Lordy, lordy…what has become of us?!
Tonight on Jordana Green’s program on WCCO Radio, the host and a majority of her guests defended — even make excuses for — the violence Byron Smith executed on two teenagers breaking into his home in 2012. Why? Well, Jordana reminds us that the kids broke in before, bullied him. If the kids had not broken into his house, she tells us, they would be alive. I guess that justifies setting up an ambush and executing unarmed teens.
If what we hear about Nick Brady and Haile Kifer is accurate, they broke into Byron Smith’s home before and he was familiar with them. As Green points out, Smith had enough. So he shot them. Point settled.
Smith himself certainly did not behave like a frightened man. First of all, if we believe his apologists, he knew the kids. But he shot them multiple times, several times after they were already wounded. He even took time to wrap Nick Brady in a tarp and move him so he wouldn’t bleed on his carpet. Minutes later he shot — then “finished off” — Haile Kifer.
It’s disgusting that anyone could justify and defend this. If these kids were out of control or otherwise threatening Byron Smith, you might make the self-defense argument. But even then, if he had wounded these kids, what justifies executing them?
Keep in mind that Byron Smith provides all the evidence against him. More than explaining to the police what he did, he recorded it as it happened! And still people stand up and argue that the law protects him. Protects him in what way? Does the law defend his decision to “finish off” two intruders or does it defend his right to use force if he feared for his safety? It’s stunning, but this question seems irrelevant.
The confusion is between justice and self defense. One can make the argument that self defense is a personal matter by definition, but justice should remain the purview of the law. We are losing that distinction.
People defending Smith don’t sound much concerned with the self-defense argument at all. They seem to be saying enough is enough and that’s it. That’s absurd. People are confusing using force as defense with using force to mete out justice and this sort of confused logic runs the risk of being abused.
We seem comfortable with the idea of capital punishment just as long as it happens in the home without due process of the law. That’s frightening. If we tolerate vigilante justice, where will our tolerance for that sort of justice end?