By Kellene Bishop
Yesterday I was following an interesting story in the local news (see article here). A woman had a male visitor in her home who began smoking a “suspicious looking substance” around her children. The woman requested the man to leave, but he refused. Consequently the woman retrieved a bat to reinforce her request. The man still refused to leave. Next thing you know, the local law enforcement gets a call about a woman chasing a man around her yard with a bat. No charges were filed. In fact the news article reported that the “MAN refused to file charges.” More of that in a moment.
Here’s why I’m writing about this. In the subsequent comments made on the news site featuring this article, many individuals were caught up in the second-hand smoke debate and how they themselves would have asked someone to leave if they were smoking. Then commenters began disputing whether or not second-hand smoke really was damaging to children, etc. I was truly baffled that the majority of the conversation focused on the smoking aspect of this encounter. To be clear, the focus of this incident was not that the man was smoking, but because he was asked to leave and refused.
Castle defense laws, which are alive and well in Utah—thank goodness—don’t require you to eliminate someone from your home only IF you have a “viable reason” (such as second hand smoke, child abuse, robbery, etc.). Legally this woman could have asked the man to leave simply because she didn’t like the look of his creepy toupee. (I have no idea if he was wearing one.) A handful of commenters believed the woman in this instance to be guilty of “criminal assault.” After posting this article on Twitter yesterday, I was immediately asked if I was condoning violence. These individuals are misguided by batty logic with this assumption that I encourage violence. This blog was written to ensure none of our female readers are mistaken in the rules of the law in self-defense of their home.
The issue is not what the man was smoking, who he was smoking near, or even that he was smoking anything. The issue is that a person requested someone to leave their home—even multiple times—and that the now defined “intruder” would not comply. It doesn’t matter that the person may have been “invited” to enter the home previously. Any homeowner or rightful tenant of a home can change their mind as to who is or isn’t invited in their home. Frankly, if I was a single mom and had a man who refused to leave my home, I’d say that is cause for alarm, and I’d most likely use something a bit more persuasive than a baseball bat. The woman’s request (or reasoning to request) for his departure is not what changed or escalated this scenario. It was the man’s refusal to leave that turned the tables dramatically on this woman and thus she had every right to defend her fortress and her family with whatever means necessary.
The batty logic continues… To believe that the woman had previously invited him over and thus should not have the right to change her mind and subsequently used criminal “violent force” to ensure her request was heeded is seriously flawed. To be clear—when you make a request for someone to leave your property that has no legal standing to be there and that person refuses to accommodate your request, you are at liberty to escalate the enforcement of your instructions as necessary. Believing otherwise defies the very freedoms our nation stands for. This batty logic would have us believe that a woman who begins to have intercourse with a man is not permitted to feel threatened or change her mind mid-way and request it to stop. This decision may really STINK for the man. He certainly won’t be happy. There may or may not be social etiquette offenses involved in such a decision. But SO WHAT? Your home, like your body, is yours to defend unequivocally. Yes, you can change your mind. And yes, you may use force if necessary should your requests go unheeded.
Just to be clear, such a defensive position is legally sustained in most parts of this country so long as the intruder is in your home or on your property. However, if the man in this case was indeed attempting to leave and the woman decided to bash on his car, or give him a whack on the back of the head as he’s leaving, then yes, that would indeed be a criminal act of assault. Your right to defend is when you are being acted upon—not to be confused with a vigilante approach of “hunting down” a person who’s made you angry, offended you, etc.
So the point of all of this? Stand firm in defense of your home, family, and virtue. A news article and subsequent comments with batty logic should not deter you from lawfully defending yourself. This is still the United States of America, and as such, this is still a nation of freedom to defend. May it ever remain so.
Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.