If you do something wrong, you should be fired or killed. Whether you should be fired or killed has nothing to do with what you did, but rather, the context in which you did it. If you do something wrong in the presence of a legal gun owner with a Conceal Carry permit and a loaded weapon, you simply need to die. If, on the other hand, you have a job and do something wrong, the only possible outcome is your being fired, no matter what it was you did. If the thing you do wrong happens in a context in which you have a job AND are in the presence of a gun-holding conceal-carry permitted person, then you should be fired, then shot.

One thing I am pretty sure of: We are not going to have a major invasion of immigrants from Europe any time soon, because we as a nation are so fucking stupid and dangerous that no one in their right mind should really WANT to come to this annoying country except maybe for a brief visit, unless they live in dire poverty, are seriously oppressed, or forced from their homes. But I digress.

This thought … corporal or employment termination as the only outcome no matter what you did wrong … comes to me with this story about a school teacher who, according to commenters on the news site, should be fired:

The Central Bucks School District has suspended a high school English teacher after parents complained to administrators about her blog in which she railed on her students for more than a year.

Phrases on the blog include; “Frightfully dim,” “Rat-like,” “Am concerned your kid is going to open fire on the school,” “I hate your kid,” and “Seems smarter than she actually is.”

Those are the words of teacher Natalie Munroe, according to the Central Bucks School District.

bla bla bla …

Surely, you have noticed this trend. Someone in a position of employment does something wrong, and the person-on-the-street, if asked, simply says they must lose their job. This is like a Monty Python skit about the middle ages, but real life. No matter what the peasant does, the King has the peasant’s head chopped off. And it really is based on pure stupidity. The average person-on-the-street, frankly is a moron. They probably don’t know about things like HR rules and HR departments, about training and retraining, or for that matter, about due process. Are you certain, for example, that you understand the full meaning and intent of the above mentioned teacher, based on the de-contextualized quotes? Hey, for all I know, this teacher was seriously abusing her students, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. For all I know she killed and ate some of the kids when they stayed late! For all I know, this teacher deserves to be shot! But, it is also possible that she was playing. Or teaching. Playing with words, playing with the students heads, grabbing attention, challenging them, whatever. It is possible that she did something very wrong, but it is also possible that she did something very right. It is not hard to find situations where thoughtless poorly informed reactionary parents grab their pitchforks to chase the teacher (or the school administrator, or for that matter, the entire system of education) into the swamp. Indeed, everything about education in this country has been repositioned as wrong, ineffective, or in some way nefarious. The entire system of education should be shot, dammit! Or fired!

And then there are the people we have to shoot.

I’ve written before about the young teenager who entered on a dare what he thought to be an abandoned house. The old man who lived there alone kept a loaded firearm with him as he slept. He heard the kid, shot into the dark, and killed him. The next day we saw neighbors on the news saying that it was good that the kid was killed, so others would learn the lesson. Indeed, it is widely believed, and commonly boldly stated, that a person who enters another person’s house uninvited deserves to be shot. And, not just shot, but shot to death. The common wisdom for this sort of thing runs like this: “If you harm a burgler in any way they can sue you and they have won too, so just keep that in mind. and if u do use force i would make sure its one fatal shot then a second warning shot into the roof (cops cant tell which came first)” (source)

That the child who was shot by the old man down the street was innocent of “home invasion” seems irrelevant. That a person arrested for “home invasion” is not normally sentenced to death seems irrelevant. If you’ve got the firearm, and get the drop on any person who happens to be unexpectedly in your home, just shoot them. They should be killed. And don’t forget to put that extra bullet into your ceiling. Maybe that way you can also shoot your child who is sleeping in her bed upstairs.

Comments

  1. #1 Clam
    February 11, 2011

    As far as I can see, the teacher was merely commenting on the usual bland anodynes produced on school reports and giving examples of the words she might like to use. She did not use these words with reference to any particular pupil.
    Mind you, I remember, some sixty years ago, getting the classic remark on my report of “Trying. Very.

  2. #2 Drivebyposter
    February 11, 2011

    The average person-on-the-street, frankly is a moron.

    You should be fired from Scienceblogs for saying that. Then shot.

