El Paso County Jury Rules In Favor Of Family Of Burglar Killed By Business Owner

A Colorado jury has rendered a rare award to the family of a burglar killed in the course of a crime. Verdicts like this one are likely to be used by advocates of Castle Doctrine or “Make-My-Day laws — laws designed to protect citizens from criminal liability in the protection of their homes, or in some cases, their businesses. The El Paso jury awarded roughly $300,000 to the family of Robert Johnson Fox, who was shot in the course of an attempted burglary of a car lot.

Fox broke into Southwest Auto Sales in 2009 with a friend, Brian Corbin. Corbin testified that two armed men came running toward them — one shouting “we’re gonna get you.” Numerous shots were fired and Fox, who went into a small shed, was hit by a .45-caliber rifle bullet that passed through the shed’s door. Notably, Fox had knives in his pockets and one strapped to his ankle, but the police found that he presented no threat to Milanovic or father Ljuban Milanovic and brother-in-law Srdjan Milanovic.

Fox, 20, left a three-year-old daughter who will receive $269,500 for loss of companionship and loss of future earnings. The six-person jury deliberated for over two days before rendering the verdict.

There have relatively few cases of civil liability for the killing or shooting of burglars. The premise of such liability is that you cannot kill or maim for property. However, make-my-day laws statutorily dictate that any entrance into a dwelling constitutes a threat to person not property. This triggers the privilege of self-defense. This protection has been extended to include not just homes but their curtilage. One such case was Katko v. Briney, 183 N.W.2d 657 (Iowa 1971), where the defendant owned an unoccupied farmhouse left to him by his parents. It was repeatedly broken into despite no trespass signs and boards on the windows. Briney then wired the house with a snare gun and shot Katko. He was found liable. While this case also addresses the common law rule against man traps or snare guns, it was premised on the principle that that no property is worth more than a human life. The court held:

“The intentional infliction upon another of harmful or offensive contact or other bodily harm by a means which is intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily harm, for the purpose of preventing or terminating the other’s intrusion upon the actor’s possession of land or chattels, is privileged if, but only if, the actor reasonably believes that the intruder, unless expelled or excluded, is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to the actor or to a third person whom the actor is privileged to protect.”

This case presents a more difficult case for the defense as a business rather than a home. Notably, if Fox was brandishing a knife, the result would likely have been different. However, the witness insisted that the shooting began without any threat. Notably, there is no record of a criminal charge in the case.

We have seen cases, including the Horn case in Texas, where there was no threat to a homeowner, but no criminal charges were brought.

Source: Gazette

Jonathan Turley

75 thoughts on “El Paso County Jury Rules In Favor Of Family Of Burglar Killed By Business Owner

  1. If the cops don’t have a right to kill someone for burglary why should a home owner?
    However, if someone is intending burglary by breaking into a house and not to kill or rape or otherwise harm the person there, why should the onus of determining the actual intent of the intruder be placed on the person defending themselves?

  2. There is something amiss here…Not sure….The decision purports not to be based on sympathy….I am not so sure….I think once it gets to the Sct of Texas it will be over turned….They set aside a Settlement in a civil trial based upon mistake….the Defense got nervous after the Jury asked for specific instructions 2 or three time and then found out that they were going to decide for them and asks the Court to set it aside…. Surprise it was granted by a GOP controlled Sct….

  3. We have had two shootings here in the past few months when homeowners confronted home invaders. One elderly man in his 80s shot the crook, hitting him in the privates at close range with a 12 gauge. From what I have been told, even though it did not kill the crook, it qualified him for a Darwin Award because he has been removed from making contributions to the gene pool, permanently.

    No lawsuits have been filed.

  4. culheath….

    I think what a lot of folks there maybe saying are saying the Killing must stop….El Paso is across from Juarez, Mexico…..I think this was a sympatico decision….But, I was not the attorney for the Plaintiff….. I remember once I got a fair decision in a lower court…it was taken to the COA and reversed….Knew it was useless to take it any further….and believe it or not it was an early case of state backed mortgage fraud…The guy now is doing federal time…..But not before he bilked 100’s of Millions and 1000s lost there homes…..

    Here is a report from the el paso times….

    Juárez nears 5,000 killings

    By Daniel Borunda \ El Paso Times
    Posted: 04/26/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT

    Homicides in the Juárez drug war will soon surpass the 5,000 mark as a vicious conflict continues.
    As of Sunday evening, there have been more than 760 murders this year, raising to 4,992 homicides in the Juárez area since 2008 when a drug cartel war erupted, according to a tally kept by the El Paso Times.
    The war between the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels that began in January 2008 sparked an unprecedented wave of murder, including daytime street shootings, mutilations and massacres.
    By comparison, the number of deaths in Juárez surpasses the 4,393 members of the U.S. military who have died in the Iraq war since 2003.
    The killings in Juárez have been unrelenting.

    http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_14959082

  5. A gross injustice…But…eniobob….If he is smart, I think he might also not touch this one…as the folks complained of are not only immigrants….but foreigners as well….

  6. Property rights vs human rights. We’ve seen this before, some would say, with slavery or abortion.

    Does the make-my-day statute create a presumption of a threat to person that is rebuttable?

