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« Turn Off Those Lights! | Main | On Compromise »

March 23, 2012


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Dan Primrose

I think you are over simplifying the situation.

Although such a law is not going to stop someone from shooting another person in a conflict from a "percieved threat" ie: over a parking space, I think in such a situation the insueing grand jury investigation would correctly judge wether such force was warranted assuming enough evidence would be available.

David Gifford

I believe that a person has a right to use whatever force is needed in self defense if they have reason to think they are in danger of injury of death.

Doug MacLean

The only one attempting to “Wax America” is you…
People in this country are fed up with namby-pamby convoluted thinking like yours…
Let’s see which side of your mouth you spew your rhetoric out of if you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a violent attack and live to talk about it.

Right minded Americans are not going to act out in the fashion you describe…So man-up and find a real issue to pursue! Doorknob.


You are obviously a slimy criminal; you have the opportunity to provide an intelligent reasoned post here and all you can do is rant without one word about the issue.
I imagine your gun is bigger than your penis.


I am impressed by the responses . . . .

One thing that both sides of this argument miss is that self-defense is an affirmative defense, which must be proved by the person asserting the same. It is not a "get out of jail free card" upon which a person can rely to avoid prosecution.

The threat is not as bad as this article suggests.

Martin Vorbrodt

First thing Hitler did: banned guns.
First thing Stalin did: banned guns.
First thing Libs wanna do: ban guns.

Now secret police (SS, KGB, NYPD) can enter your home at night...
...take it from someone born under soviet regime.

Brant Williams

I have come to the conclusion that people who think like Paul on the matter of guns hold themselves in too high esteem while harboring insecurities and doubts about their ability to protect themselves and loved ones when life or death (fight or die) situations arise.
Their self-doubt is a heavy burden and in order to escape their self-loathing (what man would voluntarily admit that he is too spineless to fight for his own life and the life of his family or neighbors) they rationalize that since they cannot be sure how they'd handle a deadly confrontation no one else can be sure either. They project their own fears and weakness upon everyone. Then they seek to take the opportunity for self-defense away from everyone.
People like Paul think along these lines. "Self-defense just won’t work. Too much can go wrong. It is not safe. It is not feasible. Thus, we must rule out self-defense.” Of course, Paul and others like him only want to protect those of us who still think we can defend ourselves in a pinch from ourselves.
Thinking as he does allows Paul and his ilk to avoid introspective thoughts that cause discomfort. Thus, he side steps the real issue – why is he so afraid of taking responsibility for himself?
I am sure Paul feels that he is one of the smartest, brightest, most caring, etc., etc., persons he knows and if he cannot be certain that he can use a firearm responsibly, how can anyone else know?
Thus, he has concluded that no one can be trusted to act correctly or responsible. Since, in his mind, no one can be trusted to make the proper decision (shoot - do not shoot), no one should be allowed the opportunity. (Paul’s own words tell us that he thinks us all cretins capable of murder for parking spaces or dirty looks.)
Bottom line: My guess is that Paul suspects that he is a coward. I would bet that Paul could not trust himself with the awesome responsibility of owning a firearm for defense of self and home. Rather than confront his personal shortcomings he projects his weakness to everyone around him and then rationalizes that if he cannot be trusted to own and use a gun responsibly then no one else can be trusted either. Ergo: GET RID OF GUNS!
I have watched anti-gunners for over 35 years and except for a handful of fought out warriors who have seen the elephant and turned pacifists I have found all to be weak of mind and soul - incapable of the passion required to fight to the death for life!
I am not saying that I do not have self-doubt or that I do not fear that I may not act properly. The difference between Paul and me is two fold:
First, while I may fail in the attempt, I have no doubt that I will attempt to defend my family and myself. Thus, should the time arise I want the best tool available. Is that tool a cell phone, a pair of sneakers, or a ball bat? No, in all cases a firearm is the great equalizer. Only the firearm, gives honest citizens a level playing field - provided they have to will to act.
Second, yes, I agonize over my reactions. Will I recognize the threat in time? Will my training take over and will it be sufficient? Will my reflexes give me speed? Will I overcome my in-bred civilized manners? Will I give myself over to the fire and rage required to win the fight? However, unlike Paul, despite my personal doubts, my experience as a police officer has shown me there are thousands of men, women, and children who are capable of self-defense in life and death settings. Indeed, everyday Americans defend themselves, their loved ones, their friends, their homes with firearms. Since firearms can and do work to make one safer, why would I project my doubts (as Paul does) and try to make it harder for these people to act in their self defense?
And for that matter, why should a lawful person give one inch to a criminal?