  3. #3 gwen
    February 11, 2011

    I can understand the frustration of the teacher, limited by canned comments on the report cards of the students. While I wouldn’t use that phrasing, There should be some mechanism in place to allow a comment that doesn’t fit in their parameters. The blog also had nothing to do with the school, she blogged outside of her work time.

  4. #4 MikeMa
    February 11, 2011

    Too much of this country has guns at the ready.

    The teacher is forced to work i an environment where parents (and students) believe they are above average and cannot fail. If they do fail, it is some one else’s fault, namely the teacher’s. Stupid in, stupid out.

  5. #5 Rose Colored Glasses
    February 11, 2011

    Part of the problem in schools is administrators who are drunk with power. They love the exercise of power and go looking for the least little thing to take as provocation, and then they harm somebody as badly as they can get away with. A little kid points his finger like it is a pistol, and the administrator has him arrested for possession of a deadly weapon. A teacher posts a picture of herself having dinner in a restaurant, with a glass of wine beside her, and she gets suspended.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t offer any fix for this. I finished high school in 1966 and thought it was crazy then, but I was wrong. Our schools get perceptibly crazier every year.

  6. #6 dean
    February 11, 2011

    The teacher story is only the latest one. From 2009: A teacher was dismissed from her school when parents complained about pictures on her facebook page in which she was holding a glass of wine.

    http://current.com/1sn9h4c

    Again, there may be more to the story – my guess is that the parents had some grudge against her.

    Contrast: In 1971, when I was in high school, the student teacher of our Spanish class was arrested at an anti-war demonstration on MSU’s campus: his picture was on the front page of the State Journal. No repercussion at all (other than some of the girls deciding that event made him “really hot”). Times certainly have changed.

  7. #7 Alan
    February 11, 2011

    “The average person-on-the-street, frankly is a moron.”
    That seems to be the conensus of the average person-on-the-internet.

  8. #8 A little common sense
    February 11, 2011

    “If you harm a burgler in any way they can sue you and they have won too, so just keep that in mind. and if u do use force i would make sure its one fatal shot then a second warning shot into the roof (cops cant tell which came first)”

    This is certainly not the advice of a rational or informed person.

    The criteria for use of deadly force is: You reasonably believe that either you or a third person is in immediate threat of death or serious injury.

    Remember that.

    If you have time to fire a warning shot, you are NOT immediately threatened.

    That the child who was shot by the old man down the street was innocent of “home invasion” seems irrelevant.

    It is irrelelvant and probably mistaken. See below for elements of proof.

    Seventeen years old is not a child by any stretch of the imagination. Half of all gang members are 17 or younger. http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/96natyouthgangsrvy/surv_6a.html

    That a person arrested for “home invasion” is not normally sentenced to death seems irrelevant.

    It is irrelevant. It is not the home invasion that is in question, it is the threat of harm. Could an elderly person who awakens in his home to find an unknown person confronting him in the dark reasonably fear harm?

    Well, yes.

    If you’ve got the firearm, and get the drop on any person who happens to be unexpectedly in your home, just shoot them. They should be killed.

    Only if you reasonably fear for your life or that of a third party, such as your daughter upstairs.

    And don’t forget to put that extra bullet into your ceiling. Maybe that way you can also shoot your child who is sleeping in her bed upstairs.

    Asked and answered.

    Elements of proof for home invasion vary from state to state. However, they generally include:

    Breaks and enters an occupied dwelling with intent to commit a crime there, enters an occupied dwelling without permission with intent to commit a crime there, or breaks and enters an occupied dwelling or enters a dwelling without permission and while entering, present in, or leaving the dwelling, commits a crime.

    The forced entry itself is a crime in all US jurisdictions.

    Home invasion, by the way, is merely the newest politically-correct term for breaking and entering while the residents are home.

    Use of deadly force during a home invasion can also be based upon the castle doctrine (English Common Law). One condition which justifies use of deadly force is: An intruder must be making (or have made) an attempt to unlawfully and/or forcibly enter an occupied home, business or car.

    So the only conclusion is that the “child” shot by the elderly man was committing a crime and that the home owner was justified in using deadly force.

