Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hold On There, Cowboy!

I live in the South. I'm sure you already know that a few things come with living in the South. One is the prevalence of this:



Another is the belief that everyone should have one of these:



Not everyone in the South is pro-gun ownership, but plenty are. Many gun owners feel unsafe, so they buy guns to protect themselves.



Again, there are arguments for and against that. But what I've noticed on our community Facebook pages is that there are a large number of people who take it a step too far. The second there's a robbery, some Jesse James wannabe says, "They'd better not try to break into my house. They won't get out alive."



For that reason, the recent conviction of a Montana man caught my interest. Markus Kaarma was convicted and sentenced to 70 years for shooting an intruder in his garage. The intruder was this guy:



Foreign exchange student Diren Dede entered
Kaarma's open garage in search of beer. It was something teenagers in the area did, since some people store beer there. Only what Diren didn't realize was the home's occupants could see him on a makeshift video surveillance system they'd installed. These are the home's occupants (Kaarma and family):



There are several other factors that led to Kaarma's arrest and conviction, but the gist of it is that they were viewed as having set up a trap to capture intruders. Kaarma fired four shots, one of which demonstrated that Dede was walking away from him, not toward him as Kaarma had claimed.



Are there laws protecting residents who defend their homes? Yes. Montana has what is called a "castle doctrine," allowing residents to defend themselves against break-ins. The problem is, Kaarma told people he'd been waiting up night after night, waiting for an intruder to come along.



Circling back to the start of this blog, doesn't that make it a bad idea to state on a very public forum, "They'd better not try to break into my house. They won't get out alive?"

Do you think someone is justified in shooting an intruder who has broken into his garage?

59 comments:

  1. Again, people don't realize that what they say online is there forever and can be used against them.
    Just for invading his garage? No, he shouldn't have shot him. I know every state is different, but for most the gist is you can only shoot if you are being attacked with a deadly force.
    I do believe in the right to bear arms, but I don't own a gun. Wouldn't know what to do with one if I had a gun. I do have a baseball bat and a couple swords though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There were so many factors involved in his guilty verdict. They'd left the garage door open, the wife had left a purse on the ground as "bait," and the wife admitted on a recording that she'd heard the victim yell, "No, no, no!" before her husband shot him. I think if someone is really afraid and shoots someone in his/her garage once, it's one thing, but this guy shot the intruder four times!

      Delete
  2. I'm sort of shocked they convicted the guy in Montana!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't own a gun and the only thing I have ever wanted to shoot has four legs. I've always said that people's mouths are their worst enemies. This guy is proof of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is true...especially people who feel the need to brag. I'm guessing those who say, "Anyone who breaks into my house will be shot" publicly probably thinks that is some sort of security for themselves. As if potential burglars are reading social media sites and making a note not to break into that person's house because they're armed!

      Delete
  4. I'm just shocked with Americans whenever I hear stories such as this one..... only in America..... I would forbid guns to everyone, just like I'd forbid half of all people to drive cars..... and have kids too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Americans are very conservative when it comes to sex, but with violence, there seem to be no limits.

      Delete
  5. I like the way you told this story! And I agree, you shouldn't shoot someone unless they are threatening you (and since most garages can be locked and one can call the police from the house, that doesn't seem to be a threat). All for a beer...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! And their garage door was wide open. Most people who have common sense close their garage doors, especially if they're worried about intruders.

      Delete
  6. It's an interesting conundrum. What rights do you give an intruder who's willfully trespassed with ill intent into the home of another? I'm sure the legislators who passed the castle doctrine didn't see this coming. Great, thought-provoking post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is tough...I really think if there wasn't so much proof that he'd been planning for an intruder to come and they'd set traps for one, it would have gone in a different direction.

      Delete
  7. No. It sounds like premeditated murder to me. I own a gun for self defense. The first thing I did when I purchased it was to take a firearms course sponsored by the local police department. In addition to training, the officer spoke of the responsibility of gun ownership. No one's life is worth a case of beer (or my TV), but my family's lives are definitely worth defending. If you don't know the difference--morally and legally--you have no business with a gun in your home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely true! I think the first defense is to use common sense and not leave your garage door wide open, then run out shooting when someone enters it!

