Tag Archives: Byron Smith

Commentary on Byron Smith Conviction

7 May

Homeowner Byron Smith was convicted of murder for shooting two teens who broke into his house. Ambush and Execution of burglars isn’t self defense.

Preppers are mixed in their reaction to this.

Many agree with the verdict but have little sympathy for burglars. The jury looked at these factors:

1) Smith recorded the incident. He recorded a lengthy conversation with himself after the shooting. He talked freely with police after the incident. These conversations raised serious doubt that he used reasonable force.

2) He moved his vehicle so it would appear his home was unoccupied.

Smith said this:
“I refuse to live in fear. I am not a bleeding heart liberal. I have a civic duty. I have to do it. Burglars are not human, they are vermin. I try to be a good person, to do what I should, be a good citizen.”

I don’t like criminals but I’d stop short of calling a person vermin. I’m not sure how I’d decide if I were on the jury. I didn’t listen to the tape. He does have a point. Not for a burglar but what if a serial rapist breaks into your home? If you apprehend him and in three years he’s out and he attacks and murders somebody, do you have a degree of responsibility?

One of the most balanced, sane, and respectable experts in self defense, Massad Ayoob, in his book “The Truth About Self Defense,” talks about meeting a deranged killer in prison. If memory serves, Ayoob said if this fellow ever showed up in his home, he’d shoot him dead for sure. Knowing the guy’s behavior, he’d know this guy would harm innocent people as long as he could. Most “normal” people lack experience with this kind of psycho.

One person I know thinks Smith could have PTSD from Vietnam and his role as an embassy guard. It makes sense. If he worried 3 or 4 violent gang bangers would break into his home some night and he’d wake to a knife being plunged into him, a first response of somebody with that background could well be to set up the confrontation so he’d be prepared. He’d want to engage on his terms. It’s cliched, but the best defense is a good offense.

The lesson for preppers: Use all due restraint when defending yourself. If forced to use lethal force, get an attorney immediately before you say anything.  Call police immediately.

One anti-gun post attacking Smith said that any homeowner who owns a gun and doesn’t have good locks is guilty of this “ambush and execution.”  That’s crap. If you only have so much money, a gun is a great defense tool.

I do recommend having great locks. But even with them Smith lived alone and was elderly. Would he hear an intruder before it was too late?