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Rights -- And Responsibilities

The other day, my colleague DJ talked about Joe Horn of Pasadena, Texas, and his shooting of two men robbing his neighbor's house. I'm not going to go into the particulars of Horn's case -- DJ did a fine enough job on that -- but I'm going to expound on what DJ wrote, and give my own thoughts.

"Rights" are an essential part of our American identity. One of the most revolutionary elements of our Constitution was that it does NOT grant Americans any rights. Rather, it RECOGNIZES them.

That is a critical distinction. It was one of the things that distinguished our Constitution with that of tyrannies like the Soviet Union. There, the people had all sorts of rights -- on paper. And they were granted by the government.

And as I've heard -- and repeated -- so many times, anything someone else gives you, someone else can take away.

It's the foundation of my militant opposition to the "new" educational system, which fosters "giving our children self-esteem." I fear that it will be ultimately destructive to them. Should we get our children dependent on others to give them self-esteem, then they might not ever develop the ability to earn it on their own, to take it as their rightful due. In the name of making them feel better, we make them dependent on others -- their so-called superiors -- for affirmation.

So it is with fundamental rights. In the Soviet Union, the government giveth -- and, far too often, the government taketh away. Here in the United States, the government has been told what rights we have, what rights they can not infringe upon.

But that is only half the equation. To steal a couple of hoary old lines, "with great power comes great responsibility." Or, as Paul Harvey likes to say, "self-government without self-discipline is self-defeating."

I don't think of myself as having a "right" to vote. I think of myself as having a duty to vote. If I can't find the time and energy and interest to cast an informed vote in an election, then by god I have forfeited my right to complain about the results.

And I have little use for "voter registration drives." Registering to vote is NOT that difficult, people. Nor is getting to the polls. And if you look at the record of organizations that do the most to get people registered to vote, you see a rather appalling record of agenda-driven moves and the rankest, most disgusting, most corrupt practices -- that, by rights, ought to put their asses in jail and their groups banned -- at least from receiving federal money, if not out of existence entirely.

So, how does that tie in to Mr. Horn's case?

Because Mr. Horn -- in his own mind, and in the eyes of many others -- took his citizenship as not only a right, but a duty. He saw a gross assault on the civil contract we all share -- to look out for our neighbors, to "love them as you love yourself," to put a religious spin on it -- and protected his neighbor and his neighbor's interests. He was asked by the neighbor to protect his property in his absence, and took that responsibility literally -- he protected the man's home as if it was Horn's own.

At first, Horn did precisely what everyone agrees he should have done. When he saw people breaking into his neighbor's home, he called the police. But as the old saying goes, "when seconds matter, the police are only minutes away." The police were not going to arrive in time to prevent the crime from being committed, so Horn intervened.

OK, I lied. I am going to go into the specifics of the Horn case.

Two men broke into Horn's neighbor's house, stole a bunch of the guy's possessions, and were shot and killed by Horn as they tried to flee.

The argument I have heard so many times when the subject of killing of criminals is "no material possession is worth more than a human life."

I don't disagree with that argument. I reject it.

That is the case made by the thieves who threaten their victims. "Your money or your life." "Gimme or I'll hurt you."

The argument made by the unwilling would-be victim is this: "I value my right to keep what is mine above your right to take it from me. And if you push it, I will demonstrate that with force."

One of the most obscene legalisms I have ever heard of is a doctrine called "the duty to retreat." It says when a person is confronted by a criminal in a place where the would-be victim has a legal right to be and the criminal does not, the would-be victim does NOT have the right to use force in his or her self-defense if they can safely withdraw. In short, you have a legal duty to run away and can not stand and defend yourself and your home.

Mr. Horn did not obey that doctrine, and thank heavens for that.

Mr. Horn's neighbor was away from home, and asked Mr. Horn to look after his home in his absence. Mr. Horn did that, and more. He defended the man's home precisely as if it was his own.

I don't know the precise reasons for Mr. Horn's actions, but to me, they speak of the duties of citizenship at its highest. Mr. Horn was legally obligated to do exactly nothing. Morally, he was required to notify and summon the police, which he did. But they weren't going to arrive in time to do anything besides say "tsk, tsk, what a shame" and take some notes. He was in a position to stop a crime -- and two criminals -- in progress. He was in a position to save his neighbor from being robbed. And he did so.

That the two thieves were killed in the process is, to me, irrelevant. That they were both illegal aliens with lengthy criminal records is icing on the cake, as it were, but also irrelevant.

Mr. Horn had the right -- and saw as his duty -- to stop them as best he could, with the tools he had available to him at the time. He did just that.

Good for him.

Good for all of us.

I'd like to live next door to Mr. Horn. Hell, I'd like to live in a whole neighborhood of Mr. Horns. I'd like to live in a whole nation of Mr. Horns.

Because he understands that citizenship isn't just a right, just a privilege, just a blessing. It's also an obligation, a duty. And he not only accepts that, he embraces it.


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Comments (57)

Jay, excellent post. I agre... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Jay, excellent post. I agree with what Mr. Horn did. And to any person who doesn't like the results of Mr. Horn's action, too BAD.

Yesterday, Horn said he kno... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Yesterday, Horn said he knows what a hero is and he is not one. It seems Horn is also humble. I do not know if anyone saw the circus the "leaders" of minorities created, but it was disgraceful. They were going to picket Horn's home, but volunteers from all over Houston crowded around his home and shouted down all protesters. It is crazy that you do something good and you get villified, but act badly you are embraced. God bless you Mr. Horn. ww

Now THIS is "neighborhood w... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

Now THIS is "neighborhood watch"! I should think knowing that a neighbor might take action would deter crime in that area.

'That is the case made by t... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

'That is the case made by the thieves who threaten their victims. "Your money or your life." "Gimme or I'll hurt you." '

Exactly, Jay and with these words the criminal has established the "ground rules" so to speak. One would then be a fool to not to believe him. If your life is threatened how can one be blamed for acting accordingly to save one's own life.

Two more idiots out of serv... (Below threshold)
jer:

Two more idiots out of service. They made the mistake of picking on a Marine.
http://www.local10.com/news/13585335/detail.html
"Police said Lovell, a retired Marine, wouldn't be charged."

The argument I have h... (Below threshold)
MagicalPat:

The argument I have heard so many times when the subject of killing of criminals is "no material possession is worth more than a human life."...

That is the case made by the thieves who threaten their victims. "Your money or your life." "Gimme or I'll hurt you."

Exactly! The thief has decided that your possessions are more valuable than your life, so why can't you, as the owner of those possessions determine that they are more valuable than the thief's life?

In Texas there is no duty t... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

In Texas there is no duty to retreat:

1. Within your own home.

2. On your own property after dark.

If someone enters your home (or your yard after dark), and threatens you, you have a right to respond. When his neighbor invited Horn to watch his property, he granted Horn that same right on the neighbor's property.

Horn was on property he had the right to defend when he shot, and according to a police witness, the two perps were approaching him.

In Texas that's a no-bill.

