Can I Legally Shoot Someone If I’m Defending a Statue?

Grant cavalry statue

A viral social-media post is suggesting that it may be okay to shoot someone to defend a statue. Our Independent Program Attorneys beg to differ.

Here is U.S. & Texas LawShield® Independent Attorney Edwin Walker’s response:

defend statue

Independent Program Attorney Edwin Walker

Texas LawShield recently became aware of a viral Facebook post telling people they can shoot someone vandalizing a statute.

Based on recent events, we understand the importance of knowing whether or not this is valid legal information.

It appears this viral story started as a blog post that reported on one individual’s opinion on the use of force and/or deadly force to protect public property.

The position advocated by the Facebook post cited in the blog is not a very good idea.

The defense of property justifications (TPC 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43) are all based upon the finding that the person’s conduct was based upon a “reasonable belief” that the use of force is “immediately necessary” to prevent the harm to property.

With regard to deadly force, it can only be used if the person “reasonably believes that … the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by ANY other means.”

This presents a lot of room for a jury to find that someone was unreasonable in using force or deadly force to defend against an act of criminal mischief.

Further, deadly force can never be used in response to the crime of criminal mischief in the daytime.

Many people who have commented on this post have posed a “…but what if they come at me…” scenario.

It is true that the circumstances that allow for the use of force and/or deadly force can change instantly. If a person is simply trying to stop a vandal by shouting at him or calling the police, and as a result the vandal attempts to attack the person, then the person being attacked would be justified in using force and may even escalate to deadly force to defend themselves if they have a reasonable belief that they are going to be murdered.

However, if a person were to physically intervene to stop a vandal (any offensive, unwanted, or injurious touching is an assault) and then were to be physically assaulted themselves, the issue that a jury would have to decide is whether or not the person had disqualified themselves from claiming self-defense because of their initial “assault” on the vandal.

Needless to say, this is a very complex issue and should not have been addressed by anyone in a cavalier manner.

It is unfortunate that civilized behavior in our society has devolved to such a state that it is even necessary to consider these issues.

To learn more, we invite Members and guests to attend seminars and workshops presented by experienced attorneys as they discuss laws regarding the legal use of force and legal use of deadly force. To stay on the right side of the law, it is critical you stay current on any legal changes. Don’t miss this opportunity. Click Gun Law Seminar to find out more. 

The Law of Self-Defense Explained

If Someone Threatens to Kill You, Can You Legally Respond?

27 Comments On This Article

  1. Shooting some idiot to protect a statue is a really stupid move. I would be willing to bet you’ll end up in a lot of legal trouble. In Minnesota you can do nothing to escalate a situation where a self defense shooting would be justified. Trying to stop someone from destroying public property by yelling or any other actioon other than calling the police could be considered escalating the situation. I would recommend calling 911 and walking away. It won’t cost you legal fees, your life or a prison sentence that way.

    • No doubt. Personally, however, were I to find myself on the jury in such a case my vote would be NOT guilty. While frowned upon by the robed tyrants and shysters, jury nullification does and can work.

    • I have a home in Northern Minnesota near Leech Lake. When you analyze the motivational psychology at play on both sides – the intent of the vandal to do harm to property (public or private) and the intent of the individual to dissuade the vandal from doing harm to the public or an individual through damaging or destroying property – considering “yelling” at the vandal to change his mind an escalation of the situation (whether the view of Law enforcement or the public) is stupid. It is a feeble excuse to prevent (avoid) getting involved and promotes crime rather than deterring it.

      Such an intolerant ruling is tantamount to siding with the vandal against the public good or private property rights and will result in the “law” being used by criminals to interfere with the “sheepdog” law enforcement multiplier provided by the general public as a deterrent to crime. The presence of other individuals or law enforcement at the scene of intended vandalism is a deterrent to anyone with a conscience and a sense of right and wrong. Voicing opposition lets the vandal know his illegal intent has been discovered and gives him the options of (1) proceeding with the illegal act or, (2) leaving.

      I checked with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department before posting this reply. The patrol sergeant told me no such code or departmental policy exists and agreed with my assessment. Can you please, from a public policy or motivational psychology standpoint, explain how your view is better for promoting the public good?

      • I think as you do that the people that vandalize property are dispicable. I will however guarantee you that in the Twin Cities area where I live some overzealous district attorney will charge you. Then you’ll have to hope that you have a jury comprised of individuals that think as we do. Good luck with that. Then if you are found not guilty you’ll be sued by the asshole’s family. But I believe in each persons right to make their own decisions so good luck if you find yourself in this position and I hope you have deep pockets.

