When does defense end and offense begin? With sports, it’s usually pretty easy to tell.
In football, for example, when a team’s defense intercepts a pass or recovers a fumble, the celebrating defensive players trot off the field, thumping their chests and high-fiving each other, while the offense scurries onto the field with serious looks on their faces, vowing to make the other team pay for its mistake.
But when someone is protecting his home from an invasion, there are no referees to stop the action with a whistle or out-of-bounds markers to indicate where an individual can go.
At one moment you could be defensively thwarting an attack by a burglar, while at the next moment you might be able to go on the offensive if you’ve succeeded in subduing him.
So the question becomes, does a home invader deserve any leniency after he has stopped his aggression and is now attempting to escape the situation? Or has he forfeited his right for sympathy due to his crime, and therefore deserves to be pummeled or even shot as he tries to flee.
In other words, because he started this mess, should you be allowed to finish it as you see fit?
This is not a hypothetical question. Recently in Minnesota, a 19-year-old home invader was shot and killed by the owner of the home he had tried to rob while he was riding in an escaping car.
The homeowner, 65-year-old David Pettersen, was facing charges of second-degree manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm.
Pettersen claims he was merely trying to shoot the tires of the car, but he may be on shaky legal ground when his trial comes around. Prosecutors will undoubtedly claim that the homeowner was no longer facing a threat when he fired his gun, and therefore was on the offensive.
What do you think? Should Pettersen be declared guilty for his actions, or should the judge or jury let him off because he was attempting to stop criminals from escaping?