Phoenix Law Enforcement Association Prez Mark Spencer’s Latest Outrage, and Arpaio Surreptitiously Tapes the Feds During Latest Sweep

RIGHT TO KILL?

What's troublesome about gun nuts in this country isn't so much that they want to play with firearms and wear them on their hips with almost no restrictions. It's that many feel they have the God-given right to end every conflict with a bullet, or three.

There's often implied cowardice that goes along with all the righteous handgun-totin'. Way too often, sidearms are worn by craven men with chips on their shoulders, itching for a fight they don't have to resolve with their fists.

Take the case of Harold Fish, the ex-Tolleson high school teacher convicted of second-degree murder by a Coconino County jury and sentenced to 10 years in the 2004 death of Grant Kuenzli.

Kuenzli, 43, was a former fire inspector living, along with three dogs, out of his car in the Coconino National Forest when he encountered Fish. Fish, then 59, was completing a daylong hike when he came across Kuenzli and his dogs.

Two of the three canines ran at Fish with teeth bared. Fish dropped his walking stick and went for his 10-millimeter Kimber semiautomatic handgun, firing a warning shot into the ground in front of the dogs, dispersing them.

Then, Kuenzli ran at Fish, but he didn't get a warning shot. Instead, he got three hollow-point bullets in the chest. Supposedly, Kuenzli threatened Fish, yelling that he wanted to kill him, screaming profanities and swinging at Fish, "with his eyes crossed, looking crazy and enraged," as court documents recount it.

Later, it was discovered that Kuenzli had a screwdriver in his pocket, and a temper, according to some. Others remember him as a kind, caring man who volunteered with the local Humane Society. But Fish didn't know that at the time. He just knew that Kuenzli was advancing on him, and he obviously perceived the man as threatening.

Problem is, if that's all it takes to kill someone in Arizona, that's a pretty low threshold. Even if the guy is threatening. Sheesh, whatever happened to fistfights? Fish had a walking stick; did he think of using that? What about the gun? Couldn't he have popped Kuenzli upside the head with it? Or better yet, just moved out of the way of the oncoming, would-be assailant?

Nah, Fish just plugged the guy. If Kuenzli had been coming at Fish with a knife or that screwdriver, Fish would have been in his rights. Still, Fish contends he had no other choice. When Dateline NBC's John Larson asked Fish why he didn't hit Kuenzli instead of killing him, Fish's answer was revealing.

"You know, I just didn't think it would work," Fish told Larson. "To be honest with you, it didn't really even occur to me."

Of course it didn't occur to Fish — because he had a gun. And the gun was Fish's first and last line of defense, as it is with most firearm lovers. They see no problem with blowing someone away in an altercation that need not escalate to that level.

It explains why Fish's case is a cause celebre among gun advocates. The National Rifle Association kicked in an unspecified amount to Fish's legal fund. Blogs such as the "Pro-Arms Podcast" noted that Fish was defending himself from "an irate attacker" and kvetched, "You can be doing everything correctly" and still wind up in court.

"Imagine how this could happen to any of us," the blog stated.

Similarly, the "Harold Fish Defense" Web site cheered Fish when his verdict was reversed on June 30 by the Arizona Court of Appeals, and it criticized Attorney General Terry Goddard's office for appealing that decision to the Arizona Supreme Court.

"What possible purpose does that serve?" asked the blog's host, who is not directly affiliated with Fish, BTW. "Let's keep this in mind in future elections."

Yes, Fish is a free man after serving three years of his sentence. And Coconino County Attorney David Rozema has announced there will be no new trial because the Legislature passed a law this year making a 2006 self-defense statute retroactive to Fish's case. That statute places the burden on the prosecution to disprove a defendant's self-defense claim.

But if the AG's Office has its way, Fish will go back to prison where he belongs. Assistant Attorney General Joe Mazairz explained that the appeals court overturned the conviction because Fish's attorney wanted the jury instructed on the definitions of other crimes, including endangerment, threatening or intimidating, and aggravated assault.

"Our position is, those are simply irrelevant," Mazairz says. "Because the only issue in this case was whether the defendant's use of deadly physical force was justified. And it would only be justified by the victim's threat of deadly physical force."

There are other issues involved, such as the relevance of a victim's past. See, during the trial, Fish's defense attempted to put Kuenzli on trial, but the ploy was ultimately unsuccessful.

