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Mon, 17 May 2004 00:57:27

Don’t be this guy

What NOT to do if you are a responsible gun owner who values more than your own stuff.

Break-in at home leads to chase and fatal shooting

A reported break-in at a southwest Houston home apparently turned into a chase that culminated in the shootings of two people, one fatally.

A homeowner told investigators several armed men tried to kick in the back door of his house in the 16000 block of Blue Ridge shortly after midnight but fled across a nearby field when he confronted them.

The homeowner got into a vehicle and drove around the field, firing on the men as they exited a wooded area on the other side, police said.

One man died at the scene of the shooting, and another is in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

There is some dispute over ownership of two semi-automatic weapons police recovered at the shooting scene, and two juveniles who were reportedly involved are being questioned.


Now, my reaction to this surprised me, based on the headline.  But the key to thsi story is that the gun owner/victim went too far.  He actively pursued the burglars far from the scene.  That’s a self-defense no-no.  Once the agression of the bad guy has ceased, as in he runs away...it’s yoor duty to back off.  In many states it’s a legal obligation.  In my mind, it’s a moral decision. 

1. The agression has ceased, therefore you have no reason to continue.
2. The criminal may not wish to endanger your life or his own.  Running away is a good indication that he was not goingt o physically attack you, he just wanted your stuff.  This is a fine line, but pretty easy to discern once the guy is running away.
3. By pursuing him YOU now become the agressor.  Your job is to defend, not attack.
4. You give succor to the enemies of gun ownershiop when you turn frontier on a crook and hunt them down.
5. You expose yourself to legal and civil liabilities that would not exist if you simply defended your home.

I hate to say it, but I think this man committed a murder.  I don’t think chasing them was right.  And in my mind, worst of all was he damaged the credibily of decent gun owners who just want to protect themselves, not hunt someone down across a field at night.

I’m obviously a huge proponent of the Second Amendment, but damn...this just don’t sit right.


Posted by JimK at 12:57 AM on May 17, 2004
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Comments:

#1  Posted by Drumwaster United States on 05/17 at 02:23 AM -

I dunno, Jim. I think that the worst it would be is voluntary manslaughter, given that it was still a continuous act. “Hot-blooded pursuit” and all… *shrug*\r
\r
You are right about it being a no-no, but it is still in Texas, and jury nullification is not only possible, but probable, given a good lawyer. Murder is theoretically available, but the DA would probably not even file for murder except as a ploy to get a plea deal on the voluntary manslaughter, because he knows that it only takes one “good ol’ boy” to kill any chance of getting the verdict…

#2  Posted by Rann United States on 05/17 at 03:28 AM -

I think you’re right, what he did IS wrong. (And I live in Texas.) I imagine many burglars don’t carry weapons, because while burglary is a crime servable by jail time, committing murder during the course of a theft is a death sentence crime.\r
I think you’re right on all counts, Jim. This guy should, at the least, see a number of years on probation. Probably what he will see on a plea bargain, too.


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