When Stand Your Ground Isn’t Enough

The new fad among the “stand your ground” set is to lure people to break into your home for the purpose of killing them.

Fox host Sean Hannity dismissed the murder convictions of a Minnesota homeowner who used excessive force in killing two teenagers who broke into his home, claiming with exasperation, “They broke into the guy’s house.”

On April 29, Minnesota resident Byron Smith was convicted on two counts each of premeditated first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17. Brady and Kifer were killed on Thanksgiving Day 2012 after breaking into Smith’s home.

While homeowners have broad latitude in defending their residences from intruders, a jury believed that Smith went too far. Prosecutors compared Smith’s actions on Thanksgiving Day to the setting up of a deer stand. After spotting a neighbor he believed had previously burglarized his house, Smith moved his car to make his home seem unoccupied and then waited in his basement “with a book, energy bars, a bottle of water and two guns.”

Smith also set up an audio recording which captured what transpired. After breaking a window, Brady came down the basement stairs and was shot two times. Smith was then heard saying, “You’re dead,” before firing a third shot into his face. He then put Brady’s body on a tarp and moved him to another room.

Moments later, Smith wounded and then killed Kifer execution-style with a shot under her chin.

Smith very helpfully recorded the whole thing.

Kifer’s footsteps are heard on the stairs and she calls out quietly, “Nick?”

Then comes the sound of more shots. She falls down the stairs. “Oh, sorry about that,” Smith tells her. She screams, “Oh my God!”

Then more shots. Smith tells her, “You’re dying,” and calls her a “bitch,” the AP reported.

After more labored breathing and another dragging sound, Smith calls her “bitch” again. He told authorities that after he moved her, he noticed she was still gasping and didn’t want her to suffer, so he fired under her chin with a 22.-caliber handgun, according to a report in the Pioneer Press. The Star Tribune reported Smith told investigators the last time he fired was “a good clean finishing shot” and “she gave out the death twitch.”

Smith is being lionized on Fox News as a hero who has been unjustly convicted.

That example is from 2012, but it happened again recently:

Seventeen-year-old Diren Dede lost his life Sunday, while in Missoula, Montana on a high school exchange program from Germany. He was shot dead at the home of Markus Kaarma, after Kaarma set a trap for intruders by intentionally leaving the garage open and placing a purse in clear view.

After motion sensors detected someone in the garage, Kaarma shot Dede. And while he has since been charged with first degree murder, he is already invoking a Stand Your Ground-like defense.

Hey, if you can stalk, frighten and shoot an unarmed teenager and claim self-defense, why not? See also Dibgy.

13 thoughts on “When Stand Your Ground Isn’t Enough

  1. I saw this story yesterday – and I’m still at a loss for words.

    Leave it to FUX Noise to champion a vicious murderer.
    Well, since they just lost themselves a viewer, I can see why they ran this story and supported this evil animal – they need to attract other white potential murderers.

    All I can say is, this animal had better hope no one in the Maximum Security Prison where he’ll be spending the rest of his life gets a hold of the tape of his teen double-homicide – his life sentence might be shortened significantly.

  2. He told authorities that after he moved her, he noticed she was still gasping and didn’t want her to suffer, so he fired under her chin with a 22.-caliber handgun,

    Gee, I’m surprised that he finished her off with a coup de gras . Wouldn’t the Christian thing to do is let her experience the full penalty of her sin.
    Really, a death sentence for a crime against property? Hopefully in the prison system this staunch conservative nutjob gets to sample the type of justice that he so eagerly upholds.

  3. It looks like some of our gun loons are no longer happy making deer-stands while hunting to shoot some deer.

    Now, they set traps while hunting for teens, wait, and get them a nice human teen buck and/or doe.

  4. erinyes,
    But instead of a pox, it’s a FOX.
    And a Rush.
    And a Drudge.
    And a Sean.
    And a Megan.
    And a Politico.
    And a WaPo Op-ed staff.
    And a WSJ Op-ed and Ed, staff.
    Etc., etc,, etc…

  5. Saul Alinsky wrote in the opening paragraph of his classic,

    ‘The Prince’ was written by Machaivelli for the Haves on how to hold power. ‘Rules for Radicals’ is written for the Have-nots on how to take it away.

    The primary fear that drives the conservative drone is that the Have-nots will take his property. The quintessential fear of the conservative leadership, as Alynsky identified, is the fear they will lose power over their property. To recruit a conservative following, property rights are elevated to an absolute – to a liberal, property rights are relative. Forty years after Alinsky died, his name is still a pejorative in the mouth of conservatives – a legacy that does him proud.

    The right to execute someone who is in the process of stealing your stuff makes perfect sense when the conservative philosophy is built around preserving property rights and absolute power over property. This rationale validates the death penalty on the spot for any infraction.

    The racial component of the struggle is personified here, as well. Pure racism, expressed in the random lynching of a black male, nearly doesn’t exist in the US. Many (not all) conservatives harbor a deep suspicion that minorities, who likely have less than they do, will take their stuff if they can. Therefore it makes perfect sense (to them) for vigilantes and cops alike to undertake racial profiling whenever someone of color is in their neighborhood. They don’t see it as racist. This is the modern racial struggle.

