MeFi Follow-Up: Joe Horn is Cleared of All Charges June 30, 2008 1:24 PM   Subscribe


Whoo! There's a few people I'm going to go shoot.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:41 PM on June 30, 2008


Remember Metafilter? Well, those of you who said this belongs there, it turns out you were right.
posted by optovox at 1:42 PM on June 30, 2008


Yeah, this would be appropriate for an FPP for sure.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 1:46 PM on June 30, 2008


Wait until the civil suits.
posted by 517 at 2:12 PM on June 30, 2008


Upgrade this to an FPP.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:19 PM on June 30, 2008


Joe Horn and five things in your medicine cabinet that will kill your 2-year old, AFTER THESE IMPORTANT MESSAGES.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:34 PM on June 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


He thanked the people who stood behind him. It's safer behind him. I love Texas, where you can shoot someone in the back in self defense.
posted by RussHy at 2:35 PM on June 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Remember Joe Horn? Well, those of you who said Joe Horn would fall off after impressive years from 2000 to 2004, it turns out you were right. [less inside]
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:53 PM on June 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think shooting people is bad; he got off because his victims were black (isn't this what this MetaThread is for?)
posted by KokuRyu at 2:57 PM on June 30, 2008


"The message we're trying to send today is the criminal justice system works," Harris County District Attorney Kenneth Magidson told reporters at the courthouse.

FAIL.

I can't remember ever seeing such a big FAIL.
posted by grouse at 3:03 PM on June 30, 2008


Whenever I see the words "community activist" before a person's name in a news article, I always mentally substitute "douchebag".

I know that's probably wrong, it's just one of my many foibles.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:05 PM on June 30, 2008 [9 favorites]


Remember Joe Horn? Well, those of you who said Joe Horn would walk, it turns out you were right.

I was sure this was about someone recovering from paralysis or amputation or something.

Me: "Awesome! You go, Joe Horn! You show 'em!"

Me: *clicks links*

Me: "..."
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 3:05 PM on June 30, 2008 [17 favorites]


"The message we're trying to send today is the criminal justice system works,"

Yeah, um, what? The justice system just failed three times, dude. Fucking hell.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:07 PM on June 30, 2008


well lets face it, that's a hell of a name the boy's got there.
posted by dawson at 3:13 PM on June 30, 2008


Upgrade to an FPP? Really? Seemed better as a follow-up, but maybe so ...
posted by grabbingsand at 3:15 PM on June 30, 2008


Oh, man, Joe Horn definitely breaks the face barrier.
posted by oaf at 3:35 PM on June 30, 2008


Well, if you don't make it an FPP, we'll never get the MeTa callout when someone says "What do you expect from a state whose official motto is a threat?". Wouldn't want to miss out on one of those again.
posted by mullacc at 3:35 PM on June 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


. . . he got off because his victims were black.
The article says they were illegal aliens, but doesn't specify their race. Is Pasadena mostly black?
posted by RussHy at 3:42 PM on June 30, 2008


Horn, a retired grandfather

What—he used to spoil his grandchildren, but no longer does?
posted by oaf at 3:45 PM on June 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


Horn, a retired grandfather

I take that to mean he was a grandfather at one time, but no longer is. Perhaps some petty, vindictive coward shot his grandchildren in the back?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:56 PM on June 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


ooh, edgy, Sys Rq.
posted by boo_radley at 3:56 PM on June 30, 2008


In light of Heller, this seems like a good time to avoid Texas.
posted by oaf at 3:58 PM on June 30, 2008


Shot them in the back. For a property crime. An attempted property crime.

Even by Texas standards, that was a damned sissy thing to do. Immoral and unethical, too, but I'm not sure those words aren't too long.

Yeah, I know I'm stereotyping horribly, bite me.
posted by QIbHom at 4:06 PM on June 30, 2008


ooh, edgy, Sys Rq.

Okay, granted, when you compare a comment on the internet to the actions of one guy who murdered two people and another guy who let that first guy go scot-free, it does seem a bit flaccid. Touché.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:10 PM on June 30, 2008


. . . he got off because his victims were black.
The article says they were illegal aliens, but doesn't specify their race.


One of the related articles stated that the victims were illegal aliens from Colombia, one of whom had had a previous drug-smuggling charge.

but who cares ... still doesn't mean he deserved to be shot...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:19 PM on June 30, 2008


Terminate each and everyone and let the Presumed Omnipresent Overarching Construct apply filters.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:21 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think shooting people is bad; he got off because his victims were black (isn't this what this MetaThread is for?)

I forsee a bunch of people stringing up nooses on their front lawns. In subsequent cases, they won't bother shooting robbers. They'll simply encourage them to hop up into the noose at gunpoint, and then kick the chair away.

Or maybe they'll start installing gas chambers in their cellars?

'Murcans are such can-do people. Why bother to wait for the state to do what you can do for yourself? And once a bunch of people start doing it regularly, they'll start using it to justify tax avoidance schemes. In fact, this guy should be running for office in Texas.

Joe Horn '08: Meting out justice *and* supporting smaller government with both barrels.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:34 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


but who cares ... still doesn't mean he deserved to be shot...

They may or may not have deserved to be gunned down but I'd say if they didn't want to get shot they should have gotten into a different line of work. If I was breaking into people's homes and someone shot my ass I doubt I'd be suprised, and I damn sure wouldn't be indignant. I mean wtf do you expect?
posted by nola at 4:38 PM on June 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


unbefuckinglievable.

just unbefuckiunglievable.
posted by loiseau at 4:39 PM on June 30, 2008


Texas loves the death penalty, but it loves self-defense and wild-west-style vigilante justice more.
posted by Eideteker at 4:44 PM on June 30, 2008


If I was breaking into people's homes and someone shot my ass I doubt I'd be suprised, and I damn sure wouldn't be indignant. I mean wtf do you expect?

Well, for starters, you wouldn't expect to be shot (in the back) by someone you weren't actually threatening.

But hey, that's just me. I was probably driving too fast on my way to work this morning; I don't expect to get punched in the face by my cubicle neighbor, either.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:50 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


*looks over his cubicle wall at Cool Papa Bell*

hmmmm
posted by eyeballkid at 4:53 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was probably driving too fast on my way to work this morning

And if you were, you wouldn't have been indignant over a speeding ticket, right?

