Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 22, 2014

Rights and Responsibilities

By David Hotle | Jun 19, 2012

In some areas of the law, at least in Iowa, the rules are becoming more lenient and people are finding themselves with more freedoms than they had before. I believe this is a good thing, but some who have made headlines recently don’t seem to understand that with freedom comes responsibility.

I thought of this the other day when I was reading about an incident in Texas. I’m sure everyone has heard about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman incident in Florida. This has led me to ponder the law that Iowa has regarding concealed firearm carry.

I have to say that none of us were there during the Martin-Zimmerman incident, so we don’t know what actually happened. I have to wonder why, when film director Spike Lee has openly put out a contract on Zimmerman’s life, Lee hasn’t been charged with any crime. The big thing that concerns me about the incident is that some of the powers that be may spin this into a full-blown racial conflict in order to better their ratings. It will be interesting to see what the jury says.

Well, last week another incident that isn’t as well known came to my attention. A man in Texas was convicted of shooting and killing a neighbor while the two were having a dispute over a loud party. During the trial, defendant Raul Rodriguez cited the “stand your ground” law in Texas as justification for the shooting. There is a similar “stand your ground” law that is in the Legislature in Iowa.

A brief note here — “stand your ground” laws came up in response to cases where people have used deadly force to presumably defend their lives against an attacker in an area the people defending themselves had a right to be. During trial, the person was accused of not having grounds for self-defense because there was some conceivable way they could have escaped. The “stand your ground” law states that a person can use deadly force against a threat in an area they are allowed to be without having to try to retreat. I actually agree with this concept in theory and I especially agree with “castle laws,” which gives the right to use force to defend your home against invaders. The problem is people seem to be thinking the law gives them a license to kill.

During the case in Texas, Rodriguez’s neighbor Kelli Johnson was throwing a party with loud music. Rodriguez went to Johnson’s house armed with a gun and a video camera and provoked a confrontation. Apparently he called 911 and told the operator, “I’m standing my ground here. Here they come and they are going to try to kill me.” The operator then heard gunshots.

One of the things I like about the “stand your ground” laws is it gives citizens the benefit of the doubt that they will be responsible and use it only when needed. It seems there have been some cases where it wasn’t. (That isn’t a comment about the Zimmerman case. I don’t know all the facts, so I’m not qualified to make any kind of value judgment on that.)

Individuals who legally keep firearms for self-defense need to realize that their actions reflect on responsible gun owners everywhere. There are far too many people who will use an isolated incident as a reason to call for laws governing self-defense to be repealed and putting the advantage back with the bad guys.

As responsible gun owners, we need to remember that the best outcome for a self-defense situation is for the conflict to be de-escalated and for both sides to go home afterward. I’ve said before and I’ll say again that using a gun for defense is the last resort, not the first.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Dec 16, 2012 11:17

by Doug Giles

My heart is sick. I feel so sorry for the children who were murdered, as well as the parents and loved ones of the slain kids and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. All of us here in the U.S.—who still have a soul—pray for those whose lives were just senselessly shattered.

But imagine if at least one teacher (with a concealed weapons permit) had their .40-caliber Glock with them, locked and loaded, when this weed Adam Lanza began his murderous mayhem Friday on the Sandy Hook Elementary School campus. What would have happened differently?

Would idiot boy have been able to slay 20 children and 6 teachers? I doubt it. But then again … who knows? However, I’m guessing that this terminal turd might not have dealt out as much death (if any) if the good guy with the gun drew down on him and double-tapped the center mass of this jackass with a couple of jacketed hollow points.

Unfortunately, there was no concealed weapon in the possession of a teacher to stop this satanic weed from taking root because guns are disallowed on campus. Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t the majority of the mass murders within the U.S. in the last 20 to 30 years been in Gun Free Zones?

Gun Free Zones turn the people who inhabit such places into sitting ducks for insane whack jobs with death wishes. I know, some schools have campus cops and security systems; however, that line of defense brings zero comfort to most parents if serious bullet flying $#*& starts hitting the fan in one of their kids’ classes.

Look, even the best Rambo-like police force equipped to the teeth, driving Vipers and descending en masse on a school in Black Hawk helicopters could not have responded fast enough to kill this Lanza piece of crap. But a fast-thinking, well-trained teacher could have.

I hate to seem pessimistic, but given this current “poor me” entitlement culture, I don’t see an atmospheric break in this violent weather pattern. I guarantee that even as I type and our nation weeps, there is, somewhere in the United States of Political Correctness, some disenfranchised dipstick making plans on how he can trump Adam Lanza’s slaughter. Chilling.

Call me simple. Call me a redneck. Call me whatever the hell you wanna call me—but until we allow credible, licensed, proven and protective teachers to carry a weapon on campus, we will see this murderous madness occur again and again and again.



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