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Joe Horn

When violence occurs, the debate over events and rights gets really hot really fast. While I like a good debate as much as anyone else, it sometimes seems like the arguments miss the real world. Which brings me to the case of Joe Horn.

Around 2 in the afternoon of November 14, 2007, Pasadena resident Joe Horn, age 61, called 911 to report the break-in at his neighbor's house. So far, so good, and no one has a complaint. But as he waited, Mr. Horn became concerned on two points: He mentioned fear for his own safety, and a growing annoyance that the burglars would escape before the police got there. It was at this point where, according to the 911 tape, Mr. Horn threatened to shoot the burglars:

"911 OPERATOR: Mr. Horn, do not go outside the house.

JOE HORN, TEXAS RESIDENT: I'm sorry. This ain't right, buddy.

911 OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think.

HORN: You want to make a bet? I'm going to kill them.

911 OPERATOR: OK? Stay in the house.

HORN: They're getting away."

Joe Horn took his shotgun, went out to confront the burglars as they were leaving his neighbor's house, and shot both to death. That much is agreed by all parties. Immediately, questions came up:

1. Horn said ahead of time that he would kill the men. Did this make it premeditated murder?
2. Horn also said in that 911 tape that he feared for his life. Did this help his case?
3. The police are not known for fast responses, except when imminent danger is known. Did Horn's warning that he would shoot cause the police to make an effort to arrive sooner?
4. The law allows citizens to use deadly force under certain situations. The law states that deadly force can be used against burglars to prevent them fleeing the scene, even of a neighbor's house, but specifies that this applies at night, but makes no statement about a mid-afternoon burglary. Was that law intended to grant a basic or restricted right to use deadly force?

Those questions alone could make an interesting debate. But the scale quickly grew. Two days after the incident, the story broke on national news, largely as a question of gun rights.

This expands the debate. Regardless of whether Joe Horn was right or wrong, there is a strong discontent in the way police respond to calls. [Full disclosure; I have been robbed or burglarized several times in my life - in none of those cases did the police respond within two hours of the crime, in none of those cases was evidence collected in a professional or serious manner, and (no surprise) in none of those cases were the criminals apprehended or punished] People realize that because of the sheer number of crimes committed and the limited resources of the police, the probability is that most non-violent crimes against ordinary people will not be solved, and some of the violent crimes as well. The need for self-defense is frankly beyond dispute. Yet some towns have gone to the point of punishing citizens for protecting themselves, their families, and their neighbors. This has finally reached a point where public outrage against a bias in favor of the crooks is demanding government recognition.

But we're not done yet. As so often happens these days, a certain local camera whore, one Quanell X, whose habit of blaming white people for every slight, imagined or real, against black people, decided to make an issue of the death of what he saw as two innocent black men. Mr. X was, as usual, unaware of the facts. The dead men were Hispanic, not black, and died as a direct result of committing a felony. But this had no bearing for Mr. X, who organized a protest by the New Black Panthers in front of Mr. Horn's house. After the announcement, many other people organized a counter-protest which effectively chased away the black militants.

Adding to the debate, are the facts that the men were shot in the back, but also were illegal aliens, and already suspected of belonging to a crime ring responsible for a number of prior burglaries.

Also, a plainclothes police officer was actually at the scene when the shooting occurred, and police reported that

"

the plainclothes detective, whose name has not been released, had parked in front of Horn's house in response to the 911 call. He saw the men between Horn's house and his neighbor's before they crossed into Horn's front yard.

Corbett believes neither Horn nor the men knew a police officer was present.
"It was over within seconds. The detective never had time to say anything before the shots were fired," Corbett said. "At first, the officer was assessing the situation. Then he was worried Horn might mistake him for the 'wheel man' (get-away driver). He ducked at one point."

When Horn confronted the suspects in his yard, he raised his shotgun to his shoulder, Corbett said. However the men ignored his order to freeze.

Corbett said one man ran toward Horn, but had angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb.

"The detective confirmed that this suspect was actually closer to Horn after he initiated his run than at the time when first confronted," said Corbett. "Horn said he felt in jeopardy."

It needs to be said, that a Harris County Grand Jury is hearing the case, and will decide whether Joe Horn should be tried, which is as it should be. But in addition to the earlier questions, this new information raises additional questions I feel are worth discussion:

5. Is the race of a burglary suspect a valid factor in deciding to kill a criminal?
6. If a criminal is an illegal alien, is this a valid factor in using force?
7. The right to freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution, but should protests or marches be allowed in front of someone's home, especially as a tool for intimidation or to provoke violence?
8. Should people who live near the scene of a crime be forced to endure the further disruption of a group protesting in their neighborhoods, preventing them from meeting daily obligations and enjoying the security of their homes, or should the rights of homeowners to be free from intrusion on their private property be respected as much as the right of a loud arrogant figurehead playing up a tragedy for his own personal image?

I look forward to your thoughts.


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Comments (59)

"the men... were illega... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"the men... were illegal aliens, and already suspected of belonging to a crime ring responsible for a number of prior burglaries."

If true, then Joe Horn did the country a favor by killing these invading parasites.

Okay,Disclaimer: ... (Below threshold)
Jack in TX:

Okay,

Disclaimer: The person writing this is a concealed-carry licensed, multiple gun-owning, Texas Republican.

