Last week, when Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the Castle Doctrine bill into law, I didn't bother writing about it. For one thing, passage of that bill in Texas was about as close to a sure thing as one is likely to find in politics, so it wasn't exactly earth-shaking news. For another, anyone who bothers reading a gun blog as insignificant as this one presumably follows the gun rights debate closely enough to have known about this already.
Yesterday, however, the editorial board of the Southern Methodist University ran an opinion piece to which I can't quite restrain myself from responding. You have perhaps guessed that our young editors do not approve of this development, and you would be correct.
Wow.That's how their little tantrum opens, and pretty well sets the tone for the rest of the piece. Keep in mind that "blaming" this on Governor Perry ignores the fact that the bill passed with overwhelming, veto proof majorities in both chambers of the legislature (unanimously in the Senate--30-0, and 133-13, with one abstention, in the House), so if the SMU editorial board members want to stomp their little sheeple hooves, they should probably re-direct their outrage to the 163 out of 177 legislators, and the vast majority of the citizens who voted for them, rather than Governor Perry, who simply bowed to the obvious will of the people. But wait! There's more.
That's all Ed Board can think to say about Rick Perry's latest bonehead move.
Who the hell thought it was a good idea to give your average Joe license to shoot first and think later?Ahh--now we're getting somewhere. It seems that the angst is not so much over the recognition of the individual's absolute right to self-defense, so much as it is over the recognition of that right even for "the average Joe." How dare the Texas legislature ignore the intellectual and moral superiority of the SMU editorial board, by treating "the average Joe" as a full human, with all the rights of (for example), an SMU editorial board member.
Texas law already provides for self-defense shootings. At best, a state law would lend uniformity to any discrepancies among local jurisdictions. At worst, the provision that frees "justified" shooters from paying any civil penalties for injuries to innocent bystanders is worrisome.Apparently, we are not to address the problem of people being imprisoned for defending their lives, until it starts happening "left and right." I'm sure people who are in prison for that are very comforted that they are among such a small number. Though not in Texas, the story of Harold Fish (here and here) is a sobering reminder of the very real risk of prison time for people who defend their lives with a firearm in a state that does not have the kind of legislation the Governor Perry signed into law. By the way, a Castle Doctrine law was later (after Mr. Fish's conviction) passed in Arizona, but a ruling was made that it could not be applied retroactively. This year, the legislature passed a bill that would change that, but unfortunately, Governor Naplolitano vetoed it, apparently on the grounds that reexamining every instance of people being convicted for defending themselves would simply be too much work.
There's no need to change something in an already functioning system. It's not as if people are being convicted left and right of killing people in the name of self-defense.
It looks as if our young editors are at least willing to acknowledge that the litigation people often face after turning the tables on an attacker is a real problem--they just apparently don't want that problem actually addressed.
We agree that people shouldn't have to get worried about being sued when they're trying to protect themselves.How generous of them. Since this bill specifically addresses that worry, why the screaming fit?
It would certainly be amusing to see these moral and intellectual paragons take a field trip to Sam Houston State University, and drop into Professor Dowling's Criminal Justice class when he says:
By God, the reasonable Texan never retreats.I am happy for Texas, and commend the Texas legislature and governor for passing this much needed legislation. As for the SMU editors, perhaps they would be happier going to school in Chicago--self-defense is effectively illegal there, which seems to be what they want.
P.S. By the way, I almost forgot to include the gem with which they wound up their little shriek-fest.
This debate isn't about curbing your (supposed) right to bear arms. It's about interpreting that right reasonably.I tell you what--this suggestion isn't about curbing your (supposed) right to free speech: why don't you interpret "STFU" reasonably?