  7. I heard a bizarre story the other day told by the man who was involved in the incident. He was a dog breeder, chocolate labs bred for hunting, and one evening, hearing quite a ruckus from his dog kennel, he grabbed his shotgun and went to investigate. He though he would probably encounter a wild animal disturbing his dogs. What he came upon were two teenagers, both armed with hunting rifles (it was deer season). Both started to run away. He pointed his shotgun at them and ordered them to stop, then called the police from his cell phone.

    The police found a set of bolt-cutters on the ground in front of the kennel run and part of the fence had been snipped open. The boys claimed no knowledge of the bolt cutters and said they were simply cutting across the owner’s land on their way home.

    Because he held the boys at gun point while he called the police, the prosecutor was going to charge him with kidnapping. He hired a lawyer, who talked the prosecutor out of that charge and the guy paid a fine instead. The boys weren’t charged with anything.

    I found his story to be a bit over the top but his wife was there through the telling and kept nodding her head in agreement with everything he said.

    Does this story seem likely?

  8. The way I see it if someone enters my home when i’m there, I will use any method available to disable them up to killing them. My reasoning is that if the “burglar” gets the upper hand then there is a very high likelihood that they will kill or severely harm me and mine. If I could drive he/her/them away
    then I would let them leave, even if they carried something of value and call 9/11.

    In this instance though I see wrongdoing and liability upon the owner of the car lot. They were trying to steal something and were caught by the armed owner and son. They ran, rather than attacked. It did not warrant deadly force. The difference to me has to come down to a threat to the homeowner’s lives. Given what we know about home invaders any attempt by them to gain control of the residents, rather than fleeing, has to be viewed as a potential deadly peril that any reasonable person would respond to if able.

  9. What I think distinguishes these folks is that they are Political Refugees…They are from Yugoslavia…Just used to defending property….I think most rational folks as Mike has stated do not view property rights different than human rights when no threat of harm…I think some folks even view commercial property rights different than residential property right…The conundrum…that these burglars found themselves in…early in the morning they did not expect somebody to be there to defend the property….they found out differently….

  10. Martin, I’d say yes – but I’m no lawyer. We’ve deemed corporations to be persons, and from a taxation p.o.v. they are a taxable entity. Now, we’re extending use of deadly force in the protection of your life or an innocent third-party to… an X-Box game console? Alternators and water pumps?
    Jewelry and collectable bobble-heads?

    How do you cite burglar (not armed-robber) Fox, with malice-aforethought, sought to deprive this waterpump from it’s quiet enjoyment of life on a shelf at Southwest Auto Sales? Was said water pump going to be torn limb-from-limb, sold-off for it’s component value, and be melted into ingots – thus depriving it the joy a lifetime of circulating automotive coolant?

    No. The ethnic names of the defendants tells me that some old-country values were at-play. If we gun these fellows down, the others will stay-away.

    The jury sent the right message in my opinion. One that everyone who picks-up a gun needs to have first and foremost:
    There needs to be a viable threat to your physical safety:
    Beaten severely or to death, forced to jump or thrown from height, strangled, raped in this age of HIV, stabbed, shot, etc…

    Said autoparts – faced no such threat. Neither did the store owners.

    That the Milanovics are not behind bars? Texas sensibilities. Don’t attempt this in New York.

  11. If someone wants to reasonably claim self-defense, then shooting another person who is trying to get away would seem to obviate that claim.

  12. Blousie

    I don’t recall all the details, but a rancher in southern Arizona was convicted of a crime (kidnapping I believe) for holding at gun point several illegal immigrants who had trespassed on to his land. The man lived on or close to the Mexican border and (I believe) he claimed that his land was frequently trespassed upon.

  13. I don’t know if the ‘shot in the back while running away” bit is fool proof in terms of the realities. If someone whom I was certain at first was threatening to harm me because they said so and was armed and ready to pull a trigger, but changed in a hurry and ran once they saw me raise my own weapon, am I then culpable if I shoot them?

    At what point is it expected that my concern for my fellow man’s life strong enough to override the adrenaline fueled concern for my own?

    I agree there’s a huge difference between the commercial vs domicile context, but I still think there are problems in either context with perception and normal hormonal reactions to consider. I don’t know that blanket laws can cover such things.

  14. Correction! Sorry, but I was mistaken – it was not a criminal conviction, but a matter of civil liability. The man involved was Robert Barnett of Douglas Az. According to the Douglas newspaper, the 9th Cir found that there was no error in not considering a claim of self defense because Mr. Barnett effectively conceded that he was not at risk.

  15. nal,

    I think that the guy was in a shed and the other felt a bullet pass them by….Ig I was high on meth…and I came to your door….your perception might be different than a Monday morning quarterback…..I have been shot at…I have had a revolver pulled on me and they stated “white boy” you don’t belong here….

    I was 17 or 18 at the time and I never went back…Perception is real when it is your reality….I have never flown a small or large plane….Not have I been trained to do either…If I fly a plane and kill someone should I be charged with a crime…heck yeah….reckless endangerment comes to mind…If I am high on meth and after I take off and decide to jump out of the plane…am I still liable for the damage….

