As reported, an armed Memphis, TN homeowner used his gun in self defense when his home was invaded:Police say that three would-be burglars went to a home on the 4900 block of Copper Valley.  The owner of that home used his shotgun to stop the intruders, fatally wounding a 16 year old and sending the 20 year old and 14 year old alleged accomplices running, according to news reports.  A neighbor reportedly told WREG Channel 3 news that the deceased intruder had previously broken into her home, and police say that same intruder is also under investigation for other burglaries.

While the comments on the news website were mainly supportive of the law abiding citizen’s self defense actions, there were some that seemed to suggest the age of the intruder(s) should somehow matter.   To that, I would say a few things.  First, a 16 year old male is often near the peak of his physical strength, and can pose quite a threat if violent. Secondly, while a 16 year old likely lacks the judgment of a 40 year old, they certainly know right from wrong, and are not immature children. Virtually every 16 year old who commits a home invasion does so with the understanding that their actions are illegal and dangerous, and cannot reasonably claim age as an excuse.  Finally, self defense is all about the crime victim’s basic human right to be safe from violent attack, and as such the inquiry should stop there.