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Non-Castle, Non-Doctrine

Via R. Neal comes loads of crap all in one hysterical story. Long and short is some trigger-happy dude in Texas shot and killed two guys who broke into his neighbor’s house. He called 911 prior to that and the conversation (caught on tape) went like this:

“I’ve got a shotgun, do you want me to stop them?”

“Nope, don’t do that,” replied the dispatcher. “Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, ok? … I’ve got officers coming out there. I don’t want you to go outside that house.”

“I understand that,” the caller replied, “but I have a right to protect myself too, sir, and you understand that. And the laws have been changed in this country since September the 1st, and you know it and I know it.”

After five minutes, the dispatcher was no longer able to restrain the caller, who stepped outside and shot both men, reporting, “Here it goes, buddy. You hear the shotgun clicking and I’m going. … Boom, you’re dead. … I had no choice.”

Now, that’s the first load of crap. Blowing someone away over property is sketchy at best and criminal at worse. The next load of crap is from David Edwards and Muriel Kane, the authors of the piece who note:

A so-called “castle doctrine” law recently passed in Texas allows people to use deadly force to protect their homes and property.

Texas’ castle doctrine law (seen here) does not allow for use of deadly force to protect homes and property. Rather, the law expands the areas in which there is no duty to retreat to homes, vehicles, and any place a person lawfully can be. There is no reference in the text of Texas’ castle doctrine law allowing deadly force in defense of property. Texas Penal Code Title 2, Chapter 9, Sec 42, which is not part of the castle doctrine bill, does. However, the circumstances in which deadly force is justified in defense of property are severely limited to:

(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
(A) to prevent the otherís imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Texas has some of the more lenient defense of property laws but they’re still pretty limiting. And have nothing to do with the castle doctrine bill.

Now here’s a serious issue I have with this whole ordeal. Sure, the authors of this piece get it wrong (as most journalists do when it comes to gun laws) but the shooter said:

I understand that,” the caller replied, “but I have a right to protect myself too, sir, and you understand that. And the laws have been changed in this country since September the 1st, and you know it and I know it.

Why would he think that a law that eliminates the duty to retreat instead justifies killing two burglars that were not an imminent threat to him and were not on his property? Probably because he heard that line repeated over and over by the anti-gunners in press coverage of the bill.

Update: Sebastian:

Maybe now itís time to start being factual and doing research? Nah! Sensationalizing stories is easier and sells more papers.

Update 2: Via emdfl in comments, seems there’s also other versions of this story. Here’s another account with a much longer transcript.

20 Responses to “Non-Castle, Non-Doctrine”

  1. Metulj Says:

    “Probably because he heard that line repeated over and over by the anti-gunners in press coverage of the bill.”

    That’s a fucking howler. All of that referencing and researching and writing to get to the political hit. So, the one of the consequences of the castle doctrine could not have been a scenario like this idiot in Texas? If a journalist* pointed to this possible outcome, that journalist would be complicit? Let’s follow that logic, if your father says to you repeatedly, “Hey, don’t put your finger in the dashboard cigarette lighter” and then you do it, your father is complicit in putting the germ of the idea in your head? Wow. This violates Conservertarian Maudlin Rule #1: Personal Responsibility.

    *Your little bit of legerdemain also conflates press with anti-gun, which repeated enough would seed the minds of your readers as to such. No. Never. Never happened.

  2. SayUncle Says:

    “All of that referencing and researching and writing to get to the political hit”

    It’s not a hit. It’s the truth. Google up ‘shoot first’ law. Or just go here.

    So, the one of the consequences of the castle doctrine could not have been a scenario like this idiot in Texas?

    This idiot in Texas seems to have fallen for what the Brady Bunch said the law did rather than what it did.

    If a journalist* pointed to this possible outcome, that journalist would be complicit? … Personal Responsibility.

    Try again. I said no such thing. I said misinformation from anti-gun groups that was then re-printed in the press likely affected this guy’s stupid decision to go kill someone over property.

    Doesn’t take a genius to figured that out since he referenced the date the law went into effect.

    conflates press with anti-gun

    ding, ding, ding, we have a winner

  3. nk Says:

    If I see burglars breaking into my neighbors’ house and don’t know beyond an absolute moral certainty that my neighbors are not home and in danger, I would hope to have the guts to go after them. And I hope my neighbors would do the same for me. I know that’s not the facts in this story. Just saying.

  4. Sebastian Says:

    Now, thatís the first load of crap. Blowing someone away over property is sketchy at best and criminal at worse.

    You’ve stepped in it now ūüôā

  5. Rustmeister Says:

    Metulj’s wrong, as usual. Wrong as that murderer in Texas.

    Now the anti-gunners are gonna use this to try and repeal Castle Doctrine.

  6. emdfl Says:

    Several versions of this incident appear to exist. The one that interests me is that apparently Mr. Horn went outside his own home into his own yard where he confronted the thieves. The thieves threatened him so he the shot them. That said I would lean toward the “stand at your doorway and don’t go out to escalate the situation” mode, myself.
    Howsomever, IF the bad guys came cuttting through my yard and appeared to be coming at me with a weapon, I suspect that I would defend myself vigurously.