I'm glad I live in Texas.</... (Below threshold)
ElvenPhoenix:

I'm glad I live in Texas.

'Nuff said.

Here in Maryland (where I l... (Below threshold)
Tom Johnson:

Here in Maryland (where I live) Ronnie White once lived. He killed a Police Officer, Cpl. Findley, by dragging the Officer to death. While incarcerated, White suffered death.
Outrage ensued. You see, White was black and Findley was white.
What you will not hear is the reason for White's fatal injury. The reason is Abu-Jamal.
You see, Abu-Jamal is still alive, and the policeman he killed has been buried for 20 years.
Maryland had no need for a new Abu-Jamal.
There will now be a Federal investigation as to the loss of civil rights by White.
No investigation will ever be conducted concerning the civil rights of Cpl. Findley.

From Jeffrey Snyder's thoug... (Below threshold)
kevino:

From Jeffrey Snyder's thoughtful essay A Nation of Cowards

OUR SOCIETY has reached a pinnacle of self-expression and respect for individuality rare or unmatched in history. Our entire popular culture -- from fashion magazines to the cinema -- positively screams the matchless worth of the individual ...

And yet, while people are encouraged to revel in their individuality and incalculable self-worth, the media and the law enforcement establishment continually advise us that, when confronted with the threat of lethal violence, we should not resist, but simply give the attacker what he wants. If the crime under consideration is rape, there is some notable waffling on this point, and the discussion quickly moves to how the woman can change her behavior to minimize the risk of rape, and the various ridiculous, non-lethal weapons she may acceptably carry, such as whistles, keys, mace or, that weapon which really sends shivers down a rapist's spine, the portable cellular phone.

Now how can this be? How can a person who values himself so highly calmly accept the indignity of a criminal assault? How can one who believes that the essence of his dignity lies in his self-determination passively accept the forcible deprivation of that self-determination? How can he, quietly, with great dignity and poise, simply hand over the goods?

The assumption, of course, is that there is no inconsistency. The advice not to resist a criminal assault and simply hand over the goods is founded on the notion that one's life is of incalculable value, and that no amount of property is worth it. Put aside, for a moment, the outrageousness of the suggestion that a criminal who proffers lethal violence should be treated as if he has instituted a new social contract: "I will not hurt or kill you if you give me what I want." For years, feminists have labored to educate people that rape is not about sex, but about domination, degradation, and control. Evidently, someone needs to inform the law enforcement establishment and the media that kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, and assault are not about property.

Crime is not only a complete disavowal of the social contract, but also a commandeering of the victim's person and liberty. If the individual's dignity lies in the fact that he is a moral agent engaging in actions of his own will, in free exchange with others, then crime always violates the victim's dignity. It is, in fact, an act of enslavement. Your wallet, your purse, or your car may not be worth your life, but your dignity is; and if it is not worth fighting for, it can hardly be said to exist.

I encourage everyone who has not read it to please read it.

The legal problem here, however, is tough: this is not a good self-defense case. If someone threatens you or an innocent third party with violence, you may, indeed, decide to defend yourself because that can be safest course of action if you are armed and properly trained.

If you threaten the criminal, assault them, injure them, or kill them, you are guilty of a criminal offense, but you are excused. If you attack someone who is robbing your neighbor without threatening violence to you or to another, you may be in a lot of trouble.

To expand on "duty to retre... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

To expand on "duty to retreat." I am not a lawyer, so this is an educated layman's explanation.

In Texas "duty to retreat" exists in public spaces where both parties have a right to be. A good example would be a bar. A loud drunk comes up to you and starts bullying you. "Duty to retreat" kicks in. You have an obligation to attempt to avoid the confrontation. Get up and move away.

Your percentage move would be to get up, go over to the bartender (or bouncer, or other position of authority in the bar) and register your displeasure with being hassled. That individual has both the responsibility (and authority) to quell or remove the drunk.

If after you have attempted to avoid confrontation, the drunk persists in seeking a fight, you have discharged your duty to retreat, and right of self-defense kicks in.

Duty to retreat exists only if there is an opportunity to retreat. If the drunk comes over, and then, with no provocation and no warning, attempts to punch you, you have the right to block the punch, and to defend yourself to the extent required to ensure no other punches are thrown.

Why does a "duty to retreat" exist at all? Really, to reduce violence to minimums. Yeah, you should not have to back down from a pushy drunk, but that man's judgment is impaired by alcohol. The situation can be resolved without violence by going to someone in authority in the bar. So let's go that route instead.

Duty to retreat started as common sense, before the lawyer came along to muddy everything.

The duty to retreat is not ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The duty to retreat is not absolute. I recently requalified for my permit to carry and 90% of the time was spent on how to keep from going to jail or being sued in civil court. The state I live in has the duty to retreat, but it's less broad than it sounds. If someone invades your home, you don't have to retreat if the invading party has a visible weapon, or if there are other members of the family that would be put at risk by the invading party if you were to retreat. The fact that your home was invaded meets the first requirement of the law, in that you are an unwilling participant. If an intruder has a visible weapon the second requirement is met in that you now can reasonably fear great bodily harm to yourself or others in the home. At that point you can use lethal force. The duty to retreat exists only until the two requirements are met. An intruder need not have a visible weapon to meet the second requirement, but you need to wait until they make their criminal intentions clear. Then any able bodied person may reasonably pose a threat sufficient to justify lethal force, but it's a harder sell in court.

In Horn's case he was an unwilling participant in that the burglars broke into a house he had been asked to watch. Mr. Horn took reasonable steps to protect that property by first calling 911. When the police did not show up in time to stop the crime Mr. Horn armed himself and, while on his own property, confronted the burglars as they exited his neighbor's house. When the burglars came at Mr. Horn in spite of the presence of the shotgun they reasonably presented a clear threat of great bodily harm as they must have been insane. Side note: Always tell the 911 operator that you fear for your life even if you don't feel that at the moment. However, never say you are going to kill someone. All this can be used in court, so give yourself the advantage.

Lesson to burglars: If confronted by someone with a shotgun put your hands up and do not approach them unless instructed to do so. If you don't what to surrender, put your hands up anyway and then turn your back to the shotgun and walk away. As you walk away, make up lies and tell the guy with the shotgun that you were hired to move stuff out of the house, or that you're an undercover cop, anything to raise doubt in the mind of the guy with the shotgun. If the guy with the shotgun follows after you, then walk toward cover while telling the guy your cover story. Once you can take cover you can now take out your own weapon and dispatch the fool. Lesson to the guy with the shotgun: If someone puts their hands up and turns and walks away from you, let them go. It's not your job to capture them, nor do you have the training nor the legal status of a police officer. You'll only get into trouble with the law or end up shot.

An important point to remember and a promenade subject in the training I took was that if you use deadly force you are likely to be sued in civil court by the relatives of the perpetrator even if you were justified in using deadly force. It costs nothing for such relatives, or the perpetrator themselves if they survived, to bring a law suite as there are many attorneys who will do the work for some large percentage of any money that may be awarded. On the other hand, you'll have to fork out many thousands of dollars to defend yourself and you may still lose everything in excess of what your state allows someone to keep under their bankruptcy laws. You better by certain your life (of a family member's life) is on the line before you take someone else's life. Mr. Horn may yet have to defend his actions in civil court.

