Castle Doctrine in the Kaarma Case

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The trial of (ironically named) Markus Kaarma has been filling up Montana news feeds since April 2014, when the incident occurred. As to be expected, certain media outlets are leading an attack on the “Castle Doctrine” regardless of the fact that Kaarma’s defense failed. It appears both he, and many critics of the law, have a poor understanding of its functionality.

Generally speaking, “stand your ground” laws state that victims of crime have no “duty to retreat” from a physical threat. You simply have the right to defend yourself, specifically inside your own home. Seems like common sense, right?

Various kinds of “Castle Doctrines” exist across the US, covering a range of behaviors. The self-defense law is most commonly applied in the South where murder rates are often many times higher than they are in Montana. Florida, for example, has tried scores of homicide cases under a “stand your ground” defense, awhile Montana has only had a few people who even attempted to claim protection under the law.

“Stand your ground” has nothing to do with plotting a murder in advance, which Kaarma appears to have been doing after spending days openly discussing his plans to kill kids who were trespassing in his garage.

Although Kaarma had planned this killing in advance (premeditated murder, not self-defense), Dede was a burglar. The unlucky thief has been sainted by Montana media, even though he was killed in the midst of committing a crime. The characters our liberal media selects for either demonization or victimhood often baffle me.

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