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

    Lol. But I got you to admit Obama is guilty of murder, just as Mmmm and I got you to admit that abortion was murder several months ago. Something that you deny to this very day. gn, Donna. See ya tomorrow. 🙂

    May 1, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      No, philip, you got me to admit nothing, because I didn't.
      I do wish you would quit trying to mislead people into thinking that I espouse your ideas, for anyone with one wit of intelligence can read our posts and see that you like to put words into other people's mouths and call then theirs.
      That's not a win; that's delusion.

      Sorry, you can put this down in the win column, but that would be delusional, also.

      May 1, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      You have a proble with understanding what was said. Banasy didn't say that.

      May 1, 2012 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • RJM

      I have to agree with banasy. Donna? Very well. Philip, you seem to want to put words into people's mouth, and to try to insinuate that people have said thing that clearly are attributable only to you. I saw nothing in any of these posts that banasy stated anything you claim she has.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    I didn't admit that Obama was a murderer.
    I never said that, and you know it.
    Anyone reading these posts will agree that I said nothing at all about ouR pOTUS.

    May 1, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      Nope, you didn't.

      May 1, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Not to mention the fact that this has absolutely nothing to do with the posted topic, but one again, you have managed to take the entire blog in the direction you wanted it to go, Philip.
    What's your percentage of posts here on CNN now?
    Nearly 60%?
    N Saidi, are you reading this?

    May 1, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Hey, it's Nicole. Just reading in. The discussion has been good but I've also noticed a little bit of argumentation. That's great, as long as it's about the subject matter of the post, or even a little friendly chit-chat. Please try to keep your comments civil and on topic, and refrain from unduly provoking other users if you can.

      May 1, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. quote

    "No Citizen of the US should be put to death before bieing tried and convicted"-banasy.
    President Obama did in fact order the execution of two US citizens in Yemen long before they were ever charged, tried, and/or convicted.
    According to our own *banasy*, President Obama is in fact a murderer.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Nope

      You said it. Banast didn't. Nothing in the quote said anything about him.

      May 1, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    I said nothing about obama. Nothing.
    Give it a rest yourself, philip, for twisting something into your own version isn't the saim as me actually saying it.

    I did not write the 2:12 post.
    I did not ask for nsaidi's help.
    I am tired of your specious ways, philip.

    What YOU attribute to Obama is not the same as ME saying it, no matter how much you want to win sometime that is won in your mind only.
    Browbeating someone, and even then, when theu don't cave, lie about it, is really small and petty.
    You can try to spin any kind of meaning yoi want into my words, but the words stand alone, and YOU are the one that brought up Obama and murder, not I.

    Not sto trying to put a different meaning to what I say, because in your quest to win, you come off mean-spirited.
    Just stop it.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    And I didn't admit it now, no matter how many times you repeat it.
    If you want to know why people don't engage you, it's because you lie about what they've said.
    A liar isn't a winner.
    A liar is just a liar.
    Good night, philip.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    iKm glad that I have been validated by my postings that not one word has been spoken by ME that the POTUS is anything but the POTUS.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nope

    Shooting down with blatant lies about what was said? Nope.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Nope

    It's not banasy that's being ignorant.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nope

    Let's see if I got this whole debate by Philip right: someone says something, he puts his own spin on it, puts his own idea into it, attributes it to that person, says they've admitted something that was never said, repeats it over and over and over, then declares himself the victor, saying they admitted to what he said in the first place when they didn't. Have I got that right? Wow. Must be nice to live in Philip's world, where he cane take a statement and turn it into something completely unrelated then say they said it. Sounds like a little bully who has to have his own way or he'll beat you up. Thtat's not a debate, that's flat out fabrication of facts that were not admmited into evidence. In a court of law, there wouklkd be a mistrial and the attorney would be prosecuted for tampering with witness statements to get a win at any cost. Epic fail, Philip but I will never take up a debate with you because you have shown you would lie to win. You've been disbarred. Pat yourself on the back for your hollw fake win.

    May 1, 2012 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. RJM

    I wrote a lengthy post about my position on the SYG law. It did not make the cut. I support this law.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. JustVic

    Simple answers. Always. Yes

    May 1, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    "Oh, shoot to disarm!" "Oh, shoot to wound!"

    Erm, excuse me? You try to hit a 1-2" wide target, from anywhere, while the target is moving. Shooting things out of the hostile's hands is TV-land. Not real life. Shooting to wound is the same thing: people have been grazed by bullets and die, and others absorb ridiculous amounts of damage and stay alive.

    Any school worth it's salt will teach that you shoot to remove the threat, generally center of mass of whatever target you have available, be it the head or chest. They generally also teach that unless you have a good view of the target, don't engage it. People scream bloody murder about the amount of rounds fired. Anything worth shooting (especially in defense of your life) is worth shooting at least twice: ammunition is cheap, life is priceless.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. politicallyinsurrect

    These laws just save police the hassle of having to plant a weapon on the victim. *Sprinkles some crack on Trayvon* Florida is scared of black people, Arizona is scared of latinos, I'd be careful if you're a Jew in Oklahoma.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Aaron

    Banasy is correct, Phillip is wrong. I am NOT an Obama supporter, but what he did to OBL is justice in the highest degree. When a man says on video that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, no investigation is needed. That would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. Obama got him, and I support him.

    Abortion. Phillip, you need to worry about you and your inner demons that you seem to have. You have NO right to tell ANYONE else what they can and cant do with their body. People like you are what make Organized Religion so terrible.

    May 1, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
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