It's called blaming the victim. And Fish's defense attorney would have done more of it if he had been allowed. He wanted to nitpick over a restraining order issued against Kuenzli by a former girlfriend, his mental health, and the fact that he'd threatened suicide in the past. The judge blocked such nitpicking.

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41 comments
Rnyazzie
Rnyazzie

I am sure the story would totally be different if Kuenzli was an ex-convict, and the story would have read Fish had reacted correctly. The problem is if someone you have never met comes running at you aggressively in the middle of no where, I guarantee 99.9% of the people would use anything to stop this aggression as quickly as possible. It's easy for those who have never been in that situation to judge on hindsight after the fact.

Kabong30
Kabong30

Late to the game but hey, maybe someone else will see this. This is clearly not murder. Fish had reason to fear for his life, and he used deadly force to end that threat. Those of you labeling this man a "murderer" probably have no concept of the kind of regret that Harold Fish himself probably carries everyday. The fact that Fish spent ANY time in prison is a miscarriage of justice because only he and Kuenzli were there and the testimony of multiple other people who saw the behavior of Kuenzli exonerates Fish.

Stop applying your emotions and feelings about guns to this. It's not about machismo or your ability to carry on a "fist fight". One blow to the temple can end a person's life and Fish had no obligation to enter into any physical confrontation with Kuenzli before using deadly force.

Dee
Dee

I am sick of criminals playing the race card. Race and color do not count. Breaking our laws in criminal. Do everything legally and you have no problems here in Arizona. Simple as that. Quit whining and walk the legal straight path and be good citizens. Why is that so hard?Just keep your nose clean and you'll have no problems.

Dee
Dee

My neighborhood was a running gun battle every weekend (and often through the week after dark any niht. I was so afraid a stray bullet would fly through my bedroom. I dreaded for nightfall each day. I've had items stolen from my yard, running footsteps at night in my yard, and even once a fierce pounding on my door around 10 pm. I was terrified & called 911 to find out there was a shooting a few houses away. The door pounder may have been the shooter running from the Police? Then Sheriff Joe conducted criminal sweeps and guess what? The gun battls ceased! THANK YOU JOE ARPAIO FOR RETURNING PEACE AND SAFETY TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND TO MY LIFE!! I will always stand behind our sheriff and always vote for him. He upholds the law, he protects Maricopa citizens from violence and drug running. Those who do not like Joe are usually ex cons and or relatives of cons who whine that they don't have the comforts of home while serving jail sentances. Don't do the crime and you'll not have to do the time!SHERIFF JOE CANNOT BE BOUGHT. JOE FOLLOWS THE LAW AND CRIMINALS VIOLATAE THE LAW....HE IS A GOOD MAN. HE ALSO PROTECTS AND SAVES ANIMALS. lET JOE ARPAIO DO THE JOB THAT WE VOTED HIM INTO OFFICE TO DO. HE IS A RATE DECENT PROTECTOR OF WE CITIZENS.

Dee
Dee

Deadly force against a stick! Who in heaven's name defends this murderer? And what is the justice system coming too? I'm afraid to go hiking if Fish is free to wander the wilds with his big old gun . Harold Fish is a danger to society, he should be in prison for murder right now. Who got paid off for his release? He is deranged mentally and shouldn't be around his seven innocent children. What a role model for them! I am disgusted with this farcical use of the legal system which got away with freeing an outright murderer and allowing him to continue to carry a gun with an attitude of "SHOOT FIRST". So, I can settle an argument by shooting and killing legally in Arizona!! That is setting a precedent in law by freeing him for that murder. LOOK OUT HIKERS, FISH IS ON THE LOOSE AGAIN! ARMED AND DEFINATELY DANGEROUS WITH SMILING PERMISSION FROM AN ARIZONA JUDGE AND LEGAL SYSTEM. What is this world coming to? Certainly morals did not weigh in on the court's decision to free that murderous man.

G. White
G. White

So, in the perverse philosophy of the leftist weenies, if some clown comes at you, swinging his fists and threatening to kill you ... you should just stand there and, maybe, try to duke it out with him, hoping for the best (and hoping he isn't packing a knife or other weapon)?

One suspects that most of these limp-wristed twits would just sit there and cringe, WISHING they had some means of defense. Like a gun.

I'd have done the same damn thing as Fish, and never felt one twinge of conscience.

rkphx
rkphx

This is EXACTLY the reason why when I do carry a firearm, I also carry pepper spray. Problem probably could have been solved with one good stream to the attacker's face.

