Overheard on CNN.com: When is your home your castle? Should you stand your ground?
Daniel Adkins Jr. was shot outside a Taco Bell in Laveen, Arizona, after getting into a confrontation with a man in an SUV.
April 30th, 2012
08:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: When is your home your castle? Should you stand your ground?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

We've been talking about "Stand Your Ground" laws for a few weeks now in light of the Trayvon Martin case. CNN profiled four cases where such regulations and situations have been factors. In earlier discussion, readers talked about the laws themselves. Comments have started drifting toward the mechanics of self defense and deterring attackers.

Unstable ground: The fine line between self-defense and murder

This was the most-liked comment, referring to the first case in which Daniel Adkins Jr. was shot and killed outside a drive-thru at a Taco Bell in Laveen, Arizona, after a confrontation with a man in an SUV.

Travis Jones: "What the hell? The Daniel Adkins case seems worse than the Martin case. A mentally challenged man who never even touched a guy who was inside a vehicle gets shot and killed and the shooter remains free? Something is very wrong in this country when you can kill someone who literally has not even touched you because you feared he might. That's nuts."

Adkins was 29 but had the mental capacity of a 13-year-old. The shooter said he acted in self-defense. He has not been charged.

Many commenters wrote in about why they defend themselves with firearms.

iraradnick: "I was in the military, and never had to take the life of another human. I am not trigger happy, and I never want to have to use my handgun in self defense. I would like nothing more than to not have to conceal my handgun while carrying it. I would far prefer to have it revealed while I carry, to help dissuade anyone thinking of screwing with me to think twice. As for folks coming over to visit, I have no problem with that if it is someone I know. If you are a stranger you better have a good reason for coming over, and if you have evil in your heart you better be prepared to lay it on the line as I will not put my life at risk in consideration of your desire to do me harm. As an aside, I am not a scared citizen. I have nothing to be afraid of as I am well protected. In fact, how about this, you and your cowering fellow pansies ought to have a sign attached to your person saying that in the event of a life threatening incident you do not want the likes of me to help defend you. I would be more than happy to oblige, and would gladly post a sign on my home advising all who approach that I am armed."

Many people said they own guns, but still urge caution.

Donna Warnick: "I agree! And I'm a gun carrier myself. I believe in protecting myself and the people I love, but not things like a TV or other items that do not breathe. I believe in retreating, if at all possible and calling 911. I do understand that sometimes police cannot get there in time to help. But please think hard before pulling that trigger, for your life will change 100% after you do so."

Some commenters wrote in to say they didn't believe the Adkins case was self defense.

pokethekat: "A guy air swings towards you and in you're in your vehicle and you shoot him? Clearly this is murder. By the way, where is the 'weapon'? Total BS! If you're only feet away from someone, you can easily tell if a person has a bat or a pipe, this killer made up the fact that Daniel had a weapon. That's obvious. The fact that no weapon was found shows that the killer was lying. The police are incredibly incompetent. And the killer's father stays behind his door saying he has a gun while a reporter just wants to talk? Can you say crazy? What an awesome gene pool this family is."

One reader suggested shooting not to kill.

Jessy: "So much for shoot to disable or shoot to disarm. It seems that gun owners are forgetting that the chest or belly are not the only body parts available to shoot at. Shooting the leg will at least disable the person long enough for both cops and paramedics to arrive."

But is there a lack of incentive to try not to avoid harm?

Dudus57: "I have to disagree. Say he would have run over the dog, leaving the man 'unharmed' and taken off. Or he hits the dog and stops, either way. The end result goes one of two ways, he gets arrested for running over the dog, or the man flips out then he shots him. Based on my limited knowledge of the law, he made the call that wouldn't get him arrested or sued. Although horrific, agreed, in this kind of sued happy, over politically-correct, under enforced country, I'd follow the law to the T. Dead men can't sue or testify. Sucks, and I in no way condone shooting people, but it took me longer to write this then the entire incident, I've thought this through, do you think the shooter had time to do this? Or did he act on instinct, which isn't always pretty, and leave the situation unharmed, with his pregnant girlfriend, and not get arrested. It sucks, but I have to disagree with your assumption of him fully considering the situation in 2 seconds."

