Aug. 18: Cantor to resign from Congress
**Posted by Phineas
When someone is breaking into your house and is armed with a big knife, and you feel you have to ask permission of the police to protect yourself and your baby:
A young Oklahoma mother shot and killed an intruder to protect her 3-month-old baby on New Year’s Eve, less than a week after the baby’s father died of cancer.
Sarah McKinley says that a week earlier a man named Justin Martin dropped by on the day of her husband’s funeral, claiming that he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello. The 18-year-old Oklahoma City area woman did not let him into her home that day.
On New Year’s Eve Martin returned with another man, Dustin Stewart, and this time was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. The two soon began trying to break into McKinley’s home.
As one of the men was going from door to door outside her home trying to gain entry, McKinley called 911 and grabbed her 12-gauge shotgun.
McKinley then got on the phone and called 911 for help and inquired if it was okay to shoot the men if they got inside. Kudos to the 911 dispatcher who told her to do what she had to do to protect her infant, and to McKinley for having the presence of mind to overcome her hesitation and fire.
But why in Heaven’s name is it even a question one should think to ask? Two big, armed men breaking in are obviously not there for tea and cookies.
The article notes that only roughly 30 states have enacted into statute the common law “Castle doctrine,” under which a person has the right to protect his home and life from invasion. The other 20 or so states require the soon-to-be-victim to make a reasonable effort to flee before using deadly force, otherwise he or she may face prosecution (1). Surely I’m not the only one who thinks this is (to be polite) dumb?
Thankfully, Oklahoma is not one of those 20 states, but it’s still disturbing that we’ve so bred into our society a sense of dependency that, even in the most conservative, self-reliant regions of the country, there are people who feel they have to ask if it’s okay to protect themselves… or their baby.
(1) The news report notes that they could find no instance of anyone in the US being prosecuted for similar self-defense shootings. But, while I can’t find a citation at the moment, I’m sure I’ve read of homeowners in the UK being prosecuted for shooting housebreakers.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)