Despite letter writers’ calls for empathy, Smith had a plan and he carried it out.
A dangerous situation, prepared or unprepared
Many letter writers, including one published May 1 (“Some empathy is in order for situation Byron Smith faced”), seem to think that Smith did not deserve such a harsh sentence for the murds of two people. That writer states: “Sometimes well-laid plans can boomerang on you,” implying that the intruders’ plans went awry. However, what about Smith’s cold and calculated plan — his moving of his truck to appear not to be home, activating an audio recorder in his basement, making sure his guns were loaded and then sitting in a basement chair, waiting for the intruders? Smith’s plan seemed to work perfectly for him.
I agree; there’s not a lot of reaction time when someone is breaking into your home. However, Smith had hours to plan this confrontation, which resulted in two deaths. His life sentence is deserved.
Keven Henslin, Champlin
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I think we need a new law — let’s call it the “Implied Assault Law.” If a person invades someone’s home, the assumption should be the person is there to inflict physical harm on the occupant. Under this new law, the occupant would be entitled to take whatever defensive action he or she believed was necessary at the moment, up to and including killing the intruder, without question.
I can’t imagine the fear, violation and outrage I’d feel after my home had been invaded one time, let alone several times. People who break into homes are not victims; they are violent and dangerous criminals.
Mike Beer, Minneapolis
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How many times have you heard someone say that they bought a gun for protection? Now they have a gun in the house whose purpose is to subdue an intruding human being.
When almost anyone can have a gun, and virtually no one has the kind of training that would prepare them to face threatening, highly charged, emotional and chaotic home-invasion situations, how can we possibly have expectations of “reasonable” behavior?
Gary P. Engen, Mounds View
Finding the meaning in a ‘botched’ execution
There is dark and revealing irony at play when a convicted man enters a death chamber, is soon dead, and yet the execution is widely considered “botched.” To be clear, our horror has nothing to do with the person dying. There are plenty of ways to kill instantly with little pain; they just aren’t very pretty. Our discomfort has to do with us, with being horrified watching our society kill people under the law. May our search for a “humane” method of execution be forever in vain, because the only way to succeed is to shed the part of our humanity that makes us free.
Patrick Pfundstein, St. Paul
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.