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Texas homeowner acquitted of killing teen intruder

Discussion in 'Serious' started by Cthippo, 28 Sep 2008.

  1. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    I don't think shooting an unarmed 13 year old in the back quite counts as defence in the name of "assuming your life is in danger".

    Its appalling the man shot a kid in the back, its even more appalling the US law system allowed them to get off. To be honest the entire "having a gun" thing in texas is asking for trouble...

    Scenario 1: Man breaks into house with gun, homeowner has gun - Likely fatalities 1, Maximum fatalities 2, Minimum Fatalities 0 (duh)
    Scenario 2: Man catches unarmed burglar in house, homeowner has gun - Required Fatalities 0, Likely Fatalities situational, Maximum Fatalities 2, Minimum 0
    Scenario 3: Man breaks into house with gun, shoots homeowner and gets caught. 1 crime of break and entering started this - Man is given death sentence. Fatalities 2
    Scenario 4: Man catches burglars in his house, man shoots burglars (whether attacked or not) - Man gets accused and found guilty of murder and -> death sentence. Fatalities 2
    Scenario 5: Man catches burglars in his house, man shoots burglars (whether attacked or not) - Man gets off. Fatalities 1

    I know there are plenty of scenarios where guns can be used as deterrants, but since its the pain and death thing that does the scaring its logical to assume another device such as a stun gun, tazer or baseball bat would do the trick equally well.

    I know they overlap a bit, but you get the idea - if the gun didnt get you the death setence MIGHT. The only safe/good reason for you to have them anywhere is with trained law officers (well... some), hunting, or on a range. If the law allows you to have a 1 shot kill device then there are ALWAYS going to be mentallists who can kill someone dead for some trumped up reason and get away with it. If for instance they were banned and a baseball bat was used instead, coroners would be able to more accuratele determine if excessive force was used and if it likely at one point turned from self defence into murder.
     
  2. twentynine

    twentynine Can never win...

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    Nexxo. To be completely honest, I did not read even half of your post. As soon as you said "You're buying into several myths" I stopped.

    Personally Nexxo, I've never had a problem with you or anything you've said and I still don't for that matter. Also, I don't mean to offend you in anyway because I think its stupid to start quarrels on the internet, but I don't expect you to understand being that you live in the UK. You don't see what I see everyday. Yeah, you can give all the stats and facts you want, but seeing is different that reading about it on the internet.

    Also, I did skim your post a bit. I did not mean Texas as a whole is overpopulated. You're correct, Texas as a whole is not even close to being over populated as west and north Texas is pretty barren. What I was referring to was south Texas. Down where I live, as other parts of south Texas, the majority is actually the minority. To be more clear, Hispanics, the previous minority, out number whites and blacks, the previous majority, but they're still called the minority. I should have been more clear. Sorry.
     
  3. Monkeyboy

    Monkeyboy Member

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    i'm a big proponent of non-lethal violence as a tool. that being said, there are times when it's not about deterring impending violence, but defending oneself from violence that is no longer impending, but happening. if there is a person or persons intent on doing you harm regardless of any form of deterence you may present (locks on your windows and doors, pepper spray, taser/stun gun, baseball bat, in ascending order of how "hands on" it gets), you are left with little choice but to escalate to lethal force, or escape/evade, but if it's you they are after, not your tv/stereo/computer/car/whatever item (most likely insured), that option may not even be feasible. (**edited in as an afterthought**) and what of those who would be far less likely to be able to defend themselves in a physical altercation or even run away: the elderly and infirm? (** end edit **)
    hopefully none of us on here will ever have to be put in a situation like that, but i for one would like to be prepared for that unlikely occurence.

    really, it wasn't the US legal system that failed, not as a whole. what failed was the prosecution; they should have gone for manslaughter. it would have been less difficult to prove; it's hard to imagine that the man denied shooting the boy (regardless of whether it was in the back or not), so they could have claimed imperfect self defense and charged him with voluntary manslaughter
     
    Last edited: 1 Oct 2008
  4. Solidus

    Solidus Superhuman

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    Despite the arguments I still believe justice was done.

