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He threw popcorn at me, so I stood my ground

14 Jan

Well, you just knew this was coming, didn’t you? After all, we’re talking about Florida here.

Yesterday I wrote about the movie theater shooting in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The shooter, Curtis Reeves, was unhappy that the man sitting in front of him, Chad Oulson, was texting before the movie started. An argument ensued and Reeves shot Oulson dead.

Now we hear that Reeves is considering a “stand your ground” defense. Who wouldn’t in the state of Florida? After all, it’s the statewide get-out-of-jail-free card.

According to the sheriffs office:

Reeves wanted Oulson to stop texting. He walked out of the theater and complained to management. When Reeves returned to the 1:20 p.m. showing, “words were exchanged” and Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, an arrest affidavit states.

Witnesses say the pair did not throw punches. Reeves pulled a gun and shot Oulson, who was pronounced dead at a hospital.

You see? Having a bag of popcorn thrown at you is life-threatening. The reasonable response is to not only hold your ground, but to also pull out your gun–which the theater prohibits, right along with texting during the movie–and shoot the popcorn thrower at pointblank range. I mean, it’s what any reasonable American would do, right?

According to the Tampa Bay Times:

Several lawyers told the Tampa Bay Times there are too many unknowns right now to determine whether stand your ground could be used successfully in court. Many factors could be relevant, said Stetson Law professor Charles Rose.

For one, when Oulson threw popcorn, that was legally an assault. But was it reasonable to respond with deadly force simply because of the popcorn? No, Rose believes.

However, it becomes more complicated if Reeves considered it to be one step in an escalating response from Oulson. If he feared Oulson would next come over the seats and physically attack him — and if Reeves felt he wouldn’t be able to handle an attack from a younger man — jurors might consider deadly force reasonable, the lawyer said.

“Here’s the problem: We’re trying to look into the mind of the defendant and posit what he thought was happening,” Rose said. “That’s often why these cases go trial — because you just can’t tell.”

Age, physical stature and each man’s strength could come into play, Rose said.

The article has a lot of interesting tidbits, including this from attorney Ron Tulin, who has built stand-your-ground defenses for clients:

Whatever the evidence shows, Tulin said he believes anyone who carries a concealed weapon and fires it needs to be prepared to deal with the judicial system.

“They need to be ready to accept the consequences,” he said, “and to leave their lives in a judge’s hands.”

Good to know we haven’t “progressed” to the point that those who kill with their concealed weapons can’t skip the justice system entirely.

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28 Comments

Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Current Events, Guns

 

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28 responses to “He threw popcorn at me, so I stood my ground

  1. mitchethekid

    January 14, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    If anyone should be dead, it’s Reeves. And suffer a painful death over and over and over. If hell exists then I hope he has a prominent position. What a fucking scum bag. Texting is noiseless. The movie had not started and Oulson was communicating with his 3 yr old daughter. Probably to reassure her that the baby sitter wasn’t a monster and her parents would be home shortly.

    How about Reeves explains to the 3 yr old why her daddy is dead. After all, it’s just commonsense to know that in Florida you can murder anyone at any time for no reason at all. And get away with it. Free pass. One excuse fits all.
    I guess the popcorn was an invasion of Reeves ground and he was just defending it.
    After all, you never know if THE OTHER GUY has a gun, might be a mental case and shoot YOU over nothing. At the movies. Going for entertainment and relaxation. With a loved one. This is not only a good idea, it’s the law.
    Everyone knows that a paper bag filled with over priced, butterized artery clogging popcorn can miraculously transformed into a weapon of death. And no doubt this Reeves guy felt so in fear of his life: that an Uzi might appear at any moment; the bag of popcorn hiding it, that he had no choice but to act first. (Being able to legally carry around a death tool and all. Just in case you pick a fight with a stranger and they throw a feather weight bag of popcorn at you.)
    And while we’re at it, lets round up all the corn planters. Industrial and home gardeners both!
    One never knows if they have connections to terrorism. Or better still, lets finally exterminate the remaining native Americans. For they are the original culprits of passing along the encyclopedia of corn. If it wasn’t for those horrible redskins, Mr. Oulson would still be alive. Perhaps engaging with his family.

    And I’m sure his child will become a fan of movies.

