April 19, 2023
A recent Washington Post story is about a young man being shot by a Missouri homeowner, and shows just how far the Post will go to push its anti-gun, anti-self-defense agenda. The Post writers used an incident in which an elderly Kansas City man, Andrew Lester (84), allegedly shot a Black teenager on his porch because, he said, he “feared for his safety.” The family of the 16-year-old said the youngster had gone to the wrong house, rang the doorbell and was shot twice for no reason.
The man who shot the youth has been charged with two felony counts, and it’s the job of the court system to learn all the details, make a decision on guilt or innocence, and punish the homeowner if that’s what jurors decide he deserves.
But the Post isn’t satisfied to leave it at that. Rather, authors Kelsey Ables and Mark Berman, in a story headlined, “Yarl shooting may revive ‘stand your ground’ debate,” attempt to make the case that the incident brings up the need to once again debate laws that don’t require a lawful person to retreat before defending him or herself with deadly force if necessary.
Ables and Berman might think they did a sufficient job at making that case, but in truth their argument is fraught with holes. And perhaps the biggest hole is the fact that the recent shooting doesn’t have a thing to do with “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Missouri’s self-defense law reads, “A person may … use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person.” It adds, “A person does not have the duty to retreat.”
If the homeowner, in fact, did shoot the teen for nothing more than standing on his porch, that doesn’t make the incident the law’s fault. Sure, a homeowner in such an instance would have no duty to retreat under both Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine principles, but the laws also dictate certain criteria be met before shooting another person in self-defense. If those criteria aren’t met, then a person performing such actions can be arrested, tried and, if found guilty, sentenced to prison.
Another hole in the authors’ argument is that there’s no indication that the homeowner even plans to use Stand Your Ground in his defense. The story even notes, “It’s unclear what defense Lester might mount in the case.” That being the case, why write a story about Stand Your Ground at all?
If you read the entire Post report, you realize it is less about the Missouri shooting and more about the newspaper’s bias against laws that protect the right of Americans to defend themselves from danger. Toward the end of the “report,” when the authors used such laws to take potshots at pro-gun states like Florida, whose governor, incidentally, is running for president in 2024, that all becomes quite clear.
In the end, there’s no need to reignite a debate on “Stand Your Ground” laws, or even “Castle Doctrine” laws. As with all such incidents, we can only hope justice is done in the case of the Black teenager shot on the porch, whatever the facts in that case prove to be.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years.
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