Texas Follow-Up

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My original analysis of the now-famous shooting of a robber out in Texas got a lot of good comments. Out of 30, there was only one Cherrystone (someone with lesser intellectual function than a Cherrystone clam and the reading comprehension of a fruit fly). There are a number of things I think we need to cover in regards this story.

First, if you are involved in a self-defense/defense of others shooting (heck, even if you just have draw a weapon), call a lawyer immediately. Get a good one. Never met the man in person, but have Guy Relford’s number programmed into my phone just in case. I also have a different lawyer in for the same thing, as a backup, in case Guy’s on vacation. If at all possible, wait to speak to the police until your lawyer is physically present. Be nice, be polite, but wait for the lawyer and only say anything after talking with the lawyer. If the lawyer gives you advice, follow it. Overall, the less you say to LE, to the media, or on social media, the better.

It sounds as if the shooter in Texas did just that. He got a lawyer, and has let the lawyer do as much of the talking with police as possible. Smart. Very smart. Net result is that I think that if he is indicted, he’s got a good chance at winning in court. Given something that was pointed out in another venue about that final shot, think he’s got a very good chance. Grand juries can be rigged to indict a ham sandwich; but, I’m wondering if they will indict for several reasons. Not only is this case a political hot potato that voters are following closely, but voters and non-voters are also getting tired of soft-on-crime prosecutors.

Which brings up a point that several of the commenters to the original post discussed, which is what does this mean for the future? One of the prime functions of the justice system is not to prevent crimes or predict them. Rather, it is to moderate public response so as to protect the public from itself. History is full of horrific punishments for what many would consider minor crimes. If you read the founding fathers, one of the things they wanted to ensure was a just system that avoided cruel and unusual punishments by the government and by the people.

They were well aware of the mob mentality, and did as much as they could to try to limit it via swift, impartial, and even-handed justice. Justice delayed is justice denied is a truism they knew well. They also had first-hand experience with a two (or more) tiered justice system and capricious sentencing. There is a reason that mob “justice” in the U.S. stands out; namely, while any such is to be condemned, we have had surprisingly little of it when compared to other countries and to history.

Which brings us to today. Swift justice? Tis a joke. Impartial? Not hardly, as we see a lot of rules for thee, not for me in courts and elsewhere. Even-handed? Eh, not so much. There are literally thousands of possible citations to prove those points, sad to say. The public has noticed, and again is not happy.

What happens now? I think there is a growing probability (not possibility) that we are going to see “justice” dispensed at the street level. When people are scared, do not feel safe anywhere, and have no faith in the system, they tend to take things into their own hands when they can. After all, if they know the person who just threatened them is going to be out in an hour or two after the prosecutor cuts a sweetheart deal with them, why take the risk?

That this will drive down crime for a while is a given. Looking at history, it also is going to cause the violence associated with crime to ramp up as well.

It is also likely to destroy our justice system as it currently exists. Prosecutors, who are often dug into their positions like a tick despite being on a ballot, are going to respond one of three ways, really only two as the third option requires unicorns and fairy godmothers.

They can look at reality, admit they were wrong, and change their ways and go back to something closer to real justice. And the fairy godmother will then wave her wand and give me a horse too.

From a historical perspective, the most likely response will be to double-down on what they are doing, and crack down on those defending themselves. The real bad guys will continue the revolving door treatment, while those who dared defend themselves will feel the full weight of the law and the ire of a prosecutor who takes it personally. Trust me, they will. Any criticism, or worse yet action, that calls into question what is being done will be taken personally by any politician, so expect to see mayors and others going along with such actions. Yes, I am cynical when it comes to politicians.

The final option is that they realize they are in an untenable position, and reluctantly, with much dragging of feet and wailing and gnashing of teeth, move reluctantly away from being soft on crime. They will also have the sense not to vindictively prosecute those who act in self-defense/defense of others.

That’s the truly critical point in all of this. If they go after those daring to defend themselves and others, it will destroy what little respect and faith people may still have in the justice system, as well as the larger political system of which it is a part. It is also quite likely to bring about a true mob response, because the public is not going to put up with such prosecutions. There is already a lack of faith in the ballot box as a solution, and if any politician is stupid enough to think that people will just sit and take it while their families are being threatened and killed, they are mistaken.

I do NOT want to see us get to that point. There are people out there on all sides pushing for violence and a ‘new civil war’ and they are idiots. Quite a few of them seem to think it will be exciting, and that none of it will touch them or theirs. Here’s a clue: look at history and even current events around the world. There will be no true safe place. That is not a world we want.

