Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Response to a Castle Doctrine Comment

Over the weekend I received a comment in my post "The Texas Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground Law Makes it Through Committee" that I feel requires a new post for a proper response. This comment was allegedly written by Ryann Rathbone, the girlfriend of the musician who was shot in Dallas while banging on a neighbor's back door at Oh Dark Thirty in the morning.

Her comment:

Anonymous said...

Please read:

i've been in the news... I'm Carter Albrecht's girlfriend, and I hate this law... i want to fight to see it changed. It's ashame that no justice will be served for Carter...

Here's my open letter:

I want everyone to know:

-what a wonderful, talented loving man Carter is. A brilliant musician, but more importantly the most amazing man I've ever known.

I do not blame Chantix for his death. It explains his behavior, but not his death. I do think people should be made aware of warning signs of adverse reactions before they take Chantix.

Carter died from a bullet. Shot through a door that was half GLASS. The bullet was shot through glass. There was a motion light by the backdoor where he was shot. There were no dents or scuffs on the door where Carter was "banging."

I BLAME the CASTLE DOCTRINE for allowing anyone to kill someone by shooting through a window or door (glass or not), with no other reason than to claim, "I was scared."

What if Carter was asking for help? What if I had run nextdoor to ask for help, and banged on the door? Is it still okay to shoot me; if you're scared?

How late at night is too late to "bang" on someone's door? How loud does a "bang" on a door have to be before you can justify shooting the person on the other side?

Who shoots a warning shot through a well-lit glass backdoor at someone's head and then claims "I tried to aim high?" "I was scared."

Chantix is the only thing that makes any sense of Carter's behavior the night he was killed.

The real cause of his death, and the law that allows this makes none.
I have no means of verifying that this comment was in fact written by Mz Rathbone, but for the sake of my response, I will assume it was.

Ma'am, I am sorry for your loss and would not wish the pain and grief you are going through upon anyone. I do not wish to add to your suffering, but feel that I need to respond to your comments.

It was not the Castle Doctrine that caused the death of Carter, it was Carter's actions that caused his death.

If I understand the chain of events, the evening progressed along these lines:

You and Carter had been out partying and you drove a drunk Carter back to your house. When you got home, Carter became angry and slammed a glass down on the table and cut his hand. Carter then began to hit you in the face with closed fists, knocking you to the floor. Carter hit you again when you were on the floor. When you were able to break free, you ran outside. When Carter followed you outside, you went around to the back yard and through the back door, locking him out of your house.

This is the important part. You locked Carter out of your house. You locked Carter out because you were afraid of him. Carter had become violent and was beating you, the woman he loved. You did the right thing, you protected yourself.

Reports do not mention if you dialed 911 at that time.

When Carter could not get back into your house, he moved on to the neighbor's. If Carter beat on you, the woman he loved, what would have been the fate of the neighbors had he gotten in?

Your neighbors awoke to a violent man, beating on their back door. The news headlines have been filled with reports of home invasions, folks being killed by burglars. 2 shot during home invasion and Robbers wear 'Scream' masks during home invasion are just two of the local incidents that occurred in the weeks leading up to the night of Carter's death. You will probably recall that the national news was heavily reporting on the home invasion in Connecticut that ended with the husband having to watch his wife and daughters brutalized and murdered.

Castle Doctrine had nothing to do with your neighbor shooting Carter. I very much doubt that the words "Castle Doctrine" even entered your neighbors thoughts as Carter was attempting to break down the door. Your neighbor saw a threat, and took action to protect himself and his wife. I most likely would have handled that threat differently and not fired through the door. But I was not there.

Sadly, this is the world we live in now. The late night banging and hollering at your door is most likely someone intending you harm, not someone needing help. You have to admit, it seems that Carter intended harm to whoever may have been in that home. Carter may not have been a violent man, but at that moment he was a goblin.

It was Carter's violent, drug and alcohol induced rage that caused his death.

As Dallas Morning News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd stated in her editorial "Don't throw blame at terrified homeowner":
It's not out of line, or even unusual, for people who cared about Carter Albrecht to be scrambling for answers and explanations.

It is out of line to suppose that a man awakened in the middle of the night by a lunatic trying to beat the door down should be able to tell whether it's a popular musician or an escaped convict on the porch.
More information on the Texas Castle Doctrine Bill can be found here.


Fits said...

Good job.

Civis Proeliator said...

Yes, well said. But realistically this

"It was not the Castle Doctrine that caused the death of Carter, it was Carter's actions that caused his death."

is all that needed to be said. Unfortunately too many people now a days would place blame every where but where it should be. There is no such thing as personal responsibility for one's actions with these people as it's always something else, or someone else's, fault.

the pistolero said...

Good job. I am almost afraid it'll fall on deaf ears, though.

GeorgeH said...

It has always been legal to 'shoot through a door' in Texas, during the hours of darkness. The Castle Doctrine merely extends the rights a citizen has always had on his property at night to all times and all places he legitimately is.

LibertyPlease said...

Jacquielynn Floyd wrote a great column about this tragedy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

JR said...

georgeh - Prior to the Castle Doctrine Bill, PC 9.32 contained this verbiage "PC 9.32 (a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another: (2) if a reasonable person in the actor's situation would not have retreated..."

Note that no mention is made of time of day or night.

What you may be thinking of is PC 9.42 Deadly Force to Protect Property which states: "PC 9.42 A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property: (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal
mischief during the nighttime..."

This part of the Penal Code has not changed.

JR said...

libertyplease - I found that column by Jacquielynn Floyd a nice surprise in the Dallas Morning News, and also enjoyed it very much.

To all of you, thanks for your comments.

They are appreciated.

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