That being the case:
1) I still don't think that I would be likely to shoot two people from behind who were outside of either the house or the fenced (and nearly all rear yards in TX are fenced) yard.
2) Mr. Quanell X and the New Black Panthers WOULD be self-nominating for the Darwin Awards if they showed up on my lawn.
3) Hoooray for the hero officer who bravely ducked and covered while the situation unfolded. Any idea how he made any useful evaluation of the scene while he was sucking floor-mat?

As a Houstonian, I am well ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

As a Houstonian, I am well aware of this story. Horn did the proper thing. He is not a trained professional. He did not want to witness his neighbors getting robbed and stand by a do nothing. He instructed the criminals to freeze but one charged him thus making him unsure of the first ones motives. We need more neighbors like Horn. I wish he was my neighbor. Police do not respond to 911 calls period. They show up, but do not respond with urgency. I do see quite a few officers sitting on the side of the rode trying to catch speeders. After all, murder, rape and robbery are only second to the scourge of speeders. ww

You guys should read this f... (Below threshold)
Cstmbuild:

You guys should read this for patterico, who has covered this in depth:
http://patterico.com/2007/12/04/pasadena-case-tests-texas-law-on-the-use-of-deadly-force/#comments

§ 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.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

immediately after committing burglary It says nothing about the burglary needing to be committed at night only a theft needed to be committed at night. Emphasis was placed on the or, plus in (A) it mentions theft during nighttime specifically, just like (B).

Anyway, I don't claim to be an expert but this is what I picked up from Patterico's readers comments. If you are interested you really should check his site out. I think he has four different posts and numerous updates on Mr. Horn.

I, personally, have no problem with Mr. Horn's actions. Shot in back or not. They were criminals and refused to stop. Plus, Mr Horn had already ID them when he saw them enterin and leaving the neighbors house.

First: Where's the knuckleh... (Below threshold)
justice58:

First: Where's the knuckleheads..Mitchell & Eric?? Morning to ya!

To the point: Joe Horn was wrong & a Grand Jury should indict him for murder because that's what it was. No property is worth killing someone over. The burglars weren't even in Joe Horn's yard! He was a maniac waiting to kill at any cost! Remember his words---I'm gonna kill'em!

I don't like guns. Guns kill people!

Mr. Horn did the right thin... (Below threshold)

Mr. Horn did the right thing morally, legally, and culturally. Plus, he was smart because he killed both perps instead of wounding them. That's what my Dad always told me -- keep pulling the trigger and don't stop until they are really, really, REALLY dead.

This is a promising turn in our culture. As these gun protection laws are challenged and strengthened, more people will realize they must protect their own property and lives and they have the right to do so.

I see more dead criminals in the future. Cops won't get any faster, but citizens will.

Every family that values th... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Every family that values their life should have a two barrel shotgun (12 Ga) for each member of the family. When groups like the black panther terrorists show up a shotgun should be sticking out of every window in the neighborhood and people should not fear using them. Groups like the black panther terrorists are responsible for the death of a thousand or more Americans for every 1 (one) death that can be tied to the KKK since formed by the democrat party. Everyone knows this is true but are too chickensh** to say it out loud.

If you citizens can't get o... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

If you citizens can't get on board with the Nanny State being responsible for you protection, we need to find citizens that can.

Your individual preferences... (Below threshold)
civildisobedience Author Profile Page:

Your individual preferences don't matter, it's not murder under the law there, as documented above. Killing criminals is ok, keep your personal morality off of our property. The police are near useless; individuals are and must always be allowed to protect themselves, or we will not have liberty and our documented rights will be useless.

It's funny how when conservatives want tougher laws against those who would harm us, liberals cry about police states and individual liberty. But when criminals harm people, they worry about the life and rights of the criminals. Their stance is always for their precious "underdog", the criminals.

justice: "The burglars wer... (Below threshold)
engineer:

justice: "The burglars weren't even in Joe Horn's yard!"

I guess the police report above is wrong then, "He saw the men between Horn's house and his neighbors before they crossed into Horn's front yard."

1. Horn said ahead of ti... (Below threshold)

1. Horn said ahead of time that he would kill the men. Did this make it premeditated murder?

I will write about this one because this is the one that sticks out to me. I think that the premeditated murder thing is not relevant. The criminals are where we need to access this issue. They obviously went with the intent to burglarize. We as home owners then have a right to respond...even if seconds or moments later...we say we are going to kill the burglars.

Where I am a little concerned as he wasn't himself burglarized. I am trying to separate vigilante justice. Yes we all know when we are burglarized that nothing is going to be returned(sadly) and that we need insurance. But this doesn't change my thoughts just makes me want to be very sure in the facts before I make a comment.

As to those politicizing this...no more...no more justifying a behavior because of slavery or poverty or anything. I personally would have more respect for any grandstanding if they were trying to stop the behavior...kind of like Bill Cosby has been doing or LaShawn Barber.

First: Where's the... (Below threshold)
Eric:
First: Where's the knuckleheads..Mitchell & Eric?? Morning to ya!

Wow right out of the gate I get insulted by Justice58. She sure had a wonderful track record of predictions on the Duke Lacrosse Case with a batting average of about .000, and thought Mike Nifong was the greatest prosecutor who ever lived. To be insulted by someone with that level of judgement is a compliment indeed.

