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When Erin McCoy awoke from a Saturday afternoon nap to the sound of glass breaking, she grabbed a shotgun. Seeing a hand trying to open the window in her kitchen, she tried to warn him off, but he kept coming. That’s when she sent an ounce or so of persuasion toward the uninvited guest. Pretty much your standard issue DGU. Woman defends herself, suspects flee and one presents at the local ER with a sucking chest wound claiming he was “shot while playing basketball.” But in a post-Trayvon world, something has changed . . .

Check out the report of the burglary interruptus from WRAL, Fayetteville, North Carolina, above. Notice the feigned surprise of the talking head, Jackie Highland, as she intro’s the story and throws it to Brian Mims.

“So Brian, state law protects the homeowner in this case?”

That’s when Bri gives the camera a gravely concerned look and a heavy, world-weary sigh before launching into an extended – well, for TV news, anyway – description of North Carolina’s Castle Doctrine law for the uneducated masses who still actually look to local broadcasts for anything more than the weather report. He even throws in a reference to Jolly Ol’ England, citing the law’s origins. Impressive.

Anecdotally speaking, this seems to be the new normal. Almost every account of someone using a gun to defend himself now carries a much more detailed description of how the Castle Doctrine applies and the fact that, when used as written, the gun user is protected from prosecution.

The more disapproving accounts (no matter how clear-cut the DGU may have been) go to great lengths to explain that police and prosecutors’ hands are tied in these cases by the Machiavellian machinations of the state legislature that enacted the statute. Others give a more straightforward rundown of the protections afforded a self-defender. YMMV depending on locality and the J-school the reporter involved attended.

It’s hard to tell whether all the added explication comes from sincere effort to provide more news you can use in the wake of Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin or if it’s just thinly veiled lamentation over our increasingly gun-friendly society. If Isaiah Witty and Deshawn Smith has been wearing hoodies last weekend, it seems a good bet that Mims would have reported that crucial fact. Thank God there were no Skittles found at the scene.

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  1. Good for her! Better to face a D.A. than to be raped and murdered… To bad the news has to skew everything

  2. I propose legislation which can be attached to the Firearm Owners Protection Act, which I title the ” Truth In Television” law.

    “Thus enacted, we ordain that any media representative who comments on firearm related topics without prior range experience or weapons training by a qualified instructor will be charged with a misdemeanor and serve a sentence no longer than 90 days, but no shorter than 72 hours in jail”.

    Way I see it, if you can be jailed for lying on accounting documents and contract fraud, you should be subject to the same penalty for misconduct in the media.

    • And here I was, thinking that one of the reasons we love the 2nd amendment is because it helps us protect the 1st amendment. Thanks for clearing that up ST. 1st amendment = bad.

      On a side note, if you lie in an accounting fraud, what you’re being jailed for is fraud, not lying.

      • I am not attacking free speech at all. I am discussing punishment for gross misconduct in the course of one’s profession, which is a concept nearly every career of import has as law.

        Blue wall of silence or not, sell drugs out of the evidence room and you’re going to jail.
        Lie and cheat people out of their money,and you’ll face jail for financial crimes.
        Violate government appropriations law via awarding the wrong contract, or even signing the wrong line on a form-and you can be jailed for misconduct.
        Break the UCMJ, and a military member is subject to punishments including jail time.

        The Media does not have the authority to change the news it reports, any more than a company can make up its income numbers when it feels like. In the latter example, you get jailed. In the former, nothing happens to those responsible. How many people are walking around severely misinformed about the Treyvon Martin incident because of a strategically edited 911 tape?

        • While I tend to agree with your expressed sentiment, I would have to argue that the last thing this country needs is another law.

        • …in all shapes and forms, and throw the televisions in the garbage and take a piss on them.

          Fixed that for you.

      • defamation, slander, etc. The media gets away with plenty that is already illegal and this is no different. As long as it plays into their preferred narrative they will say it, and people will stare at the beautiful blue sky and accept that it is green, because the teevee told them so.

  3. For a short segment on the local news, that was one of the best overviews of our North Carolina castle doctrine that I have seen. The key point was a buried in the middle of the report dealing with the presumption of reasonable fear of imminent threat with a forcible entry. For those interested, a link to the revisions which went into effect last December 1st.

    • Exactly.

