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Thread: UPDATE Colorado Springs, 'Shooting death fuels debate over guns' WashingtonTimes.com

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    Original thread: http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum60/21218.html

    Source URL: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...ly-force-laws/

    COLORADO SPRINGS
    Sean Kennedy, a 22-year-old golf pro, drunkenly banged on the door, yelled obscenities and smashed a window as he tried to enter what he thought was his house.

    But it wasn't his home. The house, located a block from Mr. Kennedy's residence, but showing the same house number, belonged to James Parsons. As Mr. Kennedy reached his arm through the broken window in an effort to unlock the back door, Mr. Parsons, who was inside with his girlfriend, shot and killed him.

    Colorado Springs prosecutors last week exonerated Mr. Parsons, saying that he acted within the scope of the state's "Make My Day" law, which allows homeowners to use deadly force against intruders.

    "A reasonable person in those circumstances would have believed that [Mr. Kennedy] was going to do a crime against them or their property," District Attorney Dan May said.

    Nonetheless, the decision reignited debate over whether such laws allow homeowners to use more force than necessary in their defense. Critics argue that the laws, which have proliferated in recent years, have essentially given homeowners a license to kill.

    "What's happening among gun owners is that there's less accountability and less responsibility," said Scott Vogel, spokesman for the Freedom States Alliance in Chicago, which opposes the "Make My Day" laws. "Gun owners are taking these laws and drawing their own conclusions and using them as a 'get out of jail free' card."

    The debate is likely to intensify as more states adopt and expand such statutes. Since 1985, 16 states have approved "Make My Day" statutes - known to critics as "Shoot to Kill" laws - with more legislation expected this year, said Sam Hoover, staff attorney for the Legal Community Against Violence in San Francisco.

    Besides Colorado, the 15 other states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota, Mr. Hoover said.

    Even in states that have approved such laws, however, deciding whether the statute applies can be tricky. Colorado Springs prosecutors wrestled with the case for a month before deciding against filing charges in the Dec. 28 shooting.

    About 10 p.m., Mr. Kennedy, who had been drinking at a Denver Broncos football party with friends, drove up in his truck to the house at 3212 Virginia Ave. and tried to enter. Police say he was looking for a house he shared with roommates at 3212 N. Institute St., located a block away. His blood alcohol level was later tested at 0.26, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 for driving in Colorado.

    When Mr. Parsons and his girlfriend heard the pounding at the door, they called 911 and pleaded for help. Mr. Parsons' girlfriend stayed on the phone for about 4 1/2 minutes, during which time the shots were fired.

    "Oh, my God, he's coming in the back door," said the woman, who was not identified, during the call. "Are they on their way because - oh my God, he broke in the glass!"
    At that point, Mr. Kennedy had walked around the house and broken a window next to the back door. He was reaching through the broken glass to unlock the dead bolt when Mr. Parsons fired three shots through the window with a .38 Special.

    "Get the ambulance! I shot him," Mr. Parsons said in the background. "He broke his arm in the window, and he was coming in the house!"

    Mr. May said the panicky call and efforts by the homeowners to deter Mr. Kennedy - they shouted for him to leave several times - offered proof that they were in fear for their safety.

    The Colorado law states that "citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes," and that lethal force may be used against someone who illegally enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime or use physical force against the occupant.

    "The evidence from the dispatch tape and from investigative interviews indicated that they were both terrified during this incident and were traumatized by these events," said Mr. May in a statement.

    One point of contention was whether Mr. Kennedy could be considered an intruder, since he never actually entered the home. Prosecutors said that having his arm inside the house constituted breaking and entering.

    "It doesn't have to be the entire body. His arm was in the house," Deputy District Attorney Gail Warkentin said. "Breaking and entering might have been breaking the lock on the screen door - it could be as little as that - but certainly after he had his arm in the house."

    Mr. Kennedy's family remains distraught over the shooting, she said. After graduating from high school in 2004, Mr. Kennedy had worked as a golf pro at two Colorado Springs golf clubs.

    "I spoke to Sean's father, and he's obviously grieving for his son. He told me he wished the homeowner had shown more restraint," Ms. Warkentin said. "He said his son didn't deserve to die."

