The Indiana legislature, with heavy backing from the NRA, recently passed a bill that allows residents to use deadly force in response to the unlawful intrusion by a “public servant” to protect themselves and others, or their property. The bill was signed into law by governor Mitch Daniels.
Indiana is the first U.S. state to specifically allow force against officers, according to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in Washington, which represents and supports prosecutors. The National Rifle Association pushed for the law, saying an unfavorable court decision made the need clear and that it would allow homeowners to defend themselves during a violent, unjustified attack. Police lobbied against it.
Well obviously police would be against any bill, even a reasonable one, that allowed the use of force against them. But the NRA says that there was a need for this sort of legislation after an unfavorable court decision. Presumably that court decision had to do with a situation that this law would be applicable to. Let’s see what state senator Michael Young, the bill’s author, had to say:
Republican state Senator R. Michael Young… said there haven’t been any cases in which suspects have used the law to justify shooting police.
Oh, uh… what? Well still, there must be a perfectly good, completely logical reason for the law to have been written and passed.
Young cited a hypothetical situation of a homeowner returning to see an officer raping his daughter or wife.
You can’t really cite a hypothetical situation. You can completely make up a hypothetical situation, since it’s like, hypothetical. But whatever, I guess sometimes police do abuse their power. Maybe an officer would actually go so far as to warrant someone defending themselves by using deadly force. I actually found a perfect example of a cop overstepping his authority and an everyday citizen standing up to him. Check it out. It’s almost inspirational.
I believe that was in Gary, Indiana. It’s not a great place. According to everyone in support of this new shoot first, argue that it was legal later law, the state needed a reasonable piece of legislation on the books in case a (totally plausible) situation like coming home to a police officer raping your daughter happens to someone. Here’s what governor Daniels had to say:
“In the real world, there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met,”… “This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers.”
That makes perfect sense, except that it is absolutely an invitation to use force against the police. Responsible gun owners are responsible gun owners, and more likely than not law abiding citizens. Smart people are smart people, and know that shooting a cop is a really terrible idea and that they probably shouldn’t do it. Unfortunately the police don’t have a whole lot of run ins with responsible gun owners or smart people. The most eloquent debate I’ve ever seen someone have with a police officer on Cops went something like this:
Crack Addict: NAH NAH NAH! Fuck you mothufuckin’ pig! I got that first amendment mothuhfuckuh.
Officer: Sir the first amendment doesn’t give you the right to sell crack rocks to prostitutes.
Crack Addict: Imma need my fifth amendment then.
The problem with this law isn’t that people can legally attack and possibly kill a police officer in the one in a million scenario that the officer would deserve it. The problem is that the violent, dangerously stupid, nothing-to-lose low lives that the police deal with everyday will think they have the right to defend themselves violently, and probably do so more than before.
Instead of passing this pointless law and claiming that there won’t be problems because people are reasonable and will understand what the law really means, I have a better idea. Rely on the fact that people, especially judges, will be reasonable enough to understand the extenuating circumstances the one time some poor bastard actually does walk in on a cop raping his daughter and kills him. I mean, you did say they were reasonable after all. We’ve all agreed with an NWA song once or twice in our lives before, but this is ridiculous.
- [via Bloomberg Businessweek]