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Thread: Neighborhood Watch

  1. #1
    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    My neighbor decided to establish a Neighborhood Watch, so I attended the initial meeting.

    Two cops showed up to talk to us. They said that the Commonwealth holds that you have a duty to retreat, even if someone is trying to break into your home, you should leave via another exit! However, they also said that it was better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    They passed out a flier about Personal Safety (see attached).

    It would appear that home defense isn't a high priority.

    I will take up the issue of retreating at the next meeting.

    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

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    2a4all wrote:
    My neighbor decided to establish a Neighborhood Watch, so I attended the initial meeting.

    Two cops showed up to talk to us. They said that the Commonwealth holds that you have a duty to retreat, even if someone is trying to break into your home, you should leave via another exit! However, they also said that it was better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    They passed out a flier about Personal Safety (see attached).

    It would appear that home defense isn't a high priority.

    I will take up the issue of retreating at the next meeting.
    Tell them that the intruder will be retreating when they hear your pump 12ga rack:P

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    Why is it bad advice?

    If you have no means to protect yourself, your best duty is to retreat.

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    I know you did that in good fun, but it really makes sense!



    Carl

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    The comments under "Minimize your risk" are spot-on. Well done.
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
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    Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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    I think it was user who said VA *is* a stand your ground state, by case law I guess.... (Do not take my word for it!) You just can't use your gun to defend property. Which I take to mean you can stand your ground and if the BG continues to approach you, you are now under physical threat.... But if he very politely starts to cart off your possessions all you can do is get into a fist fight, which if I am correct, then makes impossible for you to later use a gun because you were the one who "escalated" the confrontation....

    Input?

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    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    hsmith wrote:
    Why is it bad advice?

    If you have no means to protect yourself, your best duty is to retreat.
    True, but the cop didn't qualify his statement. He said the Commonwealth thinks you have a duty to retreat, even exit your home. In fact, have an escape route planned.

    Retreating as a strategy (as opposed to a duty) wasn't presented.
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

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    2a4all wrote:
    hsmith wrote:
    Why is it bad advice?

    If you have no means to protect yourself, your best duty is to retreat.
    True, but the cop didn't qualify his statement. He said the Commonwealth thinks you have a duty to retreat, even exit your home. In fact, have an escape route planned.

    Retreating as a strategy (as opposed to a duty) wasn't presented.
    understood and I agree with you

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    2a4all wrote:
    My neighbor decided to establish a Neighborhood Watch, so I attended the initial meeting.

    Two cops showed up to talk to us. They said that the Commonwealth holds that you have a duty to retreat, even if someone is trying to break into your home, you should leave via another exit! However, they also said that it was better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    They passed out a flier about Personal Safety (see attached).

    It would appear that home defense isn't a high priority.

    I will take up the issue of retreating at the next meeting.
    While I understand your frustration.... many agencies are not going to advise you to stay and fight where you or someone else could be killed.

    Think about it this way... If you can get away from the danger.. and live.... Why would you need to shoot and kill another human who may not want to do anything more than steal your property?

    Most often, burglaries of occupied dwellings do not result in death of the home owner. The thief wants a purse or wallet... and then get out of there!!

    Shooting him may "teach him a lesson" but is it actually necessary?

    Then you have to consider... if the police promote shooting people that enter your home... what happens when your kid comes home from college and you did not expect him. You see a silhouette and you shoot thinking it is a burglar!!!

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    2a4all wrote:
    My neighbor decided to establish a Neighborhood Watch, so I attended the initial meeting.

    Two cops showed up to talk to us. They said that the Commonwealth holds that you have a duty to retreat, even if someone is trying to break into your home, you should leave via another exit! However, they also said that it was better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    They passed out a flier about Personal Safety (see attached).

    It would appear that home defense isn't a high priority.

    I will take up the issue of retreating at the next meeting.
    While I understand your frustration.... many agencies are not going to advise you to stay and fight where you or someone else could be killed.

    Think about it this way... If you can get away from the danger.. and live.... Why would you need to shoot and kill another human who may not want to do anything more than steal your property?

    Most often, burglaries of occupied dwellings do not result in death of the home owner. The thief wants a purse or wallet... and then get out of there!!

    Shooting him may "teach him a lesson" but is it actually necessary?

    Then you have to consider... if the police promote shooting people that enter your home... what happens when your kid comes home from college and you did not expect him. You see a silhouette and you shoot thinking it is a burglar!!!
    I understand that police would not advise armed confrontation even when legal at least for liability purposes. But I don't think they should say things like "you have a duty to retreat, even in your own home" while there is no statue supporting that and in fact case law says the opposite (correct me if I'm wrong). I think it would be more professional for them to say something like "you have a right to use deadly force if you feel your life is in danger, however we advise you to avoid it at all costs unless absolutely necessary in order to avoid possible legal problems and all dangers associated with brining in a deadly force into a confrontation". Just my 2 cents.