    That the act was motivated by the stupidity of the deceased describes most all crimes.

    “Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”
    — Robert A. Heinlein

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2011

    Common: You are correct. That is not a statement by a rational well informed person. It is, however, a statement by a person who typified gun owners and gun nuts in this country. That is the point.

    It is irrelelvant and probably mistaken.

    Mistaken in what way? It happened as I described it. Sorry, but you can’t explain it away.

    It is irrelevant. It is not the home invasion that is in question, it is the threat of harm.

    There are two levels at which you have this wrong. Frist, the element of harm is really not relevant at all when the teenage child is breaking back into the house after an illicit time away in the middle of the night and is blown to bits by his or her gun nut father. Secon, I’m not talking about the question of people protecting themselves. I’m talking about the opinion of the average person-on-the-street that it is perfectly OK, indeed JUST, that a person lose their life under these circumstances. This is not about the justification of shooting someone.

    I get that you don’t get it. You need to work this out in your own head. You need to try to understand why your failure to understand this point IS the point.

    Asked and answered.

    Do you seriously think I was asking? Or that you answered? Funny. Not funny “ha ha” though.

    So the only conclusion is that the “child” shot by the elderly man was committing a crime and that the home owner was justified in using deadly force.

    Q.E.D.

  10. #10 Christopher
    February 11, 2011

    Fear breeds this kind of striking out approach. It also breeds the kind of distorted logic seen here in justifying pulling the trigger. I trust “A little” has never been in a true situation of danger.

  11. #11 HR Officer at Large
    February 11, 2011

    There is a reason one takes classes and training to be an HR officer!

  12. #12 Garrett
    February 11, 2011

    A Little Common Sense is Irrelevant. Guess how I know that.

  13. #13 Patricia
    February 11, 2011

    Common Sense, it is people like you who make this country suck when it could be so good.

  14. #14 desertscope
    February 11, 2011

    I keep a black powder revolver in my safe. So as long as I have several minutes to retrieve and load my firearm, I will be secure. Secure, that is, against the home invasions which (if the media coverage is any indication)will happen to roughly 10 percent of households per month.

    Also, guns don’t kill people. People kill guns. Or something.

  15. #15 jld
    February 11, 2011

    The average person-on-the-street, frankly is a moron.

    Tsk! tsk! tsk!
    The average person-on-the-street is a VOTER…

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2011

    The average person on the street does not vote.

  17. #17 desertscope
    February 11, 2011

    Compromise: the average voter is a moron (on-the-street?).

  18. #18 richardrob
    February 11, 2011

    With regard to the corrosion of public education, it’s the result of a cycle that happens in any bureaucracy, government or corporate. A novice makes a mistake, and rather than try to share the lesson learned with everyone, a rule is put in place to try and prevent the mistake from happening again. Rules accumulate until even the person making them is hard pressed to exercise any discretion without butting up against a rule.

    There’s more to this, but I’ll have to elaborate later.

  19. #19 Doug Alder
    February 11, 2011

    @jld “The average person-on-the-street is a VOTER…”

    And that amigo is the truly scary part of it all.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2011

    The average person on the street does NOT vote!

  21. #21 Brad Feaker
    February 11, 2011

    I am afraid I must confess that if my home were invaded and the invader survives his/her encounter with my dogs (Akita and German Shepard – both well trained) I would shoot them. The dogs will not bark and/or attack a member of the family and will not attack unless commanded or threatened. The incidence of home invasion is on the rise in the area where I live and a lot of these crimes are being committed by armed gang members (mainly Gangster Disciples here) and are even taking place midday. I would like to think I am not a gun nut – but I will defend my family or myself with deadly force if threatened with harm.

  22. #22 Elizabeth
    February 11, 2011

    Brad you also seem to have missed the point that is clear in this post.

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2011

    Brad, your willingness to shoot another human being to death because they stepped on your property does not speak to the question of whether or not said person deserves to die. In your case in particular, I’d be careful, because you seem to be convinced that you are under extra special threat. If you have family members living with you please let them know that you might shoot them if they come home at an odd time of day or something so they can perhaps call ahead!