I'm not sure how relevant that is, though. How reasonable is it to expect to be shot while (or after, I guess) breaking and entering?
posted by niles at 4:53 PM on June 30, 2008


What the hell do you expect from a state whose official motto is "Friendship"?
posted by mudpuppie at 4:54 PM on June 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


or more straightforward, actions have natural consequences. Speeding gets tickets. Going to work gets you paid. B&E gets...jail time? Shot in the back? Whatever comes to you? That's where I can't make my mind up.
posted by niles at 4:55 PM on June 30, 2008


Uh, they weren't black.

The guys Horn shot were named Hernando Torres and Diego Ortiz and part of an organized Colombian home burglary ring of illegal immigrants.

Note: I'm not saying that makes it open season, but try to get the facts straight.
posted by Justinian at 4:56 PM on June 30, 2008


"What do you expect from a state whose official motto is a threat?"

More than its immediate success at reducing litter, however, the slogan became a Texas cultural phenomenon and the slogan has been appropriated by the citizens of Texas for general use... The slogan is a frequently cited example of Texan cultural elitism.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2008


What do you expect from a state whose unofficial motto is "He needed killin'"?
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Look I'm not saying old Joe was right to shot those guys, and shooting someone in the back is dirty pool. What I'm saying is if you've got the balls to violate someones home you got some balls and I don't really care if you get poked in the eye with a rusy fork, or if you get shot in the back by an old nut case. And it has nothing to do with private property, it has to do with personal space and not fucking with a person's home, cause your home is where you should feel safe and nobody should be fucking with that. If they do, then to hell with them. Also people here love to cherry-pick what to be outraged over, and I'm guessing they wouldn't get up on the old soap box if the story was 2 guys shoot an old man in his house in Texas. Yes I know it wasn't his house. Yes I know the state said that was fine with them, I still don't care.
posted by nola at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2008 [7 favorites]


You think this is bad, you should hear what he got away with in Reno.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2008


Jury of dunderheads allow fellow dunderhead who shares same ridiculous views to walk in order to protect laughably outdated and misinterpreted idea regarding weapon with no legitimate domestic use and which any developed country should have outlawed many moons ago and the right of dunderhead's to wave about and discharge said weapon. "You're dead BOOM" said Arial Bold caption. Film at 11.
posted by fire&wings at 5:02 PM on June 30, 2008


Uh, they weren't black.

Uh, they were.

The guys Horn shot were named Hernando Torres and Diego Ortiz and part of an organized Colombian home burglary ring of illegal immigrants.

Note: I'm not saying that makes it open season, but try to get the facts straight.


This is one of those cases of the pot calling the kettle Colombian, isn't it?
posted by dersins at 5:05 PM on June 30, 2008


you wouldn't have been indignant over a speeding ticket, right?

People get indignant over speeding and parking tickets all the time. All. The. Time.
posted by CKmtl at 5:07 PM on June 30, 2008


Well, those of you who said Joe Horn would walk, it turns out you were right.

Told you so.

How reasonable is it to expect to be shot while (or after, I guess) breaking and entering?

Reasonable enough that many burglars carry weapons themselves.

I don't expect to get punched in the face by my cubicle neighbor, either.

If you were rifling through my shit and stealing the wallet out of my coat? You sure as shit should be prepared to be fired... or at the least kicked in the nuts.

I wish I could say this guy getting off upset me, but it doesn't. Putting him away would not do anything for anybody. The entire thing is a tragedy all around.
posted by tkchrist at 5:08 PM on June 30, 2008


For the record I don't own a gun and don't like them. I also think 99.9% of all the people that own guns shouldn't be allowed to for their own good and our's too.

But that has nothing to do with gravity.

When I was a kid I found a nest of hornets and thought it would be fun to stir them up, so a chucked a rock at them and got stung to hell and back, could have been killed by those little devils, feel lucky I didn't but I learned not to go screwing around where I didn't belong. Some people don't learn that lesson in time.
posted by nola at 5:09 PM on June 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


"I wish I could say this guy getting off upset me, but it doesn't. Putting him away would not do anything for anybody. The entire thing is a tragedy all around."

Well, except maybe keep the next teens sneaking back into their own house late at night from being shot by some senile neighbor.
posted by klangklangston at 5:11 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


People get indignant over speeding and parking tickets all the time. All. The. Time.

Is this something I would have to have a car to know about?
posted by oaf at 5:13 PM on June 30, 2008


That was disappointing, although predictable. You walk into someone else's house to rob them and die, too bad for you. You have put someone in fear of their life and if you lose yours over it I will not weep for you. If someone is leaving with the loot, death just does not seem appropriate. Winging them? Yeah, but you just can't cut the law that finely. I love, love, love Texas, but this is just not right.
posted by caddis at 5:20 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your TV is important enough to you to justify taking away two men's lives over it?
posted by matthewr at 5:22 PM on June 30, 2008


Uh, they weren't black.

Uh, they were.


From the article you linked:

Mr. Horn is white and the burglars, he told the 911 operator, were black.


Emphasis added. I don't think that's what we can call confirmation. We do know they were Colombian. From the CIA Factbook:
Ethnic groups:
mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%
Emphasis added. I think I'm going to go with "Mr. Horn is a liar as well as a murderer."
posted by languagehat at 5:22 PM on June 30, 2008


Also, nola, I like you, but you're not thinking clearly about this. Yeah, robbery is a bad thing. Killing people is worse. Outlawing shit like this is what allegedly makes us superior to the savages.
posted by languagehat at 5:24 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, we can add another work hazard for Texas meter readers.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:26 PM on June 30, 2008


Say, languagehat, you didn't happen to notice the pictures in dersins' link, did you?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on June 30, 2008



Look I'm not saying old Joe was right to shot those guys, and shooting someone in the back is dirty pool.

I would shoot somebody in the back if they were running to retrieve a weapon to come back and kill me. Or if the were running toward my wife and I was behind them.


And it has nothing to do with private property, it has to do with personal space and not fucking with a person's home, cause your home is where you should feel safe and nobody should be fucking with that.


It's deeper than that. I don't think many people here have lived in real fear for their lives for a long stretch of time. In poor neighborhoods the Po-lice don't give a shit about you. The wait time to respond to 911 calls is absurd. If they respond at all.

