Monday, October 11, 2010

Duty to Retreat?

Expanded commentary on my reply to Should you have a legal duty to retreat from an intruder or attacker? by David Codrea

Current Pennsylvania law according to The Bulletin in Philadelphia, allows individuals
to use deadly force in self-defense if they are threatened with death, serious bodily harm, or kidnapping. They are also allowed to use deadly force to protect other individuals from the same risks.

Current law also requires an individual to retreat from the threat before using deadly force if the individual is in a public place

A proposed Castle Doctrine law, HB 40, being debated in Pennsylvania,
would remove that requirement, allowing an individual to use deadly force if the individual has a right to be in the place where he is attacked and if the individual has a reasonable suspicion the attacker intends to commit serious bodily harm.

The above sounds perfectly reasonable to me. The opponents of a sensible Castle Doctrine always try to make it look like an otherwise peaceable individual will whip out his "shooting iron" (or shooting tupperware) and gun down anyone with the temerity to cast a shadow on him. It's almost like these idiots learned about life by watching Bob Hope and Virginia Mayo in The Princess and the Pirate.

A goblin intending to harm me already has the advantage of surprise and advance planning. Even when the crime is one of opportunity, the attacker has made the decision to attack before I can make a decision to defend. This disparity already tilts the odds away from me -- the intended victim -- and towards the aggressor. Imposing a duty to retreat or a no brandishing requirement on self defense only adds to whatever advantage the bad guy already has. That is only a "sensible gun law" if the goal is to favor the criminal over his intended victims.

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