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Old 07-25-2014, 11:48 AM   #1
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Is He a Murder?

I know some areas of the country have laws protecting home owners in the event of a burglary or some other home invasion. Like the incident down in Florida when George Zimmerman said he felt his life was in danger and shot Trayvon Martin.

In that case, Zimmerman always had the upper hand, because he had the gun. He didn't have to kill Martin. If he felt so concerned with his own life, I think just firing the gun would have gotten Martin's attention. At the worst, just wounding him would have made more sense than shooting him in the chest. But, that's just my opinion.

I agree there should be laws that allow citizens to defend themselves, but these laws should spell out exactly what is legal and what isn't. This might change things from someone being shot and killed by a home owner who thinks he has the right to do so, when he actually might not.

If someone is going to own a gun for the purpose of defense, that person needs to know when using it for defense turns into offense. Even in the heat of the moment, if you choose to own a gun, you have to keep a clear mind and understand what the law allows. And the law should be stated in such a way that there is no doubt. If any law allows someone to shoot a suspect who's running away from a lousy property crime, there is something very wrong with that law.

Now, they're going to go through another court hearing where people will second guess the home owner and judge whether he had the right to shoot someone or not. In California, I think the law states he was within his rights to defend himself and his property if he felt his life was in imminent danger. But, that phrase can be misleading and almost interpreted on a case by case basis, if you allow each citizen to do so.

The woman this guy shot and killed was running away from him. He shot her not once, but twice in the back as she and her burglary partner were running from the house. In my opinion, any fear of imminent danger was no longer present for this home owner, and he no longer had the legal right to shoot either of these people.

It's strange how he spoke as if he had the right to shoot either of them. He even said the woman wasn't running as fast as the man was. Maybe he saw her as an easier target then?

I'm very much a proponent for proper gun ownership and the right to defend one's self when there is no other choice. But, to me, it's obvious that even if there was imminent danger to this home owner at some time during the burglary, he was no longer in danger and by shooting someone in the back (twice) should be enough proof to any court that he acted outside of the law and should be brought up on charges. If not murder, the least he should be charged with is man slaughter.

It will be interesting to see how California handles this. It will be another test for the laws on record and if the text should be reworked to make it very clear when "imminent fear for one's life" is defined as present and when it isn't.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28490542
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:48 PM   #2
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The jury system often turns things like this into a popularity contest, if the person shot is a scumbag then it's a justified shooting. Saw one guy his stolen car surrounded by cops they decided to shoot out his rear view mirrors so couldn't see what they are doing behind him surprisingly he tried to drive away when the cops opened fire on him. So all the cops opened up on him is that a justified shooting? Well he had a history of car crime, home invasions, assaults and I think sex crimes (was years ago but basically you wouldn't wanna meet him) so damb straight it was justified it was a 'damb public service'

Given that apparently has 1 in 10 Americans are in prison and sesame street now has to explain the word incarcerated perhaps you need to shoot more criminals not less. And maybe make sure everyone gets that if you break the law you could die. Eventually it becomes a deterant or you run out of criminals
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:13 PM   #3
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Under the Florida statute for stand your ground law no he wasn't. Seriously people read the laws

California has a castle doctrine which means you are allowed to shoot people who you believe have entered your property with the intent to cause harm. California also has a pursuit doctrine which allows you to pursue said invaders. Under California law if it was reasonable to believe that he felt he or his family was under threat of harm he did not commit a crime.

Also everything in the law aw is interpreted on a case by case basis, that is why you have cases

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Old 07-25-2014, 02:58 PM   #4
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Under the Florida statute for stand your ground law no he wasn't. Seriously people read the laws

California has a castle doctrine which means you are allowed to shoot people who you believe have entered your property with the intent to cause harm. California also has a pursuit doctrine which allows you to pursue said invaders. Under California law if it was reasonable to believe that he felt he or his family was under threat of harm he did not commit a crime.

Also everything in the law aw is interpreted on a case by case basis, that is why you have cases
Agreed. Under law he was within his rights. They entered his home unlawfully and intent to do harm to person or property can be easy to use as a defense as it is a justifiable reason to pursue and shoot the offenders.

I don't feel that you can compare the George Zimmerman trial to this. I am still not convinced of that whole case especially due to the things that followed afterwards involving him. Florida has some screwed up laws that are not followed or put into effect correctly or as efficiently as they could be. Let alone they have horrible prosecutors. That is my personal opinion though based on florida cases i have followed. In my last crim class we went into his case extensively along with others like it. There was varied responses but most agreed something isn't adding up regarding his case.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:17 PM   #5
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I know some areas of the country have laws protecting home owners in the event of a burglary or some other home invasion. Like the incident down in Florida when George Zimmerman said he felt his life was in danger and shot Trayvon Martin.
Which was not related at all to owning a home or protecting your own private property.

