I am not sure whether Sean Hannity has gone completely off his rocker, or if he thinks backing law breakers and calling them heroes is a great ratings stunt. Since conservatives have always billed themselves as “law and order” people, it has to be one or the other. There is no other explanation for his behavior recently.
The first example could almost be explained away by his zeal against anything having to do with the Federal Government. We all remember how he tried to make Cliven Bundy a national hero standing up to government overreach. To follow his logic on that case, all you had to do was forget that Cliven Bundy was a freeloader making profits off of the taxpayers. But, his rants on air almost seemingly to dare someone to take a shot during the “standoff”, was bizarre even for him.
It seemed like he was itching to have someone get shot so he would have a bigger story. Especially if that shot came from a Federal Agent. Then he could rage on this for at least a year and raise his ratings. Maybe that is what happens when you are beat in the ratings by Rachael Maddow and demoted by your boss to the 10PM time slot. Plus, you have to backtrack from your present hero, Cliven Bundy, when he proves himself to be nothing but a racist.
But, his latest hero is even more disturbing than the racist Cliven Bundy. His new hero? Minnesota homeowner Byron Smith. Smith was convicted on April 29 of two counts of murder for shooting two teenagers who broke into his house. The defense tried to use the “castle doctrine” as defense for his crime. The jury didn’t buy it. Maybe this is the reason:
On April 29, Minnesota resident Byron Smith was convicted on two counts each of premeditated first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17. Brady and Kifer were killed on Thanksgiving Day 2012 after breaking into Smith’s home.
While homeowners have broad latitude in defending their residences from intruders, a jury believed that Smith went too far. Prosecutors compared Smith’s actions on Thanksgiving Day to the setting up of a deer stand. After spotting a neighbor he believed had previously burglarized his house, Smith moved his car to make his home seem unoccupied and then waited in his basement “with a book, energy bars, a bottle of water and two guns.”
Smith also set up an audio recording which captured what transpired. After breaking a window, Brady came down the basement stairs and was shot two times. Smith was then heard saying, “You’re dead,” before firing a third shot into his face. He then put Brady’s body on a tarp and moved him to another room.
Moments later, Smith wounded and then killed Kifer execution-style with a shot under her chin.
On his show, Hannity dismissed the murder convictions, claiming with exasperation, “They broke into the guy’s house.” One of his guests put up a mild objection while another claimed, “The guy should get a medal of freedom for what he did.” Geraldo Rivera objected to the execution style coup de grâce but admitted that he would have shot them too, after which Hannity happily exclaimed, “You’re becoming a right-winger!” And then they all shared a hearty laugh about the whole thing.
In Montana Markus Kaarma opened fire with a shotgun into his darkened garage in Missoula, Montana, early on Sunday, killing 17-year-old Diren Dede of Hamburg. Again the defense say they will use Montana’s “castle doctrine” as a defense. Kaarma, a 29-year-old U.S. Forest Service firefighter, told police that while watching on a video monitor he had seen a male in his garage.
Throughout the years, there have been hundreds of self-defense arguments for killing an intruder. Even before the so-called “stand your ground” laws, it was possible to legally kill someone breaking into your house. In both of these cases, the victims were in fact, either committing a crime of breaking and entering, or trespassing.
But, there has been one factor in all of these laws that specifically says that you must believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger of great physical harm or death before using deadly force. The jury in Minnesota found that Smith pre-planned his murders. Neither he nor his defense even discussed whether or not the teenagers he killed were armed. They simply broke into his house after he made it appear no one was home.
The case in Montana is a bit different. But, I cannot see where Mr. Kaarma can justify using deadly force just because he saw a male in his garage. He didn’t try to stop the teenager, he simply pulled out his shotgun and killed him by firing into a “dark garage”. It will be up to the courts to decide if he could reasonably argue that he felt “a threat of great bodily harm or death”.
I am not against gun ownership, nor am I against self-defense. However, I am against using these “stand our ground” and “castle doctrine” laws to simply give license to anyone to shoot someone just because of a crime. Gun ownership demands responsibility. It is not a license to just shoot someone without justification.
I am sure that Mr. Hannity will soon try to start up the bandwagon calling Mr. Kaamar a hero too. After all, the teenager was in his garage. What he was doing there, we will never know because he was shot dead, not held until the police arrived. There is a definite flaw in any law that allows someone to shoot first and ask questions later.
It is time we rethink these laws. It is time we come up with better definitions for when and when not we can shoot an intruder. I do understand that sometimes it may necessary to use such force. There are some very bad people out there. But these laws are making it too easy for people to shoot first. Is that the society we are becoming?