Firearms, emotion and knowledge
My fellow blogger Lady Logician has a post about the story of Kenneth Englund and his confrontation with a now admitted gas thief. She pondered why I "wasn't all over" the story.
She makes the following statement: "It seems that Farmer Englund saw a punk stealing from one of his neighbors, grabbed an unloaded shotgun and gave chase. Under Minnesota law, if you catch someone robbing you and he/she flees, you are obliged not to chase them down.
Sigh.....this is Minnesota. Don't get involved, you might get charged with a crime."
Here are my comments on this story and her post:
This is an area where commentary really needs to be left to those with knowledge. Comments about this type of story should not be made briefly, capriciously or flippantly.
My credentials: I have had a
That being said, there is so much wrong with Mr.Englund’s actions. It's obvious that he is a good citizen and was also trying to also be a good neighbor. It seems the resultant protest firestorm comes from trying to support his intent without questioning at all his methods and actions. I support the former but strongly criticize the latter. It appears that Mr. Englund made decisions based on emotion and very faulty analysis. Once firearms are introduced into any situation, and especially this situation, and with obvious emotion, all the dynamics change radically. When a firearm is carried, it is absolutely incumbent upon the carrier to be aware of how, when, where and why that firearm can be used. It is therefore vitally incumbent upon the carrier to also know how, when, where and why not to use that firearm.
There is a four fold test for the self-defensive use of a firearm in
1. You must be an unwilling participant.
2. You must be reasonably in immediate fear of death or great bodily harm (meaning death would occur from the resultant injuries).
3. Reasonable retreat is not practical.
4. No lesser force will do.
Mr. Englund fails first of all as his was not the self-defensive use a firearm. He was not subjected to either harm or danger. He therefore subsequently fails in all four of the requirements for the deadly use of a firearm. Lady Logician states that first of all Mr. Englund saw Mr. Smith stealing from Englund’s neighbor, not from Englund (this statement is not supported at all by Englund’s comments). She then closes her comments saying that “Under
Englund then proceeded to be involved in a high speed chase that involved a woman and an innocent three year old child.
Now, Prairie Pravda does not exactly do justice to the story by stating “A long history of legal decisions runs against people who use force to protect property.” There are certainly both statutory and case law regarding the use of deadly force to defend one’s domicile when one is present or accidentally comes upon an intruder. However, that is not even remotely the case regarding Mr. Englund and his actions.
Again, I applaud Mr. Englund’s sense of civic duty. However, how that duty is implemented and executed must be fashioned and tempered with wisdom, scrutiny, responsibility, prudence and discernment. No matter how lofty his intent, Mr. Englund did not apply those constraints at the risk to himself and to innocent life.
Wanton, impulsive and reckless comments do nothing but inflame the situation. And certainly situations like this. They can easily add to the lethality of a future confrontation. And emotions and firearms are most certainly a deadly mix.