Orlando Sentinel biased against self-defense
October 19, 2:01 PM Austin Gun Rights Examiner Howard Nemerov
Justice includes not bearing false testimony, something that
Old Media needs to remember. (Courtesy of WikipediaUsing lethal force against armed burglars is a difficult choice for decent folk, but Old Media abdicates their responsibility when they twist the story into an opinionated diatribe against self-defense.
On October 13, 2009, two small business owners arrived home after a 12-hour workday to find burglars rifling through their house and wearing their jewelry. At least one of the suspects was armed with a gun. The victims armed themselves with handguns and entered their home, confronting two or 3 suspected burglars. One burglar was killed and another wounded, with a possible third still at large.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, it seems that youths were just committing a harmless misdemeanor prank when they were attacked by two pistol-wielding vigilantes intent on killing them, rather than calling the police to handle it. Further, the homeowners hid behind Castle Doctrine law to justify using deadly force, stymieing police arrest authority and leaving prosecutors to “decide whether charges should be filed.”
From the Sentinel:
The trespassers broke a rear window. They pulled out drawers and dumped the contents. They tried to open a closet safe. They sorted through papers and envelopes, jewelry and coins. They upended bedding and tossed around clothes. [emphasis added]
According to Florida statute, trespass on an unoccupied property is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable “by a definite term of imprisonment not exceeding 60 days” and a maximum fine of $500.
Florida defines burglary as: “Entering a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein…” Burglary is a first-degree felony “punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment” if the invader “Is or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon…”
In the former case, the use of deadly force would be unjustified, because trespass doesn’t create risk of grievous bodily harm. From Florida statute:
A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another…
Further fantasy by Sentinel
The Sentinel continues with revisionist history about the right of self-defense:
Under the state's Castle Doctrine, however, residents can legally use deadly force to protect themselves against intruders.
In 2004, prior to Florida’s Castle Doctrine, the use of deadly force in self defense was legal. From 2004 Florida statute:
However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. [emphasis added]
Castle Doctrine only changed the law so that defenders don’t have to retreat in this circumstance. The intruders had already committed the forcible felony of burglary and were armed with weapons that could “cause death or great bodily harm to another.”
The Sentinel writer’s revisionist history and inability to research Florida’s online statute database indicate a lack of professionalism and/or initiative, but the message is clear: self-defense is a shameful act.