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CT_Progressive Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:05 PM
Original message
Morality question (re: Joe Horn incident)
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 12:16 PM by CT_Progressive
Note: Please read this entire OP, it goes beyond Joe Horn. Thanks.
===================================================================

For reference, he is the guy that shot and killed two burglars who were robbing his neighbors house in Pasadena, TX.

Question:
- Is it immoral to purposefully put yourself in a situation that *might* endanger your life, just so that if it does, you can then defend yourself legally?

In the case of Joe Horn, he purposefully walked outside his house where the burglars were. When they saw him and ran at him, he shot them. But, if he hadn't walked outside, that might not have ever happened.

Lets use another example:
- Two men are just finished raping a woman in an alley, and are starting to leave the alley. You purposefully stand at the end of the alley, doing nothing, taking no action, just standing there, letting them see you, and letting them know you saw them. They then pull knives on you, and you draw a gun and kill them.

Is what you did immoral? There was no evidence that the men would draw knives and attack you. They chose to do that of their own free will. Yet, you knew there was a chance.

Another example:
- You go to a place where drug dealing is common. You choose to simply walk down the street, knowing that you are armed, and that this is a bad place to walk down the street. A man jumps out of an alley with a knife and demands your money. You draw your gun and kill him.

Is what you did immoral? Again, there was no evidence that you'd get attacked by anyone. Yet, you knew there was a chance.
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. criminal
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. Criminal. Vigilante. All-too-typical American. (NT)
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CT_Progressive Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
3. Hero
might as well weigh in on my own post.

Clearly he is a hero, and did nothing illegal.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
4. Timothy McVeigh, criminal or hero?
Did he murder 168 innocent men, women, and children?

Or did he protect real Americans from the scourge of big government?
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. it was his neighbors house....he was not in danger
criminal
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
6. criminal
also bigot and idiot
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
7. if one's primary motive is to kill or injure someone, it is immoral IMO....
One can make the argument that all of these scenarios involve justice served, and maybe they do, but vigilante justice is very dangerous-- if we endorse it, where is the line between vigilante justice and death squads, for example?
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CT_Progressive Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Your question is a good one, and speaks to practicality.
If one goes looking for trouble, one is likely to find it.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. How is it different from a police sting?
:shrug:
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #18
26. on one level it's not different...
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 12:57 PM by mike_c
...although most sting operations are designed to apprehend folks rather than kill them. Still, at their heart stings are contrived situations designed to cause harm to someone-- even if only by presenting them with the means to bring that harm upon themselves. But extending that scenario to the situation the OP posits is like leaving a bag of dope on the ground with a one hundred dollar bill sticking out the top and a land mine underneath.
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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #26
33. That IS the difference- intent to kill. nt
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
8. Criminal...
and has it been established that the burglars "ran at him"?

Sid
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SharkSquid Donating Member (659 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
9. Dipshit, scared old man,
Is it immoral to purposefully put yourself in a situation that *might* endanger your life, just so that if it does, you can then defend yourself legally?

Nope


Two men are just finished raping a woman in an alley, and are starting to leave the alley. You purposefully stand at the end of the alley, doing nothing, taking no action, just standing there, letting them see you, and letting them know you saw them. They then pull knives on you, and you draw a gun and kill them.

If you see them raping the person, that is self-defense/defense of others,covered by most gun laws.
This example I think is a moral situation because you are a witness to their act and have reason to fear for your life.


You go to a place where drug dealing is common. You choose to simply walk down the street, knowing that you are armed, and that this is a bad place to walk down the street. A man jumps out of an alley with a knife and demands your money. You draw your gun and kill him.

If you are doing it to be a vigalante, yes it is wrong. If you have some reason to walk down the street, than I would encourage you to bring a gun.




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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #9
25. agreed shark
especially the last one. At one time in my life, I taught in an inner city school. The next school over, a teacher was murdered in her classroom the first day of teacher in-service. The year before, a teacher had been raped at our school. There were crack houses across the street, and we had regular duck and cover drills for when there were shoot outs. Yet remarkably, the city and the school district provided no police protection for us. My husband drove me to school and back, and he was always armed.
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opiate69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
11. "Ran at him"?? I missed that little detail in every account I've read so far...
:shrug:
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CT_Progressive Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Its been established.
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 12:33 PM by CT_Progressive
Horn redialed 911 and told the dispatcher what he'd done.

"I had no choice," he said, his voice shaking. "They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick."

Lambright said Horn had intended to take a look around when he left his house and instead came face to face with the burglars, standing 10 to 12 feet from him in his yard.

Horn is heavyset and middle-aged and would have been no match in a physical confrontation with the two men, who were young and strong, Lambright said. So when one or both of them "made lunging movements," Horn fired in self-defense, he said.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gP3OsajRB6BM1On6y5d6...
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opiate69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Still not seeing "ran at him" in any of that..
all I see is Horn and his attorney claiming they were somehow threatening him. (even though he was armed with a shotgun and they were unarmed. That assertion kinda flies in the face of logic to me anyway. ) And Lambright can claim that Horn intended to just "take a look around" until he's blue in the face. Horn's own words belie that.