      Delete
  8. I'm from Texas and I've lived with hunting rifles in my home all my life. I learned to shoot a 30-30 before I started school and believe in the Constitutional right to bear arms. However, with that right goes responsibility. Waiting for someone in front of a video camera to break in your unlocked garage and steal beer so you can unload a clip on him is not acting responsible. It's being deadly stupid and he belongs in jail for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are just way too many people who get carried away with the whole gun thing. But as with anything, those few people are the minority, not the majority. They stand out more than the normal, levelheaded people who own guns.

      Delete
  9. I was born in the North, but I now live in the SE, but the only time I've actually ever seen a real cowboy was on a ranch in Kansas. (lol) The other times are strictly on television or in romance novels. Most of us know right from wrong and that should be the governing action when it comes to owning a weapon of any kind. Ultimately, we're all accountable for our actions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I live near Nashville and you see a LOT of cowboy hats, especially over by the Grand Ole Opry. But most locals don't wear cowboy hats--only aspiring country singers and tourists!

      Delete
  10. I think it's justified only if your or someone else's life is clearly in danger. A kid looking for beer? I'm guessing he didn't actually feel threatened.

    A couple months ago, I was coming home and a car with at least three males in it (probably teens, -- I only saw one of them clearly) pulled a U-turn in front of me and I almost ran into the car, so I honked my horn. They pulled in behind me and followed me into the parking lot of my townhouse complex. When I realized they were following me, I turned around and pulled back out and called 911. Thankfully, that was the extent of it, but it could have been a lot worse and made me think I kind of want a gun and a concealed carry permit.

    However, I wouldn't USE said gun unless absolutely necessary. Like, if they'd continued following me and I found myself in actual danger of my life. I'd rather have it than not in that situation. They could have had a gun. But even if not, they could easily have overpowered me.

    I quite literally have never been that frightened in my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's pretty scary!!! That's why I don't even honk at people. Isn't it awful to feel that way? I just feel like I never know what kind of lunatic is in the other car!

      Delete
    2. Agreed. People here have had cars pull up next to them at red lights and point guns at them.

      In this case, I think it was just some dumb teenagers doing a dumb thing and I probably wasn't in any real danger, but you never know.

      Delete
  11. I'm pro-gun. If the government were to take away or put unlawful restrictions on gun ownership, people would still find away to be driven by hate and kill. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. I'm anti-hate, anti-murder. That being said, what happened is a complete tragedy. The loss of any human life is such a tragedy. This sounds like a really bizarre, weird case...why would he be waiting up all night? Sounds pretty sketchy to me. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There had been break-ins in the neighborhood recently and they had the, "Come and get us. We're waiting" attitude. I saw statistics about how often guns actually shot intruders as opposed to how often they're accidentally discharged on an innocent victim (often a family member). The latter is far more often than the former--but I think that's more a testament to the number of people who buy a gun "for protection" but never really realize the responsibility that comes with gun ownership.

      Delete
  12. I can understand if your life is threatened. But to shoot someone because they are searching for beer? Seems pretty harsh. That being said, if you don't want to get shot, don't break into someone's property. Simple as that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To the homeowner's credit, he didn't know the guy was looking for beer. All he knew was someone was in his garage. I have no doubt he thought the guy was an intruder, but his attorney said when the adrenaline started pumping, he could no longer control his actions. Which would explain why he didn't hear the guy plead for his life.

      Delete
  13. oh, my gosh! he was baiting then lying in wait! how awful!

    we have castle laws here in texas, too. i hope i never have to test them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The wife was afraid...I think they thought they were somehow carrying out their own form of justice against those who "dared" to break into garages and homes in the area. But it was a warped form of justice.

      Delete
  14. Absolutely not! If your life or the life of loved ones is in jeopardy, then it's justified. But to save one's garage? Never.

    People have gotten a little gun-crazy in some parts of the world, and it's not lowering the rate of violent crime, only increasing it. It sounds like this guy was actually looking forward to shooting someone, and that's disturbed. I'm surprised he didn't build a beer pyramid with a "Take One" sign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree...there are a lot of irresponsible, stupid people out there and if you put a gun in their hands, it can be a little scary. Maybe that will make criminals think twice before breaking into houses, though!

      Delete
  15. I live in California and we're heavily armed. We are both retired cops. Guns are just part of that profession. Having said that, I believe people have the right to arm themselves. I also believe that they should know the gun laws of their state. They should also receive training. The current mood in the country is to kill cops. I don't like that one bit.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We should all be afraid of an environment in which law enforcement loses the respect and fear of the community. I believe that's what's happened in Mexico, correct? Drug lords run parts of the country. Once police officers lose control of things, the good people will flee the area and I guess everyone who is left will just kill each other off eventually.