  24. #24 Mike Haubrich
    February 11, 2011

    I have had someone tell me, in all seriousness, as a born-again Christian ex-Dallas-cop, that if someone is leaving your home with your television and is on his/her way out of your window that you should shoot the burglar before he gets all the way out.

    Even if you are out of danger, the burglar has your stuff, Man.

    I think Madison said something about beacons on shores, warning people who seek freedom to stay the hell away from a country that thinks that religion and government should be in the least intertwined. We are failing on that score, and I agree that they should also be warned about moving to a country who thinks that killing is easily justified.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2011

    Mike, well said.

    Now, we will have to shoot you, of course!

  26. #26 A little common sense
    February 11, 2011

    Greg,
    I went looking for the newspaper articles referenced in your first post, but they had apparently been deleted, so I guess I do not have all the details. You stated that the teenager “entered” the house, and I presumed that to do so he must have forced an entry. Is that wrong?

    Mistaken in what way? It happened as I described it. Sorry, but you can’t explain it away.

    If he forced an entry, that was a crime, and the house was occupied, so it met the elements of proof for a “hot” burglary, a.k.a. home invasion. Nothing to explain away; he did it.

    The law will not give credence to the excuse that the intruder did not know that the home was occupied unless it can be shown that the resident deliberately acted in such a way as to deceive the intruder into believing there was no one at home, which was not the case.

    It is, however, a statement by a person who typified gun owners and gun nuts in this country.

    I do not know any gun owners of the type you are describing, and I literally know thousands. Do you know any? Personally?
    I know a lot of Concealed Carry Permit holders, and they surely would know better than the “warning shot” nonsense put forth by the individual you quoted. A step in acquiring a CCP is a class on the law and requirements of legal concealed carry and the use of deadly force, and the subject of warning shots is specifically covered in those classes. I would guess that the person you quoted based his opinion on little more than idle talk between guys. I would also bet that he did not hold a CCP, and chances are, he doesn’t own a gun.
    So what I am saying is that your stereotyping of gun owners and enthusiasts is probably flawed.

    …and is blown to bits by his or her gun nut father.

    Now I am really confused. Was the teenager that was killed the child of the shooter or are you advancing an hypothetical, fictional situation?

    Asked and answered.
    Do you seriously think I was asking? Or that you answered? Funny. Not funny “ha ha” though.

    No, I assumed that you would be familiar with the expression. Asked and answered is legal jargon that means that a subject has been covered during previous testimony.
    I will agree with you on one point: the average person on the street is woefully uninformed or misinformed about guns, self-defense, and deadly force. They get most of their information from prime time television; what more can I say?
    In addition, the average person on the street is neither a legal gun owner nor a concealed carry permit holder. This is particularly true in those metropolitan areas where gun ownership is discouraged.
    No, IMHO, the people you think are gun owners and gun nuts are merely ignorant, immature young men looking to impress someone with their ignorance. And it worked. That guy with the “warning shot” fooled you.
    Seriously, education is the key to reducing unintentional, accidental, and unnecessary shootings.

    For example, when the NRA established the The Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program in 1988, it was strongly resisted by many anti-gun groups. However, the number of accidental shootings have declined markedly in recent years, and the reduction in accidental shootings by children has been particularly gratifying. Much of the credit for this goes to the Eddie Eagle program.

    Education is required for CCP holders. Before a permit is issued, the applicants are thoroughly briefed on the requirements and nuances of the law and must pass a test to prove their knowledge. They are very unlikely to make a mistake of the kind your self-described gun expert made.

    Education is required for hunters. In nearly every state hunters must take a hunter safety course prior to receiving their licenses. Juvenile hunters are absolutely required to take these courses before they can carry a gun in the field.

    You ignored this last time, but once again, half of all gang members are 17 or younger. Age is really no indication of culpability or lack thereof.

  27. #27 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2011

    Actually, no, the entry was not forced. Doors were unlocked. Sorry if you can’t find the newspaper references. This was one of my neighbors killing another of my neighbors. I did not get this from Wikipedia.

    So, if he forced the entry, is it OK in your mind that he was blown to bits with a shotgun? You are one sick fucker. And the fact that he didn’t force entry? I’m sure that has no relevance to you.