    I wonder if the the co-defendant was charged with anything…like Conspiracy, Felony Murder…Breaking and Entering, Trespass…I wonder what El Paso considers a inherently dangerous felony….For the felony murder rule in all U.S. jurisdictions, see felony murder rule.

    Texas’ Law of Parties is a variation on the common law felony murder rule. Codified in Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 7.02, the law states that a person can be criminally responsible for the actions of another if he or she aids and abets, or conspires with the principal. However, all common law jurisdictions find that an accessory to murder will be criminally responsible. This liability can arise through solicitation, aiding and abetting, conspiracy, or any other doctrine of complicity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_murder_rule_(Texas)

  16. “Perception is real when it is your reality”

    Bingo!

    Is anyone “a reasonable person” when pumped up on adrenaline?

    “I had to kill him, your honor, he scared me nearly to death.”

    How do you sort that?

  17. Swarthmore mom: Thank you! I live in El Paso, Texas, and never heard about this story, thought I was missing big news, especially the part about the six-person jury.

    I believe that when people set out to rob, steal, loot, whatever, they should be aware that not all victims are knowledgeable about the law and that fatal injuries may occur. Here in Texas most people would follow the Rule of the Old West : shoot first, ask questions later.

  18. Mahtso,
    That story sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before? Oh yeah. My Native American relatives used to talk about how White folk always trespassed on their land. Nothing was ever done about it.

  19. Speaking of “perception” – I think that the fact that this was out in a parking lot, not inside a building would play a big role in the jury’s thinking (not necessarily consciously, though.) Yes, technically, climbing over the fence is the same as climbing in a window, but from a “common sense” perspective, the two are very different. Had the burglars gotten into the repair garage or offices and been shot, I suspect that the litigation would have gone differently.

  20. I think that if it was in Colorado like the paper states that it is, this is a much more likely result….As has been stated the argument was framed clearly from the context of the article and as such, it should also be posted on the correction thread SWM as you have pointed out that there is a glaring mistake. I think the professor would even acknowledge your pointing this out to him, but what do I know, SWM.

  21. Erykah,

    Now that’s not true. The white people “fixed” the problem by declaring it was their land. Just like wave after wave of cultural expansions since the second migration out of Africa. Heck, just look in the Torah. The Europeans and the Hebrew tribes even used the same excuse: God wanted them to have the land.

    People in groups are jerks.

  22. Since this was in CO from what I read in the article, the law only allows for armed defense in peoples homes, not businesses. The grand jury decided that the men had done a public service in getting rid of the crook, and did not indict though they could have. In Texas, it is perfectly legal to use deadly force in case of burglary, robbery, theft at night, etc..As I tell my fellow Texans, the rule is if they drop the loot, you CANNOT shoot. You can only shoot to prevent the loss of the property.

    Don Horn acted completely within the parameters of Texas law, but he would have gone to prison if the crook did not decide that the property was worth their lives. The reason is that an undercover cop was a witness to the shooting and he could not have lied his way out.

  23. anonymously yours:
    Get your facts straight. The El Paso being written about is El Paso, Colorado. And how do you know the business owners are political refugees? How do you know they are from Yugoslavia? Perhaps they are of Yugoslav heritage but born here. By the way, there is no Yugoslavia anymore.

  24. Most states require a homeowner to retreat. You can’t shoot a burglar unless he’s about to shoot you. Texas allows deadly force to protect property:
    http://www.texashuntfish.com/app/view/Post/17437/-Castle-law-arms-Texas-homeowners-with-right-to-shoot

    The Republican-controlled Minnesota legislature is contemplating similar legislation.

    I’ve held robbers and burglars at gunpoint until the police arrive.

    1. I’d rented a new house. The first night, a burglar began crawling into my bedroom window immediately over my bed. I shoved my revolver into his throat and told him I’d paint my ceiling with his brains if he moved. My wife called the police and mentioned my having a gun on the burglar. When I heard the police call out to me from the yard, and my wife told me they were real police officers, I removed my weapon from his throat and went outside. The burglar was 17. He “thought the house was empty and wanted to look around.” He was charged with a curfew violation. Neither officer asked about my gun.

    2. In an apartment complex, I returned from visiting a neighbor. I saw an older teenager struggling to open a car door – mine. I pointed a revolver at him, told him it was my car, told him to wait for the police, and sent my wife in to call the police. When the officers arrived, I told them what happened. They asked if my gun was registered, but they did not ask why I had it outdoors. (I had a gun permit, but I don’t know that they knew that.)

    3. On a 1300 mile trip, I’d just re-entered my home state and still had 300 miles of driving. I stopped at a rest area about 3:00 AM. I removed my revolver from my trunk, reloaded it, and put it in a driver-door pocket. My gun permit was valid again after I crossed the state line. I walked to the men’s room. As I returned to my car, a huge man approached me on foot with some story about hitchhiking to this rest stop to meet his brother. I kept walking. As I opened my driver door and put one leg into the car, he squeezed my left shoulder and said, “What if I ask for your wallet, or I beat you up?” With my right hand, I pulled my revolver from the door and said, “What if I blow your head off?” The gun was far enough inside the car that he couldn’t grab for it. When he backed away, I made him put his hands up and kneel. He said, “I’m not kneeling, because you’ll shoot me.” I bluffed that I’d shoot him if he didn’t kneel. He kneeled. Pointing the revolver through the window, I backed out of the parking space and zipped toward the expressway. From a call box, I notified the State Police of the rest stop name and the robber’s description. I never hear anything else.

