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I’ve written several times about the lunatic ravings of Vice President Joe, “Double-Barreled Shotgun, The Sheriff” Biden, who repeatedly suggested that the shotgun is a magical death-dealing device superior to all other firearms. Mr. Biden actually suggested that one should buy a double barreled shotgun and when beset by home invaders, step outside and fire it into the air, a tactical and legal mistake he compounded by suggesting that one should fire shotgun blasts blindly through doors. Rational readers understand that while shotguns have their uses, like all firearms, they aren’t perfect for all circumstances, and if used as suggested by the Vice President, will promptly land the shooter in jail . . .

A recent New York Sun editorial illustrates the disastrous consequences of Bidenesque thinking: 

“It’s going to be illuminating to see whether the defense calls Vice President Biden in the case of the shotgun shooting of the teenaged thief. The case is the subject of a riveting dispatch in the New York Times. It involves the killing of a foreign exchange student named Diren Dede, who was in the process of trying to rob the home-garage of a resident of Missoula, Montana, when a motion sensor awoke the owner, Markus Kaarma, who got his shotgun and fired four cartridges into the garage, killing the hapless youth.”

The New York Times pursued the Montana case in more detail:

“Teenagers call it garage hopping. The goal was to sneak into an open garage, steal some beer or other items and slip away into the night. It was dumb and clearly illegal. It was not supposed to be deadly.

Around midnight on April 27, a 17-year-old exchange student from Germany named Diren Dede left the host home where he played Xbox and drained cans of Sprite to set off with a friend through his dark hillside neighborhood. They passed a home whose garage door hung partially open. Using a cellphone for light, Mr. Dede headed in.

Inside the house, motion sensors alerted Markus Kaarma, 29, to an intruder’s presence. Two recent burglaries had put Mr. Kaarma and his young family on edge, his lawyer said, and he grabbed a shotgun from the dining room and rushed outside. He aimed into the garage and, according to court documents, fired four blasts into the dark. Mr. Dede’s body crumpled to the floor.

While Mr. Kaarma has been charged with deliberate homicide, Mr. Dede’s death has set off an outcry an ocean away in Germany, exposing the cultural gulf between a European nation that tightly restricts firearms and a gun-loving Western state. In his defense, Mr. Kaarma is expected to turn to laws enacted in Montana five years ago that allow residents more legal protections in using lethal force to defend their homes.”

As one might expect, the Times misrepresents the issues:

“Nearly every state has a law on the books giving residents the legal right to defend their homes, but Montana is among several that have gone further. With backing from the National Rifle Association and the support of the state’s Democratic governor, Montana passed a stronger law in 2009 that placed the burden on prosecutors to rebut claims of self-defense.

Under the old laws, residents were justified in using force only if an assailant tried to enter their home in a “violent, riotous or tumultuous manner.” The new law eliminates that language and makes it clear that residents can use force if they reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent an assault on themselves or someone else in the home.”

Modern castle doctrine laws have been written in large part in response to laws that essentially required citizens, in the middle of the night, awakened out of a sound sleep by criminal intrusion in their homes and have the ability—and time—to calmly assess and articulate highly specific statutory requirements—usually in the dark–before deciding whether to employ force, or indeed, what degree of force to apply. Some laws came–and come–very close to requiring citizens to flee their own homes lest a brutal criminal come to any sort of harm.

Castle doctrine laws—like Montana’s—assume that when someone breaks into one’s home they are not there for good and gentle purposes and the residents may presume that and take appropriate action to protect themselves. This puts prosecutors in the position not of protecting the rights of criminals, but of law-abiding citizens. Such laws very clearly say to criminals “when you commit a hot burglary—a burglary when the residents are present—you take your life in your hands. If you end up dead, too bad, but it’s your fault. If you’re not willing to assume the risks, don’t do the crimes.

The Times presents predictable arguments:

“The shooting has also focused political attention on the castle laws. State Representative Ellie Boldman Hill, a Democrat from Missoula, has proposed repealing the recent changes, saying that the rules have fostered a shoot-first culture in Montana.

‘I’m a liberal legislator from Montana, and I have a handgun in my closet,’ she said. ‘We are proud of our gun-owning tradition, but enough is enough. It’s like a license to kill. People are walking around exercising vigilante justice.’

