Thursday, January 22, 2009

Texas Home Invader Shot Dead

I saw this story on Jay's blog, which is a site I like very much. I figured it's exactly the kind I need in my tireless attempt to combat personal bias and present a fair and balanced picture of American gun culture on my blog. Defensive gun stories, just like the others, always offer good discussion points.

MArooned: Don't Mess with Texans, Either...

Jay said, "There's not a lot of sympathy for the poor unfortunate who got the dirt nap." I guess that says it all.

From the original story in the Houston Chronicle's web site:

The two men who live in the ground-floor apartment told officers they were preparing to watch a movie when they heard a loud noise. Their front door was suddenly kicked open and two men burst into the apartment, one of them holding a revolver, police were told.

Both residents grabbed shotguns and one of them fired, killing one of the intruders while the other ran away.

Police said the residents did not know the attackers. It was not immediately clear why the men targeted that apartment.

Now I really have no problem with this story, but I did wonder about two guys preparing to watch a movie who can so quickly BOTH grab shotguns. Is that normal in Texas? It reminds me of other discussions in which I questioned what's the use of having a gun at home for protection if it's locked in a gun safe? It's a bit of a trap, I realize, because if you don't have your guns safely secured, somebody like me is liable to accuse you of feeding the "flow" the next time your house gets broken into. The "flow" is that mystical, unprovable theory of mine which says legitimate guns keep moving into the criminal world despite our best efforts at preventing it. But, what do you think, these two guys both had loaded shotguns leaning on the sofa within arm's reach? At the risk of "blaming the victim," I wonder what kind of business they were in. I know it doesn't change anything.

Another question I have is about the nearly unanimous approval. Isn't the instant death penalty a little heavy for breaking in, even if you do so armed with a pistol? I know it may be difficult to ascertain the criminal's intent and that blowing his head off might be the only option, and I see that he asked for it and has no one to blame but himself, but it still seems a bit severe to me. What do you think? Is that Texas Justice?

Please leave a comment.


  1. "but I did wonder about two guys preparing to watch a movie who can so quickly BOTH grab shotguns. Is that normal in Texas?"

    Yes, in Texas, probably.

    "Isn't the instant death penalty a little heavy for breaking in, even if you do so armed with a pistol?"

    What do you do? Ask what their intentions are? The robbers escalated the situation into a deadly force situation the moment they broke into an occupied home armed. In some states, they created the deadly force situation just by breaking into an occupied home armed or not.

  2. I'm with you want me to stop and ask:

    "Oh, Mister Armed Robbers, could you please state your intentions in concrete terms so I can know whether or not lethal force is required as a deterrent?"

    Get a grip on reality, people break into my home, they, not I put their lives at risk.

  3. +1, I'd rather them get an "Instant Death Penalty" (which is none of the above just an act to stop the below) than have them compleat their hidious act, leave two innocent corpses behind, take up lots of law enforcement then judicial resourses and years of incarceration, appeals, then finally a lethal injection....and the din of weepy liberal bloggers.

    Also, I am in full compliance with Massachusettes "Safe Storage" laws, and the wife and I can be armed inside of 60 seconds if somebody was to attempt somthing damn foolish like breaking into my home. This time is even faster if I'm carrying, which is fairly common as well.

    Lethal force is not a "Death penalty" it is simply stopping a violent act from occoring.

    Lastly a little grist for you Mike:

    Woman goes nuts and is stopped by two people lawfully carrying concealed at their place of work.

    The story goes national....Police get the credit for stopping the woman.

    Story goes international....armed citizens are omitted from the story.

    That look like a blatent bias to you, Mike?

  4. When I'm home, there is almost always a loaded, unlocked gun available. When I am not home, there is never an unlocked gun available. Even if all the guns are locked up, I can be in one closet, my wife in the other, and both of us armed in under 15 seconds. Unlikely a criminal will be able to break the door down and find both of us in that time.

    If you are instigating a threat of deadly force for illegal purposes, you should be at risk of deadly force in return.