Based on the facts I have seen so far if I were on the Grand Jury, I believe I would vote to indict. I think there is sufficient evidence that a crime may have taken place. However, I'm not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt for conviction at this point. I would be very interested in hearing direct testimony of the undercover policeman.

I don't think the fact that they were illegal aliens or suspects in a crime ring has any relevance to THIS case. The fact that they were shot in the back is relevant. If Mr. Horn claims that one of them charged at him after he told them to freeze, then how did he get shot in the back? This is where the testimony of the undercover policeman becomes crucial.

In my personal opinion, I think Mr. Horn was an idiot. He made the situation more dangerous. As stated the police officer hesitated because he was afraid he would be shot by Mr. Horn, which prevented him from acting. Mr. Horn ran the risk of getting himself killed. He went into the situation alone against at least two people. He didn't know if there was a lookout or wheel man to contend with as well.

Really, the smart thing would have been to do what he started out doing. Call the police and stay hunkered down inside his house in a more defensible position. It's not worth killing two people over some household stuff that is most likely insured anyway. If they had tried to enter his house though, then let the lead fly.

As full disclosure, I have been in a situation similar to Mr. Horn. When I was in college, my next door neighbor was being robbed, I called the police and went into Rambo mode with my .357 Magnum. I didn't catch the crooks but almost got my self shot by the police. Luckily, I just got off with a well deserved scolding by the police officer, the lesson of not to be so stupid again and of course my life.

First, this is not "vigilan... (Below threshold)
Jerry in Detroit:

First, this is not "vigilante" justice. The criminals were apprehended in the commission of their crime. Second, the U.S. Supreme COurt recognizes the right to use deadly force to stop fleeing felons. Third, I wouldn't be surprised to see the prosecutor attempt to prosecute Mr. Horn. Getting a conviction may be difficult.

First: Where's the... (Below threshold)
Eric:
First: Where's the knuckleheads..Mitchell & Eric?? Morning to ya!

Wow right out of the gate I get insulted by Justice58.

She sure had a wonderful track record of predictions on the Duke Lacrosse Case with a batting average of about .000, and thought Mike Nifong was the greatest prosecutor who ever lived. To be insulted by someone with that level of judgement is a compliment indeed.

Based on the facts I have seen so far if I were on the Grand Jury, I believe I would vote to indict. I think there is sufficient evidence that a crime may have taken place.

However, I'm not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt for conviction at this point. I would be very interested in hearing direct testimony of the undercover policeman.

I don't think the fact that they were illegal aliens or suspects in a crime ring has any relevance to THIS case.

The fact that they were shot in the back is relevant. If Mr. Horn claims that one of them charged at him after he told them to freeze, then how did he get shot in the back?

This is where the testimony of the undercover policeman becomes crucial.

I think it also depends on the case law in Texas.

In my personal opinion, I think Mr. Horn was an idiot. He made the situation more dangerous. As stated the police officer hesitated because he was afraid he would be shot by Mr. Horn, which prevented him from acting. Mr. Horn ran the risk of getting himself killed. He went into the situation alone against at least two people. He didn't know if there was a lookout or wheel man to contend with as well.

Really, the smart thing would have been to do what he started out doing. Call the police and stay hunkered down inside his house in a more defensible position. It's not worth killing two people over some household stuff that is most likely insured anyway. If they had tried to enter his house though, then let the lead fly.

As full disclosure, I have been in a situation similar to Mr. Horn. When I was in college, my next door neighbor was being robbed, I called the police and went into Rambo mode with my .357 Magnum. I didn't catch the crooks but almost got my self shot by the police. Luckily, I just got off with a well deserved scolding by the police officer, the lesson of not to be so stupid again and of course my life.

I'm not convinced that Mr. ... (Below threshold)

I'm not convinced that Mr. Horn did the smart thing. He'll likely be idicted, but it's just as likely a jury will go light on him.

But I do think it speaks to the level of desperation and helplessness many of us feel because too often the police don't respond with any sense of urgency. We don't feel safe and we don't feel protected and we're tired of watching criminals go free waiting for the police and the justice system to work in our favor.

Even with that said, given the opportunity, I will happily donate to his defense. I'm glad he did it.

Sad that there are people out there too though like Mr. X. He said he was there protesting Mr. Horn's actions and not that of the burglars. But judging by Mr. X's long and storied past; convicted drug dealer, Nation of Islam member and now Black Panther member, I would call him a flat out liar. He has been quoted extensively making anti-semitic statements and telling black people they should wreak havoc on white neighborhoods and commit crimes against white people. I would guess with a high degree of certainty that he sees these dead asswipes as martyrs to his cause.

#14: People keep stating th... (Below threshold)
Cstmbuild:

#14: People keep stating that both criminals were shot in the back. So far, no one in authority has agreed to this statement. The medical examiner even went so far as to say one was shot in the torso and neck.

This doesn't say he wasn't shot in the back, but also doesn't say he was. It is not a fact as of yet.
One newspaper, liberal leaning according to posters at Patterico, stated both were shot in the back and it went from there.
Maybe the were maybe they weren't, but if you read Texas law use of deadly force by the public is authorized in catching a burglary suspect.
Again I recommend the Patterico posts on this subject, specificly the first one when Texas law was quoted in full.