I've lived in neighborhoods under siege by crime and it's pretty fucking miserable. It's like living in a war zone - only worse because there is the facade of the rule of law. Only the law doesn't do shit for you. At least during a war I could pick up an AK and throw MY weight around too. In some high crime areas in the US you see the people who threaten your family EVERY DAY, the people who steal from you every day, and the law doesn't do shit. But your told you can't do shit either. Oh. Except move. Which is not an option if your poor.

Wake up three of four nights a week for months on end to people trying to kick in your door, or smashing your car windows, or screaming at you "FAG!", or saying they are going to ass rape your girlfriend, or showing you their GHAT. You do that for months on end and then tell me about the terrible injustice to snapping, resorting to vigilantism, and fighting back. You may never do it. But you will feel like doing it.

It's interesting to me that minority crimes often get a buy on MetaFilter because we can rightly weigh socio-economic circumstances into criminal mitigating circumstances (BTW shit like this happens in poor minority neighborhoods ALL THE TIME).

But lo' some old ignorant WHITE red neck, who's scared shit-less day after day, woke up one day to find he lived in a high crime area snaps and shoots some career criminals, and we lose all compassion for him.

I'm not saying those Columbia dudes deserved to die. But they made their choices. Choices that said they were willing to hurt, intimidate, and maybe kill an innocent person. And I guarantee you if they did happen to kill somebody or rape somebody they wouldn't be wringing their hands over it.
posted by tkchrist at 5:30 PM on June 30, 2008 [8 favorites]


Another reason why I will ONLY purchase a gun if I specifically intend, with plenty of malice aforethought, to kill somebody. It's a damned fine tool for that purpose, for anything else, not so hot.

The waiting period for gun sales in California is 10 days, so make sure all MeFi meetups are scheduled no more than 9 days in advance.
posted by wendell at 5:31 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]



Well, except maybe keep the next teens sneaking back into their own house late at night from being shot by some senile neighbor.

Or conversely the next gang of Columbian burglars breaking into somebodies house, raping, and killing them.

Hey, I can do hyperbole too!
posted by tkchrist at 5:32 PM on June 30, 2008


I'm not trying to argue the lawfulness of Mr. Horn's conduct, or that Texas was making the right call in turning him loose. I just have a real visceral reaction to the idea of someone violating the place I call home, and I can't really honestly say I'm sorry about what happened to those two men. Your home is the last place you can go, if trouble follows you home where can you go? Why call it home if you don't live there and have a sense of territory about it?
posted by nola at 5:35 PM on June 30, 2008


From the article you linked:

Mr. Horn is white and the burglars, he told the 911 operator, were black.

Emphasis added. I don't think that's what we can call confirmation.


Did you look at the picture in the article I linked? I think we can call that confirmation, crankyhat.
posted by dersins at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2008


Say, languagehat, you didn't happen to notice the pictures in dersins' link, did you?

I don't see any pictures when I click on the link (I just checked again). If there are pictures there that show the victims were black, my bad, and I withdraw my conclusions.

I'm not saying those Columbia dudes deserved to die. But they made their choices.


Don't weasel. Either you're justifying vigilantism or you're not. If someone killed my wife I'd want the fucker dead, and I might be crazed enough to go out and try to do something about it, and if I did I'm sure a lot of wild-eyed types would be cheering me. But I hereby declare that I would be wrong, and if I did that I should be punished to the full extent of the law. The whole reason we have laws is so that people won't "take justice into their own hands." When they do that, it ain't justice.
posted by languagehat at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2008


dersins: I didn't (and don't) see any pictures. When I click on the link in your latest comment, I get "Request Entity Too Large. A request entity is longer than the server can handle." I'll take your word for it that the picture shows they were, in fact, black. I can be cranky at times, but today I'm just ill-informed.
posted by languagehat at 5:38 PM on June 30, 2008


Another reason why I will ONLY purchase a gun if I specifically intend, with plenty of malice aforethought, to kill somebody. It's a damned fine tool for that purpose, for anything else, not so hot.

I dunno. Guns are damn fine tool for shooting at targets on target ranges. And for shooting at clay pigeons. They are a really good paper weights. And some people love to use them as props in blog bio photos so they can look like edgy tough guys.
posted by tkchrist at 5:38 PM on June 30, 2008


Wake up three of four nights a week for months on end to people trying to kick in your door, or smashing your car windows, or screaming at you "FAG!", or saying they are going to ass rape your girlfriend, or showing you their GHAT.

Blow their fucking asses away. This was not that though.
posted by caddis at 5:45 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't weasel. Either you're justifying vigilantism or you're not. If someone killed my wife I'd want the fucker dead, and I might be crazed enough to go out and try to do something about it, and if I did I'm sure a lot of wild-eyed types would be cheering me. But I hereby declare that I would be wrong, and if I did that I should be punished to the full extent of the law. The whole reason we have laws is so that people won't "take justice into their own hands." When they do that, it ain't justice.

I understand what you're saying, its The Ox-Bow Incident in a nutshell and I'm not going to try and claim you're wrong about law or justice. I guess I personally just don't have much faith in law and justice, I'm not trying to argue I'm just being honest.
posted by nola at 5:45 PM on June 30, 2008


Don't weasel. Either you're justifying vigilantism or you're not.

Yes. On this issue we must be black or white. How fucking ironic coming from you, languagehat.

Well. Tough shit. Like the rest of life and every other issue we talk about it's not that simple. And neither are my opinions.

I do not believe those guys deserved to die. But I fully understand the way that old guy who shot them may have felt and I also believe the putting an old man like that, who is likely no threat and has no previous criminal record at all, in jail to be a total waste of tax payer money.
posted by tkchrist at 5:46 PM on June 30, 2008


Blow their fucking asses away. This was not that though.

How do you know? The original article I read said the neighborhood had become inundated with crime.
posted by tkchrist at 5:47 PM on June 30, 2008


The pictures show Colombian people who don't appear to be necessarily of African descent. They are surely dark brown people, and I'm sure that's all that mattered to Joe Horn.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 5:55 PM on June 30, 2008


A jury of this man's peers refused to return a true bill of indictment against him for what he did. That means he committed no crime, as far as law and justice are concerned.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:01 PM on June 30, 2008


And if you were, you wouldn't have been indignant over a speeding ticket, right?

