Standing Your Ground Against People Standing Up (we have a new George Zimmerman!)

Well, at least it wasn’t Texas or Florida this time…

In case you missed it, Wayne Burgarello of Sparks, Nevada shot two people who were trespassing on an abandoned property owned by Burgarello. The couple were sleeping when Burgarello entered the abandoned duplex (Wilson was attempting to establish squatter’s rights to the property). As Devine moved to stand up, Burgarello fired. Burgarello shot eight times, killing Cody Devine and wounding Janai Wilson.

Burgarello claimed he fired in self-defense as he mistook Devine’s arm for a gun. Interestingly, the fact that Burgarello owned the property does not appear to have been part of the defense, but instead, Burgarello’s defense cited Nevada’s “stand your ground” statues which allow people to use deadly force when threatened (so long as they don’t initiate the conflict).

Let’s step back a moment and consider just how amazingly broad these “stand your ground” laws are: If you can show that you had reason to be afraid, you can, in many of the United States, kill someone. You can do this within the law. What the other person was actually doing, whether or not they were even aware they were “threatening” you, is irrelevant. Given that we’re talking about deadly force here, the deceased is extremely unlikely to be in a position to contradict their killer’s story. These laws are, in my not-remotely-humble opinion, absolutely batshit insane.

These laws also encourage people who are prone to thinking that killing other people is a good idea to arm themselves to the teeth. People like, oh, I don’t know….Burgarello?

(regarding Burgarello’s bail hearing)…He also cited the seven long-barreled guns, five hand guns and nearly a dozen knives police said they found in a safe at Burgarello’s home, along with a pair of brass knuckles, which are illegal to possess in Nevada.

And to make plans to kill people:

Two neighbors testified Wednesday that Burgarello told them years earlier that he might arm himself and wait for people responsible for repeatedly vandalizing and burglarizing the vacant duplex.

“He told me, ‘I’m going to be waiting inside with a gun,'” Kevin Morgan said.

Ok, are we clear on the scenario here? We have a man, Burgarello, who has armed himself beyond any reasonable need (including illegal weapons), a man who has told people that he planned to arm himself and wait for vandals. He bursts in on a couple asleep on the floor of his abandoned property, one of them moves to get up, and he unloads his weapon, killing him and wounding the woman sleeping next to him. His defense was that he mistook the man’s arm for a gun, so he feared for his own life and had to kill the man.

You know how this ends, right? This being the U.S of A, there’s really only one way it could possibly end:

Not guilty on all counts.

I seriously hope that Burgarello goes off to some island where he’s the only person so he doesn’t have to be afraid of his shadow. Someplace very remote and lonely, because he doesn’t belong anywhere near other human beings.

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