    To me, this is more horrific than Sandy Hook and Aurora put together. And it’s a sure bet that mentally ill gun nuts will rush to this disgusting slugs defense.
    I’ve got an idea! This Reeves guy has children and grandchildren. How about the State of Florida forces him to watch unimaginable pain inflicted upon them?? Death is a cop out. Once it’s over, it’s over. And the retribution is far to short. All we are doing is depriving the dead guy from being aware. In this case, the punishment doesn’t match the crime.Senseless, petty, breathtakingly over reactionary.
    And how any sentient human being could or would defend him is beyond my comprehension.
    Fucking popcorn, fucking phones and fucking everyone having guns. But guns will be defended! Rick Scott, George Zimmerman and Wayne La Pierre.
    Some one should buy the 3 of them theater tickets.
    I think I’ll move to Florida, put a Howitzer in my yard and explode my neighbors house because I don’t like the color they painted it.
    And I’ll make sure to aim it at their dogs because I don’t want to tolerate their barking.
    And give homage to Keith Olberman, when he pointed out for yrs on end; that every bit of disgusting, depraved insanity emanated from Florida.
    I hope it’s reclaimed by the sea as a result of global climate change.

     
  2. lwk2431

    January 15, 2014 at 5:52 am

    “The shooter, Curtis Reeves, was unhappy that the man sitting in front of him, Chad Oulson, was texting before the movie started.”

    The shooter was also a retired police officer (which in most states would have allowed him to carry a concealed handgun independent of concealed carry laws – laws allowing retired police to do that predate many “shall issue” concealed carry laws).

    lwk

     
    • watsonthethird

      January 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Thanks, lwk. Yes, we covered the fact that he was a retired police officer in a previous thread. As I suggested in that thread, in my view, being a retired police officer should not entitle one to a lifetime pass to carry concealed weapons. Everyone should have to undergo re-certification annually, and any character issues such as public drunkenness, drunk driving, anger issues, or signs of mental illness should disqualify one from legally carrying a concealed weapon.

       
      • lwk2431

        January 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

        “…in my view, being a retired police officer should not entitle one to a lifetime pass to carry concealed weapons.”

        I suspect that there would have been nothing particular to disqualify him. It is hard to measure/detect whatever was wrong with him that set him off like that. As to re-certification annually, that is a bunch of horse puckey. As to alcoholism, that would probably disqualify more than a few active duty cops right now. 🙂

        Btw, I legally carry.

        regards,

        lwk

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm

        I don’t know that any my suggestions would have made any difference in this particular case. Ultimately, if someone’s bound and determined to carry a concealed weapon–regardless of whether they are breaking the law in the process-they’re going to carry one.

        But I do think annual certification should be required, if for no other reason than it would re-enforce safe gun-handling techniques. There is a reason various professions practice over and over, even though the individuals claim to know the material already.

        If alcoholism would disqualify active duty cops, then they should be disqualified. Sorry, but I don’t have much tolerance for cops running around with impaired judgement.

        While I have handled guns in the past, I am not a gun owner. Since you are, maybe you could comment on my post of today, Today’s gun fail: Man shoots himself in the chin while taking off his pants. What would be the scenario in which that would occur? I assume that the gun he had in his pocket, a .25 caliber Baretta pistol, has a safety, and therefore the safety must not have been activated. And then I assume that in the process of taking off his pants, one way or the other he pulled the trigger. Is that about it?

         
      • lwk2431

        January 16, 2014 at 4:57 am

        watsonthethird wrote:

        “I do think annual certification should be required, …”

        You are trying to impose a burden to solve a problem that hardly exists. From what I have read people who get concealed carry permits or licenses have a very good track record of safety and good judgment. They may get arrested for firearms violations but at a rate slightly _lower_ than sworn police officers.

        “…if for no other reason than it would re-enforce safe gun-handling techniques.”

        If for no other reason to impose an extra burden and cost on people who carry concealed with a license or permit, for no other reason than to make you feel better. There are no statistics I am aware of that indicate there is a problem desperately in need of a solution.

        One ex-police officer succumbing to irrational rage and committing homicide is not enough reason any more than a person succumbing to road rage and killing someone a reason to make everyone go to the DMV every year for an anal exam.

        “If alcoholism would disqualify active duty cops, then they should be disqualified. Sorry, but I don’t have much tolerance for cops running around with impaired judgement.”

        Unfortunately our society does appear to have high tolerance for official misbehavior.

