Friday, November 16, 2007

To Shoot, or Not to Shoot...

Bog Stage Seven::

Here is a hypothetical question for you:
You look out your window and see three men breaking into your neighbor's house. You call the police, but the crooks are getting away before the cops get there and you are outside in you front lawn and they cut across it. Do you shoot? Do you have the right to shoot the burglars?

Well this wasn't a hypothetical situation for a 61 year old Pasadena resident, Joe Horn. After he heard glass breaking and saw three men breaking into his neighbor's house, he called 911 and grabbed his gun. He told the dipatcher that he had a gun and he wanted to stop them. The dispatcher begged him to stay inside the house and to put the gun away, but it was too late. Horn said, "I'm not going to let them get away with it." He also said that he knew the laws had changed in this state and he has to right to use deadly force to protect himself. so, he went out on his front lawn and fired at least two shots and killed two of the three burglars.

The question is: Did he have the right to shoot the burglars? They did not break into HIS house, but they did get on his property.

I believe that he did have the right to shoot because they did get on his property and he already felt threatened because they broke into the house next door. But, he should have listened to the dispatcher and not go outside. He should have let the police handle it, but he did not want them to get away before the police got there. Horn did give the burglars a warning that he was going to shoot. He yelled, "Move... You're dead!" And well, I guess they moved.

Texas introduced a new law that took affect that allows a person to use deadly force to protect their own property to stop arson, burglary, robbery, theft or criminal mischief at night. Also, it allows them to use deadly force if their life feels threatened. I agree with this law. A person should have the right to protect themselves with whatever means necessary.


Anonymous said...

The criminals CHOSE to give up their right to life.

THEY are at fault.

Anonymous said...

I personally disagree with this situation and with this law. This man did not have the right to shoot anyone. The three men were breaking the law and deserved to be punished but, to take the law into your own hands, especially when they broke into your neighbors house, ran across your lawn without brandishing a weapon, putting your life directly in danger, and you shoot and kill them, then you need to be punished as well. As far as I am concerned this was murder. There is a reason why these people are called vigalantes; they tend to be dangerous and impulsive. If he truly felt threatened then he would have stayed inside on the phone with the police. Unless they came into his house waiving a weapon around and threatening him, he has by no means the right to shoot and take a persons life. Two wrongs do not make a right.

The new law Texas has introduced is wrong and is going to give people a license to take lives. Letting ordinary people take the law into their own hands is dangerous. If a persons life is directly in danger then yes, by all means protect yourself. If a person witnesses a crime then that person does not have the right to shoot and kill. If a person sees that their house is being bulgarized or sees an arsonist burning down their house that person does not have the right to shoot and kill. Giving a person this privledge and expecting them to apply restraint is a slippery slope. What if, for example, it's a 14 year old boy robbing your house. Does a person have the right to shoot and kill a kid? A person's past does not always define their future.

P.S. Nothing personal Lotta Luv!


After coming across a classmate's blog and reading an article that really shocked me, I had to raise question and voice my opinion of a law that I feel is reasonable, yet lacks description and authority. If a law is made that is not detailed, then the law can be broken in many ways because of the fact that it was never understood or the meaning is not expressed in the right way. Which leads me to my thoughts and feelings towards Mr. Horn’s story.

Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect their own property to stop arson, burglary, robbery, theft or criminal mischief at night. I do feel that is logical for public safety and one should have the right to protect themselves and their family members. However, Mr. Horn, shot and killed two men that had burglarized his neighbors home, not his, but were on his property. He did call police and informed them he was going to shoot the men so they wouldn’t get away with it and that is exactly what he did, even after they asked him several times to stay in his house and not shoot.

