Friday, June 15, 2012

In Reply: Self Defense - Be Skeptical, and Investigate Accordingly

In reply to: Allergic to Bull: Memo to Texas “Civil Rights” Group: Fathers (Allegedly) Defending Their Daughters From Sexual Assault Have Rights, Too

Yeah, the civil rights guy's statement went too far over the line.

I mean, I do believe that the see-saw can teeter-totter too far either way in cases where death results from (alleged) self-defense, especially when the dead party is wholly unsympathetic. Some of the whoops and hollers in support of this father come on a bit too strong for my tastes, and make me wonder whether these folks are just itching to dispense a little vigilante justice, and perhaps even hoping to get the chance--though it's far more likely that it's just men "proving" they're "real men." (I'm not one for celebrating death, even of demonstrably evil people. I found a lot of the "bin Laden is dead" hootin' and hollerin' distasteful, too. Obviously, I don't score high with some folks on that "real men" scale.) The father, from what I've read, is remorseful over having killed the guy, in spite of what he'd done to his daughter. Some of the commenters at Allah's post talk about the residual effects of taking a life, even when it's legally justified.

I believe such cases need to be thoroughly investigated, with a little extra bias toward the rights of the guy unable to tell his side of the story, perhaps--I'm not saying the person who did the killing shouldn't be considered innocent until proven guilty or nothin', but I do think there ought to be a healthy dose of skepticism driving law enforcement to be sure that it was self-defense, not a murder dressed up to look like self-defense.

(And let me be clear, here... I'm NOT casting aspersions on the father in THIS PARTICULAR CASE. It sounds to me like he did no more or less than he felt was necessary to defend his daughter, and I fully expect that the investigation--even (especially) my "heightened scrutiny as a result of being skeptical" investigation--will bear that out.)

But I do believe that whenever someone is killed or seriously injured to the point that they cannot tell their side of the story, in a case where the living party asserts self-defense, it is incumbent on law enforcement and the legal system to take extra steps to assure that justice is served.

If ya ask me, a good bit of the uproar over the Trayvon Martin case was sparked by the fact that it didn't look like that investigation was taking place, and the lack of public relations (obviously, the investigation was going on behind the scenes, so the story wasn't as it appeared) allowed both legit and illegit factions to start asking/demanding answers.

Folks who kill and claim self-defense don't need to be charged or arrested straight off--but they do need to be thoroughly questioned and otherwise investigated, and not exonerated by law enforcement officials in the court of public opinion until they are sure no case can or should be made.

In that regard--and with an eye toward the folks who make online comments figuratively high-fiving this father...if not describing exactly what size flaying knife they would've used to peel this guys skin off alive and the like, if it was their daughter--I understand where the human rights guy was coming from. (I get vengeance, especially where one's children are concerned...but that's why we have a theoretically dispassionate law enforcement and legal system, and don't leave the administration of justice to the wronged parties alone.)

Submitted for moderator approval Posted June 15, 2012 1:44 PM

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