    As a side note - I haven't heard of any efforts to pass Castle Doctrine statue in VA. Is VCDL doing anything about it? I'd like to see something Texas style where a law abiding person can defend him/herself to a large extent as long as he is not the one at fault.

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    Our case law is already good on the ability to defend ourselves. A Castle Doctrine law could easily foul that up. I'm more interested in a "Civil liability protection law" (can't be sued unless proven you violated a law first) and a right to carry my firearm in my car to and from work law.

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    DHCruiser wrote:
    A Castle Doctrine law could easily foul that up.

    Explain...

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    2a4all wrote:
    even if someone is trying to break into your home, you should leave via another exit!
    Leave my home!? Surrender my domicile, my fort, my castle, my humble abode, my... you get it by now don't you? What idiot figured that one out?

    If someone breaks in here, they will be staring down a barrel. Whether they end up in a squad car, running away with **** in their pants, or in an ambulance is up to them.

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    The police have misinformed you on the law in the Commonwealth.There is no duty to retreat if you are free from fault in bringing on thedifficulty.It is only when you have some fault in bringing on the difficulty that you have a duty to retreat, announce a desire for peace, and then use force only out of necessity. Some fault can be something like arguing with someone.

    Below is some case law for review. I believe this is really important to know for gun owners in Virginia. Let me know if anyone wants the entire cases, I can post.

    From Gilbert v. Com., 506 S.E.2d 543, 28 Va.App. 466 (Va. App., 1998)

    An accused who claims self-defense to a charge of homicide "implicitly admits the killing was intentional and assumes the burden of introducing evidence of justification or excuse that raises a reasonable doubt in the mind [] of the [trier of fact]." McGhee v. Commonwealth, 219 Va. 560, 562, 248 S.E.2d 808, 810 (1978). The Supreme Court summarized the principles of self-defense by noting the following:

    The law of self-defense is the law of necessity.... [A] defendant must reasonably fear death or serious bodily harm to himself at the hands of his victim. It is not essential to the right of self-defense that the danger should in fact exist. If it reasonably appears to a defendant that the danger exists, he has the right to defend against it to the same extent, and under the same rules, as would obtain in case the danger is real. A defendant may always act upon reasonable appearance of danger, and whether the danger is reasonably apparent is always to be determined from the viewpoint of the defendant at the time he acted. These ancient and well-established principles ... emphasize the subjective nature of the defense, and why it is an affirmative one.

    The distinction between justifiable and excusable self-defense claims is well established. "Justifiable homicide in self-defense occurs where a person, without any fault on his part in provoking or bringing on the difficulty, kills another under reasonable apprehension of death or great bodily harm to himself." Bailey v. Commonwealth, 200 Va. 92, 96, 104 S.E.2d 28, 31 (1958). When the accused is free from fault in bringing on the fray, the accused "need not [highlight= #b5d0e0]retreat, but is permitted to stand his [or her] ground and repel the attack by force, including deadly force, if it is necessary." Foote v. Commonwealth, 11 Va.App. 61, 67, 396 S.E.2d 851, 855 (1990).

    [28 Va.App. 473] "Excusable homicide in self-defense occurs where the accused, although in some fault in the first instance in provoking or bringing on the difficulty, when attacked retreats as far as possible, announces his desire for peace, and kills his adversary from a reasonably apparent necessity to preserve his own life or save himself from great bodily harm." Bailey, 200 Va. at 96, 104 S.E.2d at 31. If a killing is proved to be either justifiable or excusable, the accused must be acquitted. Id."

    From Foote v. Com., 396 S.E.2d 851, 11 Va.App. 61 (Va. App., 1990)

    In Virginia, homicide (or attempted homicide) in self-defense is classified either as justifiable or excusable. Justifiable self-defense arises when the defendant is completely without fault. Perkins v. Commonwealth, 186 Va. 867, 876, 44 S.E.2d 426, 430 (1947). In such a case, the defendant need not [highlight= #b5d0e0]retreat, but is permitted to stand his ground and repel the attack by force, including deadly force, if it is necessary. McCoy v. Commonwealth, 125 Va. 771, 775, 99 S.E. 644, 645 (1919). Excusable self-defense arises when the defendant, who was at some fault in precipitating the [11 Va.App. 68] difficulty, abandons the fight and retreats as far as he safely can before he attempts to repel the attack. Id. at 776, 99 S.E. at 646.