    4. As a college student, I was midnight manager of a convenience store. The company prohibited employee guns, but I kept a .38 revolver in a reinforced, deep back pants pocket. I’d never shoot a robber over $50, but I intended to protect myself. In the middle of the night, a tall man in a hooded parka came in and told me he had a gun in his jacket pocket. I opened the till and dropped $50 in coins and singles into a paper bag. When he looked into the bag, he said it wasn’t enough. I explained that I could only keep $50 and had to drop bills bigger than $5 into a floor safe. He told me to open it. I explained that I just dropped bills into a slot and didn’t have other access to the safe. He said he’d shoot me if he didn’t get $100. When I said I had no more than $50, he said, “Okay, let’s go to the cooler.” I wasn’t planning to go to the cooler. I said that I had three $20s in my wallet. He should have told me to turn around, so he could take my wallet, but he just said okay. I reached into my back pocket and gripped my .38. I hesitated before pulling it out, so that I wouldn’t hesitate when I pointed it at him. I resolved that I would shoot him. I pulled the gun, thumbed the hammer, and pointed at – – – nothing! He’d dropped to the floor. I scrambled onto the counter, ready to shoot him before he shot me. He was flat on his back, his hand in his right pocket. As I squeezed my trigger, he brought his bare hands out of his jacket pockets and screamed “Don’t shoot. I don’t have a gun!” I eased my finger off the trigger and aimed at the floor to the side of him. He kept telling me he would get up and walk out. I kept screaming that I’d shoot him. I kept him on the floor, until a customer walked in. The payphone was on a wall far removed from the cash register. When the police arrived, I pointed my gun at the ceiling until an officer told me to put it away. The robber was a 17-year-old high school junior. He was unarmed. He said he was only taking me to the cooler to lock me in it. (There was no lock.) Before he could be tried, a homeowner shot and killed him while he was stealing the homeowner’s car battery.

  25. kima 1, August 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    anonymously yours:
    Get your facts straight. The El Paso being written about is El Paso, Colorado. And how do you know the business owners are political refugees? How do you know they are from Yugoslavia? Perhaps they are of Yugoslav heritage but born here. By the way, there is no Yugoslavia anymore.

    ========================

    1) Originally, Professor Turley mistakenly noted that this took place in Texas. (Most of us think of Texas, when we hear “El Paso”…) The reference to Texas was changed to Colorado before you posted your comment at 8:42 pm.

    2) From the Gazette article cited by Professor Turley:

    “The men are refugees who came to the United States from the former Yugoslavia in 1998.”

  26. Thank you Anon Nurse….

    I was was going to set the record straight as it came from the actual article….I not being familiar with the names of the El Paso newspapers was not aware that the gazette was from Colorado….I took it for a fact that the article was correct and it did not mention that it was Colorado…

    I see the banner line has not been changed as I posted this…

    I was thinking and LOL when I read this…..

    kima
    1, August 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm
    anonymously yours:
    Get your facts straight. The El Paso being written about is El Paso, Colorado. And how do you know the business owners are political refugees? How do you know they are from Yugoslavia? Perhaps they are of Yugoslav heritage but born here. By the way, there is no Yugoslavia anymore.

    Apparently, Kima did not take the time to read the article albeit, she or he would have gleaned from the article that they were Yugo citizens and came here in 1998….

  27. Sorry, AY. I didn’t know when you’d be back… and K’s comment rankled me… maybe d/t not enough sleep… a lumpy mattress… found a damn pea under it this morning… ;-)

  28. Ah ha….Now you shall rest better…I am back…I am exhausted…did not sleep worth a dang either…must be the after shocks of the earth quake and hurricane…..

    Thank you for defending me….I shall return the favor…so….now I am busy I have work to doing….going to hide another pea….

  29. AY,
    :-)

    And I know that you can defend yourself…, but sometimes I just can’t keep my mouth shut…

    Rest well tonight… (Note to self: Check mattress before retiring… ;-) )

  30. AN,

    Have we met before under another nom de plume….If not, I am pleased to have met you under this one….and thanks for the assist….Sometimes, I feel like its just me…I do appreciates culheaths and OS assists today as well….

  31. AY,

    No, it’s not just you… — who doesn’t need an assist from time to time? And AN is my one and only nom de plume here…, but I, too, am happy to have met up with you… Well… off to dreamland…

  32. “People in groups are jerks.”

    Gyges,

    Forgive me the temerity to add to that formulation:

    People in groups are jerks, who are led by scoundrels/

  33. Dennis,

    Don’t take this personally but you have led a charmed life and one that seems to have attracted some dicey situations. I’m in my 60’s. I worked for
    many, many years in what were considered the most dangerous areas of NYC, both day and night, alone. I’ve also extensively traveled to every State in the continental US, except for Texas and Oklahoma. Spent many years camping in wildernesses all over the US. I’ve only experienced two attacks, both in upscale areas and had a gun pointed at me once, never robbed.