    The children should be responsible for their own actions, if not they should have been tought right from wrong and again, if not then the parents of the children are to blame.

    It is common knowledge to all beings stealing is wrong, you dont have to be a genious and regardless of the reasons, you face whatever comes from it.

    Being poor and coming from a bad background is not an excuse to steal:

    My mother came to england 20 years ago with me and my brother earning £1.50 an hour for over a year and then £1.75 just doing factory work as she was unable to speak English or read or write.

    Can you imagine how difficult it was to simply earn enough to buy simple things such as food?

    We never even considered stealing as we were taught it was wrong, something these kids should have been taught and I assure you they would still be alive now.

    These kids, their families have the same options - You can make a life if your willing to work for it. If you break into someones house, you get shot, you die - Its your fault and the man deserves to protect what he owns, I would do the same having fought so hard to achieve it.

    Karma is a bitch and I would probably bet top dollar that these kids have probably stolen before, theres no way I would believe this was their first time.
     
  5. PhenomRed

    PhenomRed New Member

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    :eeek:Woah:eeek:

    This whole thing is why i have air guns. Someone breaks in, I can shoot them and won't kill them, but it will still hurt them like hell
     
  6. shigllgetcha

    shigllgetcha Come at me bro

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    they had no right to be on his property. break into someones house expect the consiquences. what difference does what intentions they had make.

    and what four 13 year olds couldnt do serious harm to a 63 year old?
     
  7. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    They were 13! The FIRST of the teens! Does an impressionable child really deserve to be shot in the back for stealing some food ? Even the countries where the laws are considered harsh by our standards and fingers are cut off for stealing don't go as far as to kill people for stealing an apple! Its state sanctioned barbarism.

    Solidus, if you are the kind of person to shoot a child for stealing a bit of food then you are the kind of person who is carrying the human race back a notch. By all means beat them up if it makes you feel like a man or like justice is being done, take them to the police, tell their parents - then quit having such ****ing shitty locks on your home so that 4 13 year old children could break into it.

    Monkeyboy, if you have pissed someone off enough they feel they have to come after you with a gun then you should be wise enough to goto the police about it. Burglars don't want to meet resistance, they don't want to have to kill people - it just makes them higher priorities for the police and draws attention to them.

    And unless the 13 year olds were armed themselves I doubt very much they could do great harm to a 63 year old unless he had a previous condition.
     
  8. Rebourne

    Rebourne New Member

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    This needs to go to the supreme court.
     
  9. Monkeyboy

    Monkeyboy Member

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    i agree with you: people shouldn't put themselves in a position like that. i sure don't put myself into situations like that; i think it's better to try to avoid any altercations, especially since i do have a firearm (but if someone is coming after me with a gun, i really wouldn't want to bring a knife to a gunfight so to speak...). there are responsibilities that go with firearms, and they should be a last resort if needed (just like law enforcement's use of force continuum), which is why i mentioned the locks, spray, taser, and bat. i also mentioned the first two rules of firearm safety (1: all guns are always loaded, even if they aren't. 2: never let the muzzle cover anything you aren't willing to see destroyed. 3 is keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target, and 4 is always be sure of your target, and what is beyond it). basically, even pointing a firearm at someone is considered a deadly threat, and should never be taken lightly (just as saying "i will kill you" should never be taken lightly).

    like i said, i am disappointed with the verdict. manslaughter would have fit best, and the man would have been punished. this whole situation has me reconsidering my next firearm purchase: i am now looking at a shotgun and less-lethal ammunition (such as bean-bag and rubber batton shells. johnny knoxville got shot with one of those in the first jackass movie i believe, and he isn't dead) as opposed to another pistol.

    air gun death and another. it's rare, but it happens, so be careful.
     