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    Chaingun81 wrote:
    I understand that police would not advise armed confrontation even when legal at least for liability purposes. But I don't think they should say things like "you have a duty to retreat, even in your own home" while there is no statue supporting that and in fact case law says the opposite (correct me if I'm wrong). I think it would be more professional for them to say something like "you have a right to use deadly force if you feel your life is in danger, however we advise you to avoid it at all costs unless absolutely necessary in order to avoid possible legal problems and all dangers associated with brining in a deadly force into a confrontation". Just my 2 cents.

    As a side note - I haven't heard of any efforts to pass Castle Doctrine statue in VA. Is VCDL doing anything about it? I'd like to see something Texas style where a law abiding person can defend him/herself to a large extent as long as he is not the one at fault.
    I am not sure how it makes them more "professional" to say one thing versus another.

    They are presenting information in a way to solicit a certain action. I can encourage you to stay and defend your house or escape and protect your life.

    A house and property can be replaced.. a life cannot.

    I have long believed that you should escape if you can and kill only as a last resort.

    But other members here seem trigger happy to stay and protect the house and blow people away with a shotgun.

    To me.. it is like standing in the path of a speeding car. I can move out of the way and live... or shoot at the driver and hope to make him stop. I guess if you feel like standing your ground and showing people you will not move and nobody can make you... you can do that and maybe get ran over.

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    My neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch as well but I use it differently. I call the rep AFTER I call the police rather than before.

    I had a prowler situation just last night. A neighbor knocked on my door to tell me that someone was sitting in my yard and the police were on the way.

    By the time I got out the door with my pistol and a flashlight, the first officer was just pulling up. Two more showed up and none said anything about the gun on my hip and neither did any of the several neighbors who were out by then.

    Turned out to be a kid waiting for his girlfriend but it was good to see such a good response by the police.

    I'm not going to rely on some neighbor to translate my call to the police while I wait by the phone.

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    DHCruiser wrote:
    Our case law is already good on the ability to defend ourselves. A Castle Doctrine law could easily foul that up. I'm more interested in a "Civil liability protection law" (can't be sued unless proven you violated a law first) and a right to carry my firearm in my car to and from work law.
    One advantage of a genuine Castle Doctrine law would be that it would removeor knock a big hole inthe "affirmative defense" aspect of justifiable homicide.

    Meaning, under current VA case law, as I understand it, if you are tried for, say, manslaughter in connnection with defending your life, the burden is on you to prove it was necessary self-defense. As opposed to the government having to prove you done manslaughter. Basically, since you are claiming self-defense, you already admitted you made the live body dead. Now you gotta prove it wasn't a crime by proving it was self-defense.

    As I understand it, Castle Doctrine means you are statutorily authorized to use lethal force whereever the statute allows, and thus cannot be charged in the first place.

    Of course the actual text of the Castle law varies from state to state. Some have loopholes and so forth such that a prosecutor could still charge someone if he wanted to twist the spirit orletter of the statute. That is to say the protection from prosecution is not air-tight.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    HardChrome wrote:
    My neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch as well but I use it differently. I call the rep AFTER I call the police rather than before.

    I had a prowler situation just last night. A neighbor knocked on my door to tell me that someone was sitting in my yard and the police were on the way.

    By the time I got out the door with my pistol and a flashlight, the first officer was just pulling up. Two more showed up and none said anything about the gun on my hip and neither did any of the several neighbors who were out by then.

    Turned out to be a kid waiting for his girlfriend but it was good to see such a good response by the police.

    I'm not going to rely on some neighbor to translate my call to the police while I wait by the phone.
    Someone sitting in your yard is not actually a "prowler".

    Unless he is walking around your house checking doors and windows looking inside it is a suspicious person.



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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    HardChrome wrote:
    I call the rep AFTER I call the police rather than before.
    Our entire NW calls the police themselves and then may (or may not) send out an e-mail to the rest of us with details.
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    HardChrome wrote:
    My neighborhood has a Neighborhood Watch as well but I use it differently. I call the rep AFTER I call the police rather than before.

    I had a prowler situation just last night. A neighbor knocked on my door to tell me that someone was sitting in my yard and the police were on the way.

    By the time I got out the door with my pistol and a flashlight, the first officer was just pulling up. Two more showed up and none said anything about the gun on my hip and neither did any of the several neighbors who were out by then.

    Turned out to be a kid waiting for his girlfriend but it was good to see such a good response by the police.

    I'm not going to rely on some neighbor to translate my call to the police while I wait by the phone.
    Someone sitting in your yard is not actually a "prowler".