Steve Daines, a Republican congressman running for the United States Senate, recently told a veteran’s group he supported the laws as they stand, a view echoed by gun enthusiasts. His opponent, Senator John Walsh, a Democrat, supports them as well.

Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, said, ‘I think it’s working just fine.’

In times of emergency in Montana, Mr. Marbut said, the police are often an hour’s drive away. ‘Self-defense is a natural right. It is part of the nature of being a free person that your life has value and you can protect that life. It’s just not going to work to change Montana to a Chicago-style culture.”

“Vigilante justice?” It’s hard to square that mantra with the reality of criminals accosting people in their homes. However, there are a number of facts that make this incident something less than a perfect example of the clean and legitimate exercise of self-defense in a Castle Doctrine case.

“These laws are expected to play a crucial role in the criminal case that has been filed against Mr. Kaarma, who is out on bond and is to be arraigned Monday. His lawyer, Paul Ryan, says Mr. Kaarma feared for his family’s safety and panicked that night.

‘He doesn’t know who’s there, what they’ve got, anything,’ Mr. Ryan said. “He just didn’t know what was going on. Then he started to shoot…”

Because of recent burglaries in the area, Kaarma took steps to protect his family. Unfortunately, he also made what many would consider intemperate comments about his preparations:

“Ms. Pflager bought motion sensors and a video camera to track the intruders should they return, and put a purse with some marked belongings inside, so that they could be traced to anyone who stole them. Mr. Ryan said the purse was sitting in the back of the garage and had not been placed there to lure anyone in.

A hairstylist named Felene Sherbondy told the police that Mr. Kaarma had come into the Great Clips salon three days before the shooting and talked about how he had been waiting up with his shotgun for three nights ‘to shoot some kid.’ Ms. Sherbondy told the police that Mr. Kaarma was being ‘extremely vulgar and belligerent,’ according to court documents.

Mr. Kaarma told the police that in the moments before Mr. Dede’s death, he heard the sound of metal touching metal as he stared into the pitch-black garage, and swept the gun across the width of the garage as he fired. Ms. Pflager told the police she heard a few yells of ‘Hey!’ or ‘Wait!’ from inside the garage, and then gunshots. It all happened in less than 10 seconds, the couple told the police.”

Police also found a jar of marijuana in Kaarma’s kitchen pantry. They did draw blood for a drug and alcohol test. The results of the drug screen haven’t been released, but Kaarma’s attorney has said the alcohol screen was negative.

As is sometimes the case, Kaarma apparently is not a perfect, blameless person calmly and perfectly exercising armed self defense under the very letter of the law. The primary relevant Montana statues are:

45-3-101. Definitions. “Force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm” within the meaning of this chapter includes but is not limited to:

(a) the firing of a firearm in the direction of a person, even though no purpose exists to kill or inflict serious bodily harm; and

(b) the firing of a firearm at a vehicle in which a person is riding.

(2) “Forcible felony” means any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

45-3-102. Use of force in defense of person. A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary for self-defense or the defense of another against the other person’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, the person is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily harm to the person or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

45-3-103. Use of force in defense of occupied structure. 1) A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the use of force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s unlawful entry into or attack upon an occupied structure. (2) A person justified in the use of force pursuant to subsection (1) is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if: (a) the entry is made or attempted and the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an assault upon the person or another then in the occupied structure; or (b) the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony in the occupied structure.

45-3-104.  Use of force in defense of other property. A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property, other than an occupied structure, or personal property lawfully in the person’s possession or in the possession of another who is a member of the person’s immediate family or household or of a person whose property the person has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Considering these statutes, it’s easy to see why Kaarma was charged and what the prosecution’s primary arguments will be. They’ll argue that the garage was not an occupied structure, hence 45-3-104 applied. However, Kaarma could have had no reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent an assault on his person or the commission of a forcible felony, therefore he can’t claim the protections of 45-3-103. How can we know that? Because Kaarma blindly fired four rounds through the exterior of his own garage, having no idea what was happening within or who or what—it could have been an animal—was there. The prosecutor will also argue that by leaving his garage door partially open and in effect, baiting a trap with the purse, he actually encouraged a burglary and bragged about his intention to kill beforehand. This will be effective when he points out—as he surely will—that Kaarma demonstrated his intentions by leaving his garage door partially open at a time when he knew burglars were preying on the neighborhood. If Kaarma had been smoking pot, that will not be helpful to his defense.

