken Payne chased him down and smashed in the driver’s side window.

            A jury determined he acted in self-defense, but he was still convicted to four years in prison for discharging a firearm from a vehicle. By that point he had already been incarcerated for two years.

            Not exactly the most outrageous slight of justice.

  6. c u n d gulag says:

    And people wonder why there aren’t any more door-to-door salespeople?

    Also too – if I’m a Jehovah’s Witness, I’m rethinking my religion’s whole morning outreach program.

    And please, no jokes that shooting them on a Sunday morning being justifiable.

    • Spud says:

      They haven’t really gone away, its just fewer people stay home during the day anymore with double income families being the norm. .

      The JW’s aren’t so bad. They at least know how to take “no” for an answer.

      Its the door to door Mormons which are the real blight. In my town they only seem to send the really young and obnoxious ones around.

      Ugh, like I really want a theological debate on my doorstep before my morning coffee.

      • Malaclypse says:

        In my town they only seem to send the really young and obnoxious ones around.

        That’s all there are is young ones. Men are expected to go on missions for two years beginning at 19, women have the option to go at 21.

      • Furious Jorge says:

        If I know it’s the Mormons, I generally answer the door in my underwear. Especially if it’s in the morning.

  7. actor212 says:

    Can someone refresh my memory?

    There was a case in Texas, I think it was near Houston, where an Asian kid was shot walking up someone’s driveway because he was about to ask directions and didn’t understand English so well, so when the gun nut warned him, he got confused.

    • Lee says:

      actor212, the kid was a Japanese exchange student and the murder occured in New Orleans, Louisiana not Houston, Texas. The man was actually put on trial but the jury decided to acquit him in self-defense. There was an attempt at a conviction though by the prosecutors.

      Also, the murderer, I believe, felt very guilty and decided to get rid of all of his guns. At least he changed even if he avoided jail time.

  8. PGE says:

    The way I analyse it is that if someone in a SYG state feels, justifiably or not, that I’m a threat, that I no longer have the protection of the law; I’m immediately, based on that person’s perception, turned into an outlaw (in the original meaning of that term). “Equal protection” doesn’t apply at all: I have NO protection.
    Also, my only rational response is to feel threatened by that situation myself. So, if someone feels threatened by me, my best bet is to feel threatened by them, thus removing them from the protection of the law, and kill them before they kill me. And that seems to be the only way for me to return to a state of being protected by the law.
    It’s hard to believe we’re passing laws this stupid.

    • R Johnston says:

      Exactly. These kinds of laws tell people who wish to be threatening that they should be sure to shoot first. They tell people who feel threatened that they’d better not take a moment or two to determine whether their feelings are reasonable because if they’re really threatened then someone really is about to shoot because that’s what the law tells them to do.

      • Snarki, child of Loki says:

        I feel threatened by the ENTIRE STATE OF FLORIDA!

        Justifiable, too, after the crap they did to us in Nov-Dec 2000.

        Preparing nuclear strike in 3..2..1..

    • actor212 says:

      Pretty much, altho the cover story is quite a bit different:

      The “stand your ground” law passed at a peculiar time in Florida–a time propitious for Second Amendment purists. On Sept. 16, 2004, Hurricane Ivan crashed into northwestern Florida. A brutal storm, Ivan killed 25, and damages exceeded $18 billion. Looters raided businesses and homes in and around Pensacola, as people did in New Orleans when Katrina struck a year later.

      Reporters began to fixate on one story, that of James Workman, 77, who shot and killed a man who broke into an RV where Workman and his wife were staying after Ivan took their home.

      Workman was clearly protected under the castle doctrine, but authorities struggled with whether they should take him into custody or charge him. Dennis Baxley, a member of Florida’s house of representatives, says Workman was in legal limbo for weeks. Even though prosecutors eventually declined to charge Workman, Baxley co-sponsored the bill that would become the “Stand your ground” law.

      “We wanted citizens to know that if they are attacked, the presumption will be with them,” says Baxley.

      Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2110471,00.html#ixzz1rYMwqR8E

      • Heron says:

        Even fishier when you consider that most of those looting stories about Katrina were fictions, and that the same might have been true for the aftermath of Ivan.

      • Lurker says:

        Sorry for not remembering my criminal procedure so well, but is there really a requirement that a person be arrested before being prosecuted? Cannot the prosecutor decide, himself, that there is no risk of fleeing and decide to raise charges without first having the defendant arrested?

  9. Joe says:

    “stepped outside”

    That seems a problem to me. I agree with the result in D.C. v. Heller. You have the right to own a gun for self-defense at home. And, you shouldn’t have to flee your home even if lethal force is required.

