Castle Doctrine allows defense of homes, but how many real 'homes' are left?
"I just shot through my door with a gun," a Niles man recently told a police dispatcher.
The Tribune Chronicle's front page story arrested my attention, for this happened just a few miles from my house.
Part of the headline was a sign with giant letters, "PROTECTED BY OWNER," pictured with a hand holding a gun. Under this sign was the caption: "Home is your castle," which certainly is common knowledge; but what's the big deal here?
Come to find out that 40-year old Roy Hahn, the caller, didn't realize that the shotgun blast he fired through his front door had killed one man in the group attempting to break into his home.
This incident is one of several examples across the country where deadly force has been used for self-defense. Local prosecutors have confronted such cases in the form of Ohio Castle Doctrine, stand-your-ground or no-duty-to-retreat laws. On this basis, Mr. Hahn was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Trumbull County prosecutor's office, citing it as a clear case of self-defense. Including Ohio, castle laws are also in effect in at least 48 states.
In this day of judicial breakdown and "political correctness," I wondered if there might have been a public outcry over this "verdict." Wouldn't Hahn be the perpetrator, rather than the victim? This is a feasible question in light of the recent self-defense case of George Zimmerman in Florida, where he was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. The race card was played big time in that scenario; thankfully, that is not a factor in this local case.
But even more amazing was the additional twist in which the surviving burglary suspects were charged with murder, seeing that their involvement of this felony caused a life to be taken.
Yes, those engaged in the burglary attempt were complicit in the death of one of their own. That's in "the books," and rightly so - but how bizarre in light of modern thinking. What a weight this law has placed on all concerned! There are some vital lessons here.
Thankfully, in America, our "home is our castle," if we have one. It's a place of rest and refuge, a place to escape the rat race and intrusion of the outside world. It's really the last resort of a person's privacy and solitude. No one has the right to violate that space, but unfortunately, that doesn't deter some people from invading the privacy of others.
But increasingly, these personal rights are being violated, even by "Big Brother" with his sophisticated technology and power. Our "land of the free'' is consistently being decimated and challenged.
Neighborhood crime continues to escalate, especially where the "entitlement" philosophy is mushrooming; this promotes the attitude that "what's yours is mine" and sets up further episodes of "stand-your-ground" confrontations as described above. It took a shotgun blast through the door to send a clear message from Mr. Hahn that his home was his castle!
Certainly there's a sobering note here, for a man lost his life attempting to break in to someone else's house. Moreover, the other accomplices will also face stiff consequences as well.
In reality, while they broke the law, the law in turn broke them. I'm sure they've had second thoughts about their wicked plight.
Few would say that the "stand-your-ground" law will not deter some from attempting such unlawful and selfish deeds. Gratefully, the law protects us from such violations, but that's effective only in a society that promotes respect for authority and sensitivity of conscience. We're losing those concepts rapidly!
Speaking of the unlawful invasion of a man's home or castle, how many folks don't even have a place to call ''home.''
Yes, there is still an abundance of houses, but there are very few real homes. Traditional marriage seems to be on the decline, while divorce and co-habitation are on the rise. Then consider the epidemic rate of illegitimacy and the plight of single moms who look to government to become the "father" and breadwinner. This has become a colossal heartbreak, impeding the family structure and preventing the wholesome security and beauty of efficient home life.
A house is one thing, but a home is another. Men make houses, but only God can make a home.
I'm grateful for Ohio's Castle Doctrine that protects the homeowner's right to protect himself and his "castle." However, I have a three-fold concern: First, how long will such laws be enforced in light of the mounting tolerance toward criminal behavior and accountability; secondly, there's the growing progressive trend to "take from the haves, and give to the have nots; thirdly, with the moral corruption, infidelity and spiritual bankruptcy that plagues our nation, how many real homes (castles) will be left to protect?