The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part IV: I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means

On Tuesday and yesterday, we discussed “Protect” Minnesota’s factually vacuous response to the House’s Constitutional Carry bill – which would allow people who are otherwise entitled to carry firearms to do so without having to jump through hoops.

Today, we’ll shift the focus to “Protect”‘s response to the self-defense reform bill – which The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence refers to as “stand your ground”, because the left and media paid a lot of good money to try to stigmatize that term after the Trayvon Martin episode, of which more later.

Field Marshal Of The Legion Of Invincible Ignorance:  I keep thinking I’ve found the Reverend Nord Bence’s dumbest lie of the lot.  I keep finding worse ones.  But this one may be the bottom of the barrel:

The Stand Your Ground bill (HF0238) would change Minnesota’s existing authorized use of force law by removing the obligation to retreat from danger before using deadly force. If passed, it would be admissible to use deadly force any place and anytime a person subjectively believed their life to be threatened, except against peace officers.

This part is actually true – not that it does Nord Bence’s larger point any good.

The presumption of innocence would be given to the shooter, while burden of proof for prosecution would be with the state. This is the law in Florida that enabled George Zimmerman to get away with the murder of Trayvon Martin.

It’s only two sentences – but they are steeped to saturation in ignorance and untruth.

Reverend: Please read the Fifth Amendment. Get back to us. Thanks.

Read the Fifth Amendment.  The accused always have a presumption of innocence!  The burden of proof is supposed to be with the state!

One wonders if the Reverend truly doesn’t know this – or if she is aiming on purpose for the dumb and illl-informed.

Minnesota currently allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, which is appropriate. But it’s an objective standard.

That is 180 degrees removed from correct.  It is subjective!

It’s called the “Reasonable Person” standard; would a “reasonable person” – or 12 of them on a jury, as Joel Rosenberg explained it – believe that you were in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm?   That was a start; those same reasonable people had to believe you also used lethal force appropriately, and weren’t taking part in a fight you were willingly part of.

It’s simple in concept, it’s intensely complicated in court, it’s generally logical, it makes lawyers rich…

…and it’s anything but objective.

You have to be able to show you actually were in danger and that you tried to retreat before resorting to deadly force. This bill removes the obligation to retreat and specifically gives the presumption of innocence to the shooter.

No.  The Constitution does.

The bill merely means that a prosecutor can’t try to hold an arbitrary, subjective definition of “retreating” against someone who is otherwise legitimately defending their life.

This is a major change in our understanding of what it means to defend yourself, a completely subjective standard.

Well, the Reverend Nord Bence is close to a point.  If she and her followers were to learn the current law and what the bill would actually do, it’d be a major change in their understanding, all right.

The Future:  The Reverend Nord Bence asks:

Is that what we want for Minnesota?

You’re a 120 pound woman who works at a shopping mall.  As you walk to your car, a man approaches you, draws a knife, and says “Bitch, get in the car”.  As he steps to grab you, you draw a handgun and shoot him.  He bleeds out as you wait for the police.

A decision you made in a fraction of a second ended one life – perhaps justly – and has just changed yours forever; as the late Joel Rosenberg said, you’ve just dropped a nuclear bomb into your life.

The county attorney will look at the evidence, and weigh it against the statute and, in Minnesota, a lot of case law.

  • Did you legitimately fear death or great bodily harm?  There was a knife, and his statements indicated he was bent on mayhem. Check.
  • Were you a willing participant?  Obviously not.  Surveillance camera footage showed you were clearly accosted.  Check.
  • Did you use appropriate force?   You shot him, he dropped, you ceased fire.  You ended the immediate threat.  Check.
  • Did you make a reasonable effort to retreat?   You were 120 pounds and in reasonable shape.  He was 250 and kind of a slob.  Could you have outrun him, thus avoiding the incident?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But here’s what will happen; a decision that you had to make in a second, in a dark parking lot, under the most stress you will ever feel, will be gone over by someone with a BA in Political Science and a JD, sitting in a warm, well-lit office, protected by deputies with badges and metal detectors and guns, to determine if you tried hard enough, in his utterly subjective opinion, to retreat.   If he decides you did not?  You will go to trial, and spend your life’s savings trying to stay out of jail – not over whether you were reasonably afraid, but over the prosecutor’s opinion of your reflexes.    In the hands of a zealous-enough prosecutor, “duty to retreat” becomes an utterly subjective way of punishing people for otherwise perfectly-legitimate shoots.Like the one we just demonstrated.

That is why we need this law.

Oh, it gets worse still.  More tomorrow.

8 thoughts on “The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part IV: I Don’t Think That Word Means What The Rev. Nancy Nord Bence Thinks It Means

  1. I remember discussing this in permit training, and when the idea of removing the duty to retreat came up, the instructor was in favor of it, but noted that in cases where the duty to retreat did not exist, retreat was still very often a good tactic.

  2. No question about it. Retreat is better, avoidance is best.

    My first carry permit instructor, the late great Joel Rosenberg, had two sayings among the many that stuck with me over the past decade since I took his class:

    “Shooting in self-defense is the second-worst possible outcome. At best”.


    “When you’re carrying, it behooves you to become the biggest pussy in the room” (when it comes to avoiding confrontations).

  3. The mandatory cowardice requirement always intrigued me. Why is it there?

    I understand that society wants peace and quiet; therefore, society doesn’t want people to fight if they can avoid it. You, as a citizen, should walk away, if you can, saving violence as a last resort. It’s the same advice every martial arts instructor tells you.

    Sounds lovely. Except that means peaceful people no longer own the streets, criminals do. Criminals decide who gets to walk on the sidewalks. If the criminal decides you can’t come in his neighborhood, tells you to leave and threatens to kill you if you don’t, then you are Required By Law to do it. You cannot stand your ground, you must run away in order to avoid provoking him to violence. “Now look what you made me do” is no longer for wife-beaters, it’s for every criminal.

    I know what you’re thinking: yes, we cede temporary control of the streets to criminals, but we regain that control when the police arrive to take them into custody. Civil order is restored when the justice system removes the criminals from the streets. Apparently, you’ve never heard of “no go” zones and aren’t aware that People Whose Lives Matter are exempt from this happy fantasy. And now, with the Ferguson Effect hampering law enforcement’s efforts to reclaim the streets from criminals, ordinary law-abiding citizens have even less reason to believe they live in a safe and orderly society.

    Before you tell me that mandatory cowardice is the best method to have a safe and orderly society, you need to explain to me why it’s not working. Because if you can’t explain that to me, then I’m not interested in your panacea. I’m interested in exploring other solutions. And one of those solutions is to give law-abiding citizens to defend themselves anywhere they have a legal right to be.

  4. I”m not sure I’ll call it “mandatory cowardice”.

    I’m steering more toward “giving County Attorney’s Godlike powers”.

  5. My guess is when the Rev read HF0238 she didn’t grasp this part:

    Subd. 6. Justifiable use of force; burden of proof. In a criminal trial, when there is any evidence of justifiable use of force under this section or section 609.06, the state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were not justifiable.

    I believe this subdivision reinforces the 5th Amendment and further puts the onus of truth on the state (prosecutors), a good thing.

  6. Pingback: The Gang That Couldn’t Not Shoot, Straight, Part V: Everyone With ELCA Hair Looks The Same | Shot in the Dark

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