Opinion: It wasn’t self-defense

Driving 30 miles across a state line with an illegally-possessed assault rifle to participate in a riot isn’t self-defense. Don’t say he was protecting persons and property, because he’s not a police officer or National Guardsman, so that wasn’t his responsibility or job. He wasn’t attacked; the people he killed were only trying to disarm him, not harm him. The scene was crawling with other armed vigilantes, but none of them fired a shot or injured anyone, which strongly suggests youth and immaturity, not circumstances, were the principal cause of the shootings. But in my opinion, if someone’s old enough to take an assault rifle to a riot and kill people with it, they’re old enough to be tried as an adult and serve an adult sentence.

Finally, all criminal suspects are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law, and jury verdicts must be unanimous in criminal cases, so given how political everything has become I have serious doubts about whether 12 jurors can be assembled who will give the victims in this case a fair shake.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    Last time I checked according to our constitution it is the defendant who deserve a fair shake. The state is the actor that is acting on behalf of the victims, and that is all the victims get in the court unless the young man is found guilty and then there will be a sentencing phase.

    The state must prove him guilty. Self defense is a valid defense, and what will matter is the immediate circumstances surrounding when the shots were fired. People trying to disarm anyone with a firearm are kinda stupid. And there are reasons why armies recruit youth. Kid fired three shots Guess he could have done the same with a 6.5mm Carcanco Rifle.

  2. Roger Rabbit #

    You don’t seem to get this essay is my personal opinion, not a legal memorandum.

  3. Roger Rabbit #

    However, if you want to turn it into a legal argument, whether attempting to disarm him was “smart” or “stupid” is irrelevant. The question is who was the aggressor, because an aggressor is not acting in self-defense by shooting someone trying to disarm him. Think about it. Would that be a defense for shooting a police officer attempting to disarm a dangerous person? Do you want to argue he was “policing” the streets? Whatever right he had as a civilian to do that, the people he shot had that right as much as he did. Do you want to argue he wasn’t the dangerous person? He was the only person with a gun of those involved in the altercations. He may get off because of partisan jurors, but he should not get off on legal grounds.

  4. Roger Rabbit #

    A good self-defense question for a jury or a law school exam is whether the survivor, who was legally carrying a handgun, would have been justified if he shot and killed the person illegally armed with an assault rifle who had just killed two people and was trying to shoot him. I think that argument would fly.

  5. Roger Rabbit #

    Where are you going with the “three shots” and “Carcano” reference? Are you comparing him to Lee Harvey Oswald? I don’t know what to read into that.

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