We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Letting the Police do their job

When you read this kind of thing in a newspaper, it’s bad. But when you read it at cricinfo …:

The riots and looting in Birmingham were copycat incidents following events in London over the previous days. The vandalism was concentrated around the city centre, with masked young men and women going on a rampage from early evening, looting shops and destroying property.

They started by snatching mobile phones and handbags from pedestrians, followed by kicking, punching, breaking windows of shopping centres, banks, pubs, restaurants, forcing people to shut down these establishments. Groups of two or three suddenly grew larger and created an atmosphere of panic and fear. Through the evening and night riot police were on the main streets, armoured police vehicles and other cars scanned the roads, and a helicoper hovered overhead.

The headline above this says: “Test likely to begin despite riots”.

One of the more depressing things about these riots is the way that the only thing that the Police can think of to say to us non-looters and non-arsonists is: “Don’t join in” and “Let us handle it”. If the bad guys start to torch your house, let them get on with it. If they attack your next door neighbour, don’t join in on his side. Run away. Let the barbarians occupy and trash whatever territory they pick on and steal or destroy whatever property they want to.

There was a fascinating impromptu TV interview with some young citizens of Clapham last night, not “experts”, just regular citizens, one of whom stated the opposite policy. Law abiding persons should get out of their houses, he said, en masse, and be ready to defend them.

The trouble with “letting the Police do their job” is that in the precise spot in which you happen to live, or used to live, their job probably won’t start, if it ever does start, for about a week. In the meantime, letting the Police do their job means letting the damn looters and arsonists do their job, without anyone laying a finger on them, laying a finger on them being illegal. This is a doomed policy. If most people are compelled by law to be only neutral bystanders in a war between themselves and barbarism, barbarism wins. The right to, at the very least, forceful self defence must now be insisted upon. The Police, as we advocates of the don’t-disarm-the-victims-of-crime policy have been pointing out for decades, can’t be everywhere. They cannot instantaneously attend every crime, and magically prevent it. Only the potential or actual victims of crime can sometimes immediately prevent or immediately punish crime, provided only that they are not forbidden to.

Says Instapundit:

Unlike L.A., there are no Korean shopkeepers with AR-15s to help contain the looting.


The best thing about these riots is that they have distilled and aggregated the folly of the “let the Police see to it” policy into a large and combined event, and they have done it right next door to where our political class lives. These riots are not confined to Birmingham, or some such second-tier city. They are happening in the backyard of our rulers, even as they hurry back home from Tuscany.

For the last few decades the don’t-get-involved, let-Them-handle-it policy has applied only to more isolated crimes, or to riots only way beyond our capital city, which has meant that its doomed nature has impacted only upon those individuals or local populations attacked by criminals, not on the nation as a whole as perceived and lived in by those ruling it. Now our rulers can see this policy in vividly dramatic “action” (i.e. inaction), live on TV, and near enough to where they live for them to be scared, along with everyone else. And the rest of us will see them turning into the kind of vengeful right wing monsters they despise, as soon as their own houses are attacked. Which they well might be.

I recall reading about a yob who stole something from a street stall in Nigeria, many years ago. He was promptly set upon by a mob, of stallholders and their customers, and beaten up. Are you civilised? It depends which side your mobs are on. All our mobs, except the little mobs that are the Police, are anti-civilisation.

I own a cricket bat, inherited from my late Uncle Guy (whom I wrote about towards the end of this ancient blog posting), with “G Micklethwait” written on it. I hope I don’t find myself thinking about using it during the next few days, but I have already checked where it is.

91 comments to Letting the Police do their job

  • Owinok

    I like the last sentence of the last paragraph.

  • I suspect people are going to be less likely to stand by in future, quite a number of people I know have similarly checked where suitable implements of discouragement are and coldsteel are reporting a surge in the sale of sjamboks. Such a clear demonstration of how little the police can/will do to protect the general public and their livelihoods homes etc, is tricky to ignore.

  • Ian F4

    There may be a sufficient argument against assault rifles, but there isn’t one when considering allowing Taser or Mace type weapons used as defence. They are probably safer than a cricket bat to the head and have the added advantage that the (disabled) target remains on the premises for Mr Plod to escort away, none of this “I was just exiting the property when I was shot in the buttocks m’lud” crap.

    With the current police attitude, perhaps when the little sh*t who torched the carpet warehouse finally gets collared, the concerned citizens should approach the police station en masse demanding justice, in a “string him up naked for a damn good flogging” kind of way, do you think the local bobbies would stand aside ?

    The bloody obvious reason why riots have spread is nothing to do with social issues, it’s the information age phenomenon where the opportunistic thugs get instant data on the police whereabouts and decide to thieve elsewhere whilst the law is distracted.

  • Antoine Clarke

    Frankly, anything less than a pump action shotgun (what American police call a “riot gun”) is not much use for protecting a shop: if you’re near enough to use a Taser against a mob, you’re too close.

    I say let all the Hindus in the UK have guns, legally, and use them on anyone inside their homes and shops, legally.

    But as the law stands, those staff who ran out of the restaurant kitchen threatening muggers with knives must be jailed for life. And anyone inciting vigilante action is worse than the rioters, according to the standards of David Cameron, Boris Johnson and all the “hoodie-huggers.”

  • Surellin

    Wretchard has a wonderful post at Belmont Club. In essence, he maintains that, in the absence of legitimacy, no government has enough force to maintain order in situations such as these. And the British government has been de-legitimising itself for some time.

  • Vinegar Joe

    I wonder when the Libyans will establish a “no-fly zone” over the UK and send military advisers to the rebels…….will Qaddafi recognize them as the legitimate government?

  • Ian F4

    if you’re near enough to use a Taser against a mob, you’re too close.

    I actually stated “Taser type weapon”,say, like a cattle prod, which I think would be perfectly adequate to defend against a mob in confined quarters, like a shop.

    And you forgot about the tear gas as well, in some cases you don’t even have to be inside or near the property if connected to the burglar alarm system.

  • Laird

    What you’re seeing is the inevitable result of the policy that all right to the use of force (even defensive force) belongs exclusively to the State. You’ve completely lost sight of the fact that the police only have powers that have been delegated to by by the populace, which delegation is not exclusive (or, for that matter, irrevocable). Perhaps these riots will force a very public re-examination of that policy, and a return to traditional anglo-saxon legal principles.