        “Today’s gun fail: Man shoots himself in the chin while taking off his pants. What would be the scenario in which that would occur? I assume that the gun he had in his pocket, a .25 caliber Baretta pistol, has a safety, and therefore the safety must not have been activated. And then I assume that in the process of taking off his pants, one way or the other he pulled the trigger. Is that about it?”

        That is entirely possible. Highly trained people who have spent years around weapons still kill themselves and others by accident. In war we call it “friendly fire.”

        regards,

        lwk

         
  3. Marner

    January 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I don’t believe in trying to eliminate guns. We are much too ingrained with a gun culture for it to ever happen so it is just a waste of time. I don’t oppose CCW, but I do oppose “shall issue” laws that allow anyone short of a convicted mass murderer to carry. If you have a need to carry a gun, you should be able to carry it as long as you meet legal and mental requirements. If you just want to carry it because you think you’re going to the hero and save the day in some situation, or if you just think it makes your dick bigger, you really don’t need to be around a loaded weapon.

    Anyone who is a suspect in a crime involving violence should have their right to carry suspended until they are cleared or convicted. If convicted of an offense involving violence, you lose your right to carry. Get drunk and get into a bar fight? You’ve lost your guns forever.

    Gun ownership is a right, but it is also a heavy responsibility. We see too many people who focus on the right and not enough on the responsibility. There seem to be a lot more reports in the last couple of years of accidental discharges injuring or killing people or altercations that have spun out of control that end with someone shot. I would be interested in seeing a study done to find out if it is just increased media focus or if there is a correlation to an increase in gun ownership.

     
    • watsonthethird

      January 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      Can’t disagree with that, Marner. I don’t know the statistics, either, but there have been some notable examples of gun irresponsibility lately.

       
      • Marner

        January 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm

        Especially the ones where toddlers got their hands on guns or babies get shot while cleaning a weapon.

         
      • lwk2431

        January 17, 2014 at 6:43 am

        “… there have been some notable examples of gun irresponsibility lately.”

        Or the media is on a crusade to make sure that you are intimately acquainted with every tragedy than involves a gun in the U.S. every day (and are equally uninterested in reporting cases where law abiding people save lives with guns).

        Fact is that homicides and these accidents have been on a steady _downward_ trend for decades now.

        regards,

        lwk

         
    • lwk2431

      January 16, 2014 at 5:02 am

      “I don’t oppose CCW, but I do oppose “shall issue” laws that allow anyone short of a convicted mass murderer to carry.”

      “Shall issue” was a response to officials who improperly used discretion to deny a basic human right. “Shall issue” was what made legal concealed carry possible for 98% of the people who do carry today. Otherwise bureaucrats would have denied a basic human right because they had the power to do so, and prejudice to do so.

      “Anyone who is a suspect in a crime involving violence should have their right to carry suspended until they are cleared or convicted.”

      You have no clue what this country was supposed to be about, do you? You haven’t a clue about the principle of “innocent until _proven_ guilty,” do you?

      lwk

       
      • Marner

        January 16, 2014 at 5:23 am

        Yes I do, but I don’t believe rights come without any restrictions. If a man is charged with killing his wife, he should have his guns confiscated. As should a man charged with beating up someone in a road rage incident. If they are cleared, they get them back. Obviously, in the first case, conviction results in a loss of the right to have guns and it should in the second case as well. To me, it is a public safety issue.

        The state already has the ability to restrict rights of the accused: protection orders, asset freezing, etc. This is just an extension of that.

         
  4. lwk2431

    January 16, 2014 at 5:36 am

    Marner writes:

    “I don’t believe rights come without any restrictions.”

    And you don’t seem to be much impressed with the principle of putting restrictions on what government can do either.

    “If a man is charged with killing his wife, he should have his guns confiscated. As should a man charged with beating up someone in a road rage incident.”

    Typically in these cases the person would be in jail and a judge may add this as a condition of getting bail while waiting for trial. We saw this in the Zimmerman case recently.

    But you could as easily have a case of a person unjustly accuse and in danger of their life and disarming them could be seen as condeming them to death – if they are killed in the meantime – without due process.

    “The state already has the ability to restrict rights…”

    That already has too much power to restrict individual rights.

    I think that there should be a adversial procedure where the state has to show reasonable grounds for taking away a person’s right to self defense before trial. It shouldn’t be, as you seem to imply, just automatic.

    regards,

    lwk

     
    • Marner

      January 16, 2014 at 6:46 am

      And you don’t seem to be much impressed with the principle of putting restrictions on what government can do either.