The prosecution also has another powerful argument: Kaarma had no need to confront anyone in his garage. He could have simply called the police, ensured that his doors were locked, taken up his shotgun and waited. It may have taken the police quite awhile to respond, true, but until or unless someone tried to break into his home, he and his family were safe, and since he had video in his garage, the identity of the burglar could be determined.

Unlike what the Times implies, the Montana statute is hardly a license to indiscriminately kill burglars found in one’s home. A forcible felony is any felony where force or threat of force is used. Practically, this means if one confronts a burglar in their living room and the burglar immediately submits or turns and runs for the front door there is no justification to shoot. However, if they raise a hand or move toward the homeowner, arguably, the statute allows deadly force. Remember that the burglar is illegally in the home of another, committing a felony at the time. It’s possible a burglar might be shot and killed when he wasn’t actually trying to attack, and of course, the homeowner will be the only witness, but once again, who best to survive, an innocent homeowner or a criminal shot in the act of committing a felony? Why should any innocent citizen suffer in any way because of the choices of a felon?

That said, Kaarma is in real trouble, and not unreasonably so. Obviously, Dede should not have been in Kaarma’s garage, and this is not a cultural issue. Burglary laws exist in Germany and America; he knew better. However, Kaarma did not take advantage of the legal protections in Montana law. Moreover, he was not confronted in his home and forced to make a split second decision. Two of the most important factors in any confrontation were in his favor: time and distance. Kaarma chose to go to his garage, and having no idea of his target, indeed, even if a target was present, fired blindly through the wall of the garage. It is his and Dede’s very bad luck his panicky marksmanship was effective.

Ultimately, this case is not an argument against Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground laws. The Montana law is actually and unremarkable representative of its kind. Arguing otherwise is to demand criminals, not their victims, should be favored in the drafting of criminal law. While that makes sense to some, it does not, at least for the moment, make sense to most Americans.

As with all news accounts, all of the facts of the case remain unknown, so it’s difficult to make definitive statements, butbasic safety rules apply here as everywhere: don’t shoot unless you’re sure of your target and your backstop.  It’s also wise not to put oneself in a position where shooting may be necessary unless there is clearly no choice.  From the available accounts, Kaarma had a choice.

Above all, never, ever listen to Joe Biden’s advice on firearms or the use of deadly force.

Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.

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  1. Ive got a new legal test of the self-defense claim, it goes like this:

    Would it be reasonable to expect that a Police officer would have shot in the given situation? Because if you are in your home, or on your property, then really that’s where the bar is.

    • Wait, WHAT!?
      Everyone should have to follow the same procedures as police before using force in self defense? I’m sorry I simply cannot see your logic here. Civilians cannot be expected to know when a police officer would or wouldn’t use force. Police go through training to learn how and when to use force, not having gone through that training makes it impossible for you to know what an officer would do.
      When a police officer meets a suspect his goal is to arrest that suspect. I don’t personally know the details from the police perspective here but I feel very confident in saying that holding civilian self defense to police standards is not a good idea. Police have the power to detain, civilians don’t. Police try to disarm the suspect (to detain them). I don’t think a civilian (likely only poorly or moderately trained) confronted by an attacker in his home in the dark of night should have to negotiate with the suspect, trying to figure out if the suspect is armed and convince them to disarm.
      If we as a nation are going to legally hold civilians to the same standards as police, we might as well disband all the police departments and make police service compulsory.

      • I think that we, as citizens, can do what the police do. Shoot dogs, barge into homes and kill sleeping people, run to the sounds of gunfire and fire blindly into a room. I’m pretty sure I could do that without the specialized training.

      • In theory, police standards of self-defense are the same as a civilian’s. Police have broader powers to use force for other legitimate law enforcement purposes, but in defense of themselves it’s pretty much the same thing.

        In theory. In practice they seem to get away with an awful lot that would land a civilian in prison. It doesn’t make any sense to claim civilians can’t be expected to meet a much lower standard due to a lack of specialized training.

  2. Asking a leftist politician about firearms advice is kind of like asking a German nationalist advice on picking a good book from a Hebrew authors, back in the 30s. Best case scenario you’ve going to advice that’s military grade stupid. Worst case you’re getting a call from the cops.

    • “…asking a German nationalist advice on picking a good book from a Hebrew authors…”

      The only possible response would be “the Bible.”

      • Eehhhh… I DID walk right into that one didn’t I?

