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Old October 18, 2009, 11:57 AM   #51
Tennessee Gentleman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
So none of the recent Castle Doctrine bills had any effect on this shooting.
Quote:
The incident may prove a test for a new law recently passed in Texas which expands the right of citizens to use deadly force.

Under Texas law, people may use deadly force to protect their own property or to stop arson, burglary, robbery, theft or criminal mischief at night.

But the legislator who authored the "castle doctrine" bill told the Chronicle it was never intended to apply to a neighbor's property, to prompt a "'Law West of the Pecos' mentality or action," said Republican Sen. Jeff Wentworth. "You're supposed to be able to defend your own home, your own family, in your house, your place of business or your motor vehicle." Cite: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/...=mostpop_story
and then this:

Quote:
Dispatcher: "I got ultras coming out there. I don't want you to go outside that house. And I don't want you to have that gun in your hand when those officers are poking around out there."

Horn: "I understand that, OK, 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 First and you know it and I know it."

Dispatcher: "I understand."

Horn: "I have a right to protect myself ..."

Dispatcher: "I'm ..."

Horn: "And a shotgun is a legal weapon, it's not an illegal weapon."

Dispatcher: "No, it's not, I'm not saying that, I'm just not wanting you to ..."

Horn: "OK, he's coming out the window right now, I gotta go, buddy. I'm sorry, but he's coming out the window. "
Has the media missreported this stuff? They keep talking about the castle doctrine.
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Old October 18, 2009, 12:12 PM   #52
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We've had this discussion at the Michigan Gunowners Site ("MGO") before and the general concensus was we do not have the right to shoot someone like that in Michigan.

The criminal would have to be threatening us, or someone else, with deadly force or great bodily harm.

So, in Michigan, to go further, you probably should not shoot anyone if the only thing they are doing is stealing your property.

Is it correct for me to assume, in those areas with laws like Michigan's, that if I were to stop a felon but he/she ran away, I better not shoot and just let him/her go? I say yes (i.e., I better not shoot) but I'm no lawyer.

ETA: The general concensus at MGO was we are allowed to carry a firearm to investigate possible trespass. Is this the general concensus here, for the most part? (I'm talking about a rifle or shotgun on your own property or your neighbor's property.)
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Old October 18, 2009, 12:49 PM   #53
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Has the media missreported this stuff? They keep talking about the castle doctrine.
Yep. Surprised?

There's code section 9.32, Deadly Force in Defense of Persons, which applies everywhere, but in different ways depending on location and circumstance. A paragraph of that applies to unlawful and forcible entry (or attempt at same) of an occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; that paragraph alone is commonly referred to as the "castle doctrine" section of the Texas code. Horn was outside--castle doctrine most obviously didn't apply.

Other paragraphs do address deadly force wherever a person has a right to be.

Bad reporting? You be the judge.

There's another code section (9.42) that applies to defense of tangible property. Many people wrongly believe that the Horn case revolved around that. Nope!

Many knowledgeable people attribute Horn's "no bill" to statements by an LEO eyewitness that he fired in self defense. Regardless, he's also lucky he wasn't shot by the arriving officers.
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Old October 20, 2009, 09:05 AM   #54
Bartholomew Roberts
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Has the media missreported this stuff? They keep talking about the castle doctrine.
Has the media misreported stuff on firearms/self-defense? That is like asking me if water is wet.

Yes, to the extent they are saying the new law had any effect on the legal outcome of this shooting, they were misreporting stuff (as the earlier link explained).

I guess it would be wrong to say it had "no effect" though since apparently Joe Horn thought that his actions would be justified/protected under the new law based on earlier misreporting of that issue (assuming of course that this statement of his was reported correctly).'
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Old October 20, 2009, 09:53 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
I guess it would be wrong to say it had "no effect" though since apparently Joe Horn thought that his actions would be justified/protected under the new law based on earlier misreporting of that issue (assuming of course that this statement of his was reported correctly).'
Yes he did. You can hear it on the 911 tape. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7jqLie6-Y0

