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[Merged] Stand Your Ground

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When Billy Kuch knocked on the wrong door, he had a cigarette in one hand and a shirt in the other. The homeowner, Gregory Stewart, stepped outside, stood his ground, fired a round from his semiautomatic into Kuch's chest, and in the eyes of the state of Florida, committed no crime.

Three years after that shooting, in a Land O' Lakes subdivision called Stagecoach Village, Kuch is alive but damaged by his injuries and the shock of being shot at point-blank range.Stewart is free but lying low, still sought out by neighbors and others who want him to account for his actions.

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Guess the NRA is happy now :innocent:

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There is absolutely no detail in that article that explains why Kuch was on that doorstep ... what exactly is that article proving? It lists no sources, verifiable numbers or even accounts of injustice - just a vague reference to an incidence in which Kuch was shot but not why it was not justified or what actually happened?

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The truth is that of the millions of legal gun owners in the US only a very tiny fraction ever discharge a firearm in such circumstances. Much more a problem is the accidental death rate by people handling firearms without proper training.

I agree that the SYG laws need to be revisited. I'm not sure how they can be made more clear, yet still provide the protection originally envisioned. It may be that they just have to be scrapped altogether. We cannot have a law that creates the impression that if you just feel threatened you can kill another person.

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There is absolutely no detail in that article that explains why Kuch was on that doorstep ... what exactly is that article proving? It lists no sources, verifiable numbers or even accounts of injustice - just a vague reference to an incidence in which Kuch was shot but not why it was not justified or what actually happened?

Sorry LibstaK, you must not have been able to access pages 2 and 3 of the article covering that. Here's the text for you...

‘Could happen to anyone’

Billy Kuch was a troubled kid. As an adolescent, he had bipolar disorder diagnosed and he’d been arrested a couple of times for driving under the influence. He drank too much, and he knew it.

So when he was out at a party that August night on Golden Eagle Drive near the intersection of Gun Smoke Drive, he decided he was too blitzed to drive home. He left the party to lock his keys inside his car so he couldn’t get behind the wheel later that night.

Kuch, then 23, stumbled back toward the party but forgot which beige stucco house was hosting the bash. He knocked on the wrong door, the one belonging to Gregory Stewart, a 32-year-old homeowner who did not appreciate having his wife and baby disturbed by a drunk kid after 4 in the morning. Kuch went away and texted his sister that he was totally confused about what was going on.

Then Kuch found what he thought was the party house and tried the door. But he’d landed at Stewart’s place, again.

This time, after Kuch turned the doorknob, Stewart told his wife to call 911. Then he grabbed his Smith & Wesson semiautomatic and went into his front yard.

Stewart said he kept asking Kuch to leave, but Kuch, thinking the guys at the party were playing a joke on him, stayed.

“Don’t make me shoot you,” warned the 6-foot-1 Stewart, according to police records. “I don’t want to shoot you.”

Kuch, who stands 5-foot-9, raised his hands, asked for a light and lurched toward the homeowner. Stewart fired.

Stewart broke down in tears when police arrived. “I could have given him a light,” he said. But he said he had felt threatened.

Police asked Stewart why he hadn’t just waited inside until officers arrived.

“I don’t know,” replied Stewart. His unwanted visitor, he said, was unarmed.

“If I had a crazy drunk guy at my door,” said Jeanann Kuch, Billy’s mother, “I’d have locked my door and called 911.”

Kuch spent five weeks in a coma. He woke with no recollection of the incident.

Before the shooting, Kuch had supported the Stand Your Ground law, his parents said. Stewart’s view of the law is not known. He did not return repeated calls, and no court ever asked, because Stewart was never brought before a judge.

Stewart was arrested that night, but Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia concluded that his actions were “justified.”

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Sorry LibstaK, you must not have been able to access pages 2 and 3 of the article covering that. Here's the text for you...

'Could happen to anyone'

Billy Kuch was a troubled kid. As an adolescent, he had bipolar disorder diagnosed and he'd been arrested a couple of times for driving under the influence. He drank too much, and he knew it.

So when he was out at a party that August night on Golden Eagle Drive near the intersection of Gun Smoke Drive, he decided he was too blitzed to drive home. He left the party to lock his keys inside his car so he couldn't get behind the wheel later that night.

Kuch, then 23, stumbled back toward the party but forgot which beige stucco house was hosting the bash. He knocked on the wrong door, the one belonging to Gregory Stewart, a 32-year-old homeowner who did not appreciate having his wife and baby disturbed by a drunk kid after 4 in the morning. Kuch went away and texted his sister that he was totally confused about what was going on.

Then Kuch found what he thought was the party house and tried the door. But he'd landed at Stewart's place, again.