    And, of course, if you still have a functioning jury system, no one charged with defending himself or his property would ever be convicted. In a just society no one would be found to testify against him, and the jury members (even a minority of them) would exercise their ancient right of jury nullification. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • Excellent post. I’ve been saying all along that the good guys need to be armed. As it stands the bad guys outnumber the police. They’ve just spent the last few days discovering just how much havoc they can cause when they all commit their crimes at the same time.

    And then there’s the incentives: it seems like these thugs find it great fun to smash stuff up and set light to things. Now they know they can do it and get away with it. So we need to introduce some costs to the cost/benefit analysis, such as a high likelihood of getting your head blown off.

    Every time I see some footage of some lout smashing something, I imagine how different the situation would be if the cameraman had a handgun instead of a camera.

    The only trouble is, if guns were legalised tomorrow, I’d worry that not enough people would go out and buy them. Most people seem to still believe the “let the police do their jobs” advice — much of the riot footage contains someone or other complaining that there are no police anywhere. I think we might need to go back in time to that day someone decided that it was no longer acceptable for an Englishman to obtain a firearms license for self defence. 1920?

  • On a slightly lighter note you may want to check out on You Tube the clip from the Movie “Top Secret” – “Skeet Surfin’ in the USA.”

    “If everybody had a twelve gage.”

  • Kevin B

    Christine Odone(Link) in the Telegraph mentions this story:

    someone else talked about Turkish men lining the street of their neighbourhood to protect their homes from looters:

    Cameron reckons there will be 16,000 police on duty in the capital tonight, but if they can’t stem the tide then perhaps that sort of ‘community spirit’ will become more widespread.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Those Turkish guys are showing that it is simplistic to pin what has happened on immigrants, which I note has been said in some quarters.

  • cubanbob

    What good is the Army if the state isn’t willing to use it when it is called for ? A complete waste of money.
    This is an insurrection and should be put down severely. A few hundred or a few thousand dead rioters and looters would set the example to the rest. Cameron failed his leadership test.

  • Seerak

    I am reminded of the incident in Canada a few years back where some whackjob on a bus decided to decapitate the rider next to him. Afterwards the police were applauding the reactions of the other riders.

    What did they do? They ran away, of course.

  • John Galt

    “I own a cricket bat, inherited from my late Uncle Guy (whom I wrote about towards the end of this ancient blog posting), with “G Micklethwait” written on it. I hope I don’t find myself thinking about using it during the next few days, but I have already checked where it is.”

    I own a Remington 870 pump-action 12 gauge shotgun, among other firearms. After Hurricane Ike, when the police were engaged with other matters, my neighbors and I sat around drinking beer, talking sports, and cleaning our guns on the front porches. I think many of us were looking for the opportunity to shoot someone. There was nary a looter to be found…I’m sure the same scene was played across the Texas Gulf Coast.

    I’m sorry for what has happened to your country. You may be too far gone – Aristotle noted that there are natural masters and natural slaves, and apparently law-abiding citizens are the natural slaves (in the UK).

    A shame.

  • anon

    “For evil to triumph, good men need only do nothing”–Edmond Burke

  • SAJ

    It would be as well during these riots to remember the old saying: “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” Prepare accordingly, and statutes be damned.

  • Those of you who think a cricket bat or “taser type weapon” – a cattleprod!?! – will be effective close quarters defense against a MOB know nothing whatsover about self-defense.

    What is a cattleprod going to do against 4 or 5 young thugs who kick in your door? That thing will be turned against you in seconds and they’ll be laughing as you spasm when they jab you with it. What is mace going to do against a mob? While you’re spraying one thug three others are upon you.

    What are any of those sorts of weapons going to do against a firebomb thrown through your window?

    Riots like this stop when armed and united citizens block the entries to their neighborhoods and make it perfectly clear they will not tolerate being attacked.

  • Sam Duncan

    “The Police, as we advocates of the don’t-disarm-the-victims-of-crime policy have been pointing out for decades, can’t be everywhere.”

    Exactly. And that’s what these riots are all about: the criminals have figured this out. Keep the police occupied, keep one step ahead of them, and you can do whatever you like. They may catch up in the end – many of the looters will face an unwelcome knock on their doors in the weeks to come – but nobody will stop you.

  • section9

    Sadly, Britain lives under a firearms confiscation regime for the law-abiding. So, not only does the State have a monopoly on firearms, the criminal class shares in that monopoly.

    You are now seeing before you why Americans refuse to give up their right to keep and bear arms.

  • SAJ,

    In this case even “When seconds count the police are only minutes away” doesn’t even capture it. In the case of these riots, when seconds count the fire department is only hours away and once they’re finished the police will stop by.

    How sad for the poor, defenseless English citizens. Right now they need a healthy dose of the attitude that brings us the corollary to your earlier quote: “Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.”

  • John W.

    There is a fact many of you are ignoring or avoiding: the “police person” who arrests you for defending yourself or your property is NOT an officer of the law. They are accessories to the assault.

  • BFFB

    Those Turkish guys are showing that it is simplistic to pin what has happened on immigrants, which I note has been said in some quarters.

    From what I’ve seen it’s been mostly the immigrant populations showing the ‘community spirit’.

  • John K

    I own a Remington 870 pump-action 12 gauge shotgun, among other firearms.


    I used to have an 870 back in the day, and I kept it fully loaded for home protection. Lovely gun, action was as smooth as silk. Obviously there is no need for such home defence in the UK any more (according to our politicos, who are nonetheless themselves guarded by armed men), though just to be on the safe said I do keep a sword and a baseball bat handy.

  • I heard that Turks also chased away potential looters in Green Lanes. Turkish shopkeepers have a long history, IIRC, defending their premises from “the environment”, so they know what sort of scrote might turn up en masse.

    Antoine – let the Sikhs have them, too. I heard that Southall* was on ‘the list’…I suspect that may be a case of biting off more than they can chew – shop after shop, house after house full of people who have not had 60 years of Fabian brainwashing.

    p.s. I have a baseball bat and a 6x D cell maglite…in black**.