In addition, it would have provided a defense for shooting the attacker if it really WAS necessary: "I pepper sprayed him, with no effect. I feared for my life."

Also, it would have been a more humane way to disperse the dogs. Pepper spray, while painful to the dogs, would wear off. If the bullet had caught one of the dogs, either directly or on a ricochet...that would not have worn off so well.

alan truelove
alan truelove

Seems like Sheriff Joe is doing a pretty good job, 75% of the vote for the last 25 years, and attracting admiration from States and Localities across the country. Not 'tyranny' as your Theater reviewer states. but prudent and necessary chilling of Illegal Invaders to the relief of AZ taxpayers. 8,000 illegals hold non-Agricultural jobs that out-of-work Americans would like to do. Yes, Obama and Janet have done their best to gut the power of local police. We will take care of this in 2012.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

We applaud Stephen Lemons courage to give the public the information for them to decide. Certainly can't get "real" news from the AZ Media whose agenda is controlled. Unfortunately, those are the ones trying to stifle Lemons flame. We aren't falling for it. Arizona is filled with hatred, bigotry and intolerance. Those who fit that group need to be known by the public. Meanwhile Arizona is a state of right wing extremists and hate groups.

Stephen Lemons, keep up the great work!

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

"Ron from Mesa" wrote: "Why should a person carry an array of less lethal weapons?" The same reason that the police do: because the law requires it. Therefore, your liberty and safety depend on it. Go back to my first message here, and read the part citing Arizona law on the legal justification for the use of lethal force. Not every threat to your physical safety is a threat to your life. If you end up in prison because the level of force you used to resolve the situation was not legally justified, you're not going to have a firearm there for self-protection, and might get beaten up (or worse) by a whole gang. The problem doesn't end when you shoot somebody, unless you have the law behind you, and even then you might face a civil lawsuit with completely different standards of outcome determination. Just buying a gun and imagining that this solves ALL your self-defense problems is delusional. "Are you going to have time to try each one, evaluate the effectiveness and move on to the next?" You're going to have to select the weapon that the situation calls for while having the other(s) handy. Somebody who is unarmed and menacing you with simple assault generally justifies non-lethal force under the law. Somebody serious about self-defense should prepare for a range of contingencies. "Have you ever seen a person that is in excited delerium?" Theoretically, anybody could be hopped up on PCP and unable to feel a thing. That doesn't mean you are legally justified in shooting a belligerent drunk or wackjob three times in the chest because you're afraid of being beaten, perhaps badly. After all, people can be injured for life or even killed with bare fists and feet. Maybe you should be legally justified, even if they're not on drugs, but you're not. And so far as I know, nothing in the toxicology report or autopsy suggested that the victim was immune to non-lethal force. As for what Mr. Fish described, I have my doubts. The autopsy was consistent with someone whose arms were raised at the time they were shot; but who tries to menace someone by shaking their fists over their head? On the other hand, most people of a certain age, being conditioned by television, would respond to having a gun trained on them -- whether or not accompanied with "Hold it!" or "Keep your hands where I can see them!" -- by raising their arms over their head. "In my opinion Mr Fish fired a warning shot when he dispersed the dogs. A dog can't understand what a warning shot is." Fish claims he fired at the ground to scare off the dogs. And it was only after this that the victim became (according to Fish) threatening. So the warning shot at the dogs couldn't have been intended as a warning shot to the victim. "To the best of my knowledge people usually don't have the advantage of knowing a person's intent or mental status prior to or during an assault." Or, in this case, their past history. Fish knew what he saw, and made a decision to use lethal force on that basis. That's why the jury was given the same information, not more, in allowing them to decide whether Fish's actions were legally justified on the basis of what he had observed. The grounds for appeal were technical legal grounds: the appeals court decided that the original judge had not adequately instructed the jury on what the law says regarding self-defense.

I don't claim to know the facts of the case. Every situation must be decided on the basis of concrete factors. It isn't always easy to make those factors clear or convincing to those who were not there. Honest individuals can do a poor job expressing the facts and end up looking like fabricators when their comments are dissected at leisure and in print.