Horn was scared for his lif... (Below threshold)
Chasen:

Horn was scared for his life, terrified in fact. The criminals ended up on his property. I think he did have the right to shoot. I hate that the criminals are the ones who are being made out to be the victims.

Eric and Justice58 - ... (Below threshold)
jim2:

Eric and Justice58 -

Have you read the recently implemented Texas laws that Cstmbuild made reference to? Over at Patterico, the exact statutes have been posted.

9.41 authorizes force to protect one's own property. 9.42 authorizes deadly force for, among others, the exact scenario involving Horn and the two deceased (burglary, crime-in-progress, no police already involved and there is no nighttime requirement for burglary). 9.43 authorizes deadly force by a third party (such as a neighbor) when the property's owner would have been authorized to do so by 9.41 and 9.42.

Murder is defined as killing without legal authority or excuse. Manslaughter also requires a finding of unlawful killing.

Given the recently enacted Texas laws, what would you propose Horn be indicted for and on what basis?

Remember that time he hid a... (Below threshold)
Minturn:

Remember that time he hid a cell phone in the padding of the uprights and then pretended to make a call after he scored a touchdown? Now he shoots two people in the back? What a loveable scamp you are Joe Horn.

If the state forbids you fr... (Below threshold)
the brain:

If the state forbids you from defending yours and your neighbors property, does that make the state then responsible for the protection thereof? And doesn't that make the state liable for the failure to protect said property?

If the government was brought to court every time the police failed to catch a robber or a murderer, how agressive would they be towards the Joe Horn's of the world?

Sorry for the double post. ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Sorry for the double post. I hit submit and then lost all connection to Wizbang. So I typed it up again and hit submit, lo and behold both show up.

Jim2 if you will notice in the second post, I also included the disclaimer, that it all depends on the case law in Texas. Mine was a lay opinion based on what DJ wrote.

I'm not a prosecutor and I don't know what he has been charged with specifically and I don't know squat about Texas law, but it is in the hands of the grand jury. I believe the case has a lot of unanswered questions that a grand jury is not going to answer but should be answered given that two people are dead as a result. That is why I would probably vote to indict.

Oh and please don't confuse me with Justice58, that's just mean.

Eric -No insult in... (Below threshold)
jim2:

Eric -

No insult intended!

The very recent nature of the Texas laws may preclude previous case law precedents.

However, surely to indict, the GJ must be told by the DA what the DA thinks the crime would be. Given those statutes, it would seem murder and manslaughter must by definition be off the candidate list. To represent otherwise would seem to court electoral suicide by the DA.

Still, maybe the noise of the shotgun shots would allow disturbing the peace as a possibility?

#14: People keep stating th... (Below threshold)
Eric:

#14: People keep stating that both criminals were shot in the back. So far, no one in authority has agreed to this statement. The medical examiner even went so far as to say one was shot in the torso and neck.
This doesn't say he wasn't shot in the back, but also doesn't say he was. It is not a fact as of yet.

"Corbett said one man ran toward Horn, but had angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb."

Gosh I'm sorry I got confused by the Police captain who said they had been shot in the back.

If you have an objection, tell it to him.

Answers:1) (NO) be... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

Answers:

1) (NO) because PRE-meditated means he HAD plan and INTENDED to implement it. If the men had stopped got on the ground, they would still be alive. They acted aggressive and Mr. Horn feared for his life.

2) (YES) See last sentence from above.

3) (PROBABLE) Also irrelevant, unless they got on scene and ACTED instead of Mr. Horn having to.

4) "but makes no statement about a mid-afternoon burglary." Unless stated prohibited, then nothing specific is violated.

5) Absolutely (NOT)

6) Absolutely (NOT)

7) (NO) There are more than just one "right" in the Constitution.

8) Again (NO) see #7 answer.

Overall my opinion is what Mr. Horn did was fine. The only thing he should have done better was NOT use the words "I'm going to KILL them".
But that's just a legal pain in the ass, he did the right thing.

Heck, I already KNOW if some dirtbag kicks in MY door, I'm gonna KILL em, the difference is I am NOT going to mention that in the police report. ((I feared for my life, told them to stop, they didn't I fired.)) Did I shoot to kill or wound? correct answer--
I shot to (STOP).

Allright there Eric! You lo... (Below threshold)
justice58:

Allright there Eric! You love me & you know it!

Still, maybe the n... (Below threshold)
Eric:
Still, maybe the noise of the shotgun shots would allow disturbing the peace as a possibility?

LOL

The very recent nature of the Texas laws may preclude previous case law precedents.

Well unfortunately, that may be what drives it to indictment, since these laws may require judicial review where this sets the precedent.

The one possible hole in Ho... (Below threshold)

The one possible hole in Horn's defense relies on the Texas definition of "burglary." In many states, it is defined as the "nighttime breaking of a dwelling house," setting forth the conditions for the charge. If it's daylight, or a business where no one lives, it can be breaking and entering, and/or a host of other charges, but not "burglary." I have no idea how the Texas statute on burglary reads, though - and even so, Horn might still be justified under other provisions of the quoted section (or the previous unquoted section).