    The gun incident happened when I saw six teenagers mugging an old man at the bottom of steps leading to a subway. I was bigger than all of them and
    and took a step down thinking that with my momentum I could scatter them. One drew a gun, motioned for me to back off, which I did. They stole the mans’ wallet and ran off. Then I went to help him and had the station clerk call the police. If I had a gun I don’t doubt I could have drawn it, but the old man probably would have been killed in the shootout.

    The second occurrence happened when I was walking home from a bar at Two A.M.. I passed a group of five teenagers drinking beer on the sidewalk.
    I was about six inches taller and thirty pounds heavier than the biggest one, since they seemed around fourteen. One of them punched me in the forehead, which I guess was because he had to extend himself to hit me.
    I looked him in the eye and said “Are you crazy?” and walked off with them staring at me. The stupidity of the attack pissed me off so much that if I had a gun someone might have been shot and while I can fight, five on one is not good odds, except for the very skilled.

    Now I’m wondering if in a sense there is something about owning guns that in some way attracts attacks. I don’t know if that’s valid, but I personally wouldn’t own one, though I’m a good shot. That said there are many other strategies for self defense and being a street smart City Boy I think of them in advance.

  34. Mike S.,

    “while I can fight, five on one is not good odds, except for the very skilled.”

    Would that include Chuck Norris? roflmao

  35. http://www.hg3law.com/blog/murder-trial-opens-man-shot-intruder/
    Here’s another story of Texas justice.
    A guy shoots a 19 year old five times, in the back and on the ground, 40 yards from his house, and is not convicted due to the “castle doctrine”.
    The kid was visiting his sister whose house was next door to the shooter and, as in many subdivisions, looked similar.
    In testimony, it came out the shooter saw the sisters lights on at 2 AM and thought she must be “up to no good”, showing the shooters animosity towards the family.
    The wife wakes the shooter at around 2:30, says someone’s in the house.
    The guy picks up his glock, runs outside and shoots the drunk college student in the street, 5 times. Forensics say the shots were fired in the back and lying on the ground. Forensics also show no evidence the kid was in the house and the couples story was inconsistent on that claim.
    Two trials later, aquittal is granted.
    If you think you hear something, you can run out to the street and shoot someone in the back in Texas.
    Castle Doctrine.

  36. I guy I knew was a jewelry store owner who was robbed by three young black guys armed with guns. They decided to not leave a witness at which point he got his pistol and killed all three of them. This was in L.A. a number of years ago.

    Unfortunately, those kids should have read their US history better and understood that old guys that age had PLENTY of experience killing other armed men. My friend was a WWII veteran of the 10th Mountain Div and had lots of time fighting in the Italian mountains against some of the best killers in the world. Most of that fighting was up close and personal hand to hand combat. He could have gone up against the LAPD in similar numbers and come out on top. Needless to say, he was thrilled to find he had not lost his skills.

  37. Very interesting! I read all of Dennis’ stories. They seem like generally good examples of, I guess we could say, an individual using a handgun to reduce the severity of criminality. (“crime” as a whole wasn’t prevented in any of those instances, as at least one crime was committed in each of them, but additional crimes probably didn’t happen.) So far so good.

    But then there’s the last sentence: “Before he could be tried, a homeowner shot and killed him while he was stealing the homeowner’s car battery.”

    To my mind, that last situation – a human life lost over nothing – wipes out all the complicated “good” described in Dennis’ situations.

    Having a gun in the home or in a retail business to counter burglaries is it’s own complicated issue. But if someone can make a coherent argument for the specific number of used car batteries that a human life is worth, I’d be interested to see that argument.

    Given that Canada has a comparable number of guns per capita as the US (possibly more?) and has a different take on laws related to guns, I’m curious what the laws are like there regarding guns in the home or when they can be used in a commercial break-in.

  38. Suzi Drake
    1, August 30, 2011 at 11:56 am

    If you think you hear something, you can run out to the street and shoot someone in the back in Texas.
    Castle Doctrine.
    —————————————-

    I don’t know what kind of lunatic parent would allow their kid to come to the US as an exchange student:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshihiro_Hattori

  39. “Would that include Chuck Norris? roflmao”

    Probably about 30 years and forty pounds ago. As you also know I’m not against people’s right to bear arms, but here’s the problem. Carrying a gun gives someone a false sense of superiority and security. That is the antithesis of “street smarts” which is to be always well aware of your surroundings. Overconfidence always leads to mistakes as does male macho.

    Ironically, I think there is that same problem with some martial artists, who may be quite capable, but could be too over confident when it comes to using weapons. To me the greatest action scene of all time in a movies is in the first Indiana Jones one where this guy is brandishing two scimitars and glaring at Harrison Ford and so Ford just shoots him. Self defense is always the matter of having a plan and then improvising as the situation evolves. The optimal plan is just to get the hell out of there, even if someone is questioning your manhood.

