January 28, 2023

Helping to Define Self-Defense

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Several states now have passed a new law that better defines self-defense. In actuality in some cases, the “new law” is really only a way of clarifying what has been on the books for years.

It has been referred to as the Castle Doctrine because it defines what a person needs to do to defend themselves, their property and their families. Courts over the years have ruled on cases in a way that began reshaping the law. I would suppose this is what is classically known as legislating from the bench.

With the court rulings, it started to take shape that a person had to run for their lives and exhaust every means at their disposal before resulting in deadly force. Opponents of the new law have said that when states passed this law, people would be shooting innocent people. It hasn’t happened and won’t. Proponents say a person has a right to hold their ground and defend themselves.

When a society or government takes away a person’s right to be able to defend themselves, the result can be deadly. Often the criminal lives and the victim becomes a statistic because they weren’t provided the means to defend. This is what happens when laws are passed stripping a lawful citizen of the right to keep a gun in their home or on their person.

Studies have proven that when the citizens are armed, violent crime drops yet those who live in fear of one day becoming a victim of gun violence, do everything they can to make their life less safe.

Keeping the citizenry armed is a huge deterrent to crime. Muggers, robbers, rapist and the like would have to think twice before robbing let’s say a restaurant owner if they knew he would fight back or had a gun.

This happened in Tampa, Florida about three years ago. Lawrence Storer owns a Thai restaurant in that city. Shantavious Wilson picked the wrong person one night to rob. At gun point he robbed Storer. Storer was not armed with a gun but he was armed with the thought of dying and never seeing his newborn girl again.

The robber fled and Storer gave chase. He actually ran him down with his automobile killing Wilson. Storer was charged with manslaughter. He trial concluded last week and the jury found Storer innocent of the charges.

There are of course mixed feelings about the ruling. News media all over the Tampa Bay area covered the story. It was big news in Florida and it should be big news all over the U.S. More importantly criminals need to pay attention.

I heard one woman, who happened to be an attorney at a Tampa law firm say, “Well, I guess robbers need to think twice now. He obviously picked the wrong man to rob.”

Storer was allowed to defend himself. In this case he didn’t have a gun. He had a car – a weapon and he completed his defense by making sure Shantavious Wilson doesn’t stick a gun to the side of his head again.

Kudos to the jury for having sense and sensibility in rendering their verdict. Justice was served both ways and Tampa robbers better take a lesson.

I have only one question that has been chewing at me about this story for a few days now. What would have been the verdict if Storer had left his store and given chase to Wilson with a gun and killed him with that instead of his vehicle?

Tom Remington