Huh? Do you not get the point of this entire discussion? It's the extra-judicial nature of the event that makes this case remarkable.
posted by Neiltupper at 6:14 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also believe the putting an old man like that, who is likely no threat and has no previous criminal record at all, in jail to be a total waste of tax payer money.
...
How do you know? The original article I read said the neighborhood had become inundated with crime.


If it was about the money, every drug smoker would be released mr. republican. The issue here is do we want people to be shooting thieves who are running away with their property. In the old West we condoned or at least allowed such behavior as their were few alternatives. In a populous city empowering every citizen to kill all petty criminals seems like a prescription for violent disaster. Stole my radar detector at the mall and I catch you running - BOOM your ass is dead. The cops can't do that, why should joe citizen? Having someone enter your home, well, now that is quite a bit more dangerous. Put a bullet into the back of a punk kid running away with your car stereo - I think you end up in Hell for eternity for that, but on your way 20+ years of hard time seem fine. Put a couple of double ought buckshot shells through the chest of some midnight intruder into your house, apartment, that is quite a different story. Shooting fleeing suspects = bad; shooting intruders into your personal house = not good, but justifiable to save your own life. This old coot in Texas was in zero danger. Let's get a little perspective here.
posted by caddis at 6:17 PM on June 30, 2008


Wake up three of four nights a week for months on end to people trying to kick in your door, or smashing your car windows, or screaming at you "FAG!", or saying they are going to ass rape your girlfriend, or showing you their GHAT. You do that for months on end and then tell me about the terrible injustice to snapping, resorting to vigilantism, and fighting back. You may never do it. But you will feel like doing it.

I've lived in some of the crappier parts of Los Angeles, a fat white dude in high-crime, predominantly 'minority' neighborhoods, and had something like you said above happen maybe five times in eleven years. And some of that time was while my Ex was going through bouts of extreme paranoia and I had to reassure her that nobody was trying to kick in the door every night (and make sure I was correct). I guess I've been extra successful at "protecting myself" and should write a how-to book about it.

putting an old man like that, who is likely no threat and has no previous criminal record at all, in jail to be a total waste of tax payer money.

Unless a few dozen "copycat incidents" come up, done by persons emboldened by Mr. Horn's 'success'.

I don't have much faith in "law and justice" either, but then, that's a bi-product of my lack of faith in human nature, which is why I initially leaned against giving Mr. Horn the benefit of a doubt. But it is interesting how his actions were consistently described as "out of character", and how, publicly he showed no bravado and as much contrition as his lawyer would allow. If he did and said the right things in front of the Grand Jury (we'll never know for sure), then it's certainly possible that he was judged correctly as the wrong person to make an example of. I would hope that another guy doing the same thing with less 'extenuating circumstances' would not have been let off so easy. But it is Texas. We'll just have to wait for those "copycat incidents" (while hoping they don't happen).
posted by wendell at 6:18 PM on June 30, 2008


HI I'M ON METATALK AND I COULD OVERTHINK TWO FATAL GUNSHOT WOUNDS
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:24 PM on June 30, 2008


One more note, if his actions were indeed as "out of character" as was claimed, I hope some serious impartial psychiatric analysis was provided to the Grand Jury, and I hope he got (and probably is still getting) serious psychiatric counseling. There really is such a thing as "temporary insanity"(just not as much as lazy lawyers claim). If there were previous incidents in which he was a danger to others, no matter who they were, then that changes things significantly. At best, I wouldn't let him totally off the hook, but I wonder how much he is "on the hook" to himself.
posted by wendell at 6:25 PM on June 30, 2008


Ooops, I profiled Colombians as non-black. Sorry.
posted by Justinian at 6:26 PM on June 30, 2008


Horn, a retired grandfather

To be fair, those grandkids were total dicks.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 6:32 PM on June 30, 2008


This old coot in Texas was in zero danger. Let's get a little perspective here.

Oh jeez. Again. You don't know that. You don't.

Yes. Let's put this in perspective. These were not idle fun loving teenagers up to hi jinx. They were career criminals and members of an organized gang. At the very least he could have been a victim of witness intimidation if they were gang members.

Let me put it to you this way. So The old red neck gets put away. Hooray. Another dangerous social security collector off the streets!

He was 61 a the time of the crime. So by the time he saw serious jail time he could be 65. How long will a 65 year old obese white man last in prison doing hard time for murder. Prisons that are dominated by violent Latino and Mexican gangs? You don't think that is death sentence right there?

Look I don't endorse killing people for any other reason than to defend your life or another persons life. However what would possibly served by sending this guy to jail? Talk about fucking perspective. Oh. We need to make an example out of him? Is that what you all are talking about. Is that justice? Okay great. I hope you all are consistent in your steadfast obedience to the law. Indeed. We must lock up every drug dealer, mr. liberal. Drugs are bad.

The fact is if the cops had been there in some reasonable amount of time NONE of this would have happened. Not to mention if Mr. Torres and Mr. Ortiz had decided to try another line of work. It's disgusting how MeFites become such ridged black and white moralists when their pet political buttons get pushed.

I salute your superior principles!
posted by tkchrist at 6:34 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unless a few dozen "copycat incidents" come up, done by persons emboldened by Mr. Horn's 'success'.

Oh. Fer fuck sake. What are you working for the Bush administration now?

Okay. Well maybe there will be a few less copy cat Colombian burglars who may kill people or get killed.

Wtf.
posted by tkchrist at 6:36 PM on June 30, 2008


happen maybe five times in eleven years

Then you establish it was not that bad of an area and not related to my anecdote. Thus negating your anecdote. An Anti-Anecdote anti-matter reaction. Say it five times fast.
posted by tkchrist at 6:38 PM on June 30, 2008


Hey, you've got your Metafilter in my MetaTalk!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 PM on June 30, 2008


Hey, you've got your Metafilter in my MetaTalk!

mmmmm. Tastes... grey and lifeless.
posted by tkchrist at 6:41 PM on June 30, 2008


Anyway I gotta go down stairs and get to work making tamales. If you knock on the door I'll gladly invite you in and share them, but if you come in by the window I got a frying pan with your name on it.
posted by nola at 6:43 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]




nola is some cultures it's perfectly acceptable to enter a strangers house via a window... or chimney. I can't believe you would react with such hostility to what could be a visit from Santa Claus.
posted by tkchrist at 6:46 PM on June 30, 2008


Umm, according to the census, you can be Hispanic and either white or black. So you're arguing over what is, at least legally, a false dichotomy. Way to rage against that system, folks. But don't let me stop you from expending your energy on a completely trivial and wholly tangential matter. I think it's clear Mr. Horn subscribes to the One-Drop Rule, so I'm not sure what the argument is about.

