If there’s anything that the European media likes to do, it’s make Americans look like violent whack jobs with our crazy gun laws. Such is the case with a German student killed in what the BBC is calling a castle doctrine case:
Mr Kaarma, a 29-year-old firefighter, has told investigators his home had twice been hit by burglars, and he told a hair stylist he had waited up at night to shoot intruders, prosecutors said.
On the night of the shooting, Mr Kaarma and his partner Janelle Pflager left their garage door open, and Ms Pflager left her purse in the garage in order to bait intruders, she told police.
They set up motion sensors and a video monitor, prosecutors said.
When the sensors went off just after midnight and they saw a man on the monitor screen, Mr Kaarma went outside and fired a shotgun into the garage without warning several times.
The law in Montana still requires that you be in reasonable fear of death or grave bodily injury. “Castle doctrine,” simply means that you have no duty to retreat from your home. In most states, there’s either a statutory or common law presumption that someone unlawfully entering your home amounts to that reasonable fear. But setting up in ambush? That looks an awful lot like this case to me. I think prosecutors in this case probably feel the same way, or they wouldn’t have charged him. So this is another incident that really is not a “castle doctrine” case. This is going to hinge on whether or not the homeowner was in reasonable fear of life and limb, which given the circumstances, it seems pretty obvious he was not, and his planning the ambush establishes a very different frame of mind than the one required to claim self-defense.
This is a pretty run-of-the-mill murder case where the defendant is claiming self-defense. It’s baffling to me the media’s reaction. How do they handle self-defense claims in Europe? Do they just give them a “go straight to jail” card if a homeowner shoots an intruder? No trial? Are people not permitted to defend themselves against murder charges in Europe?