  40. Mike, I tried to find the video and could not. The incident took place in England and was caught on security video camera. Seems these two cross-dressing guys were confronted and assaulted by some hooligans on the street. Bad idea. The “sissies” turned out to be professional cage fighters in drag. The result was predicable and rather messy.

    Some folks need to learn how to pick better targets.

  41. “I guy I knew was a jewelry store owner who was robbed by three young black guys armed with guns.”

    Arthur,

    Any reason the race of the 3 guys has bearing on the story?

  42. Well Mike,

    Don’t you know, they all look alike and are armed bearing thugs…Geeze…they teach that in racism 101….

    The above was meant merely in sick humor….

  43. OS,

    I had a cousin who in his late teenage years was somewhat of a pety criminal. He told me this story and I found it funny because my cousin also fought a few professional fights. He and an accomplice decided to rob a homosexual man they met at a bar. The agreed to have sex with him. He drove them out to the country in his car. they all got out and when they did they attacked him. As they walked towards him he said something like “Guys
    the only thing I like as much as sex is fighting”. He put both of them in the hospital for weeks and since it was in the Catskills, they weren’t first found for more than a day. That’s the problem with macho toughness and overconfidence, there is always someone tougher than you think you are.
    Had I not been a pitifully slow runner in my youth, I’d have had appreciably less fights.

  44. You put the onus on the law abiding citizen and NOT the criminal who IS the one who has decided that a car battery is worth his life. Unfortunately, in this case, the crook guessed wrong about being able to get away with his crime.

  45. Any reason the race of the 3 guys has bearing on the story?

    The reason is that they were black. When a white guy commits a crime, I also like to say that too.It is customary when giving descriptions of crooks to state their race and what they were wearing. I guess that we should edit out race from all police reports too now to be politically correct.

  46. I have a suggestion for news stories and comments on crime from now on. We will simply have a line that says, A______ person of the _____ sex committed a robbery and was shot dead. I guess it is OK to malign the male sex by mentioning the fact that they were male? Seems a little sexist to me to mention that fact too.

  47. Tomdarch said, “But then there’s the last sentence: ‘Before he could be tried, a homeowner shot and killed him while he was stealing the homeowner’s car battery’.”

    Yes, this is a poor example of gun use. The man claimed he found the kid stealing his battery. He claims he pointed a .357 magnum at the kid and told him to wait for the police. Allegedly the boy reached into his jacket, and the man fired. A grand jury voted for no bill. There was a persistent rumor that the man just shot him, and a neighbor suggested the “reached into his jacket” embellishment.

    In my case, I’d have let the store robber walk out – after I knew he had no gun. I’d have let the car burglar walk also. However, I recognize that pointing a gun creates a whole new world of possibilitites.

  48. Mike Spindell said, “Now I’m wondering if in a sense there is something about owning guns that in some way attracts attacks.”

    I think someone’s violence toward a victim might escalate if they knew the victim was armed. In my case, none of my attackers knew I had a gun. Once the attack begins, the victim’s use of a gun can also escalate the situation. I never wanted to rely on my vindication to shoot. I prayed each of my perpetrators would just stay still until the police arrived or I’d departed.

    Some gun-owners intervene unwisely. If I were a patron of a restaurant being robbed, I’d sit still – unless an employee or customer became endangered.

    Forty years after the fact, I dream about that kid on the floor. I live with the fact that I was going to shoot him before he shot me. I was already squeezing my trigger – slowly for accuracy – when I saw his empty hand. Had my finger finished its squeeze, I might have killed him. By the time the police arrived, my hair and shirt were sweat-stained. I quit my job when the day manager came in – and took a job as an armed guard in an empty factory. It seemed safer.

  49. “You put the onus on the law abiding citizen and NOT the criminal who IS the one who has decided that a car battery is worth his life. Unfortunately, in this case, the crook guessed wrong about being able to get away with his crime.”

    Arthur,

    To me if you shoot someone stealing your car battery, you are not a law-abiding citizen, even if you get away with it. You seem to see things in quite draconian terms. I smoked pot up until 1980. Sometimes because it was convenient I would buy in quantity. If the police raided my home I could have been charged with a felony and sent to jail for years, even though I never sold it. Try reading “Les Miserables” because from the way you write I think
    you would find the policeman heroic.

    Since the crook guessed wrong and by your standards seemingly deserved to be shot, than what punishments should be given to the Investment Bankers that criminally ruined our economy. From what you write I would assume that they should be tortured first, before being put to death.

    “It is customary when giving descriptions of crooks to state their race and what they were wearing. I guess that we should edit out race from all police reports too now to be politically correct.”

    Arthur, you beg the question. you were relating a story where race played no role, not filing a police report where it does.

  50. Cheney is all for Torture….for other people other than US Citizens….Hmmmmm…I wonder if ICE catches an illegal….is it ok to torture them?

  51. “Forty years after the fact, I dream about that kid on the floor.’

    Dennis,

    If all those licensed to carry guns were like you it would be a different matter. As you yourself point out, in many cases the gun carrier is irresponsible. It is a difficult problem any way you slice it. What I personally believe though is that being armed may indeed cause some immature, though of age, to use it foolishly. I believe the same about martial arts practitioners. In situations that involve life and death, or fear of same, sometimes the deadliest peril is to the one feeling secure in their armament and/or training.