In my state, even in obvious self-defense cases, the prosecutor often prefers charges of murder and then doesn't contest their dismissal with prejudice. This protects the citizen from later prosecution (under double jeopardy) and also provides some protection in the event of a civil suit. So the fact Horn may be charged doesn't necessarily mean he will be prosecuted seriously. It depends on the prosecutor.

I don't care about legality... (Below threshold)
Duke:

I don't care about legality, morality, or any other -ity. Anyone who shoots someone in the back is a coward. Period.

Duke - "Period."?<... (Below threshold)
jim2:

Duke -

"Period."?

What if a shooter had just shot one of your daughters and - back to you - was shifting his aim to your other daughter?

No one has mentioned the Te... (Below threshold)
Minturn:

No one has mentioned the Texas law that exonerates defendants if the victim "needed killin'" Some of our attorney friends from Texas probably have the exact wording of the statute.

jim2- Nice straw man... (Below threshold)
Duke:

jim2-
Nice straw man. You know what I mean, don't be such a brick.

The real moral of this stor... (Below threshold)
JFO:

The real moral of this story is that Texas should be declared an independent state with a fence built around it. George Bush could be "Pretend Cowboy For Life". Dick Cheyney can be his "Permanent Shoot em In The Face Shotgun Holder". And the rest of the wacko Texans can shoot each other all day and night, thus doing the rest of the world a favor.

Duke -StrawPERSON!... (Below threshold)
jim2:

Duke -

StrawPERSON! Mustn't be sexist. ;-)

JFO, once again, you give u... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

JFO, once again, you give us a meaningless little rant devoid of any value.

Its past time you grew up.

Amen, JFO. They shore do lo... (Below threshold)
Duke:

Amen, JFO. They shore do love killin' folk down there, don't they?

Sorry jim2, all this shooti... (Below threshold)
Duke:

Sorry jim2, all this shootin' talk's got my testosterone levels elevated.

JFO & Duke,Actuall... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

JFO & Duke,

Actually, if there were no CRIMINALS in Texas, we wouldn't shoot anybody.

Geez, you'd think you'da go... (Below threshold)
Duke:

Geez, you'd think you'da got 'em all by now, Sheik.

Do any of the Texans that f... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Do any of the Texans that frequent here know of that place that serves I think a 72 oz ribeye?

Please post it, ans that is the place I want to buy Joe Horn dinner.

Guess that lib invertebrates that went to bat for Tookie, but seldom will fight for life for innocent babies will stand up and support those 2 robbers.

Ref #5. He shouldn't have s... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Ref #5. He shouldn't have shot them? Get a friggin life. He did the correct thing. I do agree, no property is worth ones life. So when you decided to take my property, you forfeited your life. Did you think of that when you decided to rob me?

You don't like guns, guns kill people? Bull Sh*t. People kill people, guns don't. Hammers pound nails, hammers also kill people. DO YOU HATE HAMMERS ALSO?

People like you are what make crime get bigger. People like Mr. Horn, help to do away with crime. Break into my house, and all BS aside, I will kill you, and your scumbag friends that are with you. Don't like it, fine, don't do the crime.

Gun control is hitting what you are aiming at. So, like I said, get a life.

"1. Horn said ahead of time... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"1. Horn said ahead of time that he would kill the men. Did this make it premeditated murder?"

This is not clearcut. Listening to the tapes, it sounds more to me like a "if someone is going to get shot, it isn't going to be me" statement.

More importantly, it is not uncommon for "good" shootings to result in bad guys shot in the side or back. Past a certain point, once the decision to shoot as been made, pysically and mentally, you cannot recall it.

Texas law? The shooter said his neighbors said to watch over his house while they were on vacation. If true, it's fairly clear here the law is in his favor.

Leave it to lib invertebrat... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Leave it to lib invertebrates to defend some Black Panther turd like Mumia, and criticize someone like Joe Horn.

Betcha illiterate immigrant greaseballs stay away from Horn's neighborhood from now on....

This sounds like the final ... (Below threshold)

This sounds like the final exam in an ethics course. It also sounds like he passed.

Quanell X is an N.O.I., fel... (Below threshold)

Quanell X is an N.O.I., felon, race-hater who further victimized the entire neighborhood. The founding fathers were advocating access to the public square, not indulgement of violent bullies attempting to intimidate.

I think your first 6 questions are virtually rhetorical as if these two illegal aliens were carrying a firearm, no amount of self motivation would have saved Joe Horn's life, and all crowbar wielding felons are the same color in a life-threatening situation, as Texas law apparently understands.

Miguel Dejesus, 38, and Diego Ortiz, 30, were illegal aliens old enough to know better and they suffered a predictable consequence of their chosen activity. If Joe Horn didn't shoot 'em... someone else should have, or would have.

Not because they deserved to die, but because they chose the very activity that led to their demise.

#23"Corbett said one man ra... (Below threshold)
Cstmbuild:

#23"Corbett said one man ran toward Horn, but had angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb."

Gosh I'm sorry I got confused by the Police captain who said they had been shot in the back.


If you have an objection, tell it to him.

The police Captain wasn't the detective on the scene, as I stated the Police Detective didn't say that and the medical examiner was clear to not say it was or was not a shot to the back.