So first, I question the law because I feel it should have been more descriptive and stated that one could use deadly force to protect their own self if a criminal was breaking or entering into their own home, and only if the criminal enters into the home could the individual then use deadly force. In result, people would less likely shoot at people on their property that aren’t really harming them. That is scary because I feel sorry for anyone standing on someone’s lawn by accident when the person in the house might be aiming a gun at them for the wrong assumptions. I do realize Mr. Horn witnessed a crime, however it really didn’t involve him unless the men were to threaten him and make way into his home. With this law being assessed the way it is, people like Mr. Horn feel they can shoot at people who are committing crimes so they don’t get away with anything illegal. Therefore, I think the law needs to allow individuals with the authority to use deadly force only if the criminal is inside their house or is shooting at them on their property, or else innocent people will end up dead, or the cops won’t even get the phone call. Unless there is evidence that someone was breaking in, then you can’t get away with shooting at somebody, so let them enter before you shoot at them, or the crime might be turned against you in my opinion.

To answer the hypothetical question, no I would not shoot unless they enter inside my house and I felt threatened. I would not have the right to shoot the burglars if they didn’t steal anything from me, I would call the cops just as Mr. Horn did, however I would let them finish it out since it is there duty.

I do not think Mr. Horn had the right to shoot the burglars, so I disagree to an extent. The problem is that he thought he had the right to but he was told not to by the dispatcher and didn’t listen. Since his call to police was recorded, he could be held accountable for disregarding police authority and I do think he should be punished. My point is that if the law was based only on if the criminal enters into one’s house and that individual feels threatened, then pursue deadly force. Otherwise until they do so, do not shoot because these days you can’t just say property because that could mean land or lawn, which isn’t always purposely being trespassed.

LockBoxKat said...

In response to this article:

To Shoot or Not to Shoot:

I myself am a bit of a "gun nut". I don't necessarily feel that guns are only used for hunting because that would be ignorant. My guns, for example, are not intended for hunting bears in the wild, but for protection of my property, my life, and my family.

Now the question posed in this article is whether or not it's okay to shoot someone who is breaking into you're "neighbors" home. Legally, if this burglar is on you're property, and you feel threatened, you can shoot. This man was nice enough to give the burglars a warning, something of a nice gesture if you ask me. See, I've had my property stolen, in fact, since I moved to Austin, I have had my stereo stolen six times (in a year), had three windows broken, four textbooks, and a backpack....all gone because some juvenile jackass wanted a couple of extra bones.

But here's the deal: this is someone's home. When someone breaks into your, or your neighbors home, this is a whole new level beyond automobile theft. There are birth certificates, family heirlooms, pets, sometimes even sleeping children. Were these burglars also rapists? Were they petty thiefs or killers? You never know these things....and most importantly, are they armed?

When a situation like this arises, instinct to protect your fellow man can override thought and balancing out the effects. The truth is, it is only human nature to help, and though I don't agree with killing the burglars, (I believe in "below the waist" as opposed to "shoot to kill"), but was it this mans right to do it? Hell yes it was.

After all, the right to bare arms is not the same as ones right to grow fur on their shoulders.


tkk246 said...

I am not a Texan by birth, and although I identify the state as more “home” than any other state or (global) region, I am not a Texas native through and through; i.e. I am not impetuous, gun wieldin’, antler hangin’, nor crazy like Joe Horn of Pasadena. Well, I do not know for fact that Joe Horn has a set of ridiculously large, 5,000-point buck antlers mounted above his fireplace, but in my embellished version of the story, he does. Along with a fireplace.

That said, I admire Joe Horn of Pasadena. He took a stand in defense, and however bold the stance, it was nonetheless a stance executed as he deemed necessary. I do not condone killing nor do I find it admirable in any way, but Joe’s resolute action in his own defense is commendable. I would bet that if it was me, I probably would have done it a little differently, that is, not confronting the pillagers. Joe’s story is a parable of Texan pride and identity. Ultimately, Joe felt threatened by the three burglars, maybe fearing an imminent plundering of his home. Feeling threatened, and maybe in concern for the safety of others and his neighbors, Joe saw to it that the threat to his life, his we-being and property, was eliminated. It is pretty simple, really: don’t mess with a Texan’s livelihood unless you want to get shot.

Even I knew that.

Atónn said...

