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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The area I live in has an active arsonist. He has started at least 20 fires in the last month. And 14 since last Saturday. So I've heard several conversations around the area that revolve around finding the guy and what to do with him. There have been several homes destroyed. So here's the question for all of you, "If You caught" someone setting fire to your home would you feel that you are defending against a deadly threat? And after you think about that, How about if he was setting a fire to the grass land down slope from your home even if it was many acres away? I had to take the day off work today because yesterday the arsonist set fire to the main two roads in or out of my area and then set fire to the hill in front of my home. To get home I had to drive miles around and slip in through the back roads. The state police had the area locked down, But I have a disabled wife and animals that needed me there. So what do you think? DR
 

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Anyone deliberately setting a fire is a violent felon initiating a lethal force confrontation.
 

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I am not so sure about the law in CA but I would imagine you shooting someone with a match trying to set fire to brush acres away from people would be considered murder. Now, that being said, anybody that trashes the enviroment IMO gets what he deserves.
 

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It is well known what the potential of a fire can be on a home. If they did not stop when confronted, IMO deadly force would be an acceptable option.
 
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Don't shoot if not in defense of your home. But do get a camera and record license plates and get the guy's face on camera if possible.

This is a shocking development and I feel for you. If you have to shoot, for example he comes at you with a gas can or something, don't talk to the cops, mention your fear for your life and that you need to speak with your attorney.

Good luck!
 

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If it poses an IMMEDIATE threat to you and your family, then I would consider it an intentional act of agreesion and a use of lethal force. He would get on command to get on th ground, the second command would be sparks, a loud boom and some smoke. Mind you, this is assuming he was setting fire to my house. even if it were my lawn I prob would not risk it. With a disabled spouse I would contact your local mayors office and put some pressure on them by expressing your concerns. I would also contact your neighbors and express to them your concerns and ask them to be extra vigilant for the safety of your wife, and offer to to the same in return. Its ok to play to the sympathetic response of others in this case.
 
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California Penal code follows. Under subsection 4 it might be a good shoot, if he resists citizens arrest. In reality lawers and a non-CCW friendly DA could twist that any way they want. You could argue that 2 and 3 also would apply if we look upon arson as a "crime of violence", but counter arguements could also have weight. Best not to test the case, not many scenarios would present themselves where shooting the perp is the answer, but it is possible.

"Penal Code Section 197 – Justifiable Homicide; Any Person
Homicide is justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:
1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily
injury upon any person; or,
2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or
endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and
endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose
of offering violence to any person therein; or,
3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master,
mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a
felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but
such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in
mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the
homicide was committed; or,
4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any
felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace."
 

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Do they have some sort of chemical to start or accelerate the fire? Certainly threatening to hit you with that while holding a match / lighter would be a lethal threat.
 

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I think it is too grey an area for lethal force. Especially so if you have a means of escaping with your life.
Try to get a photo, phone authorities, but my instinct is telling me that no matter the law, you won't come out
ahead unless the guy was actually trying to set you on fire.
 

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If I saw someone that I believed intended to set fire to my house, I would feel justified in shooting. Such an act puts me in imminent danger. If they were setting fire to vegetation in the proximity of my house, I think that would get tricky. But I think a case could be made to justify it. For example, your house is surrounded by dry brush, it's a windy day, he's setting the fire up wind and in close proximity of your house and someone in your house is has limited mobility. But you need to understand your state's laws before you pull the trigger. But all that is just my opinion and I'm not an attorney.
 

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If I saw someone that I believed intended to set fire to my house, I would feel justified in shooting. Such an act puts me in imminent danger. If they were setting fire to vegetation in the proximity of my house, I think that would get tricky. But I think a case could be made to justify it. For example, your house is surrounded by dry brush, it's a windy day, he's setting the fire up wind and in close proximity of your house and someone in your house is has limited mobility. But you need to understand your state's laws before you pull the trigger. But all that is just my opinion and I'm not an attorney.
re Part in Bold: It might. It might not. Too many variables, one of which is the definition of imminent. Is your life in imminent
danger if you can walk away? Is your house in imminent danger if you can get to a hose and get the FD there?

