Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Stand Your Ground. The magazine guys take a blow from the neighbors of Underwood Hills.
A big round of applause for our ATLANTA Police department Zone 2 officers for being so efficient in this effort. They usually do their level best to support the community and its citizens, and this instance is no different.
At 11:35am today, my housekeeper let me know there was someone at the door for me. I immediately spotted the fellow as the typical "college guy selling magazines" scam. Having asked for his permit, he proffered a document that was other than a permit. I asked to verify this dubious document by viewing his drivers license or student ID. He then began to stutter and fidget. I then snapped a picture of him with my cellphone, asked him to leave twice then contacted the police. Not more than ten minutes later I went outside to chat with the officer who was up the street in front of a neighbor's house. The officer already had the bloke in the back of the car in handcuffs. It turns out he had no ID, student ID or otherwise, and the solicitation permit was a fake. So at the very least, he was not soliciting legally.
Our neighborhood has had their knickers in a twist for over a week now about the Magazine Boys. What I am dying to know is whether anyone else has, as of yet, not caught others?
We all know this is a more or less organized way for would-be house and car robbers to case a property during the day. These guys do not work alone. Furthermore, actual burglary aside, Georgia is home to two companies that spawn this sort of activity. Why we have not closed them down is yet another mystery.
"Recent complaints have centered on two Georgia companies, United Family Circulation and Ultimate Power Sales Inc., a subsidiary. Last year, Montgomery County police said residents in Chevy Chase had been asked to buy books from salespeople who falsely claimed to be collecting for charity on behalf of a University of Maryland athletic team. Buyers said they were asked to make checks out to Ultimate Power Sales...
Messages left at United Family Circulation's offices in Buford, Ga., were not returned as of Tuesday." Washington Post August 18, 2005; Page VA09
If they are not able to hold him, you can be sure he and his friends will take a bit of revenge for their trouble. Keep your eyes peeled and keep the doors locked. Never fear as if he catch them in the act, they will go away for a very long time. Meanwhile, it would be a good idea to cross reference the video tapes at the pawnshops and the pawn shop records to see if this individual has been patronizing that establishment with goods "donated" by our good neighbors.
All it took was a simple phone call to 911 and quick cell phone photograph. It really is straightforward. Had I had even more presence of thought, I would have recorded the conversation with this charming fellow using my cellphone's voice recorder feature.
Georgia now has thanksfully passed "stand your ground" legislation versus a "duty to retreat", which was viable though in direct contradiction to a 1921 Supreme Court landmar ruling. In other words, under "duty to retreat", if you are threatened say in your own home by an assailant, you are to leave your home by the most efficient route necessary, and if you have other family in the home, there is shaky legal ground to support your efforts to also effect their evacuation. In short, you have a Duty to Retreat and leave others in the house behind. This would also apply at a gas station hold up. Your duty would be to hide in the bathroom and hope that they don't get the door open.
A good and balanced article about the topic is Is self-defense law vigilante justice?
Personally, I am all for Stand Your Ground laws given folks have received prior training with the guns they purchase to Stand their Ground with. The Duty to Retreat laws lead to a perceived lack of consequences for would be criminals and disempowers people from keeping public places safe for themselves. Law is only as good as the people who uphold it, and if the only people allowed to uphold it are police who are overwhelmed, underpaid, and 10-20 minutes from the scene, there is ample time for crime to occur unpunished.
While I do not relish the idea of having to shoot someone and will definitely pay some huge karmic debt for doing so, the alternative in the society in which we exist is to hide in the bathroom and pray they don't shoot through the door. Having a personally and very old friend who has been on the mend since 1989 from being shot in the head through the bathroom door where he was hiding by a robber, I know there is no defense like a strong and immediate consequence.
A person who uses threats or force in accordance with Code Section 16-3-21, relating to the use of force in defense of self or others, Code Section 16-3-23, relating to the use of force in defense of a habitation, or Code Section 16-3-24, relating to the use of force in defense of property other than a habitation, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use force as provided in said Code sections, including deadly force."
The press and various sites have covered this issue extensively. Repeatedly they state this law gives people the right "to shoot first and ask questions later" and that "innocent people" are going to get shot. First of all this assumes that a gun will be used in the self defense. Most people do not carry guns. A coffee mug, knife, or a 2x4 would be the more likely weapon of choice in self-defense. Guns are simply not usually within reach except when you are the criminal carrying the gun to perform the crime. Second, even if a gun were used and would be assailant shot dead, how is the would assailant guilty? After all the law does require that a threat of deadly be present before one can actually use this as a defense for killing another person. In the absence of the deadly force, which would be rather interesting to actually prove if it were not clear and present in the situation, the so-called self-defending vigilante would be guilty of murder himself. All this bill does is countermand a prior law that requires a citizen to leave their home and family and run away. Literally that is what is meant by a "Duty to Retreat". A quick review of the legal definition imparts the correct notion that this format places the victims in a rather indefensible place and subject to a high likelihood of prosecution which would even potentially and furthermore exonerate the attacker. This is bizarre and wrong.
Even the BBC in Britain, a country that has longer been mostly an anti-gun leaning politic, agrees that gun ownership is the only viable solution to their own escalating gun related violence in a society where it is illegal for any citizen to own firearms, except under very unique circumstances. Their own Olympic shooting teams face great difficulty in obtaining permits to practice for their events.
BBC news- Why Britain needs more guns
"Government assured Britons they needed no weapons, society would protect them. If that were so in 1920 when the first firearms restrictions were passed, or in 1953 when Britons were forbidden to carry any article for their protection, it no longer is.
The failure of this general disarmament to stem, or even slow, armed and violent crime could not be more blatant. According to a recent UN study, England and Wales have the highest crime rate and worst record for "very serious" offences of the 18 industrial countries surveyed."
We live in a sinful world, a world run by humans with free will and all the best and worst sorts of aspirations. In such a world, it is not responsible nor prudent to expect an outside intervening force to be an omnipresent source of protection and incentive to obey the law. We have to be responsible for the world we live in, and take action when it is necessary to do so. Society should not punish people for responsbile action.