  5. self defense is not comparable to capital punishment, because of the vast disparity of force involved in the latter.

    one of the many good arguments against capital punishment is that it's unnecessary; entire societies have enough power and resources to call on that they can keep single individuals under control indefinitely without having to kill them. private citizens can't do that --- if some assclown busts down your door six-gun in hand, you can't just yell "freeze! i'm the apartment SWAT team, you're under citizen's arrest!" then throw them in the pantry as if that were your own private supermax prison.

    societies can use that sort of force to arrest and incarcerate criminals short of killing them. therefore, since killing is the last and most desperate option, those other ones should be used first. but you and i, we've got our shotguns and not a whole lot more.

    as well, this guy didn't get killed just for breaking in. he got killed for displaying a credible, deadly threat to the residents of the place he broke into. in the process, he also used deadly force unlawfully (by brandishing a revolver).

    the logic is that if you forcibly break into an occupied home, you're not there to sell girl scout cookies. your actions are such that the people inside can logically conclude that you intend to say something like "your money or your life" and that this threat on their lives is not meant to be empty boasting. so when the residents start shooting back at you, it's not because they're pissed about the damage you did to their door --- it's because you're threatening to kill them, by implication of your actions, and there's not much else they can do to stop you except shoot you first.

  6. You guys are absolutely right. The overriding fact in a case like this is that the home invader is asking for whatever he gets.

    It reminds me of an earlier discussion in which Thomas said in his area, people are careful because they presume that you might be carrying. That should be much more the case with home invasions. Many more people have weapons in the house than have carry permits. That's why I wondered about this case. Do you think there's more than meets the eye here?

  7. nope, sounds pretty straigt forward to me.

    Exit question for you, Mike. Do you think some criminals planning on a home invasion in Texas might change their mind and look for somthing a little more impersonal and less violent?

    If they fail to catch guy #2 do you think he'll be kicking another door down soon?

  8. Mike,

    Another "youth" firearm death for you via a local (to me) blogger A Keyboard and a .45

    Short story, (longer version here)Man walks back to his house, finds door kicked in. Honor Student, Choir boy and probably Boy Scout youth of 17 inside pulls a firearm and fires. Homeowner returns fire killed said shining example of youth.

    Now, is the firearm held by the youth to blame?

    If he hadn't broken into the man's home, he wouldn't be dead.

    If he hadn't tried to kill the home owner, he wouldn't be dead.

    So, how do you stop the youth of America from dying...taking away firearms or convincing them that robbing homes is a bad idea?

  9. Mike,

    Another story that never made national news...hurrah for the good guys via Sharp as a Marble Blog (great read if you don't have him already listed)

    Homicide detectives are still investigating an overnight shooting in which a resident of a north Houston apartment said he disarmed a burglar and killed him with his own gun.

    The shooting occurred about 10 a.m. Thursday at the Worthington Apartments at 1350 Greens Parkway, KHOU Channel 11 reported.

    Police said two residents reported that they came home and found that two men had broken into their apartment.

    One of the intruders had a gun, which was wrestled away from him during a struggle with the residents, police said.

    The resident fired, killing one of the burglars, while the other ran away, police were told.

    Investigators were trying to identify the dead man and determine why the pair chose to break into that apartment

    Now this a "gun" crime or a property crime?

    What would you do if you walked in with your wife and kids to find 2 guys robbing your place?

  10. Bob, I'd like to see us reduce the number of guns in America by about 100,000,000 and then see what impact it has on crime and suicide and defensive (over)killings. And, meantime, by all means, let's try to teach the youth to stop committing crimes.

    Weer'd, I certainly don't question the deterrent effect of that kind of story, especially on the one who got away.

  11. 100,000,000 fewer. Does that mean my wife and I have to give up half of ours, or will you concentrate on households that only have one? If my wife and I reduce ours to one each, could another handful of law-abiding families remain armed?

    If you could concentrate on the right 50,000 or so, you could do just as much good--But that would mean concentrating on people rather than objects.

  12. That's the cool thing about armed citizens, Mike! It doesn't just protect the people with the protects the people around them.

    Conversely places with less armed citizens have HIGHER crime because the risk of serious harm to the crook is minimal.

    Not only is the deturant effect to the guy who ran away, but anybody who reads a paper, watches the news, or talks to somebody who knows of this story.