If I were still an angsty teenager, I'd argue that it'd be a real shame for someone to shoot Mr. Horn in the back for a crime he had already perpetrated. But here's hoping for a nice, legal appeal. Maybe with a jury of his victims' peers.

"'Horn, a retired grandfather'

I take that to mean he was a grandfather at one time, but no longer is. Perhaps some petty, vindictive coward shot his grandchildren in the back?"


No, the man retired from being a grandfather. He shot his own grandkids.

"To be fair, those grandkids were total dicks."

What she said.
posted by Eideteker at 6:59 PM on June 30, 2008


An Anti-Anecdote anti-matter reaction.

I also am a master of the anti-sequitur.

And while certainly less bad than your experiences, mine were also less bad than some of my neighbors'. At least you admitted yours were anecdotal. Everyone's mileage may vary.
posted by wendell at 7:00 PM on June 30, 2008


I just got off the phone with 911, btw. I told them some dickheads were bickering and dickering over trivial bullshit and that if they kept it up, I'd open fire on them.

You dun bin warnd.
posted by Eideteker at 7:01 PM on June 30, 2008


Anyone complaining about this should take one big step back. This is how the justice system in the U.S. is supposed to work. The whole function of the Grand Jury is to keep someone from being prosecuted for an act that's technically illegal but the community thinks was justifiable. If you can't get a Grand Jury to indict, that's a good sign that either it shouldn't be illegal, or you're enforcing the statute wrong.

Here, that's exactly what happened. The guy may or may not have broken the law, but a jury of his peers decided it wasn't worth prosecuting him. For whatever reason — why is almost wholly immaterial. (And really shouldn't be asked; it's the jury's perogative to indict or not.)

Frankly I think we need more juries willing to stand on principles and refuse to indict when it's obvious that no beneficial purpose would be served. That check is one of the more important ones against Catch-22s and runaway legislatures. If people behave like automatons from the second they get empaneled, we've lost something essential from the system.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:01 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well he ain't no Bernhard Goetz.
posted by Sailormom at 7:04 PM on June 30, 2008


'Horn, a retired grandfather'

Okay, enough jokes, the copy editor just over-edited "...a grandfather of (quantity) who had retired from a (number) year career (doing something)..."and did you really want to waste your time reading all those words when you could snark about the short version?
posted by wendell at 7:05 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyway I gotta go down stairs and get to work making tamales.

God, I love tamales.
posted by languagehat at 7:12 PM on June 30, 2008


The whole reason we have laws is so that people won't "take justice into their own hands." When they do that, it ain't justice.

Not to defend this guy shooting people in the back, but you conflate the Justice System with justice.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:15 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


"But lo' some old ignorant WHITE red neck, who's scared shit-less day after day, woke up one day to find he lived in a high crime area snaps and shoots some career criminals, and we lose all compassion for him."

Oh, I know how to win an argument! Just make shit up! Crime stats for Pasadena, TX note a BELOW AVERAGE crime rate, and the corner shown here is where the crime occurred. That's some high crime area? I'm sure these fantasies feel great when you stroke yourself, but you're totally fucking full of shit here. (Oh, and in the original thread too).

"He was 61 a the time of the crime. So by the time he saw serious jail time he could be 65. How long will a 65 year old obese white man last in prison doing hard time for murder. Prisons that are dominated by violent Latino and Mexican gangs? You don't think that is death sentence right there?"

Wait, you shouldn't break into houses because then some NEIGHBOR can totally shoot you but we shouldn't lock up folks who plan to murder someone else despite NO THREAT because they're white? That's fucking moronic.

"The fact is if the cops had been there in some reasonable amount of time NONE of this would have happened. Not to mention if Mr. Torres and Mr. Ortiz had decided to try another line of work. It's disgusting how MeFites become such ridged black and white moralists when their pet political buttons get pushed."

Way to move the goalposts. The cops should have been there directly after this guy called 911? Because that's when he walked out of his house, against the pleadings of the 911 operator, and shot these two guys in the back. Horn shouldn't have, I don't know, stayed tight in his house or prepared to defend himself if it came to that? Again, that's fucking moronic policy.

"Or conversely the next gang of Columbian burglars breaking into somebodies house, raping, and killing them.

Hey, I can do hyperbole too!
"

But you're not bright enough to do it correctly. Perhaps if you start thinking now, by Wednesday you'll realize why your rejoinder was completely unconnected to reality.

How do you know? The original article I read said the neighborhood had become inundated with crime.

Because it's easy to check crime stats? And because you're likely to just make shit up, so this "original article" might not even exist (since it's certainly not accurate).

But hey, you're not gonna let the truth get in the way of some firearm fantasies here, are you?
posted by klangklangston at 7:17 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't see this as really a tough call the grand jury had to make. I'm delighted the guy is not being prosecuted.

What seems to be forgotten here is that burglary is not just a property crime. The intrusion into one's private space, the threat the burglars present to whomever might be home ("what if I had been here when they broke in?"), and the brazenness of the act and complete disregard for the sacrosanct nature of a person's dwelling, make burglary about as close to a crime of violence as a "mere property crime" can be.
posted by jayder at 7:20 PM on June 30, 2008


regardless of what the law says, or is supposed to say, it's pretty obvious listening to this tape that for whatever reason this guy really, really wanted to shoot some people.

listen to the tape. he'd already decided that he was going to shoot them as they came out of the neighbour's house and only claimed that they'd come into his yard after killing both of them and telling the dispatcher that one of them was "across the street" and the other "down the road." they clearly had no idea he'd been watching them, and were "getting away" after breaking in, not coming over to his house.

interesting that there seems to be no evidence of racism on the tape, but after the shooting, the guy was clearly cognisant of the fact that his ass needed some cover. if it was racially motivated, it wouldn't surprise me to know that he deliberately kept that part of it to himself.

i'm not against the use of violence in self-defense, but this wasn't self defense even in the most imaginative terms.
posted by klanawa at 7:21 PM on June 30, 2008


Nobody here has any damn idea what happened - that night or in that grand jury. It's just an excuse for everyone to ride their personal hobby horses and what the hell is it doing in MetaTalk? This thread should be closed.
posted by nanojath at 7:22 PM on June 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yep. This has gone well past MetaFilter-related into a post of its own, and that ain't what MetaTalk is for.

