Thursday, June 2, 2011

Guns and Self Defense

As reported in "MailOnline" today and from Oklohoma local carriers:

SHOOT OR NOT TO SHOOT? THE LAW of Self-defence can be argued in court but it must be proved at trial that these actions are justified.

As a general rule, a person can use reasonable force if they are genuinely threatened with an impending injury.

A person using force in self-defence, though, should use only so much force as is required to repel the attack - but no more.

Deadly force can be used to fend off an attacker who is using deadly force but not one who is using non-deadly force.
In some cases, the law recommends that the person under threat should try to flee before fighting back if at all possible.

Courts have held, however, that a person is not required to flee from his own home, the fenced ground surrounding the home, his place of business, or his car.
After chasing the accomplice from the store, Ersland then gets a second gun before shooting Parker another five times, almost a minute after he fired the first gunshot.

In court, Mr Ersland's attorneys insisted their client had acted in self-defence.
Defence lawyer Irven Box asked jurors to close their eyes and imagine what they would do if they were confronted with the same situation.
'He eliminated the armed robber,' Box said.
Box added to ABC News that the pharmacist had shot repeatedly because he saw Parker was still moving after the first hit so deemed him still to be a threat.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Chance, however, argued that: 'This defendant was absolutely not defending himself or anyone else.'
The jury responded after three and a half hours of deliberation by recommending a life sentence.
Ersland must now be sentenced by Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott on July 11.
If he upholds the jury's decision, Ersland will not be eligible for parole for at least 38 years.
Ersland's lawyers said they intend to appeal.

From the Sportsman's perspective,the debate here is interesting. However, the guy clearly crossed the line when he went back into the store and pumped 5 close range shots into the head of an already severely wounded and unconscious would-be assailant. This news has implications in the world of Sportsmen as it will heat up gun control arguments.
I am not generally in favor of gun control since the hard core proponents of such legislation really want to make it illegal for me to own a gun.However, I am not against some forms of regulation, and I have trouble defending the argument that fully automatic assault weapons are Ok for anyone to own...but there are many arguments and issues all over the map on gun control and this post is really about self defense and where defense stops and agression begins.
I commend Ersland for being armed and protecting his employees and his place of business. However, when he did an imitation of a Waffen SS Obersturmbahnfurher, and pumped 5 shots into that criminals head as he lay wounded and reportedly unconscious (and probably helpless) on the floor of the store...well that seems like an execution and not self defense. Evidently, a Jury of 12 reasoned in the same way and convicted this guy of Murder. If he had not done the final act, and also not pursued on of the fleeing criminals outside the store, he may have been exonerated completely.
I have no sympathy for the deceased would-be robber.I am also sickened by the celebratory histrionics of the family of the deceased after the verdict. If you come into a man's place of business weilding a gun and trying to steal money, you deserve a spiraling lead projectile in the forehead. Indeed, if Ersland had better aim and killed the kid with his first fusillade, then he might never have been prosecuted as he would not have committed the second act.

The video from store surveillance camera can be seen here


Brohammas said...

I support defending one's self, and doing so armed... that being said I could never shoot someone over my TV. I might pistolwhip the mess out of you, but posessions are not worth even the lowest life.

Main Line Sportsman said...

Bro-I agree about not clipping someone over my Samsung 42 inch HD...but these invaders were pointing guns at people...and that gets you a 9 Mil. slug in the sternum in my book.

T said...

Yeah, the coup de grĂ¢ce X 5 WAS a bit much. I hesitate to use the term overkill in this situation.
I guess you could file this under "cautionary tale" for any would-be punk robbers looking to knock over the local convenience store though. It's a quandary.

RulingPart said...

This is something I worry about. Say a guy breaks into my house and tries to kill me. I wound him but don't immediately kill him, and I'm so scared and pissed off that I do something stupid.

So yeah, over the line, but a life sentence? Is that justice?