Quote:
I agree there should be laws that allow citizens to defend themselves, but these laws should spell out exactly what is legal and what isn't. This might change things from someone being shot and killed by a home owner who thinks he has the right to do so, when he actually might not.
This does not work either. Despite this, the problem was not the law anyway. The problem was a matter of evidence. There was no proof that Zimmerman was not attacked, therefore "innocent until proven guilty". A more "straightforward wording" would not have changed the problem that you need proof to sentence someone for a crime.

Quote:
And the law should be stated in such a way that there is no doubt. If any law allows someone to shoot a suspect who's running away from a lousy property crime, there is something very wrong with that law.
This doesn't quite make sense. If I steal your Rolex watch, you are supposed to watch me just because I turned my back towards you and start running?

The core question is whether it's legal to take the life of someone to protect merely property. The question was answered with "yes" by the legislation. If I run away and your only way to stop me running away with your Rolex is to kill me by shooting me in the back, then you are allowed to do that - you are not required to, but you are allowed to.

Quote:
It will be interesting to see how California handles this. It will be another test for the laws on record and if the text should be reworked to make it very clear when "imminent fear for one's life" is defined as present and when it isn't.
Uhm, California laws allow killing to protect property, not just to protect yourself.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Primalex View Post
Which was not related at all to owning a home or protecting your own private property.



This does not work either. Despite this, the problem was not the law anyway. The problem was a matter of evidence. There was no proof that Zimmerman was not attacked, therefore "innocent until proven guilty". A more "straightforward wording" would not have changed the problem that you need proof to sentence someone for a crime.



This doesn't quite make sense. If I steal your Rolex watch, you are supposed to watch me just because I turned my back towards you and start running?

The core question is whether it's legal to take the life of someone to protect merely property. The question was answered with "yes" by the legislation. If I run away and your only way to stop me running away with your Rolex is to kill me by shooting me in the back, then you are allowed to do that - you are not required to, but you are allowed to.



Uhm, California laws allow killing to protect property, not just to protect yourself.
Do you have the death penalty on the sentencing scale for property crimes in those states?
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:36 PM   #7
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Do you have the death penalty on the sentencing scale for property crimes in those states?
This is not quite the correct comparison, because self-defense is not about punishment of a crime that happened in the past, but about stopping an ongoing crime. The person who defends himself or his property does not act as a substitute for the government. In other words: If you would meet the thief next week at Burger King, then you wouldn't be allowed to kill him either and call it self-defense.

And no, there is no such death penalty in any state. It would be against the constitution - the eight amendment, which also prevents excessive punishments.

Most non-murder death penalties revolve around (repeated) raping of children.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Primalex View Post
This is not quite the correct comparison, because self-defense is not about punishment of a crime that happened in the past, but about stopping an ongoing crime. The person who defends himself or his property does not act as a substitute for the government. In other words: If you would meet the thief next week at Burger King, then you wouldn't be allowed to kill him either and call it self-defense.

And no, there is no such death penalty in any state. It would be against the constitution - the eight amendment, which also prevents excessive punishments.

Most non-murder death penalties revolve around (repeated) raping of children.
No, not a correct comparison. I just got curious and was to lazy to find Seelas thread.

Here you are allowed to defend yourself and to step in to protect others who cannot defend themselves, but not property.
On the other hand I think you are allowed stop the crime and detain the person responsible until police arrives.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:23 PM   #9
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Under the Florida statute for stand your ground law no he wasn't. Seriously people read the laws

California has a castle doctrine which means you are allowed to shoot people who you believe have entered your property with the intent to cause harm. California also has a pursuit doctrine which allows you to pursue said invaders. Under California law if it was reasonable to believe that he felt he or his family was under threat of harm he did not commit a crime.

Also everything in the law aw is interpreted on a case by case basis, that is why you have cases
Could you clarify what you mean, by the part of your post I have bolded? Thanks.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:34 PM   #10
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On the other hand I think you are allowed stop the crime
And now the price question:
What if the crime can only be stopped using deadly force?
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:49 PM   #11
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I'm not going to go into a big back and forth with you on this, but I will answer this post. I just have my opinion and you have yours. There are laws and there are laws. I don't agree with the wording of some of these state laws about "imminent fear of my life". There are responsibilities in owning a gun.