  10. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    I think this is an interesting point because it can be applied to a would-be criminal's perspective just as easily. We have this idea that all criminals wander around carrying guns, so we feel the need to arm ourselves "just in case." From the criminal's point of view, this escalates the conflict. If they know that would-be victims are going to be armed, then they'll carry a bigger gun. After all, he doesn't want to bring a knife (or a small, ineffective gun) to a gunfight.

    -monkey
     
    Last edited: 3 Oct 2008
  11. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Escalation. And because the criminal makes the first move, he'll always (make sure to) have the upper hand.

    I think it is interesting that a country that feels comfortable about the shooting of a 13-year old unarmed burglar would be the first to criticise Sharia law which removes a hand from a thief as punishment.
     
  12. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    We have a fair few shootings in Birmingham, UK... :worried: You're right that I am not living in Texas. But my point is simply: what is enough reason for shooting at people (even if over their heads)? For me, those reasons would have to be very big and very personal. Not in the least because it risks serious escalation.
     
  13. Solidus

    Solidus Superhuman

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    Me having shitty locks is the problem hey? How about these no good kids breaking into our home causing the problem, doing something they shouldn't be doing in the first place ? This whole situation would not have happened if those 3 stupid kids didn't break the law - Every religion preaches this - Do Not Steal - Its a fundemental, cross country, cross tradition, religion, race, background whatever, understanding between all people that stealing is plain and simply wrong.

    These three kids should have realised that and I agree shooting them was harsh but the man is still not guilty of protecting his property from a bunch of thieves.

    As mentioned, three 13 year olds against a very elderly man, who is to say they cant cause him hurt? They could have very well beat the living daylights out of him and then the story would have been "elderly man beaten to an inch of his life" or perhaps "elderly man murdered by thieves" and then I bet everyones perception of these kids wouldn't be "oh god think of the poor children" - more in the lines of " they should lower the death sentence for these 3 " etc.

    Yeah stealing food to eat...well...I can understand to an extent, i have sympathy but at the end of the day - These dumb idiots broke the law - They got killed - I cry none for them. I would have been disgusted if the mans life was put in danger or the victim was him however.

    Oh and carrying the human race back a notch? and hows that exactly? For having an opinion that the outcome of a murder trial was just and fair? that a man who was found innocent should be allowed to protect himself and his land from a bunch of theives? No I dont think so
     
  14. Monkeyboy

    Monkeyboy Member

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    ah yes, commandment # 8 (7 for roman catholics). what about #6 (5 for RC's)? "THOU SHALT NOT KILL"? sound slike the man didn't pay much attention to that one...

    technically, he was found "not guilty". that doesn't mean he was "innocent"

    again, i think one should be able to protect themselves, but this really seems like a crime of passion to me, and should have been for manslaughter, not murder.
     
    Last edited: 3 Oct 2008
  15. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    He isn't. But he went a bit further than just protecting his property.

    That is true, but you can't shoot someone just for what you think they may do to you without pretty good cause. When they are on their knees in front of you blubbing and begging for their lives while you have a gun pointed at them, well, that is far removed from threatening to beat the crap out of you.

    It is all about punishment fitting the crime --what civilised society is all about. In this case, both Mr. Gonzales and his prosecutors missed the mark by a mile.
     
  16. Bogomip

    Bogomip ... Yo Momma

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    Dont get me wrong, im not condoning what they did - but what kind of 13 year old thinks thoroughly through all his actions? Its part of growing up learning this kind of stuff, maybe 13 is pushing it a bit in the way of theft but if one of them suggested it maybe the others were just worried about saying no and not looking cool.

    Yep, 3 kids on their knees with their backs turned to him sure do sound threatening.

    As I understand it, the man was 63. My DAD is nearly 63 and although I doubt he could win any fights with 20-50 year olds I don't think a bunch of kids would phase him much (though granted he is still sporty and fairly physically fit).