        Well let’s say “kind of like asking a German nationalist advice on finding a good Hebrew studies coarse.”

  3. Right or left, political pros don’t know normal life, witness George Bush the Elder being amazed at scanners in grocery stores, Obama did pretty much the same.

    This is a good article, first inclination if not life threatening is to run for me.

    If life threatening, eliminate the threat. I was surprised at my NC CHP class. All the instructors sais keep shooting til the threat is eliminated. A student asked if 3 or 4 was enough, the instructor emphasized to keep shooting til the threat was eliminated.

    • I don’t know, man, blindly firing into a dark room sounds like an excellent strategy.

      • I swear I have herd someone somewhere say something like “know your target and what’s beyond”…. I think it was something about gun safety. I just can’t quite remember.

        BTW: Weapon lights… Once I hated them and I was a huge fan of night sights. Then I read a quote for non-reflective sights that shook my whole perception. “If there isn’t enough light to see any contrast between the environment and your iron sights (darkness not low light) then there is no possible way of identifying ANY target or what’s beyond them. This environment is completely unsafe to shoot in even with glowing sights.” Mind totally blown. Moral: Flashlights, they are your friends. especially more then one, and having one on the gun could help.

    • meh. Yeah, he was. But there was a time not too long ago when it was an unwritten effective rule. Don’t go breaking into peoples shit and you wont get shot. That simple. I have no sympathy for the kid.

      • I seem to remember a rule like that tooo…. What happened to that did everyone just forget?

        • Yup. Over the past 10 years its like America just went braindead. “What?!?! someone shot a person for trespassing and B&E! This is an outrage!?!?!” Um. Yeah. Big deal- that’s how its always been in America.

  4. This is the sort of scenario I think about whenever I read internet comments by keyboard commandos about how they’d shoot no questions asked if they found someone on their property. I get defending your home, and I understand the frustration that comes after you’ve been robbed. But this should be a wake up to everyone reading this. Can you prove that you had a reasonable fear for your life? Would another reasonable person make the same decision regarding deadly force? Better to run someone off, or hold them for the cops, than to kill some 17 year old playing a stupid prank. I’ve seen enough death that I will make %110 sure that ANY death is absolutely necessary.

    • Can you prove the shooter knew this was just a prank or petty theft, as opposed to a raving lunatic with bloodthirsty intent upon the occupants? Nope. It comes down to what he reasonably believed at that moment, not what you know later on.

      • Affirmative. The leftist media tends to perpetuate this idea that criminals really aren’t that bad. Just a prank? Ok, we believe you. Turning your life around after an extensive criminal history? Why, of course you are. You were just there to steal beer? Well, that isn’t so bad. While this doesn’t seem to be a particularly good shoot, one of the morals of the story should always be to respect another man’s home. I work 40-70 hours a week for mine, and don’t care to have it entered by anyone who is not authorized to do so.

        Further, the media will blame “loose” gun laws and gun owners. I just I’m just olde school in that I blame the criminal. Shooting a teen ding-dong-ditching is one thing. Stealing property in a garage – or worse – is another. That is burglary and theft at a minimum. I don’t think I would have shot under the circumstances because I use gun lights or the flashlight on the nightstand by my gun. Target ID is crucial.

        • Fully agree. While the shooter in this case acted in an extreme manner, well… maybe don’t enter another man’s home uninvited and you won’t wind up dead.

        • If its breaking and entering than its a felony and it could easily turn into an acquittal.

        • There was a time when burglarizing/stealing a person’s belongings was considered a dangerous career choice and little to no sympathy was garnered if said criminal assumed room temperature. Now, “fer teh chillren”… or something.

      • I have to agree with you. A few beers in your garage is not worth anyone’s life. Now if you come into my line of fire inside my house, that’s a different story. But self defense is self defense, hunting someone on your property, while your family is safe, is a different story. If you hear noises outside call the police and wait. I have read about too many idiots that go out “looking” for the person, and it typically ends badly. We all read about the police officer that shot the home owner, while perusing a robbery suspect, it did not end well for either of them. Please stay safe, keep your family safe first and foremost.

        • And regardless of what you think the law should be, or whether you believe this was an occupational hazard for burglars, the reality is you just can’t legally do it. If your goal is to keep from losing property, this method is counter to that goal. You’re gonna get charged, probably convicted, and very probably sued. And lose. You’ll lose a lot more property than a burglar could have grabbed from your garage.

