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Opening Arguments

Repeat offenders

We Hoosiers seem to be a bloodthirsty lot. Saw this story from the Muncie newspaper  (via the Indianapolis Star) -- a homeowner had confronted a burglar and held him at gunpoint until police arrived and hauled him off. Seemed like a routine story, so I wondered why there were so many comments. Many of them were in this vein:

What is wrong with this guy, the home owner??? When you are pointing a gun at a burglar who has invaded your home, you fire the gun into the burglar until you are out of ammo. Not one single dead burglar has ever become a repeat offender.

We've had some vigorous discussion here about the right to carry and the right to defend one's home. Maybe there is a legal right to ensure that the burglar does not become a repeat offender, but what's the morality of going further than one has to? Or IS shooting someone who has broken into your house going too far?


Thu, 09/04/2008 - 10:02am

Leo, not long ago I recall you came down, reluctantly, on the side of the suburban Columbus homeowner who fired wildly out the window, at night, without aiming, after two teenage girls briefly stepped across his property line. ("After" defined as "after they'd done the deed, gotten back into their car and circled the block twice.") One of the girls was permanently disabled for the crime of catching a thrill at the local spooky house. Glad to see some sanity may be returning to this issue around here.

tim zank
Thu, 09/04/2008 - 10:09am

Seems to me it's fiscally irresponsible to hold the intruder for the police. Court costs, lawyers, recidivism, etc all add up to a hell of a lot more than the cost of two 38 shells.

If I catch you inside, you're gonna wish you'd died.

Bob G.
Thu, 09/04/2008 - 11:04am

Nothing wrong with holding ANY intruder "at bay" until the police arrive.
Nothing wrong with capping a knee OF ANY intruder to MAKE SURE he remians until the police arrive.

And if he's shot ON the lawn, drag him INSIDE to make it all the more "proper", and to avoid unwanted questions (as per Philly PD memo dated 3-25-77)

MY home...MY castle......MY rules.



Leo Morris
Thu, 09/04/2008 - 11:06am

I didn't say he was right, I said his sentence might have been too harsh. Teenagers were taunting a mentally unstable man who thought he was defending his home. That seems more deserving of agonizing reflection than a case of shooting someone just because the law might say you can.

Larry Morris
Thu, 09/04/2008 - 11:16am

A lot would depend on when it was and what the intruder was doing at the time I caught him. If someone breaks into my home in the middle of the night, they might get a bullet just because I don't know what their (criminal) intentions are - I would rather shoot first than be shot first. If I catch someone in my house in daylight, I *might* be able to see what their intentions are and see what's in their hands, but it will be a split-second decision.