    Stepping outside the home and shooting people in this way is different. The article points to a case where someone “entered” and the owner shot the person. He was not charged but apparently merely the “uncertainty” was a problem.

    There is a middle ground possible here. This includes not applying the same rules to homes as out in the street.

    • mpowell says:

      It’s unclear in this case whether Kuch was attempting to enter the home or not. The article presents Kuch’s version of events, but he did return to the home a second time. I’m sure at trial the man who shot him would claim that Kuch was attempting to enter the home. There should be pretty good forensic evidence regarding exactly where Kuch and the shooter were standing when the shot was fired, but that wasn’t in the article as far as I could tell. I do not support these laws, but this is not the best example of the worst thing that can happen as a result of them.

      • Joe says:

        I am with you as to not being able to conclusively say what happened here but if not “the worst,” it is not exactly up there as to hazy. Even sympathetically, you have some drunk guy “attempting” to enter the home and the only way to keep him out is to shoot him? This is a clear case where rights bring with them responsibilities and (w/o being conclusive) this looks irresponsible. I don’t know if the evidence will be conclusive one way or the other.

        • mpowell says:

          Well, this is where the law certainly does come into play. As a father with children in the home, a drunk attempting to enter your home certainly could appear threatening. But in a state with a more stringent standard for threat (not just what a reasonable person might happen to think but a genuine threat), a homeowner is far less likely to feel free to shoot what is actually a mostly harmless drunk and a jury is likely to feel similary, I would imagine.

          • DrDick says:

            This is why we have police departments.

            • Joe says:

              Seriously, are you saying the many people, including those in certain areas, need not worry about home defense, including actual dangerous people right outside, since you know, “we have police departments”?

              • Malaclypse says:

                including those in certain areas

                Subtext becoming text.

              • Hogan says:

                And by “worry about home defense” you mean “go outside and shoot an unarmed man at point-blank range.”

                • mark f says:

                  Don’t forget the part where he knew the police to be on the way, but still shot a man whom he knew to be, by his own account, a drunken goofball at the wrong house.

                  Stewart told his wife to call 911. Then he grabbed his Smith & Wesson semiautomatic and went into his front yard.
                  Stewart said he kept asking Kuch to leave, but Kuch, thinking the guys at the party were playing a joke on him, stayed.

                • David M. Nieporent says:

                  Huh? That doesn’t say that the homeowner knew the guy was “a drunken goofball at the wrong house.” That’s Kuch’s explanation for his actions, not the homeowner’s description of what he knew at the time.

                • mark f says:

                  Maybe it’s just bad writing, but all the information in that sentence is attributed to Stewart (the homeowner).

                • Joe says:

                  No, Hogan, since I already criticized what went on here.

                  Ditto this “subtext” business.

                  People of all races live in bad or out of the way areas where waiting for the police in certain cases, including when actually dangerous people threaten homes, will get you hurt.

              • Heron says:

                I think he’s saying the proper response in this situation is to call the cops and tell them some drunk guy is banging on your door. I had this exact situation happen to me one night when I was 12 and at home alone, I called the cops, and it worked out just fine. Grabbing a hand-gun from my parents’ night stand, opening the door and blasting him in the chest would not have improved the situation.

                • Joe says:

                  Granted Heron, but if a drunk actually DID enter the home, the police won’t help you out for quite some time in various instances.

            • deadbolt says:

              and locks

        • Lurker says:

          I’m from Finland. We have self-defence here, too, but the law is specifically written so that the amount of force used needs to be in relation to the actual danger. For example, as a full-grown man, I would not be legally justified to shoot a single person who is breaking into my home. I would be within my rights to hit him, club him, or to use a knife, but shooting would be disproportionate use of force. Here, the rule of thumb for self-defence is: The shooter always goes to prison. Even the police discharge their service weapons only half a dozen times per year, nationwide, so the likelihood of legal armed self-defence by a civilian is very low.

          On the other hand, if the attacker were holding a gun and making a threathening gesture, there might be a possibility to use lethal force for self-defence. There was a case (Finnish Supreme Court 182:1997) where the defendant had shot in his home, with a legal rifle, a person who was pointing a shotgun at several other persons and had shot several shots already, while making threats of killing everyone in the apartment. In that case, lower courts convicted the defendant to jail for using disproportionate force: he should have shot in the extremities instead of the torso. However, the Supreme Court freed the man.