Mac: "Mr. Horn may yet h... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Mac: "Mr. Horn may yet have to defend his actions in civil court."

He may not have to worry, Mac:

CIVIL PRACTICE & REMEDIES CODE (TEXAS)

CHAPTER 83. USE OF DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON

§ 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 235, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by: Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1, § 4, eff. September 1,
2007.

Tom,My first react... (Below threshold)

Tom,

My first reaction on hearing about Ronnie White was "fine, good." Then I learned a bit more. Yes, Ronnie White was accused of dragging an officer to his death; he had not been convicted of doing so. Second, he was murdered (strangled) in his solitary jail cell, meaning that either he was strangled by a prison guard, or he was strangled by an inmate with the collusion of at least one prison guard.

Even if Ronnie White was guilty, that is unacceptable and the guard(s) must pay for their own crime, once it is determined who did the deed. I certainly don't think we want to live in a society where being accused of a crime means that you can be murdered with impunity by law enforcement officers.

-jeff

A defendant who us... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code

The question is, was the force justified under chapter 9? Apparently, the local prosecutor didn't think so or they would never have brought it before a grand jury. Unless there's case law that establishes that a grand jury indictment is required to negate the civil immunity law, then Mr. Horn may still find himself in civil court, first to establish civil immunity, and if that fails, then for each of the perpetrators to convince a jury he was fully justified in shooting them. That could be difficult in the case of the perpetrator who was fleeing him before he was shot.

Civil court is a lot different than criminal court and the burden of proof is much less. It's less about facts and more about emotions and the jury can grant awards on a continuum from nothing to huge amounts. It's far less certain and that's why lawyers work for nothing but a chunk of the potential prize.

"The argument I have hea... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"The argument I have heard so many times when the subject of killing of criminals is "no material possession is worth more than a human life.""

What exactly did these two thugs steal?
Well, apart from the material possessions they took from the neighbors house, they also:
-stole a bit of national security and soverignty from America. They illegally crossed our borders.
-stole a sense of security in the neighborhoods where they were committing their crimes.
-stole a part of our lawful society by thumbing their nose at our laws.

Those two scumbags were an invading foreign army who terrorized America with their crime sprees. Good riddance.

In actual practice Mac, thi... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

In actual practice Mac, this one will probably not last long in civil court. The climate means no one will take up this case because of the fallout - the Right does not want to pursue it, and the Left will worry about the difficulty getting a win (suing and losing sets a bad precedent in their minds, and as individuals trying to sue a grandfather and losing would be damaging to their image); few attorneys will want to try their reputation on this case.

The feds will be reluctant to pursue the 'Civil Rights' card in this case for similar reasons. As the decedents were illegal aliens with criminal records, there would be fallout even for the Justice Department if they tried to push this. Under Obama it could happen, but the timing is such that no, it won't happen this time.

I should also mention that there really was no attempt to "flee", as you suggested. The officer who witnessed the shooting testified that the two men advanced towards Mr. Horn after he challenged them, making it difficult to argue they were fleeing, even though they turned away once they realized Horn was going to shoot. A key component is the fact that Horn only shot each man once, demonstrating restraint which, along with the fact that Horn called 911 in the first place and all the other circumstances, makes this a weak case for any plaintiff.

Emotions work both ways. In this case, even with the lower standards it would be likely that Horn's attorney could make sure he got a jury sympathetic enough to prevent a judgment against Mr. Horn. Harris County is definitely not in the mood to enable thugs and illegal aliens, at least so far as the jury pool is concerned.

Many people have killed the... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Many people have killed themselves in solitary jail cells. If it is a typical cell that the inmate is put in by himself then it is relatively easy to do so. If it an actual solitary confinement cell then it tends to be sparser and is more difficult to do. It can be done nevertheless. Some techniques make it look like a strangulation.

One irony I have seen is some who condemn Horn for doing the police job by protecting his neighbor's property also complain in instances when people don't. For example when someone is getting gang up on or someone gets hit by a car and people set around and watch. Bus driver gets attack and no one does anything about it. There have been videos a plenty showing this effect then commentators exclaiming why didn't someone do something. It is because they were taught not to. It is the police or emergency personnel responsibility.

I am amazed that there was ... (Below threshold)
Keith McMillen:

I am amazed that there was any question about Horn's innocence. In looking at the facts of the case, he clearly had reason to fear for his life, as this was an almost entirely White neighorhood and the perps were either black or very dark skinned. The odds of two black criminals being unarmed are not worth taking, so shooting first was the right course of actions.

Many have pointed out that they were shot in the back. I say so what. Perhaps they were advancing towards Horn by backing up? I can walk backwards, I'll bet these animals could too.

Given that the vast majority of crimes in this country are comitted by blacks, race has to be a factor when you are dealing with a life-and-death situation. I would have shot them too.

"no material possession is ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

"no material possession is worth more than a human life."" Has always been a lame argument. It is not the cost of the material possession but the cost to your rights and freedom. You have the rights to life liberty and pursuit of happiness. You have a right to possession. You have the right to privacy and to be secure in your home. When someone steals from you many of these freedom and rights are violated. Freedom and rights are not only worth dying for but also worth killing for.

It would be like saying "just let them rape you or if you see someone getting rape don't get involved. It is only sex and sex isn't worth getting violent over".

DJD,I agree that t... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

DJD,

I agree that the feds won't pursue a 'Civil Rights' case, which would be a criminal case, not a civil case.

Civil action against Mr. Horn has nothing to do with the left or the right. To bring a civil suite the plaintive must have standing, that is, they suffered damage due to the actions of Mr. Horn. That limits the field to the families of the persons killed and it's unlikely they give a rats ass about the political implications.

I should also mention that there really was no attempt to "flee", as you suggested.

Sorry, but being shot in the back is strong forensic evidence that the person was in fact fleeing and eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Mr. Horn may have been justified in shooting in self-defense, but only while the guy's were coming at him. The moment one of them showed him their back Mr. Horn lost that justification for that person. Even in Texas you can't shoot someone in the back and claim self-defense. It's a cowardly act and has long been regarded as such. Now if the police says the guy was doing back flips toward Mr. Horn then that's another matter.

The fact that police were close enough to witness the shooting may work against Mr. Horn in civil court. Police rushing to a crime in progress make their approach known by loud sirens and flashing lights that Mr. Horn could obviously hear, if not see. At that point there would be no justification for a civilian shooting someone fleeing any crime scene; force would not be justified under chapter 9 and Mr. Horn may be subject to civil action.

Personally, I think Mr. Horn did the world a favor, but I also think he was reckless and foolish. Mr. Horn had no way of knowing who the burgers were or if they were armed themselves. Even with a shotgun, the outcome against two armed opponents is not guaranteed. If they know what they are doing they will move apart and tell you BS to raise doubt, then try to distract you (is that your wife on the sidewalk?), then simultaneously draw and fire. If you are good and your adrenaline is not too high you may get one of them, but the other may get you.

