And Where Did He Get That Idea From?

A Texas man ends up rightfully convicted of murder by a jury of his peers after asserting self-defense. Apparently the man in the case had some wild-eyed misconceptions about self-defense:

One neighbor testified that Rodriguez, who had a concealed handgun license, bragged about his guns and that he told her a person could avoid prosecution in a shooting by telling authorities you were in fear of your life and were standing your ground and defending yourself.

And where would he have gotten that idea? It certainly wasn’t in his CHL training. It certainly wasn’t from any of us, who are up front and honest about what self-defense actually is, and make an attempt at educating the public about it. No, he got that idea from the media, who got that idea from our opponents.

I’m not kidding here. Their misleading and deceptive characterization of self-defense laws, and the media’s willingness to help spread their dangerous meme throughout the land, and their own attempts to spread it, is at least partly responsible for this horrible incident. This guy believed their bull, and now one person is dead, and he’s rightfully in prison for the murder. When you lie about self-defense laws, when you mischaracterize them, suggesting that all anyone has to do is claim they were scared, you run the risk that some morons out there might actually believe it. We told you this was dangerous. We told you this would happen, and you did not believe us. Well, here it is. No doubt they will find it easy to wash the blood off their hands, cup them back over their mouths, and continue trying to convince the public the NRA has made it possible to shoot someone if you’re scared, no questions asked. At least until the next moron actually believes them.

28 thoughts on “And Where Did He Get That Idea From?”

  1. Castigate the media all you want for this abomination. It will not shame them, nor affect them at all. This is exactly the result they wanted. They want all “Stand Your Ground” laws stricken from the record.

  2. I haven’t read Joan Peterson’s blog lately because it was a waste of time and because it kills my brain cells. I clicked the link you threw up there without seeing where it would go and had to look, kind of like rubbernecking at a bad car accident. Wow, she is simply off the deep end.

    I don’t understand how she performs basic tasks like renewing the registration on her car or paying her electric bill.

    There’s no arguing with people like her. She simply lives on a different plane of reality.

    1. I went over there too. WOW, she is on a whole other plane of reality.

      Today she’s dancing around saying SYG doesn’t give blanket immunity.

      Before today she (and her gun grabbing ilk) was yammering how SYG DOES give blanket immunity!!


  3. This is the misunderstanding, “Stand Your Ground” doesn’t mean “stand your ground”, it means “retreat to the most tactically advantageous position to avoid harm, and when harm continues to press toward you, shoot it in the face.”
    Just like “Make My Day” doesn’t mean “make my day”.

    1. First, Rodriguez wasn’t in physical danger; just saying “I fear for my life” doesn’t make it so. Any reasonable person would have just left the party.

      Second, Rodriguez didn’t even have a legal right to be where he was! It wasn’t his house, or a restaurant, or a parking lot that he had the right to be at. After complaining about the noise of the party, he should have left, and if it continued, he should have called the police.

      This story is really tragic, because Rodriguez could have taken steps to avoid the confrontation–and it’s especially tragic that he didn’t understand Self Defense law.

      Sebastian is right. Japete, and the media, have blood on their hands: they spout nonsense about self defense, and when people believe them, they dance in the blood of the victims.

      1. The law varies from state to state, but what most of them inherited from the Common Law is the reasonable person test – it’s not whether you were in fear for your life, but whether a reasonable person in your circumstances would have feared for his life.

        My advice, back when I was teachihg this stuff, was to emphasize just how expensive, exhausting, and generally painful was even a successful assertion of self-defense. Say goodbye to your house, your savings, your friends, and years of your life – even if you win.

    2. Sorry Snoopy, but I disagree. Stand your ground really does mean just that. You don’t have to retreat or budge an inch, if you have a legal right to be there. That is the beauty of it.

  4. I don’t want to give the idea I’m forgiving those who deliberately spread misconceptions about law, but my experience has been that people don’t need much help to have misconceptions about self-defense.

    There was a somewhat interesting case c. 1996 when someone came to a PA gun group that existed at the time, seeking support for his son, who had shot another teenager at their door; but his claim to self-defense was undercut by testimony that he had told other kids “If that guy tries to come in here I’ll kill him.” The fact that he had premeditated the possibility of the situation, and of using deadly force rather than avoiding it, obviously hurt his claim to self defense. The kid got eight years for second degree murder, while his dad maintained he had been railroaded. The attitudes of gun owners were mixed. The majority thought it was a bad shoot, but a lot of people thought the self defense claim was entirely legitimate.

    I doubt even Castle Doctrine would have made much difference in that case. The only real difference from the situation described above was that instead of long-term witnesses to the shooter’s intent, the witnesses were immediate to the incident.

    1. I remember hearing about that case from the father who was on a mailing list I was on at the time. From what he said and I remember, it was a good shoot: police refused to do anything about the aggressor who was on the property and making credible threats against a girl who was sheltering inside the home. Aggressor starts to force his way into the house, is killed with a M1 Garand (should have stayed off the lawn…).

      The case was poisoned by many things, including the young man making that spectacularly unwise statement a day or more prior to the final incident; my take away was to never make such statements, period. Pick your friends and enemies carefully, and don’t depend on witness supporting you, they may be … convinced to do otherwise. And, yeah, this was likely another death due to deinstitutionalization and the sea change surrounding that.

