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Old January 31, 2012, 06:43 PM   #26
KBP
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The temptation of vigilantism

A number of years ago, there was a man in New York City who used the subway and traveled around in places where he was very likely to be mugged. He shot several young men that tried to rob him. If I remember it right, he was convicted of vigilantism and murder because it was said he was putting himself in a position to be robbed and wanted to shoot these criminals! Many people thought this was not right for him to be convicted because he was defending his right to travel anywhere and defend himself! There is a fine line here on this issue and if you have ever been robbed at gunpoint or by someone with a knife, you are kidding yourself if you think you weren't in danger of losing your life!
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Old January 31, 2012, 06:44 PM   #27
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Well, being Buddhist I have no reason to try and kill someone for breaking into a house or stealing something/destruction of property. Objects mean little.

Life and Death on the other hand means a lot, and shooting someone for assaulting my neighbor seems a bit lopsided. Slopemeno brought up a good point, be a good witness. Skans brought up another, confronting the person, if their attention goes to you and you defend yourself, that seems fine. Being a "Hero" like Joe Horn is ridiculous in my eyes, he seems like he was after the chance to kill someone, for Burglary no less.

Not knowing a situation, physically interfering without first calling the police and trying to deescalate the situation is stupid. Making a citizens arrest is an option, but good luck.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:56 PM   #28
Don H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KBP
A number of years ago, there was a man in New York City who used the subway and traveled around in places where he was very likely to be mugged. He shot several young men that tried to rob him. If I remember it right, he was convicted of vigilantism and murder because it was said he was putting himself in a position to be robbed and wanted to shoot these criminals! Many people thought this was not right for him to be convicted because he was defending his right to travel anywhere and defend himself! There is a fine line here on this issue and if you have ever been robbed at gunpoint or by someone with a knife, you are kidding yourself if you think you weren't in danger of losing your life!
If you're thinking of Bernard Goetz, he wounded 5 men who tried to rob him on the NYC subway and was eventually convicted of possession of an illegal firearm and served less than a year in jail.
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Old January 31, 2012, 08:06 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KBP
...A number of years ago, there was a man in New York City who used the subway and traveled around in places where he was very likely to be mugged. He shot several young men that tried to rob him. If I remember it right, he was convicted of vigilantism and murder...
[1] Care to provide a citation or reference?

[2] These sorts of "...there was a man...if I remember it right..." statements are worthless and a waste of time without some documentation.

[3] And as Don points out, if you're thinking of Bernie Goetz, who was called the "Subway Vigilante" in the press, you've got it all wrong.
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Old January 31, 2012, 08:30 PM   #30
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The story was covered pretty heavy by the National media at the time. If I recall, didn't Goetz shoot 4 men, one of them twice? I think he had a 5 shot S&W .38 and after shooting each MUGGER once, he turned to one and stated something to the effect of "You don't look too bad... here's another" BANG! I think at least one of them had a screwdriver and they WERE intent on hurting / robbing him. I think the crime rate DROP in NYC in the following weeks, prior to Police catching Goetz, as there was speculation of a DEATH WISH type of crime fighter roaming the streets? I could be wrong, as it was over 25 years ago.
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Old January 31, 2012, 08:37 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by shurshot
If I recall, didn't Goetz ... I could be wrong, as it was over 25 years ago.
There is no reason to risk being wrong about stuff like this. There are records, and information is preserved and available. If you'd just take the time to Google Bernard Goetz, you'd find a bunch of material, including an extensive Wikipedia article. A little research never hurt anyone.

In any case, Goetz is off topic. This thread is about coming to the defense of another person.

Let's get back on track.
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Old January 31, 2012, 09:35 PM   #32
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Yes, it depends on the state. If you're in Texas, look at Texas Penal Code 9.43.

And of course, as always, there are variables. Is there only one intruder? Is your neighbor HOME? Is your neighbor a couple of college girls? A combat vet with 38 loaded guns on the wall? A 90 year old lady living alone?

You would have to a little soul-searching in deciding what to do if it was a lone woman, elderly, etc. and you saw somebody breaking in a window. I would probably approach with a firm "get away from that window! NOW!" and my gun drawn and pointed, or ready to quick-draw and fire. Or maybe I would have a shotgun.

But again, as with so many of these hypothetical scenarios, it just depends.
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Old January 31, 2012, 10:20 PM   #33
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Sec.*9.41.**PROTECTION OF ONE'S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.
(b)**A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable property by another is justified in using force against the other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession and:
(1)**the actor reasonably believes the other ha
d no claim of right when he dispossessed the actor; or
(2)**the other accomplished the dispossession by using force, threat, or fraud against the actor.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.


Sec.*9.42.**DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
(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 other's 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.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.


