On the Proposed Changes to Texas’ ‘Castle Doctrine’ Law
Sometimes I get a really weird itch to look up proposed bills in the Texas House. Nerdy? Sure. Probably a good idea since I live here? Also yes.
Currently, the most read house bill concerns an amendment, rather, the restoration of a previous clause, to what might be Texas' most famous law, the so-called Castle Doctrine.
In essence, House Bill 196 states that a homeowner or a property owner has the right to defend their home or property with lethal force. If a would-be burglar was attempting to break into your home or car, you will most likely face no legal repercussions shooting them.
The change proposed is the re-addition of the clause that the home/property owner would first have to attempt to safely retreat before shooting the perpetrator. This sounds reasonable, until you remember that you're a 5'4" woman and that the attempt to "safely retreat" (whatever that means) might cost you your one chance to save yourself.
Y'all did think this was the direction this article was headed, right?
When I was 17 years old, I walked over from a house I was visiting to grab food at a McDonald's. It was after dark, and I took a shortcut through the paved, well-lit alleyway. A man in a blue and silver Chevy Silverado drove his vehicle beside me and at such an angle that if I attempted to avoid him, he could have easily run me over.
After I refused his invitation to "come party" with him, he grabbed my arm and attempted to pull me into his vehicle. Had I not shouted a man's name at the top of my lungs, he wouldn't have been totally shocked into dropping me and he would have raped and probably murdered me. He sped away, and I'm sure continued to be an absolutely model citizen.
Do I regret walking in the alley? No, I don't. It was my right to be there. If I had a gun on my person, I would have shot him in the head. In that scenario, should I have attempted to "safely" retreat when I knew in my heart he'd run me over? How on earth would I have been able to prove I attempted a retreat even if I had? Would I be culpable for murder for protecting myself during a split-second decision?
Representative Terry Meza (HD 105) says she wants to restore this clause because "I don't believe that stealing someone's lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death." Sure. I agree. But if you're genuinely afraid that person is going to enter your property and hurt you, are you really going to wait to see what their intentions are? And how do you prove if you were afraid or not?
An aside: don't fall for the hoax that she introduced this bill because she believes people have the right to rob you. That was just unfunny "satire." We can disagree or agree with our elected representatives without lying about their intent.
Certainly, there are drawbacks to the Castle Doctrine and people who will abuse it. But it's my opinion that we all have the right to prevent ourselves from becoming the victim of violent crime if we are able.
As long as guns, knives, tasers, etc. are legal, we should legally be allowed to use them when faced with a potentially deadly threat.