He is rather testy with the 911 operator as if he is saying "I know what the law is, it just changed and I can go out there and shoot those guys". This is what scares me about how all these laws get jumbled up by the media and gun forums. Better talk to a lawyer or risk Club Fed!
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Old October 20, 2009, 10:40 AM   #56
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He is rather testy with the 911 operator as if he is saying "I know what the law is, it just changed and I can go out there and shoot those guys". This is what scares me about how all these laws get jumbled up by the media and gun forums. Better talk to a lawyer or risk Club Fed!
There is no evidence whatsoever that Joe Horn acted in any way other than that which was legal under Texas law. I'm sorry it hurts your feelings that this is so; however in this great state, we are permitted to defend our own and others' residences and property at night. Your personal feelings notwithstanding, Joe Horn's actions fell completely within state law and nothing you can say and nothing you believe will change that.
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Old October 20, 2009, 10:53 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by csmsss
I'm sorry it hurts your feelings that this is so; however in this great state, we are permitted to defend our own and others' residences and property at night.
Doesn't hurt my feelings. I don't have to live with having needlessly killed two people. BTW it happened during the day and Joe Horn did not use the statute that you allude to (defending property) as his defense ultimately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csmsss
Your personal feelings notwithstanding, Joe Horn's actions fell completely within state law and nothing you can say and nothing you believe will change that.
I'll let this lady from the Houston Chronicle explain:

Quote:
But the best person to answer the question of whether Horn acted appropriately is Horn himself. He didn't need a grand jury to give him an answer.
He seemed to realize early on that needlessly shooting two men — regardless of their criminal behavior and illegal immigrant status, of which Horn was unaware at the time — would weigh heavily on him.

Through his attorney, Horn said he regretted shooting and that, if he had it to do over again, he would have stayed inside.

"Was it a mistake from a legal standpoint? No. But a mistake in his life? Yes," said defense lawyer Tom Lambright.
That message shouldn't get lost in all the celebrating from gun-rights advocates and armchair vigilantes who continue to proclaim Horn a hero and invite him to move next door.

This case has never been about gun rights, or self-defense. There are few people in this state who question someone's right to protect themselves with a gun if his or her life, family's life or property are threatened.

That wasn't the case with Horn.

The little old man from Pasadena gunned down two men like dogs. For a bag of loot.

He escaped indictment, but he'll carry that burden for the rest of his life.
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Old October 20, 2009, 12:02 PM   #58
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There is no evidence whatsoever that Joe Horn acted in any way other than that which was legal under Texas law.
Not the point. Question was whether the media references to the "castle doctrine" were appropriate.

More accurately, though, no evidence has been presented that indicates that Horn acted unlawfully, and there was testimony indicating justification. Do we know that none exists? Absent trial and acquittal or a pardon (and until Horn's demise), a later Grand Jury can always say differently and act accordingly, particularly if new evidence should come to light.

(What that means to everyone, by the way, is that the advice to not talk to the police or to the media (or to anyone, for that matter) about an encounter applies until and unless you are tried and acquitted or pardoned, or until you die. Good thing to remember.)

Quote:
I'm sorry it hurts your feelings that this is so; however in this great state, we are permitted to defend our own and others' residences and property at night.
Nothing to do with the question, I'm afraid.

It would be interesting to know what the Grand Jury might have done absent the police officer's testimony that Horn had been threatened.
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Old October 20, 2009, 12:04 PM   #59
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I want to know what everyone thinks about the Castle Doctorine that has been put into law in Florida.
Back to the original topic. I'm happy with it. Though the right was accepted and often observed in theory, it's a good idea to have it codified in law.

It's also nice to have immunity from civil prosecution if someone shoots in self-defense. Until recently, the common knowledge was, "even if you're in the right, legally and morally, you will get sued out of house and home." The assumption was that the aggressor would become the "victim," and he (or his family) would be out for blood.

As for the Joe Horn case, I'm not sure how I feel. He may have been legally in the right according to Texas law, but morally? He chose his circumstances, and he escalated the situation himself. What started as a non-violent property crime became a double homicide. I don't see anything to do with self-defense in that situation, and therefore I find it irrelevant to the matter of "Castle Doctrine."

The idea of Castle Doctrine laws is essentially that you do not have to retreat, play dead, or suffer a certain amount of harm before using deadly force in self-defense. If you are threatened, you may act.

