Continued from the last Equal Protection. Note the following is strictly a work of fantasy and any resemblance to characters living or dead is strictly coincidental!
If you need legal advice, contact an attorney!
You kick open the
door, and there is the COMMIE pointing a 1911 .45 at you. You scream “Die you DAWG killin’
commie!” Your finger was a little itchy
and the .22 discharges into the wall above the neighbor’s head. The 1911 discharges with a thunderous, bass
BOOM and a sledge hammer hits you in the upper chest. Your arms and legs go
numb as you are thrown back through the open doorway. You can’t feel anything but you can still
see and hear.
About 20 seconds later, the neighbor kneels
down by you and presses a towel over your wound. He says, “just stay cool and quiet pal help
is on the way. I’ve already called the
cops and the paramedics”. You are
choking on your blood and still can’t feel your arms or legs. You hear a siren in the background as your
vision starts to fade. You are drifting
down…. Down…. Then nothing.
(Scene change. 2 off duty plainclothes cops in a diner. One is in his mid 40’s the other late 20’s.)
20ish Cop: So, what was the deal with that shooting on
Lakeshore last week? I was out that
40ish Cop: Let the guy go. He said the magic words “Castle Doctrine” and
it was hands off. The grand jury will
no-bill the guy, guarantee it. He did
everything right, called the paramedics, gave aid. The dead guy has a rap sheet, forced his way
in and shot at the resident. It’s a no
20ish cop: Yeah, but what about all the dogs he
shot? He shot 6 dogs in their own yard,
40ish cop: Zilch on that one, too, my friend. Word came down from the DA a while back: Take NO action against anyone who uses force
against a dog. Technically, the shooter
has to prove that the dog was behaving offensively in some way at some point,
but you produce a 2 minute video of the dog barking and it’s a pass.
20ish cop: (surprised) You kidding? What about animal cruelty laws? I thought you couldn’t shoot a dog unless its
in the act of attacking you or somebody else.
40ish cop: Sorry to pick nits, but we can shoot anything
we want… the question is, will we get away with that? In his case, yes.
20ish cop: OK, I’ll play… how come I get to shoot a dog
for barking or pooping on my lawn?
40ish cop: You familiar with Hilsberg v. Shaw?
20ish cop: Whats that, a boxing match?
40ish cop: (eyes rolling) No, dummy.
That was a supreme court decision a few years ago. Substance of the decision was, if you are
denied due process in an animal related offense, you are empowered to take
matters into your own hands. As long as you do not bring bodily harm to another human being, you cannot
be charged. If we had charged the
shooter the other day, not only would we have had to let him go, we would have
been nailed with a particularly nasty lawsuit.
So, we have a choice… let the guy go OR let the guy go with a big
settlement in his pocket. The first
option is preferable.
20ish cop: Damn, that’s really something. So, if a dog bites me and the owner doesn’t
put it down and AC doesn’t pick it up, I can just shoot it on the owners
40ish cop: Yup, that’s exactly what it means. It doesn’t even need to bite you. Dog at large, barking, pooping, you name it. Its open season. In any case, our shooter gets a double pass: He's protected on shooting the dogs by Hilsberg and on shooting the owner on the Castle Doctrine. Shooting someone's pet is not considered "provocation".
20ish cop: Why didn’t I hear about this?
40ish cop: Got no media coverage. Even the animal rights whackos won’t say a
peep about it because they know its going to result in more people taking, ah,
See, its all about
equal protection. The State did nothing
to curb dog-related offenses. You had no
protection at all, and people finally just had enough.
20ish cop: Why didn’t they just make the rules tougher
on the pet owners?
40ish cop: Enforcing rules against animals and their
owners is fundamentally very difficult, maybe impossible. Look, when a dog bites somebody who is to
blame? Dogs act with volition. You go after the dog, people say “but it’s
the owners fault”, you go after the owner and people say “but you can’t punish
the owner for something the dog did”.
It’s a circular argument that goes nowhere.
Same thing with
barking: I had a neighbor with a
barking dog a few years ago and my life became HELL. My wife lost her job due to sleep
deprivation. My kids were sick all the
time and flunking out of school. *I*
almost lost MY job! I tell you, its
easier to bust a guy on murder one than to get a conviction for nuisance
20ish cop: Jeez!
40ish cop: Even Jesus couldn’t shut that dog up. You think I’d have some pull ‘cause I’m a
cop? Forget it. People could do whatever they wanted to you
with their dogs and there wasn’t much you could do about it.
20ish cop: Come to think about it, you are right. It WAS bad!
My cousin is missing 2 fingers from a pit bull attack from when we were
kids. I remember the dog just got
returned to its owner. I guess we got so
used to dog owners and dogs getting a pass it seemed normal after a while.
40ish cop: I am not surprised. Hey, you want the details behind the court
decision? I actually spoke to one of the
cops that worked the original scene.
20ish cop: Yeah, do tell!
40ish cop: I’ll keep the long story short. About 5 years ago, there’s this single mom
with a 7 year old girl. Dad has split
the scene. They live in this semi-crappy
neighborhood. Lots of loose dogs,
backyard breeders, just a lovely situation.
It was all they could afford, apparently.
20ish cop: Gotcha.