  52. AY,

    Since you brought it up:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/31/lawrence-wilkerson-dick-cheney-book_n_943217.html

    “Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Colin Powell during his tenure as secretary of state, tells ABC News that former vice president Dick Cheney “fears being tried as a war criminal.”

    The suggestion from Wilkerson coincides with the release of Cheney’s new book, In My Time, which came out on Tuesday.

    Wilkerson signaled to Democracy Now! that he believes Bush administration officials should be held accountable when it comes to matters such as the authorization of warrantless wiretapping and the use of harsh interrogation techniques for terror suspects.

    “And I’d be willing to testify, and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due,” he said. “And I think that explains the aggressiveness, to a large extent, of the Cheney attack and of the words like ‘exploding heads all over Washington.’ This is a book written out of fear, fear that one day someone will ‘Pinochet’ Dick Cheney.’

    (Augusto Pinochet, former Chilean dictator, was arrested for war crimes.)”

    And, yes, let’s get down to the business of exposing what’s taking place in the U.S…. things for which Dick Cheney is, at least, partially responsible.

  53. Texas seems like an unlikely place for this kind of ruling
    and it wouldn’t surprise me if it gets overturned. Along
    with owning a firearm and then using it ostensibly for self
    defense carries a certain amount of responsibility. Law
    enforcement officers are taught to only use deadly force if
    their lives are in imminent danger and are trained how to
    respond in these kinds of situations. Placing that kind of life or death responsibility in the hands of the average citizen may be more than he or she can handle.

  54. I love your statement that you may not have violated the law, but you are still NOT a law abiding citizen! That has to be one for the books! I find it absurd that those who break the law knowing of possible consequences should be exempt from those consequences. Why bother with democracy and laws at all? We should just do as we please.

    As for investment bankers, I think that they should be in prison and all their money taken from them. THAT will be worse than torture for them. As a matter of fact, I would like to see the whole class of such an occupation be banned.

    Most stories get taken from police reports or use them, and so it is NOT the job of the reporter or editor to delete major items such as identifying marks, race, sex, etc. I guess you also object to stories that cite the athletic team some player who is arrested plays for. I hardly think that who a person plays for is relevant too, but since you hate jocks, whites, and others who you disapprove of, it is OK to cite them. I have no problem with saying who the team the guy plays for, or what they do for a living, or their race or sex. I think that most people are smart enough to realize that NOT all who play for a team or are of the same race are the same as the crook. Unfortunately, YOU seems to be unable to do that, but your disability should not dictate how stories are writtern.

  55. I know this article started about Colorado. But since it veered to Texas, I just read at http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/shooting-hogs-helicopters-fishing-hands-five-perry-approved-170245980.html that new laws take place in Texas next Thursday.

    It will be legal to shoot hogs from a helicopter.

    It will be legal to keep a gun in your car while you’re at work.

    The speed limit will be 85.

    Texas strip clubs that serve liquor will charge a $5 pole tax.

  56. “I love your statement that you may not have violated the law, but you are still NOT a law abiding citizen!”

    Exactly where did I make that statement you attribute to me?

    “As for investment bankers, I think that they should be in prison and all their money taken from them. THAT will be worse than torture for them.”

    Nice sentiment but how does it relate to shooting someone stealing a car battery being justified?

    “Most stories get taken from police reports or use them, and so it is NOT the job of the reporter or editor to delete major items such as identifying marks, race, sex, etc”

    Are you a reporter or editor?

    “I guess you also object to stories that cite the athletic team some player who is arrested plays for. I hardly think that who a person plays for is relevant too”

    Where did I say I objected to citing a team in a player’s arrest story?

    “but since you hate jocks, whites, and others who you disapprove of, it is OK to cite them.”

    Why do you assume I hate jocks. I love all sports and have played many of them extensively. I am white, why would you think I hate them. I hate bigotry.

    “I think that most people are smart enough to realize that NOT all who play for a team or are of the same race are the same as the crook. Unfortunately, YOU seems to be unable to do that, but your disability should not dictate how stories are writtern.”

    You seem blithely unaware of the nature and history of bigotry, especially the fact that politicians get elected as “law and order” candidates which is
    code for suppression of minorities, due to the assumption that they are mostly criminals. Beyond that though as cited above, you seem to have a deficit in reading comprehension, in that you were unable to discern my meaning and responded falsely due to that. Finally, I merely pointed out something in what you wrote and I didn’t “dictate” anything.

    .

  57. Noah V,

    I too read that, boars are a problem not only in Texas but pert near the entire SE US….they get big…up to nearly a ton…and mean…and destructive…

  58. Those laws are NOT just approved by Perry, but most Texans since they are mostly common sense ones. Hogs are wildly out of control in the state and need to be killed off FAR more than they have been to date. I approve of shooting hogs from aircraft in Texas, while I am very much opposed to doing the same against wolves. There is NO reason to hunt wolves from an aircraft since they are not so numerous that they are any kind of a threat to humans. They DO prey on livestock to some degree, but the ranchers are too damn cheap to use an age old rememdy, shepherds. So they want to make ALL of their stock safe by killing off all the wolves.