          This is why you have insurance. Yeah, frustrating to lose stuff from your garage– disastrous to be sued and lose everything including your home.

    • Remember the good old days when a prank was a joke you played on a friend… usually involving whipped cream or warm water….. You know, not things that were actually CRIMES. I don’t want to diminish the death here. It’s very sad this teenager was killed. But lets be serious here, BREAKING INTO ANYONE’S HOUSE IS A CRIME. Not a prank.

  5. “They’ll argue that the garage was not an occupied structure, hence 45-3-104 applied.”

    I don’t agree. Montana law declares that “Occupied structure” means any building, vehicle, or other place suitable for human occupancy or night lodging of persons or for carrying on business, whether or not a person is actually present, including any outbuilding that is immediately adjacent to or in close proximity to an occupied structure and that is habitually used for personal use or employment. Each unit of a building consisting of two or more units separately secured or occupied is a separate occupied structure.”

    Most other states, either through statute or court rulings, consider garages to be part of the occupied structure/dwelling/residence, too.

    A garage is at least adjacent, likely attached, and certainly in close proximity to the house and is used habitually for personal use. So 45-3-103 would establish the relevant standard for use of deadly force. That standard being “is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if: (a) the entry is made or attempted and the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an assault upon the person or another then in the occupied structure.”

    Entry had been made into the garage, so that part is met. The second part of the standard comes down to what the homeowner reasonably believed. A jury is going to give him wide latitude as to what he believed when it comes to a home invasion under cover of darkness. I say he walks on this.

    • Especially in Montana. It aint going to be some anti gun communist love fest jury from NY.

    • I want to revise and extend my remarks. I still say he walks on this, but that glosses over a whole lot of territory that he’ll have to walk.

      This kind of thing can ruin you, even if you’re ultimately acquitted. It can drain your bank account, run up your credit cards, swallow your home equity, emaciate your retirement funds, and then some.

      The stress can test even the strongest of marriages. Yours might crumble. The time commitment will chew up all of your sick/vacation/personal days from work, and try mightily the patience of your employer. Yours might release you. Your neighbors, friends, family and coworkers will never look at you the same. Your kids’ friends’ parents may not let them play together anymore, let alone at your house.

      Depending on the notoriety, you may find it difficult to gain new employment, or even to walk down the street. Activists may show up at your door or camp out on your lawn. The media may trash you for months. Family/friends of the feloniously departed may threaten revenge, or even attempt exact it, forcing you to defend yourself again.

      In extreme cases, you could become a broken man, driven by despair to harm yourself to escape. As much as all of this or more, even if you’re acquitted, or even if you’re no billed by the Grand Jury. Who would have thought that petty thief punk would have had so much blood?

      It’s probably best to think long and hard and discuss with your spouse what your own personal terms of engagement are, within the limits of the law, and perhaps make some preparations aforehand.

    • I was waiting for it, the curtilage argument. I don’t know about Montana and don’t have time for research this AM but in many states the ‘home’ includes the ‘curtilage’: the house, attatched structures, nearby outbuildings and any space enclosed by that collection of structures (ie a door yard).

      I’m not going to go too far out defending this guys actions, I’m a little iffy on shooting from the outside in especially when there has been no or virtually no threat assessment. On the other hand I would argue vociferously that cowering in ones home while criminals roam your property and steal your possessions shouldn’t be the law either. It might be tactically sound to bunker down but it shouldn’t be required.

      Consider this, if a person or persons enter unlawfully onto ones property and one cannot confront them and is required to remain in the house is one unlawfully imprisoned by those persons or is one unlawfully imprisoned by the law that requires one to remain inside for however long these persons remain on the property? Unlawful imprisonment is a forcible felony, yes?

      Again, not defending this mans actions but speaking more generally I think one has to think outside the box a bit. It’s surely illegal in most jurisdictions to shoot a man standing in ones yard doing nothing, but then walking up to a person standing in ones yard and inquiring why they are there isn’t illegal or even odd. If the person leaves, the problem is largely solved, if they attack we have an SD situation since assault and battery are forcible felonies.