Sec.*9.43.**PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S PROPERTY. A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if, under the circumstances as he reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42 in using force or deadly force to protect his own land or property and:
(1)**the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes attempted or consummated theft of or criminal mischief to the tangible, movable property; or
(2)**the actor reasonably believes that:
(A)**the third person has requested his protection of the land or property;
(B)**he has a legal duty to protect the third person's land or property; or
(C)**the third person whose land or property he uses force or deadly force to protect is the actor's spouse, parent, or child, resides with the actor, or is under the actor's care.
So if you live in Texas and want to shoot someone over your neighbor's property, you need to first at least meet the following conditions:

1. The neighbor must be in lawful possession of the property.
2. The property must be land or tangible, movable property.
3. You must reasonably believe that deadly force is immediately necessary to stop the interference with the property.
4. The other person has no claim of right to the property.
5. The crime being prevented is arson, burglarly, robbery, theft during nighttime or criminal mischief during nightime.
6. You must reasonably believe the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by other means OR using less force would expose you to substantial risk of death or serious injury.

When those conditions are met, THEN you just need to meet all the conditions in Sec. 9.43 and it is a good shoot.
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Old January 31, 2012, 10:46 PM   #34
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Good post, Bart.

Some folks seem to think that Castle Doctrine laws are some kind of "get out of jail free" card. They are not.

Every Castle Doctrine, and every law permitting the use of force in self defense, includes a laundry list of conditions that need to be satisfied for their protections to apply. If there's any dispute about whether those conditions have been satisfied, you'll be in court.
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:23 PM   #35
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But consider this. What if you could easily save someone that you don't know?
Just who are you saving? Unless you personally investigate, do you even know what the circumstances are? And to investigate, what would identify you as an individual with the authority to detain and question another individual at gunpoint?
Quote:
Like if an armed aggressor is attempting to smash the windows of your neighbors. What if you had a clear shot and could easily defend them?
A very bad idea in my opinion. Plain-clothes cop could be chasing a hiding fugitive that holed-up in your neighbor's home?
Quote:
Edit: perhaps I should be more clear. The point is that would you defend thy neighbor?
Shooting a stranger for attempting to break a window is not defending your neighbor.
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:29 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant D
The fact is you can protect your neighbors property in this state.
While it is true that one can use deadly force in defense of property in TX--under very limited circumstances, I might add--Horn's case is not an illustration of that fact.

Joe Horn's actions were justifed based on a claim of self defense--NOT defense of property. He was backed up in that claim by a police officer who witnessed the shooting.
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:48 PM   #37
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Quote:
Edit: perhaps I should be more clear. The point is that would you defend thy neighbor?
That's better.

I don't know the answer to your specific question, but it bugs the crap out of me when people toss around the word "vigilante" without understanding it's meaning. It's become a news media jargonese term. Law abiding gun owners don't use it---at least not when it applies to lawful acts. Vigilantes are the ones who circumnavigate the law. And lawful intervention does not equate to vigilantiism.

Now that I feel better for getting that off my chest, I don't personally know how the law is written iin your state, but if you ask yourself the question: Is anyone's life in immediate danger, then maybe you could answer your own question.

And if you answer another question: Would it be prudent to get the police rolling ASAP, before I consider opening fire?, then that might help, also.

Believe it or not, there could be a valid reason for someone trying to open a window that you wouldn't be aware of watching through your rifle scope.

Maybe "The police are on the way, why are you trying to enter my neighbor's house through a window?" would help solve the problem and save an awful lot of headache.

Call the Cops. Then call your neighbor and let them know about the problem. Think "gun" last--it's still there as an option.
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Old January 31, 2012, 11:55 PM   #38
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I can understand the idea though. This is a moral issue. You see something that sounds your internal alarm. It doesn't involve you personally per se but will you just stand by and to allow "this" to happen to "them".

Added : Get to know your neighbors. Talk to one another. Exchange #'s. You don't have to like one another.
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Last edited by Nitesites; February 1, 2012 at 12:48 AM.
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Old February 1, 2012, 07:17 AM   #39
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Terminology

You opened with the term "vigilantism." Vigilantism is not self defense or the defense of another, it is the usurption of governmental power by investigating, capturing and punishing the responsible party without authorization to do so. This is mob justice such as the widespread lynchings of blacks in an earlier era.

In NYS, one may only use deadly force in a property oriented crime to prevent the arson of an occupied dwelling. Any use of deadly force to prevent a property crime such as burglary or auto theft (not carjacking) will land you in jail, wipe out your net worth and permenantly cost you the privilege or right to own firearms.