As an interesting aside, I drove to Florida a few months after the law passed. Within 15 miles of crossing the state line, I saw a wordier version of this, and it warmed my heart:

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Old October 20, 2009, 12:17 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by OldMarksman
It would be interesting to know what the Grand Jury might have done absent the police officer's testimony that Horn had been threatened.
Agree. Mr. Horn was VERY lucky IMO. Castle Doctrine had nothing to do with it but Joe Horn appeared to think it did.
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Old October 20, 2009, 01:15 PM   #61
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s for the Joe Horn case, I'm not sure how I feel. He may have been legally in the right according to Texas law, but morally? He chose his circumstances, and he escalated the situation himself. What started as a non-violent property crime became a double homicide. I don't see anything to do with self-defense in that situation, and therefore I find it irrelevant to the matter of "Castle Doctrine."
Nice to see someone actually "gets it"

Ya see Tom, there is a subset of folks around who use a sort of "circular logic" when it comes to property crimes as they relate to the Castle Laws.

It usually goes like this : If I see someone stealing the radio out of my car, I will call 911 to send LE, but then I'm gonna go confront the thief. If he threatens me in any way, I will fire...as my life was threatened, and therefore justified. They will then claim they did not shoot to protect property, but to defend themselves.

You would be amazed at how many times we have debated that very point on these forums, and how many people feel that if you don't agree with that logic, you are somehow diminished, or have the mentality of a "victim".

I have said it before, and I will say it again, a firearm is life insurance not property insurance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMarksman
It would be interesting to know what the Grand Jury might have done absent the police officer's testimony that Horn had been threatened.
My guess is a nice set of orange PJ's and a very long prison sentence.
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Old October 20, 2009, 03:28 PM   #62
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You would be amazed at how many times we have debated that very point on these forums, and how many people feel that if you don't agree with that logic, you are somehow diminished, or have the mentality of a "victim".
I'd rather be labeled a "victim" than lose years of my life and the right to own firearms.

I find it highly unlikely that I will ever be in a position in which I am morally justified in taking a human life over property. Property can be replaced.

I've had to testify in a case where a citizen's arrest over an automobile break-in went wrong. Trust me, it's not a position any of us would want to be in.
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Old October 20, 2009, 04:46 PM   #63
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At the risk of sounding inflammatory...

If I weren't carrying, and I saw somebody trying to break into my truck, I'd confront him.

I don't see any difference in the scenario if I happen to be carrying.

His reaction to being caught would determine what happened next.

Would I shoot him for breaking into the truck? No. Would I even draw on him for breaking into the truck? No. He'd only find out about the weapon if he chose to escalate things, instead of departing.

To me, the difference between that and Outcast's "circular logic" argument is that I wouldn't be attempting a citizen's arrest, just a "get away from my property" confrontation, which I'm legally allowed to do, so long as I don't use deadly force for that purpose.

If the thief decides to then launch a physical attack, he's changed the game to his own detriment.

Even then, he might not find out about the weapon; he might just hit the ground really, really hard.

At the risk of sounding really inflammatory, though, I think society took a turn for the worse when lawmakers decided that property rights didn't really mean the right to defend property. While I will comply with the law, and while I would really prefer not to ever shoot anybody, I do think that I should have the legal right to use deadly force against thieves and burglars.

It would cut down on such crime in a big way.
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Old October 20, 2009, 06:55 PM   #64
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At the risk of sounding really inflammatory, though, I think society took a turn for the worse when lawmakers decided that property rights didn't really mean the right to defend property.
People do generally have the right to defend property, short of using deadly force. That prohibition goes back for many centuries (a long, time ago, lawmakers in our states adopted legal doctrine that had been set forth by learned judges a long, long, long time ago). There have been exceptions in a few jurisdictions and during a few interludes involving territorial provisional law. Anti-gunners would also describe the "castle doctrine" as giving the right to use deadly force to protect property, but I really don't think that has ever been the intent. In most states the "castle doctrine" is codified in laws covering defense of persons.

Quote:
While I will comply with the law, and while I would really prefer not to ever shoot anybody, I do think that I should have the legal right to use deadly force against thieves and burglars.
There are important distinctions among theft, burglary, and robbery in most jurisdictions. One has to know the law.

Quote:
If I weren't carrying, and I saw somebody trying to break into my truck, I'd confront him. I don't see any difference in the scenario if I happen to be carrying. His reaction to being caught would determine what happened next.
Not for me. It's not so much a legal or ethical thing. I just don't like the idea of being ambushed, shot in a crossfire, or stabbed or slashed and ending up dead or maimed. Not worth the risk for me.