    * For those who do not know, Southall is an area of West London settled by many from the Indian subcontinent, and is about a mile or so from me.
    ** don’t worry, enviroloons, I have fitted an LED bulb.

  • SAJ

    Knuck —

    Couldn’t agree more. And another corollary worth noting: “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.”

    Uncivilised? Perhaps, but I’ll worry about style points and a slap on the wrist from Emily Post later, because, quite evidently, it’s going to come to that before too long.

  • tom beebe st louis

    Any wonder many of us in the USA fight for the “right to bear arms”?

  • Kim du Toit

    Enjoy cowering in your homes as the barbarians ravage your streets and burn your livelihoods to the ground.

    For some reason, I just think back to the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, and how the looting came to an abrupt halt when Korean shopkeepers armed with eeevil “assault rifles” started patrolling the rooftops of their businesses.

    Britain is soon going to learn the value of the Second Amendment. I know, some people are going to wail about “pitched gun-battles in the streets” and such. Well, yes; but it’s obviously working out for you SO much better this way.

    As you are all discovering Over There, it’s not that some people insist on not living in fear of guns; it’s that they force you to live under their circumstances as well, so good people like Brian have to resort to confronting a mob armed only with a cricket bat (good grief) instead of having, say, an AK-47 or shotgun, which is the choice I would have under the same circumstances in my neighborhood.

    Not that we ever have those kinds of circumstances Over Here, given that just about every house on our street is similarly equipped.

  • Jenny

    Because “let the thugs have their way, then let the authorities clean it up” approach worked out *so* well for us over here on 9/11.

    Well past time we all re-learned how to stand on our own hind legs and be citizens again.

    I hope you don’t need that cricket bat. I hope you and your neighbors all know and support each other. I wish you had decent weapons.

    … and I hope as in so many things, good and bad, we on this side of the pond learn from your experience.

  • Chris

    The police can’t really do anything but try to contain the rioting unless the politicians authorize the use of deadly force.

    Mob mentalities are formed by the feeling of safety provided by the group. The mob feels safe from physical harm due to the physical numbers of the group and it also feels safe from prosecution because of the feeling that the police can’t arrest them all.

    The only method that has ever worked to shatter the feeling of safety provided by the mob is to subject the mob to deadly force. However, the police know that they will face reprisals from the politicians and media if they just open fire into the mob which is why the police are only focusing on trying to contain the mob and hoping the the mob eventually fizzles out.

    The shopkeepers and average people who just want the rioting to end are just going to have to suffer the rampages of these “youths” since we live in a Western world that no longer has the will to defend itself from such acts of barbarity.

  • John C. Randolph

    The only legitimate purpose of any government is to defend the life, liberty, and property of its citizens. Its entire existence is due to the delegation of our natural right to self-defense. When the state fails to do this job, it is incumbent on the people to defend themselves.

    If there are rioters in your neighborhood, get your hands on whatever you can possibly use as a weapon, and beat the crap out of them.


  • Arch

    About ten years ago, a British farmer’s house was broken into by a two brothers. They beat him up and robbed him. When they did it a second time, he killed one and wounded the other. Amazingly, the farmer was arrested, charged with murder and convicted.

    In contrast, last year a Houston Texas man had his house broken into and he killed both intruders. The police ruled it justifiable homicide and sent him home. When the New Black Panthers “marched” to the man’s house they were met by a crowd of “well wishers.” Here is the video link.

  • pst314

    Antoine Clarke at August 9, 2011 01:51 PM “But as the law stands, those staff who ran out of the restaurant kitchen threatening muggers with knives must be jailed for life. And anyone inciting vigilante action is worse than the rioters, according to the standards of David Cameron, Boris Johnson and all the ‘hoodie-huggers’.”

    In MY book David Cameron, Boris Johnson and their ilk are the ones that should be jailed for life. 🙂

  • Richard Allen

    As I recall, when private Americans donated arms, through the NRA, to defend Britain in 1940, when the crisis was over, the British government not only confiscated them from their new British owners but destroyed them rather than return them to America. I wish the Brits had better weapons too but they are on their own.

  • DSmith

    When I was taking my concealed weapons permit class, my instructor, a retired veteran police officer who had done street patrol, narcotics, vice, undercover, etc, said something that really stuck with me. He said a policeman is nothing more than an armed historian. The policeman comes along after the fact, tries to discover what happened, and by the way carries a gun.

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

  • All this talk about the Police being only minutes away may be true in the luckier parts of the USA, but in London now … dream on. Hours if you are lucky. Probably more like days, or never.

  • llamas

    Arch wrote:

    ‘In contrast, last year a Houston Texas man had his house broken into and he killed both intruders. The police ruled it justifiable homicide and sent him home.’

    The linked video is related to the Joe Horn incident.

    If that is the incident that you are referring to, then your description is economical – to say the least. Horn killed two men whom he had seen breaking into a neighbour’s house – not his house. The police didn’t rule it anything (that’s not the job of the police) – it was almost 9 months later that the Harris County grand jury returned ‘no true bill’ against Horn. Nobody has ruled what he did as ‘justifiable homicide’, the grand jury simply refused to indict him for any criome.

    Your description of the English farmer bears some superficial resemblance to the case of Tony Martin but is so factually at-odds with that case that I won’t venture to assume that’s what you’re referring to.



  • Harry Schell

    The bright idea just to run away presumes there is a place to run TO, a place that will be “safe”.

    In my limited experience, I don’t believe anyplace is “safe”. There are times when I was in a place and suffered no harm or danger, but that was the luck at that time. This doesn’t mean one lives as a paranoid, but remains “alert”, as Jeff Cooper would say, and “prepared” as well as possible.

    When naked apes revert to jungle rules, a body is prey, predator or able to dissuade predators who think you’re prey. A firearm, most particularly a handgun, is the most effective means to this last end. You are the first line of your own self-defense, but I guess we all know that.

    How remarkable is the degradation of the UK I recall from years ago. No, there will not always be an England.

  • “as soon as their own houses are attacked. Which they well might be.”

    If only.

    The looters know the deal, Argos and Orange and Debenhams in Clapham and Woolwich.

    Islington and Mayfair are perfectly safe.

  • steve

    Since you can’t defend yourself from a crowd with shotguns, I think I would choose a sword over a tazer or cricket bat.