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2011

    And, as has been told to you a few times now, you are the reason I wrote this post. Not you specifically, but your kind. You are an embarrassment. Your blathering proves my point better than any further argument by me possibly could.

  29. #29 Chris
    February 11, 2011

    I do not know any gun owners of the type you are describing, and I literally know thousands.

    You know thousands of gun owners well enough to be sure of how you describe their personalities? I call bullshit.

  30. #30 Azkyroth
    February 11, 2011

    You know thousands of gun owners well enough to be sure of how you describe their personalities? I call bullshit.

    Maybe he meant biblically :D

  31. #31 Elizabeth
    February 11, 2011

    To the guy who puts the word “Little” in “Common Sense”: I do not think you have the smallest clue what the point of this discussion is or, for that matter, what you are saying about it. Do you understand, for example, that there is a difference between justifiable use of force and later determining the legitimacy of a death in the broader scheme of things? Do you really think that a logical argument for, say, an accident being carried out in which a person is run over and killed makes it OK and “justified” that that person died? You are so paranoid about being the shooter, and being blamed as one, that you can not escape the trap of thinking that this is about you. It is not about you. It is about the person that you apparently intend to shoot at the next possible opportunity you have to do so. This is not about you, it is about your potential victim.

  32. #32 Jim Thomerson
    February 11, 2011

    Here is a link to Texas law on self defense, defense of property, etc.

    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/docs/PE/htm/PE.9.htm

  33. #33 Laurent Weppe
    February 12, 2011

    The average person on the street does NOT vote!

    Hmmm… 225 millions adults live in the United States, 131 millions voted in the last presidential election. Unless the voters do their best to never goes in the street or refuse to answer questions from pollsters and journalists, the average person of the street as more chances of being a voter than not.

  34. #34 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    Laurent: This may be partly an issue with the use of the word “average” and the word “voter.” You seem to consider a voter someone who has ever voted. I consider a voter to be someone who votes in every election, or almost so.

    Just over half of the possible voters voted int he presidential election, but in the election before that one and after that one a much, much smaller percentage voted. THOSE are the voters, not the ones who bother every four years. In congressional off-years, the number is somewhere in between. Some Presidential years, fewer than 50% vote. The last presidential election was one of the highest turnouts percentage wise ever. ewer than 50% of the people on the street are voters.

  35. #35 desertscope
    February 12, 2011

    @Laurent Weppe
    Haven’t you been watching Fox News? Most of those votes were the result of minority voting fraud. And ACORN.

  36. #36 Chris
    February 12, 2011

    Greg, I read your blog almost daily. Its one of the several on scienceblogs that always pop up when I start typing the URL in. I enjoy it and frequently share it on facebook (to the chagrin of a lot of my friends who’d rather I quit using the status to post links). But when it comes to guns I have a fundamental difference of opinion with you, as do some other posters in the threads. And its always the same story – the “gun owner” is a caricature that seems frightfully different from the reality, as construed by other posters and on occasions yourself.

    I live in Florida, a state notorious for its lax gun gun laws. Anywhere you go there is a good chance at least one person around you has a CCP and is armed with at least one gun. My dad has a permit, as does my uncle, and both keep weapons in their car and sometimes on their person. Both have had these for years, neither has ever shot someone (accidentally or in self-defense), and neither have they pulled them out to “look tough” or brandish them in any way. As common sense pointed out, CCPs are earned by passing education courses about firearms and applicants are screened in various ways. One of the things I never understand about people who criticize concealed carry is this idea that “if something happens (my favorite example was a car backfiring) that surprises people with CCPs, they’ll all start shooting around each other.” Its simply not the case. If it were, causeless bloodbaths would happen all the time, especially around where I live.

    I think that people who’ve never handled a firearm or dealt with people who do regularly don’t understand the amount of care we put into these things. They are NOT toys, they are tools that can end a person’s life, and we respect that in full. I am a gun owner myself, and a college student. Does that mean I get drunk at parties and pull my gun out and show it off to the ladies or some craziness? Hell no. If I ever do display my gun (a very ornate over-under shotgun built for skeet and trap shooting, capacity of two shells), it’s only to adults, and after I’ve pulled the case from the back of my closet, opened it, and broken the action to make sure its unloaded (which is how I keep it).