        • Liberty's Advocate

          And how does that view improve the public good? Being resigned to the fact that insanity is forced on you is your view of Freedom? Those same Liberal pansy-ass policy makers in your area whose lack of common sense is demonstrated by their inability to think their way out of the rain, want the rest of us to adopt their “feel good” nonsense, regardless of the foreseen consequences. Opposition, both public and private, is our obligation to our children, grand children and all future generations. I would rather have the respect of my progeny for having understood the ramifications of doing nothing than any amount of property.

          Besides, turning this argument around on them is simple and exemplifies the hypocrisy of Progressivism. My First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech is compromised if I can’t yell in an attempt to prevent a crime. That Right is Constitutional and cannot be violated by government edict, policy or legislation. Only I can impose limits on my Right of Free Expression.

    • I say let’s stand back & let Obama’s Thugs destroy the Country, first statues, then churches, shred the Constitution, & then rape your family… And when they’re done you can call out retreat, retreat all the way to Canada & hide….. What a bunch of gutless Pussies American men have turned out to be. Now go back to your beer & football game Homer..

      • News Flash: D. Trump is the president now. “Rape your family”? Really? And to think you’re the only “real man” reading these posts is somewhat…egotistical. I have the privilege of being an American man and I can’t recall anybody calling me a ‘gutless pussy’ to my face and walking out in the same condition he walked in.

  2. Locate EVERY statue to a communist or sympathizer and insist they be removed and melted or broken up. Every artist, actor, poet, musician, and politician like Ron Dellums, who actively supported communist causes that a KGB agent wondered if was a Party member. Check his record, especially during the Vietnam conflict.

  3. Even in war there are rules of engagement.

    However, I can see no reason to destroy something which can be replaced or repaired, UNLESS in the process of destroying that property the perpetrator risks harming others. An example might be using 6 sticks of dynamite or a hand grenade to destroy a statue while tourists are viewing it.

    The same view should be taken in the case of personal property. If it can be repaired or replaced, then there is no reason to take a life unless the perpetrator presents a grave risk of death or bodily injury to one’s self or others.

    Of course this does not mean one should do nothing. Providing law enforcement with a description would be an acceptable action.

    • Liberty's Advocate

      Someone is standing outside your home with a lited Molotov Cocktail in a baseball windup position, ready to launch it into your home through the living room window. You know that the resulting damage will destroy everything you have worked your entire life to build and acquire as well as the photographic and digital memories of your struggle. You have insurance but your deductible is $1000.00. Allowing him to proceed is like allowing him to steal or destroy everything you own.

      We were each born with the Natural, unalienable (legally defined as “cannot be sold or transferred under any circumstances) Rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness – gifts from the Creator given to us at the moment of our individual creation, and over which government has no jurisdiction or control. These are basic Human Rights. They are called Human Rights because they exist IN US just because WE exist. That means we have the unquestionable, exclusive Right to control our own lives and destinies, unencumbered by laws or regulations to the contrary.

      The only caveat is that you take no action which would interfere with the free exercise of ANY Rights by any other individual. You must exercise self control and show respect for the Rights of others. NO RIGHT (defined as an action or state of being) exists if, in exercising it, it interferes with, treads upon or compromises any Right held by others. If you violate someone else’s Natural Rights, you must pay for it by forfeiting yours. That is the original concept behind the death penalty for capital crimes. You murder someone (take their life illegally) you forfeit YOUR life.

      Property IS Life. The value of our lives ( the fact that we exist) is measured in our ability to earn a living – the amount for which we choose to sell our time here on Earth. We have the Liberty to do what we wish with our lives as long as we do NOT use that Freedom to the detriment of others. What we acquire as a result of our labors, in the form of property or other wealth, is a measure of our Life (time). No one has a Right to take that away from us by negating our Right to defend it – whether individuals or government.

      • I will guarantee you that regardless of philosophical ideas about this there will be monetary and legal consquences to anyone who shoots some shit head for vandalizing a statue. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive or smoking some good shit

        • Liberty's Advocate

          That’s why I limited my argument to the discussion of “yelling” at vandals in an attempt to dissuade them – to change their mind. If the vandal then changes the focus of his attack to you, it becomes self-defense and other considerations come into play.

          I have had concealed carry weapons permits for 49 years this month and am well-schooled in personal liability considerations as well as the legalities of justifiable use. The permits I carry now, besides Minnesota, are good in a total of 38 states. Your argument is why I carry insurance for that eventuality – to help pay for my defense and avoid being ruined for doing the right thing.

    • “The same view should be taken in the case of personal property. If it can be repaired or replaced, then there is no reason to take a life unless the perpetrator presents a grave risk of death or bodily injury to one’s self or others.”
      When it’s my personal property and I’m the one that’s going to have to pay to have it repaired or replaced somebody is going to get hurt.

  4. Sylvester Stallone, playing Rocky Balboa, beat the snot out of Carl Weathers, playing Apollo Creed. I DEMAND that Rocky Balboa’s statue be removed from its place of honor in Philadelphia, based on Stallone’s obvious racist act.