    Many Texans have concealed weapons permits, so this is no big deal to let them keep their guns in their personal vehicles, again concealed. As for driving at 85 only those who do not live in the west would be against such a thing. The distances between cities and towns is massive out west and the roads are straight as an arrow, so this is a common sense speed. As for fishing without a pole, we do not have a dearth of catfish so no problem there either.

    The pole tax might run up against the Constitutional amendment against poll taxes, but the courts have ruled that they do not, so I have no problem with that one either. The REAL problem is that the money will be siphoned off from its stated purpose since Perry is an expert at bait and switch.

  59. To me if you shoot someone stealing your car battery, you are not a law-abiding citizen, even if you get away with it

    In Texas you definitely can do so since you will be following the law, thus you ARE a law abiding citizen. Call such a person a murderer, and you can and will find yourself on the wrong end of a suit for slander or libel and YOU WILL be guilty and pay accordingly. Your statement reminds me of a statement a conservative used when I pointed out that Houston is NOT a sanctuary ctiy since there are NO such policies in place for the city. Her comment was I don’t care if there are no written policies or facts, they are STILL a sanctuary city! Sort of says why juries in Texas are pretty bad when it comes to finding people innocent. If you are charged and on trial, you are obviously guilty, no matter what the evidence is. Your statement is of like kind, I don’t care what the law is you are still a crook for following the law.

    I was using your logic since you feel that if you write that a crook was black, you are obviously a racist. That was the same kind of logic I used tongue in cheek for saying you hate jocks etc.. All people who hunt, like guns, and think that armed self defense of property or persons is good are NOT racist conservatives
    .Where did I say I objected to citing a team in a player’s arrest story?

    I rather assumed that since it is verboten to mention a persons race, that mentioning who they work for or play ball for would not be relevant to any crime story. I fail to see why mentioning the sex or who a crook works for is relevant either. Maybe you can explain this disparity. My fault for thinking you would be consistent.

    Again since some politicians use some rants about law and order harldly means that lawlessness and disorder is a GOOD thing. The same goes for patriotism. I am all for it, and just because there are crooks who wrap themselves in the flag does NOT mean people should spit on it. I think that you need to think a bit more rather than reacting vicerally against things.

  60. “In Texas you definitely can do so since you will be following the law, thus you ARE a law abiding citizen.”

    Again a deficit in reading comprehension. I understand what the law IS. I disagree with it in this case and the shooter does not meet my definition of a
    “law abiding citizen”, merely a creepy killer. You on the other hand approve and blame the victim.

    “Call such a person a murderer, and you can and will find yourself on the wrong end of a suit for slander or libel and YOU WILL be guilty and pay accordingly.”

    If I state that in my opinion alone this act was a murder, then I’m guilty of nothing.

    “Your statement is of like kind, I don’t care what the law is you are still a crook for following the law.”

    My statement was my opinion of such laws, this case in particular and being cognizant of the law was in no way advocating any sort of further disposition in this case. That is what a discussion is about, though in your inability to read beyond your own pre-judgment you interpreted my words in light of your own belief system.

    “I was using your logic since you feel that if you write that a crook was black, you are obviously a racist.”

    I was asking you a rather obvious question as to your need to use the persons race in explaining a simple story that didn’t seem to have any racial connotation. You answered in embarrassment and tried to liken yourself to an impartial reporter. Your embarrassment was obviously due to the fact that there was no particular good reason for you to have mentioned a person’s race in relating your tale and you know it.

    “I was using your logic since you feel that if you write that a crook was black, you are obviously a racist. That was the same kind of logic I used tongue in cheek for saying you hate jocks etc.. All people who hunt, like guns, and think that armed self defense of property or persons is good are NOT racist conservatives”

    In truth you don’t have a clue about what I think, what you have is a set of assumptions/suppositions, based on stereotypes. Arthur, you don’t know me. If someone entered my house and threatened my family and myself, I would hurt or kill them if I had to and have no qualms about it. However, if I caught a burglar who was scared and ready to run away, I’d let him do so (without my property of course) and then call the police. I don’t think in stereotypes, but based on your writings you do.

    Your stereotypes are that those you deem “liberals” (which I am not) are sort of effete intellectuals who think themselves above most people. I like
    sports, can carouse with the best of them (in my younger days), have good outdoor skills, watch NASCAR and when I drink it isn’t beer but Tequila.

    “I rather assumed that since it is verboten to mention a persons race, that mentioning who they work for or play ball for would not be relevant to any crime story.”

    Again this is from you defensiveness and misapprehension. It is proper to mention someone’s race in a proper context. In the context of your tale it was gratuitous and therefore somewhat suspect. I’ve never played the
    “political correctness game”, which is why some leftists detest me, but you are aware, aren’t you, that the term “political correctness” stems from certain racist’s trying to defend their own words by deflecting criticism against the critic.

  61. Actually, the owners of this shop had been broken into twice before they shot the burglar. One of the big problems the shop owners had was that they bragged to the police that they were gonna get the next burglar that tries to rob them. This was BEFORE the attempted robbery. The law in Colorado is clear. There is a make my day law for homes, not businesses. What these guys did was against the law.

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