Open Season on Law Enforcement? Indiana Republicans Expand Stand Your Ground to Public Servants

Complete insanity. The NRA - and "moderate" Republicans like Mitch Daniels - are now taking sides squarely against law enforcement, and in favor of armed-to-the-teeth vigilantes, who now have legal cover in some circumstances to shoot cops in Indiana. This has to end. - promoted by david

“The bottom line is rash decisions can have devastating, life altering consequences.”

–Indiana State Police spokesman

A husband is beating up his wife. She escapes to the bedroom, locks the door, and dials 9-1-1. As the police arrive at the front door, the hysterical wife tells the dispatcher that her husband is trying to kill her. She’s in the bedroom screaming. The abusive husband, who has taken a breather, is sitting in the living room when  the police still hearing screams knock down the door. The husband, believing that the police are unlawfully entering his house, shoots the first officer dead.

Thanks to the National Rifle Association, Gov. Mitch Daniels, and the Republican legislators, this scenario and other variations are not only possible but legally defensible in Indidana. Senate Enrolled Act I extends the rationale of Stand Your Ground Laws against law enforcement:

“After close inspection, I have decided to sign Senate Enrolled Act 1. Contrary to some impressions, the bill strengthens the protection of Indiana law enforcement officers by narrowing the situations in which someone would be justified in using force against them. Senate Enrolled Act 1 puts into place a two-part test before a person can use deadly force against a law enforcement officer:  First, it clarifies and restates the current requirement that a person reasonably believe the law enforcement officer is acting unlawfully. Second, it adds that the force must be reasonably necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the citizen.

The new law effectively reverses a state Supreme Court ruling that homeowners do not have the right to use force against law enforcement officials whom they think are entering their homes illegally.

“The state Supreme Court [had] found that officers sometimes enter homes without warrants for reasons protected by the law, such as pursuing suspects or preventing the destruction of evidence. In these situations, we find it unwise to allow a homeowner to adjudge the legality of police conduct in the heat of the moment,” the court said. “As we decline to recognize a right to resist unlawful police entry into a home, we decline to recognize a right to batter a police officer as a part of that resistance.”

The National Rifle Association, according to Bloomberg News, pushed for the law, saying an unfavorable court decision made the need clear and that it would allow homeowners to defend themselves during a violent, unjustified attack. Police lobbied against it to no avail. Ironically, the actual case that brought about the state Supreme Court decision would not have been impacted by the law.

“In the real world,” Gov. Orwell Daniels, ”there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met.”  In other words, the law won’t affect reality very much.”So as a matter of law, law enforcement officers will be better protected than before, not less so.” And in the slim chance that reality will be effected, say, by a police officer being shot to the face, that police officer’s family can be consoled by the fact that statutes were on his side..

When dealing with the right-wing, we’re dealing with a virtual reality where it’s more important for them to  see their abstract, right-wing perspective codified–one where gun owners are justified in applying lethal force to law enforcement–than it is to minimize “the chance that citizens hearing reports of change will misunderstand what the law says.”

Matt Stoller’s words, which I cited previously, encapsulate the Right’s mission. It’s not policy. It’s not even power. It’s “a complete and utter subjugation of the American consciousness to their tribal mentality. And they will not stop until they get it.”


13 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Am I the only one hearing mixed messages from the NRA?

    Last week they wanted an armed cop in every school to prevent another Newtown. This week they want to make sure citizens can defend themselves against armed cops. Am I missing a link here or has all hope really been lost regarding logic and consistency?

    • The thing about the NRA

      is that they don’t have a coherent policy other than “guns good, limits on guns bad.” No verb necessary.

    • They just want to sell guns

      They don’t have any consistent principle other than commercial gain for gun manufacturers. Arguably, violence serves their interests insofar as it boosts gun sales.

  2. Maybe cops will finally line up reliably behind Democrats

    The police are one of the few local public servants who, as a group, aren’t reliably Democratic. Despite the Dem’s support of unions (and the GOP’s bashing of them, particularly public ones). Despite the Dem’s support of collecting the taxes necessary to prevent a slashing of police forces (see: Newark, NJ).

    Maybe now, now that the NRA and the GOP support the legal right to shoot a cop who is acting correctly within his duties*, the police will, as a group, finally start voting with the political party who supports them and their safety. After all, there are about a million cops, and most of ‘em probably vote. **

    * under some circumstances
    ** source: BLS, SOC codes 211092, 331012, 333021, 333051, 333052

    • I wouldn't count on

      it. Police and fire are usually left out of the anti-union attacks. I think their voting motivation has more to do with their attitude toward authority and a sometimes unfortunate view toward those populations whom they police and whom disproportionately vote for Democrats.

  3. Stoller over-simplifies

    The right is tens of millions of people in the US and has many different interests. What is intriguing is the gap between the real interests of the leaders — for example, gun sales for the NRA and lower taxes for the richest for the Republican Party — and their rhetoric — freedom and civil rights in the case of the NRA, for example. Rather than tribalism, I’d say cynicism is the consistent element at the top. Perhaps tribalism accounts for some of the surreality-based thinking at the bottom. If so, history, demographics, and globalization are working against them.

    • "History, demographics, and globalization are working against them."

      And thank God for that.

      I agree with you that there are plenty of cynics at the top on the Right: Gingrich, Rove, Armey, that Christian Coalition peckerwood, to name a few. But those people clinging to guns and religion, like James Dobson, Pat Roberston, and the NRA, the true believers, for them, it’s primarily about identity. Even if they make money.

  4. On a bit of tangent...

    …how is that the NRA and the Christian conservatives stay in the same coalition? Seems a gun fetish is incompatable with turning the other cheek, beating swords into plowshares, etc. The most obvious contradiction comes from the defense of guns by Mike Huckabee who is himself ordained.

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