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“Well, did he need killin’?”  The stereotypical, redneck southern sheriff asks the deputy as he arrives at the crime scene. “Outrageous!” D/S/Cs cry.  “He’s condoning murder!”  “He’s encouraging vigilantism!” He’s a racist!”

No, he’s merely using verbal shorthand, police jargon, to ask if the shooting was lawfully justified.  He knows that and so do all his deputies, because in the real world, some people do, by their violent, criminal actions, “need killin’.”

NOTE:  I’m going to be away from the computer until later tonight, so I’m posting this, Thursday’s article, a bit early.

Because today’s faux controversy took place in Florida, let’s examine Florida law on the use of force:

776.012 Use or threatened use of force in defense of person.

(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.

(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

Notice the last sentences of section 1 and section 2: there is no duty to retreat.  Florida has no castle doctrine law.  These SYG provisions replaced it.  However, Florida law is also specific as to one’s dwelling:

776.013 Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.

(1) A person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use:

(a) Non-deadly force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force; or

(b) Deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

(2) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using or threatening to use defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used or threatened was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

(b) The person who uses or threatens to use defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred…

(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

I’ve omitted portions of this law irrelevant to our discussion, but by all means, take the link to read the whole thing if so inclined.  Section 4 is most important: it establishes the presumption of innocence for a person lawfully using force.  The state has to overcome this presumption in order to convict a homeowner attacked in his home or vehicle.  That’s a good thing.  In other words, particularly when an attacker forced his way into a home or vehicle, the innocent occupants don’t have to politely inquire as to their intentions.  They can act to defend themselves because the law presumes the attacker is there to cause harm, and so should any sane innocent citizen.  But what if they didn’t break in, what if the homeowner accidently left a door unlocked?  The rest of the use of force provisions apply, and it would probably take a Soros prosecutor to try to prosecute the innocent homeowner in any case.

With that background, let’s visit Lee Williams at The Truth About Guns:

Santa Rosa County (Florida) Sheriff Bob Johnson describes himself as a cop, not a politician. He certainly has the résumé.

Johnson started at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in 1993. He has served on the department’s SWAT team for 20 years, worked as a major crimes detective, supervised the narcotics unit, worked as both a DARE and a school resource deputy, supervised the juvenile unit, served as a patrol deputy, corporal, sergeant and watch commander, worked in Internal Affairs, commanded the criminal investigations division, oversaw the department’s vehicle fleet, served as the department’s PIO, and was finally appointed Chief Deputy – where he oversaw all aspects of the department. Johnson was first elected sheriff in 2016 and ran unopposed in 2020 – the first time in the county’s history a sheriff has ever run unopposed for reelection.

None of this mattered to the woke media, when the good Sheriff told the ugly truth about a prolific home invader’s arrest during a press conference last week. Johnson was branded as ‘reckless,’ ‘wildly irresponsible,’ possibly racist and, according to NPR, he turned Santa Rosa County into the ‘Wild West.’

Brandon Harris–some people just look the part
credit: santa rosa country sheriff’s department

Events began when 32-year-old Brandon Harris allegedly broke into four homes in Pace, Florida, which is located near Pensacola. Harris is known as a ‘frequent flyer’ to Johnson and his deputies. He has been arrested more than 17 times – an arrest history that dates back to when he was 13. Harris once spent six years in prison…for home invasion, of course. Last week, during his most recent home-invasion spree, there were several active felony warrants for his arrest.

By all accounts, Harris led Santa Rosa County deputies on a wild chase, leaping fences, kicking doors and jumping through windows. In one of the four homes Harris invaded, the owner took a shot at him, but missed. Harris was caught after he jumped out of a window and into the arms, literally, of a waiting deputy.

Home invaders are among the most dangerous criminals.  Those who commit “hot” burglaries—burglaries where the occupants are present—are particularly dangerous, because most Americans are armed.  Such criminals are either stupid, drugged, violent or all three.

During a press conference after Harris’ arrest, Sheriff Johnson discussed the homeowner who had fired at Harris, who never came forward.

‘I guess they think that they did something wrong, which they did not. If somebody’s breaking into your house, you’re more than welcome to shoot them in Santa Rosa County. We prefer that you do, actually,’ Johnson said. ‘So, whoever that was, you’re not in trouble. Come see us. We have a gun safety class we put on every other Saturday. And if you take that, you’ll shoot a lot better and hopefully you’ll save the taxpayers money.’

That was all it took.

You can predict the response, can’t you gentle readers?

 ‘Florida sheriff urges homeowners to shoot intruders and ‘save taxpayers money,’ the New York Post headline screamed the next day.

‘A Florida Sheriff’s advice for homeowners dealing with burglars: Shoot them and ‘save taxpayer’s money,’ wrote a Pennsylvania newspaper.