      Delete
  16. While I support a person's right to defend his or herself, I think there is a very unhealthy obsession with guns in this country. Sandy Hook should have been a wake-up call, but nothing happened, which pretty much guarantees that we'll have more Sandy Hooks down the line. The Montana case was a flagrant violation of the law. You're not allowed to set up traps for people and exterminate them at your will. This is a tragic case, and, unfortunately, one of many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What bugs me about the Sandy Hook thing is that the mother knew her son had issues and she chose to have a house full of guns anyway. She even took her child to a shooting range. Why would she do that? I still don't understand that.

      Delete
  17. Interesting case; I hadn't heard of it before; I'll have to read up more about it. Does seem weird he was waiting up night after night to catch someone; makes you wonder about his emotional/mental state.

    Arizona is an open gun state; you can carry a gun without a permit. Kind of weird to go to a restaurant or some other place and see the sign that says "no guns allowed." Conversely, I guess it makes people feel safe.

    Me personally, I have nothing against guns either way as long as people are trained to use them. I have no desire to do so, but I know lots of other peopel do.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't speak for other states but here in Tennessee, you have to attend a gun safety class to get a gun permit. I believe it's fairly intensive and responsible gun ownership is heavily stressed. That only gets through to the people who would probably have been responsible anyway, though!

      Delete
  18. Setting up bait for someone so you can shoot them and think you can get away scot free is stupid, psychopath tendencies there. I have nothing against guns persee, but the US is so we need our guns, the government is out to get us, blah blah blah, when every other 1st world nation has stricter guns laws and less crime. Plus if the government wants to get you, your little gun isn't going to do anything when they send a drone and drop bombs on you. And being allowed to own things like sniper rifles is dumb too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We see so many riots these days where the police lose control of the crowd. It's a little scary.

      Delete
  19. Stephanie, this is a tough one... I'm not a believer in guns but I know that is ny opinion. I don't think we should be waiting for people to rob us so we can kill them... if someone uses a gun on us then I might be able to see the use of protection... however; this is my own thoughts... I'm glad I don't make these decisions...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are security alarms, which scare off some criminals...but I suppose it does take a while for the police to show up for those criminals who aren't frightened off by alarms.

      Delete
  20. From the other side of the world I am anti-gun. Very much anti. And I don't think that property is worth killing for. Or dying for.
    We have stringent restrictions about gun ownership here. And I am happy about it. Particularly when I see yet another story about a child killing a sibling or a parent with an unsecured weapon found in the house/car/purse...

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am all for defending oneself because an intruder could use the garage as a stepping form to get into the house. That being said, I find that it appears many people in the States and I know I may be over generalizing, seem to be very fear focused. This is amplified by the media in a big way. The kid was probably drunk but was in the wrong going into someone else's garage. This does not mean he deserved to be shot. The owner of the home has some major issues regarding fear. If he was watching his home that much, he needed help in a big way...it almost sounds like he went OCD on this and that kid paid the price. Any person going on his property would have been considered a threat and that is wrong. I am so very thankful we don't have the gun hunger here in Canada. This is sad all the way around. I think of all the families and i think that guy needs help actually

    ReplyDelete
  22. I know that my opinion might upset some of your readers but I'd rather be honest about guns. I'm against them. Sorry. People with guns will always kill people. with or without any reason.

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It should be like a cop, you can't shoot someone unless your life or someone else's life is in literal danger. Guns are like pit bulls. I'm not against either actually. But I feel safe with less (and weaker ones) around, but there's a lot of owners who abuse it.

    It gets nuts when it comes to politics. Gun nuts are unreasonable.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I do not like guns, period. I suppose that if someone was raised in a family who carry guns to defend themselves, they will grow up with that mentality that they need guns to defends themselves.

    My dad used to own a hunting rifle and used it only to put meat on his family's table. When he could afford to buy meat, he stopped hunting. Now we can go to the grocery store and buy meat so we no longer need to go hunting for food.

    There has been way too many killings because some people can't see the difference between right and wrong.