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[b]Which was not related at all to owning a home or protecting your own private property.
I shouldn't have put my paragraph there, I guess. I can see how it could be confusing. I didn't mean for that to be considered separately, but all part of the next paragraph. The reason I added the Florida case is I think it was someone using deadly force when it wasn't necessary. Yes, I know I wasn't there. I still have my opinion.
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This does not work either. Despite this, the problem was not the law anyway. The problem was a matter of evidence. There was no proof that Zimmerman was not attacked, therefore "innocent until proven guilty". A more "straightforward wording" would not have changed the problem that you need proof to sentence someone for a crime.
Attacking someone is one thing. Zimmerman had the weight advantage. He had the advantage of a gun. Laws aside, when thinking about taking another human's life, all other possible choices must be tried. Maybe he could have hit him over the head with the gun. I'm sure Zimmerman was attacked, but who started it? We can't rehash this case. I'm just giving my opinion. If I had been Zimmerman, I would have let the police handle it. If he had confronted me, I'd make sure he knew who I was and saw the gun. We only have Zimmerman's story to go by. In my opinion, there were too many ways he could have backed away and didn't.

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This doesn't quite make sense. If I steal your Rolex watch, you are supposed to watch me just because I turned my back towards you and start running?
I guess I'd lose my watch, then.

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Originally Posted by Primalex View Post
The core question is whether it's legal to take the life of someone to protect merely property. The question was answered with "yes" by the legislation. If I run away and your only way to stop me running away with your Rolex is to kill me by shooting me in the back, then you are allowed to do that - you are not required to, but you are allowed to.
Get his description, car license, make and color of car, whatever you can, but to me a watch isn't worth taking a life, even if he is a scumbag. Now, if he physically hurt someone, I'd at least think about physically hurting him. But killing someone as he's running away, is just too much unless he killed someone.

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Uhm, California laws allow killing to protect property, not just to protect yourself.
This helps me understand why I'd never move to California. In Missouri and Kansas, if you are going to kill an intruder, it's best to make sure you shoot him while facing you. If he's shot in the back, it could be decided that you were no longer in danger, unless he has killed someone before you shot him.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:52 PM   #12
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This is not quite the correct comparison, because self-defense is not about punishment of a crime that happened in the past, but about stopping an ongoing crime. The person who defends himself or his property does not act as a substitute for the government. In other words: If you would meet the thief next week at Burger King, then you wouldn't be allowed to kill him either and call it self-defense.

And no, there is no such death penalty in any state. It would be against the constitution - the eight amendment, which also prevents excessive punishments.

Most non-murder death penalties revolve around (repeated) raping of children.
The self defense thing is what bothers me, here. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the court decides. But in my book, if they are running away and all they've done is taken property, I can't shoot them. Well, it might be legal in some states, but I still don't think I could do it.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:55 PM   #13
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No, not a correct comparison. I just got curious and was to lazy to find Seelas thread.

Here you are allowed to defend yourself and to step in to protect others who cannot defend themselves, but not property.
On the other hand I think you are allowed stop the crime and detain the person responsible until police arrives.
We have that here, too. It's called a citizen's arrest. But, you can't take the law into your own hands, so he'd better not be roughed up or at least be able to prove why he was roughed up.
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:56 PM   #14
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And now the price question:
What if the crime can only be stopped using deadly force?
That's when we spend years in court, discussing what constitutes justifiable force. Shooting someone in the back is not going to fly here though.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:05 PM   #15
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Could you clarify what you mean, by the part of your post I have bolded? Thanks.
Of course. The Florida law is unique in its stand your ground law from what I know. It may be called something else in Florida but this is essentially what it is.

Under this law from what I remember (sorry I haven't looked at the actual law since the case was going on, so exact specifics are fuzzy) You are allowed to hold your ground against what you reasonably infer to be an attacker. This means if you are being approached by someone you see as a threat you have the right to use force to maintain your ground, aka you don't have to flee.

So the question at trial was it reasonable for Zimmerman to view Treyvon Martin as a potential threat at the time of the shooting.


With regards to what Primelax is saying he is right. Under California state law castle doctrine you are allowed to pursue and use deadly force against people hwo invade onto your property with the intent to do wrong. If you agree or disagree with the law is one thing and another discussion. But under current California Law he did nothing illegal, given the facts you presented.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:09 PM   #16
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Of course. The Florida law is unique in its stand your ground law from what I know. It may be called something else in Florida but this is essentially what it is.

Under this law from what I remember (sorry I haven't looked at the actual law since the case was going on, so exact specifics are fuzzy) You are allowed to hold your ground against what you reasonably infer to be an attacker. This means if you are being approached by someone you see as a threat you have the right to use force to maintain your ground, aka you don't have to flee.

