Bail jumping and breaking and entering (however you stretch that definition) aren't capital crimes. And for it to be legal to shoot someone making noise on your back porch just because they could
come in and threaten you, when they haven't shown that's their intent or even within their power, is legislation driven by fear not by a realistic assessment of a social problem looking for a solution.
All this week I've been thinking about another gun-related story that goes back more than forty years. (I'll keep this brief and to the point.)
If you recall, at Kent State four students were shot dead by either the police or national guard (question never settled, accountability never brought to bear) during a Vietnam War era demonstration. Around the same time, Madison was having its own demonstrations with much rioting, window-breaking, tear gas, fires, and ongoing disorder. Our own national guard was called out too, and at one point were lined up on Bascom Hill as students demonstrated in front of them. They had fixed bayonets on their weapons, but much later -- decades later -- we learned the guns weren't loaded.
Someone in our Guard made that decision after what happened at Kent. They knew how fast a situation can get out of control, how passionate both sides were, how quickly bad decisions can be made, and they saw that whatever the students were doing wasn't worth taking anyone's life over. It was a courageous and thoughtful decision and I'm sure it wasn't made lightly.
Today that sort of thinking has gone straight out the window with all the NRA-stamped legislation we have regarding carrying and using a gun. The idea of proportionate responses, not only on the individual level but on the overall social level, has been not only ignored but flouted in the passage of these laws. The power to do harm right now so greatly outweighs the potential for benefit that we really need to revisit this whole trend and decide if it's where we want to be going as a society or not.
Just because something is legal does not make it smart or necessary. Unfortunately, something being legal possibly can
encourage more people to try it, as we see with armed neighborhood patrols. Is this what we really want?
In the Morrison case, the homeowner reportedly did
know police were nearby, in fact less than 300 feet away, according to the prosecutor's findings as reported 3/25 by the Journal-Sentinel via the State Journal:http://host.madison.com/news/state_and_ ... b69a8.html