The House of Representatives in Indiana just passed a bill that makes it legal for a homeowner to shoot and kill a police officer on their property if they just "believe" that they are there illegally. Shoot and kill. This new law is of course strongly backed by the NRA and the Republican representatives of Indiana. I understand that we should always protect the rights of criminals and suspects in any case but to go to the extent that they are allowed to use force against a police officer to the point of killing them if they think it's necessary, is disgusting. I can not believe that this passed at all. This shouldn't be partisan issue, it should be about saving the lives of the people who are there to protect us. We NEED to take action to stop this horrible bill.
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I think that one major problem with law making is language used. If things aren't specific enough, they can be interpreted in too many ways. First off, this law is already crazy enough and then to have such language say that they can use force if they just "believe" they are there illegally.
The police could have a search warrant and the criminal could later say that they never saw it, even if the police had it. They could make up so many different stories as to why they shot, true or not, and the police officer wouldn't even be able to defend his or herself since they've been killed and cannot say otherwise. This law makes it possible for any manipulative or paranoid person to kill any police officer. It seriously sickens me. The republicans in the state of Indiana have gone way too far. I would be scared to be a police officer in that state now. It shouldn't be the police officers who are scared of criminals ever.
Representative Craig Fry (D) from Indiana said,
"And it’s too late after somebody dies for a jury to sort it out. Somebody’s going to die, whether it’s a police officer or an individual who thinks a police officer is entering their home unlawfully. People are going to die,”And he is spot on, and seemingly one of the only few representatives in his state who seem to get the gravity of the situation. People will die from this bill. And somehow it passed with a 74-24vote. Legal murder passed with a 74-24 vote in the House. I don't understand how anyone could think that this is a good idea.
I'm all for protecting the rights of criminals, really I am. If you've read my other blog about Brazilian criminal justice, it should be clear that I care deeply about how people are treated, criminals, suspects or not. However, making the check and balance system that involves shooting someone, killing someone without any proof is outrageous.
If people in that state really care so much about the rights of criminals and suspects, then they should do something that doesn't involve risking the lives of anyone especially those who are there to protect the people and enforce laws. They should be about stricter search warrant enforcement, the right to just not answer the door if they don't believe a police officer is there legally. Not just give any person the right to kill whoever is on their property.
The law was inspired by a case with a man named Richard Barnes who filed a lawsuit against police who followed him into his house because of a domestic dispute with his wife. He was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct. So, even the root of this law is from someone who may have been beating his wife and when the police came, he continued to be violent and abusive to the police who came to bring justice.
This law defends people who want to legally defend their abuse and violence. It defends the idea that violence is the best way to react to situations. There are so many other options, and violence is what is being condoned. I really cannot believe this law will likely be passed and am totally in shock and disgusted that this could even be considered to be law anywhere.
Please if you believe as strongly as I do that this is a disgusting law that condones murder, please contact the senators and representatives of the state of Indiana and urge them not to pass this bill. More importantly, at the moment, is contacting the senators because the bill is being sent back to the Senate at the moment.
Here are the links to contact information:
(the computer I'm using right now doesn't have spell check so I apologize for horrible spelling errors in advance)
So I seem to have created some misconceptions about my point. To clarify, I am aware of the Indiana Supreme Court decision that said,
"INDIANAPOLIS | Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.This is a horrible thing to have happened. I also realize that this new bill was in part reactionary to the Supreme Court decision that was unconstitutional but also partially fueled by anger towards the political justice system lately. There have been so many cases of cops that have shot and killed people seemingly without warning, without adequit reason to shoot although they claim to have had "reasonable cause". Then with futher analysis they didn't.
In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry."
These cops were acting upon their right to take action with force when they "believed" that they had reasonable cause to use force and that their actions were necessary and justified. Or at least that's what they say. So, if these cases of injustice anger people so much, if we as a people think that this kind of violence based on police desgression should not be allowed, then our reaction as a people shouldn't be to let other people act in the exact same way that we believe police shouldn't.
Police shouldn't enter a citizen's house without reasonable evidence agaisnt them, without solid facts, a search warrant that is approved by a court of law. Police shouldn't act on their own "reasonable cause" in the moment so therefore it doesn't make sense that a person is allowed to shoot at police with their own "reasonable cause". In my opinion neither should be allowed. I am disgusted by the horrible rise in police violence but is it really the answer is to shoot back? Instead of reducing the problem, which is violence, increasing it in another way. Instead of trying to put out the fire, we're feeding it.
Putting out the fire, in my opinion would be through punishing police who act above the law and resort to violence when it's not needed by making sure that the laws agaisnt bad cops are strong. So that police don't fear the people, they fear breaking the laws and being overly violent. Police should be aware that they also do not live above the law. That they can easily go to jail for abusing their power. I don't think that this will be acheived by giving other people more legal grounds for violence. If we don't like how the police are acting, we shouldnt then act like them in response. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Violence + violence does not equal peace and justice.