Our justice system is far from perfect. Some get away with murder while innocents are sometimes convicted in a legitimate self defense situation.
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Old February 1, 2012, 11:17 AM   #40
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Thanks, Bart, Fiddletown and John - that was my point, Grant.

Horn's case was not the way you portrayed it.
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Old February 1, 2012, 12:06 PM   #41
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Sorry to be so late in this thread, but I've been busy lately.

Going through the posts somewhat quickly, I didn't see that anyone has mentioned legitimate reasons for breaking a window: being locked out, or going to the opposite side of a house from a fire to gain access for a rescue attempt.

This comes back to the same issue that often comes up in questioning whether a third party should intervene with gunfire: Do we always know exactly what is going on? If the answer is even a little bit no, we probably shouldn't do anything irreversible like letting fly with bullets.
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Old February 1, 2012, 01:33 PM   #42
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Assume you believe that your neighbor is in danger- the scenario is unimportant.

"Assume" could well be the most dangerous word in the vocabulary of the armed citizen...
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Old February 1, 2012, 02:38 PM   #43
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I agree with all the posts on the matter of Joe Horn.
But there's nothing inaccurate in my first post, just the story in a nutshell.
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Old February 1, 2012, 03:40 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by federali

In NYS, one may only use deadly force in a property oriented crime to prevent the arson of an occupied dwelling. Any use of deadly force to prevent a property crime such as burglary or auto theft (not carjacking) will land you in jail, wipe out your net worth and permenantly cost you the privilege or right to own firearms.
I'm sure it depends somewhat on the jurisdiction but by the letter of the law that's not really the case...

NY Penal Code:

35.20 Justification; use of physical force in defense of premises and in defense of a person in the course of burglary.
1. Any person may use physical force upon another person when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate what he or she reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission by such other person of a crime involving damage to premises. Such person may use any degree of physical force, other than deadly physical force, which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose, and may use deadly physical force if he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of arson.
2. A person in possession or control of any premises, or a person licensed or privileged to be thereon or therein, may use physical force upon another person when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate what he or she reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission by such other person of a criminal trespass upon such premises. Such person may use any degree of physical force, other than deadly physical force, which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose, and may use deadly physical force in order to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of arson, as prescribed in subdivision one, or in the course of a burglary or attempted burglary, as prescribed in subdivision three.
3. A person in possession or control of, or licensed or privileged to be in, a dwelling or an occupied building, who reasonably believes that another person is committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling or building, may use deadly physical force upon such other person when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of such burglary.
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Old February 1, 2012, 04:16 PM   #45
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And remember. It's not just a matter of what the statutes say. It's also a matter of how they're applied by the courts.
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Old February 1, 2012, 05:16 PM   #46
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If an elderly person or a child or anyone who appears to be mentally/physically incapacitated is being attacked... Attackers are going down. Because these victims are apparently incapable of defending themselves or fflee from the scene, and even punches and kicks may be fatal to them, thus justifying the use of force upon any attackers/muggers preying upon them.

Fight between two people on the street of equal physical stature... Leave them alone, but call police if something dangerous is seen, such as combatants brandishing weapons.
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Old February 1, 2012, 05:28 PM   #47
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It's all situational,,,

I would have to do something,,,
Most likely I would simply dial 911 and make a lot of noise.

I do not have the Hero gene,,,
But I can't simply walk away either.

I did that once back in my wild and crazy youth,,,
I saw two GI's smacking a Korean "business girl" around,,,
The very next day I saw her again all bruised and battered to heck.

Let's just say I was profoundly ashamed of myself.

I don't want to be a sheepdog,,,
I don't think I would dive in shooting,,,
But I would be compelled to do something,,,
Even if all I could do was honk a horn and call 911.

There is an old quotation/statement/cliche that goes something like this:
All that is necessary for evil to triumph,,,
Is for good men to do nothing.


I may not do much,,,
But doing nothing (again) is not an option.

Aarond

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Old February 1, 2012, 05:31 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachen
If an elderly person or a child or anyone who appears to be mentally/physically incapacitated is being attacked...
I would consider that to be a completely different bag of chips. That would be an immediate perceived threat to someone's life. Someone needs to dial 911, an order to stop the attack should be given. If that fails, physical interdiction equal to or greater than the attacker(s) would be absolutely necessary on my part.

Added : I feel ya Mr.Graham.
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Old February 1, 2012, 06:59 PM   #49
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Might remind folks that good ol' blood lust and suggesting illegal actions are not a path to follow here.
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Old February 1, 2012, 07:01 PM   #50
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I can understand the idea though. This is a moral issue. You see something that sounds your internal alarm. It doesn't involve you personally per se but will you just stand by and to allow "this" to happen to "them".
Moral issue, perhaps, but VERY much a legal issue, also.
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