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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. I stand corrected
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 12:43 PM by blogslut
There were two calls. I just listened to the recording again.

Just the same, it still doesn't change the fact that that old man intended to kill those two men. He told the 9-11 dispatcher he was going to kill them. If you listen to the recording he did not give the men warning or chance to even hold their hands in the air. It was murder, plain and simple and that old fool is lucky he didn't get shot by the plain-clothes officers that arrived at the scene.

Here's the recording:

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=local&id=5538...
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Arkansas Granny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #14
27. From listening to the recording, I had the impression that Mr. Horn
had the men in sight at the time he went outside. If that was the case, how an he claim that he just went out to look around and then came face to face with the men? It sounded to me that he had the intention of shooting someone all along. We only have Mr. Horn's word that the men "made lunging movements" and in his apparent desire to shoot someone, he may have imagined that. His actions may have been justified if he had been defendng his neighbors life, but this behavior is not justified to defend his neighbors property.
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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. And had time to say "You're dead" right before he shot. nt
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. That's because that "detail" is a product of Mr. Horn's imagination
:)
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opiate69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. Hehe.. yep, pretty much.
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:13 PM
Response to Original message
12. A little bit wrong.
He deserves punishment, but I hope the judge goes easy on him.
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tularetom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
13. Jeez are we gonna argue this one out again?
He was not a hero, but he did rid society of two worthless assholes. He apparently has suffered either remorse for what he did or fear that somebody was gonna come after him. I don't advocate shooting criminals willy nilly but I'm not going to snivel that two of them got shot. Mr Horn, whatever his motives will have to live with what he has done. I don't think he was prepared for the aftermath of his actions.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
16. Does this mean ...
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 12:18 PM by meegbear
A person can walk into the street, into oncoming traffic, and then shoot any driver who doesn't stop because their life is in danger, the potential of being hit by an oncoming car.
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feduppuke Donating Member (81 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #16
28. Of Course Not
While what it does mean is far more complex that the question of firing into oncoming traffic, the answer to your question can be found in the difference between driving down the street and robbing the house.

One would not reasonably expect to be fired upon when driving down the street. When one robs a house (in TX, no less), one should expect to be shot at. I am not saying that what Horn did was right, but proffering incongruent comparisons does not help explain why it might be wrong.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. But you gave a situation of someone being raped ...
that was a situation where a person was being overtly harmed. That is also a incongruent comparison.

There was no indication that a person was being harmed; Mr. Horn's put himself overtly into a potentionally harmful situation.
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feduppuke Donating Member (81 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. I have not posited any rape theories.
However, I am not sure why you would make a new illegitimate comparison to discredit another. Both are equally invalid.
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madinmaryland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
17. The two examples he would be justified as they are actually
attacking him. Though in the first example, he could have done a bit more to stop it the attack on the woman since he was armed and in fact he would have been justified in using force as the woman was being attacked.

The Joe Horn example is not totally accurate. He shot the fugitives in the back as they ran away. That does not rise to the level of being endangered. There was no evidence these men were threatening him. More like lawless vigilantyism.

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CT_Progressive Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Sorry, what you wrote is totally false.
1) they were not shot in the back.
2) they were on his property, coming at him.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
22. This is an interesting question -- if you have a good reason and a bad reason to something

Joe Horn, from the tape of the dispatcher-911 call, sounded like he hated thieves -- and wanted to kill these thieves. Why - because thieves may life bad for everyone. Even thieves hate thieves. He's pretty clear that he wants to kill them because they are thieves actively thieving.

But Joe Horn also just wants the particular burglars stopped. He does a reasonable thing. He arms himself (because there are criminals nearby engaged in a felony, so the prospect of having to defend oneself or use it to stop the felony is reasonable) and he calls 911 to get the police there. He waits until the burglars are fleeing and yet there are no police apparent (although they are close).

He shoots the thieves and stops them from fleeing after their burglary which is arguably justified under Texas law and he gets the chance to kill some thieves (an action, in and of itself, not justified under Texas law).

I usually give a person a pass if what they did is "good" (in this case permissible under law), but they did it for good and bad reasons.

I can also understand why some people would say that killing over stuff is never good.





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zabet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
24. Where does
morality come from? Is it
innate, does it come from values
instilled by your parents, or
does it come from religious teachings
and beliefs?
I think that where ever morality comes from
for each individual, one must have
empathy to have morality. The ability
to 'put yourself in their place'.
Did John Horn do this? Did he stop
and think what he would do if he was
in the burglars' shoes before he stepped
out that door? I don't think he did, he
maybe was too mad at the moment to stop and think.
He probably acted on emotion, not on thought.
All in all, a gray area, effected by
situations and circumstance and no one
appointed me morality judge for the day
so I cannot say directly, moral or immoral.

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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #24
32. In these case, the key to the moral value is the intent of the shooter previous
to the shooting.
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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:30 PM
Response to Original message
31. Your examples are distinguishable from the Horn case in a number of ways.
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 02:34 PM by BullGooseLoony
A couple of things to keep in mind about the Horn case:

1) He apparently had a good vantage point from the safety of his home. To witness what was happening, at least to a good extent, he did not need to leave his home and put himself in danger. In other words, he could have been very effective in bringing about the apprehension of the burglars while remaining in his home (although he may not have gotten the chance to kill someone from there).

