Somethin’s Gotta Give

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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32 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    My high school was in the news last year when a Senior Prank went wrong. A large group of students (I believe 40+) sneaked into the school at night to cause some mischief. Some (not all) got out of hand, doing real damage including urinating and smearing feces on the walls. Arrests were made.

    I shudder at the thought of any of them being killed for what they did. This law would seem to allow for that.Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    It doesn’t seem that different from the current rules governing the use of deadly force if a police officer were present for whatever the teacher is supposed to be able to do. (the same for Kazzy’s anecdote above).

    There’s a good case to be made that this isn’t a good idea, because teachers aren’t police officers (and police officers use deadly force enough).

    But I’m not seeing this as generating quite the willy-nilly free fire zone as the post does – any armed security guard would have the same authority under the laws of most states. (and for those states that it wouldn’t, the solution is to just make those armed security guards a duly sworn police force – like most colleges and transit agencies do).Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Kolohe says:


      I’m not sure I’m understanding you. Are the police authorized to use deadly force to protect property?Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Kazzy says:

        I was thinking in the context of “Police! Stop! or I’ll Shoot” but I see that standard has been amended since the 90s. (if I’m reading that link right)

        With that, Flynn’s proposed TPA probably wouldn’t pass a court review. Maybe.

        Though we do know a cop can kill a man for selling cigarettes without the nanny state’s permission, so in that sense, it isn’t too far of a stretch.Report

      • Reformed Republican in reply to Kazzy says:

        Well, if the person vandalizing the property has something in his hand that could be a can of spray pain, but could also be a gun . . .Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        “He was going for his piece!”
        “Yea… his penis. He was peeing on his walls.”
        “Look, man, I didn’t decide that we’d user he same slang term for someone’s junk and a gun.”
        “But you saw he was just peeing!”
        “Sure. But in my head, I thought ‘piece’ and that made me think gun so I was fully justified. I could have been shot!”Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Kolohe says:

      @kolohe No, I don’t think “willy nilly.”

      I do, however, think that today’s conservatives generally distinguish between the natural-law sacredness of private property and the “shouldn’t-even-exist” public property. (I’m talking talking points here, not actual beliefs.) And I think their expanding the ability of government employees to use deadly force to defend that public property feels, as I said, weird.

      As far as police go, I agree with you there. But at least in my own observational experience, conservatives tend to allow for a different standard of conduct for law enforcement officials than they do all other non-military government employees.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I’m not seeing the cosmic dissonance you seem to be feeling in the force.

        After Sandyhook the NRA proposed arming teachers.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        To defend themselves or students? I see that as being very Republican circa 2015. To defend non-private property? I see that as being substantially less Republican circa 2015.

        I will confess, however, that much of the disconnect for me comes from out local talk radio shows, where property owned by things like the DMV, public schools, DOT, etc, are seen as stolen goods that citizens have a right to take back.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Well, there’s no accounting for am radio rabblerousers… but I’m still not seeing it, unless they are feeling stymied in their attempts to ransack public schools, post-offices, and DMVs?

        That’s not really a “thing” in my world of subsidiarity and solidarity traditionalists.

        I suppose you might be listening to some sub-set of Murrah Federal building types… but that’s a pretty broad brush with which to paint. Even to paint Republicans.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

      But I’m not seeing this as generating quite the willy-nilly free fire zone as the post does

      Until they give guns to the hall monitors, dude. Then bullets will fly.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    I can’t think of anything that could possibly go wrong if this bill becomes law. Actually, I can think of quite a few things that could go spectacularly wrong. Laws expanding the right to use deadly force beyond the common law norm are dangerous to society. Even if we assume the broadest reading of the 2nd Amendment is the correct one, about when or when not a person could use his or her gun without facing liability.Report

  4. Burt Likko says:

    Come now, @tod-kelly . When the gummint agency in question is controlled at the local level and local politics is dominated by Real Murcns, there’s no problem with that gummint doing whateverthehellitwants.Report

  5. Chris says:

    Sigh, the legislative sessions always mean Texas is going to be an embarrassing place to live for 5 months.Report

  6. trizzlor says:

    I don’t understand how this isn’t *already* covered under Texas penal code:

    Sec. 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
    (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
    (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
    (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
    (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
    (3) he reasonably believes that:
    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

    The law seems to apply to any person and any property – it even covers criminal mischief – so why not a teacher & school property? Or are you concerned that they are lifting the “nighttime” restriction, which is the crucial bulwark that keeps this law from being abused by daytime vigilantes?Report

    • trizzlor in reply to trizzlor says:

      Ah, I see now that Section 9.41 restricts the property to belong to the person, so presumably current law only covers school supplies independently purchased by the teacher but not those provided by the school. Makes perfect sense.Report

    • Fnord in reply to trizzlor says:

      My understanding is that the Penal Code rule for justification only applies to criminal proceedings (and a similar rule applies to civil lawsuits); this rule is expanding the same standard to cover administrative discipline against teachers (which covered by the education code).Report

  7. LWA says:

    No, this isn’t weird at all, if you define “weird” as something counter-intuitive.

    When conservatives imagine the kind of students who would be on the receiving end of the gunfire, who do you think they envision?Report

  8. Notme says:

    I dont agree with the defending property part, i certainly think teachers should be able to defend themselves.Report

    • Will H. in reply to Notme says:

      When it gets to the part about, “Teachers defend . . . ” it’s already game over.
      Teachers should not be inclined to defend anything.
      When it gets to that point, that’s a big red flag.Report

  9. DensityDuck says:

    Why won’t those silly people in Texas realize that if only they made guns illegal then they wouldn’t need laws like this?Report

  10. Anyone who says you can’t see a thought simply doesn’t know art. ~Wynetka Ann ReynoldsReport