Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I meant to post about this earlier

I'm at odds with at least one friend of mine. I heard this story whilst he was watching TV on Tuesday. There are some mitigating circumstances that are in this article that I didn't hear then, but on the other hand, I still believe this was murder--cold-blooded, possibly racially-motivated, murder. It reads like a 'bubba' bagging him some (fill in whatever racial epithet bubbas might use here).

Shootings Test Limits of New Self-Defense Law

And I quote the 911 operator in the case: 'Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, O.K.?'

Okay, so the two men were illegal immigrants from Colombia here under forged documents. They were certainly burglars--they had a pillowcase full of over $2,000 in Mr Horn's neighbours' property. These were obviously not 'Good Men'. But they were also apparently shot in the back running away from him--and were unarmed. In any other state in the Union I suspect that it's considered murder once no one is in imminent danger. But this happened to be Texas, and that's a whole other ballgame.

A grand jury's going to have to sort out, for example, whether you can act with deadly force to protect a neighbour's property like you can your own. And then there's the race issue.

Mr Horn identified them on the line as black. He offered to get his shotgun and then told the operator, who was trying to convince him to stay in his house, that he was going out there and kill them--not stop them: kill them.

In another twist, a plainclothes detective had just arrived on the scene and witnessed the shooting but did not have enough time to announced his position and in fact may have ducked to avoid Mr Horn, thinking he might think he was their driver.

Because of this there have been protests both for and against, and at least one death threat. The city is moving to ban protests in the residential area, which may be for the best, since I'm sure it's causing havoc--and certainly the death threat is wrong and should be pursued. But there's lots of other ways to express First Amendment rights, and people are entitled to their opinions. Many hail Mr Horn as a hero. I'm not one of them. I think there's something wrong with eagerly grabbing your firearm to 'help out' the police and shooting people in the back. I think anyone in a moment of adrenaline can think they're in danger, but he was safe in his house and made that clear to the operator. It didn't sound like he thought his neighbours were in danger--just their property. Property can be replaced--lives can't. And vigilantes don't make us any safer--especially 'helpful' vigilantes with guns.

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