    What this homeowner did was not the right thing to do obviously.
    JB

    ReplyDelete
  25. If he were trying to protect his family or his home it would have been one thing but he was lying in wait hoping to shoot someone -- over beer!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Depends on the situation. In this case it doesn't sound justified. I avoid the news so as to miss stories like this, so I'd best not offer any more of an opinion as it would be ignorant at best.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I remember hearing about this case. I think people need to pay attention to the laws and make sure they follow them. I would think it could come back to hurt someone posting something about having a gun and killing someone if in fact that scenario ended up playing out.
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  28. OMG isn't that the truth? I feel like I'm the only person in the south that's not a card carrying member of the NRA.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow. That case is just appalling. I do think people have the right to protect themselves if any people are physically threatened, but usually if an intruder sees you holding a gun, they'll run. No need to shoot.

    ReplyDelete
  30. If he was running away, there was no need to shoot four times. If the homeowner had not been just waiting, it would have looked like self defense of his home. I used to have a gun but after a person i knew got pistol whipped and raped with their own gun I got rid of it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm sure he felt very manly, shooting a kid who was stealing his beer. Wouldn't a "Hey! Don't ever come back or I'll call the cops" have sufficed? Shaking my head.

    ReplyDelete
  32. True story. Meth has become a problem in our little town. Thefts were on the rise, especially of the elderly because they are easy targets and often have meds the druggies want. One night, my neighbor's dog went nuts (dogs are better than guns, btw) and she went out on her deck with her shotgun. There, in the yard next to hers were young men trying to jimmy the elderly neighbors screen on his window. All my neighbor had to do was cock the gun. The wanna be burglars knew the sound and took off.
    That said, I don't think there is a yes/no answer. When I was in high school, some teenage boys broke into a man's home and killed him with a frying pan for a few hundred dollars. I suppose that's why we have juries and try each case on its own merits.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have a real problem with this. Guns don’t sit happily with me, but I do think we should be able to protect our homes and families. The problem is it sounds as though this person set out to shoot someone, come hell or high water. Never a good idea!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I never heard about this trial.

    I think shooting someone for breaking in is going too far. Shooting someone who broke in and is trying to hurt you or your kids, etc, that's self-defense and a reason to protect yourself. But breaking and entering is not a good enough reason to kill someone. Not even theft is.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Well, you said the garage was open. I keep my garage open. If I saw someone in it, I'd turn on all the lights and call the police. I don't have a gun and don't want one. They frighten me. Years ago when a man opened fire from a tower on the campus of the U of Texas in Austin, as the police climbed the tower, they had to dodge bullets fired by people who had come out to "help."

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  36. You know it's just sad isn't it. Killing someone for filching a few beers.

    ReplyDelete
  37. A gun is one of those things: I'd rather have one and never need it, than need it and not have it. BUT. In this case, the shooter wasn't in imminent danger; he was safely watching his surveillance cameras. He could have picked up a phone and dialed 911. These home defense laws were intended for: So you wake up in the night, a stranger is in your house with a weapon and he's closing the distance between you...you have a right to protect yourself.
    @Get Lost in Lit

    ReplyDelete
  38. I didn't know about this case. Shooting someone who wanders into or even breaks into your garage isn't the first step of defence since he obviously wasn't in imminent danger. He could've shouted out a warning or called 911.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Gun ownership has become a joke. It used to be that if you registered, took classes, and did the responsible thing like get fingerprinted and have your photo sent to the FBI and all, you could own a gun and carry on your person as a concealed weapon. It's what I did when I wanted to purchase my first gun. It's the responsible thing to do.

    The "why" of it all is where we get into the weeds with the lunatics. Why would anyone want to own or carry a gun? It used to be for sports and hunting purposes, which was fine I guess, if you don't mind people killing innocent or endangered animals for the sport of it.

    Where I have an issue is where a gun owner feels it is necessary to hunt in there home. That's exactly what this guy was doing. This is crazy!! I have a loaded gun in my home, but my intent isn't to ever use it. Despite the fact that I have an alarm system in my home, someone threw a cinder block through my back door and ransacked my home, removing all small things of value: laptop, digital cameras, playstation, jewelry, etc. Thank GOD I wasn't home when it happened. I wouldn't have wanted to be there.

    If it ever happened again, if I ever think to remember that I have a loaded gun if I needed to protect myself, and if I have the courage to turn it on someone and pull the trigger, I hope to God that I only manage to stop the person from harming me. I would hope to God that by pulling the trigger on someone, I did not kill them. But, in our class, we were taught to aim at center mass and shoot twice. The intention is to kill, not disable. I don't think I could follow through with that part.

    ReplyDelete