      Personally I do investigate bumps in the night, armed even outside. I have more training than any casual gun owner or weekend sport shooter, use a powerful white light and have both the confidence and disciple to make rational decisions about use of force even under stress. I’ve been in the above scenario; The dogs woke me up around 3:00am because there was a man sitting on my front porch. I went out the back and confronted him from a corner of the house, blinding him with my light and remaining in darkness myself. I asked him why he was on my porch and his garbled, unintelligible answer was answer enough, he was drunk. I told him the police were coming (at that point a lie) and that I was armed and that he should either move along or else wait for arrest. He chose moving. I returned to the house and actually did call the police since I didn’t recognize him from the neighborhood and since he appeared to be so intoxicated that he presented a threat at least to himself if not others. I don’t know if they ever found him.

      Here is the thing, he could have been my neighbor looking to cool off from a fight with his spouse and not realizing that he’d woke me, in which case we sure didn’t need cops, or guns for that matter. He could have been contemplating breaking in an attacking me, in which case I’d gained a considerable upper hand by confronting him from the ‘wrong’ direction and from behind blinding light and cover. He could have been an innocent person having a health emergency(he sort of was), in which case checking on him was the right thing to do. I don’t even like the concept of calling the cops for everything then bunkering in a bedroom pointing guns at the door and waiting while perhaps some injured or ill person is dying on my porch or subjecting my neighbor to the police when all he wanted was a place to rest and think, which I’d gladly offer him in the form of my porch anytime.

      Legally, I never came close to shooting that man on the porch, he never saw my gun and I never raised it or pointed it anywhere near him. I wasn’t so much afraid as concerned and certainly not jumpy or on the edge of shooting him. For me to have shot him he would have had to offer me violence, and enough of it fast enough that I couldn’t get back inside when I was closer to the back door than I was to him and he was blinded by a powerful light. . . that is, he’d have had to start shooting at me because no other weapon could have met the standard for fear of death or great bodily harm at that range under those conditions.

      Tactically I had such a drop on him that it would have been extremely difficult for him to gain the upper hand or even force much but my hasty retreat into the relative safety of the house. Now, I’ve considered that he could have been part of a more organized crime and could have had an accomplice and I took that into consideration in everything I did. Did I expose myself to risk? Yes, I did, but I exposed myself to a level of risk which I felt I knew, which I was comfortable confronting, and which I’d taken numerous steps to mitigate as much as possible while remaining free enough to walk outside my own house.

      I’m not going to sit inside and watch someone burglarize my car, and I’m not going to be a prisoner in my home because a drunk decides to rest on my porch. If it works for you that’s your choice, it doesn’t work for me and it shouldn’t be the law that I have to default to your comfort level. That said, I don’t think anyone should go out unless they have the tools, the confidence and the fortitude to take the risks and handle the situation sensibly and legally. Shooting blindly through the walls of an outbuilding is only sensible and for the most part only legal if you’re being fired on from that structure. The homeowner in questions probably shouldn’t have done what he did and he may well end up in prison for it but going outside to confront the threat wasn’t his crime or his mistake, blinding shooting was.

  6. Well, I do have to agree in part with Biden. Every collection should have a double gun. They’re just cool.

    • Oh sure. Kind of interested in getting one of those inexpensive 20 Gauge double barrels that Century is selling. Of course… maybe I’ve been playing too much Fallout: New Vegas.

      • There is no such thing as too much Fallout!

        What I’d give for a Fat Man…..

        • Well hell if I could chose ANYTHING I’d probably get a Gatling Laser or maybe a Plasma Caster. I just made mention of that 20 gauge given that it looks straight out of the game.

    • Agreed, I have tactical guns, practical guns and cool guns. The latter category would include a Ruger Vaquero in .45Colt and a nice old double Fox Model B 12 gauge. I suppose if I had to go seriously old school ‘cowboy’ tactical I have the kit for it.

      Come to think of it, I can do early 20th century tactical; 1911 and a K98 Mauser, 1970s-80s tactical; S&W K38 (mod 64) complete with a giant Bianchi vertical shoulder rig and a Mossberg500, and modern tactical; HKUSP.40 and a ‘dressed’ AR-15. Maybe I should do a photo spread with ‘tacticall’ through the years as a theme.

  7. I think it was a bad shoot, for the exact reasons why we all thought Biden’s statement were asinine when he said it.

    I wonder if Biden can plausibly be named in a lawsuit – as VP, his words actually carry a lot more weight than some random guy on the internet. I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV, but given the specificity of his statement, and how closely it matches this exact scenario, can you argue that he incited this exact response?