  • Arch


    I’m sure you’re right on both counts, but the point is the US and UK deal with self defense (and self defence) in entirely different ways. Did Joe Horn kill two guys? Was he charged?

    Did Tony Martin shoot two guys who had broken into his house? Did he kill one and wound the other? Was he jailed?

  • As mentioned, during the 1992 L.A riots, the only thing holding backing some stores being destroyed were the owners displaying their rifles. Pictures in the link below:


  • Harry Schell

    Another problem with the “just run away” plan in the UK besides where to go is how to get there.

    Are you going to ride the Tube? Take a bus? Ride a bike? Personal mobility is very low for most people as they are dependent on government for public transit, which is at least as exposed to the mobs as homes and shops, and may not be running anyway.

    I hope Scotland Yard will distribute cakes and champagne for those on the run to sustain themselves.

  • Shigella

    I think it would be illuminating to watch what happens if one of those shop owners were to call up the police and say “I have a gun and I’m about to start using it!” (regardless of whether they do actually have one).

  • llamas

    Arch wrote:

    ‘I’m sure you’re right on both counts, but the point is the US and UK deal with self defense (and self defence) in entirely different ways. Did Joe Horn kill two guys? Was he charged?

    Did Tony Martin shoot two guys who had broken into his house? Did he kill one and wound the other? Was he jailed?’

    Without wanting to re-open the entire discussion again – No, Joe Horn was not charged. But he should have been. And in virtually every other place in the US, he would have been. Texas is a special case, it suffers from a historical lunacy in this regard.

    Yes, Tony Martin was charged, and convicted, first of murder (a mistake, IMHO) which was later reduced to manslaughter, which was (IMHO) a righteous charge and he was properly found guilty of it. As he would have been in most places in the US.

    Except Texas.

    The differences in the way self-defense is treated in the laws of the UK and the US are not so great as you (and many others here) believe, or would like to believe. You can’t shoot burglars or car thieves out of hand in the US.

    Except in Texas.

    There is a difference in the social climate – prosecutors and juries are generally more-likely to give defendants who claim self-defense the benefit of the doubt, if there is a doubt – but if there is clear and convincing evidence that a person used deadly force when there was no immediate threat to life and limb – they’re going to get charged.

    Just last night, in Detroit:


    No justification for the use of deadly force (victim was driving away) = murder charge for shooter, even though he was the victim of a carjacking.



  • TheOldMan

    Hey Kim du Toit, it’s great to see that you are still around! There’s an old saying “I carry a pistol because a policeman is too heavy.” I don’t have a CCW, living in commie CA it’s a bit of hassle to get one, but at my castle, we are very well armed.

  • Arch


    I like stand & fight laws.

    Here in Alabama we also have a stand and fight law. If you believe you or your property are being threatened, you may use deadly force. The law not only protects you from criminal charges but also civil suits. Two months ago a man with a knife approached a man filling his tank. The car owner killed the man and was not charged.

    Here, people are armed and criminals are careful. I usually carry a Colt Model 1911, cocked and locked with several spare magazines. If a gang of thugs were to come into my neighborhood and begin breaking and entering or terrorizing the residents, they would need to have a collective death wish. With only six firearms, I am considered lightly armed. The reason I know is that I reload 30-06, 243, 45 ACP, 10 MM, 9 MM, 38 Spcl, and 380 ACP for many of my neighbors.

    Where guns are, criminals are afraid. Where there are no guns, citizens are afraid.

  • Marissa

    Horn claims the two men were shot after they came onto his front yard and police confirm this. He was defending his property from known looters. The man in Detroit was defending his stolen property from a looter (looters pay the ultimate price if they are killed in their “labor”). Apply Castle Law doctrine to the Detroit case and it is justifiable to use force to defend your violated property. I think extenuating circumstances in Martin’s case justify his actions. His home had been burglarized ten times already (he claimed). If you choose to loot, you need to face the consequences, one of which is death–they were still on his property.

  • Arch

    What Marissa said!

  • Kristopher


    All property theft equals slavery for the amount of time it takes to replace the property.

    How much slavery does it take to justify killing a slave holder?

    I shed no tears over dead burglars. We don’t have looter riots in the US because we make a habit of shooting individual looters without warning.

  • Kristopher

    Just curious: Do you need a license to buy a chainsaw with a 36″ bar in the UK?

    If the government there insists on turning neighborhoods into Mad Max Thunderdomes, you should get appropriate gear.

    A chainsaw, face colander, and a set of leather ass-less chaps sounds about right.

    Just walk away …

  • Kristopher

    This video(Link) might be of interest …

  • John Galt

    No, llamas, Colorado is also a “Castle Doctrine” State. Texas firearm laws are similar to most you’ll find in the South and West (Not Kali, Oregon, or WA).

    But, do us all a favor and stay away from Texas…would not want you polluting us with your silly ideas.

  • llamas

    Arch wrote:

    ‘Here in Alabama we also have a stand and fight law. If you believe you or your property are being threatened, you may use deadly force.’

    No, you may not. This is typical of the misunderstandings that so many people have about what the law of their state does & does not allow in the matter of self-defense and deadly force.

    The section of AL law that covers this is 13A-3-23, I suggest you study it and figure out what it really allows. Or consult an attorney licesned in your state. But whatever you do, disabuse yourself of the notion that you have some sort of carte-blanche to use deadly force against anyone who threatens your property, before you find out the hard way that you are mistaken.



  • llamas

    Marissa wrote:

    ‘The man in Detroit was defending his stolen property from a looter (looters pay the ultimate price if they are killed in their “labor”). Apply Castle Law doctrine to the Detroit case and it is justifiable to use force to defend your violated property.’

    You cannot ‘defend’ your property with deadly force. We do not apply the death penalty to thieves. What this man did (based on reports so far) is nothing less than murder – deliberately shooting at a man who offered him no threat and was actively fleeing.

    ‘Castle Law’ doctrine does NOT either cover, nor justify, what this man did.

    Deadly force is for threats to life and limb, and nothing else.

    Except in Texas.



  • llamas

    John Galt wrote:

    ‘No, llamas, Colorado is also a “Castle Doctrine” State. Texas firearm laws are similar to most you’ll find in the South and West (Not Kali, Oregon, or WA).