      Although serious language may be called for during a confrontation to convince the perp you will indeed use lethal force if he forces you to, the intent of course being to avoid having to use it. But it needs to be worded carefully if you are a cop.

      1. “the father who was on a mailing list I was on at the time.”

        Probably either “PA-RKBA!” or “Tyranny Response Team” (TRT). Of course I suspect Rick was on a few others, too.

        Regarding details of the case, a not-too-relevant one was that I recall it being an M-1 Carbine, not Garand; and the kid claimed he thought that the kid he shot was going for a baseball bat that was standing inside the doorway. I think it came down to, that the jury didn’t buy it. I’m also not sure that the forensic evidence supported that. But I think most importantly, the jury was probably not convinced that the shooter reasonably believed that his life was in danger.

        As I said, there were different perceptions, even within the RKBA community. Mine at the time was, that I was not surprised at the conviction, though I sure wished the kid could get a do-over on the whole affair.

        1. No, a list that was general and national in scope, originally a, if not the first one, hosted by HP in the ’80s.

          And, yeah, there was a claim that the assailant had a baseball bat as I recall. However it did not come down to a jury; the son was charged with a capital crime and with the way the case was going (e.g. apparent witness tampering) he took a 2nd degree murder plea with an 8 year sentence (??!!?!!).

          Now that I think about it, unless that Pennsylvania community’s standards are very different than the ones in my SW corner of Missouri, 8 years is way too short a sentence for a 2nd degree murder plea (at the time I was still recovering from the Massachusetts attitudes towards real criminals, remember Willie Horton?). Perhaps the state’s case wasn’t that strong after all?

  5. I want to add to the above, that while it was a PA state cause celebre with gun owners, it was never clear to me that Castle Doctrine was going to change anything important in any practical way. I certainly didn’t resist it, but my enthusiasm for it was muted compared to most people’s.

    If people who had the wrong idea about self-defense in the first place, now believe it has been vastly liberalized — whether that misconception is planted by the left or by jailhouse lawyers on the right — it could prove to be the downside to Castle Doctrine. It may take a long time, for time to tell.

    Just thinking out loud. . .

    1. Massad Ayoob put it best, saying that Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground don’t greatly change the landscape of self-defense law. Under “Duty to Retreat”, you’re only required to retreat where/when you can do so “in complete safety.” If you’re retreat puts you in danger of death or physical harm, then the duty doesn’t apply.

      And as he also put it (paraphrased), anyone who says otherwise is saying they haven’t read the law.

      1. This is a good point. As near as I can tell by reading the relevant NJ law and the jury instructions on the use of deadly force, assuming that the situation was anywhere near as described by George Zimmerman, his use of deadly force would have been justified under NJ’s laws concerning use of deadly force outside of the home. He could not retreat in perfect safety (NJ’s wording) and deadly force was being used against him (beating his head against concrete). I’m not aware of any state in the union where you are not allowed to use deadly force in that situation.

        1. Yep. In George Zimmerman’s case – “Stand Your Ground” and “Duty to Retreat” not withstanding – he was knocked to the ground and was getting his head pounded in. My question for the antis: How, exactly, is one expected to retreat in complete safety from this situation?

          SYG is simply a removal of the DTR, but even DTR didn’t apply in Zimmerman’s case. I doubt the 2nd degree murder charge will stand even IF it goes to full trial, and based on the crap the DA filed on the case, I think it might get thrown out long before then.

          1. Normally I think you’d be right. But with the publicity of this case, I don’t think there is a judge in Florida willing to take the heat for throwing this case out. They would rather the jury decide.

            1. You’re probably right, although Zimmerman has the right to call for a pre-trial hearing, where the judge could decide on a preponderance of evidence basis in his favor. Current guessing is that with this judge and this prosecutor, it’s not worth giving the latter an advance look at the cards that’ll almost certainly have to be presented to the jury as an affirmative defense.

      2. And as he also put it (paraphrased), anyone who says otherwise is saying they haven’t read the law.

        Although that needs to include case law. E.g. the Massachusetts high court had unconscionable notions about DTR in your dwelling in the ’80s (and probably still does) and in Missouri our plain as day Castle Doctrine has been nullified at the appeals court level :-(.

        1. Which is why I went looking for the relevant jury instructions. That’s the relevant standard by which you are judged by twelve.

          1. Indeed, and it’s in the jury instructions that the Missouri courts have nullified our Castle Doctrine.

            Knowledge is power and all that.

  6. The sad thing is that this case completely undermines the antis assertions that “Stand Your Ground” laws are a license to kill indiscriminately and that anyone claiming self-defense will get off. We had a bad shoot, he claimed self-defense under SYG, and was found guilty of murder because it was ruled NOT a legitimate self-defense case and SYG doesn’t apply.

    And yet, they’re still calling this tragedy a victory for their cause. They don’t just have blood on their hands or their dancing shoes; they bathe in the stuff.

  7. I just read Japete’s post. I think I have a permanent impression on my palm on my forehead now.

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