Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Indiana Strengthens Castle Doctrine; Left Cries

The Indiana Legislature has just passed a law which allows residents to use deadly force to protect themselves if they believe a "public servant" is entering their home illegally.  That is, when an agent of the state (most likely a police officer) attempts to enter your home without a warrant or your permission, you're allowed to shoot them.

Almost immediately, the left began to cry.  At the site "Addicting Info" the very first line says it all, "Republican in Indiana are taking self-defense too far."  The Web Presence of the San Francisco Chronicle tells the sob story of police Sargent Joseph Hubbard who claims, "If I pull over a car and I walk up to it and the guy shoots me, he's going to say 'Well, he was trying to illegally enter my property."

Never once considered in either of these pieces is what led to such a law being necessary.  Consider the case of Richard Barns.  Mr. Barnes filed suit against police who followed him into his house while they were responding to a domestic dispute.  This law was specifically to address the Indiana Supreme Court decision in that case.  Or consider this case from 2003, in which a man was shot dead by a Florida policeman for defending himself inside his own home.  Florida decided the policeman had acted appropriately, even though the only eye witnesses, other than the office himself, both denied that he had been granted right of entry into the home.  That there was no warrant was never even under dispute.

Cases like this are rare, which is a good thing.  Police are, by and large, a fairly cautious lot, both regarding their own safety and regarding following the rules to make sure that any legal action to result from an encounter with a citizen will have its just outcome.  That is, they follow the book so that if they arrest someone, they're more likely to get a conviction.  Because of this, it is highly unlikely that an officer would attempt to enter a home without permission- either via verbally granted permission, or a warrant.

However, for the cases where it does happen, we must agree that the police are not above the law, especially while in uniform.  When anyone else attempts to break into my home, I'm allowed to shoot them.  Why should that be different just because the man is wearing a uniform.  Let me count the ways that could be abused... wait, no, that would take too long.

The short version is this: if a cop can go where ever he wants, and private citizens cannot protect themselves, they have no protection from the State.  We have an amendment that addresses that: it's the oft forgotten 3rd Amendment.

What, you thought the Founders of the Constitution were worried they wouldn't have enough bedrooms to house the soldiers?  No, they knew that the government having the ability to force its way into your home was a step toward tyranny.  By forcing the government to get permission to enter we strengthen our protections against the government- which is what the Bill of Rights was all about.

I don't like that laws such as those passed by Indiana are necessary, but to deny they are is naive in the extreme.

1 comment:

  1. Great original quote from William Pitt, 1763, on the rights of a citizen in his home--under THE MONARCHY!:
    "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter."