Texas man gets 40 year sentence in stand-your-ground case
Yeah, see, once you actually go over to the other guy's house, you lose all claim to "Stand your ground". You went to their turf. There would have been no need for you to defend yourself if you had stayed put. Plain and simple. Does having noisy neighbors suck? Hell yes. Should you have to keep your thoughts to yourself? Hell no. Even if he had already been over once to politely ask them to turn the music down, there's no excuse for going back with a gun. None.HOUSTON – A man who claimed Texas' version of a stand-your-ground law allowed him to fatally shoot a neighbor after an argument about a noisy party was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years for murder. Raul Rodriguez, 46, had faced up to life in prison for the 2010 killing of Kelly Danaher.Rodriguez, a retired Houston-area firefighter, was angry about the noise coming from a birthday party at his neighbor's home. He went over and got into an argument with 36-year-old elementary school teacher Danaher and two other men at the party.
I have to wonder if he bought the media's BS. He believed their lie about being able to kill anyone anywhere and simply claim you were in fear for your life - that's exactly what he told the 911 dispatcher, in fact. Except for one little problem:
Loose lips sink ships, or in this case your legal defense. You don't go around bragging about how you can avoid going to jail and then do exactly what you brag about doing - especially if you're wrong about the law. It's one thing to be correct about the law - like the law student in this video - but if you have your head up your ass from listening to the media, you take your chances.One neighbor testified that Rodriguez, who had a concealed handgun license, bragged about his guns and told her a person could avoid prosecution in a shooting by telling authorities you were in fear of your life and were standing your ground and defending yourself.
Had they come over to his house and started threatening him, it would be a different story. Had he done the right thing - call the police, file a complaint, and they came over later to "settle the score", I don't think there's a jury in the state of Texas that would have voted to convict. But he put himself in danger, not once, but twice - first when he went over to confront the neighbors, twice when he refused to leave their property.
Note to the media: "Stand your ground" is NOT a license to kill. It was never intended, written, nor presented that way. It simply codifies into law that we do not have to run away when threatened with force. It does not give you the legal right to kill someone for any reason. It is not a "get out of jail, free" card. If you are wrong, you will go to jail, period, full stop. If you initiate a confrontation, you don't get to shoot your way out of it and avoid prosecution. Stand your ground does not give 007-like powers to anyone with a concealed carry permit - all it does is shield them from overzealous prosecution should they have to legally defend their lives with deadly force.
Personally, I blame the news media for this case entirely - had they not been so intent on pushing an agenda and presented "Stand Your Ground" correctly, I think it's possible that this shooting might not have happened. Don't misunderstand: Rodriguez is 100% at fault for this tragedy; however his actions were almost certainly influenced by the lies, half-truths, and obfuscations about SYG presented in the mainstream media. It's entirely possible he would have shot his neighbor anyways, of course - but at least there'd be no question about his legal standing.
It's a sad story all around - one family grieves a murdered family member, another loses a father and husband. That the media would make this into something it's not is macabre - but certainly not unexpected. They'll present this as a reason for ending "Stand your ground", claiming that it gives people like Rodriguez an "excuse to kill"; when the reality is that they helped create the atmosphere that led to this tragedy in their hurry to misrepresent the facts to push their agenda.
Knowledge is power, folks. Knowing the laws of your area as they pertain to carrying arms and self-defense is your best defense against winding up like Mr. Rodriquez - when it comes to the law, don't assume anything. Granted, it also helps if you don't go looking for trouble and you don't shoot your mouth off before hand - side note: anyone that has ever joked about a "throwaway gun", I'm looking squarely at YOU right now. You'd better pray that no one ever breaks into your house.
Not only do you own every bullet fired out of your gun, you also own every word spilled out of your piehole.
That is all.
UPDATE: Robb and I are on the same page with this story...