On TV and in the movies (someone recently added, "the ones you watch on the screen and the ones you play in your mind"), the protagonist always prevails. It doesn't always turn out that way in real life.
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Old October 20, 2009, 07:25 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMarksman
People do generally have the right to defend property, short of using deadly force. That prohibition goes back for many centuries (a long, time ago, lawmakers in our states adopted legal doctrine that had been set forth by learned judges a long, long, long time ago)....
From the 1915 abridgment of Blackstone's 18th century Commentaries on the Common Law of England (page 289) --

http://books.google.com/books?id=jAU...age&q=&f=false

Force may be used in self defense, in which "...if the party himself, or any of these his relations, be forcibly attacked in his person or property, it is lawful for him to repel force by force..." with the caveat that, "...care must be taken that the resistance does not exceed the bounds of mere defense and prevention, for then the defender would himself become an aggressor..."

However, note that under what Blackstone refers to as reprisal, once property is taken, it may be recovered or retained only if, "...it be not in a riotous manner, or attended with a breach of the peace....." Blackstone notes, "...the public peace is a superior consideration to any one man's private property ; and as, if individuals were once allowed to use private force as a remedy for private injuries, all social justice must cease, the strong would give law to the weak, and every man would revert to a state of nature; for these reasons it is provided that this natural right of recaption shall never be exerted where such exertion must occasion strife and bodily contention, or endanger the peace of society..."
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Old October 20, 2009, 07:37 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by MLeake
If I weren't carrying, and I saw somebody trying to break into my truck, I'd confront him. I don't see any difference in the scenario if I happen to be carrying.
His reaction to being caught would determine what happened next.
I just watched a video reenactment that Joe Horn did for the Pasadena Police back in 2007. He saw the guys from his window and had he yelled at them they probably would have run away. He was at that time in no physical danger, but I think he wanted them caught rather than just scaring them off.

That is the difference about confrontation. You see someboady doing something bad and you are armed and holler at them that the police are on the way and they will probably beat feet. If they come at you then you have justification to blast them.

Joe Horn was acting like a cop and wanted to capture those guys rather than just stop the burglary. That is the difference.
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Old October 20, 2009, 08:54 PM   #67
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There's a big difference between the situation Mleake's discussing and what Joe Horn did. One is self-defense, the other is naked vigilantism.

If I see someone breaking into my car, I can yell, "hey! Don't scratch the bling!" If he then threatens me, then yes, I have a right to defend myself.

On the other hand, if I see someone running away with my hubcaps, I do not have the right to resort to deadly force to recover aforementioned bling. While I've been deprived of precious bling, I am not being threatened.

It's one thing to be presented with trouble. It's an altogether different thing to go looking for it, which is what Mr. Horn did. At no point was Mr. Horn deprived of the ability to walk away or avoid danger.
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Old October 20, 2009, 09:58 PM   #68
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I am confused, first this; (emphasis mine)

Quote:
It's one thing to be presented with trouble. It's an altogether different thing to go looking for it, which is what Mr. Horn did. At no point was Mr. Horn deprived of the ability to walk away or avoid danger.
Then this;

Quote:
If I see someone breaking into my car, I can yell, "hey! Don't scratch the bling!" If he then threatens me, then yes, I have a right to defend myself.
Right there you have the "circular logic" to which I referred earlier. If you escalate the situation by the act of intervening in the burglary, and are then confronted, and "defend " Yourself, You have just used lethal force to protect your ride, you cannot have it both ways. If you fire, you have done so to defend "bling" Not yourself. If you are interested in defending "yourself" you would not confront. (period)

Quote:
That is the difference about confrontation. You see someboady doing something bad and you are armed and holler at them that the police are on the way and they will probably beat feet. If they come at you then you have justification to blast them.
Again, the same "logic". Had you called 911, taken a defensive position inside your home, and waited, you would have done the most you could do, if not;

Quote:
Joe Horn was acting like a cop and wanted to capture those guys rather than just stop the burglary. That is the difference.
Exactly!

Quote:
Would I shoot him for breaking into the truck? No. Would I even draw on him for breaking into the truck? No. He'd only find out about the weapon if he chose to escalate things, instead of departing.
How bizarre, as you stated earlier;

Quote:
If I weren't carrying, and I saw somebody trying to break into my truck, I'd confront him.

I don't see any difference in the scenario if I happen to be carrying.

His reaction to being caught would determine what happened next.
Where did the "weapon" come from ?

