Thursday, September 17, 2009

Texans and Trespassing

The Houston Chronicle reports on the latest incident of a homeowner shooting trespassers.

An 85-year-old man is in the Travis County Jail accused of shooting at seven workers who were clearing brush near his property.

An affidavit says none of the Piatra Inc. workers were injured, but some of the rounds struck near them Sunday. They had been hired by the city of Austin to help clear brush Sunday.

Henry Ralph Schots thought they were trespassing and allegedly fired eight shots from a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun toward the brush.

The workers called police who arrested Schots.

Schots was in the Travis County Jail Tuesday night, charged with seven felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

It reminds me of the Muhs story. Although much more tragic, the Muhs couple actually committed murder, the mechanism and the mentality is the same. These are people who supposedly are enjoying their rights to own guns for home protection but in reality are so paranoid and mentally unstable they become a danger.

What's the solution? I don't know. What do you think? Is this the price we must pay so the majority of normal healthy home-owners can have guns? I don't know. Are these incidents so rare that we can dismiss them as anomalies? I don't think so. Just like the defenders of a high estimation of DGUs like to point out, also here you've got many cases which never come to the attention of anyone. Aggressive threatening with guns when no threat existed. If pressed these people report the as defensive acts, further inflating those numbers, but they are crimes. And they are crimes committed by supposedly law-abiding gun owners.

What's your opinion?


  1. There's a price to be paid for every empowerment/liberty. Freedom of speech is good for society and for individuals, but white supremacy songs do a lot of damage (the famous Freedom-of-speech 10% ers). And if you look at incidents like the Rodney King riots and etc., wouldn't we be much safer if the government controlled releases of news about such cases to avoid riots, huge property losses, and deaths?

    The guy who shot into the brush with a .22 is an idiot, assuming this story is half correct. But if this guy has done nothing similar before, how do you keep him from owning a gun without restricting me and the rest of us? And since gun ownership is a constitutionally protected civil right, how do you protect that right while somehow making sure no one anywhere in the country abuses it?

    It's as hard as protecting free speech while looking for a way to shut up white supremists and keep a lid on stories that may incite widespread violence.

    If you've got the answer to either question, don't keep it to yourself. But don't try to tell us it's one gun a month, or closing the "gun show loophole," etc.

  2. Little Steve, That's the best synthesis of the pro-gun argument I've ever read.

    I definitely agree that these are not easy problems to resolve. But, let's keep tryin', eh?

  3. As I return to the Land of Ignorance after a two-week seminar in Europe, I am ever-more-so confident that we are reliving the ignorant middle ages once again on this continent.

  4. So here we have a man who did something dangerous but did not harm anybody. He will now be facing prison time, fines, and will loose his 2nd Amendment rights for the remainder of his life.

    Care to explain to me how this doesn't show how beautifully the current system of laws works?

  5. So, mud_rake, what part of Europe did you prefer? The part whose ass we ("we" being the citizens of your charmingly named "the Land of Ignorance") saved, or the part whose ass we kicked?

    Trick question, of course, as there is a considerable amount of overlap.

  6. EXACTLY Weer'd. The criminal misuse of ones rights has consequences, as it should.

  7. Thanks MikeB! Believe it or not I'm interested in any laws that will make my family and daughters safer. But as I've blogged about, I still believe the 2nd amendment and relatively free weapons ownership keeps them safest for the long term. I believe our efforts should be focused on maximizing penalties for people who commit crimes with weapons as well as programs to help the subcultures worst hurt by violence rise above their issues.

    Mud Rake:
    LOL. I love Europe, particularly Paris, and I've been fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time there and in other European/UK cities.

    But in most of Europe, even in your own home, you are expected to be a good victim and take no violent action against attackers. Like that UK guy (one of many) who blew away a repeat home invader with his shotgun and ended up doing time himself. In America that homeowner would have exchanged high-fives with the police (in almost all States) while the coroner dragged the body out.

    In any case, take a look at the history of gun laws vs. crime in a nation like UK. They did pass strict gun laws, but it did NOTHING to effect their violence rate. They simply were, and are, a less violent country. Just like D.C. and Chicago -- passed all kinds of gun control, but no effect on violence. Because oddly enough it's what is in the heart of a person, not what is in their hand, that determines how violent they are. It's not like if Ghandi picked up a gun he would suddenly start blowing people away.

    I prefer America the way it is: a nation of people empowered to take care of themselves in all matters, including being armed for self defense and as a final counterbalance to government power.

    Yeah we're a little edgy and unpredictable, and we do have a violent (mostly drug) subculture that we need to find the strength to deal with, but it's all those factors that make us the superpower we are. Vs. a European nation with a stagnant economy that tracks the American economy where the individual depends on the government for nearly everything (from healthcare to personal defense).

    If you prefer Europe, you should check into immigration policies. Hasta la Vista.

  8. Others here have hit the major points so I won't bother with a rehash.

    I just wanted to focus on what raised my eyebrows a bit...

    "Henry Ralph Schots thought they were trespassing"

    This is all kinds of interesting.

    When I bought my property, one of the very first documents I received was a detailed map of the property lines.

    I would know if somebody was tresspassing or not on my land.

    Did the city hire people to clear brush on private property?

    Highly unlikely.

    This begs the question; were these people even on his property uder any guise of criminal intent or employment responsibilities?

    In any event, this guy broke rule #4, be sure of your target and what lies beyond it. If he's shooting into the brush at a perceived threat, then as littlesteve already said, he's an idiot, he broke the law and should be punished.

    The least he could have done was fire into the ground just to announce his presence, rather than fire at an unknown target.

  9. beowulf-

    "the part we saved or the part whose ass we kicked."

    HA! That made my day.

    I think France is the worst. They shoot their mouth off to everyone including us then whenever they get into trouble for it then it's "help us obi-won-America! You're our only hope."

    European arrogance is unbelievable. At least American arrogance is earned.

  10. kaveman, Did you just say

    "The least he could have done was fire into the ground just to announce his presence, rather than fire at an unknown target."


  11. "kaveman, Did you just say

    "The least he could have done was fire into the ground just to announce his presence, rather than fire at an unknown target."


    Yes, I did.

  12. kaveman, Does that mean you don't believe in the Four Rules? I would think firing into the ground as a warning violates one or two of them. Please explain.

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