No Mac, you are wrong on bo... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

No Mac, you are wrong on both counts. Because no crime has occured in the deaths of these mean, Chapter 83 will prevent civil action. It would take a perverse judge to rule otherwise, and while such judges exist, the political tone I mentioned will influence even such judges.

And being shot 'in the back' does not indicate flight, for the reasons I cited. The testimony of the witness, the fact that the men were on Horn's property when shot, and other salient data all factor in to the decision - a lawyer may try to argue that the men were fleeing (and only 1 was shot in the back, by the way), but the forensics in total do not support that contention.

And no, you are quite wrong about the 'police arriving'. The undercover officer was on the scene, but in an unmarked car and he made no effort to intervene (strange behavior, but there are reasons for that). There were no sirens or lights for several minutes after the shooting - in fact it's a matter of record that Horn called 911 again to ask for the police, because they had not arrived for some time after the shooting.

I have said all this before, so I am wondering if you are now ignoring direct evidence in order to make a subjective claim, one which was long ago disproven. If so, I must direct you to the fact - again - that the grand jury saw and heard ALL the evidence, from the forensics to the 911 tapes, to the testimony of the officer who witnessed the confrontation and shooting, to all the parties concerned, and despite the desire by some to pretend otherwise, this was a multi-racial, both-gender panel of jurists who took their time to reach a decision based on all the evidence. Assuming they got it wrong just because you do not like the verdict is not clear thinking, sir.

DJD,No crime needs... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

DJD,

No crime needs to be committed in order to bring a civil suite. The only requirement is that the actions of the plaintive were damaging to you. To win a judgement, however, means you have to prove your claim, but only by the preponderance of the evidence. Remember, OJ was acquitted of all crimes, yet lost in civil court.

The fact that one (and I believe I indicated that) perpetrator was shot in the back is indisputable. Unless the wintness is going to claim that the man was running backwards toward Mr. Horn, that means the perpetrator had at least started to flee when he was shot. No weasel word will change that FACT.

Ok, the police were not obviously present, but it's unlikely that helps Mr. Horn at least with the perpetrator he shot in the back. Was it an undercover officer or a plain clothes officer? If undercover than the officer may not have wanted to blow his cover. If plain clothes, then that officer will have to answer some questions about why he didn't intervene. The City itself could face a lawsuit under the theory that the perpetrators would still be alive had the plain clothes officer done their duty. It's unlikely the perpetrators would have charged someone identifying themselves as police and it's unlikely Mr. Horn would have felt he needed to defend himself if a police officer was on scene.

Apparently you don't understand that what a grand jury or even a trial jury sees, hears, or decides is generally irrelevant in a civil case. Once again consider the OJ case. As I said before, unless there's case law that establishes that a grand jury indictment is required to negate the civil immunity law, then Mr. Horn may still find himself in civil court.

My intent here is not to belittle what Mr. Horn did, but to show you that his actions were reckless and foolish and may yet cost him far more that the burglars would have gotten away with. For civilians deadly force is for defending your own life or the life of others. Anything other than that and you may find yourself on the wrong end of a civil lawsuit.

Mac, all you are doing here... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Mac, all you are doing here, is proving you cannot pass a bar exam.

DJD,I didn't say I... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

DJD,

I didn't say I could, but it's clear from many examples, such as the OJ case, that even being acquitted in criminal proceeding doesn't immunizes a person from civil lawsuits. They are not considered the same court system and that's why the constitutional protection against double jeopardy doesn't come into play. What is done in one system is mostly irrelevant in the other (not the evidence, but the actions and findings). If you're making the opposite claim then it's you who are proving you cannot pass a bar exam.

Just because I have the tim... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Just because I have the time, Mac, I will once again correct your incorrect statements:

"No crime needs to be committed in order to bring a civil suite [sic]. The only requirement is that the actions of the plaintive were damaging to you."

Actually, the presiding judge is the first test for a civil case. He can throw your case out before opening statements. That's what I meant about the political climate - right now there is zero chance a Harris County judge will not nail a civil suit as 'frivolous'.


"The fact that one (and I believe I indicated that) perpetrator was shot in the back is indisputable."

You keep ignoring that the forensic conclusion comes from the totality of evidence, not just one aspect. That both men were shot on Horn's property and further the act was witnessed by a law officer who has already testified that they were advancing on him makes the location of the shots irrelevent even in the eyes of civil law. As I said, a plaintiff's lawyer may try to persuade a jury with that part of the evidence, but it would provoke an objection from the defense, one the judge would uphold.


" it's unlikely Mr. Horn would have felt he needed to defend himself if a police officer was on scene."

As I have made abundantly clear, Horn had no reason to believe any police were on scene or nearby. There is substantial evidence on that point.


"Apparently you don't understand that what a grand jury or even a trial jury sees, hears, or decides is generally irrelevant in a civil case."

That's just not true. Yes, a civil case is much different from a criminal case, in procedure, rules of evidence, and how a jury decides a verdict. However, you do not seem to understand the process for civil trials in Texas. There is almost no chance that a judge would allow such a case to even opn, given the political climate. But even if he did, Horn's lawyers would file for Summary Judgment on the basis of Chapter 83 even before a jury was seated, and on the evidence a judge would be extremely likely to grant just such a judgment. This is largely because there would be significant support for the case to be closed, and effectively no compelling reason to proceed. As you noted, damages must be shown, and it would be all but impossible for a plaintiff's attorney to convince the presiding judge that the known character and prior conduct of these men was not at the very least a major contributor to the circumstances in their deaths. The point is, what a jury might think is only relevant if a jury is asked to make the decision.


"Once again consider the OJ case."

A different set of conditions, in another state with a differing political climate. The starting point alone makes comparison absurd, as the victims in the Simpson case were demonstrably innocent and therefore suffered a fate they did not bring to pass.

Scowcroft, a former Air For... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Scowcroft, a former Air Force general and national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush disagrees with you.

He has stated that the next president should absolutely talk with leaders such as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Snocroft is pretty smart. In 2002 he correctly predicted "Don't Attack Saddam...could turn the whole region into a cauldron and thus destroy the war on terrorism"

Do you also think Scowcroft ascribes to your ridiculus notion of "Duty to Retreat"?

Fascinating, how you are im... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Fascinating, how you are impressed with rank rather than reason, Dave.

Snocroft was wrong about Iraq. So are you.

Actually, the pres... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Actually, the presiding judge is the first test for a civil case. He can throw your case out before opening statements. That's what I meant about the political climate - right now there is zero chance a Harris County judge will not nail a civil suit as 'frivolous'.

Assuming the judge is that political, the plaintive can then appeal to a higher court. The Harris County judge knows that and also knows that the next judge up the line may pay more attention to the law than to local politics. Judges hate being overruled on appeal because it demonstrates they aren't doing their job correctly, so even a Harris County judge is going to follow the law.

