Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Right to Protect

Recently, an armed homeowner shot and seriously wounded a person who illegally trespassed on his gated property around two in the morning. Sounds like a clear case of self-defense to me. But when I heard that the homeowner is being accused of attempted second degree murder for shooting an intended burglar, I got upset. Since when can we not protect our family and home?

Louisiana has very strong and clear self defense laws to protect people trying to protect themselves. These laws are considered the Louisiana Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground Laws. (RA 14:19-20, RS 9:2800.19) In a nutshell, these laws grant a Louisiana citizen under attack the right to protect their person and property using any force necessary without having to retreat. Given this and the facts that I am aware of, the homeowner was well within his right to use force, the gun, to prevent the impending attempted robbery, a felony offense. The robber jumped a fence at two a.m., rousing the family dog that started barking which alerted the homeowner that someone was outside in his private yard. Given the circumstances that night and recent instances of property theft, the homeowner had a reasonable fear for the safety of his self and his family. Therefore, when the intruder continued onto the private property after being forewarned by the barking dog, the homeowner fired one round at a distance of 30 feet to stop the intruder. By my interpretation of the statues, the homeowner was within his rights to shoot at the intruder. One might argue that the force used was not “reasonable” against an unarmed suspect. However, to counter, one might argue that the force was indeed “apparently necessary” given the unknown fact of if the burglar had a weapon or not while he posed a threat to the family.

One of the many questions that have arisen from this incident is: where were the teen’s parents? Yes, that's right. A fourteen year old was the burglar in this situation. Surprised? As seems to be the case in much of the crime committed by inner-city youth, the teen intruder came from a broken family of eight children raised by the mother and the eldest son, 23, in a low socio-economic setting. As many would agree, this does not sound like a recipe for a happy and healthy upbringing. There are many factors that, if changed, could have affected this teen. What if his father was still at home? What if he didn’t have so many siblings? What if he had a part-time job or a youth group to keep him positively occupied? Pastor Christiana Ford seems to thing this is the solution: to put the blame into someone else’s hands for the problems of the youth. While I agree that having jobs and church programs could certainly help, I disagree that this lack is where the problem lies. All problems that people exhibit can be traced back to the parents and parenting style, or lack thereof. Studies have proven time and again that a majority of low income children have very little future respectable prospects in life and get caught in the norm of violence around them. Occasionally, one kid will shine through, one kid whose parent(s) made an effort to truly be a part of their child’s life and encourage them to be more. I believe that if more parents could take that extra step, no matter how small, we would see less juvenile, and therefore adult, crime.

This entire situation is tragic. A good man protecting his family is accused of attempted murder. A teen with a troubled past is in critical condition because no one taught him now to be good. Both these persons and their families’ lives have been changed because of this incident which should never have come to happen. We as a community need to do more. We need to educate ourselves about the self-defense laws. And we need to hug our children while telling them how much they are loved. Change starts with you. Only until after you change yourself can you change another.

I support Merritt Landry.

Links and Further Reading:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Commentary on Comments Against Humanism

I saw a post on Facebook and some of the comments really upset me. The post itself bashed humanism, going so far as to label Hitler and Stalin as humanists, which is rather insulting, but interesting and not so far fetched if you read about the tenants of humanism.

So this Matt guy. While I love that he actually uses ‘balderdash,’ I’m baffled by his ‘unbearable arrogance’ comment. I’m assuming he’s talking about non-believers mostly, ‘cause obviously a good Christian girl isn’t going to have an abortion, or even put herself into a situation that would tempt her to have an abortion. So, given this, I find him “unbearably arrogant” to assume that a non-believer will care about playing God when they don’t believe in said God. Therefore his logic does not apply, negating the whole argument. Right? A believer should never presume that their beliefs apply to all people. That’s what gets us into trouble and leads to people hating people. Which is against the most basic tenants of your faith. Circular logic there. Yes, as a Christian you are called to share the Good Word, not kill over it, and love thy neighbor as thyself, even if you can’t convert them. And don’t even get me started on the first portion of Matt’s statement! Seriously, it’s the 21st Century and you have to question what RIGHT a woman has to her own body?! A woman has as much of a RIGHT to her own reproductive organs as a man has to his. What RIGHT does a man have to give or withhold his fruit of his loin? What ever happened to a culture were women were respected and appreciated for more than their subservience to man? Oh right, that was before your Christianity came along.

And the Frank guy obviously doesn’t know history. Yes, Hitler and Stalin were in the 20th Century and killed millions not in the name of God. Funny how he completely ignores the other 1900 years of persecution, war, crusades, inquisitions, etc. killing millions or even billions in the name of God. Well, the Christian God at least. Should probably count the Hebrew God “Before Christ” too since it’s the same God and all. Even though he insists that before the 20th Century God and his ways were thought of. Contrary to popular belief, people like Hitler and Stalin were brilliant. They may not have used this brilliance for the acceptable common good; however, there is no way a mentally deficient person can take over a whole country with a set of ideals that are contrary to the modern norm. Their people wanted change, something to believe in, and went along with it until finally the people realized that this was not the change they wanted. But now they were stuck, entrenched in the new regime, and called out for help! Which came in the form of their neighbor who may not have shared in their religion beliefs, but shared in their faith in each other. Maybe Frank’s “God and his ways” refers to the prevalence of Christian wars of the past. Because it’s okay to attack and kill others when it’s done for the good of the Christian God. But when you attack others under the name of another God or sans God altogether, that’s not cool and means you’re a bigot and racist.

I’m not crazy, right? I can respect another person and their beliefs even when they don’t respect me and mine. But when that other person attacks me and completely ignores the history of his own religion, I don’t appreciate it. I believe we have a right to believe. But I do not believe we have a right to force that belief upon another person through words or actions. I believe we have the right to agree to disagree. And then get on with living and being who you are and what you want to be, with God’s help or without. It doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with yourself.