Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HB 48: Right to Defend Your Home

HB 48 will, if enacted, solidify Virginians' right to use force to defend our homes against intruders:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?131+ful+HB48S1

I don't think it goes nearly far enough. Why let a burglar "commit an overt act against the occupant" before you do something about him? Isn't being in your home, without an invitation, already "an overt act against" you? Actually, I think being on your land, beyond that clearly posted sign that says "No Trespassing," is "an overt act against" the lawful residents of private property and should relieve the property owners of any legal hassles about their defending themselves as they see fit.

I don't think our legislators should pay any attention to the idea that reviving the legal right to defend our land will lead to any wholesale slaughter of Jehovah's Witnesses...although, if it made Jehovah's Witnesses more careful about barging up to people's houses, that would be a good thing. There's nothing wrong with inserting into a good solid law about the right to defend property a clause about Jehovah's Witnesses, door-to-door salesmen, and similar nuisances having a right to move away from a house they have approached, as fast as they can, while loudly apologizing for having disturbed the homeowners.

But legislators need to exercise a little common sense. Giving people the legal right to kill pests does not make us want to kill anybody. I've been told I have the right to shoot the dogs my neighbors illegally allow to run around attacking other neighbors' chickens. Does that make me try to shoot those dogs? Want to shoot those dogs? If it wouldn't encourage them to stray, I'd actually like to pet those dogs! I have no ill will toward Jehovah's Witnesses, either, and even when those same neighbors' teenaged children are straying around making themselves a nuisance, I don't particularly want to have to haul a dead fullback out of my yard. I just want a good, strong, clear statement to everybody that if they're not invited to be on their neighbors' property, they should stay on the public road.