    When I lived in Northern Maine, such stories from the liberal south of the state would often get greeted with laughter and sayings like "That's a good way to get yourself killed up here!"

    How would you propose diminishing US guns by 100 million (A little under half)?

    Freezing sales would be a pretty stupid idea seeing the records being set right now for guns being sold...also it would freeze people out of the market who have a 2nd Amendment right as much as I do....but they have no right to guns I don't wish to sell.

    You going to start confiscating? To return a phrase "That's a good way to get yourself shot", and you want to show me where somebody gets a right to steal my property?

    Also if you're taking essentially half the guns in America, which half do you take? Let's just say you can actually FIND the guns (90% of America does not require registration nor restricts private sale outside of the basic federal laws) Can I just give you my WWI and WWII era bolt-action rifles, and my wife's hunting shotgun and call it good while I hold onto my home defense guns and conceal carry guns? Or do you want to leave me with just my heirlooms that won't serve much value if my home is invaded, or if I or my wife are attacked on the subway or in the streets of this very violent city?

    And then there's that cuite little elephant in the room of all those great nations that have banned guns and done some much to eliminate them wholesale from society, and yet they still have crime problems....often problems on the rise.

    Of course this all factors into your little "Flow" theory that doesn't have a leg to stand on and has been shown to be untrue time-and-time again.

    This theory also doesn't take into account stopped crimes with firearms that would suddenly become crime, and criminals choosing violent crimes rather than non-violent crime because risk of bodily harm is minimal in an unarmed society....again documented, not fantasy.

    And finally to keep the fantasy bubble floating free, lest your bizaro brain-child die in the light of reality, you won't bother to address any of my questions with exceptions to nebulous answers like "laws need to be made" or "Obama will come up with somthing" et al.

    There's a reason for that, Mike....

  13. Okay Mike,

    Going to call you on the carpet for this one.

    Which 100,000,000 guns do you want America to get rid of?

    The 100,000,000 rifles and shotguns used for hunting?

    Estimates only show about 65,000,000 handguns. Want to get rid of all of them...or just the ones in the criminals hands?

    Now, tell us how you propose to get rid of the 100,000,000 firearms without violating our civil rights.

    Tell us how you are going to get rid of 100,000,000 firearms while providing protection - which you'll note the government--for the home owners subjected to the crimes described in this post and the comments?

    Talk about details Mike, instead of generalities, eh?

    By the way, when you are thinking about how to get rid of 100,000,000 firearms; in 2005 there were only 419,640 and less then 20,000 homicides.

    So are you going to deprive people of 99,560,360 firearms that WEREN'T used in crimes?

  14. Problem with disarmament --besides its unconstitutionality --is that the bad guys can always get a gun. So the only armed people will be the crooks.

    Gun ownership is also protection against corrupt gov't like Sadam's.

    Yes, we'd like to disarm all the terrorists and crooks, but they'll get around the laws because that's what they do!

  15. Weerr'd and Bob, I'm afraid you're absolutely right that I don't know how to accomplish it. Furthermore, I find myself faced with a baffling dilemma. I agree with much of what you say, and feel that you guys who comment here represent the best of the gun-toting community, nevertheless you do not convince me to join your ranks.

  16. Mike,

    While I would be glad to have you join the ranks of gun owners, I'll settle for you to stop calling for the abolition of our ranks.

  17. +1 You don't have to adjust your lifestyle to match ours (ie: Buying guns) but I'll be perfectly happy if you stop calling for us to change our lifestyle to suit your unproven, and frankly wrong-headed ideals.

    Owning a gun is a personal thing and not all will choose to take that step (I know several 2nd Amendment activists who own no guns for one reason or another...and many others who support the right to keep and bear arms, but choose not to exercise said right)

    On the otherhand, Mike, you call for restrictions that will disarm the lawful, and not effect the criminal element, you demonize lawful gun owners for supplying criminals with guns through your nebulous "Flow", you deny the evident high instance of civilian personal defense, and speak of reduction of guns in America which I can only logically assume means confiscation (of course none of your other stances on the issue involve logic, so I take that with a grain of salt)

    So your view on public policy is a direct threat to the rights I hold dear.