    Unless he is walking around your house checking doors and windows looking inside it is a suspicious person.

    I left some of the details out. He was described to me as a prowler and he was seen walking in my yard in addition to sitting behind my car. I didn't make the call to the police. I just came outside to check around but this is a situation where I would prefer to work with the police directly rather than through a neighborhood rep. I do agree however that the rep should be filled in afterwards so he can provide that info to the officer handling our neighborhood.

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    HardChrome wrote
    I left some of the details out. He was described to me as a prowler and he was seen walking in my yard in addition to sitting behind my car. I didn't make the call to the police. I just came outside to check around but this is a situation where I would prefer to work with the police directly rather than through a neighborhood rep. I do agree however that the rep should be filled in afterwards so he can provide that info to the officer handling our neighborhood.
    OK, now you have a prowler!!

  22. #22
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    I am not sure how it makes them more 'professional' to say one thing versus another.
    It's more professional to not say you have a duty to retreat, because you have no duty to retreat. Granted, retreat may be the most prudent action depending on the situation, but under no circumstances do I have a duty to retreat from a home invader.

    IOW, it's unprofessional to state or even imply that the law requires me (as a duty) to retreat, because that's not true.

    Understand now?

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    You guys are ALL looking at this the wrong way.

    Its not retreating!

    Its Tactical Relocation:P

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    TexasNative wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    I am not sure how it makes them more 'professional' to say one thing versus another.
    It's more professional to not say you have a duty to retreat, because you have no duty to retreat. Granted, retreat may be the most prudent action depending on the situation, but under no circumstances do I have a duty to retreat from a home invader.

    IOW, it's unprofessional to state or even imply that the law requires me (as a duty) to retreat, because that's not true.

    Understand now?
    I get what you are saying.

    So what we are looking at seems to be in the word "Duty"

    Duty does not automatically mean "required by law".

    While you may conclude it to be a legal obligation... What if the officer tells you that you a have a duty to vote and respect your elders. Does this mean that it is also the law? If so.. he would be telling a lie then too while meaning it is something you should do or are expected to do by society.

    The officer did not say "You are legally required to leave your house". This would clearly be a lie. He used a term that encouraged people to leave. Nobody here can state he intended to lie or mislead people. Personally, I would have said it in another way.

    How about this example:

    • You have a duty to help your neighbor in need
    • You are required to help your neighbor in need
    • You are legally required to help your neighbor in need
    • By law you are required to help your neighbor in need
    Do you see the difference?

    Saying you have a duty to help someone in need does not mean it is required by law. It means that it is something you are expected to do by society. But because a cop says it... it somehow automatically means required by law?

    So, does society expect you to try to escape before taking a life? I know I think that way. The last thing I want to do is have to kill someone. Justified or not... unless there is a threat to me or another I am not going to just blast someone for being in my home.

    So is using the word "duty" unprofessional? It is going to be based on how you personally view the word being used.

    :P

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    TexasNative wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    I am not sure how it makes them more 'professional' to say one thing versus another.
    It's more professional to not say you have a duty to retreat, because you have no duty to retreat. Granted, retreat may be the most prudent action depending on the situation, but under no circumstances do I have a duty to retreat from a home invader.

    IOW, it's unprofessional to state or even imply that the law requires me (as a duty) to retreat, because that's not true.

    Understand now?
    I get what you are saying.

    So what we are looking at seems to be in the word "Duty"

    Duty does not automatically mean "required by law".

    While you may conclude it to be a legal obligation... What if the officer tells you that you a have a duty to vote and respect your elders. Does this mean that it is also the law? If so.. he would be telling a lie then too while meaning it is something you should do or are expected to do by society.

    The officer did not say "You are legally required to leave your house". This would clearly be a lie. He used a term that encouraged people to leave. Nobody here can state he intended to lie or mislead people. Personally, I would have said it in another way.

    How about this example:

    • You have a duty to help your neighbor in need
    • You are required to help your neighbor in need
    • You are legally required to help your neighbor in need
    • By law you are required to help your neighbor in need
    Do you see the difference?

    Saying you have a duty to help someone in need does not mean it is required by law. It means that it is something you are expected to do by society. But because a cop says it... it somehow automatically means required by law?

    So, does society expect you to try to escape before taking a life? I know I think that way. The last thing I want to do is have to kill someone. Justified or not... unless there is a threat to me or another I am not going to just blast someone for being in my home.

    So is using the word "duty" unprofessional? It is going to be based on how you personally view the word being used.

    :P
    I have never heard the word "duty" used with the word "retreat" in the context of self-defensein any other way than to mean it is legally required.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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