      Sorry, but I don’t see reasonable restrictions on gun rights as supporting an unrestricted government. YMMV.

      Typically in these cases the person would be in jail and a judge may add this as a condition of getting bail while waiting for trial. We saw this in the Zimmerman case recently.

      This is what I would like to see extended to all cases involving violence. I think being charged with committing an act of violence is grounds for restricting a person’s rights until the case is resolved.

       
    • mitchethekid

      January 16, 2014 at 8:05 am

      I agree with your last sentence except for the right to self defense part. This is the problem with words and why I am a fan of Wittgenstein. How do you define reasonable, and exactly who is the final authority as to it’s meaning? Reasonable is subjective and situational. It’s reasonable to use a fork to eat. It’s not reasonable to flip out and shot someone because it’s possible that the fork can be used as a weapon. Sure, anything is possible, that’s the great thing about the future! But it’s also the reason why we have to take off our shoes to get on an airplane. After all, it’s possible that the government is controlling our minds by putting an absorbtive chemical on the pad of the x-ray machine.

       
      • lwk2431

        January 17, 2014 at 6:48 am

        “How do you define reasonable, and exactly who is the final authority as to it’s meaning?”

        If you use a gun to defend yourself and kill another person claiming self defense because you were in fear of your life, then the jury will be asked to use the “reasonable man” standard to judge whether in fact you were justified. They will be asked to look at the circumstances of the case and try to determine if a fictional “reasonable man” would feel the same way.

        It is certainly fictional and sometimes subjective, but it is probably the best standard we have. If you claim you were in fear of your life and the jury doesn’t see it that way, then your defense will fail.

        regards,

        lwk

         
    • lwk2431

      January 16, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Marner writes:

      “…I would like to see extended to all cases involving violence.”

      That is I suppose the mindset where all of these incredibly stupid “zero tolerance” laws come from. Make up a law with no exceptions or human judgment and pretend that is fair and solves a problem.

      To be totally accurate you should say “…all cases involving ALLEGED violence” too.

      For example, it is true that estranged suitors, boyfriends, and husbands kill women, their girlfriends and wives. So we the concept of protective orders, etc., but they rarely do any good. If the guy really wants to kill her he will get a gun or find some other way to do it, with a club or a fist even.

      But the other side of the coin is that more than a few women undoubtedly lie through their teeth in alleging violence or threats of violence. Can make their case look better at the divorce proceedings, or just fill their need for revenge or spite – especially if she knows he highly values firearms which in some jurisdictions will be forcibly removed.

      Couples do all sorts of spiteful things.

      That is where some evidence, adversarial proceedings, and a judge with some common sense can come in and a fairer course can result. But “zero tolerance” laws like you suggest are just plain stupid in my view.

      regards,

      lwk

       
      • watsonthethird

        January 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

        lwk, thanks for engaging in the conversation. Good to have another voice around here.

        You said, “I think that there should be a adversial procedure where the state has to show reasonable grounds for taking away a person’s right to self defense before trial. It shouldn’t be, as you seem to imply, just automatic.”

        So can you give some examples of reasonable grounds? We often hear from gun advocates that guns don’t kill people, people do. And the corollary, which is that we need to keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn’t have them, like the mentally ill. But it seems that every time a suggestion is made for a criteria with which to make such a judgement, the gun advocates reject it.

        I don’t know whether you are a gun advocate or not, and of course I’m generalizing. But since you acknowledge that there can be “reasonable grounds,” can you give some examples?

        In this and a previous thread, I’ve thrown out some suggestions for behavior that I think should revoke concealed carry permits. I wasn’t even talking about gun ownership. Some suggestions I’ve thrown out:

        • Any cases–let’s say convictions, just be clearer–of drunk driving or public intoxication would be grounds to revoke a CCP for a lengthy period of time. This is because it shows extremely poor judgement, in my opinion.

        • Any cases–again, let’s just say convictions–of violent behavior, e.g., domestic violence, with or without a gun, would revoke a CCP.

        • Restraining orders against an individual would revoke a CCP.

        • A diagnosis of dementia or similar mental disorder should revoke a CCP, if not revoke gun ownership. We currently have a problem with old people suffering the affects of, say, Alzheimers Disease, who own guns, and their own children are afraid to visit their parents for fear that their parents will mistake them for no-gooders.

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        lwk,

        (Watson) “I do think annual certification should be required, …”

        You are trying to impose a burden to solve a problem that hardly exists. From what I have read people who get concealed carry permits or licenses have a very good track record of safety and good judgment.

