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Thread: 'Looking Kindly on Vigilante Justice.' More on Joe Horn, this from TIME.com

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    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...,00.html?imw=Y
    By NATHAN THORNBURGH
    The 911 tape offered up a few clues that Joe Horn had every intention of killing the men who were breaking into the house next door. For example, there was that time, six minutes into the phone call, when he told the dispatcher, "I'm gonna kill 'em."

    And "kill 'em" he did, stepping outside his house to shoot the men with three shotgun blasts in the back as they retreated across his lawn with a bag of stolen goods from next door. In today's overheated debate about gun rights, this marksmanship made Horn, 62, a hero to many. When a small group came out to his home in Pasadena, Texas, to protest the killings, they were shouted down and run off by a far larger group of bikers and residents yelling "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" as if they were on the set of The Jerry Springer Show.

    Grand juries in Texas are sealed affairs, so no one really knows what goes on in their deliberations. But on Monday, a Harris County grand jury refused to indict Horn for any crimes related to the November 2007 shooting. It's the kind of decision that makes you wonder if the jurors themselves were chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" during deliberations. The decision was celebrated by Horn's defenders, of course. More than anything, though, it was called a victory for the Castle Doctrine.

    The Castle Doctrine is a right-to-defend-yourself law that has been sweeping the country: about half the states have some version of the law, most passed within the past three years. Texas passed its version last fall. It is popular in part because it's a hybrid of two simple and deeply American concepts: your home is your castle, and you have a right to defend yourself and your property. The laws have different details and sometimes different names from place to place (some states go for a more macho name — Stand Your Ground — while others prefer the snarkier Make My Day).

    The flavor of the law basically shifts the burden of proving self-defense from the shooter to the state. In places like Mississippi and Texas, the law says that citizens have no duty to retreat from any confrontation anywhere when threatened; milder versions exist in states like Connecticut and Colorado, where they cover confrontations only in homes or businesses. That's the version that will go into effect in Ohio in September. Democratic governor Ted Strickland signed the bill in June, against the wishes of a number of state law-enforcement groups.

    In Ohio as elsewhere, cops and prosecutors attack the law as superfluous at best: judges and juries rarely convict people for attacking intruders, and similar statutes have been on the books for decades in many places. Texas, for example, has a lot of other laws that protect homeowners in similar situations, some on the books, some not. As Shannon Edmonds, a lobbyist for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, put it: "There's an unwritten rule in Texas courthouses: It ain't against the law to kill a son of a bitch." Horn clearly thought the Castle Doctrine applied. He brought it up on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. "The laws have been changed in this country since September the first, and you know it and I know it," he said.

    The passage of new Castle Doctrine bills goes over well with voters, politicians and people like Horn because of a wide perception that criminals are still given far too many rights at the expense of law-abiding (and gun-owning) citizens. As Horn said in his 911 call, he wasn't going to let those robbers get away. For many, the recent Supreme Court decision striking down Washington's gun ban was seen as a rare respite from a long string of legal attacks on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. The Horn decision was hailed as another rare victory.

    But whether it was the Castle Doctrine or a prior Texas law that most influenced its decision, the case may be a Pyrrhic victory for gun-rights advocates. As these laws spread across the country, the public will want to know what effect they'll have in their communities. Will they make people more secure? Or will they create some kind of dystopic Deadwood, where the law lands on the side of those who shoot first? The laws are written so vaguely that the answer lies largely in the interpretation. It's up to juries to set appropriate boundaries — hopefully ones that favor precedent, instead of completely rewriting the rulebook on lethal confrontations.

    The Castle Doctrine was also invoked in a shooting a month ago 250 miles away from the Horn incident, in Kaufman County, Texas. An elderly man picked up a gun and shot — out his front window — at an "intruder" who turned out to be his 15-year-old neighbor, who was crossing his lawn at night with a friend. The boy survived, but as his friend's mother drove them to the hospital, they were hit by a drunk driver, killing the mother and leaving both boys with even more injuries. The car accident wasn't the old man's fault; the shooting most definitely was. County law-enforcement officials initially declined to press charges, citing the Castle Doctrine. Ultimately, they recommended the case to a grand jury, which did, in fact, indict him.

    This all makes for terrible p.r. for Texas as well. The state has long bristled at its gun-nut reputation. Texans would like the world to see them as they see themselves — as responsible gun owners, not itchy-fingered vigilantes. Cases like the Kaufman County shooting don't help.

    In late May, I finished a gun-safety course in Nevada in order to get my multistate concealed weapons permit. The instructional component is basically a PowerPoint presentation illustrated with graphic pictures and a video of what can happen to you and your flesh if you mishandle a firearm — something like An Inconvenient Truth for the NRA crowd. What really caught my attention, though, was an off-the-curriculum discussion about when I should use the weapon I would have the right to carry. "Bare fear doesn't justify self-defense," the instructor told me. "Only reasonable fear." This man, a gun dealer whose whole Weltanschauung seemed largely based on his right to defend himself with lethal force if need be, was very clear on the matter: you can't go blasting away at things that go bump in the night.

    If the Castle Doctrine were interpreted with the kind of sobriety and restraint espoused by my instructor (and responsible gun owners), it would be a good law. But by celebrating its most overreaching interpretations, those who make a hero out of Joe Horn will ultimately only succeed in ensuring that it isn't.