          • Joe says:

            I appreciate this insight but many a full grown man is not advised to go at often stronger and quicker criminals with knives or clubs. If they did, it might actually be more lethal in certain cases than a flesh wound. A blow on the head with a club can cause rather much damage.

            The business of even someone who was shot at and threatened was at first convicted is rather striking in itself.

    • mpowell says:

      I also wanted to add that I agree with you that it’s truly absurd that laws were passed authorizing new ‘self-defense’ actions because someone who was innocent under the old legal regime faced a few months of uncertainty.

    • timb says:

      The law always contained inside home and your curtilage. Stepping outside your house is fine under the castle doctrine

      From Wikipedia, my go to legal source: The curtilage is an important legal term to define the land immediately surrounding a house or dwelling,

  10. Heron says:

    Let’s be frank here. The end result of police not punishing assailants in situations like this is going to be a return to what the laws restricting the use of violence were written to end in the first place; namely, Vendetta. This article already points obliquely to its return with the line about Mr. Stewart having to lie low to avoid neighbors and friends of Mr. Kuch who want him to pay. Trying these cases and punishing trigger happy people who turn to violence in situations where it isn’t warranted isn’t just a matter of individual justice. It is a matter of social peace and societal cohesion. If people start to think there will be no punishment for those who harm them, either due to “stand your ground” laws or class issues, then people are going to stop relying on the legal system and start taking matters into their own hands.

    The growing militarization, brutality, and impunity of police has already made plenty of USians unwilling to cooperate with officers in their investigations, and the further we go down this path the worse the situation is going to become. Stuff like this destroys faith in the system, and that’s the glue holding society together. Refusing to do justice and blatantly allowing the wealthy to loot society are direct causes of Political Decay.

    • actor212 says:

      Zimmerman is in seclusion, probably stashed somewhere his lawyer felt would be safe, and likely out of the county.

      I can’t imagine that his life will ever be normal again, not that I pity him or feel sorry for him. It will be tough going through life looking over his shoulder, I’m sure.

  11. Malaclypse says:

    So, are Regular Guy, Eddie Dean, and Anonytroll all sock puppets of one another?

  12. John says:

    Did you actually read the article? It wasn’t a home invasion. Kuch was at a party, wandered off to his car, then got confused about which house his friends were in an knocked on the wrong door. The homeowner told Kuch it was the wrong place, but he was too drunk to understand and stayed on the porch. That’s a threatening and upsetting situation for the person in the house, but it’s not a home invasion.

  13. Furious Jorge says:

    I’m sorry the world is too scary for you. Perhaps you should take your binky and go hide in the mountains somewhere, far far away from allllllllllll the scary black teenagers and drunk 23-year-old partygoers who mean to rape and kill your family before stealing your prized collection of TV Guides.

  14. Malaclypse says:

    Keep in mind that Regular Guy is a coward who needs a gun to feel secure.

  15. DrDick says:

    It compensates for his other inadequacies. There is always a booming market in penile substitutes.

  16. Furious Jorge says:

    Oooooh, you found a typo! In a blog comment! Clearly that means Lee is stupid! And an incompetent lawyer!

  17. joe from Lowell says:

    “…Western states were way to [sic]broad in defining self-defense.”

    You went to which school, again?

    The best part of this comment, in which you act like a dick because someone made a typo, is your typo – the missing space after “[sic].”

    Nicely done.

  18. Steve LaBonne says:

    No, moron. This has been another edition of simple answers to stupid questions.

  19. Hogan says:

    It’s OK with me that you’re black.

  20. actor212 says:

    Buy a Vette, instead. It’s safer for the rest of us.

  21. mark f says:

    You should know that according to ChrisCicc, being black is near license enough for him to shoot you. You owning a gun, even if he doesn’t know about it, gets him the rest of the way there. I assume so, anyway, since the ex post facto revelation of Twitter handle was enough for Chris to side with George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case:

    [L]ook at who he represented himself to be: he got gold fillings in his teeth, wore a hood up to act tough, and had a Twitter name of “no_limit_nigga”. Someone who does those things can’t get pissed about racial profiling after the fact, they deserve every bit of it.

  22. DrDick says:

    It would not matter if you were purple with pink polka dots. Stupid is as stupid does and you do it very well indeed.

  23. DrDick says:

    Gee, saying somebody needs to be tried when they shoot somebody is exactly the same as a lynch party. Do try to keep up. I have seen brighter 6 year olds.

  24. actor212 says:

    Well, you know, there’s eyewitness testimony, the videotapes from the police station, 911 calls…you know, the stuff juries see.

    So Imma guessing you don’t like jury trials, either, huh?