You keep ignoring that the forensic conclusion comes from the totality of evidence, not just one aspect. That both men were shot on Horn's property and further the act was witnessed by a law officer who has already testified that they were advancing on him makes the location of the shots irrelevent [sick] even in the eyes of civil law.

A good lawyer would easily tar apart such nonsense. Forensic evidence, such as the wound in the back is not a conclusion, it's a fact and it's not irrelevant. The first move anyone makes once they decide to flee is to turn around. One of the perpetrators did just that BEFORE Mr. Horn shot him and that's a fact as proven by the forensic evidence. It's the officer's testimony that's irrelevent unless he's going to claim the guy was running backwards toward Mr. Horn.

" it's unlikely Mr. Horn would have felt he needed to defend himself if a police officer was on scene."

As I have made abundantly clear, Horn had no reason to believe any police were on scene or nearby. There is substantial evidence on that point.

I see you missed the part about if a police officer were on the scene.

But even if he did, Horn's lawyers would file for Summary Judgment on the basis of Chapter 83 even before a jury was seated,

Yes, and then there would be a hearing on that point. Mr. Horn would then have to show that he met the conditions under the law for justified homicide. Tough to do when you shoot someone in the back on your lawn even with testimony that the guy was coming for your before he turned around and then you shot him. If Mr. Horn cannot demonstrate he met the conditions as specified in the law then the case would proceed. I'm not saying the plaintiffs would win, but Mr. Horn would have already spent several thousand dollars to defend himself.

A different set of conditions, in another state with a differing political climate. The starting point alone makes comparison absurd, as the victims in the Simpson case were demonstrably innocent and therefore suffered a fate they did not bring to pass.

You missed the point. The jury in the criminal trial acquitted OJ of the crime, but that finding was irrelevent to the bringing of a civil suit. The point is that the fact that Mr. Horn is not being criminally charged is irrelevent to bringing a civil suit.

That's my main thrust here. For civilians at least, deadly force should be reserved to protect your own life or the life of another person. You only needlessly put yourself in harms way when you go out and confront someone who's committing a property crime. Call 911 and let the cops deal with it. If you have a camera discreetly take photos of the perpetrators through a window. Police are trained, equipped, and authorized to deal with such people and their standard for using deadly force is much lower and their immunity from civil action much higher.

MacGive it up. I try... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Mac
Give it up. I try to reframe fro insults but you are making a fool of yourself.
How many times does someone need to explain to you that different states have different laws and procedures? Do you understand what undercover or off duty police officer in a unmark car means? How many time does someone has to explain that Texas has laws that allows this guy to do what he did?

** sigh **You know... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

** sigh **

You know Mac, I can respect a differeing opinion. It's a lot harder to respect someone determined to press a point long after he lost. Especially when you twist my words to say something you know is not true.

Wayne,Texas has a ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Wayne,

Texas has a wrongful death statute. In Texas as in other states, the civil courts are considered separate from criminal courts, and thus, findings in one system are not binding in the other system. That means that just because a person is not charged with a crime in the taking of a life doesn't mean they are immune from a civil lawsuit. As DJD pointed out there is a law that grants such immunity, but it's not clear that it applies in Joe Horn's case.

Consider this statement. Horn said "he turned slightly to the right and fired toward the second man, Ortiz, who ran at a fast pace back in the direction of his neighbor's house." We know from forensic evidence that Ortiz was shot in the back. That means that at a minimum Ortiz had already started to flee when Horn shot him and may have been on the run away from Horn. By Horn's own words, Ortiz never charged him nor came at him in any way. Was Horn justified in shooting Ortiz? He isn't being charged, but Horn may not meet the requirements under the law to be immune from a civil suit. The family of Ortiz may yet bring this to court.

Even Horn says "I would never advocate anyone doing what I did," My whole point here is to show the wisdom in those words, too late for Horn, but not too late for others.

I can respect a di... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I can respect a differeing opinion. It's a lot harder to respect someone determined to press a point long after he lost. Especially when you twist my words to say something you know is not true.

Well I agree with your statement, but as if I said it. I think you lost a long time ago and I think you have twisted my words, or in some cases, didn't read what I wrote. I'm not trying to make a complex or even a controversial point.

In going through the required training to renew my permit to carry a lot of time was spent on the civil law aspect. People who justly use deadly force under criminal law are still being sued in civil court, and even if you win you lose because it costs thousands of dollars to defend. Your home owners insurance doesn't cover any of this, so it's all out of your pocket. Thus, the wise course of action is to avoid using deadly force until all other options have been exhausted. Can we at least agree on that?

And again, your most recent... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

And again, your most recent points of error:

"Assuming the judge is that political, the plaintive can then appeal to a higher court."

Not really. An appeal can only be made on one of two bases - procedural error or relevant evidence not allowed in the case. Chapter 83 is clear and unequivocal, there can be no appeal on procedure for such a case. That leaves evidence left out. The plaintiff would have to convince the appeals court that significant evidence had been deliberately ignored, or that significant new evidence pertaining to the case existed. Neither contention exists in this case, if a county court dismisses the case on a Chapter 83 summary judgment, there is no material basis for an appeal.


"A good lawyer would easily tar apart such nonsense. Forensic evidence, such as the wound in the back is not a conclusion, it's a fact and it's not irrelevant."

NO, a good lawyer would not pretend you can ignore everything but one part of the evidence. You are simply lying to claim I said the back wound was irrelevent; I said that the back wound was irrelevent to a forensic finding of criminal intent, that the back wound - or any other - did not disprove the finding of justified homicide, because the other evidence is germane to the decision. Forensics includes where the bodies are, not just where the wounds are, it includes the number of shots fired, the type of shot used and the distance from the gunman to the victim. You are continuing to try to take one small piece of the puzzle and use it alone, ignoring every other bit of evidence. And as I said, sir, such a tactic would indeed be shredded in short order.


"It's the officer's testimony that's irrelevent unless he's going to claim the guy was running backwards toward Mr. Horn."

Now you are truly grasping at straws! A judge and jury will disregard a sworn statement by a police officer?!?!?!?! Sorry, but the officer's testimony on record already says that after being challenged by Horn, the men advanced towards him, onto his lawn. Under the law, that justifies him shooting them, even if they did turn to flee once they realized he would shoot. I must remind you as well, that the forensic evidence corroborates that testimony, and there is no question that evidence would be entered by the defense.


"I see you missed the part about if a police officer were on the scene."

No, you are trying to lie and pretend that Horn knew that a police officer was there. He clearly did not, the evidence proves it (the 911 tape, and the officer's testimony, for example), and you are just being dishonest trying to play that card.


"Yes, and then there would be a hearing on that point. Mr. Horn would then have to show that he met the conditions under the law for justified homicide. Tough to do when you shoot someone in the back on your lawn even with testimony that the guy was coming for your before he turned around and then you shot him."

Here is where you plainly show that you do not know courtroom procedure, and that your emotions are overriding your good sense. You have already noted that a civil case is much different than a criminal case, and one of the key distinctions is pretrial culling.