    Why do you immediately assume the worst in people ? Why do you automatically think that given the chance the kids would have just beaten him up rather than run away ?

    I don't have sympathy because it was food they were stealing, who is to say they needed it ? Like I say, it isn't the kids crime that's the issue here nor is it condonable - stealing a bit of food and murder/manslaughter are far, far away from each other on the grand scale.

    If im walking down the street and bump into a guy by accident, I don't pull a UZI on him because potentially he just swiped my wallet. The kids stole a bit of food and as far as accounts go they weren't threatening the man in any way, the man's response was to shoot one of the kids. Its disproportionate threat.

    Society can't improve whilst people are paranoid their neighbours are all out to get them. I assume utopian society is what everybody "aims" for and eventually what you hope would become of us - but whilst we cant even forgive children for stealing a bit of food we're just stuck back in the stone age.
     
  17. Solidus

    Solidus Superhuman

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    Sometimes I think you need to look through the mist of things to see the truth, thats my opinion as things are never what they seem. They say they were stealing "food" looking for sympathy - I dont buy that. You want to steal food you go to a supermarket. What would you say in your defense to make it sound like its not a big thing? That you were stealing valuables? Or you were desperate for food? The latter will make you sound desperate and brings up the "Would you condemn someone for stealing a loaf of bread to feed their starving family" argument. Sure they had food on them but seriously, if they saw money laying about or valuables, I am in the opinion that they would have taken them too. They broke in to get what they could.

    The reason why I assume the worst in people is because in this case they already crossed a line, they broke into someones home and that gives me reason to assume the worst outcome now - I feel thats fair because they took the first step in breaking the law.

    In a utopian society you could leave the door to your house open and go out, lose your wallet only to have it returned to you from some kind samaritan and everyone would be quite lovely to each other.

    We dont live in anything remotely like that, people get beaten up for their skin colour without doing anything, old men and women are taken advantage from by muggers and you could very well get killed over nothing.

    Despite all this, I try to be a optimist, really I do but when things like this happen to people that were doing things they shouldn't - I shrug my shoulders and think "Well...their actions had consequences that they need to accept now"

    I would love it if they were alive and punished properly with justice done but sometimes people get away with murder, sometimes criminals get more than they should - Thats the risk taken when you cross a line and they should deal with it because it was all instigated by themselves, from step one.
     
  18. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    Supermarkets have bright lights, are full of witnesses people, and many of them have multiple layers of security. It might be easier to break into a house, quickly raid the fridge, then get out with minimal effort.

    -monkey
     
  19. Matticus

    Matticus ...

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    My A Level politics teacher was from America, and she told us a story about when they moved into their house, I think it was in some reasonably rural part of Florida and the local Sheriff came round to introduce himself and actually told them that if someone breaks into their house or even gets onto their property to shoot them, and if its in the garden or out the gate drag them inside. Because that way "It makes it easier for you guys, and easier for me"

    As for this story, I am all for taking action against criminals, but I think perhaps this guy may have gone a little overboard...
     
  20. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    The truth is: a bunch of 13-year olds did a stupid, illegal thing. Very annoying, but such are 13-year olds sometimes (I mean, join the club, right? I know what I was like at 13, but I grew up and I'm over it now). They may have just been a bunch of teenage assholes. They may have beat the poor old guy to death given the chance. We don't know.

    The question you have to ask yourself is: when you've been burgled four times already and find these kids in the act, and you have them at gunpoint and they're sitting there crying and begging for their lives, do you pull the trigger? Sure, you're very angry, you're frustrated, you're upset, all understandable. But you're the adult here, and you're the one with the gun. Responsibility: it works both ways, Solidus.

    It's kind of crap, I know, that Mr. Gonzales has to demonstrate more maturity, restraint and wisdom than the four kids that burgled his trailer, given that he's the victim. But the price of being the responsible (gun owning) adult is that you have to be the responsible (gun owning) adult.
     

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