Also, the criminal ran toward, BUT angled away. NOT the criminal ran away from him. The criminal ran toward and then angled away.
Again, Criminal charges, Mr Horn takes aim, Criminal thinks "Oh, Shit!, he serious", criminal tries to veer off, but Mr Horn has already maybe the split second decision. BOOM, criminal dead. Possible strike to criminals side and flank.

TOUGH CRAP!!! AS someone else said, you rob me or my neighbor (in Texas anyway) your life is forfeit. The criminal made the original decision to put his life in danger.

Corbett said on... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Corbett said one man ran toward Horn, but had angled away from him toward the street when he was shot in the back just before reaching the curb.

CSTMBUILD your argument about the first guy is a reasonable valid case of self defense. But what about the second guy? Is that a case of self-defense?

The wounded man crossed the street, collapsed and died, authorities said. At the same time, the other man had turned and ran away from Horn.

Horn swung his shotgun around after shooting the first man and fired at the second one after he entered the neighbor's yard, investigators said.

He was hit in the back but continued running until collapsing a few hundred yards down the street, Corbett said.

Read that carefuly, the second man is running AWAY from Horn, yet he drew a bead on the second man and shot him in the back. The self-defense claim becomes more problematic at that point. Did he still have a reasonable justification for using deadly force?

Look I don't want to see Mr. Horn go to jail. But come on, let the investigation finish before lauding him as a hero. None of us have all of the facts in this case and there are some reasonable questions that need to be answered. Let the authorities do their job. If they start doing a Nifong, then that's a different story.

As you like to quote the laws:

In addition, the Texas Penal Code contains no presumption of reasonableness in defending a home, vehicle, place of business, or place of employment against unlawful intruders. Instead, Texas juries must decide after the fact whether a victim's actions to protect the victim and his or her family were reasonable or necessary under the circumstances.

"the men... were illegal al... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"the men... were illegal aliens, and already suspected of belonging to a crime ring responsible for a number of prior burglaries."

If true, then Joe Horn did the country a favor by killing these invading parasites.

1. Posted by Les Nessman | December 10, 2007 9:09 AM


Since this story came out, I've heard that these two criminals were already deported at least once in the past, deliberately re-entered our country and were part of a Columbian crime gang responsible for burglary, drug trafficking and identity theft, among other crimes.

If this is true, then Joe Horn deserves a medal for defending this country from these invading armies. Seriously.

#46 I think he was justifie... (Below threshold)
Cstmbuild:

#46 I think he was justified in shooting the second as well. He originally told the to men to stop or they were dead.
They both chose to move in different directions. Ever heard of a two-pronged attack (yes, one seemed to be fleeing), but how far away was the second criminal when shot? 10'? 100'? (He couldn't have been much further for a killing shot from buckshot.) Was there potential cover? (cars, fence, corner of house, trees, hedge, etc)
The criminals could have been moving to cover and planning on attacking (Mr Horn didn't know if they were armed), plus there is the potential of one returning for revenge. The revenge thing is not pleasant to hear, but if you have never been in a life threatening situation you have no idea how the mind works and/or how fast or slow your thoughts move.
The educated would spit out the Fight or Flight reflex and Mr. Horn chose fight, criminal #1 seems to have chosen fight, thus making the same chose for criminal #2.

CSTMBUILD, So your answer t... (Below threshold)
Eric:

CSTMBUILD, So your answer to my question is more questions, for which you have no definitive answers. It may have happened the way you say or Horn may have shot an unarmed man in the back as he was running away. Either way you don't know the answers to your own questions. Yet that hasn't stopped you from declaring both shootings as justified.

What you have done is overlay your own suppositions as facts onto the case and declared the case over because the "facts" fit your metanarrative.

You are doing the thing as the Group of 88 at Duke. You have prejudged the case and decided the outcome regardless of the actual facts.

"The real moral of this sto... (Below threshold)
B:

"The real moral of this story is that Texas should be declared an independent state with a fence built around it. George Bush could be "Pretend Cowboy For Life". Dick Cheyney can be his "Permanent Shoot em In The Face Shotgun Holder". And the rest of the wacko Texans can shoot each other all day and night, thus doing the rest of the world a favor." JFO

Please... is that supposed to be an insult?

Absolutely!!! I'm sure Texans and myself would totally agree with that! In fact I'm sure a lot of people would move to Texas and we could get rid of all you liberal f*gs! There wouldn't be a problem that couldn't be solved the good ol' fashion way. I can guarantee Texas would then have the lowest crime rate in the world in a matter of about 6 months! It wouldn't be long before other southern states follow and then we could happily be separate again!!!! All the criminals and scum bags could move into your neighborhoods!

I don't think anybody is sa... (Below threshold)
RB:

I don't think anybody is saying that this guy -- or anybody -- shouldn't have the right to defend himself or protect his own property.

The question is -- should there be limits to this right? If someone is stealing your computer but not threatening you in any other way, should it be OK for you to kill the person? Is "deadly force" really justifiable when you are confronting a trespasser or thief?

If someone sets foot on your front lawn without your permission, should it be acceptable for you to blast away at him with your gun?

What about protecting other people's property? Is that OK for private citizens to do? Or should they simply call the authorities?

I think most reasonable people would answer "no" to the first three questions above.

To me, it's fairly clear that the shooter in this case is probably not guilty of any crime other than disobeying police orders under Texas law, as I understand it.

