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That Will Teach You To Send Your Kid To An Uncivilized Country


The letter of the law might give someone who should be clearly guilty of first degree murder a plausible defense:

Seventeen-year-old Diren Dede lost his life Sunday, while in Missoula, Montana on a high school exchange program from Germany. He was shot dead at the home of Markus Kaarma, after Kaarma set a trap for intruders by intentionally leaving the garage open and placing a purse in clear view.

After motion sensors detected someone in the garage, Kaarma shot Dede. And while he has since been charged with first degree murder, he is already invoking a Stand Your Ground-like defense.


While Stand Your Ground laws have proliferated since Florida passed its notorious law in 2005, the self-defense law that predated it was known as the Castle Doctrine, and authorized deadly force to protect one’s home. These laws derive from the old English common law concept that individuals have a right to defend their own home. But in many states, the Castle Doctrine has since been expanded both by statute and by court decisions to encompass more behavior, and courts in many states presume that fear was reasonable when if an individual is unlawfully entering one’s home.

Montana is no exception. An NRA-backed law passed in 2009 not only added a Stand Your Ground provision; it also expanded the Castle Doctrine that allows self-defense inside the home. While it once only authorized deadly force against an intruder who was acting in a “violent, riotous, or tumultuous manner,” the new law allows

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deadly force by an individual who “reasonably believes” the force is necessary to prevent assault or a forcible felony. The 2009 law also shifted the burden of proof and presumes that the shooter is innocent, according to Gary Marbut, a Montana gun lobbyist who has written model state laws.

Nobody could have expected that legalized vigilantism would have bad consequences.

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