    About the home invasions, though, I see what you are saying. The average person on the street’s opinion about anything is probably going to be irrelevant, because they are average people of average intelligence and average awareness. Its frightening to think of the lower half of that average and they’re opinions! I know this first hand. Someone I’m very close to was once involved in a car accident in which another driver perished. It was a tragedy with grave consequences for all involved. However, when the story was published a local news website (I will not provide the link), I read the comments section following the story and found multiple people (presumably rational adults) stating that the fairest punishment for this person was the death penalty, for an accidental car collision in which no drugs or alcohol was involved. Others agreed with this sentiment, writing things like “an eye for an eye.” Other posters called for years, even decades, in prison, something that is as much an overreaction as death IMO. So I know exactly what you mean about the attitude on the street.

    But I cannot follow your reasoning on the reality of home invasion. I could post links to news stories about horrifying criminal acts committed during home invasions all day, but this is rather common knowledge. In the city that I live in, which is a small and low-income town with a huge transient population of middle-to-upper-class college students (like me!). Home invasion is something that happens all the time, in apartments, dorm rooms, and houses. Often times it is gang members from the local population, or simply non-affiliated criminal individuals and crews, who will break into a college student’s dwelling to steal things like our school-mandated laptop computers, televisions, and whatever else. Unfortunately it is very common that when the dwelling is occupied at the time of the breaking and entering, the occupants have been murdered (and not always with guns, there have been several grisly cases involving bats and knives). This is an underpublicized fact about the city I live in, Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, but it is something we are definitely aware of while living here.

    The first apartment complex I lived in had three or four armed robberies occur in the parking lot (in the single year I lived there). My room mate’s car was broken into, and some of his belongings and mine were taken.

    Crime is a reality here and everywhere. When someone breaks into your house, you have no idea if it’s a teenager doing it as a prank, or if you’re about to be assaulted with a deadly weapon. The fact is that nobody has the right to enter your home without your permission. The act of doing so does not warrant death, but the threat of the situation, in reality, does. If you pull a gun out and flip the lights on and find an unarmed youngster with his hands in the air and you pull the trigger anyway, that’s murder. But if you come into a room with several people wearing ski masks or bandannas over their faces, and who may or may not be armed, are you going to risk losing the advantage by shouting at them while pointing a gun? If you do, there’s a decent chance they’ll pull guns out themselves, or ambush you and take your firearm. The truth is that if home invaders don’t want to be shot, they ought not to invade homes. And when a 17 year old does it because he thinks its funny or he was put up to it, then its a tragedy, but maybe he should have fully thought out the decision first. A lot of people have to face severe consequences for thoughtless actions, and while that child did not actually deserve to die, he put himself in a lethal situation. If someone broke into my apartment, I dare say that I’d be unpacking and loading my shotgun as quickly as I could. I’d rather not end up as a memorial article on the front page of the Alligator.

  37. #37 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    Chris, some of my best friends and family are gun owners. I have no problem with gun ownership. I also have no problem with the idea that the law allows you to kill someone who is an actual home invader, by the way, depending on the circumstances.

    I live in Florida, a state notorious for its lax gun gun laws. Anywhere you go there is a good chance at least one person around you has a CCP and is armed with at least one gun.

    In minnesota, lots of people have guns, lots of people have CCP’s but I’m pretty sure very few people carry the weapons around with them as they do in Florida (and Texas).

    I know this first hand. Someone I’m very close to was once involved in a car accident in which another driver perished. It was a tragedy with grave consequences for all involved. However, when the story was published a local news website (I will not provide the link), I read the comments section following the story and found multiple people (presumably rational adults) stating that the fairest punishment for this person was the death penalty,

    That’s an excellent example.

    In this post, I’m not talking about what the law should (or does) say about shooting someone who has come, in a threatening and illegal manner, into your home. I’m talking about the attitude of the “person on the street” … exactly as in the example you give regarding your friend who, it would appear, killed someone and others thought should die. The case in my neighborhood is especially relevant because there is simply no way in the world that a civilized normal non-totallyfuckedup person could possibly ever think that the teenager should have died for entering what he thought was a vacant building on a dare. Period. There is no valid opinion that says that he should have died. Yet, people …. average POTS … saying that it was good that he died, and we see at lease one commenter here making lengthy arguments that it is good that he died.