My point is that this area of Texas law is really scary --- and, to me, should not have any place in American society. We can't have vigilantes running around attempting to enforce the law through violent means. Is any sort of personal property worth killing someone over (assuming that there is no threat to the owner in the process)? There's something morally questionable (if not flat-out wrong) about a legal system that seems to grant more value to property than to human (or non-human) life. Are we that crude a society?

I suppose that the killer in this case thought he was in harm's way. But, from what I've heard, read, and seen, the facts don't support that. It appears that he injected himself into a situation that stopped being any of his business the moment the thieves chose his neighbor's house rather than his to rob. He did his duty by calling the police, but that should have been the extent of it.

Texas law specifically allows citizens to use deadly force to protect not only themselves (which I agree with) but their property (very broadly defined) as well as anybody else's property. It's pretty much a shoot to kill law, as I understand it. If you, even unknowingly, step onto someone's private property without their permission, the owner could kill you and would have the support of Texas law.

How insane is that? But, again, this is Texas. Not exactly a bastion of enlightenment. No way would this be allowed in California or other states where I have lived.

Any charges against Horn would probably have to be based on the fact that the killer disobeyed a direct order by the police not to go outside and confront the robbers. And that would probably carry a fairly light sentence, I would guess.

I imagine that there will be some fairly ugly protests if the killer gets off entirely or even with just a light conviction. The two thieves were latino (and may have been illegal immigrants -- that part isn't clear to me) and this is a white suburban neighborhood, so, unfortunately, race will likely play a role, although it shouldn't.

I'm not disputing that the killer was afraid -- or that the thieves looked into his window before going into his neighbors' house. But the police dispatcher told him how to handle the situation after he called to report the robbery in progress. Had he followed the directions given to him, the thieves would be in custody, the police would potentially have strong leads from the two thieves that could have been used to break up a larger theft ring that these two are suspected of having been a part of, and nobody would be dead.

But he didn't follow the directions that were explicitly given. He decided to play vigilante man. According to the statement of the officer who observed the situation -- having arrived on the scene just as the two thieves were exiting the neighbors' house -- the thieves never made any move toward the killer's property until the killer accosted them. Even then, their only move was to run AWAY from him. Yet still he shot them.

What scares me more is that so many people -- many of them undesirables -- are supporting Horn's actions. That's what is so insane about this case.

I think what he did is GREA... (Below threshold)
B:

I think what he did is GREAT! He took 2 more criminals off the street and away from our homes! Also kept our tax dollars from sheltering, feeding, and protecting these people who didn't belong here in the first place. One was already deported once for other crimes! Why give them another chance?

Yeah, this time they were just stealing but, with the crime ring they were accused of being with whose to say that the next time it wouldn't be murder? (if they haven't already)

#51 Stated: "My point is th... (Below threshold)
Cstmbuild:

#51 Stated: "My point is that this area of Texas law is really scary --- and, to me, should not have any place in American society. We can't have vigilantes running around attempting to enforce the law through violent means. Is any sort of personal property worth killing someone over (assuming that there is no threat to the owner in the process)? There's something morally questionable (if not flat-out wrong) about a legal system that seems to grant more value to property than to human (or non-human) life. Are we that crude a society?"

There is something wrong with a society that gives more rights to a criminal than to the victim. (I have no problem with innocent until proven guilty, btw). These guys, or any criminal for that matter, made a concious decision to break the law. Why should they be allowed to steal my computer? Why can't I protect my property? I worked for it, I paid for it, I own it. If I tell them to stop and they run, I would pull the trigger.

MY POINT: The CRIMINALS devalued their own lives, not me. They made the decision to break the law. I didn't hold a gun to their head & say, "Rob me, so I can shoot you!"

#49: Wrong, you stated he was wrong. You quoted the Police Captain who wasn't there. I quoted the Police Dective who was there and the medical examiner that actually saw the body. Plus, I provided the applicable Texas law gleamed from those more knowledgeable than me on the subject.
I simply played out a scenerio, based on current information, where the shootings are justified, plus where C #1 could have wounds to his side/back.
It is a FACT that he told them to stop, it is a FACT that both ran and according to the Detective on scene C #1 ran toward Mr Horn.
I have no problem with people defending their, and others property, with deadly force.
IN fact the death penalty should be applied to rapists, child molesters and a few other crimes I can't think of at the moment.

Caveat: There would have to be strong restrictions on the Death Penalty in these situations. For example, brutality, # victims, pre-meditation, etc. Just to keep the stupid examples of an 18 having consensual sex with a 14 year and being convicted of rape since the 14 year old can't consent by law. No the death penalty wouldn't apply.