This time, after Kuch turned the doorknob, Stewart told his wife to call 911. Then he grabbed his Smith & Wesson semiautomatic and went into his front yard.

Stewart said he kept asking Kuch to leave, but Kuch, thinking the guys at the party were playing a joke on him, stayed.

"Don't make me shoot you," warned the 6-foot-1 Stewart, according to police records. "I don't want to shoot you."

Kuch, who stands 5-foot-9, raised his hands, asked for a light and lurched toward the homeowner. Stewart fired.

Stewart broke down in tears when police arrived. "I could have given him a light," he said. But he said he had felt threatened.

Police asked Stewart why he hadn't just waited inside until officers arrived.

"I don't know," replied Stewart. His unwanted visitor, he said, was unarmed.

"If I had a crazy drunk guy at my door," said Jeanann Kuch, Billy's mother, "I'd have locked my door and called 911."

Kuch spent five weeks in a coma. He woke with no recollection of the incident.

Before the shooting, Kuch had supported the Stand Your Ground law, his parents said. Stewart's view of the law is not known. He did not return repeated calls, and no court ever asked, because Stewart was never brought before a judge.

Stewart was arrested that night, but Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia concluded that his actions were "justified."

Ah, you know it's late here - the problem might be that I just didn't notice a page 2 and 3 - thanks for the details. So Stewart felt genuinely threatened/adrenaline coursing through his veins, a wife and child to worry about should the Kuch turn out to be up to no good. But then when it was done he broke down in tears and told the cops "I could have just given him a light".

I would hate to be in his shoes then or any day since by the sounds of it. I don't think the stand your ground law was tested appropriately in that case, it should have been, both parties are available to state their case - amnesia from Kuch notwithstanding, the phone records and all the party goers would be evidence he was looking for the right address for a party.

The whole SYG business is really messy but should be tested in the courts in every practical instance.

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Ah, you know it's late here - the problem might be that I just didn't notice a page 2 and 3 - thanks for the details. So Stewart felt genuinely threatened/adrenaline coursing through his veins, a wife and child to worry about should the Kuch turn out to be up to no good. But then when it was done he broke down in tears and told the cops "I could have just given him a light".

I would hate to be in his shoes then or any day since by the sounds of it. I don't think the stand your ground law was tested appropriately in that case, it should have been, both parties are available to state their case - amnesia from Kuch notwithstanding, the phone records and all the party goers would be evidence he was looking for the right address for a party.

The whole SYG business is really messy but should be tested in the courts in every practical instance.

I had problems getting the pages to load, I thought maybe you had the same problem.. it's all good :)

I'm not sure how I feel about SYG.. I think it's good to have some sort of clear legal CMA for when one is attacked. But I think there a handful of cases like this one where it wasn't justified. It is indeed a mess :(

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After reading stories about the SYG law and it's application, I don't think I want a bar, a sporting event or anything else that could cause a fight to break out anywhere near where I live. It seems as if open gunfare is acceptable now and not even investigated anymore. I do agree with libstaK in that I wouldn't want to live with myself knowing that I killed someone on the spur of a moment that may not have really deserved it.

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WE don't need any more laws. That is not the problem. We need a system that does what it is designed to do. The way it is now it does just the opposite and laws like this do nothing but create more crime. When we have to have laws like this it means people do not trust our system to do what it is supposed to do. If we are going to have laws like this we may as well just do away with the legal system. It's a waste of money. And the way it is presently working it is a waste of money and lives.

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There was a similar incident in the next county about a year ago.

Young man celebrating his 21st birthday and drunk at 2am, knocks on the wrong door in a little neighbor he was not familiar with. Looking for the home of his friends who he had been with.

The people that got woke up did not understand what was going on, but were scared. Maybe they called 911. Eventually the door is opened and the drunk youngster comes charging in. Shot inside the house as I recall, fatally.

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There was a similar incident in the next county about a year ago.

Young man celebrating his 21st birthday and drunk at 2am, knocks on the wrong door in a little neighbor he was not familiar with. Looking for the home of his friends who he had been with.

The people that got woke up did not understand what was going on, but were scared. Maybe they called 911. Eventually the door is opened and the drunk youngster comes charging in. Shot inside the house as I recall, fatally.

Do you have a link?

That actually happened about 20 years ago in LA and was even a plot on the show Homicide Life on the Street in the early 90s.

But since it's a story that's rife for "urban legendry", I'd like to see actual proof that it happened again recently.

As to the OP, if the homicides are in fact justified, then so be it. A legal shoot is a good shoot in my mind. People have a right to defend themselves.

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I think that "Stand Your Ground" should be a judicial decision, so you shoot someone you go to court and have to prove you were justified in shooting them, if you're successful nothing will be recorded against your name.