    But, do us all a favor and stay away from Texas…would not want you polluting us with your silly ideas. ‘

    I know that. But it’s obvious that you don’t know the actual meaning of the ‘Castle’ doctrine, nor the differences between the laws of TX and CO. Suggest you go any study some, and relieve your ignorance, before you come here and throw around your snide remarks.

    Regulars here will advise you that I know this stuff inside out, and will not hesitate to make you look like a fool if your persist in displaying your ignorance.



  • Laird

    Well, llamas, I don’t know what you mean by “threatens your property”, but the AL code section you cited specifically permits the use of deadly force, and provides a legal presumption that such force was justified, if you reasonably believe that another person is “in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle” or is “using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling” or is “committing or about to commit . . . burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree”, plus a number of other circumstances. That seems pretty broad to me. And also pretty sensible. “About to commit burglary” covers the guy in your yard threatening to break into the house.

  • Laird

    And for anyone interested, here’s a link to the AL code. I should have included it in my last post. To get to the section llamas cited you’ll have to click through to Title 13A, then Chapter 3, then Section 13A-3-23 under Article 2.

  • llamas

    Laird – Like so many, you cite the statute – but only the parts you like.

    The part that you omitted – the pre-condition which applies to all the parts you did cite – is this:

    “A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person . . . .”

    All the various clauses and phrases you cite – all of them correctly cited, you made no error – are pre-conditioned by this overriding clause. But you can’t just have the bits of the law you like.

    This is the stumbling block that so many people trip over when they claim that the law of their state allows them to do this-or-that. All of these laws have this overriding requirement – that the use of deadly force is only justified for the protection of life and limb.

    Except Texas.

    For the convenience of all, here is the whole text of the relevant part of AL statute:


    Once you read it all, you’ll see that it says, exactly what I say it says. You do NOT have the ‘right’ , or the presumption of justification, to use deadly force in AL against someone who ‘threatens your property’, as Arch claimed – you only have that right, and that presumption of justification, if you act in defense of yourself or another. And, of course, there is a ‘reasonable man’ standard that has to be met as well.

    I’m sorry that this sounds like lawyerly parsing, even though it is. But the law will be applied in all its parts. And, just as the prosecutor has to prove all the elements of the offense before you can be convicted of it, so you will have to prove that you satisfied all of the provisions of the law if you plan to rely on it for your defence.

    But thanks for playing.



  • Tim

    I checked Wikipedia and other places you are correct
    “Illamas” for now anyway only Texas seems to allow deadly force in defense of property. Given the speed at which both concealed carry and castle doctrine/stand your ground laws are passing in the US don’t know how many more years before similiar measures allowing deadly force in defense of property are passed around the country. After all the Texas law isn’t that old.

  • The Kraken

    My god it was just a few months ago I read somewhere in the Midlands police were warning rural homeowners not to put wire mesh over the windows of their locked sheds. It seems thieves might injure themselved breaking in! No wonder the police are ‘thinking’ about using plastic bullets. Your country is so f&cked it is not even funny. Brittan is being sacked and the Army is in barracks!

  • MIke

    Alas for your country, which I have visited and for your people whom I admire greatly. This horrific evil will not prevail but rather will bring out the “Great” in Britain.

  • Kristopher

    Llamas: Wrong, thanx for playing.

    From said AL statute:

    (4) In the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is in the process of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is attempting to remove, or has forcefully removed, a person against his or her will from any dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle when the person has a legal right to be there, and provided that the person using the deadly physical force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring. The legal presumption that a person using deadly physical force is justified to do so pursuant to this subdivision does not apply if: ( exceptions, like shooting a subletting tenant, etc )

    Sorry, Llamas, but most red states do not prosecute homeowners for shooting prowlers, regardless of whether or not they are armed.

    Oh, and add Oregon to the violent states list. A law allowing citizens to use deadly force to prevent a felony is still on the books there, despite whining from the Willamette valley hippies.

  • Kristopher

    Tim: wikipedia is a bad place to get any politically charged information.

    If you look up Castle Doctrine on Wikipedia, your other source on Wikipedia is immediately contradicted.

    Indiana, for example:
    Ind. Code Section 35-41-3-2 (b) A person: (1) is justified in using reasonable force, including deadly force, against another person; and (2) does not have a duty to retreat; if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s unlawful entry of or attack on the person’s dwelling…[19]

    Simply breaking in, or trying to break in can get you shot in Indiana.

  • Jerry

    ‘Texas is a special case, it suffers from a historical lunacy in this regard.’

    You’re entitled to your opinion.
    Some of us feel otherwise.
    You are taking something I worked for ( traded pieces of my life for ) I will damn well make you pay for it one way or another if I catch you doing it.

    If that’s lunacy, so be. A bit more of that type of lunacy just might lower crime even further.

    I’m sorry but threat to life and limb does not go far enough. You want to steal from me, I’m going to make it as expensive for you as I can and if that means you lose your life, tough, it was YOUR choice.

    You want to say that if a persons life is not threatened then deadly force should not be used ?? How much of what you own would you stand by and watch being taken before you would kill someone to stop it ?

    Half ?
    All of it ??

    At what point do you say ENOUGH ??

    If you want to take some moral stand, such as,- nothing I own is worth someones life – go ahead.
    Not me and Thank God I live where I can protect not only myself, but others as well as what I have worked to earn.

  • Laird

    Llamas, I believe that you are parsing that statute incorrectly. First of all, there are two sentences within section (a), and there is nothing to suggest that either is dependent upon the other. Each stands alone. The first sentence does indeed establish that in most cases some degree of proportionality must be used in the amount of force used in self-defense (the “degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose”). The second sentence, however, identifies certain specific instances in which the use of deadly force is permissible without a requirement of proportionality, and even some where there is a presumption of its justification.

    There are three clauses in the second sentence of section (a), separated by commas. Those commas are there for a reason, and it is an elementary principle of statutory construction that all parts of a statute are to be given meaning if at all possible. This applies to the commas as well.