    The problem here is in conflation of the perspectives, circumstances of the event, the outcomes, and individual culpability.

    In the case of the child who was killed by the old man with the loaded shotgun next to his bed, that man should not have done what he did. It was wrong to shoot at a noise in the dark. If you are going to plan to kill fellow humans who enter your house, you need to have a better plan than that, and I he should have been prosecuted for homicide. Instead, he was moved by his family into an old folks home and the two three tons of newspapers and magazines he had stacked in every room in the house were recycled.

    But, there certainly are circumstances where a home invader is a) killed by a home owner legally and b) was a burgular and would never have committed a crime that would earn a death penalty but c) I can understand and accept that situaton. But even then, don’t say later that the person who died deserved to die. He didn’t. That he happened to die in such a case would not be the fault of the homeowner/shooter either. Both can be true.

    And there in lies the difficulty. The average person on the street … or even the potentially highly intelligent gun nut such as “A Little” … is missing the point either because of intellectual inability or pre-formed post-hoc excuse making for an act of violence with a toy, is not getting or ignoring the reality that two things can both be true but in conflict.

  38. #38 Brad Feaker
    February 12, 2011

    @Greg,

    I think you missed my point or I did not communicate clearly enough. If someone breaks in my house and disables or kills my dogs they are clearly a threat. Nowhere did I state I would shoot someone without being under a clear threat of harm to myself or my family.

    My dogs were professionally trained as guard dogs and are my best line of defense from a home invader. Further more, I don’t shoot at things blindly and I keep a shotgun loaded with light shot to prevent bullets from penetrating walls and doors. I was taught to shoot by a Marine marksman (my father) and also have taken gun safety courses. I keep my shotgun locked with a trigger guard and out of sight. My kids have also been educated in gun safety.

    I guess my point is that I would not take a life unless I felt I or my family members are under threat of deadly harm. Life is too precious to take lightly – BUT I value the lives of my family far more than that of a criminal. Depending on the circumstances I would even give a home invader the chance to drop his weapon and go to jail peacefully. But again I would use deadly force to prevent direct harm to my family.

    Hope I was a bit more clear about how I feel about this. I value life because this life is all we have – I do not take it lightly.

  39. #39 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    Brad, excellent, and you are exactly correct. I had in fact missed the meaning of the dogs, though I did notice the mention of them.

    And you make an excellent point in several ways. In fact, from now on, I’m going to think about this a bit differently: IF someone is seriously worried about a threat, and they have all the guns but no dogs, they better have a good reason for not having the dog.

    Ask any cop: “Would you prefer the people in your area to be armed or to have dogs” and they’ll pick the dogs every time.

    The gun is a backup for the dog. The dog is a backup for the locks. The locks are backup for the exterior motion-detector driven lights, and those are backup for your boulevard garden and thoughtful landscaping (nice gardens have been shown to be effective deterrents of burglars, with somewhat complex reasons, and thoughtful landscaping esp. regarding bushes and fences is an important part of security).

    So the guy with the loaded gun who hasn’t thought about bushes next to windows, auto-lighting, good locks, and a guard dog (or at least a dog that barks) is really just a guy looking to shoot someone with his toys, and isn’t really that interested in protecting his family.

  40. #40 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    … and, it still may be the case that your neighbor has no business saying that the burgular you shot deserve to die, but at the same time, your shooting the guy who got past your landscaping, locks, lights, and dogs (or some reasonable combination thereof) would be justified, though of course some people will never agree with that.

  41. #41 A little common sense
    February 12, 2011

    So, if he forced the entry, is it OK in your mind that he was blown to bits with a shotgun?

    No, it is not “OK.”

    You are one sick fucker.

    Oh, you ask a question, answer it for me, and call me a name? Greg, it was your answer, your mistake. Don’t blame it on me.

    And the fact that he didn’t force entry? I’m sure that has no relevance to you.