2) In the same vein, Horn had already summoned the police, a number of minutes before, and had given them a good description of the suspects. He was not alone, the police were on their way. He did not need to play John Wayne in order to ensure justice.


In your first case, there is certainly nothing wrong with the onlooker becoming involved in the situation to a reasonable extent. Heck, if he had caught the rapists in the act, he most likely would have been justified in shooting them (especially if they already had knives on them, even if he didn't know it- he could have reasonably suspected that they had weapons, considering they were raping this woman). But as far as simply witnessing what he could of the suspects after the fact, there is no reason for him to let the suspects know that he was there, or to put himself in danger- as long as they are leaving. He could have hidden himself and accomplished the same objective in that case, which was apparently to identify the suspects.
While I believe the person in the first example approached the situation incorrectly, and could be criminally liable on some level, what he did was not murder. What that person did NOT do- and this is a HUGE difference between your first example and the Horn case- is form the intent to kill before encountering the suspects. If the suspects were leaving and the witness at that point formed the intent to kill them, and then put himself in their way with no other purpose than to carry out that intent, that is murder, quite arguably of the first degree (although the circumstances, particularly the rape, would likely get the charge reduced). It would be no defense, either, that they drew knives on him once he had already formed the intent and taken steps toward accomplishing it. That is a key difference between your example and the Horn case.

As far as distinguishing your second example, the person being mugged, while he was previously aware that he was in a dangerous neighborhood (there was "a chance," as you put it), he did not have actual notice of any criminal activity or criminals in the area. Joe Horn was well aware of what he was going to encounter when he left his house- in fact, he left his house with the purpose of encountering- and killing- criminals. In your example, the "chance" you refer to does not rise nearly to the level of the Horn case. Not only was the probability of an encounter much higher in the Horn case, given that Horn knew the two suspects were out there, but he intended to encounter- and, again, KILL- them. If the person in your example had been aware of a particular criminal in the area and suspected a high probability of an encounter if he walked down that street, and had previously formed the intent- a plan- to kill this person in such an encounter (under the guise of self-defense, perhaps), then he too, most likely, would be guilty of first-degree murder. But that is not the example you gave us, and in that context, there is no criminal wrongdoing at all.
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Beer Snob-50 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
34. there is no question that what was done is immoral!
Morally you have the right to protect yourself and murder would be acceptable ONLY if you have done everything in your power to prevent it. IN all the cases you mentioned as well as the Joe Horn situation I don't see this happening.
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karlrschneider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:28 PM
Response to Original message
36. All burglars are blameless and deserve our complete sympathy.
They just wandered off the path of righteousness because society has mistreated them so egregiously. See, I've learned the "Democratic" approach to this!

It's okay to steal from the "rich". It's ESPECIALLY okay if you're a minority or even better if you're an undocumented alien! That's a near 100% guarantee against any kind of criticism!

Do not EVER suggest it's all right to use force in the service of self-defense (or to defend a family member or friend)...that is evidence you are a cold-blooded murderer. MURDERER!!11`!!1!11!!!


However if you find out someone has mistreated a dog...or worse, a cat...get out in front of the lynch mob to kill that sonofabitch.

I think I'm beginning to get it.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
37. as a rape survivor - I find the analogy lacking.
Robbery (no one home) of material goods - vs physical rape - and I am to judge the actions of a witness similarly?

I have also had a car break-in (similar to the home breakin) where damage was done to several windows, and to the stereo system was torn out of the car.

As a victim of both events, I can sincerely say that there is NO comparison of the sense of violation and the long-term reprecussions. No Way Comparable.

So my reaction to a witness of such different sort of crimes, would be very different. Indeed in the past year I witnessed a house being burglared. I called the police - and went back to the back yard (while still on the phone) and while trying to keep out of the sight of those stealing from the home - to keep reporting all information I witnessed until the police came. Hope that answers the false analogy. I would act differently if the crime was rape. And I find the analogy a typical way that our society continues to pretende that rape is a rather "quaint" crime - by comparing it to FAR Less serious crimes (a property theft crime - in terms to the damage to the victim - is in no way comparable to a rape).

Seriously, the rape completely altered my life. The car/theft incident was inconvenient and aggravating (and cost $)... but I bought a car alarm (and always get one in new cars that I buy) and the event has not lingered on and caused all sorts of post traumatic stress events (which are common to rape victims.)

Thanks for one more example of completely making rape seem like an "ordinary crime". If you do think they are comparable - may I challenge you to find other folks who have been victim to both rape and theft and ask them if they are "equal" crimes. Perhaps I am unique in finding that the rape led to serious changes in my life while the theft, while extremely aggravating (and given that I had insurance to cover such events) had a no where comparable long-term effect on my life.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
38. in regard to your second example- what if that's the street where you live...?
and you HAVE to walk down it? :shrug:

in regard to your first example- a lot of it depends on the laws where the incident takes place...some people like the idea that their neighbors are willing to take up arms to protect each other's property.
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