Jeff Soyer responds to a statement by Peter Hamm of The Brady Campaign on the Castle Doctrine law in Mississippi: “Do we want to kill every 16-year-old kid we find stealing a car stereo?”Â Jeff’s response:
Actually, yes we do. Hereâ€™s why: Because after a few of these teen thugs are removed from the scene, their peers will get the message that stealing is wrong. Theyâ€™re not getting that instruction from their parents or prosecutors or judges so itâ€™s left to us â€” the law abiding members of society and the victims of these criminals â€” to educate them ourselves.
Further, if they (the miscreants) donâ€™t get that message, they continue to steal and emboldened by toothless laws tend to move-up to more serious crimes such as assault, muggings, and home invasions â€” often resulting in the death of their victims (us!).
This isn’t something I can get behind.Â Even under castle doctrine laws, it’s illegal an immoral to execute someone (and that is what you are doing, make no bones about it) for stealing your property.Â I am entirely in favor of people being able to use, and using deadly force to protect themselves and others.Â If you confront a car stereo thief, and he threatens you with a weapon, you are within your rights to use deadly force on your attacker.Â If he runs away with your car stereo, that’s a job for the police.
In order to enjoy the benefits of living under government in a peaceful society, we largely agree to surrender our right of retribution to the state, and to rely on it to punish people who take our property.Â We retain the right and means of self-defense as a people.Â Seeking retribution for petty crimes is the proper role of the police and the court system, not of individual citizens.Â I admire Jeff’s clear thinking on a great many issues, but if we are to convince our fellow citizens that castle doctrine is not “vigilantism”, then we must not feed that fire by actually advocating that.