With a straight face, even?

Monte Frank provides a good illustration of just why modern debate is so debased. The column is Stand against stand-your-ground laws — “Many states empower ordinary citizens to act as vigilantes using lethal force. Do we really want to be a nation of Dirty Harrys?

“Welcome to America in 2013, where the culture of violence has taken over – so much so that Senate hearings on gun violence cannot proceed unimpeded by another mass shooting and the resulting senseless deaths of ordinary citizens who merely got up and went to work in the country’s capital city.”

This contrasts with

“Fortunately, my state, Connecticut, is not a stand-your-ground state. Connecticut adheres to the traditional common law “castle doctrine”, which provides that an individual does not have a duty to retreat when in his or her home, or “castle”, and may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to defend his or her property, person, or another. In certain circumstances, the law permits one to attack an intruder and use a firearm instead of first retreating. Forty-six states currently follow the castle doctrine.”

The obsession with Dirty Harry is perhaps one of the first clues that the argument is lacking in intellectual integrity. The created dichomoty between the “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground” doctrines is another. The false idea that “stand your ground” legalizes vigilantes is another. Labeling a victim of an assault as a “vigilante” and then pretending this is a “stand your ground” issue rather than a self defense issue just illustrates how loose and free Frank is when it comes to reality.

The fact is that “culture of violence” is another falsehood — violent crime with guns has been decreasing in recent decades. Stand your ground laws are simply supporting the idea that you can defend yourself if you have no other option. They do not allow you to go after anyone who you might think is after you. The only difference with castle doctrine laws is that you can defend yourself out of the home as well as within it.

The column is a good lesson in constructing a straw man in order to wail away at a perceived injustice with absolutely no regard for intellectual integrity. The real question is why such dishonesty gets placement in anything pretending to be a news source.

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