In short, a civil court judge hates waste. He has a docket to work through, and every civil judge I have seen despises someone wasting his time. So the first rule of cicil law - in practice, that is - is that the Plaintiff must convince the judge that they have a case. If they do not meet that threshold, the case is usually dismissed out of hand. You are so quick to attack Mr. Horn, that you forget that the first burden is not on him, but on the plaintiff. As I said - and you ducked - for the case to even come to trial, the plaintiff must convince the judge that they have a case, that they have suffered real damage and there are grounds for testing the defendant's culpability in the case. Unless and until that threshold is reached, no date will be set, no jury will be set, and the judge will entertain motions for summary judgment. Summary judgments are common in cases where the judge does not think there is any purpose to going through the motions of a trial to reach a conclusion he already sees ahead of time. You keep pointing to the OJ trial, but you just do not see how very different the two cases are. Not only are we talking about different states with differing codes, in the Simpson case the criminal case did go to trial, and this is a huge difference in their profiles. In Simpson's civil case, the State and County had what lawyers call 'a compelling interest' in the plaintiff's case. And, as I said, the Goldmans had clearly suffered loss through no fault of their own or through Ron Goldman's actions. In the Horn case, things are very different. The county has no interest in going after Mr. Horn, a 61-year-old grandfather tho represents no continuing threat to the community in the eyes of the law. The State of Texas has expressed no interest in prosecuting him, and there is no doubt that the criminal history and on-scene evidence of criminal activity by Mr. de Jesus and Mr. Ortiz would be reasonably considered as major contributory factors in their deaths. There simply is no way to compare the two cases as similar.

I also find your final point laughable. We have long since addressed the contemptible demand that citizens should run away and hide when criminals break into a home. Horn had the right to use force, and while he may well regret the consequences of that action, legally his position is clearly justified, so far as Texas law is concerned. In the Civil as well as Criminal contexts.



I saw your most recent post... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

I saw your most recent post Mac while I was writing my last, and I half agree, half disagree. I agree that deadly force must be a last resort, that just because the law says you cn do something does not mean you should be quick to do it. In Horn's shoes, I probably would have called 911, got my shotgun immediately, then fired a shot over the house and yelled at them to get the hell out of there, but then that is partially with the knowledge Horn did not have, that they were unarmed.

I have to say that's a big part of the case. Horn did not know what the crooks intended to do, he did not know where the police were, he did not know if he would be safe by just sitting inside his house with no idea of where they were or what they were doing. We do know those guys were committing a felony, we do know that instead of running away when confronted by Horn, they charged him, and we do know Horn had no record of ever shooting someone before, anywhere for any reason. I don't know where you live, Mac, but in Texas that's the story - innocent homeowner forced into a situation by crooks. It's not Joe Horn's fault what happened, and there's no way I will sit still and let someone pretend it is.

DJD,Well I was in ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

DJD,

Well I was in the middle responding point by point to your post 34, but I think it's best let it go given your post 35.

One thing I would like you to do, however, is read what Horn said about this incident just yesterday. You'll find that according to Horn, Ortiz never charged him nor came at him in any way. It appears that Ortiz turned and ran when Horn shot Torres (and apparently missed). Horn then shot Ortiz in the back and Ortiz ended up some distance away. You can't tell from Horn's words if Ortiz was on the run when he was shot, but it's obvious he hand turned to run and did run at a "fast pace". Horn's third shot was at Torres as he came toward Horn. Certainly shooting Torres was justified, but I have doubts about the shooting of Ortiz.

The other thing you'll get from Horn's statements is that he was in an adrenaline fog. This happens to police as well but they train and train to overcome it and still they are impaired is such a state. It's not wise to enter into conflict in that state unless you or your family are in danger of great bodily harm.

The key points of the case ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

The key points of the case are these:

Ortiz and de Jesus were engaged in a felony.

They approached Horn after being challenged.

Horn called 911 both at the beginning of the incident and after the shooting, in both cases his initial and repeated request was for the police to come.

Armchair generals have fun, but Horn had to make the real-world choice. I'm not tearing him down for it, and the law says he was in the clear.

They approached Ho... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
They approached Horn after being challenged.

From the article I linked to in post 36.

"He (Horn) shouted the words he now regrets: "Move, you're dead." The men -- about 10 feet and 13 feet from him -- stopped immediately. They looked at one another and said nothing.

"There was no fear in their eyes," Horn said.

One of the men, believed to be Torres, started to charge him, Horn said. He fired.

"There was no time to aim," Horn said. "To this day, I still don't know where I shot."

Horn said he turned slightly to the right and fired toward the second man, Ortiz, who ran at a fast pace back in the direction of his neighbor's house. Torres remained in his yard and was walking back toward Horn. He fired a third shot.

Horn didn't think his shots struck either man.

"I went inside because the guy (Ortiz) disappeared," he said. "I thought he was behind the house. ... I was desperate for the police to get there."

I don't see that part where Ortiz approached Horn after being challenged. Ortiz was shot in the back which is consistent with Horn's narrative of the events. Do you think Horn is lying or just confused?

We also know the 911 operator told Horn not to go out the house.

We also know Horn told the 911 operator "You wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em."

Armchair generals have fun, but Horn had to make the real-world choice. I'm not tearing him down for it, and the law says he was in the clear.

Courts and lawyers will always judge such actions apart from the fear and adrenaline of the circumstances, it's just how the system works. Anyone doing what Horn did will also have their actions scrutinized and many states don't have the Texas immunity law.

Here's the guts of the relevant Texas law.

The Castle Law, or Senate Bill 378, extends a person's right in the state of Texas to use "reasonable" deadly force when an intruder commits "certain crimes" such as attempted murder or murder, attempted sexual assault or assault, unlawfully trying to enter a protected place, such as one's home, workplace, or car, or when someone is attempting to "remove someone from a protected place". The law also protects citizens from civil litigation.

Horn says in the statement I linked that he didn't know if the neighbors were home or not, which indicates he wasn't charged with guarding that home. I don't see where the Castle Law extends to a neighbor's home or where it covers perpetrators fleeing a property crime. It's also a new law that hasn't been tested in court.

I also found this statement

The two men died from gunshot wounds in the back while the whole incident was witnessed by a plainclothes detective who had just pulled up to the curb in front of Horn's residence. The detective stated that he had "ducked" under the steering wheel of his car when he saw Horn shoot the men for fear that Horn might mistakenly shoot him as the "wheel man".

It was a plainclothes detective, not an undercover cop as some have said. Second, the cop feared for his life, and thus, would have been justified in shooting Horn. The plainclothes detective didn't know Horn and drew his gun and pointed it at Horn and ordered him to drop the gun. Good thing Horn didn't run or try to approch the detective.

Horn was lucky, not right nor wise.

Mac:HELLOOOOOO....... (Below threshold)
ElvenPhoenix:

Mac:

HELLOOOOOO....TEXAS

And not the Amarillo area. Or Austin.

Therefore, the chance that a civil jury would come out against Horn is negligible.