    Wrong again, Greg. I made it a point to ask about that: “…I presumed that to do so he must have forced an entry. Is that wrong?” So what? You elected to overlook my question so you could insult me again?

    Posted by Greg Laden
    Mistaken in what way? It happened as I described it. Sorry, but you can’t explain it away.

    Except that you left out a few facts. Like the elderly man was senile.

    For the record. I value life, all life, much more than you do, Greg. I’ve picked up drunks out of the road. I’ve gotten covered in blood helping accident victims. I burned my hands trying to get the driver out of a burning pickup truck.
    I quit hunting over 30 years ago. When a racoon got into my garden last summer, instead of shooting him like you would have done, I bought a live trap and helped him relocate to a state park. Hurt animals, even someone else’s pets, go to the vet at my expense.
    So when you start telling me about myself, I cannot help but wonder what else you’re wrong about.
    Do you really want to prevent accidents and things like your 17-year-old’s death? If so, the answer is not you droning on about how superior you are and how stupid everyone else is. The answer is to get out and educate people about guns, the law, and most importantly, ethics and morality.

  42. #42 Brad Feaker
    February 12, 2011

    @Greg,

    You get my point exactly – a gun (pardon the pun) is the weapon of last resort. Thankfully I have never had to use it and hope I never do. The dogs do a great job of alerting us to any stranger entering the property – which gives us the time to react in a logical manner.

    Peace…

  43. #43 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    The dogs are also giving the local cops important info. The police officers I know say that they learn the habits of the local dogs and can distinguish between when something is amiss strangers walking down alleys at strange times, etc.) vs. a squirrel ran by.

  44. #44 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    Your problem, a little common sense, is that you mostly pay attention to your own blathering and not to what anyone else is saying. Then, after you’ve made a fool of yourself several times over, you start to notice that you are having one conversation and everyone else is having a different conversation.

    You call yourself “a little common sense” and then proceed to tell everyone else what to think. However, if you actually applied a little common sense, you’d not be such a fool. Try it. You might actually be able to contribute to rather than merely derail the conversation in which you engage. I’m glad to see that you’ve finally noticed what this conversation is about.

    And no, you do not value live more than I do, and no, you don’t have a more impressive or spectacular record of getting bloodied or injured or taking risks while saving other people, strangers, bunny rabbits, or squirrels. And no, I would not have shot the raccoon. I would have done this: http://tinyurl.com/y74nxyr

  45. #45 A little common sense
    February 12, 2011

    So, if he forced the entry, is it OK in your mind that he was blown to bits with a shotgun?

    No, it is not “OK.”

    You are one sick fucker.

    Oh, you ask a question, answer it for me, and call me a name? Greg, it was your answer, your mistake. Don’t blame it on me.

    And the fact that he didn’t force entry? I’m sure that has no relevance to you.

    Wrong again, Greg. I made it a point to ask about that: “…I presumed that to do so he must have forced an entry. Is that wrong?” So what? You elected to overlook my question so you could insult me again?

    Posted by Greg Laden
    Mistaken in what way? It happened as I described it. Sorry, but you can’t explain it away.

    Except that you left out a few facts. Like the elderly man was senile.

    For the record. I value life, all life, much more than you do, Greg. I’ve picked up drunks out of the road. I’ve gotten covered in blood helping accident victims. I burned my hands trying to get the driver out of a burning pickup truck.
    I quit hunting over 30 years ago. When a racoon got into my garden last summer, instead of shooting him like you would have done, I bought a live trap and helped him relocate to a state park. Hurt animals, even someone else’s pets, go to the vet at my expense.
    So when you start telling me about myself, I cannot help but wonder what else you’re wrong about.
    Do you really want to prevent accidents and things like your 17-year-old’s death? If so, the answer is not you droning on about how superior you are and how stupid everyone else is. The answer is to get out and educate people about guns, the law, and most importantly, ethics and morality.

  46. #46 Stephanie Z
    February 12, 2011

    The answer is to get out and educate people about…most importantly, ethics and morality.

    *headdesk*

  47. #47 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    Common sense, we are in perfect agreement. That is the real answer. We would need no laws. We should work on that.

    In the meantime ….