But the victim is dead and now the killer speaks for him. It seems as though everyone on the blogs, with the exception of journalists like Mr. Lemons, is ready to assume the worst about the victim and the best about the killer. I don't think the facts, at least at the level of blog discussions, are clear and convincing enough for everybody and his brother to show up and badmouth Mr. Lemons. So, I'm playing Rumpole, defending the underdog, trying to expose some assumptions taken for granted, and getting a bit of practice writing and thinking, as well as offering a bit of support for Mr. Lemons.

Coz
Coz

Ron,There's just no convincing some people....Some people are just born to be victims.

Ron
Ron

Emil, your points are well taken. I don't think there is anything that would make you believe this shooting was justified so we will have to agree to disagree. We can armchair quarterback this to death but the fact is only Mr Fish, Mr Kuenzil and God knows what happened. However, to the best of my knowledge people usually don't have the advantage of knowing a persons intent or mental status prior to or during an assault. In my opinion Mr Fish fired a warning shot when he dispersed the dogs. A dog can't understand what a warning shot is. Have you ever seen a person that is in excited delerium? Very similar to what Mr Fish described. It is impossible to reason or control a person in ED by yourself with or without pepper spray. I am not saying this was the case with Mr Kuenzil but you can't say it wasn't. It was also my understanding that Mr Kuenzil's mental status or similar attacks on other hikers was not allowed as testmony. Would that sway a jurors decision? Finally. why should a person carry an array of less leathal weapons. Are you going to have time to try each one, evaluate the effectiveness and move on to the next? Hopefully a person can talk themselves out of a situation. If not maybe they can walk away. If a person continues to persue you it would be wise to suspect he wants to hurt you. Sometimes those steps are bypassed and you have an instant to assess, make a choice and react. Hopefully you will never have to make that choice. It is a life changing event even when it is justified. I am not taking the word of a convicted murderer. I am considering all the facts, the past history of one and the testimony of a man out on appeal. Why is he out on appeal? New evidence maybe? Important information blocked by the prosecution? Enough information that the case can't be won if tried again. But as I said earlier we can agree to disagree

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

P.S. I said that the victim walked toward Fish. Have you ever seen anyone "run" while swinging their fists? Try it.I don't mean swinging your arms: everybody does that when they run. Does it feel or look natural? Is it credible?

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

"Ron from Mesa" wrote: "Did Mr Fish have a criminal background? He was a retired school teacher. He sounds like a pretty credible person." Crippen was a retired doctor with no criminal record. Equally credible? "What are the people basing their accusation on that Mr. Fish overracted?" The fact that he shot an unarmed man three times in the chest.

"I guess it all come down to a choice. You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a survivor." There are a few other choices to make before we reach that point. Why you do choose to believe the uncorroborated testimony of a convicted murderer? Why do you choose to believe that the jury was wrong when it decided that Fish's actions were not reasonable and justified under the law? The jury judged Fish's actions based on what he knew (or testified he knew) about the victim at the time of the shooting. Fish made a choice without knowing about the victim's background: the jury was asked to decide Fish's actions based on the circumstances knowable to Fish at the time of the shooting. They chose not to believe Fish acted reasonably and with justification under the law in the circumstances in which he acted. Fish says that he was trained not to fire a warning shot, but he wasn't trained to use lethal force on unarmed persons. Also, why, if his training was key, did he violate it by firing a warning shot at snarling, charging dogs moving faster than a human? Why assume that a vicious dog would be detered by the sound of a gunshot? Why take that risk? Nobody has ever been charged with homicide against a dog.

Fish had time to note the victim's expression and body language; time to listen to him make a homicical declaration (supposedly); time to watch him walk forward "swinging his fists". He had time after that to aim for the chest and shoot three times. The victim was unarmed, and neither a warning shot nor a single shot with a pause to gauge effect would have been too risky, provided he kept his bead. Why, if the victim was intent on killing the defendent, didn't the victim take the screwdriver from his pocket for use as a weapon? Maybe he didn't think of it as a weapon? Maybe he was trying to get close to Fish, but if so, why announce his intent to kill him verbally? Why did Fish take a gun but choose not to carry less lethal weapons of self-defense in case of bodily threats that did not rise to the level of the threat of death? Didn't he cite his training, and didn't his training include the justification of lethal force under Arizona law? Fish had the money to buy a nice gun: surely he had the money for a can of pepper spray.

What do you take with you when going for a walk in the city, to protect yourself against loose dogs that might threaten you? A gun?

Assuming that the victim attacked Fish in an attempt to commit suicide is simply presumption. That's your choice too.

