Friday, May 2, 2014

Bait and Shoot

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The so-called "stand your ground" laws have been in the news on an almost continual basis since George Zimmerman got away with shooting and killing an unarmed black youth in Florida because he "felt threatened."  The black kid's deadly weapon?  A bag of Skittles.

Another pending case, also in Florida, involves a retired cop who illegally took a handgun to the movies and wound up shooting a fellow movie-goer because the guy wouldn't quit talking on his cell phone.   The retired cop is reportedly going to employ the "stand your ground" defense and claim that he felt threatened - presumably by the other guy's bag of popcorn.

But it's not just Florida, though their cases are surely some of the most outrageous.  Thirty states or more have some form of the "self-protection" law on the books.  And, like the number state laws on the topic, the concept of "stand your ground" seems to be expanding as well.  What was once envisioned only as shooting in self-defense, now seems to have morphed into premeditated murder.

The "stand your ground" defense did not work for a retiree in Minnesota who set a trap for a couple of hapless teens.  The retiree had previously had his house burgled and thought the crime had been perpetrated by a neighbor.  He moved his truck one evening to make it look as though he wasn't home, and then he hid in the basement and waited for burglars to appear.  The genius even set up recording devices to record himself standing his ground.

Two teens took the bait.  The first, a boy, was shot by the angry homeowner as he entered the basement.  When the wounded youth was down, the shooter walked up to him, said "You're dead," and then shot the kid in the face killing him.  The psychopathic homeowner then wrapped the boy's body in a tarp, moved it out of the way, and hunkered back down to wait on the kid's accomplice.

A girl, the partner in crime, came downstairs looking for her boyfriend.   The retiree shot her as she walked down the stairs.   When the shooter discovered that the girl was still alive, he told her "You're dying," and shot her under the chin - killing his second victim for the evening.  He waited a full day before reporting the deadly matter to the police.

The jury looked at the facts.  They found that the homeowner was never in any real danger, and that he shot both teens multiple times and executed them with head shots after they were down.  The guy was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

A very similar case is developing in Montana where another homeowner also set a trap for a burglar and then used deadly force.   The man and his girlfriend claim that their home had been burgled multiple times.  They set up motion detectors and a surveillance camera, and then the girlfriend left her purse in the garage with the door open as bait.

A German exchange student at the local high school entered the trap.  The homeowner alleged he "heard a noise that sounded like metal on metal" and was afraid the intruder would exit the garage and harm him.   So, to defend himself, the homeowner sprayed the garage with four blasts from his shotgun, killing the popular teen.

News reports highlighted the shooter's frame of mind with a statement from his hair stylist:

"He told (the stylist) that he had been burglarized a few times, that was why he was waiting up at night to catch someone and shoot them.  (She) reported that the defendant was being extremely vulgar and belligerent.  She asked the defendant to quit swearing and he said that he could say 'whatever the (expletive) he wanted."

He got his wish - another dead kid.

It almost feels like we have turned the clocks back to the time of vigilante justice and lynchings.  Clearly "stand your ground" has morphed into something even uglier than what the legislatures who passed these laws originally intended.   Diabolically enticing, entrapping, and then murdering someone is not standing your ground.

As more states adopt these asinine "stand your ground" and "guns everywhere" laws, life as we know it will become far more dangerous - forcing even the most sane among us to rush out and buy firearms for "protection."  I guess that is the whole point of it all.


Don said...

How do we know what the retiree said to those two people who were then killed? Surely, he wouldn't have been stupid enough to admit that to prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

Vigilante justice comes when all attempts to get police to do their jobs fail. Travon Martin case was pathetic as he had no cause to detain him. Neighborhood watch gone bad.

The Minnesota man feared for his life. His stupidity lay in what others would perceive of his recordings. These kids were stalking him and concealed their identity in doing so.

The Montana man may have feared for his life. After having some unknown person enter his home, fear would be the first thing I'd think of. These foreigners were opportunistic shoppers that felt everyone should adore them because their home country did.