Funny, Brant never mentions two critical facts. First that handguns are used to kill children, friends and spouses and to commit suicide far more often that they are used in self defense. Secondly that for defense, a shotgun is far more effective than the more romantic handgun.


My father was murdered while obeying the law to retreat from a confrontation.He was armed and a veteran with plenty of experience in handling weapons.

In his attempt to retreat while talking his way out of the situtation rather than just drawing his pistol and defending himself when confronted with armed thugs he lost his life.

Under castle doctrine he would have drawn his pistol the second he heard his coworker scream that they were being robbed and would have stopped these murderers and been around to see his grandchildren be born.

I don't carry a pistol anymore myself but if I lived in an area with lots of crime I might consider it with the advent of Castle Doctrine.

I am a socially concious person and I agree with you on some issues but not this one I'm afraid...


Given that it is impossible to remove firearms from the crimminal, legislation thus only hurts the law abiding citizens. In the UK draconian gun laws have doen nothing to reduce gun related crime. In America we have huge penalties for gun crime, and yet it continues unabated. With proper and effective training of both the law and the use of a firearm there is little danger in allowing the citizens to protect themselves. The key is training in both the legal aspects as well as the technical and a qualification requirement for firearms carry. As regards the comment about shotguns being a better self-defence weapon, yes they are more effective but they are rather hard to conceal when walking down the street. The summation is that retreat is no longer a guarantee of survival and only the ignorent would have you believe it is.


Unfortunately, the unnamed person who responded to Brant must not be reading the newspaper. Guns ARE used for self defense far more often than they are used to kill children, friends and spouses. Do a little internet research. It's easy to find the right answer.

Armed Citizen

"A thousand years ago our ancestors realized that if civilization was to move forward, the obligation was on everyone to retreat."

Retreat to where?

That sentence makes no sense. The solution to random criminal violence is well-focused legal violence.
Just let them have the playing field because the criminal's right to life trumps my right to life.
A liberal democracy needs defending...sometimes violently.
The position that no person is ever justified in killing another means that I have to let myself be killed.

not a lib

We must do somthing to stop those guns from jumping out of their cases, loading themselves and shooting our children, friends and spouses Oh! dont forget jumping in our hands to force us to commit suicide.



I suggest YOU do a little internet research. You will find that your statement about the number of guns used for self defense is just plain false. Comically so, if it wasn't such a tragic myth. I don't know what "newspapers" or other internet research sources you have seen, but I suggest starting with a real source such as the National Center for Health Statistics. If you have a source supporting your ridiculous statement, let's hear it.