*shoots the thread between the eyes, puts the sumbitch out of its misery*

*remembers he's not a moderator, waits for someone with a real gun to show up*
posted by yhbc at 7:25 PM on June 30, 2008


But hey, you're not gonna let the truth get in the way of some firearm fantasies here, are you?

You're lecturing me on fire arm fantasies?
posted by tkchrist at 7:26 PM on June 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


In an alternate reality, Joe Horn is 11 years old. Back in 2006, he was paralyzed from the waist down by a freak accident while volunteering at the local animal shelter. The group of puppies he was with carried him to a hospital, where J.P. Patches visited every day while he recovered. Two years later, recently-legalized stem cell research has discovered a new treatment that restored sensation and control to little Joe's legs. After six months of intensive rehabilitation and physical therapy, a nation turns its weary eyes to a heartwarming sight: Joe Horn walks.
posted by 0xFCAF at 7:27 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wake up three of four nights a week for months on end to people trying to kick in your door, or smashing your car windows, or screaming at you "FAG!", or saying they are going to ass rape your girlfriend, or showing you their GHAT. You do that for months on end and then tell me about the terrible injustice to snapping, resorting to vigilantism, and fighting back. You may never do it. But you will feel like doing it.

Holy shit, I guess America really does suck!

I had my unlocked bicycle stolen a couple years ago, and, uh... well, that's it, actually.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:27 PM on June 30, 2008


Nobody here has any damn idea what happened - that night or in that grand jury. It's just an excuse for everyone to ride their personal hobby horses and what the hell is it doing in MetaTalk? This thread should be closed.

Exactly. But don't let that stop the chicken shit grudge holders from throw insults around. It's fun and easy!
posted by tkchrist at 7:29 PM on June 30, 2008


I agree; tamales are a delightful snack.
posted by Dizzy at 7:37 PM on June 30, 2008


Whenever I see the words "community activist" before a person's name in a news article, I always mentally substitute "douchebag".

You have no idea.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:38 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


The fact is if the cops had been there in some reasonable amount of time NONE of this would have happened. Not to mention if Mr. Torres and Mr. Ortiz had decided to try another line of work.

This is so mind bogglingly stupid a comment it's hard to figure out how to respond.

The guy picked up the phone, called 911 and within 15 seconds says he has a shotgun and is going to stop them. Less than 60 seconds after that he admits he is "not going to let them go". When the operator tells him to stay inside--"you're going to get yourself shot [over property]" how does he respond? "Wanna bet?" He even refers to the changed law of Sept 1 which allows him to shoot people in the back and then he goes outside and yells "you're dead!" to the men and shoots them in the back. Through the entire phone conversation this guy is splintering the gate to get out there and kill the men. It's premeditated murder, caught on audio tape, and your defense of him by putting the blame on everyone else is laughable.

Nobody here has any damn idea what happened - that night or in that grand jury.

Huh? The whole thing is in the 911 call. It ain't that big a mystery what happened.
posted by dobbs at 7:41 PM on June 30, 2008


Oh. We need to make an example out of him? Is that what you all are talking about. Is that justice? Okay great.

He's an example either way. As it stands, he's an example of a man who killed two men; he did not shoot them in defense of impending harm to himself or his own property, but, he claims, to a neighbor's--although he shot the men in the back, as they were leaving the scene of the non-violent crime they had just finished committing in broad daylight.

That's all kinds of "example," and ain't none of it good.

This ruling gives citizens the implicit go-ahead to shoot and kill anyone they merely suspect of breaking and entering, even after the fact. No judge; no jury; just an instant death penalty. It is, in effect, saying, "Yes they deserved to die, and I hope they burn in hell!" For burglary.

How long will a 65 year old obese white man last in prison doing hard time for murder. Prisons that are dominated by violent Latino and Mexican gangs?

Five, ten years. Maybe twenty, who knows? Implying that he shouldn't go to prison because he's old and white, and the prisons are too full of young "Latino and Mexican" people who really deserve to be there? Classy.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:47 PM on June 30, 2008


This post, and all comments referencing it should be disappeared.
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on June 30, 2008


"You're lecturing me on fire arm fantasies?"

Yup. The guy with the gun thinks that your macho bullshit is over-the-top. Of course, if you could think past facile cheap shots, that might make a kind of sense to you. But I'm not sitting around waiting for a rational thought to creep past your brainstem.
posted by klangklangston at 7:59 PM on June 30, 2008


klangklangston and tkchrist, the both of you would draw down on each other faster than Joe Horn can say "Your dead!" either that or your bark is worse than its bite, which makes you a couple of toothless old bitch hounds. Or put another way, stop being jerks to people you don't see eye to eye with, or I'll smack you with my justice skillet.
posted by nola at 8:07 PM on June 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Now I'm gonna go down stairs and check on the chuck to if it's browned up right, and when I get back you two better be talking civil or nobody gonna get tamales, and I'm making them with love damn it, and pasilla chiles and almonds and toasted sesame seeds for christ sake.
posted by nola at 8:18 PM on June 30, 2008


I don't think I've ever had a tamale. What's up with that?
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:19 PM on June 30, 2008


Male, female, tamale.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:34 PM on June 30, 2008


Well, I appreciate the offer, but I'm on to birthday scotch. SCOTCH!
posted by klangklangston at 8:39 PM on June 30, 2008


You say "tamale", I say "ale mat". It's like a coaster but absorbs up to twelve fluid ounces.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:43 PM on June 30, 2008


I don't think I've ever had a tamale. What's up with that?

I was in Natchez, MS. with some friends and we stopped to eat at "Fat Mama's Tamales" and had "Tamale Pie" which was 3 tamales covered in homemade chile, cheese, and jalapenos. We sat outside on picnic benches eating and drinking cold beer, from that moment on We were hooked. Don't eat a tamale unless you're prepared to make them yourself.
posted by nola at 8:53 PM on June 30, 2008


Sys Rq said: "He's an example either way. As it stands, he's an example of a man who killed two men; he did not shoot them in defense of impending harm to himself or his own property, but, he claims, to a neighbor's--although he shot the men in the back, as they were leaving the scene of the non-violent crime they had just finished committing in broad daylight."

