The Limits of Standing Your Ground

Horde Legionnaire Andy Hall was nice enough to forward this story of a guy who went looking for a fight, found one, killed somebody and tried to retreat behind the law. He was found guilty, anyway:


Jurors decided that Rodriguez provoked Danaher and others by going to their party to demand they quiet down just after midnight on May 2, 2010. Defense lawyers said Rodriguez should have been found not guilty of murder because it was self-defense. 

Rodriguez and his family lived near Danaher, an elementary school teacher, and his family in rural Huffman. Rodriguez approached the party, upset by the noise, and videotaped the encounter. 

During the last seven minutes of the 22-minute video, Rodriguez can be heard telling the partygoers he wants them to turn down the noise, then that he is afraid the drunken group will hurt him. 

The video goes to black seconds after several men, including Danaher charge him. There is a cackling laugh, then a gunshot and the camera falls.

Particularly chilling is Rodriguez invocation of legalese--"I'm standing my ground" and "escalating the situation." Andy made a great point in his note to me over this. One wonders whether Rodriguez would have been convicted a year ago. One big difference between this case and Joe Horn, is Rodriguez did not kill two criminals. Joe Horn was a vigilante, which is bad enough. Rodriguez was just settling a beef.

Call the cops dude.

CORRECTION: Rodriguez did call the cops. It's worth looking at some of the details in that story. It's almost as if Rodriguez is reading from a script. "I'm in fear for my life" and "I will defend myself."
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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