    Critics called the Kennedy case a classic example of a fatality that could have been avoided if the homeowner had taken evasive action - for example, leaving the house through the front door - but having a "Make My Day" law on the books makes it less likely that homeowners will do so.

    "There's every indication that this gun owner could have shouted at this guy, yelled at him," Mr. Vogel said. "Instead, even though he hadn't been harmed, he just shot him. You didn't sense that he and his girlfriend were in immediate peril, and that used to be the standard."

    Dudley Brown, president of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said the couple couldn't have known how violent Mr. Kennedy was, or whether he was armed.

    "There's no such thing as 'shoot to wound.' That's only in movies," said Mr. Brown, a certified firearms instructor. "They made their best effort to let law enforcement deal with it, but here's a news flash for liberals: The police can't always be there when you're in trouble."

    Despite the debate, "Make My Day" laws remain popular with state legislatures, with new bills introduced every year to implement or expand such laws.

    In Colorado, a legislative committee last week heard testimony on behalf of a bill known as "Make My Day Better," which would extend the law to include businesses. But the bill was killed in committee on a straight party-line vote, with Democrats voting against and Republicans voting in favor.




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    Dudley Brown's Rocky Mountain Gun Owners' site

    http://www.rmgo.org/

    It is among the preeminent grassroots and unaffiliated pro-gun sites and home of 'The Real Nature of Politics and Politicians: America's System Works But Not The Way You Think!' by Michael Rothfeld of SABER Communications of Falmouth, VA

    http://www.rmgo.org/alerts/RealNature.shtml

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    Two things:

    1. "Make my Day" laws? C'mon... Whoever wrote this has an obvious anti bias. In Michigan, and other States, this statute is called the "Castle Doctrine" as in, a man's home is his castle and must have the means, and the duty, to defend it.

    2. On the face, this case doesnt' differ substantially from the Ryan Frederick case. Unidentified intruder, breaking the door and the upper part of his body inside the home with the homeowner firing and a death ensues.

    Carry on .

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    No one should have to retreat from their home, from anyone. What do you expect from a liberal paper like the Washington Post.

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    Yeah for real. Retreat from MY home, not in this lifetime.
    ‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’ Thomas Jefferson

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    If he was shot dead at the scene. Who was stateing he was just trying to break
    into his own house?
    Is there a law in Colorado that you can break into houses with the same house number as yours?

    Also missing from the story was how he got there? With a blood alchohol of .28
    he couldn't have driven there or he would be breaking the law.
    So we must also look for his partners in the robery attempt that drove off when
    the robery went bad.

    If all the yelling and screaming in the house didn't deter him then it is on him
    to provide proof to the home owners that he just wants to come in and say hi.

    It is a travesty with the 911 tapes, and broken window that it took the DA this long
    to admit there was no crime.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    When Mr. Parsons and his girlfriend heard the pounding at the door, they called 911 and pleaded for help. Mr. Parsons' girlfriend stayed on the phone for about 4 1/2 minutes, during which time the shots were fired.

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    jmlefler wrote:
    Two things:

    1. "Make my Day" laws? C'mon... Whoever wrote this has an obvious anti bias. In Michigan, and other States, this statute is called the "Castle Doctrine" as in, a man's home is his castle and must have the means, and the duty, to defend it.

    Colorado's law is virtually always called "Make my Day," by everybody. It doesn't matter where people stand on the issue.

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    JBinMontana wrote:
    No one should have to retreat from their home, from anyone. What do you expect from a liberal paper like the Washington Post.
    The Washington Times. There is a difference, not as much as I like but some difference.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...ly-force-laws/

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    jmlefler wrote:
    2. On the face, this case doesnt' differ substantially from the Ryan Frederick case. Unidentified intruder, breaking the door and the upper part of his body inside the home with the homeowner firing and a death ensues.
    Astonishingly so! Major differences, the Police were probably not drunk, and Virginia does not have a Castle Doctrine law.

    How do we get us one of those here?

    Sadly, as was stated in the Frederick case, the police attitude appears to be that if an intruder is unarmed, you should let them take what they want and be on their way.

    TFred


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    They also neglected to state that Mr. Kennedy started by pounding on the front door. Thats when the occupants started yelling for him to leave and called 911. Kennedy then went around the house to the back where the B&E and subsequent shooting took place.