What can we do? I hate to say it, but not much. Local elections matter, so get active and get involved. Push hard for real election integrity to try to build back some of the trust that is gone. Other than that, our best options are prayer and preparedness. And to move away from cities/areas with those soft-on-crime prosecutors. Not ideal maybe, but if you love and want to protect your family, it is the right thing to do.

UPDATE: Third and final(??) post on the shooting is here for your reading pleasure.

57 thoughts on “Texas Follow-Up”

      1. The right answer in game theory is clear:
        Look up ‘axelrod tit-for-tat”
        If you don’t like that, offer a better alternative.
        Else no credibility.

  1. With surveillance cameras everywhere, and vindictive prosecutors, there will be less active vigilantism than in other 3d world countries.

    If you grew up in the 3d world, you’ll know to expect: private security; fenced and gated housing developments; around houses walls with glass on top or fences with barbed wire; metal grills on shops and homes; neighborhoods with emptied malls and shops.

    1. Cameras won’t catch a rifleman 500 yards away when he plugs one of these “prosecutors” for allowing the murderer of his child to walk free.

      That day is coming. I don’t want it to, but the left appears to be determined to bring it about. They don’t have the self awareness to understand what they are driving regular, normal people into doing.

        1. Glad to see you still commenting, been a long time reader, since your original blog.
          I was sad to hear about Connie.

      1. Bingo. Since we have no recourse to sue corrupt and incompetent officials then street Justice is the only option left.

  2. As I say: The judicial system is a social contract which provides criminals access to due process.

    If the system breaks down, criminals will no longer have those protections.

  3. Its one thing to shoot a bad guy. Its another to execute them. You can justify your bloodthirsty vigilantism all day but ethically this was murder. Sure, he was justified to shoot the guy. Even after he fell down and appeared incapacitated. But when he walked up and pumped rounds into his back and even worse, walked around and put one into the bad guys head, this crossed the line. If you can’t see this you need to talk to Jesus.

    1. If your state has the correct laws, the criminal signed his death warrant when he pulled the gun. My state specifically allows you to kill the criminal. It does not care how many times you shoot him…
      “Idaho 18-4009. JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE BY ANY PERSON. (1) Homicide is justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:
      (a) When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person;”
      Later in the law it explains why there were NO riots in Idaho in 2020. “against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation, place of business…”

      1. You don’t understand self-defense.

        Using deadly force in self-defense means that you are under an IMMINENT deadly force threat. You may legally use deadly force to stop the threat. If that results in a dead perp, so be it. If you use deadly force when you are NOT under an imminent threat, it’s a murder of one variety or another.

        That is consistent in all 50 states and DC.

        1. All that means is that If I am ever compelled to draw a weapon, I’d better kill the perp completely AND quickly while the threat is still “imminent” so I can claim “heat of the moment” or some such BS.

          You draw a weapon on me or mine and I can do something about it, one of us will surely die that day, prosecutor or no prosecutor. Cases like this are usually very easy to spot, and any time I am a juror, nobody will be convicted of defending themself or another person.

        2. Go read the entire 18-4009. There IS NO self defense clause.
          “(b) When committed in defense of habitation, a place of business or employment, occupied vehicle, property or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony,…”

        3. Unhunh…..it also covers a person who protecting another which this man was doing. If this perps parents had raised him right there wouldn’t have been a problem at all would there? Justice was served and one more thug bit the dust.

    2. You’ve contrived a situation where murder is morally just. That’s an oxymoron. If you won’t support the rough men on the walls killing bandits, at least have the dignity to not stab them in the back. Wordsmith yourself an excuse to turn a blind eye to the defense of civilization.

    3. It’s one thing to disagree.
      It’s another to stand righteously and accuse someone telling you how it will be of advocating for it.
      Get off your high horse. It’s pooping on Jesus’ sandals.

    4. You’re missing the entire point of this post. Put aside the fact that it’s possible that the shot was accidental, and that it may not even be reckless because it would be sensible to point a gun at someone who just threatened you with violence — the point of this post is that ethically, Prosecutors are supposed to keep guys like this murderer-and-would-be robber off the streets — and the more that Prosecutors don’t keep them off the streets, the more these kinds of executions (whether accidental or real) are going to happen.

      If we don’t want these executions to happen, then maybe we need to go back to keeping murderers in prison.