Short of someone actually trying to throw a flammable on you, I think most folks would typically be able to evade harm.
If you can evade harm it isn't self defense.

Whether or not your state would allow such force to protect property is another matter and one would need to carefully
read and consider the state law where you live.

I may be missing something in our code but I see this as justification: "(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime;"

But I think one would really have to be cautious about what the word imminent means and about not doing it if your life
isn't immediately in danger.
 

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A good question. Sounds like a "hold him at gunpoint" situation. If he stops, great; if he runs, let him go; if he continues the process of starting a fire, depending on the method, it could perhaps be a threat of grievous harm. A can of gasoline and a match, definitely. Rubbing two sticks together, probably not. Flamethrower, probably just shoot first and ask questions later.
 

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In NH, arson is specifically listed as justification for lethal force. In CA... I don't know.

A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using non-deadly force upon another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other in or upon such premises, but he may use deadly force under such circumstances only in defense of a person as prescribed in RSA 627:4 or when he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent an attempt by the trespasser to commit arson. - RSA 627:7
 

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"If You caught" someone setting fire to your home would you feel that you are defending against a deadly threat?
Absolutely. If torching my home isn't considered a dire, deadly threat to those within, what else can it be called?

He's getting stopped, in whatever manner is required to stop it, if I'm still breathing and able to do so. No matter what it costs him, even if that kills him. Absolutely.

Thankfully, I live in a state that values life just as much as I do, and values deadly violent felons as little as I.
 

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A good question. Sounds like a "hold him at gunpoint" situation. If he stops, great; if he runs, let him go; if he continues the process of starting a fire, depending on the method, it could perhaps be a threat of grievous harm. A can of gasoline and a match, definitely. Rubbing two sticks together, probably not. Flamethrower, probably just shoot first and ask questions later.
Yup, in the end one of the factors determining the shooter's fate will be the reasonableness of the shooting. Big difference between arson methods. If they are pouring kerosene about the base of your house and chanting about burning witches, and
you aren't a witch, hmmmm.....??????? 911 and run for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If I saw someone that I believed intended to set fire to my house, I would feel justified in shooting. Such an act puts me in imminent danger. If they were setting fire to vegetation in the proximity of my house, I think that would get tricky. But I think a case could be made to justify it. For example, your house is surrounded by dry brush, it's a windy day, he's setting the fire up wind and in close proximity of your house and someone in your house is has limited mobility. But you need to understand your state's laws before you pull the trigger. But all that is just my opinion and I'm not an attorney.
I fall into this line of thought! But you wouldn't believe the things I've heard from my neighbors! We live in a Foothill area that is Cattle grassing land, oaks and brush. Our grass is pretty much kept down by our horses but just across the fences the grass is hip high. Thanks All DR
 

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In NH, arson is specifically listed as justification for lethal force. In CA... I don't know.
Is a grass fire the same imminent threat that tossing Molotov cocktails into your garage is? NO.
Some common sense needs to be exercised before shooting an arsonist or anyone else. It will all boil down
to what a reasonable person in the same situation would do; and you won't be the one defining "reasonable."
 

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Well we are definitely right around the corner of fire season. For quite a few years I've had the idea that most wild fires (especially those in Calif) are started deliberately by ELF (Earth Liberation Front) to either destroy mega huge mansions or destroy timber that could be logged. It could also be a Lone Wolf too. As the OP stated this fire bug has already started more than 20 fires in recent weeks. I would hope at the very least that LEO are stepping up patrols in the effected areas and beating the brush so to speak for this mentally deranged individual.:mad:
 

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Just "Wing" him a little bit in both legs so he can't run,if the fire burns his ass up oh well I'm thinking suicide
 
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