George
George

Any dumba## who runs at a man shouting I'm going to kill you while the other man has a gun pointed at him is comitting suicide, plain and simple. Free Fish and leave him free. Can you say "Self defense kiddies"

Ron
Ron

I guess it all come down to a choice. You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a survivor. When you choose to be a victim you place your loved ones in a position to be victims also. What are the people basing their accusation on that Mr. Fish overracted? Did Mr Fish have a criminal background? He was a retired school teacher. He sounds like a pretty credibile person. On the otherhand Mr Kuenzil did have a background which included restraining orders, suicide attempts, anger issues and unstable behavior. The end result was one man survived because he was armed and able to protect himself against another younger unstable man and his 3 dogs. It is a shame anyone had to die. It is a shame someone has to live knowing he took another mans life because that person couldn't commit suicide himself. I would also choose to be the survivor in that situation as I am sure most sane people would. Any person that would put away his handgun in that situation so he could fight fair had better file down the front sight of his handgun so it won't tear him up as he gets it shoved up his ass. Fair fights only happen in the ring

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

A Cautionary Tale I was out walking one day when whom should I see coming down the hill but Bill Stoller (aka Gerry Cocozza aka Equity Court), preceded by his pit-bull mix Oscar who was running ahead. "Ah, Pulsifer, I trust you don't mind accepting service of some legal papers in the case of Stoller v. Gordon, Harris, Pulsifer, and the Guy At The Carwash Who Looks At Me Funny..." I'd been thinking about Stoller, seeing him day after day on my walks, and quite frankly, I was tired of his fat Irish melon, his rants, and his abusive lawsuits and threats of lawsuits. I was pretty sure that nobody would miss this loathsome parasite who was known to have a temper (his ex-wife may even have taken a restraining order out against him), who lived on his Social Security disability checks (cuckoo section), and who gummed up the courts with his endless stream of trivial but irritating pseudo-legal paperwork. So I pulled out my nickel-plated .45 ACP and plugged him three times in the chest, after first shooting the ground near Oscar to send him scampering off in a panic, since I didn't want him attacking me as I menaced his master with a gun. Then I used my cellphone to call the police like a good citizen. When the police arrived, I told them that Oscar came charging at me, snarling, and pointed out the hole in the ground where I fired a warning shot. "Then this Stoller, swinging his arms over his head like an orangutan, eyes crossed in insane rage, flecks of spittle flying from his mouth, shouted "I'll kill you!" and charged at me." The police found a wicked-looking folding knife in Stoller's pocket. What would an honest citizen be doing with that, I asked pointedly? Unfortunately, the cops weren't buying it, so I sat in pokey while awaiting trial on charges of second-degree (hah!) murder. Meanwhile, I became a cause celebre for gun nuts (er, advocates) all over the country. Every time some lefty journalist suggested that I had overreacted, individuals from all over the country would overrun his telephone and email boxes with profanity laced screeds wishing that he'd be beaten to within an inch of his life by violent attackers -- then wouldn't he be sorry he hadn't been packing heat?! "I hope you're attacked by a crazed, armed-swinging wacko with a knife in his pocket, Mr. Lefty Journalist, so that you can wish you had a gun handy. When will you ever learn that every problem is a nail and that guns are the universal hammer? You make me sick, you #$@!@! puke!" The End Please note that this is entirely a work of fiction. I have no idea whether Stoller even receives, much less lives off of, disability checks, or even if his actual name is Stoller. Also, I am not asserting, nor even suggesting, that Fish's story was in any way a fabrication: I am merely pointing out the remarkable ease with which someone might kill someone else in the absence of witnesses if the law regarding use of lethal force were routinely interpreted as loosely as some of the commenters here suggest it should be.

Coz
Coz

I am kind of curious how many of you that have commented have been involved in a "real life" threatening situation where a weapon has either been displayed or used....

Not one you thought about or seen on TV.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Max Williams, perhaps it's time to get a training refresher because you obviously don't remember the lessons properly.

The victim did not have a weapon to drop. The dogs, which you call weapons (though there is nothing to suggest that they acted on instructions from their owner) had already been cowed. That leaves an unarmed man who was ready to beat-up the defendent, though we only have the defendent's word for this. Perhaps the law should allow those acting in self-defense to use lethal force against those who threaten to beat us up, but that is not what the law allows. That's why a can of pepper spray is an important self-defense adjunct to a gun.