  5. America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Abraham Lincoln

    If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. George Washington

    For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Nelson Mandela

    I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress. Frederick Douglass
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/search_results.html?q=freedom

  6. The only time you can use deadly force is if someone is currently trying to kill you or an innocent person and you can’t get away. Any other use of deadly force will result in your arrest and prosecution, PERIOD. The jury might let you go but you will still be sued in civil court and your ruined life will never recover.

  7. My only question to all you “PATRIOTS”, why do you want to protect a statue of men who tried to bring down the country you all profess to love so dearly? What other virtues did these men hold that draw you to them in such a way that makes you overlook their treasonous ways? Do you revere Timothy Mcveigh the same way? How about the Unabomber?

    • Liberty's Advocate

      Timothy McVeigh was as dangerous to American democracy as Chuck Schumer with his inflammatory opposition to Trump’s Commission on Election Fraud. Schumer and the Unabomber are members of the same side of the political spectrum – far Left – judging by the Unabomber’s manifesto. The Zodiac Killer, Green River Killer, the Sandy Hook killer, the Aurora ,CO Theater shooter and MOST ALL serial killers are Leftsts, confirmed by their own writings and words.

      In answer to what you believe is an unaswerable question, I offer this: If Lee and others remain just a verbal historical reference with no context or ability to visualize, the lessons are obscured – lost to history. In that sense, Lee’s statuary, Confederate monuments and memorials provide a valuable public service, your opinion to the contrary notwithstanding.

      “In our iconoclastic efforts to erase the past, we rob ourselves of knowing the men who forged our national identity, and the events that made us who we are. This nation, of almost incomprehensible wealth, power, and prosperity, was created by the decisions of men like Lincoln—and Lee, too.” – Jarret Stepman, The Daily Signal

      If history has taught us anything (and in your case I suspect not), this type of cultural cleansing BEGINS with dissociation, which then justifies destruction of a reputation creating a pariah of the subject, then removing of memorials, progressing to book burning, historical revisionism and at times can lead to elimination of non-conformist individuals and families – ALL OF WHICH ARE ANTITHETICAL TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH and the Right of the individual to his/her absolute and exclusive, Natural, UNALIENABLE Right to control his/her own Life and destiny unfettered by government, the PC movement and the likes of you.

      Changes akin to these have been going on in this country for almost two generations under the guise of social engineering, socialism, Political Correctness and Progressivism. As an example, whereas history textbooks used to have a chapter or more dedicated to the study of Lincoln’s Presidency, now they MAY contain one paragraph …ONE PARAGRAPH to tell the story of arguably one of the most important, influential and consequential presidents in our nation’s history; the man who preserved the union and the world’s repository of freedom. Freedom is about individual Rights and individual, personal responsibility. The only caveat is that the individual exercising his/her Rights shall honor the same Rights of other individuals to do the same with THEIR Life. This includes personally held beliefs – specifically political views – which may be unpopular. The problem with YOUR view is that it invariably becomes oppressive and leads to totalitarianism. Censorship in any form restricts freedom of speech; personal restraint is the remedy (accepting Personal Responsibility for one’s words and actions).

      My history lesson for the day…

      Robert E Lee was married to George Washington’s granddaughter. He worked with Grant during the Mexican-American war and became a decorated war hero defending this country. General Lee spent several months outside of New Orleans at Jackson Barracks to prevent the war from spreading to our city. He protected and kept this city safe and as such was honored and memorialized for this in the form of a statue.

      He believed slavery was a great evil and his wife broke the law by teaching slaves to read and write. After the civil war, he worked with Andrew Johnson’s program of reconstruction. He became very popular with the northern states and the Barracks at West Point were named in his honor in 1962. He was a great man who served this country his entire life in some form or another. His memorial is now being called a blight??? No American military veteran should be treated as such. People keep yelling, “You can’t change history.”

      Sadly, you can. This is no better than book burnings. ISIS tried rewriting history by destroying historical artifacts. Is that really who we want to emulate?

      As they tear down this “blight” keep these few historical facts in your mind. This is not Iraq and that is not a statue of Sadam. Lee protected and kept this city safe during the Mexican American war and this is how we repay him?

      For my part, I cannot believe the idiocy that is occurring today in this country……….in several areas.

  8. In the event you ever use deadly force, be sure to wear surgical gloves when loading your mags, you don’t want excess greasey residue gumming up your actions . ; >)

  9. Perhaps new laws need to be studied and enacted to protect public and personal property. There is no perfect answer, but I believe we could get close to a good answer. To allow terrorism and destruction to run rampant seems wrong to me.

  10. We need new laws that define all these crazy liberals as domestic terrorists and thus allowing any law abiding citizen to use deadly force to terminate their violent actions !

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