“There is hardly any mental misery worse than that of having our own serious phrases, our own rooted beliefs, caricatured by a charlatan or a hireling.” —George Eliot
Last Monday, Steve Shurtleff wrote an op-ed in advocacy for his bill to repeal stand your ground. He tells several lies, makes completely inaccurate statements and could not cite one case where the law was used by a criminal to avoid prosecution. Shurtleff writes,
“For more than three decades, New Hampshire law permitted the use of deadly force in self-defense unless the person knew that he or she and others could retreat from the encounter with complete safety. The law provided ample protection to self-defense rights, as violent response was always allowed unless the person knew it wasn’t necessary.
In 2011, the restriction on ‘violent response'[sic] was repealed as part of a national campaign to enact “stand your ground” laws at the state level. The change was made despite no documented problems with New Hampshire law; “stand your ground” advocates couldn’t cite a single case where someone had been wrongly prosecuted for using deadly force instead of fleeing a perceived threat.”
A bald-faced lie. In this entry on September 7, 2011 I gave five specific examples where people have been prosecuted. The same examples were discussed on various media outlets also at that time.
Shurtleff claims arguments agaisnt HB 135 have been based on misinformation. He and others who support the HB 135 have been presented numerous times with specific scenarios….scenarios that would most certainly play out in life because they dealt with how we as people live. Nobody has every saliently addressed those.
Shurtleff demagogues on and mischaracterizes opponents, denying that HB 135 would prevent someone from displaying a weapon to stop another person from being attacked, as a good Samaritan recently did in Manchester. The bare fact is that the law rescinds the brandishing component. If a person merely displays a firearm, criminal charges would surely follow under this repeal.
Regardless of what the nuts and bolts are of Shurtleff’s assertions, The overarching principle is this: Representative Shurtleff does not believe the people of New Hampshire are smart enough of intelligent enough to have a law like this. In his world view the only ones smart enough to deal with this are the police.
Shurtleff then relies on a current criminal trial playing out here locally. Tony Hebert is on trial after killing Pablo Samniego who was walking with a friend on South Main Street…at 3:00 AM. After a brief confrontation, Hebert shot Samneigo from the vehicle he was in, in the face, and then fled. Samniego was dead when police arrived.
While Hebert, does not deny killing Samniego, while making a claim of self-defense, There exists some question who the initial aggressor was. The media account does not give us the important information to make those judgments and we are left relying on Shurtleff…which is a corrupt bargain. No other background information…nothing.
Shurtleff then asserts,
Had this incident occurred just four months later, after “stand your ground” became law in New Hampshire, Hebert would have more legal cover for his actions.
Well, we simply do not know if that is the case or not…”Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda” is all that is…
Shurtleff ends his rant sticking to his mantra that stand your ground is for people who “choose” to use violence. He states,
“Laws that give legal protection to those who knowingly choose violence have no place in our state…”
Just think about what Shurtleff is saying…He is talking about everybody! generalizing… He is conveying that law-abiding citizens are mere blood-thirty killers, basically, choosing violence.
When Stand-Your Ground was in deliberation prior to overriding the Governor’s veto, Attorney General Michael Delaney and Manchester Police Chief David Mara conducted a media blitz asserting that Drug dealers and gangsters would most benefit from the law. The discussion never encompassed the law-abiding citizen, only their core constituencies: Liberals, Drug Dealers, Gangsters and Thugs.
Society has been completely dumbed down into acceptance of criminal activity. Many people modify their lifestyles, change their behavior and refrain from certain things because criminal activity has laid claim to its the turf they otherwise want to use. Beautiful parks and recreational areas are underutilized because of criminal activity. Countless people in this city do not go out after dark to walk their dogs because of criminal activity. There is a serious parking problem for patrons of the Verizon wireless arena, where often times people are forced to park in areas known for criminal activity. The police in this city are not proactive, but reactive. They respond to crimes far more than engaging in initiatives to thwart or discourage crime.
Shurtleff’s repeal contemplates only the bad behavior and ill-intent. It focuses narrowly on gun use, but not on the larger aspects of general or specific uses of force. Shurtleff ascribes to the notion that people are not smart enough, intelligent enough or possess adequate faculties of common sense to be responsible with ‘stand your ground’ in place. Ultimately he has chosen to decide that for you.
Any use of force upon another is a serious matter not to be taken lightly or in the heat of the moment. The overwhelming majority of people will decide correctly and the misusers of this law wouls be held to account. What Shurtleff seeks here is that all people who use force be held to account for it, but must first bankrupt themselves and their families first before any vindication can be had. All laws have conditions and elements, Stand-Your-Ground, being no different.
This repeal passed the House by a razor thin margin. We now look to the Senate to kill this in its entirety.