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    Regular Member AZkopper's Avatar
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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    ...as if they were on the set of The Jerry Springer Show...

    ...It's the kind of decision that makes you wonder if the jurors themselves were chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" during deliberations..
    ...dystopic Deadwood, where the law lands on the side of those who shoot first...
    ...The state has long bristled at its gun-nut reputation...
    Wow, he's not biased or anything.....

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    This came on the news several days ago and my dad said he thought Joe Horn was wrong.

    I only said to him "If i was on the jury, i'd find him not guilty." I could not bring myself to punish a man for standing up to evil.

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    Guess what. There is a sure fire way to make sure you dont get killed because of the Castle Doctrine...... Quite ******* Breaking the Law....

    Stop Robbing

    Stop Raping

    Stop Breaking In



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    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php...1&catnum=1

    U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has called for a congressional inquiry into the state's most populous county, saying recent events show that its legal system "has been tarnished."

    The Democrat primarily cited a recent Harris County grand jury decision not to indict a suburban homeowner who shot to death two men he suspected of burglarizing a neighbor's home.



    "As far as many are concerned, justice was not rendered," said Jackson Lee, speaking at news conference Sunday. "There needs to be a question about how the case was presented. Was there no basis for this individual to be tried by a jury of his peers?"


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    Funny thing is I don't know if the Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground laws were involved in this case. I though it was more the Texas law about protection of property rather then CD or SYG and don't think it would have worked in other states.

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    The weanie "Libs" don't have ANY solution to criminal conduct, so they posture and whine about people "taking the law into their own hands ". Well Mr. Horn DID DO something to reduce crime - and those two VIOLENT criminal perps won't be preying on society anymore. They would have seriously hurt or murdered some homeowner eventually. Job well done , Mr Horn ! Shiela Jackson Lee always is a "race baiter".

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    Regular Member MetalChris's Avatar
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    The Castle Doctrine was also invoked in a shooting a month ago 250 miles away from the Horn incident, in Kaufman County, Texas. An elderly man picked up a gun and shot — out his front window — at an "intruder" who turned out to be his 15-year-old neighbor, who was crossing his lawn at night with a friend. The boy survived, but as his friend's mother drove them to the hospital, they were hit by a drunk driver, killing the mother and leaving both boys with even more injuries. The car accident wasn't the old man's fault; the shooting most definitely was. County law-enforcement officials initially declined to press charges, citing the Castle Doctrine. Ultimately, they recommended the case to a grand jury, which did, in fact, indict him.
    So what's the problem? The crazy old man was indicted, so why does it matter that they "initially declined to press charges"?

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    MetalChris wrote:
    The Castle Doctrine was also invoked in a shooting a month ago 250 miles away from the Horn incident, in Kaufman County, Texas. An elderly man picked up a gun and shot — out his front window — at an "intruder" who turned out to be his 15-year-old neighbor, who was crossing his lawn at night with a friend. The boy survived, but as his friend's mother drove them to the hospital, they were hit by a drunk driver, killing the mother and leaving both boys with even more injuries. The car accident wasn't the old man's fault; the shooting most definitely was. County law-enforcement officials initially declined to press charges, citing the Castle Doctrine. Ultimately, they recommended the case to a grand jury, which did, in fact, indict him.
    So what's the problem? The crazy old man was indicted, so why does it matter that they "initially declined to press charges"?
    It would be more helpful if there was a time frame given between the incident and when it was referred to a grand jury... The point might have been that he was only charged after several days of public scrutiny. But unfortunately the author was too busy pushing an agenda to properly address the issue.

    Now, the question I have, is whether it would be distasteful to post the Kaufman County incident in "True Tales of Self-Defense"...

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    I do not condon shooting ANY man in the back.

    But had I been on the Jury, I would have voted Joe Horn "Not Guilty".

    He's not a Hero in my book.



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    I agree, Dustin. While based on Texas law as far as I understand it I couldn't have voted to indict, and while I don't think that what Horn did was immoral or unethical, I still do not consider him a hero and would not have done what he did.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    We must continue to stand up for our rights or they will degrade to the point where the UK is now. A good example of how far they've let the rights of citizens fall below those of criminals can be found here:

    To summarize, a shop owner saw some thugs breaking the window in another shop and he stopped them and restrained one until the police arrived. The crimanal was released with a warning and the "vigilante" shop owner was charged with assault and battery.

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    Regular Member MetalChris's Avatar
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    OC-Glock19 wrote:
    We must continue to stand up for our rights or they will degrade to the point where the UK is now. A good example of how far they've let the rights of citizens fall below those of criminals can be found here:

    To summarize, a shop owner saw some thugs breaking the window in another shop and he stopped them and restrained one until the police arrived. The crimanal was released with a warning and the "vigilante" shop owner was charged with assault and battery.
    I lived in England for 3 years (from May 04-May 07) and the day I left I cried for joy. The British people have allowed their rights to erode into non-existance. It is really sad to see the current state of what was the supreme world superpower.

    We're not far behind.

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    I have very little sympathy for a population that allows themselves to be legislated to the point of slavery. To give up your right of self defense is suicide. Perhaps they will have thier own revolution agaist Brittish tyrrany (it will only be 232 years too late).

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    OC-Glock19 wrote:
    We must continue to stand up for our rights or they will degrade


    Which is why I would vote Joe, Not Guilty.

    Behind the curtain though, I'd smack him !

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