Don't forget the case of Dan Lovelace. He was a police officer who was tried for second degree murder after a 2002 incident in which he shot an unarmed woman whom he said he felt was going to use her car as a weapon against him. A car CAN be a deadly weapon. While he was acquitted, he did lose his job: and the fact remains that he was put on trial for the same offense as Fish.

Ron Bigness
Ron Bigness

It must be nice to nest in a dream world, but as a journalist your ideas don't translate to real life very well. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to settle all fights with a few harsh words at the most? If it did escalate you could resort to a good old fashion fist fight. What will make it fair? Will you only fight guys you know you can beat? If your getting your ass kicked will you be able to say uncle and it will stop right there and after shaking hands you can laugh about it over a beer.(maybe at the whitehouse) As an armchair journalist you can input your idea of how a situation should have been handled almost like you were there. Maybe all cops should try to shoot weapons out of suspects hands. Maybe Harold Fish should have put his weapon away after he dispersed the dogs and had a fair fight with a man that is charging him even after he knew he had a handgun. I am sure Mr Kuenzil would have fought fairly. Is it fair for a 43 year old man to fight a 69 year old man? You know nothing about Mr. Fish yet you insinuate he is a coward just itching to use his handgun. Would you have felt better if Mr. Fish knew his assailant was unstable. Do you know why Mr. Kuenzil is a former fire inspector at the age of 43. I don't think he retired. In your world you don't have to be concerned about protecting your family after you get knocked out by an assailant you decided to have your fair fist fight with. Criminals and unstable people like Mr Kuenzil would love your world and the safe environment you would provide for them. I hope you will be safe when you come out and live in the real world

Max Willams
Max Willams

Many of you will remember the training that you received to get a concealed carry weapon permit. This training content was dictated by the state of Arizona. When threatened, a person can shout for the assailant to stop and to drop their weapon. We were instructed not to give a warning shot, or to shoot to wound. If they did not stop their threatening behaviour, the correct proceedure was to shoot twice at the torso to prevent bodily injury to yourself.

Kind of a tough policy, but those dogs were effectively weapons and in this case and they were not called off by man who was killed.

Unfortunately, we do not have a videotape of the incident to prove exactly what happened.

Coz
Coz

Tommy,

Hard call since none of us were there to actually wittness what really went on.

That being said, If I felt my life was was in danger of being attacked by 3 dogs with the owner right behind them and not ordering them to stop, or they didn't stop, then it's game on dog wise.

I would not allow myself to be mauled by any dog or dogs for that matter.

If the owner decided the dogs needed helped and let them continue the attack, while he's moving forward to attack as well, then it's game on for him if he gets to close.

Just becasue the dogs backed off doesn't mean they wouldn't have attacked again when they realized their owner was now in the fight.

You tell me how you would effectably stop 3 dogs and the owner from attacking you....

Yell.... sit, stay ?....good luck with that....

I have had several dogs in my lifetime and I know they will try and protect me by going after whatever I am having a violent problem with. I have 2 now that will do that.

Me personally, I would rather be judged by 12, than carried by 6.

TommyC
TommyC

Coz, you and I will disagree on this one:

"Later, it was discovered that Kuenzli had a screwdriver in his pocket, and a temper, according to some. Others remember him as a kind, caring man who volunteered with the local Humane Society. But Fish didn't know that at the time."

(1) We don't know what really happened that day.

(2) Fish had a walking stick he might have used instead of the gun, based on whatever training he may have had in years past.

(3) The gun was there and presented an opportunity that otherwise would not have been an option.

(4) I will always wonder what motive Fish had for being on the trail at the time and what historical knowledge Fish had of the other guy's activities. My instinct on this one tells me it just doesn't add up.

Coz
Coz

For all you that think his actions weren't justified, how about I give you a gun, then let me run at you with every intentions of attacking you with a screw driver and my 3 dogs and let's see what you would do.

If you say you wouldn't do whatever it takes to protect yourself, as in use the gun, I'll be happy to tell you that you were right, after you wake up at the hospital, if you ever wake up at all.

I know one thing for sure, if I was being attacked by a screaming fool with a screwdriver and his 3 dogs, they would all be buried together, with the screwdriver.

Anything less, you're nothing but a fool and a victim.