funkbarton: "While I agree with your assent of sue-happy people, the likelihood that the story might very well have been 'Jerk runs over mentally challenged man's dog' ... either of those is a better outcome than having a law that not just allows but encourages people to kill other people when they have other less deadly alternatives. These shoot-first laws (aka stand your ground) are bad for society. We need to encourage people to remove themselves from situations like this and the Martin case. Sure, other things might happen but in these two case we have two dead people that should be alive right now. And soon, if not already, a third party is going to be shot when a person is 'protecting' themselves and then what? This happened at fast food restaurant. The shooter was a good shot, but since we have no requirement that people get any gun education how long is it going to be before someone 'misses' but still can't be prosecuted since they were allowed to kill under the law?"

Some blamed the state  of Arizona.

bluesharp: "This has to stop. A mentally retarded man, supposedly carrying a metal pipe no one can find, is gunned down in a simple, 'Hey watch where you're going' confrontation? Arizona is turning into a dangerous place. The shooter must be charged and tried. If he is innocent, let the courts decide. This is ridiculous, we can't just all start killing each other over petty and made up offences. This isn't American, our gun rights were never meant to make this kind of thing okay."

This reader was afraid that quick action would cause a loss of freedom.

clemmiejean: "The right to bear arms will be lost because of yahoos like the guy in AZ. If someone waves their fists or a pipe at you and you are in a car, feeling in danger ... drive away."

Then again, this reader said drawing a gun worked out well for him.

Vladamir Untruksur: "I too carry both on me and in both vehicles in special compartments. I have had to draw one time in 12 years, and that ended well for me and the other guy ended up in jail. The police said if I had not drawn I would have been dead. Guess CNN won't be calling me for an interview huh?"

A discussion took place about whether people should be arrested after killing someone, presumably in self defense.

teamosil: "If you kill a person, the police need to arrest you and the DA needs to prosecute you. Period. If the jury decides that you meet the standard for self defense, by all means, you should be released, but this business where police are just taking people's words for it and letting them walk scott free after killing a person is not acceptable."

Derrique Stuckey: "INNOCENT, until proven guilty. Welcome to America."

mroooo: "We have over 200 years of precedent for our system. These laws are new and are not passing the civil test. If somebody is killed there is always an investigation. Self defense claims by the suspect are hearsay by precedent. It has to be investigated, and this one is being investigated further."

For some readers, feelings vary about the cases.

toosense: "I disagree with the guy in a car killing someone. He could have driven away. The dog was in the way? So is he saying he can't kill a dog to ensure his own safety, but he can kill a human? Oh, there's a dog in front of my car, I guess I'll just shoot the guy instead. Wrong. He had other options.

I also disagree with the sister of the man who entered the old couple's RV. He may have been seeking help, she's speculating, but even the police said he was acting erratically earlier with no sign of injury. If the police couldn't figure it out, what is an elderly couple in a small space supposed to do in the middle of the night with an erratic man in there refusing to leave? I don't believe they shot because they knew the law would be on their side. I believe they shot because they wanted to live to see another day & didn't want to endure what this man may have had in store for them. People don't come into your home at night because they hurt their heads & need help, they come into your home in the middle of the night to hurt you. You can't blame them for thinking that & trying to not be hurt, raped, tortured, killed or all of the above. The sister shouldn't be mad at this couple, she should be mad at the police who actually were with him and released him instead of getting him medical attention if that was what he needed. That's what THEY are trained for, not the old people asleep in an RV."

saint999: "Reasonable. The castle doctrine covers the elderly couple. They were not consulted on the Stand Your Ground Law. Looking at a lot of cases will tell the story. We're just starting."