  7. SayUncle Says:

    Metuljís wrong, as usual.

    Well, yeah. His lame example which in no way relates to the issue I address and his feigned intellectual detachment are amusing. He might be challenging if he were as intellectual as he thought was.

    Solipsism and cargo cult, bitches!

  8. Yu-Ain Gonnano Says:

    The better anology than Metulj uses is this:

    Cell phone company says you can stick this plug thingy into to dashboard cig lighter and power your cell phone safely.

    Parent takes this claim and twists it to say you can stick anything into the dashboard cig lighter safely.

    When child hurts himself, blame the cell phone company because it’s a natural consequence of the cell phone company’s marketing not the parents false portrayal of it.

  9. _Jon Says:

    I recall reading a brief somewhere that a person who has been “charged with watching or guarding another’s property” is more empowered to use lethal force than a passer-by.

    This stems from security guards and rent-a-cops being able to use force to protect while on their job.

    Obviously, in this case it would depend upon if the man and his neighbor had an agreement whereby they would watch each other’s property.

  10. ParatrooperJJ Says:

    While of questionable legality, it was the correct outcome.

  11. Paul Says:

    While in Texas you can protect others property (with their consent) unless it’s at night it’s mighty hard to stop criminal charges unless they are fleeing with property that cannot be retrieved any other way.

    BUT, and this is the big one, you are still open to civil charges even if there are no criminal charges.

    I bet this one goes to trial in a criminal court first, and then a civil one for wrongfull death.

  12. Metulj Says:

    Hey, Rustmeister: I am not anti-gun. I want to hand them out to everybody. Everyone gets one. No restrictions. That’s the right afforded in the constitution.

  13. SayUncle Says:

    Hey, Rustmeister: I am not anti-gun.

    I don’t think he called you anti-gun. There was a period and paragraph break there.

  14. Phelps Says:

    As Paul said, if the neighbor asked him to watch his property, then Texas law looks at it from an agency point of view, and the guy is probably going to skate on criminal charges.

    Also, I hear the tape differently (and I’ve heard it several dozen times, as my favorite radio program plays it over and over to much glee, legality be damned). I hear him saying, “Move ‘n you’re dead!” and then shooting, which jives with his story that they came into his yard after him when he went out. The timing on the third shot is problematic, though.

    And quite frankly, I don’t see many versions of this story that will hurt him much in front of a jury of his peers from Pasadena, TX.

  15. CTD Says:

    Feh. Two less mutants on the loose. Legal or not, I can’t get into much of a twist over this.

  16. Fiftycal Says:

    I’m waiting for a reason the shooter was an “idiot”. Plainly he was within the law to use deadly force on the burglars that were “fleeing”. Texas law on use of deadly force to protect property is over 100 years old. The part the shooter may have been referring to is that civil lawsuits are now barred if the act is justifiable. So, no, he won’t get sued.

  17. AgPilot60 Says:

    It is my understanding that the neighbor had asked him to watch said property. Said neighbor’s property then became an extension of the shooter’s property. Also Texas night time laws changes the picture drastically.

  18. Fiftycal Says:

    The burglary and self-defense shooting by the VICTIM happened about 10 in the morning. Had nothing to do with “night tyme shootings”.

  19. Yuri Orlov Says:

    Sudden death is an occupational hazard of a life of crime. I’m not going to get all choked up over two scumbags dying while in the commission of a crime. In my opinion, they got what they deserved.

  20. Speakertweaker Says:

    I feel a bit out of my league here, but I’m gonna ante up anyhow.

    According to the letter of the law, clearly outlined by SayUncle in the text of TX Title II 9.42, the dude with the Street Howitzer has a good case in court. He was following the letter OF THAT PARTICULAR LAW. He reasonably believed that he was preventing imminent commission of burglary. His attorneys will likely argue (if they’re smart) that he believed that any force other than deadly force would expose him to death or serious bodily injury. So, IN THAT RESPECT, he’s committed no crime. I had a heyday trying to clear that up with some folks at work.

    How-the-hell-ever. Going out there to shoot up bad guys after you’ve told a cop (who’s recording the conversation for crying out loud) that you’re gonna do it and after he specifically told you not to? That pretty much ends your case right there. That 911 tape is gonna get played over and over again during that trial, until the jury can recite it in three languages.

    That dude’s toast.

    Oh, and to Mr. Orlov. With all due respect, sir, with the impending SCOTUS trial at hand this would not be the time to take a “Kill ‘Em All And Let God Sort ‘Em Out” type of attitude. Especially in written/typed word. While many would likely agree with you, it is the activity of the man in question here that has the Gun Rights crowd in an outrage, too, as it will allow the Anti’s yet another opportunity to paint us all up as trigger-happy vigilantes.

    I’m just sayin…

    tweaker

Used three kinds of generics. I liked the Levitra Pills more, although the others acted quite well. Perhaps it all depends on the characteristics of each organism.