The shoot-first culture gets a test in Montana | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The shoot-first culture gets a test in Montana

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2014 at 7:33 AM

Arkansas hasn't yet adopted "castle doctrine" or "stand your ground" laws which provide additional protection to armed people who shoot first and ask questions later about the precise nature of threats that prompted a shooting (sometimes after the only other witness is dead,) A case in Montana highlights the issue.

The New York Times reports on the case of a German exchange student gunned down while rummaging in an open garage. Illegal entry, no doubt. It's apparently a routine form of petty teen activity in those parts. Which doesn't make it acceptable. But the question: was the homeowner who blasted the youth with a shotgun after hearing noise in the garage truly threatened and acting in self-defense?

We go down this road often in Arkansas. I don't happen to think property crimes justify summary execution. Many Arkansans do. Just this last week, I've read many comments on social media that have said tornado zone looters should be shot on sight. Car burglars are viewed as fair targets by some of our readers.

Check out the facts of the Times story, where the elements include suggestions that the homeowner had been lying in wait to shoot someone over multiple entries to his garage (which he left open at night, by the way.) It has prompted a discussion about the castle doctrine law and is a hot political issue there. From Germany comes outrage at America's "cowboy culture." Opinions? 

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