    The full sentence reads: “A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (4), if the person reasonably believes that another person is” [moving on to the numbered subsections]. The third clause applies to each of the two preceding clauses, independently of each other. Thus, the statute says both (1) “a person may use deadly physical force if the person reasonably believes that another person is [etc.]” and (2) A person is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (4), if the person reasonably believes that another person is [etc.]”. It is only the presumption of justification which is limited to subdivision (4). But the use of deadly force is specifically permitted in all those narrowly-defined situations.

    As a society we have always viewed burglary (breaking into a residence at night) as more serious than simple robbery or other forms of breaking and entering because of the high probability of physical harm to the occupants. We also view forcible rape and kidnapping as extremely serious and dangerous offenses. The use of deadly force to defend against such crimes is rational, and is precisely what the Alabama statute addresses. It does not sanction the use of deadly force against, for example, a simple purse-snatching or mugging (unless you are in reasonable fear for your life), but it does sanction the use of such force when someone is attempting to break into your home at night. That is very clear from the language of the statute, read as a whole.

    Admittedly, I have never practiced criminal law in Alabama (I’ve never been admitted to practice in that state), but I do know how to read a statute. It is, of course, entirely possible that some prosecutor or judge could interpret the words differently, or (more likely) that there is a dispute about the facts in any specific instance. But I think the meaning of the statute is quite clear, and it’s nowhere near as restrictive as you would have us believe.

  • afargus

    Maybe no Korean shopkeepers with guns, but where I live in Dalston all the Turks were out on the streets the last 2 nights protecting their shops. And when the police came by to ask them to go home they refused. Obviously.

  • Kim du Toit

    Ah, the “Texas exception” (how I love it).

    We kill murderers, we kill them more quickly when there’s a witness to their murder, and we are allowed to use deadly force when protecting a neighbor’s property, let alone our own.

    Our state legislature meets every other year, for only 140 days at a time, and we have a huge state constitution which hamstrings government so much that they barely have time to pass a two-year balanced budget (which is also mandated by the constitution). Our governor has the least amount of power of any state (that’s by design). We have no state income tax (also forbidden by that pesky constitution), and we spend less on our education system than all but three other states — yet our kids continue to outperform states which spend lots more money per pupil, such as Wisconsin. And speaking of Wisconsin…

    We have very few labor unions, because Texas is a “right to work” state and union membership cannot be mandatory, for ANY worker. So our state is a business magnet, and continues to pull corporations from all over the country.

    Our unemployment rate sucks, but it’s still better than most of the rest of the country, and more than half of all new jobs created in the U.S. since the recession hit have come from Texas.

    “Except in Texas” is not a bug; it’s a feature.

    Yeah, Llamas, we’re different, we’re really fucking different — both from the rest of the country and especially from the rest of the world.

    And we like it that way.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I think Llamas got his head handed to him this time. Interesting points about the law, Laird.

    When I visited Texas (Austin) in 2004, I felt pretty safe, and Austin is a more “liberal” part of the state. Come to that, I have usually felt safer in the US than in London, although parts of Los Angeles freaked me out no end.

  • Kirk Parker

    John Galt,

    I appreciate your point of view, overall, but you badly slur the state of Washington. Our firearms laws are actually much more permissive than Texas’! Open carry is (and has been) legal anywhere carry is legal, and we’ve had shall-issue concealed carry for a lot longer than you have.

  • llamas

    Laird – thank you for at least looking carefully at the facts. It’s a refreshing change from the ‘I can kill anyone who threatens my house or my car, I just KNOW I can’ mindset that is often on display here.

    But, despite your care, you are, I’m, afraid, mistaken.

    The first sentence of section (a), as you say, stands alone. Never said it didn’t. It provides justification for the use of deadly force in defense of the person. And a good thing,too.

    The second sentence of section (a) allows for the use of deadly force in the face of 4 subsets of circumstances, numbered (1) thru (4). The sentence conditions all that follows it – the ‘if’ creates that condition.

    (1) through (2) cover self-defense – (again). No problem there.

    (3) is a mixture of defense of the person againt violent attack, but also includes burglary and robbery. However, it is subject to a reasonable-belief standard, and does not include a presumption of justification – the clause of the second sentence which refers to a legal presumption of justification for the use of deadly force applies ONLY to subsection (4), not to (1) thru (3).

    The presumption of justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense or the defense of another person is available only for the cases of section (4), which are unlawful and forceful entry, or kidnapping. (let’s forget about the nuclear plant bit for now).

    So there is no presumption of justification for use of deadly force against someone who ‘threatens my property’, as Arch claimed. The presumption of justification for the use of deadly force applies only to “self-defense or the defense of another person” (second sentence of section (a)) when the acts of section (4) are actually being committed or after they have been committed.

    Thanks for thinking about it.



  • JP,
    The scariest place I have been in the USA is DC. That was emotional I can tell you.

  • llamas

    Kristopher – see above for a detailed explanation of just how wrong you are. Once again, you can’t just cite the bits of the law you like – it’s all, or nothing.

    But thanks for playing.

    On the wider note, once again, we will have to agree to differ.

    Death penalty for murder? No problem. I’m all for it.

    The use of deadly force to protect life and limb? 100% in favour, always have been. Search the archives if you don’t belive me.

    Shooting peple dead over a flat-screen TV, and claiming a presumption of justification? Not so much. That’s simply barbaric – you’re saying that a few hundred dollars worth of property is more important than someone’s life.

    The right to use deadly force if someone ‘threatens my property’? Good luck with that.

    Look, I know that things are different in the US than the UK. I said so. See above. But there’s a difference between a robust attitude to self-defense and giving people the benefit of the doubt, and the presumed right to use deadly force against anyone, anytime, for mere property crimes or civil trespass.

    A couple years ago, in Texas, a landowner shot and killed a 7-year-old boy who was riding in a car on public property – not even on her land. She claimed that she ‘thought’ the car was ‘trespassing’, and claimed the presumption of justification for the use of dealy force that Texas law contains.

    (She was convicted of murder, by the way – even for Texas, this was a bit much).

    In another case about 3 years ago, a man in Laredo, TX, shot and killed a 13-year-old boy, who he caught stealing snacks inside his home. The boy was shot in the back, since he was on his knees at gunpoint when he was shot. The homeowner had already beaten and bludgeoned the boy and his companions. The homeowner claimed justification for his actions in the Texas law.

    (He was acquitted – as I said, ‘Except in Texas’).