So the question at trial was it reasonable for Zimmerman to view Treyvon Martin as a potential threat at the time of the shooting.


With regards to what Primelax is saying he is right. Under California state law castle doctrine you are allowed to pursue and use deadly force against people hwo invade onto your property with the intent to do wrong. If you agree or disagree with the law is one thing and another discussion. But under current California Law he did nothing illegal, given the facts you presented.
Thanks a lot for your clarification. And I guess I can agree that in both cases, what happened was legal. But, even though I own guns and will have no problem killing someone who I see as a threat to my life or someone in my immediate vicinity, I guess I don't see property as enough to shoot someone.

And it's not like I haven't had my share of theft. I had my apartment burglarized years ago. I didn't have renter's insurance so I lost everything. To maybe fix that, I purchased a house. It was burglarized a few years after I bought it. Although I was insured, some of the things I lost were not replaceable, like a coin collection. I've had a car stolen that wasn't insured for theft, but it was worth enough to somebody to steal it. I also had an expensive radio/CD stolen out of another car that was locked and in a locked garage. I've even had things stolen out of my mailbox. I could continue. I have no love at all for thieves.

And just because it seems this guy may have legally shot that woman in the back, that doesn't make it right to me. This is one reason I started the thread. I won't change any of the laws, but I'll get some satisfaction from bitching about how vague some of the laws are. Just after this post, I feel a little better.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:27 PM   #17
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That is a morality vs ethics argument though. Your personal morality may be against killing, and hey there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact that is probably the correct human view.

However the law is not about governing human morality, and trust me you do want a government entity to determine what is moral because that leads to some seriously warped dystopian visions. The law is about forming a set of rules that allows a society to run smoothly. Property is not as important as human life, this is clearly stated in tort law under necessity and negligence. However the right to have secured property is very important.

Even in anarchist philosophical theory which is the most lax a society can be on rules, there is a prevalent thought of deadly force to protect property. It's because property is fundamental to society.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:31 PM   #18
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It really depends on how good your lawyers are, how much whiter you are than your victim, and how much money you have.

He'll be cleared, but a huge percentage of women in jail for murder had less ambiguous self defense claims that didn't work, even with all the law in the world on their side. CeCe McDonald was fucked because of who she was no matter how clearly she was in danger to anyone with a brain.

All this said isn't "shoot to wound" pretty much a never ever in self defense guidelines? Like if you're thinking about wounding or warning, your gun probably should not be out.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:36 PM   #19
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It really depends on how good your lawyers are, how much whiter you are than your victim, and how much money you have.
Yep.

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All this said isn't "shoot to wound" pretty much a never ever in self defense guidelines? Like if you're thinking about wounding or warning, your gun probably should not be out.
Also yep.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:45 PM   #20
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The self defense thing is what bothers me, here. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the court decides. But in my book, if they are running away and all they've done is taken property, I can't shoot them. Well, it might be legal in some states, but I still don't think I could do it.
I get what your saying DVS, but it seems like this couple did a little more that try to take property. They assaulted the 80 year old when he came home, beat him and kicked him, breaking his collar bone. The woman then kept beating him while her partner tried to break into the safe. The old man only had a gun after he managed to break away and get to another room.

He'd also been robbed 3 times previously, and, rightly or wrongly, thought this couple were the perpetrators.

Like most things it's hard to get the full story, but I can't help but wonder if the only reason this is making the news is that the woman claimed to be pregnant.

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< All this said isn't "shoot to wound" pretty much a never ever in self defense guidelines? Like if you're thinking about wounding or warning, your gun probably should not be out. >
This. Living in Texas I was raised around guns. I had it beat into me at an early age that you don't EVER get out a gun in self defense unless you intend to use it. Among other pitfalls, what if your attacker wrests it away from you while you're trying to fire your warning shot?
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:20 PM   #21
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It really depends on how good your lawyers are, how much whiter you are than your victim, and how much money you have.

He'll be cleared, but a huge percentage of women in jail for murder had less ambiguous self defense claims that didn't work, even with all the law in the world on their side. CeCe McDonald was fucked because of who she was no matter how clearly she was in danger to anyone with a brain.