Don't forget that it was not a crime committed in the heat of the moment. Horn was on the horn (hee) for how many minutes being told NOT to leave his house by the dispatcher and had enough time to weigh the consequences of his actions before he decided to kill these men. From before the first time he asked the dispatcher "you want me to stop 'em?" he was clearly looking for an excuse to use his shotgun.

I am still positively flabbergasted that he is not being indicted on 2nd degree murder.
posted by loiseau at 9:02 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


had enough time to weigh the consequences of his actions before he decided to kill these men

Exactly. In the 911 tape he's actually arguing with the dispatcher, trying to justify his decision.
posted by amyms at 9:34 PM on June 30, 2008


Nobody here has any damn idea what happened - that night or in that grand jury. It's just an excuse for everyone to ride their personal hobby horses and what the hell is it doing in MetaTalk? This thread should be closed.

nanojath is very, very right. IMO, MeTa's usefulness as an update site is pretty tenuous, considering its readership is so much smaller than the Blue's. This post in particular is just another excuse for people to squat out the same ol' shit they did in the original FPP, which was weakass News/OutrageFilter to begin with.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:54 PM on June 30, 2008


Also, happy birthday, klang!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:55 PM on June 30, 2008


It's disgusting how MeFites become such ridged black and white moralists when their pet political buttons get pushed.

I don't get where you're seeing rigid moralis...oh, maybe that was sarcasm? Look, the guy was in no physical danger, but went out of his way to be a vigilante and shoot two men in the back. I don't think it's a bizarre point of view to think that this is pretty obviously wrong, even considering a relativist, shades of gray, "let's consider the intent" point of view. But he considered himself above the law, and was proven right. This is what rankles. Not even a slap on the wrist. Acquitted.

As for the unofficial death sentence of jail...there are a hell of a lot of people in jail who don't deserve what our jails have become. Heck, there's a sizable number who aren't even guilty at all of the crimes that got them there, but they had crap representation or didn't know their rights or confessed out of fear or just aren't real smart. A disproportionately high number of those guys are black or latino, but please don't assume that this somehow gets them special treatment regarding prison "culture."
posted by desuetude at 10:01 PM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


"some old ignorant WHITE red neck", "a retired grandfather", "old Joe", "old coot in Texas",
From the above examples of ageism, I deduce that few if any Mefites will vote for 72 year old John McCain.
Joe Horn is just about the same age as Dumbya Bush.
posted by Cranberry at 12:22 AM on July 1, 2008


What seems to be forgotten here is that burglary is not just a property crime. The intrusion into one's private space, the threat the burglars present to whomever might be home ("what if I had been here when they broke in?"), and the brazenness of the act and complete disregard for the sacrosanct nature of a person's dwelling, make burglary about as close to a crime of violence as a "mere property crime" can be.

I've been robbed. Heck, I had my wheelchair (yes, really) stolen at a time when I didn't have the spare cash to replace it, and spent the following week either without one, or on a borrowed one that fit poorly and completely screwed up my shoulder. It's incredibly violating, and although technically theft of a wheelchair (and it's return, vandalized) is a "property crime", I think there's a damn good case to be made that it's a crime against my person as well; this is a part of my body, after all.

But the most violent fantasy that crossed my mind involved battery, not murder. And had I found the culprit(s), even that would've gone unfulfilled in favor of some cursing and guilt tripping. Two men are dead here, as a result of the actions of a third. This was not an eye for an eye, nor was it self defense.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 2:14 AM on July 1, 2008


…"a retired grandfather"…
From the above examples of ageism


Someone didn't read the article.
posted by oaf at 3:55 AM on July 1, 2008


In Texas, if you refer to someone as "old Joe" (as in, "well, old Joe decided he wasn't about to put up with that nonsense, so he grabbed his shotgun and stepped outside"), the Joe in question could be 18. Also, those persons who are referred to as "good old boys," are often neither good nor old, though almost always male.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:47 AM on July 1, 2008


You know, if someone pointed a shotgun at me and shouted, "Get the fuck outta here!," I bet I'd go. Even if I had a gun myself. Because he's got a gun, too, and the odds are, I'm about to get shot. I'm not trying to indicate an alternate and way more sensible way for Mr. Horn to have handled this situation or anything; I'm just saying.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:34 AM on July 1, 2008


I am still positively flabbergasted that he is not being indicted on 2nd degree murder.

First degree murder.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:36 AM on July 1, 2008


Don't eat a tamale unless you're prepared to make them yourself.

Got a good recipe you can quote or link to? Because my wife offered to learn to make them since I like them so much, and damn if I'm gonna let that pass.

Also, happy birthday, klang!


Hey, it's my birthday, dammit!
posted by languagehat at 7:18 AM on July 1, 2008


Happy birthday hat! I'm using this as my starting point and adding things I think the recipe lacks. This site is has some good stuff on it as well. I had a hard time making tamales the first few times I tried so tell her not to give up.
posted by nola at 9:01 AM on July 1, 2008



turgid dahlia writes " I COULD OVERTHINK TWO FATAL GUNSHOT WOUNDS"

Well then you've come to the right place.
posted by Mitheral at 9:30 AM on July 1, 2008


Wasn't there a thread all about making tamales not too long ago? Oh yeah, here it is.

Happy birthday!
posted by yhbc at 9:31 AM on July 1, 2008


Happy birthday, LH! It's the semi-annual!
posted by klangklangston at 9:44 AM on July 1, 2008


Thanks, nola—I sent her the links!
posted by languagehat at 11:31 AM on July 1, 2008


Seems like loading that shotgun with rock salt would have been less lethal and equally effective. If "effective" is defined as "driving off the burglars" and not "ventilating furriners".
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:46 AM on July 1, 2008


Since this has become "rehash your thoughts about the incident" I thought I'd share.

Several years ago I made a serious effort to understand gun culture. I went shooting several times with friends and acquaintances who owned guns. Riles, pistols, revolvers, shotguns (skeet shooting is damn fun). It was enjoyable, and I learned a lot. In fact I almost bought a gun or two, but never did.

