My first carry permit instructor, the late great Joel Rosenberg, drilled into his students’ heads one key, overarching idea; that shooting in self-defense was, at best, the second-worst possible outcome to an incident. “You’re setting off a nuclear bomb in your life”, he said.
Shooting in self-defense is fraught with peril, for even the most law-abiding citizen and the most legitimate shoot.
And the criteria for “legitimate shoot” – the use of lethal force in self-defense – are both oppressively vague (in Minnesota) and relatively iron-clad. To you use lethal force legally in self-defense:
- You must not be a willing participant in the incident. You can’t start a brawl, and then draw your gun when someone pulls a knife.
- You must reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm.
- The force you use must be reasonable; you can only use it to end the immediate threat to your life.
- You must make a reasonable effort to disengage. One exception in Minnesota is when you’re in your home – which means “within the walls of your domicile”.
There was a shooting over the weekend in Madelia, Minnesota. The Strib’s John Reinan was on the hagiography beat (a Strib specialty. The Southern MN News stuck to the facts.
If I had to guess, bsed on the information we have in front of us right now (and Berg’s 18th Law would tell us that relying on the media for actual information is dodgy at best), I’d suggest that shooting at someone’s car to blow out a tire as they’re fleeing is legal in Texas, but probably a bad move under Minnesota law. Again, just guessing, and the shooter, David Petterson, is innocent until proven guilty.
But I’m not here to talk about the case, or the media’s reporting of it – not this time.
I’m here to continue my mission of making sure every single sentient Minnesotan knows that “Protect” Minnesota, even more than most criminal-safety groups, are to fact what “Baghdad Bob” was to journalism.
The blood was barely dry before The Reverend Nancy Nord Bence – “P”M’s “executive director” and one of about half a dozen actual members – released her opinion.
“Opinion” is putting it as charitably as ethically possible:
Look! Boogeymen!: Nord Bence starts out shaky:
We are already hearing chatter from the gun lobby about how unfair it was for law enforcement to charge David A. Pettersen with second-degree manslaughter and intentional discharge of a firearm in connection with the shooting death of Nicholas T. Embertson in Fieldon Township on Saturday. They are saying that this case demonstrates why the Stand Your Ground bill (HR0238), introduced earlier this session by Rep. Jim Nash of Waconia, should be passed.
Not sure what “Gun Lobby” the Reverend Nord Bence is referring to – neither GOCRA nor MNGOC nor the NRA have publicly opined on the case. Minnesota Gun Rights is a potemkin organization – a scam, if you will. They are not “the gun lobby”.
They also don’t know the law much better than Nord Bence; “Stand Your Ground” is useless if you don’t reasonably, immediately fear death or great bodily harm. Not to do the county attorney’s job, but under Minnesota law, shooting at a fleeing car might not fly in court.
Preacher, Heal Thyself: The Reverend Nord Bence – like her predecessor, Heather Martens, has yet to make a single, original, substantial, true statement on the issue of guns. I’m not sure she’s “lying” – telling untruths when you don’t know any better is merely ignorance.
But while Nord Bence is a comically inept spokesperson, it’s a good thing she’s got preachin’ to fall back on. Because she’d make a terrible lawyer:
The Nash Stand Your Ground bill is dangerous for many reasons – not the least being the serious risk it would pose to communities of color and immigrants in our state.
Nord Bence keeps saying this. I’m not sure she could even tell you why. I’d guess it’s because one of her superiors in the Criminal Safety movement told her “FEELING THREATENED BY A HOODIE JUSTIFIES MURDER” or some such twaddle.
Which ties into this next bit:
But we should not forget that HR0238 would also tie the hands of local law enforcement and obstruct their ability to fulfill their sworn duty to protect the communities they serve. If it were to pass, almost any shooting could be justified because the shooter “felt threatened,”
And again, as we noted a few weeks back, Nord Bence is either legally illiterate, or lying, or both. While Minnesota’s self-defense laws are a marvel of unclarity, they are pretty clear on the point that you have to have an immediate fear of death or great bodily harm that you can convince a jury is “reasonable”.
Hoodies don’t count.
Will “teenagers speeding away in a car” pass muster? I wouldn’t bet on it.
The Pettersen case demonstrates why it is so important that law enforcement personnel retain the right to do their job and determine when charges are warranted.
And Nancy Nord Bence demonstrates why “getting your information from “Protect” Minnesota is actually worse than getting no information at all.