Unfortunately you no not of which you speak. First of all you are dead wrong when you assert that guns legitamately owned for self defense are used to kill family members (children, spouses & friends)your post more often than they are used for legitamate purposes. The center for desease control (hardly a lackey of the NRA) has repeatedly estimated that firearms prevent between 500,000 and 700,000 violent crimes a year.
Now you can go to any anti-gun site a pull up some cooked statistics but as my statistics professor pointed out many years ago "figures never lie, but liars sure can figure". Guns death statistics touted by groups like the Brady Center routinely include tens of thousands of "gun death tradgeties" that shouldn't be in the data population. When a police officer has to shoot a violent suspect in the defense of his/her own life or others it gets thown in the data. Same goes for legitimate civillian self defense shootings.
In addition any shooting perpatrated with an illegal gun doeesn't belong in the data when your argument is for banning guns. Why you might ask? Thousands of crimanals have been interviewed in jail and without exception they have stated that 1. They prefer illegal guns to purchasing a legal gun (because it leaves an evidence trail)for criminal enterprise and 2. Banning firearms outright would neither deter them from or inhibit their abiltiy to procure an illegal firearm.
So if you ban guns outright by definition the only people that would turn in their guns are law abiding citizens. Not only will it not deter criminals from using guns in crimes, it provides a brand new cash commodity for organized crime. It has been proven time and time again that prohibition doesn't work period. First with alchohol then with drugs. Each time the government has stepped in and banned something "to protect citezens from themselves" it has turned into a bonanza for criminals. In this case it's a double bonus for criminals. They can traffic illegal guns and they're virtuly garuanteed that if they want to commit a violent crime with a gun their victim will be powerless to stop them.
I hope that was well reasoned enough for you. Being that I am not a slimy criminal and would readilly admit all of my firearms are bigger than .... well on second thought I'll leave that kind of inappropriate language to some as obviously and well reasoned as yourself. Have a pleasant evening and I sincerly hope you never find yourself in a situation where you would need a firearm to protect yourself or your loved ones.


First, it's a moronic argument to suggest that the death rate will increase without recourse because people will kill others over a parking space or otherwise. In such instances the shooter will no doubt be convicted of homicide and go to jail. Such arguments only expose your agenda, your lack of critical thinking ability, or at least your decision to ignore critical thinking, and is an insult to the intellect of your adversaries on the issue, which I recognize may be your purpose. If you honestly believe that honest, law abiding citizens who legally carry and are willing to step up to the plate to defend themselves when threatened with their life are too dumb to know better than to shoot someone over a verbal disagreement, parking space, or shopping cart collision, then you seriously underestimate your foe and I wish that you represent the level of sophistication behind the anti-gun movement.

Next, according to the National Vital Statistics Report for 2004, Center for Disease Control, June 28, 2006:

Deaths caused by discharge of firearm:
Accidenal discharge: 661
Suicide: 16,603
Homicide: 11,250
Undetermined intent: 222

Interestigly enough, more people plug themselves than someone else. Also, more people die from accidental falls than firearms (not including suicides). Should we outlaw ladders? Those who advocate gun control in the supposed interest of protecting lives must be pursuing the 883 lives they could reasonably protect with such legislation (generously adding "undetermined intent" to accidents), because those who are determined to commit suicide or homicide will be swayed little by such regulation.

In contrast to the opportunity to affect the 883 accidental and undetermine deaths from 2004, by stripping a right that exists within the plane text the Constitution, 3,700 children are killed by abortion EVERY DAY based upon a right gleened from "penumbras and emanations" found between the actual words. Additionally, there were 1,490 child deaths in 2004 caused by parental neglect and abuse. Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2006. Thus, more children are killed by parental neglect and abuse than the totality of deaths caused by firearms potentially affected by regulation. Also interesting... the worst offender for death by parental neglect and abuse is the mother (31% acting alone; 52% with father).

If protecting the sanctity of life is truly your goal, then direct it where it makes sense and would be most effective. Perhaps we should license parenting rather than the legitimate posession of firearms and use of deadly force in defense of self and family.

Finally, remember that the Bill of Rights is not a definitive list of enumerated rights. It is a subset of those rights which predate the Constitution. I.e., our fundamental rights are not granted by the Constitution or its interpretation, they are merely protected by it. Our rights are inherent in the individual by virtue of our existence, granted by God, and retained by the individual unless willingly given up to the state. The defense of self and family against the threat of death is one of these inherent rights.


You know what's infinitely more dangerous than a person with a gun?

An emotionally charged ignorant historical revisionist with a keyboard and an internet connection.

your right, let's ban computers!