And if his reaction dictates what happens next, what do you do if he/they are armed?

Still feel comfortable in "confronting him/them? (you have no way to tell how many there are)

Quote:
I'd rather be labeled a "victim" than lose years of my life and the right to own firearms.

I find it highly unlikely that I will ever be in a position in which I am morally justified in taking a human life over property. Property can be replaced.
+1 Sir.
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Old October 20, 2009, 10:47 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by OuTcAsT
Again, the same "logic". Had you called 911, taken a defensive position inside your home, and waited, you would have done the most you could do,
Quite right, I meant to say "hollered at them from a position of safety and called 911" which might include distance as well as being in my own home. Therefore, if they came after me it would be without the escalation/provocation you spoke of. They would just want to hurt me.
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Old October 20, 2009, 11:06 PM   #70
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Right there you have the "circular logic" to which I referred earlier. If you escalate the situation by the act of intervening in the burglary, and are then confronted, and "defend " Yourself, You have just used lethal force to protect your ride, you cannot have it both ways. If you fire, you have done so to defend "bling" Not yourself. If you are interested in defending "yourself" you would not confront. (period)
I will defend unto the death the honor of my spinning hubcaps, sir.

Kidding. Kidding!

You put me in a bit of a corner, or perhaps I did, with that analogy. There are differences in situation, though.

Horn was a vigilante (hopefully not a naked one) who injected himself in a situation that wasn't any of his business. He did so with the intention of dishing out "justice," an act which led to the perfectly avoidable deaths of two other people.

It occurs to me that it wasn't even about property at all.

In my case, I'd pictured walking to my precious Charlene in a parking lot and finding someone defacing her. It's natural to say, "hey, what gives?" That's no justification for the guy to get violent. If things get hinky, I have (and should likely take) the option of walking away.

The person violating my car also has the option of doing so. Were he to decide to add assault to his list of crimes, and I could not walk away, then my personal safety would be in danger. Force may be justified.

Have I used force to defend my property? No. Though property was involved, I would be responding to a threat on life or limb.

The fact that a property crime was present at the beginning of the altercation is the only real similarity between this situation and Mr. Horn's.

Now, if I'd simply started shooting when I first saw the transgression upon my whip, I'd be guilty of whatever the Man saw fit to charge me with.

...and on that note, I'm all out of hip slang for the night
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Old October 21, 2009, 03:17 AM   #71
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I'll go one further, Tom Servo

There are graduations of response in between the extremes of "go in with weapon drawn and/or blazing" and "call 911 and sit in the house while your property disappears before your eyes." Verbal challenges, and non-lethal physical force are potential options, and perfectly legal in many situations.

If I see somebody attempting to break into my vehicle, or perhaps take a horse from the pasture, I am fully within my rights to physically separate him from my property. I may not be justified in using a weapon, but I will not break any laws if I lay hands on him, assuming he has not desisted in his criminal behavior. In many states, I'd be fully legally justified in physically ejecting him from my property, or separating him from my vehicle, using less than lethal means.

Odds are, in such a case, I will lay hands on him, immediately after placing the 911 call, or while somebody else places the 911 call.

Note: In a case involving the livestock, I'm out in the sticks, and don't expect the timeliest of police responses due to distance from town. The horses range in current market value from $5k to six figures; even without considering the potential seriousness of the loss, I wouldn't let anybody take one of the inexpensive, untrained ones. (I can't picture my significant other allowing that, either.) For that matter, I wouldn't let somebody take our dog, and she's got one bad hip and one cockeyed ear, and has no market value whatever. (The dog really is my significant other's baby... I'd choose to fight Chuck Liddell over having to tell her that I let somebody take the dog without trying to stop them.)

So, like I said, confrontation would be in the cards, but not deadly force - at least, not by design. Regular physical force would be a legally available option, and one that I'm actually pretty good at applying - wrestling, kenpo, and a whole lot of aikido training afford a lot of options for non-lethal response in my case, and I'm not a small guy.

Outcast, as far as where would the weapon come from, not sure why you are confused. I usually CCW. However, in the days before I CCW'ed, I would have confronted a burglar on my property or breaking into my vehicle. These days, the fact that I normally CCW would not change my philosophy on that. However, I would not make the person aware of the weapon unless he made it necessary by actually threatening me. (Stating that I have a weapon could be construed as "the threat of deadly force," which may not be legally justified based on the initial circumstance.)