National Public Radio went even further, calling Johnson’s comments ‘wildly irresponsible advice that could cause needless loss of life and aggravate racial tensions.’

Take a moment to review the photo of the burglar.  We know everything and everyone is racist these days, but that’s a bit of a stretch even so.

 ‘It’s wildly irresponsible, because it essentially encourages people to use deadly force without giving it more consideration. There’s often times that somebody is not an imminent threat to you,’ one of the defense attorneys told NPR, adding, ‘Sheriff Johnson just turned Santa Rosa into the Wild West. Maybe one less Sheriff’s salary is a better way to save the taxpayers money.’

Let’s consider two of the more common pro-criminal responses:

“No one should suffer the death penalty just for stealing things.”

“That homeowner acted as judge, jury and executioner.”

As you now know, gentle readers, and as the media outlets mentioned would not want you to know, the homeowner acted entirely in accordance with Florida law.  If Harris had been killed, that shooting would have been entirely lawful in Florida, and in all sane, free states.

Self-defense is the most important natural, unalienable right.  If we do not have the right to preserve our lives against criminal assault, what other right matters?  We hire judges, empanel juries and hire executioners through a grant of the power all sovereign citizens possess.  In our representative republic, every branch of government exists only with our permission.  Their power is ours on loan on condition of good behavior.  There are many who would have it otherwise, but for the time being, that’s more or less the status quo in much of America.  They can impose the death penalty because we allow them, we hire them, to do it in our stead.  That grant of authority does not prevent us from using force, including deadly force, when necessary.

But times have changed.  Not long before I became a police officer crooks understood they were harming society, and if the police beat them senseless before dragging them to jail, where there was no doubt they were going to do hard time, and virtually no one would complain about it, that was just too bad.  Everyone understood that as just the cost of doing illegal business.  I don’t support unlawfully beating anyone, but times have changed.  Consider this from Self-Defense In A World Gone Mad, an article I wrote in 2021:

Self-defense in a social justice zone:  You’ve been forced to defend your life.  You did it by the letter of the law, and your attacker is wounded or dead.  Even if the police want to follow the law, even if they try, you’re probably toast, particularly if you are not a member of a favored victim group and the monster that forced you to kill them is.  BLM and Antifa will probably arrive at the scene—in force–minutes after the police.  You can expect to be arrested and charged with murder and other crimes.  You can expect the media, local, state and national politicians to immediately brand you a murderer and to make destroying you part of their narrative.  You absolutely cannot expect the various D/S/C organizations that bail violent criminals out of jail to touch you with a ten-foot pole.  Kamala Harris, busy searching for the root causes of illegal immigration in foreign lands and El Paso, TX, will not raise money for your bail.

The monster that forced you to shoot them will become an instant social justice martyr.  The media will not bother to look into their mile-long criminal record, but they’ll dig up the girl whose ponytail you pulled in the first grade, and probably, women you’ve never met or seen who are certain you raped them 40 years ago, if they could only remember your name or face.

Even if local detectives believe you acted lawfully, and write their reports that way, they’ll be overridden by higher-ranking cops whose jobs are dependent on knowing the drift of the prevailing political winds.  Their report, not the detective’s report, will be on its way to a prosecutor that was elected on a platform of not enforcing the law against actual criminals.  You, on the other hand, are just the kind of wrong-thinking Deplorable they were hired to destroy, and they’re going to get maximum publicity and political mileage out of the attempt.

You are going to jail, and you’re going to stay in jail, because it’s highly likely the judges in social justice utopia are as determined to see you burn as are the prosecutors and politicians.  A fair trial; actual justice?  Silly you.  You’re going to get social justice, which is very woke, and involves a great deal more looting, arson and destruction of property.  Do you begin to see the importance of having the right kind of lawyer in your contacts file?

Facts—evidence—aren’t going to matter, perhaps not even at trial.  Even if by some miracle, you’re acquitted, there’s still the matter of civil suits, and in social justice zones, there’s probably no law that prevents virtually anyone from trying to sue you to death.  Again, if you were forced to kill the wrong kind of person, there will be race hustling lawyers lined up to sue you, and the federal Department of Justice, more militantly racist even than under Barack Obama, will surely try to prosecute you for hate crimes and other crimes they’ll make up if necessary.

By all means, take the link and read the whole thing.  It’s a legal survival primer for our times.

Sheriff Johnson obviously understands political reality in Santa Rosa County.  He also knows the law.  People like Brandon Harris “need killin’,” and one day, someone will, entirely lawfully, do that great public service, hopefully before Harris can maim or kill an innocent.  I suspect Sheriff Johnson will remain sheriff as long as he chooses to run, and the citizens of Santa Rosa County, FL will be the better for it.