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I think that "Stand Your Ground" should be a judicial decision, so you shoot someone you go to court and have to prove you were justified in shooting them, if you're successful nothing will be recorded against your name.

Any Homicide/Manslaughter should go to court and there decided whether justified or not.

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I can't even believe the same people on these boards talking about crime in black neighborhoods are ok with this. Do they actually think white people are going to be smarter with guns than black people? All this is going to do is create more neighborhoods just like those. More and more people are going to be paranoid and carrying guns, ready to shoot for any reason. Do you think all white people who own guns now are smart because I have news for you!Just tell them it's legal and you will see very quickly your perfect neighborhoods turning into that black neighborhoods you're always ranting about.

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I can't even believe the same people on these boards talking about crime in black neighborhoods are ok with this. Do they actually think white people are going to be smarter with guns than black people? All this is going to do is create more neighborhoods just like those. More and more people are going to be paranoid and carrying guns, ready to shoot for any reason. Do you think all white people who own guns now are smart because I have news for you!Just tell them it's legal and you will see very quickly your perfect neighborhoods turning into that black neighborhoods you're always ranting about.

And yours is always the argument that is put out there - "it'll be just like the old west!" But yet the numbers in states where these types of laws and concealed carry in general have been enacted don't support your position.

Your profile says you live in Vermont - I'm assuming you know that Vermont has the most liberal firearms laws in the United States. No permits are required for purchase or carry and that it's perfectly legal to walk around with pistol in full view Billy the Kid style - talk about the Old West.

Are the bodies piling up?

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Do you have a link?

That actually happened about 20 years ago in LA and was even a plot on the show Homicide Life on the Street in the early 90s.

But since it's a story that's rife for "urban legendry", I'd like to see actual proof that it happened again recently.

As to the OP, if the homicides are in fact justified, then so be it. A legal shoot is a good shoot in my mind. People have a right to defend themselves.

No, I don't have a link. It might be a year now since it happened, in the next county north from where I live.

I agree with Wearer Of Hats however, and Questionmark--any homicide should be taken to some sort of formal inquest or judicial proceeding.

I'm all for this SYG statute, but whether or not any given case meets the standard required should be closely and openly examined. The failure to do so in this Martin case is what has caused all the problem.

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And yours is always the argument that is put out there - "it'll be just like the old west!" But yet the numbers in states where these types of laws and concealed carry in general have been enacted don't support your position.

Your profile says you live in Vermont - I'm assuming you know that Vermont has the most liberal firearms laws in the United States. No permits are required for purchase or carry and that it's perfectly legal to walk around with pistol in full view Billy the Kid style - talk about the Old West.

Are the bodies piling up?

They may be the case but I don't recall any shooting with death resuling or otherwise that is not investigated or where the victim is blamed. I've seen hunting accidents go to trial. If we had a law like this I can see major abuse in this state. I knwo some really stupid people with guns. In fact some of the stupidest people I know have guns and they are the ones yelling about their rights to own and use them. And if we had a law like this in thsi state do you know who I would see as the victims of abuse of this law.... WOMEN AND CHILDREN!!! Those children being passed around from home to home and being used as a paycheck in those perfect homes. Those perfect homes that are now adopting one a year because they get a big credit on their taxes and nothing changes, they still get a paycheck, a tax free paycheck just like they did before. Those children who are all on drugs that no one understands what they are doing to them. Those children who, once the money runs dry end up back with their familes who weren't getting paid to "help" them or out on the streets. A lot of those children who by law can't own guns because they are felons before they reach the age of 18! Those children who need the most protection and have been used for a welfare check instead!

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No, I don't have a link. It might be a year now since it happened, in the next county north from where I live.

I agree with Wearer Of Hats however, and Questionmark--any homicide should be taken to some sort of formal inquest or judicial proceeding.

I'm all for this SYG statute, but whether or not any given case meets the standard required should be closely and openly examined. The failure to do so in this Martin case is what has caused all the problem.

OK, I'll do a little research.

How do we know that this hasn't been done in the Martin case? How do we know that it's not ongoing?

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They may be the case but I don't recall any shooting with death resuling or otherwise that is not investigated or where the victim is blamed. I've seen hunting accidents go to trial. If we had a law like this I can see major abuse in this state. I knwo some really stupid people with guns. In fact some of the stupidest people I know have guns and they are the ones yelling about their rights to own and use them. And if we had a law like this in thsi state do you know who I would see as the victims of abuse of this law.... WOMEN AND CHILDREN!!! Those children being passed around from home to home and being used as a paycheck in those perfect homes. Those perfect homes that are now adopting one a year because they get a big credit on their taxes and nothing changes, they still get a paycheck, a tax free paycheck just like they did before. Those children who are all on drugs that no one understands what they are doing to them. Those children who, once the money runs dry end up back with their familes who weren't getting paid to "help" them or out on the streets. A lot of those children who by law can't own guns because they are felons before they reach the age of 18! Those children who need the most protection and have been used for a welfare check instead!

