Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
The New York Times’ report on the shooting and killing of Dan Fredenberg provides a vivid example of the US gun culture and its recent growth. While there is nothing new about individuals buying weapons to protect their castles, what is new is the protection provided to these individuals by local legislatures. In this particular case, Mr. Fredenberg barrelled into the garage of Brice Harper looking for his wife who was having an “emotional affair” with Mr. Harper – what the hell does a guy get out of an emotional affair anyway? Fredenberg was unarmed, a little drunk, and, by all accounts, pissed of – Harper shot him three times and he died overnight. Harper was not charged for this killing because “Montana’s ‘castle doctrine’ law maintains that a man’s home is his castle” and the county attorney said that in reaction to Fredenberg’s actions, Harper had the right “to fetch his gun from his bedroom, confront Mr. Fredenberg in the garage and, fearing for his safety, shoot him.”
The question then is that since Fredenberg wasn’t armed and Harper had enough time to go to his room and get the gun, how big of a threat was this guy? Instead of doing all that, couldn’t Harper have simply called the police and waited it out? Does the non-prosecution of Harper mean that if you are going to confront someone you should bring your own gun and do it on the street since the law essentially gives the homeowner the freedom to kill anyone they want as long as that person is in their house since the law says that “a person … does not have to flee or call the police before engaging in self-defense.”
Keep in mind that Montana already allowed homeowners to protect themselves with deadly force if “someone breached their house in a ‘violent, riotous or tumultuous manner’.” So its not like you couldn’t shoot someone going nuts inside your house. The change removed that caveat which is a good thing because if someone is in your house and you want to shoot them, getting them to act in a ‘violent, riotous or tumultuous manner’ can be a real hassle. Another positive development for us shooters out there is that in a criminal trial “the legislation flips the burden of proof, putting the onus on prosecutors to discredit those claims.” So shoot anyone you want because you will either never be prosecuted or the burden of proof will be with the prosecution and, ideally, the other witness will be dead. My only question now is what if I am someone else’s house and I feel threatened by them, can I shoot them and then claim they wouldn’t let me out of the house? How difficult would that be to prove?