I applaud Mr. Horn for stop... (Below threshold)
George Van Aken:

I applaud Mr. Horn for stopping two evildoers. It is unfortunate that these two scoundrels didn't realize that there are other means of sustaining oneself in today's society. Perhaps if they had known that there was such things as jobs that one could take in order to earn a living, this horrible tragedy could have been averted. Maybe they were unaware that the house that they broke into belonged to someone. They may have logically thought that since no one was there, the house and everything in it had been abandoned...
I just finished listening to the African American's threats that were left on the police departments message line. Very interesting that he mentioned his cohorts on "the inside". Why are we not surprised? Why did this man not leave his name?
I submit that he did not leave his name because he is a coward who knows that he is wrong. A more obtuse ( in case your reading this Mystery Man, 'obtuse' means stupid) message could not have been left. It is obvious to me that this loser is himself incarcerated and poses little if any threat to Mr. Horn.
I am a peaceful person who has a very long list of things that I want to do and that I need to do, as opposed to having to protect me and mine.
Still I must say, enough is enough!
I live in Tucson, Arizona, and we do not have quite the freedom that our Texan neighbors enjoy. Still I will not hesitate to send an intruder straight to Hell.
It is high time that we unite as God-fearing, law-abiding American citizens and put a stop to the evil law breaking scum that infest our every city!
Merely asking the bad guys to please not beat us up and take our wallets, break into our houses and take our possessions, accost and rape our women, or abduct and kill our children, does not seem to be working all that effectively.
Nor does simply catching them and sending them to live with their friends, (as noted by the previously mentioned inmates cowardly, moronic message).
I realize that stopping evildoers with violence would not entirely put an end to crime, but I wager that it sure would make the crime rate drop one hell of a lot!
To those who would forcefully take our possessions and do us harm, and to those who would attempt to bring charges against those of us who successfully thwart the law breakers that surround us, I say this;
We will not stand idly by and suffer injustice any longer! We are Americans, husbands, fathers, and by God, we are MALITIA!

Sincerely, George M. Van Aken
[email protected]

Mr. Horn is justified and m... (Below threshold)
harry whitley:

Mr. Horn is justified and maybe if we had more good straight shooting citizens like him we would have a lot fewer illegal aliens (not undocumented workers, ILLEGAL ALIENS).

Some damned hulio comes in this democrats yard and he is going to be fed a dose of double ought buckshot too. Gun control means being able to hit your target

CSTMBUILD let me correct yo... (Below threshold)
Eric:

CSTMBUILD let me correct your post 53

1) You have not quoted the detective because the detective has neither been named or interviewed by the media so there is no way that you can quote him. All we know is what the Police department has released and according to them both men were shot in the back. By saying you are quoting the detective, you are projecting.

2)You did NOT quote the medical examiner that actually saw the bodies. You quoted somebody from the ME's office that has seen the report not the bodies. This is another example of you projecting. The preliminary autopsy has come back and the Pasadena police have confirmed that both men were shot in the back.

"Now, based on the preliminary autopsy, they believe that what they thought were entrance wounds, were actually exit wounds instead.
That report indicates that one of the men was clearly shot in the back."

"And we've learned Ortiz and Torres were both shot in the back. Pasadena police say it appears the men were shot as they were running away. "

3) You come with a POSSIBLE scenario and then declare it as that's what happened. Again, you are projecting. Again, what about the second guy? According to the police he was shot in the back, as he was running AWAY from Horn.

4) You say that you believe in innocent until proven guilty, however you don't waste any time declaring the two guys as criminals. They don't get the opportunity defend themselves in court because they are dead.

5) "There is something wrong with a society that gives more rights to a criminal than to the victim." First, off Horn is not a victim here. He was not being robbed. He has no claim to be called a victim. Horn is the one being investigated for the murder of two people. So the "victims" in this proceeding are the two dead guys and the "criminal" is Horn. Hopefuly, the irony of that is not lost on you.

6) The problem with the Texas law is illustrated by you in this quote, "Why should they be allowed to steal my computer? Why can't I protect my property? I worked for it, I paid for it, I own it."

No they shouldn't be allowed to steal your computer, but what value is two lives compared to a computer? What about if I steal the stapler off your desk. Are you justified to shoot me for that? The problem with the Texas law, is that it doesn't place ANY limit on what is considered property. So under Texas law, you are justified in killing me, if I stole your stapler. Does that seem okay to you?

The thing is there is one area where you are probably correct. That is the Texas law. Under Texas law I suspect he will walk, and the new law will shield him from civil action from the other guy's families. While it may be legal, I don't think that makes it right.

My problem with this case is that Horn wasn't the victim so I don't think he should have injected himself in this. It was stupid on his part, he risked getting himself killed and instead killed two people all over $2000 worth of stuff. What if he had shot the detective by mistake? Or hit a neighborhood kid with the buckshot? Would you still call him a hero then?

If these guys had been breaking into his house, then in my opinion, hell yeah! Let the lead fly. But in this case I think he acted like a hot headed cowboy.

I would shoot someone over ... (Below threshold)
B:

I would shoot someone over my stapler!!!!! J/J
But some people work very, very hard for that $2000 worth of materials. What may be considered as "just" $2000 to some is much more than that to others and they should have all the right in the world to defend it. This may not be the case but you have to look at the big picture!

I believe that the perpetra... (Below threshold)
George Van Aken:

I believe that the perpetrators, the criminals, are the ones who put the value of their lives at around $2000. I guess it wasn't worth it huh? Maybe these two hoods have some friends who are filling out job applications now. Why, you could even say that this incident saved some lives! I say instead of falling victim at every corner, we do what Mr. Horn did, and save some more lives!

I believe that it was only ... (Below threshold)
MasterMason:

I believe that it was only a mater of time before these criminals broke in to a house where there was a women and maybe even kids (maybe yours or mine) were home and god only knows what nightmare's could have unfolded.So you GO-JOE thanks for cleaning the grease off american streets.




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