Two criminals. Illegal aliens. Burglars. Killed in the process of committing a crime.

What part of this don't you understand? Regardless of what you see as the legalities, there are very few jurisdictions in Texas that would find Horn civilly liable for the deaths of those men, even if it went to trial.

There is a reason we have the Castle Doctrine here. Thank God.

And I, for one, am glad that I live in a neighborhood of people like Horn.

Another example that the Am... (Below threshold)
Skeeter:

Another example that the American justice system has crumbled and that we're indeed living in an Idiocracy. Now we're promoting vigilante justice. Sheesh.

"That is the case made by t... (Below threshold)
Sticky:

"That is the case made by the thieves who threaten their victims. 'Your money or your life.' 'Gimme or I'll hurt you.'"

Uh, Horn would have remained perfectly safe if he had remained in his home as he was instructed. He deliberately put himself into potential harm by leaving his home and wandering on to his neighbor's property to kill - he said as much on the phone. The thieves did not intend to harm Horn: they were fleeing. In other words, this was not a case of self-defense, nor Horn's property.

I suppose you advocate the killing of purse snatchers by bystanders? When citizens begin meting out justice with impunity, you're treading down a slippery slope. But maybe I'm wrong and police and law enforcement are no longer needed in our society.

Skeeter:If I had t... (Below threshold)

Skeeter:

If I had to choose between vigilante justice and no justice, I'll take the vigilantes. Something's better than nothing.

J.

Did nobody notice this deli... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Did nobody notice this delightful little tidbit @ #19?:

Many have pointed out that they were shot in the back. I say so what. Perhaps they were advancing towards Horn by backing up? I can walk backwards, I'll bet these animals could too.

Given that the vast majority of crimes in this country are comitted by blacks, race has to be a factor when you are dealing with a life-and-death situation. I would have shot them too.

These coloured boys was doing some sort of menacing moonwalk! How's a white man supposed to know what to do when he sees a darky walkin' backwards? Not kill them? Fuckers might go after his TV next!

What part of this ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
What part of this don't you understand? Regardless of what you see as the legalities, there are very few jurisdictions in Texas that would find Horn civilly liable for the deaths of those men, even if it went to trial.

So how much do you think it costs a defendant to defend a civil lawsuit and win? I'm guessing 5 to 10 grand minimum. It's the old even if you win you lose problem.

There is a reason we have the Castle Doctrine here. Thank God.

I've read the Castle Law, which was only in effect three months prior to the Horn incident, and it doesn't seem to apply to the Horn case. Texas has some screwy notions, but not so screwy that you can shoot people running away from in the back and claim self-defense.

I predict there's more legal trouble ahead for Joe Horn.

If I had to choose... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
If I had to choose between vigilante justice and no justice, I'll take the vigilantes. Something's better than nothing.

That's not the choice Horn faced. A plainclothes detective pulled up in front of Horn's home while the perpetrators were still alive. Had Horn stayed in his home the perpetrators would have likely been captured and paid an appropriate penalty for the 2 grand worth of property they took.

Pro-gun people rushing to defend a back shooter undermines the efforts to strengthen concealed carry and Castle laws nation wide. Before yesterday I believed that at least the authors of Wizbang understood that political reality. It's a disappointment to see they don't. Horn is now the poster boy for the anti-gun crowed who see all pro-gun people as cowardly back shooters.

Set aside the legality of i... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Set aside the legality of it: he shot people with a shotgun in the back for stealing electronics! That's fair? Whether he had a right to or not, should he have done that? Should he be reified for his actions on this blog?

Had Horn stayed in his h... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Had Horn stayed in his home the perpetrators would have likely been captured and paid an appropriate penalty for the 2 grand worth of property they took.

They would have paid an appropriate penalty? Hahahaha! Sure they would. Got any evidence of that? They were illegal invaders who were on a crime spree in our country. They've already been caught before, yet they were still here.

The question of whether he should have shot them may be debatable, but let's not start making shit up.

They would have pa... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
They would have paid an appropriate penalty? Hahahaha! Sure they would. Got any evidence of that?

Well yes, I do. A cop was already on the scene and they have a pretty good record of catching felons fleeing the scene of a crime. Once caught they would face the court system as illegals who have been caught breaking the law before. Are you saying there's no justice in the Texas criminal law system or are you just disappointed they don't execute people for property crimes? How would you feel if they wanted to execute a friend or relative of yours for stealing?

I'm sure that doesn't impress you, but think about this. If simple property crimes were punishable by death then there's no reason for perpetrators to leave any of the witnesses alive. It could be you or a family member who blunders into such a crime where the perpetrators face no additional penalty for killing them. If fact, it's in the interest of the perpetrators to eliminate witnesses.

Unless you're advocating such a system, then you need to let the current system deal with criminals in a well reasoned manner that also protects the right of the unjustly accused.

"If I had to choose between... (Below threshold)
skeeter:

"If I had to choose between vigilante justice and no justice, I'll take the vigilantes. Something's better than nothing."

In other words, we should forego the laws of our land in favor of vigilantism. Ok then. Do you advocate open season on illegal immigrants? There are 10 million of them. They're breaking our laws by being here so why don't we allow the Horn's of America to gun them all down?

Horn has put pro-gun people in a bad spot. There is little controversy when somebody shoots in self-defense and criminals are killed. That's not what happened in the Horn case. When you begin celebrating Horn's actions, you're celebrating the dilution of American law and order. Horn's hubris got the better of him and he deservers some penalty as a result.

Collectively those 10 milli... (Below threshold)
Skeeter:

Collectively those 10 million illegal immigrants are taking more from Americans in jobs and resources than the two thiefs that Horn gunned down did. Kill 'em all, right Mr. Tea? That'll improve society.

"If I had to choos... (Below threshold)
"If I had to choose between vigilante justice and no justice, I'll take the vigilantes. Something's better than nothing."

In other words, we should forego the laws of our land in favor of vigilantism.

Um... no. In other words, you've got your head so far up your ass, you can look out your own navel.

I said, IF the choice is between no justice and vigilante justice, I'll take the vigilantes. How you perverted that into fulfilling your own warped stereotypes and myths and fantasies, I dunno.

Mr. Horn did not ascertain their immigration status before firing, so that's one straw man. The neighbor whose property he was defending was a naturalized American, a Vietnamese refugee, as I recall, so there's another down.

It was the would-be thieves who initiated this whole chain of events, so I have no problems laying the full responsibility for their deaths on them.

Why don't you? Why are you so eager to exonerate them from any culpability for their deeds? They chose to break into a home for criminal purposes; as far as I'm concerned, they've forfeited any rights for complaint.

J.

"I said, IF the choice is b... (Below threshold)
Skeeter:

"I said, IF the choice is between no justice and vigilante justice, I'll take the vigilantes. How you perverted that into fulfilling your own warped stereotypes and myths and fantasies, I dunno."

What's the point of your statement if it doesn't apply to the situation? Horn was told to stay in his home because the police were on the way. The police track down criminals and prosecute them under the law. That is how the criminal justice system works. This is not myth, stereotype, or fantasy.