All this said isn't "shoot to wound" pretty much a never ever in self defense guidelines? Like if you're thinking about wounding or warning, your gun probably should not be out.
That's not entirely fair even from this side of the pond we can see the odd case were rich black people get off because they can afford the right lawer. And being a celebrity with hordes of fans to chear you on and intimidate witnesses doesn't hurt. If not careful your be like us were the rich get off and the poor get the shaft regardless of race.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:28 PM   #22
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That's not entirely fair even from this side of the pond we can see the odd case were rich black people get off because they can afford the right lawer. And being a celebrity with hordes of fans to chear you on and intimidate witnesses doesn't hurt. If not careful your be like us were the rich get off and the poor get the shaft regardless of race.
I said money helped. Money can create an anomaly, sure. But it's still a complete anomaly.

Just because something happens once out of a million doesn't make it a "thing." There is no way to look at the penal system in the US and come to a conclusion that race doesn't play into it and isn't a factor.

Even a lot of people who don't have a problem with a death penalty in theory feel that the way it's implemented in the US is so incredibly racist in its execution that it can't be used.

Any race of perp will have a shorter sentence if the victim is black.

It goes on and on. It's completely broken. And race is as much a part of that breakage as money, don't use class to detract when they're both part of the story.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:04 PM   #23
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I said money helped. Money can create an anomaly, sure. But it's still a complete anomaly.

Just because something happens once out of a million doesn't make it a "thing." There is no way to look at the penal system in the US and come to a conclusion that race doesn't play into it and isn't a factor.

Even a lot of people who don't have a problem with a death penalty in theory feel that the way it's implemented in the US is so incredibly racist in its execution that it can't be used.

Any race of perp will have a shorter sentence if the victim is black.

It goes on and on. It's completely broken. And race is as much a part of that breakage as money, don't use class to detract when they're both part of the story.
Ok sorry it's impossible to argue that America and particularly the legal system has overwhelming institutional racism. Though an argument could be made that black people are likely to be the poorest members of society with the least chance of representation in the courts. Same can be said for Hispanics.

Those at the bottom of the dog pile, shit rolls down hill, same as everywhere.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:30 PM   #24
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I get what your saying DVS, but it seems like this couple did a little more that try to take property. They assaulted the 80 year old when he came home, beat him and kicked him, breaking his collar bone. The woman then kept beating him while her partner tried to break into the safe. The old man only had a gun after he managed to break away and get to another room.
I also understand what you're saying, but he was still alive. They weren't there to kill him. They were there to rob him. I'm guessing he put up a fight and that added to the brutality he received in return. Do I think he should have put up a fight? That is his call, not mine.

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He'd also been robbed 3 times previously, and, rightly or wrongly, thought this couple were the perpetrators.
Yes, this time he just happened to come home and find them. I've been robbed and understand how it feels. I can put myself into his shoes. And nobody knows how they will react in a situation until it happens to them. And people will say that criminals should understand they can be hurt and even killed if they decide to take what isn't theirs.

I think emotion got the better of him and he went for the gun instead of the phone. I know he probably felt vindicated after shooting her. If she had been beating on him, he wanted revenge. Was he justified? I guess he was, if I understand the California laws correctly. The courts have yet to decide if they will prosecute him for anything.

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Like most things it's hard to get the full story, but I can't help but wonder if the only reason this is making the news is that the woman claimed to be pregnant.
I don't know. I'm still on the fence about that. I've been associated with habitual criminal types and they are quick to say something, if they think it will benefit them in some way. We'll find out if she was pregnant or not.

But, there could be something to what you say. The media does sometimes inflate parts of a story to increase readers. They can also make something racist when it isn't, just because of the race of the parties involved.

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This. Living in Texas I was raised around guns. I had it beat into me at an early age that you don't EVER get out a gun in self defense unless you intend to use it. Among other pitfalls, what if your attacker wrests it away from you while you're trying to fire your warning shot?
Just having a gun doesn't automatically put you in control of your situation. You have to weigh the circumstances of your actions. You have to be able to keep control of your gun. It might be best not to even have a gun.

Police are trained to never give up their gun. It's very likely it will be used against them, if they do. If you pull out a gun and the other person is stronger and able to get your gun from you, the situation has just taken a very bad turn.

There's no easy answer in confrontational situations. It's best to keep a clear head and be aware of what's going on around you. The more alert you are, the more you have a chance of doing the right thing and of surviving. Don't let your emotions take over. But, unfortunately, there is no action that will work in every case. That's why a clear and calm disposition works best.

As you can see, I didn't really provide any answers. I do still have my opinion about the use of a gun in some situations, even though the law says it's OK.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:43 PM   #25
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Oh, the grammar Nazis are going to get after me. I just noticed the title to this thread. I left an 'er' off of the word murderer. Unfortunately, it will have to stay that way, because you can't edit thread titles.
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