  25. mingo says:

    Well, really! All that librul forensic investigation and evidence and stuff is just too expensive and time-consuming! If we just take the word of the shooter, think of all the money we save!

    Actually, Mr. Irregular, you are kind of making our case for us, right here! Thanks!

  26. actor212 says:

    Which, of course, in this case there wouldn’t have been one, because, you know, a moronic law written by moronic Republicans…

  27. In order for a jury to decide the matter, it has to, you know, actually come to trial. Before the public outcry, there was zero chance of that actually happening. Not-Shutting-Up FTW!

  28. witless chum says:

    Is that what vigilantes do, they talk about things they think are crimes? I haven’t read much Batman recently, but it must be awful boring it’s just him posting on the Internet about he thinks the Joker committed a crime.

    What’s the word for someone who uses a word in a way that demonstrates they don’t know the definition?

  29. JAtheist says:

    Concern troll is mightily concerned.

  30. timb says:

    No, he just doesn’t like asterisks….

    or black people

  31. timb says:

    That has to be the stupidest thing written on the internet today.

  32. Hogan says:

    It’s because of the vigilanties and those who egg them on like you. No longer are you willing to allow the legal system to do its job. Instead, you’ve decided the guilt based upon mob rule.

    You know you’re pretty much describing the shooting of Trayvon Martin here, right?

  33. actor212 says:

    Oh dear! Zimm’s fee-fees are hurt because people are judging him?

    Gee, let’s ask Trayvon how he feels…oh wait! WE CAN’T!

  34. Uncle Kvetch says:

    What color do you think I am?

    Bile green?

  35. joe from Lowell says:

    Watching a conservative trying to play a race card is like watching a monkey that’s gotten hold of a field researcher’s cell phone.

    The little dear is trying so hard to mimic her gestures, but the magic voices just won’t come out. It’s adorable.

  36. witless chum says:

    No one has actually lynched Zimmerman, yet.

    Until black people start stringing up white people with impunity, pose for pictures with their victim’s dead bodies and enjoy the full support of the local community and its power structure, anyone who compares the situation will be doing so stupidly.

    The only existing person who thinks lynching consists of people getting mad and saying mean things about them is Clarence Thomas. Which makes me wonder if we’ve got a very famous rightwing troll on our hands.

  37. timb says:

    No, dumbass, you used a word that means something and then stated it had happened when it has not. Nor has it. No one has been lynched. George Zimmerman is, right now, appealing for your cash on the internet. He has not been lynched and he IS the vigilante in this story.

    People can make up their own mind, based upon the available evidence. I have no opinion on the facts of the case, since they are in dispute, but, as a person who believes in law and as a bit of pacifist, I think George needs a trial. Acquitted or not, when you kill a man in a fight you initiated for — basically — no reason, you need to pay a price. His minimum price should be an acquittal at trial.

    Public approbation is not lynching. Ask gazillionaire Rush Limbaugh if public disgust is the same as murder by mob.

  38. Holden Pattern says:

    “vigilantes” is a term of art for wingnuts, like “freedom of speech”. To wit:

    “Freedom of Speech” means the right of a wingtard of any level of importance to say wingtarded things without criticism. If said wingtard is a paid commentator of some kind, “Freedom of Speech” also means the right to be always and forever paid and / or sponsored for such speech on any outlet that the wingtard deems appropriate to their level of importance.

    “Vigilante” means libruls who think that it’s appropriate to conduct a full investigation into things like the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a gun fetishist in a nice neighborhood, or (to pick another example out of the air) government officials who ordered torture. It also means libruls who might criticize wingtards saying wingtarded things, especially if those libruls try to get a media outlet to stop paying a wingtard who has said something especially wingtarded.

  39. timb says:

    To be fair, Clarence has been quiet about it since he discovered he could porn on his SCOTUS computer

  40. actor212 says:

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeea, except in the case of a bad law that prevents the DA from even presenting to a grand jury.

    Which this case involved.

  41. joe from Lowell says:

    Move out of the sticks and into civilization and the response times are a lot better.

  42. joe from Lowell says:

    Ah, the “magic words” theory of racism. I love this particular example of wingnut cluelessness, because of the hilarious existential angst on their little faces when it fails.

    “But I didn’t say any bad word – I made sure! I made sure! You’re not supposed to be able to call me a racist – I made sure! Why, God, why?!?”

    Quoting the thoughts of a racist to mock him: not racist, no matter how you type it. Referring to black people by a racial slur? Racist, even if you use the asterisks.

    Just a little heads up.

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