    What more do these idiots want before self defense is allowable?

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    (snip)
    When Mr. Parsons and his girlfriend heard the pounding at the door, they called 911 and pleaded for help. Mr. Parsons' girlfriend stayed on the phone for about 4 1/2 minutes, during which time the shots were fired.

    "Oh, my God, he's coming in the back door," said the woman, who was not identified, during the call. "Are they on their way because - oh my God, he broke in the glass!"
    At that point, Mr. Kennedy had walked around the house and broken a window next to the back door. He was reaching through the broken glass to unlock the dead bolt when Mr. Parsons fired three shots through the window with a .38 Special.

    "Get the ambulance! I shot him," Mr. Parsons said in the background. "He broke his arm in the window, and he was coming in the house!"

    Mr. May said the panicky call and efforts by the homeowners to deter Mr. Kennedy - they shouted for him to leave several times - offered proof that they were in fear for their safety.
    (snip)

    "There's every indication that this gun owner could have shouted at this guy, yelled at him," Mr. Vogel said. "Instead, even though he hadn't been harmed, he just shot him. You didn't sense that he and his girlfriend were in immediate peril, and that used to be the standard."

    OK,how can these two situations be in the same article?

    Here in NC we have no castle doctrine, but the only clear cut situation that allows you to use deadly force is exactly what happened here. If you are in fear for your life and the individualis beating on your door trying to get in... It has never made sense to me because once they break in the door youhave to give them the opportunity to retreat. I understand the family of the deceased is upset, but there is no way to hold the homeowner responsible for protecting human lives from a very determined individual breaking into his house.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    JBinMontana wrote:
    No one should have to retreat from their home, from anyone. What do you expect from a liberal paper like the Washington Post.
    The Washington Times. There is a difference, not as much as I like but some difference.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...ly-force-laws/
    The biggest difference is that Kahr Arms was founded by Justin Moon, son of Washington Times founder Sun Myung Moon.



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    My Dad lives in Colorado Springs. I went to visit him not long ago....ok, maybe over 1 year...

    He told me about that law. . . Made me envious...

    Here in Cali we have a Castle like doctrine, but we are criminally liable. . . meaning that if someone does break into your home and you do injure or kill them the person or survivors can sue you for wrongful death or damages. . .

    And in Cali it is more than just the home. Basically you have no duty to retreat from anywhere you have a legal right to be. You may stand and defend your ground.

    Unless people have been lying to me.

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    Theseus wrote:
    My Dad lives in Colorado Springs. I went to visit him not long ago....ok, maybe over 1 year...

    He told me about that law. . . Made me envious...

    Here in Cali we have a Castle like doctrine, but we are criminally liable. . . meaning that if someone does break into your home and you do injure or kill them the person or survivors can sue you for wrongful death or damages. . .

    And in Cali it is more than just the home. Basically you have no duty to retreat from anywhere you have a legal right to be. You may stand and defend your ground.

    Unless people have been lying to me.
    That's civilly liable, not criminally. California has no "duty to retreat" law, but the response must only be in equal proportion to the threat. This is where it gets murky in court, as people define "equal threat" differently.
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

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    Sadly, this shouldn't be murky at all. Someone who has deliberately invaded your home, your one "safe, secure place" in the world. You should have every right to defend your ground with full force. Anyone who wishes to enter my home by force will be expelled with much greater force, until they are "no longer a threat".

    Tawnos wrote:
    That's civilly liable, not criminally. California has no "duty to retreat" law, but the response must only be in equal proportion to the threat. This is where it gets murky in court, as people define "equal threat" differently.
    Gun control isn't about guns -- it is about control.

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    Tawnos wrote:
    Theseus wrote:
    Here in Cali we have a Castle like doctrine [snip]
    That's civilly liable, not criminally. California has no "duty to retreat" law, but the response must only be in equal proportion to the threat. This is where it gets murky in court, as people define "equal threat" differently.
    If you are in your home and you reasonably believe that force was used to get it then it is presumed that they will do great harm.

    If they are there to performgreat harm any resulting homicide is deemed justified in PC 197

    However...there is no civil protection

    ----

    PC 198.5. Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or
    great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to
    have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great
    bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that
    force is used against another person, not a member of the family or
    household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and
    forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or
    had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.

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