        I agree with many of your points surrounding this issue but I think you’re underplaying the dangers associated with ccp.

        “the center looked at how many people have been killed as a result of the law, with a study updated last month called “Concealed Carry Killers.” The study documents 381 incidents in 32 states since May 2007, resulting in 516 deaths involving private citizens with permits to carry concealed handguns. Twenty-four of the incidents were mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of 107 victims. Fourteen of the victims were law enforcement officers.”

        http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=40602

        Since that writing the tally stands at 554 (38 more in five months) and all were killings that didn’t involve self defense. It’s also worth noting that because these statistics are not readily available the study has to rely primarily on news reports and legal proceedings so the actual numbers are likely far higher. But even as is stands, these numbers are high enough to factor into the discussion in my opinion. The study:

        http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        Just saw lwk’s response to my post of yesterday. Yes, requiring training in order to maintain a concealed carry permit would “make me feel better.” Rusty gave you some stats, and there are instances of gun stupidity occurring each and every day. I suppose if you could demonstrate that concealed carriers are so highly skilled that accidents are negligible, I might soften my stance.

        But according to stats I looked up in the past few minutes, in 2010 there were over 600 accidental gun deaths. I don’t know how many injuries occurred from gun “accidents,” but in 2007 there were about 30 injuries for every death from gun “accidents.” In 2007, there were 15,000-19,000 accidental shootings in the US, leading to 600 deaths.

        Just shy of 20,000 accidental shootings a year is enough for me to think that some training should be required to carry a concealed gun. We’re not even talking about general gun ownership here. (I would also argue for training for all gun owners, but in this discussion we have been talking about conceal carry.)

        You also said in response to Marner that protective orders rarely do any good, implying that they aren’t of much, if any, value. I think we all understand that if someone is truly bent on harming or killing another human being, there is little we as a society can do other than to make it harder, and put up societal barriers that can stop rash, violent behavior and so on before it becomes lethal. Your comments suggest that because things like protective orders are of little value, in your opinion, then we shouldn’t bother. Ditto with safe gun handling training for concealed carry permits.

        Again, I would ask you what “reasonable grounds,” in your words, would there be to revoke or deny a concealed carry permit?

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm

        Watson,

        I agree with you on the need for ccp certification and training. I also would like to see mandatory training for all gun owners. We do this for planes, cars, certain explosives, toxic substances and other things which have lethal potential – guns certainly fall into that category.

        I also agree with lwk that it should not be automatic that you lose your weapons when charged with a violent crime. As he points out, there’s too much potential for abuse, and I think it’s unconstitutional. I think as it stands the system already works pretty well on this account. As lek implied, the courts take a look at the individual circumstances of each case and decides on issues of bail, restraining orders, and the right of that particular defendant to keep his guns.

         
      • watsonthethird

        January 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        I also agree with lwk that it should not be automatic that you lose your weapons when charged with a violent crime.

        Yes, I think you and lmk are right on that, even if my comments and thinking were unclear the day before. 🙂 (See? Discussion helps.)

        Which is why in my earlier post today explicitly said convictions. But I would also be willing to leave it to a judge’s discretion, much the same as a judge determines bail or the lack thereof. As a hypothetical, suppose George Zimmerman had been charged with manslaughter instead of second degree murder, and suppose the judge determined that he could be released on bail. I think it would be appropriate for the judge to also determine whether he could maintain a concealed carry permit while awaiting trial.

        But even if we just stick to convictions, I guess the thing that bothers me is that gun advocates seem to be unwilling to be pinned down on any criteria that might revoke a concealed carry permit. They say we need to focus on the people that shouldn’t have guns, but when pressed, they often refuse to grant any circumstances in which that would be the case. If you make a suggestion, a common response is that it wouldn’t do any good in case [x] or case [y].

        All of which is why i have an open question to lmk about that. I’m not sure he’s a gun owner, but he has expressed that point of view, so I’m genuinely interested in his take. I don’t expect that we’ll have the same views, but maybe there’s some common ground to build off of.

        And if I haven’t made it clear yet, I don’t want drunk people having concealed carry permits. lol

         
      • rustybrown2012

        January 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

        What did they do about Zimmerman’s ccp after he was released, before trial – anybody know? I certainly think that was a case for yanking it.

