When defense becomes murder


When I read about Byron Smith being found guilty in murder of teens, then I am greatly relieved. There is no doubt that the teens were in the wrong in harassing and stealing from an old man, who they probably thought was defenseless. I would thought taking a video of them coming in and grabbing stuff would have been sufficient, with a few gun shots into the ground to scare them off. Then let them face the justice system.

Shooting them once might have been argued as justified given that it is old man vs two rigorous young teens. But when there was a “finishing shot”, then it clearly became murder. Suffering is not a reason to “finish” killing someone. Under that justification, no woman would survive childbirth or nor would any person survive breaking a leg.

I am clearly relieved that Byron Smith was easily convicted of murder here in Minnesota. We are not Florida. It means our justice system is still working.

I do not think that Byron Smith represents a normal person who keeps a gun in the house in Minnesota. Indeed the gun carry laws are not even in play because many people keep hunting rifles in their house with no need of considering gun carry laws. This case does not belong in the discussion of gun carry issues. This is a case of murder. That happens. This case is outside that discussion because there will always be Byron Smiths.

Perhaps there is some responsibility with the gun carry people, in that their rhetoric has gone too far. Clearly Byron Smith thought he did no wrong, even recording what he was doing. So I do think that gun carry people have to reconsider how they talk about gun use. Strange as seems, it is the words and rhetoric that has been the most dangerous. It is the words and the ideas that set off the marginal people like Byron Smith. Maybe those words and rhetoric ought to be considered more carefully.