That law is crazy. You only can reserve deadly force just for defending your home, dilute the notion to “your property” and “to stop everything that YOU think it’s gonna be a criminal act” is –in fact- give you the right to kill whenever you feel fit. So, if you have a huge property –not just a simple yard- and someone by mistake get lost or stranded in it, you can kill them. And then it will be your very own word. Against the word of… the corpses? Next time you are invited to a new friend’s home, be sure that you have witnesses of the invitation, so if he/she is a loony and kills you at least he can allege that it was dark and he felt threatened and that he forgot you were invited. And get away with it.
You know, you have the right. You are the judge and the executor. It’s your property. And everyone deserves to be killed first. And questioned, after… Yeepy yeah, yeepy yoh.

kevin said...

I live in a rule area of East Texas the county I live in has over 593 sq. miles Its not easy to get law enforcement to where I live at night in a hurry. My neighbor just told me about seeing someone on my front porch last night while I was gone to walmart. This person did not look into my windows or anything but just setting on the porch petting my dog. When she asked the person who he was looking for he never responded to her and just walked off. I have a real problem with that BUT petting the dog does NOT warrant me shooting the kid because he is on my porch and I dont know him. I would however call police about it. If this kid was to try to come in the house when Im there then were going to have problems. Yeah I am concerned about him being there and I was not and what he was doing there but until he actuality does something to the property or me then its safe for him and me. On the other hand If he was to break in and Im there or walk in on him after he has broke in thats his butt. I do not want to do any harm to any person under any condition but you wont steal from me, Im the type I will give you anything if you need it but to steal from me or make me feel endangered in my own home you are going to find a big hole in your body. Bottom line I agree with the law but you have to use common since when it comes to a human life. Yours or theirs, But if you want to push your luck break in my house when Im home and your going to meet your local undertaker.

Bocephus said...

I would think this law would help curb some crime. Some of the "smarter" criminals (oxymoron I know) will remember that Billybob and his cousin Cletus are packing and don't have a problem with smoking some idiot who cannot get a job. I am a single father with 3 children (1 of which lives with me full time) and my mother lives with me as well. You better believe that if you come into my house uninvited after my material possessions that you won't be leaving vertical if my family is in there at the same time. I don't care about possessions, but like lockboxkat said, what about rapists or murderers....? Maybe if we expanded the deadly force idea all the way to your property line people might straighten up a little more and act like citizens instead of assholes.

And for Shatara Coruthers "vigilantes are dangerous and impulsive"... what about the criminal in the act in the first place????

On a funny note, two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.....

C.D. Stanley said...

The criminals that Mr. Horn shot made a concious choice to steal property that did not belong to them. They made a choice to put themselves in a life or death situation. Mr. Horn did not make them steal; they made that choice. Mr. Horn was also asked to watch his neighbors house while they were away on vacation. The fact that he was asked to watch their house made their house a part of his own home according to the law. Texas has these laws for a good reason. We have a problem with Mexicans in this state. It is their culture to steal anything they want, and it is our culture not to steal. When you enter someone elses country, you must obey their laws. If you don't, then you subject yourself to a gun shot wound. That's just the way it is. If you don't want to get shot, then don't choose to steal or otherwise break the law. It is a very simple concept.

C.D. Stanley said...

Mr. Horn did not make them break the law and steal from his neighbor. They made that choice themselves. Good ridance to them. Mr. Horn should have received a medal. If they did not want to be shot, then they should not have broken into someone's home. We had to pass these laws in Texas because we have a problem with Mexicans. It is their culture to steal, and it is our culture to keep what we have worked hard to buy. The Supreme Court ruled that it is not the responsiblity of the Police to protect us. The police are in place to investigate a crime after it happens. Therefore, it is the individual's responsiblity to protect himself and his neighbor if necessary. That is exactly what Mr. Horn did. The only people in this state who do not like that laws of Texas are the blacks and Mexicans. They want to be able to steal without repercussions. We decided to change that. I work to hard to earn what I have; just to let some crack head or paint sniffing wet back take it from me.