    Is that really the sort of thing that you want to try and justify? The death penalty for stealing Twinkies?

    If you do, well, we’ll just have to agree, to disagree.



  • llamas

    Johnathan Pearce wrote:

    ‘I think Llamas got his head handed to him this time. Interesting points about the law, Laird.’

    Er – NO. See above for the exact reasons why Laird’s analysis of the law, while a hundred times more thoughtful than anyone else’s, is still flawed.

    Will you now withdraw your comment?



  • Jusuchin (Military Otaku)


    If it snowed and rained in Texas I know where I’ll move to. But for now, Virginia is fine with me. It’s pretty nice when NRA Headquarters is a 1 hour drive down I-66.

  • Liberty

    Please sign the petitions below:






    Whilst I agree of course, if you are serious about self-defence, that means firearms, not ‘non lethal’ weapons.

  • BambiB

    I can’t help but recall that during WWII, American citizens (not the government) sent personal firearms to the people of Great Britain to aid in defense against the Nazis. This was necessary because in a spasm of poor judgment, the Brits had disarmed themselves.

    Later, in another paroxysm of diminished capacity, the British Government repeated their mistake by demanding virtually all weapons be turned in for destruction – including those sent as gifts by Americans.

    Today, the UK is “invaded” by criminality. Once again, the subjects stand naked in the face of tyranny – by their own choice and poor decisions. This time, there will be no guns from America to help them. Can the subjects win their safety and freedom… despite their government (which opposes both)?

  • Laird

    Llamas, in my last post I specifically noted that the presumption of justification only applies to subsection (4) (see the penultimate sentence of the third paragraph), so no argument there. But the statute still provides a defense of the use of deadly force in the other instances cited; you merely do not get the benefit of the presumption (i.e., the burden is on you to justify the action). And the “reasonably believes” standard does not always require the fear of immediate physical harm to a person, as you suggest. Subsection (3) speaks, inter alia, to “committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree. . . .” (my emphasis) As previously noted “burglary” is breaking into a dwelling at night, for the purpose of committing a felony. Thus, under subsection (3) the mere fact of breaking into your house at night is grounds for the use of deadly force. You must “reasonably believe” that the person was, in fact, attempting a burglary, in order to avail yourself of the defense, but you do not have to “reasonably believe” that you or any other person was in imminent personal peril.

    And the presumption of justification for purposes of subsection (4) is available when deadly force is used against anyone “in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle . . . .” The “reasonable belief” test (which appears later in that sentence) applies only to the belief that the “unlawful and forcible entry” is in fact occurring, not to whether any person is in imminent physical peril.

    So I stand by my earlier post. We’ve hijacked this thread and taxed our hosts’ hospitality quite long enough now, so I’m finished with this. If you want the last word have at it.

  • llamas

    Laird – I think we are actually agreeing. Mostly.

    We agree on section (4) and the presumption of justification – which was my main point. That presumption only exists for the use of force in defence of the person.


    And that presumption is is only available when the various acts described in section 4 are actually occurring or have occurred – not upon the mere threat or supposition that they might occur.


    Your analysis of the provisions of section (3) is, I think correct (although you do claim that there are grounds for the use of deadly force in response to housebreaking only, when the statute says burglary, but we’ll let that pass in the interest of brevity). However, any use of deadly force in response to the cases of section (3) will be subject to a ‘reasonable man’ standard. Your belief that a burglary is about to occur must be a reasonable belief.

    But you actually are supporting my point, which was to rebut the claim, made by Arch and supported by others, which was made thusly:

    ‘If you believe you or your property are being threatened, you may use deadly force. The law not only protects you from criminal charges but also civil suits.’

    The law, as you have so carefully parsed it, does NOT automatically protect you from criminal charges if you use deadly force at the mere threat to your property or your person. Arch assumes that the presumption of justification applies to pretty-much everything when in fact, as you have described, it is only available in very specific and limited circumstances, and never for mere threats to property. Immunity from criminal prosecuion and/or civil liability applies only if the use of force was not determined to be unlawful (section (d)). IOW, you can only claim that immunity if you can persuade the prosecutor that your belief about the committing or imminent committing of (the listed crimes) and therefore your use of force in response, was ‘reasonable’. What you perceive as a ‘threat’ to your property – maybe, maybe not, but there is no automatic presumption of justification and no automatic immunity from prosecution.

    Here’s a perfect case from Alabama that’s right on point regarding section (3) – man uses deadly force against another man to prevent (he says) a forcible s*d*my – exactly as section 3 describes. The ‘guardsman’s defense’.

    Presumption of justification? Absolutely not. Immunity from criminal charges? Doesn’t seem like it, does it? He’s charged with murder and sitting in jail. He’s going to have to persuade a jury that his belief was ‘reasonable.’


    The same would apply to a person who uses deadly force to deter an attempted burglary or robbery.




    The proper thing do do when you see a mob approaching from a block away is to step out front with your .223 semi-automatic rifle, warn them off, and if they continue in your direction start dropping them one-by-one in rapid succession. The mob will then, much sooner than not, become an ex-mob.

    Of course, you must first ring up the Yard on the telly and ask if that’s OK….


  • I used to be a British subject

    Even in liberal, gun-hating California, we have a law that allows you to use lethal force against someone who breaks into your home. And one of our grumbles here is that this watered-down “Castle Law” does not go nearly as far as many other states’ laws.

    Penal code 198.5.

    Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.
    As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.

    No, we’re not Texas. But neither are we emasculated. As an ex-Brit, I’m happy to live here with several handguns and a semi-auto 12 gauge loaded 24 x 7.

    Want to know how I feel about gun control? Break in and find out.

  • Rob

    The irony here is that the same attitude of the government, as expressed through the police in their statements about “letting them do their job”, is what is in part the cause of the riots in the first place. The poor and dispossessed have long known that “letting them [the government and the police] do their job” means taking it up the rear end and then hoping that at some point in the indefinite future someone might give a damn. They live with this day-in and day-out, not just in extreme circumstances like now. And they’re fed up.

    When they try to get by on their own (which, admittedly, means committing crimes – but as one observer of this phenomenon put it, it’s equally illegal for a poor man or a rich man to sleep under a bridge), because the government “doing their job” does nothing for them, they get harassed, arrested, or shot by the same police. And now they’re not just lying down and taking it. It gives me great joy that the middle classes are now seeing what life is like when you’re being told to “just let them do their job”.