"Mr. Horn did not ascertain their immigration status before firing, so that's one straw man. The neighbor whose property he was defending was a naturalized American, a Vietnamese refugee, as I recall, so there's another down."

Straw man? So now illegal immigrants are the same as naturalized refugees? Your claim is that if there is no justice than we must accept vigilantism. Illegal immigrants in the millions are breaking the law - they are NOT naturalized refugees - by being here. So why not have open season on them? We'd be "defending" America from them, no?

"It was the would-be thieves who initiated this whole chain of events, so I have no problems laying the full responsibility for their deaths on them."

Ever hear the adage 'two wrongs don't make a right'?

"Why are you so eager to exonerate them from any culpability for their deeds? They chose to break into a home for criminal purposes; as far as I'm concerned, they've forfeited any rights for complaint."

Exonerate? I'm pushing for them to be punished by the legal system. That's what it's there for. They're not complaining - they're DEAD. I'm not complaining; I'm criticizing. The only fantasy in all this is the one that you and the grand jury subscribe to which is that Texas is still the land of the Wild Wild West.

Well yes, I do. A cop wa... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Well yes, I do. A cop was already on the scene and they have a pretty good record of catching felons fleeing the scene of a crime.

I didn't ask if they would get caught. I asked if you had evidence to back up your laughable assertion that they would 'pay an appropriate price' for their crime spree. You call that evidence? Sounds more like an uninformed opinion.

Once caught they would face the court system as illegals who have been caught breaking the law before.

Ooooh, scary. Hadn't they already been caught committing crimes before? And yet they were out on the street, again; committing crimes, again. Round and round they go, pick 'em up, let 'em go, do si do.

What would have been different this time?

are you just disappointed they don't execute people for property crimes? How would you feel if they wanted to execute a friend or relative of yours for stealing

Well, you're just being a dumbass moron now. Listen, I don't think that Horn should have gone out there and shot them. Neither do you. I was simply pointing out that these two thugs were invading our country to do evil and they deserved to get plugged. I didn't say I, or anyone else, should do the plugging.

You seem to have a 'sports' mentality going here. Your Team is 'Joe Horn Is Wrong' and if someone says anything tangentally negative against the Team, you automatically defend them. Grow up.
It's possible to believe both that Horn shouldn't have shot them and that these two thugs were deserving to get shot.
You don't have to make shit up about them paying the penalty when we know that more than likely, they would not.

Les Nessman, <blockqu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Les Nessman,

I didn't ask if they would get caught. I asked if you had evidence to back up your laughable assertion that they would 'pay an appropriate price' for their crime spree.

The first step is always the capture. It's dang hard to impose any penalty if you can't catch them. The facts in this case is that there was a cop on the scene while the two perpetrators were still standing in Joe's front yard.

Ooooh, scary. Hadn't they already been caught committing crimes before? And yet they were out on the street, again; committing crimes, again. Round and round they go, pick 'em up, let 'em go, do si do.

Career property thieves have many such encounters with the justice system, but no one knows they are career criminals until the third or fourth conviction. The idea is to give first time offenders a break because many of them will never commit another crime. On a second conviction the penalty becomes harsher and on the third some states lock them up for a long time. It's a system of progressively higher penalties. The US has more prisoners per capita than any other first world nation. You don't think we have enough people locked up, is that it?

Well, you're just being a dumbass moron now.

You don't think we should execute people for property crimes and you don't think the current system works either. Well you can't have it both ways. Please enlighten us with details about your perfect system. If not, then we'll all know who the dumbass moron is (your words, not mine).

Listen, I don't think that Horn should have gone out there and shot them. Neither do you. I was simply pointing out that these two thugs were invading our country to do evil and they deserved to get plugged. I didn't say I, or anyone else, should do the plugging.

OK, you don't think anyone should have shot the perpetrators, but you also say they deserved to get shot and you don't think the current justice system works. Hello, knock knock anyone home? You are advocating executing people for property crimes even if you don't realized it. You really want yourself, your family and your friends to live under such a system?

Mac, you keep putting words... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Mac, you keep putting words in my mouth and claim I said things that I didn't.
You are lying. Cut it out.
It's not worth talking to you when you do that.
Sheesh, you really do just keep on digging when you're in a hole.

"It would be like saying 'j... (Below threshold)
Skeeter:

"It would be like saying 'just let them rape you or if you see someone getting rape don't get involved. It is only sex and sex isn't worth getting violent over'."

The morons are out in full force on this blog and elsewhere. How is material property the same as a human body being violated?

Secondly, your analogy is false in another way. It would be more accurate if you said "if you saw somebody get raped and the perpetrator finishes and begins to flee, it's ok to shoot him in the back". I don't think that would fly, legally.

Thirdly, in most cases if you see a woman being beaten or assaulted, it's best to call the cops rather than get involved. You never can tell when it's a domestic abuse case, and if it is, don't be surprised if you end up dead when you get involved. More often than not, when you try to stop something like that the man AND the woman make YOU the target of their assault.

I'm guessing Jay Tea is another one of these reborn Conservative/Libertarian types. He lives in a world of editorials and books rather than real world experience.

Les Nessman, <blockqu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Les Nessman,

Mac, you keep putting words in my mouth and claim I said things that I didn't.

That's certainly not my intent and I have read what you wrote carefully. I can't tell what you mean, only what you wrote. I have also asked you to explain what "justice system" you think is better than the one we have, but you haven't provided any details.

I believe your first post to me was motivated from emotions rather than reason. I can understand that. People get really riled up about others breaking into their homes and want to send a strong message to the SOBs who do it. Horn certainly felt intense anger, fear, as well as frustration with the slow response of police (from his prospective). He also sent a strong message to would be home invaders that may save some beginners from crossing that line.

Sheesh, you really do just keep on digging when you're in a hole.

Well I do keep digging when there's a logical inconsistency; that's my MO. If discussions are not rational based, then all that's left is emotions. You can tell when people switch over to emotions because they start calling others names and accusing them of lying. I try not to fall into that trap.

That said, I can agree with your sentiment that there are too many repeat offenders free to offend again. However, I don't have a realistic solution to that problem that I would want to live under. The best we can do for now it to allow people to protect themselves in their homes and businesses, but there needs to be rules in place to minimize the chances of killing people needlessly. For example, there are cases where some guy is drunk and walks into the wrong house where the homeowner forgot to lock his door. While I have never been the drunk in that scenario, I have forgot to shut (let alone lock) my front door and I did have an invader wonder in and surprise me in my bedroom at night. Lucky for me it was the neighbor's overly friendly cat.

In my recent training to renew my permit to carry a concealed pistol it was made clear that the rules for self-defense are entirely different than the rules for law enforcement. Under the rules for self-defense a private citizen has no business actively pursuing a perpetrator once they are no longer posing an immediate threat to that person or to other persons in the immediate area. While such rules run counter to the strong emotions anyone would feel in such circumstances I believe they are wise and should be followed.




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