“If I can’t have you, nobody is going to have you.”

Those are the words that the husband of Marissa Alexander, in jail for 20 years for a warning shot, said to her the day she fired a shot into the ceiling. The irony, if she had shot her abusive husband she might actually be free.

http://news.yahoo.com/stand-ground-defense-fails-florida-shooting-case-030038820.html
 
But this goes to another problem. Domestic abuse…now straight-up, I am going to declare that I am pro-life.  And I have a HUGE gripe against the feminist movement – that being that it expends nearly ALL it’s energies and money on the abortion cause and very little respectively on far less gray areas of abuse, job restrictions, sports access, etc.

One of the problems with our legal system is that it is often very soft on domestic abuse, and has a habit of judging women who protect themselves in a very abusive way.

Apparently, per the article, Alexander “possessed a court-issued protective order against her husband at the time of the attack.” She had no prior criminal record.  Even if you feel she brandished a gun, does ANYONE believe she should be sentenced to 20 years in prison for doing so? Especially, when she brandished it at a man who has abused her, was under a restraining order and had made a death threat.

Personally, I believe brandishing is often an effective measure for safety. I  do not believe brandishing without shooting is morally wrong. In fact, I believe it’s often a better moral choice. And have read numerous accounts where criminals have fled as soon as a citizen drew a firearm. 

If some road rage nut chases me down with my car full of children, I’d much rather see him back away and go on his merry way from a mere view of my firearm than having to bear the burden of shooting and killing another man.

The reason we advise against it, is a legal one. The laws and court system are stacked against brandishing & the firing of warning shots.  They will get you in legal hot water, as a firearm is viewed exclusively as a tool of last resort.  Within our legal system We are not granted it’s use as a deterrent – as we can see by the 20 year sentence Alexander received.

In many ways, I have a gripe against this view. I do not believe it should be legally wrong to brandish or even fire a warning shot (if there is a safe backdrop) when threatened. 

Is it so wrong to expect a mother, even an abused one, to want to avoid shooting and killing their kid’s dad?  Of course not…unless you’re the U.S. legal system.  She had the firearm to keep her safe.  The same reason I own a firearm. To keep me and my loved ones safe. If I can remain safe without taking a life, I’d prefer to do so.

 

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Published in: on May 15, 2012 at 9:55 am  Comments (2)  
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  1. 1. You’re not “brandishing” if you pull your gun on a threat and the threat retreats…you are simply using your firearm in self-defense – no shots were required.

    At the very least, that’s the proper statement to make to the Police.

    2. I don’t believe the issue was “brandishing”, it was the warning shot.

    She fired toward a room in which their kids were present, placing their lives in immediate danger. She was NOT sure of her backstop and so the shooting was irresponsible.

    I firmly disagree with you about the legitimacy of warning shots. Even if you THINK your backstop is good, will the bullet ricochet? Will some innocent passer by wander in to the area right as you fire? Is the backstop as solid as you think it is? You are responsible for every round that leaves your firearm and every round that leaves has the potential to cause death…a warning shot is the use of deadly force.

    In most states, deadly force is only sanctioned when employed to stop an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury. If you’re not trying to hit the source of that threat, then obviously the threat was not immediate, therefore deadly force is not justified.

    I think the 20 year sentence in this case is out of line (and is purportedly the result of mandatory minimum sentencing, not what the judge or jury thought was reasonable), but the conviction was warranted in my opinion.

    If she was legitimately in immediate fear for her life, she should have shot the perpetrator. If she wasn’t legitimately in fear for her life, she absolutely should not have pulled the trigger and endangered the lives of the kids that were in the room she shot toward.

    And it bears mentioning that the prosecution offered her a plea deal that would have significantly reduced the level of the conviction and the sentence, she declined to take it.

  2. “She was NOT sure of her backstop and so the shooting was irresponsible.”

    Agreed, that is not very responsible. And clearly shows a lack of training.

    “I firmly disagree with you about the legitimacy of warning shots.”

    Example of what I consider a reasonable warning shot if it did not contain the legal risks.

    I live in a rural area on property with hills. You’re trying to break into my house or car. I am aware of the fact that the only thing I will hit is the hill next to my house, and have a clear line of view to confirm no one else is in or near the line of fire.

    I decide to persuade you to stop your approach with a first shot. To me, that is a reasonably “safe” condition for such an action. But you are correct, Very few scenarios provide for a

    “In most states, deadly force is only sanctioned when employed to stop an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury. If you’re not trying to hit the source of that threat, then obviously the threat was not immediate, therefore deadly force is not justified.”

    That is a legal argument made, but I think it is a fallacious one. An immediate threat can be present. Where do we draw the line of immediate? And can that immediate threat be repelled?

    I understand the reasoning, but think it is flawed. One can argue by the same argument you should not be able to shoot someone until they are actually touching you or within arms reach.

    The truth is, danger can be imminent and still have enough time to be discouraged from action. But to make and prove that argument in court is very challenging.

    The fact she had a restraining order, argues that there was imminent threat IMHO.

    “she absolutely should not have pulled the trigger and endangered the lives of the kids that were in the room she shot toward.”

    This I absolutely agree with. In fact, even if in imminent danger one needs to consider not shooting in the direction of one’s kids.

    “I think the 20 year sentence in this case is out of line (and is purportedly the result of mandatory minimum sentencing, not what the judge or jury thought was reasonable), but the conviction was warranted in my opinion.”

    I do not feel the conviction was warranted. I believe the proper decision would have been court ordered mandatory firearm training for the mother.

    The fact that she had been assaulted (verbal death threat), from a man whom she already had a restraining order on, and who was currently in violation of that order. Shows a willingness to breaak the law, a declaration of intent to murder. These facts to me, warrant the brandishing of the firearm.

    That leaves the discharging of the warning shot. I understand the legalese. The imminent threat. But does that require that the individual be atop of me? How about approaching me while threatening my life? Isn’t that imminent enough? The fact that one has enough distance to fire a warning shot, before waiting until the individual has made physical contact itself does not, in any sense of reality, negate an imminent threat. As such, remove the firearm and warning shot, and what you have is a dead woman.

    If that is not imminent enough, to hell with the lawyers and their demon spawn. The fact that firing a warning shot changes the game for the attacker into one where the attacker realizes they can lose, and therefore they lose courage and are disuaded from the attack, does not IMHO reduce the risk or imminence of the attack.

    In fact, we’ve seen many many many many cases where as soon as a citizen drew their firearm the criminals fled before the citizen got a shot off.

    So the only real issue was the endangering of her children and others with the warning shot, which created the potential for tragedy and is why we advise against it. And the main reason why the legal system pretty much makes it a “No, No”.

    But in no way should it have been a 20 year sentence. And I’d argue it shouldn’t have even been a 3 year sentence. The case should have been one in which the mother was mandated to undergo training. It demonstrated a clear lack of training.

    “And it bears mentioning that the prosecution offered her a plea deal that would have significantly reduced the level of the conviction and the sentence, she declined to take it.”

    Plea deal, “Hey mom, ya we know you were protecting yourself from a violent attacker who was violating his restraining order and threatened to kill you….BUT…you got a technicality. So we’re going to send you to prison for three years, take away your kids and put them in foster care. You’ll probably never get them back and you’ll probably never be able to get a job because trying to find a job as a convicted criminal is damn hard.”

    Yeah…sorry, that’s bullshit. It just is…court mandated training and/or a fine, I totally can accept. Destroying a woman’s life who was trying to protect herself from a man trying to kill her. No, not so much…I can’t accept that under the definition of “Justice”


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