Friday, May 2, 2014

Are Detroit Home Owners Taking The Law Into Their Own Hands By Shooting Invaders?

Over the last couple of months, several Detroit news media outlets have been describing some home owners as vigilantes taking the law into their own hands.

As of Tuesday, there have been about 12 justified homicides in the city of Detroit. In the majority of those cases, armed intruders forced their way into occupied homes and were met with gunfire from the legal occupants. Were these Detroit residents lawfully justified to shoot? Or were they exacting street justice?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a "vigilante" as a person who is not a police officer but who tries to catch and punish criminals. With this definition, I believe that it is a stretch to say that a person in their own home is making a concerted effort to catch criminals. When I hear the term "vigilante" I think of the Charles Bronson character in the "Death Wish" movie series who cruised the streets looking for robbers, rapists, and jackers to shoot and kill.

So, what does Michigan law say about self-defense in your own home? The relevant legal concept is referred to as the "Castle Doctrine." It is so named because it acknowledges that a person's home is their castle and is a place that a person should never have to flee.

As such, if an invader either attempts to either break into a home or has already broken into a home, there is a legal presumption that the occupants are in both reasonable and imminent danger. Thus, occupants of that residence are well within their rights to use deadly force to defend themselves. The aforementioned presumption is rebuttable by the County Prosecutor but the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the invader did not create an imminent and reasonable danger has to be overcome.

Some critics of the Castle Doctrine have cried foul when invaders were later discovered to be teenagers. Their typical argument is that the home owners should bear additional risk by ascertaining the age and the intentions of invaders before shooting. I personally believe that if a person - regardless of age - is so emboldened to enter someone's home without permission, they are old enough to be shot. Conducting an investigation during an active home invasion can only lead to an increased risk of the home owner being victimized.

Home invasions are especially dangerous because home owners have no other choice but to assume the worse case scenario. If a criminal only wanted material possessions and had no desire to inflict suffering on victims, why wouldn't they wait until the home was vacant? People who are so brazen to invade an occupied home is mentally prepared do whatever it takes to achieve their objectives, even if it means killing someone.

In the aftermath of a home invasion shooting, the prevailing law enforcement agency will be tasked with the responsibility of conducting an investigation. Their findings will then be submitted to County Prosecutor for a decision as to whether the home owner should be charged with an offense. Thus far, Detroiters defending their homes have done an outstanding job of operating within the law and not being prosecuted.

So, are home owners defending their lives against invaders operating outside of the law? The answer is a resounding "NO." Anyone suggesting such nonsense either has a political agenda or is too stupid to look up the word "vigilante" in a dictionary.

If criminals do not want to get shot, they should not invade someone else's home, especially when they are there.

About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Phone: 313.733.74

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