God, Guns, And Government

As we all know, Alabama recently eliminated the duty to retreat before using deadly force in self defense. Used to be that if someone threatened you with deadly force in any place other than your home and you knew you could retreat with complete safety, you had to do so rather than use deadly force in self defense. Thanks to the NRA, that isn’t the law anymore. You can fire away, whether or not your life is actually threatened.

Whether that is good or bad is for you to decide. In that evaluation, consider this statement from an Alabama court in 1922, which I read today while researching something entirely different (the case is Cooke v. State, 93 So. 86 (Ala. App. 1922): 

This doctrine of retreat is sometimes referred to as being cowardly, but not so; it is based upon the highest consideration of civilization, morals and our holy religion. It is better that one man should flee rather than take human life, and at a time like the present, when human life is taken upon the least provocation, and observance of law is held so lightly, and the very fabric of our laws seem to be trembling in the balance, it is well that we should restate and emphasize the rule, that it is better and right that a man should flee rather than that he take human life, if he can do so without apparently increasing his danger to life or limb. It is no cowardly doctrine. It is the law of his sovereign state, which he is bound to obey; it is the law of God, which he ignores at his peril. It is the reasonable law of God and man.

With the rhetoric about society collapsing and the need to obey God’s laws, you’d almost think this was Roy Moore talking. And who knew that the NRA had such an atheistic agenda; making us reject God’s laws like that!

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11 Comments on “God, Guns, And Government”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Gosh, that makes me pine for the good old days. Now it seems that any attempt to avoid violence is vilified as “cut and run”.

  2. MCF Says:

    Although rare for Alabama, this actually brings Alabama in line with the majority rule in the US.

  3. MCF Says:

    Also, there is a decent argument for the change. In the domestic violence/battered woman syndrome context, the duty to retreat can lead to some pretty harsh results for the abused spouse who reasonably believes her (or his, I suppose) life is in danger, but is capable of retreat in the eyes of the law. Just a thought; I’m no criminal lawyer.

  4. Wheeler Says:

    my opinion is that the change was more apparent than real. even under the old rule, you had to be subjectively aware of the safe retreat. if you are looking at a gun, you are not going to be aware of the safe retreat, even if there was one.

    that said, i see both sides, i just though this quote was interesting.

  5. MCF Says:

    Gotcha — that makes sense.

  6. Lee P Says:


    I’m an NRA member and a staunch supporter of the right to self-defense, but I think these so-called “stand-your-ground” laws may go too far. Legislators should be very wary of changing the rules under which homicide is deemed justifiable. Does the new law make it more likely that people will find it lawful to “shoot to kill” when they catch someone trespassing on their property, versus actually threatening them?

  7. Wheeler Says:


    that’s a legit concern, especially considering how “creative” some of us criminal defense attorneys can be. i think a read an article about florida’s version of this law, and how attempts have been made to use it in such situations. whether those attempts will succeed is another matter. i may post about it later.

  8. Humpty Dumpty Says:

    Ah, stereotypical left-wing lawyer’s blog is now taking the side of criminals! Please, continue to defend rapists and robbers (as long as they dont bother you). How DARE anyone defend their property or honor! Damn NRA at it again, taking away our freedom rob at will without fear of self-defense.

    But seriously, I wish you the best of luck in helping force right to yield to wrong. You are the liberal, and you alone can free us from our violent, NRA-belonging tendancies. Please continue to tow the liberal party line in favor of criminals and against the evil, nation-ruining NRA.

    Death row immates > hunters.

    Criminal rights > self-defense.

    I’m still waiting for the post when you take some position other than the liberal party line, please tell me when you do.

  9. Lee P Says:

    Humpty Dumpty,

    I don’t think that this particular issue is simply a matter of left vs. right. Or of gun-toters vs. pinko treehuggers.

    I’m not aware of any major problems with the “old” rules regarding justifiable homicide. If I understand them correctly, they struck a proper balance – recognizing the fundamental right to armed self-defense, while ensuring that the use of deadly force was lawful only under extreme circumstances. Do the “new” rules tilt the balance too far in favor of “shoot first – ask questions later?” I hope not, but it seems to me that the old “conservative” maxims of “do no harm” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should apply here.

  10. Humpty Dumpty Says:

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. . .

    Ah, but the duty to retreat is in fact the newer rule. This is not a “change” but a reversion to the historical common law rule.

    The law has always been based on the concept of “right shall never yield to wrong”. So, this ‘change’ in fact ends an experiment made by liberal change.

    The other quote you made of “do no harm” is totally out of context. That is for doctors to not harm their patients. It has nothing to do with defending yourself from violent psychopaths.

    I wonder. . . do you ‘liberals’ really have some thing for violent criminals? I mean, I can understand how you can disagree with free market economics, and such, but to side with the violent criminals?

    Weird, man, weird.

  11. Lalin Garcia Says:

    I got a crush on a pretty pistol. Should I tell her that I feel this way?
    She tells me I’m a pretty bullet… an imitation Christ.
    Daddy told us to be faithful.
    Mommy told us that we should look away.
    I’ve got love songs in my head killing us away.

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