Saturday, December 06, 2008

Another unlikely headline today's Chron:
Self-defense slayings rise against intruders

JACKSON, MISS. — A convenience store clerk chased down a man and shot him dead over a case of beer this summer and was charged with murder. A week later, a clerk at another Jackson convenience store followed and fatally shot a man he said tried to rob him, and authorities let him go without charges.
Police say the robber in the second case was armed, while the man accused of stealing beer was not.
Just the same, the legal plights of the two clerks highlight the uncertain impact of National Rifle Association-backed laws sweeping the nation that make it easier to justify shooting in self-defense.

I know there are a lot of people who are squeamish about killing over property, but ultimately I think something like what the clerk did in the first case isn't entirely a bad thing. If actions like that cause other criminals to think twice about taking other people's property, then when it's all said and done a lot of good has been done for society. Many will say it's "just stuff" or "a bag of loot," as Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg so self-righteously put it, but at the heart it's a lot more than that. When you get right down to it, taking someone else's property is a violation of their personal sovereignty, and letting said violations go unchallenged and/or unpunished constitutes a dangerous undermining of the social contract that keeps us from descending back into anarchy and tribal war. I know such a perspective is beyond many in the mainstream media and certain advocacy groups, but I bet most of us over in flyover country grasp it quite well.