If the guy decides not to leave, and reaches for a weapon, or has friends come out of hiding - creating discrepancy of force, then SD law does come into play on my behalf.

If you don't see the difference, which Tom Servo did a good job of explaining, then we are simply going to disagree on the matter.
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Old October 21, 2009, 07:48 AM   #72
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Outcast, as far as where would the weapon come from, not sure why you are confused.
Because of the contradictory statements;

Quote:
If I weren't carrying, and I saw somebody trying to break into my truck, I'd confront him.
But a moment later;

Quote:
His reaction to being caught would determine what happened next.

Would I shoot him for breaking into the truck? No. Would I even draw on him for breaking into the truck? No. He'd only find out about the weapon if he chose to escalate things, instead of departing.
Clearer now?

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If I see somebody attempting to break into my vehicle, or perhaps take a horse from the pasture, I am fully within my rights to physically separate him from my property. I may not be justified in using a weapon, but I will not break any laws if I lay hands on him, assuming he has not desisted in his criminal behavior. In many states, I'd be fully legally justified in physically ejecting him from my property, or separating him from my vehicle, using less than lethal means.
No doubt, you are correct. I however, own nothing that I would take such a risk for, I don't attach myself to inanimate objects, I have insurance that will replace those things, as for animals, same thing, they are just property and, replaceable ( though I recognize that some folk attach sentimental value to some pets)

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If the guy decides not to leave, and reaches for a weapon, or has friends come out of hiding - creating discrepancy of force, then SD law does come into play on my behalf.
My point being, If you are not there, then the discrepancy does not exist.

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then we are simply going to disagree on the matter.
Fair enough, just different philosophies on the matter.

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The person violating my car also has the option of doing so. Were he to decide to add assault to his list of crimes, and I could not walk away, then my personal safety would be in danger. Force may be justified.

Have I used force to defend my property?
Yup, because;

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If things get hinky, I have (and should likely take) the option of walking away.
IMO anything else is;

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a vigilante
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He did so with the intention of dishing out "justice,"
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Old October 21, 2009, 02:35 PM   #73
MLeake
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Defense of one's property when the theft is in commission is not vigilanteism. Going after the thief after the fact would be vigilanteism. You may want to look up your definitions.

Meanwhile, you seem to have a problem with conditional statements and verb tenses.

I was, very clearly I think since others seem to have grasped the point, stating that in the days when I didn't CCW, I would have confronted a thief, and that my current habit of CCW wouldn't change my overall behavior in that regard.

Having a gun won't cause me to do things that I wouldn't have done if I didn't have a gun, but it also won't stop me from doing things I would have done if I didn't have a gun.

So, to make things perfectly clear since you appear to be deliberately obstinate in your interpretations:

Now, when I do CCW, I would still confront the thief, but without initially drawing a weapon. The weapon would still be on me, in its usual, concealed position, but it would not be drawn unless the thief's subsequent actions made it both necessary and legally justified.

Are we clear?

As far as "If I am not there, then the discrepancy doesn't exist," I have every right to be on my property. I have every right to be in the vicinity of my property. I have every right to confront anybody who is actively trying to take my property. In most places, I have every right to use non-lethal force in the defense of said property.

Would I pursue a guy who had just hot-wired and driven off in my truck? No, that's what the cops and OnStar are for, and besides the pursuit would effectively be vigilanteism and unlawful in most states. Would I try to stop the guy if I caught him in the act? Definitely. Would attempting to stop him at that point be vigilanteism or unlawful in most states? No.

So, we have a philosophical difference on whether we would exercise our legal rights, and on whether it is ever justified to risk violence in defense of material things. We also have a philosophical difference on the relative worth of pets. Just realize there are a LOT of people who will react very, very badly to anything untoward being done to one of their animals; I am pretty sure most of my friends and almost all of my family fall into that category.

Then again, I've pulled a dog from a burning house - which I suspect you wouldn't advise somebody doing just to protect "property".

Last edited by MLeake; October 21, 2009 at 02:44 PM.
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Old October 21, 2009, 04:31 PM   #74
OldMarksman
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Quote:
...in the days when I didn't CCW, I would have confronted a thief, and ... my current habit of CCW wouldn't change my overall behavior in that regard.

Having a gun won't cause me to do things that I wouldn't have done if I didn't have a gun, but it also won't stop me from doing things I would have done if I didn't have a gun.