      We’re not justifying it. We’re warning that it’s going to be inevitable, if something reasonable isn’t done first.

      1. No. We do not want to keep them in prison where they’re burdens on taxpayers. Adults want sparky back as a deterrent.

    5. Don’t care what the law says. If you show up to do an armed robbery you are fair game to be taken out.

    6. Pure rhetoric is all I see. I don’t care how many rounds he put in him in such a situation as long as the perp is gone and no, that isn’t against the Bible if you bother reading the correct one and not the phony King James version.

  4. “Given something that was pointed out in another venue about that final shot, think he’s got a very good chance.”
    What was pointed out?

    1. I dont know what was said elsewhere, but if the coroner determines that the guy was already dead when the shooter made the last shot, it is at least possible that a jury would accept that the head shot was not an execution but at most a mutilation of a dead body.

      I think the shooter over reacted, and a jury might well think so as well, but a jury can do what jurors want. He might get off, but he also might not.

      1. When discussing this with friends, this is the point I made. If he was already dead, that last execution shot was, indeed, mutilation of a dead body but not murder.

  5. If he was still alive prior to that last shot, then he was potentially still a threat, and justified in shooting once more. If he was not under imminent threat, then that’s because the attacker was already dead. Which means that the last shot wasn’t murder.

    1. In any normal self-defense case, if you expressed that sentiment – “If he’s still alive, he’s an imminent threat” – your lawyer would immediately dump you as a client and the prosecution would make sure the jury saw that you’re not a “reasonable person” at all. You would likely go to jail for a very long time.

      To be an “imminent threat” he has to be able to act. And “alive” is not an adequate measure for that. Unconscious cannot be an imminent threat to any reasonable person. Unmoving, without a weapon within reach, cannot be an imminent threat to a reasonable person.

  6. People who look forward to civil war haven’t experienced one. I have. No thanks.

    I spent a few months in the fall of 1975 in a very small village in the mountains of Lebanon as their civil war got going. We got out a few days into what is now known as the Battle of the Hotels. Look it up on wikipedia.

    I returned briefly in 1977 and met a few of the people I’d known. Teenage girls told me of those filling a house with human heads in retaliation for alleged atrocities by the other factions.

    The village in which I’d lived had been taken over by another faction, the houses looted and vandalized, and the house I’d lived in used to store munitions which had been later blown up rather than allowed to fall into hands of another faction.

    One faction had taken over a hotel, another faction fought their way to the rooftop defenders, castrated the prisoners and thrown them alive off the roof.

    That’s what civil war is. Anyone who wants that for America had better be ready to be on the losing side in every single battle. Everyone who wants that better be ready for their teenage children to be on the losing side of every single battle. Everyone who wants that had better be ready for a century and more of hatred.

    The real world of civil wars includes the very real possibility of losing, with all its consequences.

    1. And I want to take a moment that the warning of “Everyone who wants that had better be ready for a century and more of hatred” isn’t an exaggeration — just see what happens when the American Civil War comes up as a topic on various blogs.

      Having said that, a major problem with avoiding a Civil War is that there are times when it’s appropriate to fight, even with the danger of losing — and yet I have a funny feeling that if the goal of a Civil War is to preserve freedom, “winning” might be installing a Pinochet-style dictatorship to avoid a Stalinesque or Hitlerish one — which is to say “losing but it could be worse”.

      And whether or not a Civil War is inevitable, I fear two things: that we’ll start one when it’s not needed, and that we’ll avoid one when we’re in dire need of one. And I am unhappy that it seems as if we have leaders, whether through ignorance or malice (or a mixture of both), who seem to be trying to push us into a Civil War of sorts. Perhaps they think they could win, and win easily — which almost certainly means that anything they start, will end up taking years or even decades to resolve.

      I am not happy to be living in “interesting times”!

  7. This case makes me wonder how the concept of “felony murder” might apply.

    In felony murder, a person who is committing a felony, during the course of which someone is killed, is responsible for that killing. This is how, for example, a survivor of a home invasion crew that loses one of its members to an armed homeowner can be charged with the murder of his accomplice.

    I’m with those who think that the shooter in this instance was OK up to the point where he executed the perp. I don’t think there’s any moral or legal justification for that. But, armed robbery is a felony… so what if the homicide charge in this case transfers to the dead perp under the theory of felony murder? I guess the question is, when the robber was lying on the ground having already been shot and incapacitated, was the original robbery felony over by that point?