    • At this point I’d take the word of a “random guy on the internet” over that of POTUS or the VP. Two of those are definitely liars and scoundrels, the other guy might not be.

      • Same here. “Random guy on the Internet”, myself included, may or may not know what he’s talking about, maybe 50/50? Compared to those negative barometers of the truth occupying the WH, I like those odds.

  8. Message received loud and clear by thieves in Montana: Go in a house with people in it and you will get shot dead. End of story.

    I wonder what the Times argument would be If the thief had been armed. Then again it is a strong possibility that most in the Times don’t own a house with a garage in the middle of nowhere….

    • Probably about how he needed to be armed to protect himself from those “crazy, bloodthirsty vigilante gun owners who will take any excuse, no matter how minor, to murder someone in cold blood”. Assuming they wouldn’t conveniently leave out the “victim” being armed.

  9. Kaarma is a bitch. Or will be one in prison.It ” sounds” like he was laying in wait for this dumb##s kid. Never a good defense. I knew kids like this when I was 17. We called them thieves and criminals. We also have an uptick in garage break ins in my neighborhood. I don’t think I would shoot the punk but my garage is not connected to my house either.

  10. Forgot to mention… If you have a house with a garage (I do), AND it has an electric opener (ours does), AND you car does not have a built in programmable garage opener so that you have a remote hanging on you visor (some of ours do), AND the car sleeps outside (some of ours do), AND your garage is attached to your house (mine is), MAKE SURE that you turn the garage opener OFF EVERY NIGHT before you go to bed.

    A lighted wall mounted garage opener switch with an additional on/off switch on it is about 10 bucks.

  11. I expect this is a case where, like Zimmerman in Fla, the law will ultimately work the way it’s supposed to. Based on the facts as stated here, I don’t see what the now-defendant Kaarma is going to say as the basis for his defense. That an unknown something was moving about in his garage? And then made a noise that he describes as “metal touching metal”, so he “swept the garage” with shot? Sounds pretty thin to me. He may get off, but overall I would say that completely blind firing like that is not a good idea.

    • If your family was inside your house and you heard strange sounds coming from your garage, you wouldn’t be concerned?

  12. He left his garage door partially open. BIG mistake! And, after two break-ins! What the hell was he thinking? How many break-ins does it take to “Dummy up”.

  13. So the guy lives in an area where the police are not close enough to respond within minutes and there have been recent burglaries, and he’s supposed to stop and figure out who is breaking into his garage and setting off alarms? Even if it was an animal and not a person he had the right to shoot. The comments by the hair stylist are hearsay. Wonderful for the media to demonize this guy but they may not even be admissible.

    • The comments by the hair stylist are hearsay.

      Depending on the jurisdiction, there are two dozen or more exceptions to the hearsay rule.

  14. I sure wouldn’t ever fire blindly like that through a wall or into a room/building not knowing what’s inside unless I saw a bunch of Russkies or grey aliens head in first. However I don’t feel bad for this kid. I was a stupid teen when I was a kid too- You know why I didn’t go breaking into peoples shit? Because I didn’t want to get shot.

  15. This, Kaarma, guy should be a “Poster Child” for what NOT to do in your personal, home defense, If all the things he supposedly said and did prior to, and at the time of, shooting this German Kid are true, and all of it gets to the Jury, then he is likely to get convicted, and deservedly so. Looks like Kaarma’s karma is really bad.

    Joe Biden’s self-defense advice is free advice, and worth exactly what it costs.

  16. Jurors are finders of fact, and it will matter what they believe was the defendants’ intent was behind the partially open door and “bait” left in the garage and firing blindly.

    The statements made to the hairdresser will not help.

    • Yup. Apparently another Clinton OR Bush is the best America can do. *PUKES*

  17. Don’t break into people’s private property, and you decrease you chances of getting shot drastically.

  18. Say what you want about ol’ crazy Biden and his stupid shotgun advice, but at least he hasn’t shot anyone in the face with one like our previous vice president

  19. I dunno, after a couple of break-ins, I think most red-blooded Americans would make statements like “i’m gonna kill those sumbitches if they come back”.. – the hairdresser statement seems almost overdone though.. too much detail & too convenient..

    no sympathy for the felony burglar, though.. i’d have a real hard time voting to convict, even if I don’t like the blind shooting

    if he had *said* ” i turned on the lights & shot the perp because I was scared”, its a pretty easy acquittal.. so a very slight change of circumstances makes it 100% legit..

