20 July 2008

Of BB Guns, Armed Robbery, Self Defense, Murder Charges and Ohio's Castle Doctrine

You hold a BB gun to someone's head, you have to deal with the consequences.

That was the case earlier today in Columbus when a man pulled a real firearm and shot dead an intruder who, with his friends, tried to rob residents of a westside home.

Now, the accomplices of the man who pointed the BB gun at their victims are going to be charged with murder for taking part in a crime that resulted in his death. I am still trying to process in my mind the evolution of charges that are used these days in a situation like this. Guys who don't pull the trigger are charged with murder. A friend and I had a conversation about this regarding Charles Manson the other day -- same kind of situation, but a long story best left to a future post. Back to this story.

The stupid guy holding the BB gun is dead. Because he was stupid. The resident who defended the people in the home deserves a cold one. He is a hero tonight.

BTW, the media is already noting that, "OMG!" the defending resident -- had this happened in a couple of months -- would have gotten off "scott free" because the Castle Doctrine legislation passed recently by the Ohio General Assembly would already in effect. Baloney! As it now stands, this shooting will go to the Franklin County Grand Jury, as do all shootings -- whether they be by private citizen or civilian law enforcement. The only difference, once the law goes into effect, will be that prosecutors now have the burden of proof on them to prove that a defending shooter acted criminally. NO LONGER will a defending shooter have to prove they were in the right.

Makes sense, doesn't it? In a normal world, yes. But to hear Ohio prosecutors at Statehouse hearings earlier this year you would have thought they were being emasculated. As it stands, when the law goes into effect, Ohioans will be innocent until proven guilty if they use deadly force to defend themselves inside the home or inside an automobile.

BTW, I predict the grand jury will decide that Mr. BB Gun was stupid. And as the film character Forrest Gump said so eloquently, "stupid is as stupid does."

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