    It isn’t their job, it’s all of ours, and unless we all accept that and start demanding that they let US do OUR job, then we can expect to find ourselves more and more in the same situation as those who live with this every day.

  • Arch


    Me thinks thou protest too much.

    BTW, I’m from Alabama and I know the police, judges, district attorneys. Criminals will not win here as they do in liberal areas.

    We have a plan to deal with home invasions in my neighborhood involving interlocking fields of fire.


  • Laird

    Llamas, I know that I said I was finished with this topic and that you could have the last word (and you still may), but since you asked me two specific questions I presume that you want me to answer them.

    My answer to your two “Agreed?”s is, respectively, No and Yes.

    As to the second, the statute says that there must be a reasonable belief that the illegal act “is occurring”, so I agree with your statement. But as to the first, I specifically addressed that in the second paragraph of my previous post. Read it again. There is specifically no requirement that the action be “in defense of the person.” All that is required is that there be an unlawful and forceful entry of a “residence, dwelling or occupied vehicle.” Nowhere in that section does the concept of “defense of the person” even appear.

    And since I’m here anyway, as to your throwaway comment about my analysis of section (3) and “housebreaking”, please note that I very carefully and specifically used the term “burglary” in that discussion, even going so far as to define it. “Breaking into your house at night” is burglary, by definition, not “simple housebreaking”. Your objection (its commendable brevity notwithstanding) is simply wrong. But I do agree that one must have a “reasonable belief” that a burglary is occurring. Which is a pretty reasonable assumption if you find some stranger in your house in the middle of the night.

    I make no attempt to defend Arch; some of his statements may indeed be a bit overbroad. But some of yours are unduly restrictive, which is what I am challenging here.

  • My son shot a man trying to kick in his door. The man drove by the house, noted my son’s truck was gone (it was parked behind the house) and decided to break in on son’s wife and newborn baby by kicking in the door.

    Son, however, was home sick with the flu that day. He shot the man through the door while he was outside trying to kick the door in. When the police and ambulance got there, he was scolded by the police for the housebreaker/potential rapist and murderer not having been shot fatally.

    We have the castle law and stand your ground law because nobody prosecuted people for or convicted them of defending themselves and their property anyway.

  • Tim


    Tim: wikipedia is a bad place to get any politically charged information.
    If you look up Castle Doctrine on Wikipedia, your other source on Wikipedia is immediately contradicted

    Wasn’t trying to say the castle doctrine did apply to defense of property. I am from Ohio we have a castle doctrine (and I have a CCW), I know it does not. I was trying to say that if you look at the trends of the last few years, more and more states passing concealed carry/ castle doctrine/stand your ground laws, I don’t think that Texas will be the exception for too much longer on its law allowing deadly force to be used in the defense of property

  • mojo

    Note that the Korean store owners in LA were forced to use those AR’s, as some of the mob were armed as well. Gunfights did in fact occur. The Koreans won.

  • Jarhead1982

    Chuckle, reality is this, unless you are rich and can afford a radically agressive defense, and you have the misfortune of having to shoot an intruder attacker, it is best that the only story heard is yours.

    Especially in strict progressive gun control areas, which is more likely as those sure seem to be a target rich environment for the criminals.

    Such is the unintended consequences of the progressives, the safest and cheapest course of actions, is to kill the attacker!

    But a few rules apply…

    Never be the instigator of an incident, (you picked the fight) if you are, walk away as any action at that point would backfire on you. Defending another is an entirely different situation.

    More than a couple shots used to “stop & defuse” the situation will get you in trouble. (dont empty the whole magazine into the attacker) Any shots beyond you stopping the attack will get you in trouble PERIOD!

    Make sure as best that all shots enter from the front

    Dont use 00 Buckshot in a shotgun, use #6 shot as it gets the job done and rarely penetrates the walls of a house. It also looks better to the jurors as #6 shot is not equated with bad activities, it is a hunting round.

    Be the first to contact the police

    Only information to provide a self defense shooting has occurred, where, how many people involved and who you are and what you the victim are wearing.

    Do not talk to the police without a lawyer present.

    Understand this simple fact, THE POLICE AND DA are not your FRIEND! Anything you say CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU!

    Force the DA to prove you are guilty, see that is the beauty of the Castle Doctrine. DA’s have an enormous ego, because DA’s who have poor conviction rates don’t get relected or re-appointed. So unless they have a “reasonable chance” of successfully prosecuting, they wont.

    Welcome to reality!

  • Kristopher

    Laird: Arch ain’t exaggerating.

    Mobile AL got hit harder than New Orleans by Katrina. People who attempted to loot there were simply shot on the first day after the storm.

    No investigations, no nothing. The coroner just carted the bodies off.

  • Sunfish

    Using birdshot for self defense is, at best, really dumb.

    It penetrates through drywall just fine, but doesn’t perform all that well on actual human threats. Sure, the goblin might bleed out a hour later, but that doesn’t stop him in the next few seconds that are actually relevant.

    And the number of rounds fired may look iffy in the press, but is generally irrelevant. If you were justified in firing once, you were justified in firing as many times as it took to stop the threat. [1]

    Laird, llamas, I’m sitting this one out. Our version of castle doctrine says is privilege from prosecution, not arrest. Inside a home with a live householder and a dead stranger is generally unambiguous, but in a bar or a street corner are a lot more complicated. And we have a complication here: separate statutes for sd in general (no duty to retreat, and some protection from civil liability at least wrt the assailant, but no bar to prosecution: it’s an affirmative defense) and defense of a dwelling (which is a bar to prosecution entirely but not necessarily arrest).

    Privilege from arrest may be a feature of state laws here and there in the south, but I’ve not seen it before in the Midwest or the west.

    That’s the issue with legal discussions in the US: 57 states, 56 wrong answers to every question.

    (note: all of the preceding is accurate for a particular state in the western US. However, not only am I not an attorney, I am not your attorney.)

    [1] As a sheriff in Florida famously noted about two years ago, when his deputies shot a fleeing killer 49 times (or whatever it was), it was because that’s all the ammunition they had.