Let's try to keep it on topic. That state of the child protective services in Vermont isn't the discussion here.

And, yes, there are lots of stupid people. I will agree with you. But unfortunately intelligence isn't criteria for a lot of things and there's not much we can do about that.

I'm assuming you're talking about the Martin case when you talk about things not being investigated. From what I can tell, it is being investigated. The DA made a statement just yesterday.

Frankly I think the problem with that case - since you brought up stupidity and responsibility - is that we need a little less of one and more of the other from our media and certain "leaders". Much more damage can be done by a stupid person behind a keyboard or microphone than can be done by a stupid person behind a handgun.

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Let's try to keep it on topic. That state of the child protective services in Vermont isn't the discussion here.

And, yes, there are lots of stupid people. I will agree with you. But unfortunately intelligence isn't criteria for a lot of things and there's not much we can do about that.

I'm assuming you're talking about the Martin case when you talk about things not being investigated. From what I can tell, it is being investigated. The DA made a statement just yesterday.

Frankly I think the problem with that case - since you brought up stupidity and responsibility - is that we need a little less of one and more of the other from our media and certain "leaders". Much more damage can be done by a stupid person behind a keyboard or microphone than can be done by a stupid person behind a handgun.

It's ALWAYS this way...kidsmotherskidsmotherskidsmother...it's a little agenda-driven, don't you think?

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It's ALWAYS this way...kidsmotherskidsmotherskidsmother...it's a little agenda-driven, don't you think?

Yes actually it is. People like you create the criminals by protecting or doing nothing about the system and now you want laws to protect you from what you've created. You aren't victims. You deserve no more protection than they've gotten. You've built a system out of crime and that's what you have. SO DON'T CRY VICTIM!! You have nothing but what you've stolen from other people and now you want laws to protect yourself from people trying to steal it back!!! :wacko:

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Yes actually it is. People like you create the criminals by protecting or doing nothing about the system and now you want laws to protect you from what you've created. You aren't victims. You deserve no more protection than they've gotten. You've built a system out of crime and that's what you have. SO DON'T CRY VICTIM!! You have nothing but what you've stolen from other people and now you want laws to protect yourself from people trying to steal it back!!! :wacko:

You're clearly insane. Thanks for playing.

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You're clearly insane. Thanks for playing.

You can't get around the real problems in this country. Pretty soon you're going to run out of space for jails for all those children you're riding for your welfare check. Until you people deal with the real issues in this country you and your children aren't any safer than they are. Nothing comes easy in thsi world including that welfare check.

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You can't get around the real problems in this country. Pretty soon you're going to run out of space for jails for all those children you're riding for your welfare check. Until you people deal with the real issues in this country you and your children aren't any safer than they are. Nothing comes easy in thsi world including that welfare check.

Are you implying I am on welfare? What the hell? :wacko:

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My link

In the seven years since it was enacted, the Florida law and others like it have become an effective defense for an increasing number of people who have shot others, according to state records and media reports.

Justifiable homicides in Florida have tripled, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement data. Other states have seen similar increases, FBI statistics show.

In the five years before the law’s passage, Florida prosecutors declared “justifiable” an average of 12 killings by private citizens each year. (Most justifiable killings are committed by police officers; those cases, which have also tripled, are not included in these statistics.) But in the five years after the law passed, that number spiked to an average of 36 justifiable killings per year.

Neither the state nor Florida’s association of prosecutors declares the jump in justifiable homicides to be a direct result of the new law, but the state public defender’s association does draw that connection, as have advocacy groups opposed to Stand Your Ground laws.

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, a national group, argues that Stand Your Ground is not just a technical expansion of the castle doctrine, the ancient legal concept that allows property owners to defend their homes, but rather a barrier to prosecution of genuine criminals.

“It’s almost like we now have to prove a negative — that a person was not acting in self-defense, often on the basis of only one witness, the shooter,” said Steven A. Jansen, the group’s vice president.

The Tampa Bay Times has identified at least 130 cases in Florida in which shooters cited the Stand Your Ground law to defend their actions; in at least 50 of those cases, prosecutors decided against bringing any charges.

After her victory in Florida, Hammer, the NRA lobbyist, brought the new law to the Criminal Justice Task Force of ALEC, the conservative legislative group. The task force made the Florida law a model to be presented in every state capital.

Since then, 32 states have copied at least part of Florida’s statute, according to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. The NRA and other conservative groups have continued to push the issue in other states, though the effort has stalled amid outcry over the Martin case.

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