However the more I spent time with my gun happy friends (and their friends) the more I started realizing some of them really wanted a chance to shoot a real live person. They'd tell stories about how a certain gun could be used in a specific defense case and at first I thought it was really just a variant of geek gadget lust, but eventually (and I admit this took longer than it should) I realized that the real hardons were reserved for the "and then I get to blow someone away" moment. That's when I seriously rethought my feelings towards gun control and gun owners. Yes not all gun fans have this unfilled desire to go kill someone that is doing bad things, but I think the percentage is a lot higher than I, frankly, feel comfortable with. Psychopaths are psychopaths, even if they channel their desires towards (semi) socially acceptable avenues or release, and I really think there is something about guns that releases the inner violent psychopath in people.
posted by aspo at 11:58 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


jayder: "What seems to be forgotten here is that burglary is not just a property crime. The intrusion into one's private space other than Joe Horn's, the threat the burglars present to whomever might be in not-Joe-Horn's home ("what if someone who is not Joe Horn had been here when they broke in?"), and the brazenness of the act and complete disregard for the sacrosanct nature of a person other than Joe Horn's dwelling, make burglary about as close to a crime of violence as a "mere property crime" can be."

Fixed Clarified that for you.
posted by CrayDrygu at 6:15 PM on July 1, 2008


I've lived in poor neighborhoods. I've been shot at. I've been robbed, and I've fired a gun in self-defense. I like guns, I've served in the Army, and I believe that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to personal firearm ownership.

This guy was completely out of bounds. He told the dispatcher he was going to shoot these guys, and despite being told not to do it, he went out and shot them in the back. They were obviously no threat to him at any point. They weren't "running to get a gun" or any kind of crap like that. It's shit like this that gives justified self-defense a bad name. He killed two people. Sure, these guys were scumbags. That is not justification for what he did. Sure, the police may have been slow to respond to a property crime - a robbery of an unoccupied house. That is not justification for what he did.

As for whether he's a threat to anyone else or not, well shit, he's obviously a threat. HE SHOT TWO GUYS IN COLD BLOOD IN THE BACK. Whether he'd do well in prison is not important. He earned prison time. If you kill two people in cold blood, you should go to prison. There is nothing in your house worth killing someone over except you and your family. There is NOTHING in your neighbor's unoccupied house worth killing anyone over.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:37 PM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


As for whether he's a threat to anyone else or not, well shit, he's obviously a threat. HE SHOT TWO GUYS IN COLD BLOOD IN THE BACK. Whether he'd do well in prison is not important. He earned prison time. If you kill two people in cold blood, you should go to prison. There is nothing in your house worth killing someone over except you and your family. There is NOTHING in your neighbor's unoccupied house worth killing anyone over.

Okay. I find this line of reasoning much more compelling than being told I'm a moron or have a deformed brain stem.

I've thought about this. If all the evidence the jury had to go on was the 911 tape that we heard, and if Horn was not the victim of repeated crime, or if he there is no evidence he lived in a crime blighted area that initially assumed he did—then I will revise my opinion to YES, Horn should go to jail. If those things are true I was totally wrong.

IOW if all the evidence they saw is what we have here than he should have served time at the very least in a mental health facility since it's obvious the man is disturbed.

Most of you seem to be 100% sure we heard all the evidence and all the facts. I can only say I'm not so sure. I suppose that is what I should have said from the beginning.

Psychopaths are psychopaths, even if they channel their desires towards (semi) socially acceptable avenues or release, and I really think there is something about guns that releases the inner violent psychopath in people.

Sure. Just like video games, rap music, and scrap booking.
posted by tkchrist at 10:57 PM on July 1, 2008


Most of you seem to be 100% sure we heard all the evidence and all the facts. I can only say I'm not so sure.

I'm not sure either. But sometimes, a single fact is dispositive. This is one of those cases. If he was the victim of repeated crime, or if he lived in a crime-blighted area, I'm sorry for him. He's still guilty of murder. The 911 tape and the fact that they guys were shot in the back, though, those two facts, prove that he committed murder. The bad circumstances that you mention? They are extenuating circumstances, and are relevant during sentencing. They have nothing to do with guilt or innocence, you deformed-brain-stem moron you.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:22 AM on July 2, 2008


I really think the whole line of argument over "he shot some guys in the back, that's MURDER" misses the point. The U.S. system (as implemented in Texas, anyway) contains, quite by design, features that try to prevent someone from being prosecuted for a crime if it's not considered offensive and worthy of condemnation in their community.

Or, to put it differently, the system is not designed to be enforced by robots; in order to go to jail for a long time, you not only have to break the law in the literal sense, but you have to do it in such a way that your peers are willing to condemn you for it. If you break the law but do it in such a way that your peers--as represented by the jury pool--don't think it's really wrong, and/or aren't willing to indict and convict you for it, then it's de facto legal.

Although the jury system* may at times produce outcomes that we don't like (see also: OJ Simpson), I'm pretty comfortable in my belief that it's far better than any alternative which would remove those 'safety valves' and in doing so, create horrible Catch-22 situations where people are punished for doing things that do not violate community norms.

Situations like this are simply costs of having a system we can live with, in the same way that letting "guilty" people walk on procedural technicalities (e.g. Miranda) is a cost. Although it may suck, it's far better than the alternatives.

* Referring here to the whole system of justice that involves juries, including Grand Juries and actual trial juries.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:03 AM on July 3, 2008


"I really think the whole line of argument over "he shot some guys in the back, that's MURDER" misses the point. The U.S. system (as implemented in Texas, anyway) contains, quite by design, features that try to prevent someone from being prosecuted for a crime if it's not considered offensive and worthy of condemnation in their community."

I understand both the advantages and drawbacks of this system. Emmet Till was murdered, no matter what twelve men said. Jury nullification is a powerful tool with some powerful baggage, and arguing that because Horn wasn't convicted means that he didn't murder those two men is simplistic and wrong.
posted by klangklangston at 10:53 AM on July 3, 2008


We are all overthinking this.

It's Texas. That's how things are in Texas. If you are going to illegally immigrate to the US in order to join a burglary gang and then rob houses in suburban neighborhoods in broad daylight, you are either crazy assed stupid or have a death wish if you do it in Texas, for crying out loud.

At least go to Austin. They might shoot you, but they use organic no-lead bullets.

/damned cultural relativist
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:47 PM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's Chinatown Texas, Jake!
posted by RussHy at 9:35 AM on July 8, 2008


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