August 26, 2004

South Carolinian Does His Civic Duty

That's what usually happens when someone attempts to break in a South Carolina home. This time was no exception.

"Michael Jenkins, 32, of Hardeeville, was shot in the leg and face by Michael Grant, 28, when he broke down Grant's door at 12:41 a.m., according to police."

I'll wait a second for Mr. du Toit to stop the wild cheering.

In my days of being a musician I traveled through Hardeeville quite a bit. I-95 & S.C. Highway 17 run right through it. I can't say I've spent a lot of time there but what little I have seen of the locals never gave me any idea that this story would be inconsistent with the people's mindset down that way.

"Maj. Sam Woodward of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office said Grant shot the intruder with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol moments after his home security alarm went off.
'The suspect tried to enter the house using a crowbar and kicking in the door,' Woodward said. 'When he kicked the door in, the homeowner fired shots.’
Jenkins was taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 4:30 a.m., Woodward said.
Grant, who lives alone, was questioned by police, but was not charged in the incident, Woodward said. The Solicitor's Office will make the final call on whether charges are warranted, he said."

I'll wait a moment for the du Toit family to stop doing the wave.

All's well that ends well; at least so far. The Solicitor could still press charges, but given SC law it's unlikely.

"South Carolina laws regarding the use of lethal force by a victim in a home invasion are less strict than in other states, said Prof. Kenneth Gaines, a criminal law professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
'A lot of states say there has to be a gun or other serious weapons involved before you can use deadly force,' Gaines said, adding that Grant will most likely not be charged in the shooting. 'If (Jenkins) was in the house, I would doubt there will be any prosecution. In South Carolina, if somebody is breaking into your home, you can assume they are coming in to do something to you, and you are allowed to use deadly force."

Now perhaps I'm just reading to much into it, but it seems like the Professor is implying that SC law concerning defense of the home is abnormal. Personally i don't care if SC law doesn't mirror New Jersey or California. In fact if it did I'd be tempted to try to liberate the poor South Carolinians under that kind of oppression.

I would also take exception to the good professor's choice of words: SC law does not "allow" deadly force. SC law does not punish deadly force in those circumstances. I am no fan of SC law in general, as they have it so backwards that open carry is verboten, but one thing they do seem to understand is the state has no authority to prohibit a person from defending his domicile. S "allow" is not the way I'd choose to describe it as I don't think the SC legislature has ever been that presumptuous.

"Homeowner Jerron Richburg of Cross fired a shot in May at a teen who had broken into his house with a file and a screwdriver. The teen, indicted earlier this month on second-degree burglary charges, lost his leg in the shooting. Richburg, however, was acting in self-defense, said Deputy Solicitor Blair Jennings, and won't be charged."

I’ll wait a few for the du Toit family to get the catcalls & cheers out of their system.

It seems that in that part of SC (& most other parts I've been in) they don't agree with the idea of giving the robber whatever he wants in the hopes he'll not harm you. Hardeeville isn't a sprawling metropolis by any stretch, but I'd wager good Confederate dollars that they don't have much of a problem with home invasions. & odds are they'll have even less of a problem.

Ya see it's not just that potential burglars will think twice about breaking into an occupied home, it's that in this one story you have two criminals who won't be breaking into any homes ever again.

That's the civic duty referenced in the title: not just protecting your own, but through protecting your own protecting the community. Because Mr. Grant didn't just assume the burglar would take his VCR & run; because he assumed that if a person is bold enough to break into your home he's bold enough to do you harm, Mr. Grant stopped a criminal from getting away with his current crime & proceeding to the next.

Yes, death seems like a harsh punishment to most for breaking & entering. But if a person is willing to commit such a confrontational crime, invading your very home with the intention of stealing, one must assume they have the intent to use force to carry out their crime & that force will be directed at you. So death is not the consequence of breaking & entering per se, but the consequence of threatening to use that level of force against a person in the one place he should feel secure.

If I ever get that way again I'll be tempted to look up Mr. Grant & buy him a beer. Not because he killed someone that was breaking into his house, but because he had the determination to stop someone who threatened him & his community. We need more people like him & less like Boxer, et al, who feel the state should be your first & only means of defense.

Posted by Publicola at August 26, 2004 01:47 AM

AMEN! Unfortuantely, until I complete my olympic hoop-jumping routine here in Massachusetts to prove I am worthy of exercising my constitutionally protected rights, I can only live vicariously throught he deeds of these outstanding citizens.

(doing the Kim Happy Dance now)

Posted by: Bruce at August 27, 2004 06:55 AM
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