         
      • Marner

        January 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        Just so I’m clear, I would propose that person’s right to have guns is suspended when charged of a violent crime, not revoked. If cleared, they would get that right back.

        On Zimmerman, if I recall correctly, all of his guns were confiscated when he was charged, then returned upon acquittal. I don’t know if his CCW was suspended or revoked.

         
      • lwk2431

        January 17, 2014 at 7:07 am

        watsonthethird wrote:

        “So can you give some examples of reasonable grounds?”

        Objective evidence that the person has engaged, or threatened to engage in violent behavior. Again in most cases where a person is arrested there will be conditions for bail which may require they not possess firearms.

        The testimony of one person, for example a wife, without objective evidence to back up the claim should not be sufficient. See below.

        “Restraining orders against an individual would revoke a CCP.”

        It is not hard to get a restraining order. The testimony of one person should never be sufficient grounds without objective supporting evidence. If you read the book “The Gift of Fear” you will see that restraining orders are rarely effective in protecting anyone.

        The principle of requiring the testimony of more than one person is an old one. Goes back to the Law of Moses and Jesus even mentions it in the New Testament.

        “since you acknowledge that there can be “reasonable grounds,” can you give some examples?”

        The 2nd Amendment gives no explicit reasons for the government having a right to disarm an individual. Does that mean that the Founders who wrote it didn’t think there were valid reasons? Did they lack common sense?

        No. I think they thought it was so obvious that it didn’t need to be mentioned and it is encoded in our law right now. A person who has committed serious crimes, that is a felony, is not permitted by law to possess firearms. A person who is demonstratably suffering from a mental illness that could lead to violent behaviour, who is a danger to the community, also can have their right to keep and bear arms rescinded. Of course the Founders would also include those who had engaged in armed rebellion.

        Apparently the Federal government at the direction of the President is currently seeking to label anyone who has _ever_ sought any sort of counseling as mentally ill and therefore unable to buy or possess a firearm. Many veterans recently have had their rights removed.

        The old Soviet regime liked to do that too – they would label anyone opposed to the regime as “mentally ill.”

        regards,

        lwk

         
  5. lwk2431

    January 17, 2014 at 7:29 am

    I previously wrote:

    “A person who is demonstratably suffering from a mental illness that could lead to violent behaviour, who is a danger to the community, also can have their right to keep and bear arms rescinded.”

    We also used to involuntarily commit people when they were a serious danger to the community and it didn’t take six months of hearings with ACLU lawyers defending the person to get that accomplished. I read somewhere, but don’t absolutely know it is true, that Adam Lanza’s mother was in the process of trying to get him committed when he killed her and then went to the school in Newtown to kill more.

    regards,

    lwk

     
    • watsonthethird

      January 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks for the responses, lwk. It’s certainly true that it is difficult to adjudicate cases in which only two people are witnesses to an event, and that we must presume innocence. But if we must error on the side of protecting individual rights in criminal cases, it seems odd that you would complain about lawyers protecting individuals from being involuntarily committed to a mental institution. By the way, your statement, “the Federal government at the direction of the President is currently seeking to label anyone who has _ever_ sought any sort of counseling as mentally ill and therefore unable to buy or possess a firearm,” seems like a gross distortion of the federal background check rules.

      Anyway, thanks for the discussion. Chime in again sometime. Most of the articles posted here come from a progressive slant–our conservative writer has pretty much dropped out–but one of the goals when this place was started was to encourage reasonable discourse among folks with different points of view.

       
      • lwk2431

        January 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm

        “…t seems odd that you would complain about lawyers protecting individuals from being involuntarily committed to a mental institution.”

        I definitely believe in protecting the rights of rational individuals. Having personal experience with people with serious mental illness though I know that some people do need to be protected against their will (and society needs to be protected from them). There is no doubt that in the past we went too far one way, but nevertheless, we still need to realize some people are truly not capable of acting responsibly in society to the point we need to be protected from them.

        “… the goals when this place was started was to encourage reasonable discourse among folks with different points of view.”

        I have no complaints about the discourse here. People come from a great diversity of experience and views. My views are probably best described as Libertarian/Conservative but I don’t automatically assume Liberals (however I identify that) are automatically evil. Just the opposite actually. I know some Liberals whom I believe to be very well intentioned and I don’t discount that I can learn something from them.

        The best path is probably something in a middle way that is informed by facts, not prejudice. Anyway, was a better than average conversation. 🙂

        regards,

        lwk

         
 
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