I can tell in the writing of this blog the writer has never been the victim of a crime. I can't help but wonder how he would react when someone brakes into his house while his 2 small children are a sleep or tries to carjack him with his kids in the back seat. Would he retreat and let the car go even with his kids inside? Retreat is not always an option. And yes the next time someone brakes into my house while my 2 and 3 year old kids are a sleep I will shoot them again. Why? Because I will not allow them to be harmed by anyone. Even if the Romans and English don't agree. Good thing we are Americans!


By teaching our children not go with a stranger to help him find his lost puppy, we are also announcing to all aldults that even if you have a lost puppy, DO NOT ask a child to assist you. Do not approach children that you do not know so they are not conflicted in obeying the "don't talk to strangers" rule. Likewise if all intruders can be assummed to be aware of the castle doctrine and yet still intrude, they should realize that their intrusion in balance should and will be considered a threat of grave bodily harm. A forced entry should be equated with an announcement by the invader "I am going to kill you"! No further burden of calculating an intruders intent need be introduced. If the "obligation of retreat" is to be demanded, let the intruder retreat from my door, his fate is in his own hands, if not, his intentions are announced, he has brought the crime. The man in his castle reading a book by the fire would have harmed no one that night. The harm to an intruder was wrought by himself. That must be the message.


To know that Paul is correct just take a look at what has happened in Dallas recently.

First, a man was shot and killed through a locked door. he was kicking the door, but how much danger was the homeowner in? the door stood between the two.

A man drove to his place of business and shot and killed a robber who was trying to break into his place of business. how much danger was he in...he had to get out of bed and DRIVE to his place of business. AND, it's the second time in a month that he has killed someone trying to break into his place of business.

Also, a man had a silent alarm on his detached garage. it went off. he got out of bed, grabbed his gun and killed a the man trying to break in. how much danger was he in?

could these shooters not have called the police and waited. there is no report that the dead guys were armed. THIS IS IMMORAL.


Neither did they/you mention if they had previous criminal records. Kicking a locked door means intent on entering.


Not surprised, I remember Paul Soglin barricaded in the mayors office takeover in Madison, smoking hashish. Yes, that was a long time ago but roots are roots. Wasn't he buddies with Karleton Armstrong?

You need only look at the lowered crime statistics of all the states that have concealed carry laws. The thought of getting busted in the giblets with a .38 is a wonderful deterrent to violent crime.

the other side of the coin: knOwing the HELPLESS occupant will not be defending himself simply emboldens the perp and gives him the impetus to carry out his depredations repeatedly.

Law or no law, dont come in my house.

I would rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6.



Interesting that this post is still drawing hits and comments, almost two years after it first went up.

I've been writing little summaries of the cases I've seen in the news. You can have a look at my thoughts here:

As other commenters on THIS post have pointed out, even with the appeal to legal authority, it is still a woefully one-sided look at the issue itself and the wrongs that Castle Doctrine laws are meant to address.

Sure, there is a chance that it will be used to justify some killings that might not otherwise have taken place. But the real impetus behind the law is to give protection to someone who has defended her home. Protection from the criminal law is incidental- in most of the cases where these laws have been claimed as a defense, either no charges would be brought or no jury would convict. Much more important is the protection from civil liability that can be imposed by the would-be intruder after he is injured while attempting to rob the house.

You break into my house and try to rob me. I shoot you. You sue me in tort for assault and battery. The judge tells the jury that I had a common-law duty to retreat from you (even inside my own house!) and you win. The court orders me to pay your medical bills. Does that sound fair to you?


Tekel, I think you have to look at two extreme examples. If the intruder persues you and is obvioulsy armed, you have every right to fire. If the intruder is clearly unarmed and is retreating, you are liable if you injure him. There are hundreds of possible scenarios in between these two cases, each has to be judged on the facts.

I recall years ago an incident when I lived on Dayton Street in a house identical to the one next door. Our drunken neighbor, confused in the middle of the night, came into our apratment (He not only had the wrong building, but also the wrong floor.).