GT Hildebrand
GT Hildebrand

The gentleman had a gun that protected him from the victims dogs. He didn't kill them he "dispersed" them. Then after he had clearly demonstrated he was armed the victim charged him? My thought would have been "He thinks he has something that trumps a pistol!"

This is a typical liberal article coming from one of the most left wing rags in Phoenix.

Dave
Dave

I would laugh out loud if this writer were attacked by a homeless lunatic and his three dogs. Karma is a bitch.

TommyC
TommyC

Regarding Mr. Fish. I really have to wonder how much he knew about the other guy before he went on his hike, armed with a 10mm semi-auto pistol. I really wonder if he went out there looking for the guy and hoping to confront him, as a martyr. I don't have a clue if there is any substance to this conjecture, but I just have a feeling there is so much more to this than Mr. Fish is telling, and the other guy isn't talking at all.

Regarding MCSO taping the Feds. It matters not. They will lose or edit any tapes they need, just like they always do.

Regarding masked MCSO deputies on traffic stops: It just doesn't make sense that anyone in law enforcement would have to hide his face when making a traffic stop while investigating civil or traffic crimes. This activity is typically approved for SWAT teams involved in HIGH RISK warrant activity. But the MCSO doesn't do warrant activity, so I guess it's the only chance they have to 'dress up' for SWAT, huh?

Uggggggggg.......

The MCSO sheriff is mentally ill.

david saint
david saint

All i have to say about that guy in the woods is this:"Guns dont kill people, stupid mother fuckers with guns kill people" - Chris Tucker, in 'Money Talks'.......

Kenneth Jaeger
Kenneth Jaeger

John Wayne said it best: "Man gets shot who has a gun, there's room for reasonable doubt. Man gets shot without a gun, what else would you call it (but murder)"--from Rio Bravo

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

When adjudicating a matter of law, first consult the law. In Arizona, a citizen outside his home or car is justified in using deadly force "When and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force". http://www.azleg.state.az.us/F... (Protecting someone else thus is also legally justified.) Second, in applying the law, consider the evidence. The evidence here takes two forms: (a) Eyewitness testimony(b) Circumstantial evidence The circumstantial evidence shows that the victim was unarmed at the time he was shot. What he had in his pocket but had neither brandished nor threatened to use, is irrelevant. I might add that the presence of a screwdriver in one's pocket could be explained in any number of ways, and that the victim is neither required nor able to offer insight into this bit of trivia. The only eyewitness testimony available comes from the defendent in a murder case. So, the testimony is not only uncorroborated, but comes from someone with a possible motive for making self-serving, inaccurate statements. This doesn't mean the defendent is lying, but it does require the jury to carefully weigh the defendent's testimony and in the context of the additional evidence. As a juror, I would regard with skepticism a claim by the defendent that the victim shouted "I'll kill you" after his dogs were frightened away by a warning shot. Cursing or otherwise verbally abusive, perhaps, but the statement "I'll kill you" sounds too much like something fabricated by the defendent to bolster his legal claim of a reasonable fear of imminent death. Some of the other descriptions of the victim's behavior as related by the defendent sound dubious and almost like a caricature: swinging his arms (why? throwing air-punches from 20 feet away?); crazy, crossed eyes, and so forth. But taking the bulk of the defendent's testimony at face value, for the sake of argument, it seems clear that the victim, in charging someone who had a gun and who had already scared-off snarling dogs by firing a warning shot, demonstrated an absence of rational concern for his own safety; a dangerous lack of judgment; and his intent to violently assault the defendent. Under the circumstances, ironically, the defendent's own gun created an (implicit) threat of deadly force against him: had the defendent been permitted to close and to grapple with him, he might have wrested away the gun and used it against the defendent -- this is more common than you might think. So, the suggestion to duke it out or to use the gun as a bludgeon is unsound, even though many individuals, strictly from concern for their own liberty, might have tried pistol-whipping before deadly force in a circumstance where its legality is questionable. A circumstance militating against the defendent is the firing of three shots from a large caliber pistol, aimed at the chest, without a warning shot, when the victim was unarmed and before he had closed to grappling range. A single shot, fired at the stomach (still the center of mass) from a distance might well have stopped the victim, and if not, still left time for more shots. Such a stragegy would be unsound with an armed assailant, of course, or with one who had already closed to near grappling range. A single bullet to the stomach might have been no less deadly (hydrostatic shock) but would have been less likely to result in a charge of murder rather than manslaughter or perhaps no charge at all. Another circumstance militating against the defendent is the fact that he saw fit to carry a sidearm but not to additionally carry non-lethal defensive weapons (e.g., pepper spray or a taser). Most gun enthusiasts who carry for self-defense understand the limitations inherent in the law and take steps to have non-lethal force available if circumstances call for it. The walking stick may have been made of light wood and useless as a bludgeon, but if so the reliance on a sidearm to deal with all potential problems was, at best, foolish; and at worst, seems to confirm the image suggested by Mr. Lemons of a gun-nut: complacent and gung-ho.