      I have to say that I am baffled and slightly sickened by this news report. The subtext of the heavy sighs and extended pauses would seem to be an attempt to suggest that the right of the homeowner in this case to defend herself and her property against an imminent invasion in progress goes against not only common sense, but North Carolina law, both before and after last year’s Castle Doctrine revisions. And that is complete bullcrap.

      This report misses the point that North Carolina law, prior to last year’s revision, stipulated that deadly force was authorized in the event of home invasion if the perpetrator was caught in the act of invading. (Which in this case is entirely what happened.) Prior to last year’s revision, if you awoke to find that someone had invaded your home – and was already inside – you were not authorized to use deadly force. According to the statute, your obligation was to assume they were an invited guest and to get out of their way. I shit you not. Deadly force was authorized only if you caught the perp in the act of breaking in. (Which this lady did.)

      The new law, effective December 1st of last year, stipulates that anyone found to have invaded your home unlawfully can be lawfully considered worthy of your deadly force. So no matter if they are in the process of breaking down your door, or have already broken down your door and are in the process of helping themselves to whatever may be sheltered under your roof: if they do not belong, they are subject to deadly force.

      Which, as a homeowner with a large home, I have to admit I am a fan of. I sleep on the second floor of a house with windows. The chances of my discovering that someone has already invaded my home are higher than those of my discovering that someone is in the act of doing so. In either case, my instinct would be to take whatever measures necessary to protect my family, and the revised North Carolina statutes now provide me the right to do so without fear of prosecution. Yay freedom.

      In the case of this news report, the poor lady in question had the right to protect herself under both old and new statutes, and her actions would seem to be justifiable according to any reasonable understanding of basic human property rights and common sense. The folks at WRAL … well, they must feel very safe at night is all I can say.

  4. “It’s hard to tell whether all the added explication comes from sincere effort to provide more news you can in the wake of Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin or if it’s just thinly veiled lamentation over our increasingly gun-friendly society.”

    As a blind question, I’d generally go with the “thinly veiled lamentation” answer. However, as Mike in NC points out, this was actually a pretty good short explanation on Castle Doctrine. Many reports simply state the name (Castle Doctrine and/or SYG) and stop there, without further explanation.

    As for this specific report, I watched it three times, and I was unable determine any particular bias in either direction. The reporter(s) didn’t sound particularly horrified. Maybe they’re all pro-gun, and the detailed explanation was a way to say, “See folks, you don’t have to be a statistic. You can defend yourselves against the goblins.”

  5. It seemed like a fair presentation to me, although I can’t comment on the report’s factual accuracy.

    Remarkable, isn’t it, that once upon a time we took fairness for granted, but now we’re delighted and surprised to find it in the MSM.

  6. They tried to break-in during the day on a weekend and didn’t leave when she warned them? Why do they think it was a burglary attempt?

    • Also, is Erin McCoy half-latino and half-caucasian? If she is, then this might be a racially motivated shooting (of the guy trying to break into her home who didn’t stop even after she warned him). Justice for Dashawn! Why doesn’t Spike Lee tweet somebody named McCoy’s address?

  7. Yeah I mean maybe she was on a rampage in the neighborhood, or possibly they wanted to sell her girl scout cookies! How could she!
    Think about the children, oh and the dolphins!
    Good clean shoot as far as I am concerned she warned them, She was in her property, and at no time went outside or anything…

  8. I think it is worth noting that basically everyone involved in this situation has refused to speak to the media and/or be seen on camera.

    Maybe a good byproduct of the media treatment of George Zimmerman will be that more people adopt a strict STFU policy after a DGU.

  9. Those two look like professional criminals if there ever was a term for it. I like how one was released to his parents on a 5000 dollar bond. He’s probably out looking for trouble right now.
    Meanwhile George Z get’s 150K bond, and they want to revoke it because his site donations were 200K. How’s that for justice?

  10. The advertising principle works here — any publicity is good publicity. These reports now show (regardless of their disapproving tone) that:

    a) if threatened, guns are effective;
    b) if you are forced to defend yourself with a gun you get the benefit of the doubt; and
    c) The state that could not help you — also cannot easily go after you;

    We have the makings of a very real and reinforcing cultural change in the assumptions of the citizens as to their relationship to the state when it comes to crimes and self defense.

    A good thing. Slow but steady.

  11. I didn’t break into a house today, and I managed to not get shot.
    Who knows when my luck will run out?
    One of these days, a house is going to jump out in front of me and I will be powerless to prevent it.
    God help us all…


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