He posed no danger. If we had shot him, the liability was ours.

Les benn

The Castle doctine only causes criminals to be in fear of losing the one sided fight they have in states where no such law exists. Any one whom thinks that disarming citizens it the way to no violence is a total moron. Crime statistics show that more guns reduces crime rather than increases crime. What is the relative rate of violence with guns in Washington DC? DC has banned guns from law abiding citizens for years but criminals manage to kill lots of people there and use guns to rob people. I will shoot anyone that comes into my home with the intent to rob, rape, or kill my family. Dc also has been told by federal courts 3 times that their gun ban is illegal yet the government of DC is, in fact, in voilation of the law.


I have noticed that 19 states have passed the castle doctrin.Thay are the smart ones so far.I have seen alot of different articles and blogs on the topic, and i have also seen alot of what if's.Alot of people keep talking about people shooting each other in parking lots and stores.My understanding is that the castle doctrin,(castle meaning your home)not a parking lot,protects the home owner and their famalies against intruders.If im pulling out of a parking lot and someone backs into me and things get out of hand yes i can get back into my car and retreat, but if in the middle of the night im in bed with my wife and our kids are sleeping in their bedrooms down the hall and i hear someone in my house where the hell do i retreat?Do i lock the door and hide and hope the cracked out intruder does not harm my kids?I think i should have the right to grab my pistol and confront the idiot in my home.Now im not saying run out of the bedroom shooting but if i click on the light and he does comply with me telling him to get out or on the floor, i should be able to protect myself and my family in our home with what ever force i need to use.How do i know if he is armed or not and what his intentions are?If he is walking out the door with my stereo and i shoot him well its on me i should be held responsible for my actions but if he comes after me in my own home, guess what,I should be able to add a little lead to his diet.The big issue i see is that the people who do not like the doctrine probably do not own guns or have a family to protect. Its a big common sense issue.Most people who own guns know how and when to use them.Again if i shoot the guy trying to break into my detached garage, well thats my fault and i should be held responsible.But if my family is in danger in our own home, well guess what?Game Over!


"An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." -- Col. Jeff Cooper 1920-2006


Excellent examples of scenarios where you can get into deep trouble.

Defending your life or others in the home or on the street is a reality. It takes police 2-10 minutes *at best* to respond to crime in progress call, if you can even make the call. The police are responders, and are not there on the spot to handle the incident as it happens. Even 30 seconds (or less) can be an eternity during a crime. As much as society wants to state retreat, let the police handle it, the reality is you are responsible for defending yourself when things hit the fan. Your job is to keep yourself alive until you can get help.

The key is escalated response, as is taught to all law enforcement and related personnel. Thats why there are classes you take to get a CCW, and if you are an aware gun owner looking at deploying the firearm to defend your home or others, the information is invaluable, as liability is huge if you display a weapon or deploy lethal force indiscriminately or improperly.

Now the time in which your response needs to escalate can be less than a second, or much longer, all depends. Scenario, you are home, hear noise in the middle of the night that is not normal, what do you do? The best thing is to get your firearm which hopefully you keep where you sleep, call the police, lock your door, describing where you are in the house, and stay on the phone with 911 as the police respond. If the bad guys come after you in your room, then the deployment of force really comes into play.

Even then, there are steps you take depending on the State you live in, before firing. Also ultimately if you use deadly force and you wind up in front of a jury, the jury instructions are what really matter beyond physical evidence.

Kim from Central CA

I know this is an old post, but I can't resist. There is no more fundamental instinct than that of self-preservation. Deny that biological imperative in your home? Worse yet, in your car? Until I read through this article I would have thought it impossible for a parent to surrender a child, but I honestly believe some of the cowards that have posted here would do just that. In the carjacking scenario described above, I would sooner strangle the attacker with my own intestines than allow my child to be taken in a violent confrontation. I believe the post by 'Martin' hit the nail on the head. Cowardice the likes of which I hope I never witness in the real world...

Very insightful.

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