Drake
Drake

I agree with the assement on the Fish case, but feel the "as it is with most firearm lovers." was a cheap shot... Unless you have some evidence to back it up.

guy on the couch
guy on the couch

the judge wrongfully blocked the evidence that showed the "victim" had an agressive past. what did the victim plan to do to fish if was allowed to come closer? why was he carrying a screwdriver in his pocket in the middle of the woods? fish gave him the benefit of the doubt with the warning shot, he would have been justified (under new shift of burden) in lighting the dogs and the guy up. I have a dog, and i spend lots of time in the woods. I carry a gun with me every time i go into the woods. know why? i ran into a group of white supremacists who were harassing my friend (calling him mexican when he is from the middle east) and i would hate to think i didn't have the means to defend myself against the people you complain about in so many of your stories.. i know down in sand land you have no concept of induvidual responsability or really what the world outside the grid is, but out in the forest people do crazy things.

Travis Mangus
Travis Mangus

In the case of Harold Fish Shooting Grant Kuenzli I feel that it was self defence I know that if I were in the woods by myself and had the potential to be attacked by a man and three dogs I would have done the same thing If Grant would have had his dogs under control or had some sanity! this would have never happened also Harold did not shoot his dogs it sounds to me that he was just trying to avoid hurting the dogs or being attacked by the dogs and was very excited then Grant comes to attack Harold with his three dogs following the pack leader what do you think would have happened if Harold would not have shot Grant? would Grant be on trial becouse he and his dogs attacked a man that was just trying to break up a situation where he was about to be attacked by three dogs? you should not have to fight for your life becouse someone else is an asshole and some people can not defend themselves very well. In my opinion Harold Fish should be set free what is this world coming to when a man cannot defend his own life that god gave him.Thank you Travis Mangus

Roger
Roger

The fist fight you all talk about would have end up a malling by the dogs and the owner. You all know as well as I do that dogs will protect their owner.

Josh
Josh

HAHAH. I hope Goddard's appeal put this POS behind bars and get gets raped every night for the next 7 years. The guy murders someone and he wants some pity?

Monty P.
Monty P.

Scott said: "A fist fight is a fair fight? Did you forget there was nearly 20 YEARS difference in age?"

Now we're getting down to brass tacks. Fish's supporters finally admit he murdered a man because he didn't want to lose a fist fight.

What a bunch of pussies. I hope Fish goes right back behind bars after Goddard's appeal. Boo-hoo-hoo.

Scott
Scott

Stephan L. - What a fool you are. A fist fight is a fair fight? Did you forget there was nearly 20 YEARS difference in age? Did you forget the 2 snarling dogs (labeled problem dogs by the humane society) that wouldn't have sat quietly watching during a fist fight? The so called restraining order you mentioned about the woman was due to a rape Grant committed!!! You say that Fish didn't know anything about the crazy man that attacked him?? He knew enough when he saw the insanity in Grant's eyes and heard his drug induced (Effexor) slurred speech saying he was going to kill him. The exact same experience many other people reported when they tried to inform Grant about laws concerning his dogs. My God man why don't you just come out and admit you were Grant Kuenzli's lover! Your terribly prejudiced opinion would be far more understandable then!

Lynch M All
Lynch M All

Mr. Fish is a martyr to the cause of public decency and common sense. Terry Goddard is a shameless grandstander. I will remember that he faught to overturn the courts ruling at the next election.

Coz
Coz

I hear Bozo Joke Arpaio lost another civil suit this week and was ordered to pay attorney's fee's....

Which means once again Nazicopa County tax payers get to foot the bill once more for Bozo Joke Arpaio's baffoonery..

kev
kev

The cops in Ohio use the same excuses to pull people over but has nothing to do with color of person, just a low life crooked cop trying to pin bozo badage on his chest.

 

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