40ish cop: Anyway, they’d been having a lot of problems
with a backyard breeder breeding pit bulls.
Barking, dog at large, dogs behaving dangerously towards people. The dog
had chased the little girl a couple of times.
Other pets were killed. A little
boy farther down the block got bit by one of the pits, needed something like 50
So, the lady and a
few other neighbors had called cops and AC a bunch of times, gotten the run
around. Contacting the breeder likewise
produced no results
20ish cop: And nothing was done? Why? …
wait, I KNOW why! We ALL had to love
Fido no matter what, right?
40ish cop: Right.
Dog owners were likewise above reproach.
So, the little girl and her mom are walking back from the school bus
stop and 4 pit bulls that “somehow” escaped the breeding pen jump her. Mom is
attacked too, and tried to save the girl but all she got for her troubles were
some near life-threatening injuries. A
bunch of neighbors came out and beat the dogs with bats, shovels, rakes, you
name it. It was this massive human vs.
canine street brawl. Anyway, I’m not going to go into gory details… and
they are plenty gory… but the kid was DOA at the hospital. Closed casket funeral.
20ish cop: Jeez, that is just plain nasty. Being torn up by a dog has to be the WORST
way to die!
40ish cop: Agreed, I’d prefer being shot in the head any
day. The mom gets no relief… they
could never prove which dogs did what. Its
suspected that the owner hosed the blood off the dogs after he rounded them up,
but again no concrete proof. The pit
bull whackos came out of the woodwork threatening to sue the city if any dogs
were put down. The pit nuts held
candlelight vigils, staged a massive protest, compared the mom, AC, cops, etc…
to Hitler. You know, the usual
20ish cop: So what was the outcome?
40ish cop: The breeder got a $200 ticket for dog off
leash. The judge threw it out.
20ish cop: (slaps the table) DAMN!
40ish cop: Indeed.
Well, that’s not the end of it.
Turns out the mom goes a little bonkers. The dog owner and the pit bull whackos had
been harassing her when she threatened to sue… slashed the tires on her car,
calling her in the middle of the night, spray painting “breedist” on the front
of her house, stuff like that. They went
to the media and publicly blamed the incident on her, said she and the kid
deserved what happened, etc…
So, anyway, she
loses a few of her marbles. Pawns her
engagement and wedding ring and buys herself an AR15 and about 1000 rounds.
20ish cop: Whoa!
40ish cop: Indeed.
So, she practices with the gun for a couple days. Gets up one morning, loads about 10 mags, she
even got a tactical vest to complete the outfit. She locks and loads and marches down to the
20ish cop: Man, she wastes the owner! Holy crap!
40ish cop: Nope.
The local cops found the owner hiding in a closet after the incident
with a load in his pants, but unharmed.
Nope, she shoots every dog on that property. Blows them ALL away. There were a couple witnesses that said that
she had this flat expression on her face.
She was cool as a cucumber the whole time. She did it calmly and methodically. SWAT got called and she was standing out
front with the gun at her feet when they show up.
So, they bring the
mom in. Book her on around 20 counts of
animal cruelty, trespass, brandishing a weapon, and a few other charges. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Not only was the act pre-meditated, it looked
like even the legal arguments were pre-meditated! Her lawyers said she had a right to take the
law into her own hands since she was denied her constitutional right to equal
protection of laws. They laid enough
briefs and other paperwork on the DA to make his head spin. The substance of the legal argument was, if
there was no protection FROM the dogs there should be no protection FOR the dogs. The dogs were clearly a systemic and
demonstratable threat to public safety and absolutely nothing was done about it
by authorities. They had a stack of complaints against the breeder about two
feet high. The civil rights of not only the mom and her
kid but indeed the entire community had been completely denied. Furthermore, the argument went, we destroy
nuisance and dangerous animals all the time and the threshold for killing a dangerous or
disruptive dog should be the same as a rat, mouse or cockroach… in other words,
not very high. This was not a “Death
Wish” type scenario where the object of vengeance is other human beings.
20ish cop: Hell, yeah.
You got a bunch of dogs, known to be dangerous, kill her kid and the guy
gets a TICKET? Plus the dogs were still
terrorizing the neighborhood, right? The
dogs should have been put down and the owner jailed WAY before that kid got
killed. The whole situation was totally
40ish cop: Right.
In any case, the litigation went all the way to the Supreme Court which
voted in her favor, setting a BIG legal precedent. The scope of the decision was very narrow…
relates to animals only.
20ish cop: Seems like we went from Unequal protection to
40ish cop: Exactly.
Nature abhors gross inequalities and it was inevitable that that some
sort of equilibrium would eventually be reached. This just happened to be the way it played
20ish cop: So, what happened to the mom? You’d think the whackos would try to take her
40ish cop: She had her rights fully restored. She’s now a NRA pistol match champion. I think that what she did was so massively
intimidating that even the pit bull whackos are scared to death of her, now.
20ish cop: Hey, look, I have to split. This has been fascinating. Catch you at the office tomorrow.
40ish cop: Yeah, I gotta get home to the wife and kids,
20ish cop: You said your wife lost her job a while back,
what is she doing these days?
40ish cop: She’s a 911 operator.