    1. That would require some judicious mental work by the prosecutor, but I don’t think it is absolutely precluded. And it might be a very Solomonic way to deal with it. (Assuming the defender isn’t some cartel dude with experience in shooting people in the head, or something; that has all kinds of wrong written on it, then.)

    2. I usually take a copy of Garden & Gun to read in the jury pool and I have yet to be selected. If I get drawn for this case I may leave it at home.

      1. I think it’s a mistake to avoid jury duty — but I say that as someone who’s been put in a pool a couple of times, but either because I had moved, or they never got around to calling up my pool, I haven’t yet been in a position where I could be selected — but I nonetheless have the sneaky suspicion that if I were to be called up for jury duty, either the Prosecution or the Defense would find ways to push me off, for no other reason than because I have funny views about jury duty, freedom, and so forth, that lawyers don’t like to have on the jury.

        Having said that, it’s not unheard of for even lawyers to be called to be on a jury, at least in some jurisdictions, so who knows?

    1. I have a funny feeling that it’s a spambot trying to pretend to be reasonable, to lure people into clicking those links.

      As incomprehensible as this bot is, it’s more understandable than some trolls I’ve run into in the past …. but then, that might not be a high bar ….

  8. The shooter was acting rationally. He wanted to make sure the Perp was dead. Live Perps are released to prey on witnesses. Dead Perp, no release, no prey.

    1. As Andrew Branca said, when analyzing the shoot on Legal Insurrection: there’s right and there’s legal, and we can only discuss the legal part with any certainty.

      The perp got what he deserved. The problem the law has is whether he got it in the approved fashion.
      (And our problem is whether he would have received what he deserved, at all, given what we know.)

  9. Wolf, I think one important point applies to your “3 choices”: the soft prosecution position is a religious one. These prosecutors are progressives, and it is a religious position. That third option becomes almost as unlikely as the fairy godmother (insert drag queen story hour joke here) one when it’s received wisdom held to as religious conviction. Sadly.

  10. I have no doubt life for criminals will be more difficult, and a lot shorter, unless the “Criminal Prosecution Industry” elects to discard its present beliefs and return to Normal Civilizational Standards. Like LW, I’m quite doubtful that will happen, so welcome to Life in The Wild West of…..Cleveland, Boise, Macon, Dubuque, Indianapolis, Tampa, et al as portrayed in long gone western TV shows. And, as the stakes go up for criminals, so will they for everyone else; if death is the predominant outcome then taking any risk to avoid it will be the default setting for criminals; it will also be the default setting for non-criminals as well because they will have no other choice.

    As Kim said above “They’re turning us into the people they warn against.”

    Killing perps during the commission of the crime is not the worst thing that can, or will, happen, however it occurs, and applying a little bit of “the cost of doing business” can provide educational opportunities for prospective perps, assuming the media performs their duties without their usual habit of lying about it, and the perps become aware of the potential consequences of their actions and have options to avoid the activity. Since there don’t seem to be many Mensa members or Fields Award winners sticking up convenience stores, that’s a pretty low probability, but we’ll see.

    Gun-wielding robbers dead on the tacquiera floor don’t bother me much. What would concern me is when the Normies absolutely, positively reach their limit and start hunting. And that will happen unless things change. 400-600 meters is a pretty easy distance.

    1. 400-600 meters is a pretty easy distance.
      I’m going to disagree with that in any suburb with actual trees or in most urban settings. Too much stuff in the way and too many narrow fields of view. But the disagreement is a matter of degree, not kind.

      1. If one can consistently hit at 400-600M (400M is 7.6 feet short of a quarter mile), it’s a reliable indicator that one has good-to-excellent grasp of the ballistic trajectory and drop table applicable to the tool in use and a certain degree of expertise in wind reading. Those skills translate to an equal or greater evel of effectiveness at numbers smaller than 400.

        Actually, I’m waiting for at least a certain percentage of the masses to discover the true definition of Point Blank Range (not the “Hollywood definition”), verify it in actual testing and apply it to the ubiquitous AR-15 when coupled with MK262. That translates to a reliable effectiveness out to ~300M (which is 328 Yards in American, and as a side note a 328 yard radius = exercising influence, if not control, over a total area of ~70 acres, given adequate (and almost certainly,multiple) vantage points; take your AO and draw overlapping 70 acre circles on it, that will tell you where the “axles for the wheel(s)” should be, seasonal sightlines will refine those points.

