Castle doctrine, use with caution

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2017

In 2009 a shooting occurred on private property in Pearl River County. When law enforcement arrived they heard testimony from the shooter that a fight occurred on his property, he felt threatened and pulled his gun in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

But the aggressor kept coming, forcing him to fire his weapon, ultimately killing the man.

The shooter was initially taken into custody, but later released without bond when the judge presiding over initial court proceedings determined the property owner was simply protecting himself, a right covered by the Castle Doctrine.

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It’s been more than six years since the law was passed in Mississippi. In other states there are similar laws, sometimes known as the Stand Your Ground Law.

These laws protect property owners when they have to use deadly force to protect themselves and their families.

More than 20 states provide for similar protections, and with reports of more and more acts of terrorism taking place in the world, they may prove very useful in allowing citizens to handle potentially life-threatening situations.

Monday morning a Slidell resident shot a man who was acting “erratically.” News reports state the shooting victim was in the front yard of the Slidell man’s home, acting in an erratic manner. 

Details about this case are scant at the moment, but the phrase “acting erratically” is broad.

That phrase could cover actions ranging from displaying behavior consistent with drug use, such as hallucinating, to more violent behavior that would call for an act of self-defense.

Hopefully the investigation will determine if the person was an actual threat, or just a harmless nuisance on someone’s property.

I’d like to think that if someone threatened my family or myself, I would try to shoot a potential assailant in the leg first, leaving a potentially fatal shot as a last resort.

But the fact remains, I don’t regularly train with a firearm, so it may be best to take advantage of any opportunity to protect life and property.