What's your take on the cases presented in the story? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Philip

    LMAO. As if America didn't stand her ground after 9/11. Get a clue banasy.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    @banasy. In your wisdom, should or should not a man be put to death before he is even charged with a crime? Before even being convicted? This is a simple 'Yes or No' question wayyyyy over your head to answer Y or N.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    As I thought. Even though the law is more than clear when it comes to executing a man before he is even charged with a crime, you (and most) can't quite grasp this simple concept of true justice. Have a good evening. Gn

    May 1, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Philip, get the clue yourself; we do not agre on certain things, and your distain for everyone who doesn't agree with you is tiring and not condusive to a debate.
    I'll answer no questions to you, for my answers always merit derision on your part.
    My opinions mean nothing to you; why should I continue to feed your derision?
    I have no further interest in pursuing this conversation.
    Good night, Philip.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    I was not Yawn, so please do not assume anything, as you usually do.
    It takes a while to answer on my phone; as I thought, you are disdainful and dismissive of anyone whose opinion differs from yours.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Stinkfist

    Relax. Turn around and take my hand.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. casual observer

    That IS a fair question. Should a man be put to death for something he hasn't been convicted of, or, not even formally charged with. The obvious answer is 'No', in fact 'hell no', yet, some can't quite bring themselves to the point iof admitting that the man they voted for is a murderer in the eyes of True Justice.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. casual observer

    Answer his question, banasy. Should a criminal be put to death before he is even formally charged or convicted in a court of law? Y or N?

    May 1, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. raven

    @ stinkfist:This may hurt a little, but it's something youll get used to. One of my all time favorites. Even named my dog Maynard.Saw them twice... wearing my concert tee as I post.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Changing your name from one to another name doesn't negate the fact that I do not wish to engage in a conversation about OBL.
    I will say this, and nothing more: I do not think it was handled in the best way, but I am glad that he is dead.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. casual observer

    Yes. It is in fact a tragic miscarriage of justice when a man, any man (or woman, child) is executed before even being formally charged of a crime worthy of death.
    Mr. President Obama. You, sir, are a murderer the likes of which haven't been seen since the days of Clinton and Bush. (source: skeletonscloset.com and hereinreality.com, two websites that bush and clinton ordered their respective Attorney Generals to close-down for publishing lies concerninbg the sitting president, a felony. Notice both websites endured the most powerful men in the world trying to have them closed-down. Enjoy visiting these websites exposing your corrupt leaders for years. In SPITE of corruption trying to shut them down.

    May 1, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. casual observer

    Yes, banasy. You too were born with the abillity to see that killing your brother before he has even been charged with a crime is WRONG. Yet, somehow you can't quite bring yourself to admit that President Obama (and Seal team 6) are guilty of of murder* (the taking of human life with malice aforethought...aka *preemptive war* aka 'prevenge'.

    May 1, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Bring myself to admit...et al....
      Does one think this type of indocrination really works?
      Do not project your thinking into anything that I say.
      I am totally comfortable with my way of thinking; I am in denial about nothing.
      I implore you to find someone else to try and teach; for you have absolutely nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that I care to be taught, espescially by you.

      May 1, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    No citizen of the United States should be put to death before being tried and convicted.
    Is that plain enough answer?

    May 1, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • cslagenhop

      Except in self defense.

      May 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    Ummmm, casual observer, whatever.

    Go ahead, say whatever you want to say.
    My name isn't Spongebarb, I am no one's disciple, and I care not one jot what you think of me or my opinions.
    At least they are mine; I own them.

    Good night.
    Carry on.

    May 1, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    Gotcha. President Obama ordered the execution of two Passport carrying US citizens to be executed by drone attack in Yemen recently, even though they had NOT been charged nor convicted of any crime.. So, according to banasy, President Obama is a murderer. End of debate. I win. gn

    May 1, 2012 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I said no one should be.
      I didn't say there wasn't.
      I said nothing about Obama.
      You didn't win.
      Misdirection isn't winning, it's merely misdirection.
      If you want to win so badly, play tic tac toe with yourself.

      If winning means a complete and utter loss of respect by me, yeah, you won!

      May 1, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      Nope. That's not what was said.

      May 1, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • RJM

      That is very interesting information about the President. I will research your allegations. That is not what banasy said; while you may have imparted useful knowledge, I would think that you want to take the credit for you own observations, even while you are trying to foist them on someone else. Banasy didn't make those assertions; you did. You have won only in your own mind.

      May 1, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Yael

      I do not think it matters what you said, banasy. It is what he thinks you said. They are not one in the same.

      May 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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