Now, when I do CCW, I would still confront the thief, but without initially drawing a weapon. The weapon would still be on me, in its usual, concealed position, but it would not be drawn unless the thief's subsequent actions made it both necessary and legally justified.
This has drifted pretty far from the original question, but it is a worthwhile discussion.

It might be worth running a simple risk and opportunity analysis here.

First, the opportunities. The best one could hope for is to prevent the theft of the item, which might well be recovered anyway. On top of that, one might gain some sense of accomplishment, and maybe do something that would result in keeping the perp off the streets for a short time.

Risks? Well, there's the chance of being killed or maimed by the perp or his accomplices, or shot by a well meaning citizen with a gun and perhaps a lot of adrenalin and/or testosterone, engaged and possibly bruised up a bit by a policeman who has been summoned by others.

And while one may be supremely confident that his use of deadly force, should it happen, would be completely justified by the "subsequent actions" of the thief, what unfolds may not fit that neat picture, at least in the eyes of others. Forensic evidence, the thief's story, eyewitness or earwitness accounts based on what others thought transpired, etc. may portray a picture of mutual combat or a shooting that was not in fact necessary, and therefore not justified, because it had been avoidable. In every case I have been directly or indirectly familiar with, those for whom legal and regulatory compliance issues have gone bad were supremely confident from the outset that they would be able to explain their actions to the satisfaction of all. It sometimes just doesn't work out that way.

Sure, one may well ultimately prevail, but at what cost? Lawyers, investigators, and expert witnesses don't work for nothing, and should things end up in trial court or maybe in an appeal or two, hold on! Compare that potential cost with the maximum possible upside. "#DIV/0!" won't come up, but it won't be much better. Also, I'm not sure that everyone appreciates just how long the whole thing might drag on. I personally do not relish the idea of getting hurt or making case law at my expense if I can avoid it.

In most SD training, the best advice is to stay in a position of safety unless it is otherwise necessary to ensure the safety of others. I think that advice applies well here.
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Old October 21, 2009, 04:56 PM   #75
MLeake
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Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
Old Marksman...

Your analysis is accurate, and good.

On a related note, safety can be taken to an extreme. As a former squadron CO of mine once said, "Safety is NOT our first priority. If it were, we would never fly, we'd just leave the aircraft in the barn. Mission accomplishment is our number one priority, and we will achieve that through professionalism and dedication to duty. Safety will be a byproduct of professionalism."

I've had to make decisions on just how low I could let the fuel burn down, before heading back to shore from an overwater SAR. This involved such questions as "Are there any closer airfields than the one I had planned? If a nearer field is available, what is the weather supposed to be there? Is there at least one instrument approach I can shoot, if the weather is not Visual Meteorological Conditions? How much longer can I hang out here, if I shut down an engine?" I frequently have had to make decisions based on weather, or equipment status, or crew fatigue and distraction levels, vs importance of the mission.

Some missions, you burn down to the minimum before heading for a field. Some missions, you may consider continuing after an engine or electrical problem. Others, you go home, or you land at the nearest suitable field.

IE, a lot of my life has been tied up with risk analysis. More often than not, I've been in a position where some risk is the norm.

This doesn't mean that I don't do risk analysis, it just means that I have no expectation of absolute safety, or anything near it; I do have the ability, from many years of practice, to quickly assess a situation and decide how my personal capabilities match up.

Caveat: For training evolutions, minor supply runs, etc, the acceptable level of risk is significantly lower. Again, the benefits are not always the same, and so the risks they justify are not the same.

However, one thing to bear in mind when doing any risk/benefit analysis is that not all people place the same value on things.

You may not place much benefit on protecting livestock or a family pet, for instance, and you don't have to. I do, and it's pretty hard-wired. I'd feel much worse about letting harm come to my dog, for instance, than I would feel about kicking the crap out of some stranger who tried to abuse her.

I'd also feel pretty stupid just watching somebody take my truck. Could it be recovered? Sure. Would it be likely to be returned in good condition? Less likely. How much money would I lose, after any insurance payment was considered? Not sure.

Would I be extremely annoyed with myself for having done nothing when I had the option to take action? Yes.

That said, while it's most likely I'd confront somebody trying to take property, it's guaranteed I'd confront somebody who was trying to steal or harm one of my animals.

There is a certain value to be attached to the ability to live with oneself.

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