    The puppet masters are beyond worrying about wealth. They resent the power of government to ‘take’ their money through taxation. They resent the power of government to set standards of safety in the workplace. They resent the power of the government to set and enforce environmental standards. They resent the power of the government to regulate banking and commerce. They desperately fear and resent that the government will not allow their authority to survive the grave – by imposing an estate tax sizable enough to break any cartel that has been built.

    To make their cause appealing to the masses, the puppet masters have promoted a related issue – that property rights are absolute and that the liberals will give your stuff to those people, or just let them take your stuff. The struggle between conservatism and liberalism is perfectly distilled in the opening of ‘Rules for Radicals’. The nature of the conflict is actually so simple it’s expressed in two sentences.

  6. There’s a horrible brain disease ravaging the population

    Yeah, I think it’s called conservativitis. It’s rampant and multifaceted. You’d see when the mortgage crisis was at it’s peak and million of people were losing their homes, and these conservative jerks would post comments like: “Pay your bills, deadbeat, a deal is a deal!” They are totally devoid of compassion or any understanding.
    You’d see it when Trayvon Martin was stalked and murdered in the comments posted by the racist facet…” Oh, he was a thug, he had a grill”.
    And now you see it when some nutjobs lure children who haven’t matured and don’t understand the seriousness of violating the sanctity of someone’s home into a deadly ambush. And the conservative wingnuts cheer on this monsters action by posting comments that they would have done the same thing that he did. It boggles my mind to even begin to comprehend their mindset.
    I see a big similarity to the auto- de- fe’s that occurred during the Spanish inquisition where the tongues of the heretics were cut out as an act of kindness to prevent them from uttering further blasphemies and thereby increasing their punishment from god as they were being burned to death for the blasphemies they had already committed.

  7. Well, said, Doug.

    Guest Bernard McGuirk, a producer for Fox Business’ Imus in the Morning, claimed that Smith should “get a Medal of Freedom for what he did. He protected himself.” –A person and a person’s property are absolutely synonymous.

    At least, for the present time, we can thank our lucky stars that people are still being convicted for this sort of thing. Beyond that words fail me. I start using words like “barbarism” and that doe no one any good.

    A while back I was at a gathering with some friends. Their son, a professional in his twenties, had fallen far from his parental trees by becoming a gun enthusiast. He was recounting a story in which tempers had flared and announced, “He would have been justified in shooting him.” For me, it called up a question.

    I cut you off in traffic and you lose your cool. You come over to challenge me to a fight. In the course of events you angrily punch and break my window. I blow you away with a handgun. How much of this was, at least to some degree, premeditated? When I decided to carry a gun, I almost certainly would have made a mental list of situations where I would use it. In going over the list, I might be primarily concerned with what was legally defensible as opposed to what was necessary for survival. So, essentially, I would be shooting you because you committed one of the acts in my mental inventory of excuses for shooting someone, irrespective of the actual level of threat.

    To someone who has only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    • goatherd — There’s a line from one of the old Pali suttas, sermons of the Buddha, that says “Fear is born from arming oneself.” I think we’re seeing what that means.

  8. Doug,

    Let’s hope that our wealthiest people begin to realize the importance of government in all of our lives, and start to appreciate it.
    Because, like the royalty in late 18th Century France, they may not like anarchy and revolution as alternatives.

  9. OT!

    From the school of, “You can’t make this poop up!”
    A GOPer from NC, who’s very, very, anti-gay – did I mention that he is VERY anti-gay? – was once a drag queen at a gay nightclub.
    And his drag queen name, was Mona Sinclair.

    I poop thee NOT!!!

  10. goatherd.. Another comment by wingnuts that is prevalent as a reason for shooting a person is if you “mess with their wife”. They don’t mean it in the sense that someone is attacking their wife as in a rape. They mean it the sense that someone would threaten their relationship to where their wife would be unfaithful to them. It’s a call back to the mentality where women are chattel.
    If you can’t keep them with love, you can’t keep them. That’s what a marriage relationship is. But a lot of these wingnuts think they can defend their marriage with a gun and it’s OK to kill someone for “messing” with their wife.

  11. Six Paragraphs That Have Precious Little in Common

    “Fear is born from arming oneself.” Thanks for that, I think I need to do some serious reading about the Buddha again. I am not a gifted student, but, something still seeps in.

    Swami, as many of us who live in the southern Bible Belt culture have observed, the hypocrisy is only a bit below the surface, piety and respectability are just a veneer. My wife delivers babies for a living so she sees a lot of the intimate details of marriage and baby begetting. Let’s just say, quite a lot of the time, it’s not very pretty. “This is just a little Peyton Place” as the old song went.

    “If you can’t keep them with love, you can’t keep them. That’s what a marriage relationship is.” That says it all. (I’m even getting a little “misty.”)

    I guess one of the chief advantages of the defense against “messing with your wife” is that you can place the blame entirely on other people, no need self examination, just fire a few rounds and you’re good to go.

    It’s also kind of an ancient joke that certain fundamentalists are prone to confusing sexual passion for spiritual passion. My personal experience and observation wouldn’t discount this old chestnut. When the spirit grabs them, they are likely to risk the “fires down below because of ‘the fire down below,'” if you’ll forgive the puerile reference.

    It seems like all of us, both left and right are expecting the hard rain to fall. The dropped jaw has become a chronic condition. But, sometimes it can be comforting to look around and marvel at how we ever made it this far without the comedy of errors becoming the ultimate tragedy.

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