    2. Cover might not even be necessary, given the right circumstances.

      I recently read a story in a comment section somewhere (which, now that I think of it, is beginning to push the story into “urban legend” territory, so it necessarily needs to be taken with a grain of salt), where, apparently there was a scumbag rich kid who managed to serially rape people, but because he could afford a good lawyer, he was able to get off each time on technicalities. At a press conference where he was gloating over his latest release, someone shot him in the head — and forensics demonstrated that the shot was pretty much made right next to him. But no one could be prosecuted for murder, because even though there was a big crowd there, no one saw a thing.

      Blast it, when I read the original story, it seemed real, but I fear my retelling it is going to push it into urban legend territory! If anyone here is familiar with this, and even has a link that describes the details, it would be appreciated.

      But then, even if this particular story is false, there are other examples where something like this has happened — and these stories serve as a reminder that scumbags can only get away with so much before something catches up with them.

      (And that goes for rogue DAs and politicians as much as it does for feral criminals!)

  11. Don’t forget that we will see a resurgence of the mafia, or it’s clone or god-child.

    I’m 70, financially comfortable and if I get threatened or fearful with the police doing nothing I’ll pay Guido or Ivan or Chan or whoever to ease my fear. So will plenty of others.

    This would not be a good development. I’m not advocating it, merely predicting it.

    1. It’s a pity that these predictions are based on historical examples, and not on wild speculation!

  12. One of the key points hammered home in a recent class I took was that in a life and death gun situation, your body reacts to the threat in ways a Monday morning quarterback later might not understand. It’s easy to SAY only so many shots were necessary, from the safety of your armchair a thousand miles away and days later, but much less easy when you’re the one responding to the threat.

    1. This is something I wish the law would take into consideration.

      On the one hand, we have that pharmacist who chased and shot at one burglar after shooting his accomplice, and then coming back in, finding that accomplice, and then shooting him in the head. There was plenty of time for the adrenaline to ramp down in that instance.

      In this case, we have a guy who, in about 15 seconds, shoots 9 shots — the last one possibly in anger or fear, but may even be on accident, from being a little too jumpy after all that happened — and we’re supposed to expect that he’d be in perfect control of his senses in that 15 seconds, when he’s hyped up on fight-or-flight?

      This isn’t to say that I think the last shot is justified — it’s not — but I’m much more inclined to give someone a break who’s innocent but just went through a traumatic experience, and hasn’t had the time to calm down, than I am for the person who put that guy (and everyone else in that room, for that matter) in that position in the first place.

  13. When I took CCL class in Illinois they spent a couple of hours covering when it was and was not legal to shoot someone. The upshot is that in Illinois, putting a bullet in the head of a prone face-down perpetrator you’ve already shot a few times would not be legal. Later on we were pitched to buy legal insurance, which I did. For $300/year you get a phone number to call for lawyers who will respond immediately to wherever you are and will defend you both criminally and civilly. You get a card that says that if you are involved in a shooting a) call 911 and report that someone has been shot (not that YOU shot them), b) call them, c) cooperate with the police with regards to anything they ask you to do, except d) don’t say a thing except “My name is . I will be glad to answer the rest of your questions after my lawyer gets here.”

    To other points rai

  14. Also, an observation:

    In Chicago there has been a massive uptick over the last year or so of carjackings, even in the most touristy and economically advantaged areas. Over the last few months (a bit of a lag to the reaction) there has been a massive uptick in the number of carjackers shot during attempts. In early December there were 4 carjackers shot, with one survivor. One of the victims in those instances was shot, but survived.

  15. The kid was not a Dr. and the bad guy might have moved once again so in all actuality he was simply making sure that neither he nor anyone else in the Diner would be injured.
    Nobody here has broached that aspect of the incident.
    The fault finders against the shooter are too busy pointing fingers at him without looking at the legal ramifications and actions which matter in a court of law.
    I would suggest to any and all that something like US Law Shield, USCCA or a host of other firearm prepaid legal services as they are the best $20 bucks you can spend on yourself if you carry a firearm.
    It’s not up to anyone here on the judgement of the upcoming court battle, that will be unwound in the coming months.
    There is no doubt that the individual opinions of anyone here will be superfluous, period.
    I suggest that everybody take a deep breath, say a prayer for the shooter and the dead perp. Neither one had any idea that this would happen when they walked into that business.
    It was a decision like the people on 9-11 that jumped from the top of WTC to avoid being burned to a crisp. Nobody had any idea it was going to be that day…

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