  20. Wouldn’t Biden’s advice be considered entrapment? He IS the VP and represents the government. I wonder what kind of lawyer this guy has.

  21. This sounds to me like it would have been the perfect opportunity to scare the living shit out of some stupid teenager pushing his luck a bit too far, and teach him a valuable lesson that could save his life one day, all without firing a shot.

    Flip the lights on, start yelling “GET ON THE F#%$@ GROUND!! NOW!!” at the top of your lungs with shotgun leveled at the intruder, intruder gets on ground post haste while simultaneously filling his trousers and pleading for his life, family member calls police while you hold intruder at gunpoint, police arrive and the situation gets sorted out without any loss of life.

    Except this yahoo already decided that he would resort to the most extreme option at his disposal before the break in even occured. It sure sounds like Mr. Kaarma had a good idea of what was going on beforehand, and specifically set up a scenario in the hopes that he would get to shoot someone, even going as far as to brag about it. This was not a good shoot IMO.

  22. Guys he wasn’t a thief. You see, when you play X-box and drink Sprite before stealing shit, you’re just a ‘kid’!


  23. A point about defensive preparations: Not only is firing into the dark a bad idea, but being able to turn the lights on the bad guy while keeping the shadows for yourself is a good thing.

  24. Probably not a good idea to go off in the night into other people’s property, open door or not.
    Using the Trayvon standard of justice, if the perp hadn’t been out in the first place none of this would have happened. And if the perp was of the black teenager persuasion this would be the lead story on CNN for 3 months.

    • At least Angela Merkel had the good sense not to pull an, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

    • The dead teenager actually does sound like an African immigrant to Germany – Diren Dede doesn’t sound like an ethnic German to me.

  25. Good post.
    The only part of this analysis I take issue with is:

    “The prosecution also has another powerful argument: Kaarma had no need to confront anyone in his garage. He could have simply called the police, ensured that his doors were locked, taken up his shotgun and waited. It may have taken the police quite awhile to respond, true, but until or unless someone tried to break into his home, he and his family were safe”

    You could make the same argument about someone in your living room: Just lock yourself in the bedroom and call the cops*. If they’re in your bedroom, lock yourself in the bathroom, etc.
    That argument basically means you would have to continually retreat until there’s no where left to go before you are allowed to defend yourself. No bueno.

    *I would only feel safe doing that if the 911 operator resonded with “You ain’t got no problem, civilian, we’re on the motherf*cker. Go back in there, chill them n*ggas out and wait for the Wolf, who should be coming directly”.

    • Thank you. Screw Duty to Retreat. There’s a reason most of the US has abandoned that silly practice that punished many innocent people.

  26. Interesting post. Bottom line for me is that if more good folks were armed and did successfully defend themselves, their property or others in danger and the liberal press didn’t crucify them I think that there would be far fewer bad guys doing their bad things! Kill a few more bad guys legally and sooner rather than later the bad guys numbers just might drop off. Face it if the bad guys thought that there was a good chance of them being taken down when doing their crimes then fewer of them would do so. There will always be certain number of bad guys that don’t give a damn about anything and will take their chances no matter the possibilities.
    We don’t seem to be able to get the formula right in this country for reducing the crime rate. We know that incarceration only works for a small percentage of those locked up. The jails are full and criminals know that whatever they are sentenced to they will likely do half or less of their sentence. That in itself doesn’t help scare them “straight”. This country doesn’t have the stomach for it but if we would build more prisons and give full possible sentences with no possibilities for a reduced sentence we might gain a little eventually. Problem is some of the first to go the full route would be scapegoats and so be it as in time this I think would help slow the crime rate a little. We have to take multiple pronged approach to crime and punishment. I do believe however that in time we could reduce the crime rate down to just the crazies doing most of the crimes.
    For this approach to work even the presidents kids if convicted of a crime would do the “full” time. This would have to include a penal code that was written with very little latitude for changes in charges. No plea bargains, no probation or parole as very little of that works either. And please don’t give me the old song and dance “if we only save one it would be worth it”. No no it wouldn’t! I don’t care who commits a felony your kid my kid or the Pastors kid if you do the crime then you do ALL of the time. Again I think that after a few years of tough law enforcement and sentencing then we would have to start converting the prisons into Motel “6’s”. Not a bad way to go. Peace!

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