Friday, July 4, 2008

Since When Did Criminals Become the Victims?

For those of you that don’t know the story I’m about to discuss, a guy from Houston, or there abouts, shot 2 buglers dead, who had broken into his neighbor’s house and were stealing from him while the shooter was on the phone with 911. His name is Joe Horn, and last week the Harris county grand jury decided not to indict him in their deaths. As they chose correctly in my opinion.

What I’d like to talk about today is the terrible perspective written about in the following article written on CNN. If you’d like to read the article in it’s entirety, here it is. Otherwise I will post and address specific quotes that rile me up below.

“Yet while folks revel in Horn's actions, it really does call for a moment of reflection about the seriousness of taking someone's life."

What about the seriousness of burgulary? What about the seriousness of drug dealing? What about the seriousness of being in this country illegally?

“But I just don't see exactly what there is to celebrate. Two men -- both illegal immigrants and one of them with a conviction for selling drugs -- are dead for stealing some personal effects, and we are supposed to welcome this vigilante justice?”

Does this mean you think we should lay out the red carpet for illegal immigrants, convicted drug dealers, and burglars? At what point do you plan to hold these guys responsible for their actions? Why is Horn the only responsible party here? They are dead because they broke into the wrong house. They are dead because they are in this country illegally and chose to repeatly break laws. Not because of vigilate justice. If someone breaks into my house, damn straight I won’t hesitate to blow them away. And If I see them breaking into my neighbor’s house, I hope the cops get there before they start to leave. I hope I’ll have the courage to stop them, follow them or something so they don’t get away with it. I don’t care if Joe shot them. He stopped them. They shouldn’t have put him in that position to begin with.

“Yes, the law was on Horn's side, whether he knew that or not when he fired. But when does our core decency come in when we make such life-altering decisions in a snap? Don't you think making the choice to kill someone should be based on something more dire, such as if your life is in danger?”

“Core decency!!!”…the criminals didn’t exhibit “core decency” and you want to talk about the “core decency” of Horn protecting himself and his neighbors? What was he supposed to do, go out there and tell them when to take his things when they are finished? And even help them load the truck? Is that what you mean by “core decency?” And who’s do say his life wasn’t in danger? Just because they were robbing his neighbor and not him at the moment, doesn’t mean that they weren’t coming to his house next. And when you see someone doing illegal behavior that egregious, you can’t assume that they are peaceful criminals, because by definition, criminals are disturbing the peace. At what point would you say it’s appropriate to interpret your own life being in danger? He was a witness, they could have left and come back in the middle of the night, or followed him one day to take his life. “Something more dire!!!!” Is it appropriate to pull the trigger before or after they put a gun to your head? REALLY!!!

“At no point was Horn's life in danger. We also know that his neighbor was out of town and no one was at home. So don't try to bring up the various hypothetical situations that could alter the basic facts of the story.”

And you know that the burglers knew that his neighbor was out of town how? And so Joe Horn should have also known this to be a fact too, and should have said, “oh it’s ok, my neighbor’s out of town, the insurance will cover his stolen property, I’ll just let them walk off with his stuff and hope they don’t come to my house next,” while cowering in a corner. Are we supposed to put signs out on our lawns when we’re out of town letting criminals know that it’s ok to hit our house because we’ve instructed the neighbors not to worry about you hitting their house since they are home? Meanwhile the premiums on our homeowners insurance start to creep up as they have to pay out more and more claims.

“Two sorry men who already broke the law by coming in the country illegally chose to hasten their fate by robbing the wrong house with the wrong neighbor watching.”

Do you mean they were sorry people because they were criminals, or they were sorry because they got picked the wrong house with the wrong neighbor watching?

“Our choices have life-altering -- or life-ending -- consequences.”

“But Horn could have chosen differently. He didn't have to fire on the men. He could have heeded the advice of the dispatcher and not gone outside with his shotgun. He could have left apprehending criminals to the folks empowered to do so -- the police.”

So Horn should have chosen differently, not the criminals? Really? How is it that YOU get paid to write crap like this? I thank God that there are decent people out there who will come to the aid of their neighbors and even strangers, risking their own lives to help others. Sure he could have chosen differently, but had the criminals been deported when they were busted for selling drugs, had then chosen not to break into someone’s house and steal their things, Horn wouldn’t have even had to make this choice. But yes, the criminals are the real victims here. Not the guy who’s house got broken into. Oh right, but he shouldn’t have chosen to be out of town right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your bit about choice and decision making at the end reminds me of a presentation given to my class in college. We discussed a sexual assault situation and collectively came up with arguments as to whether or not the alleged victim should be believed. Interestingly at the end the speakers pointed out that every argument we made began with "she this" and "she that" - not once was a direct stance or even a sense of responsibility imposed on the perpetrator.

So in this situation I agree with the author and ask, why are we placing the responsibility on the shoulders of Horn alone and essentially ignoring the robbers who happen to be career criminals? I'm also curious to know if the journalist of the original article has ever been a victim of robbery because he paints the criminals out to be victims and has little to say about the family and owners of the house that have probably had their sense of security shaken. It certainly sounds violating.