Massad Ayoob on the Joe Horn incident
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  1. #1

    Massad Ayoob on the Joe Horn incident

    We discussed the ruling on another thread regarding Joe Horn. I thought the following thoughts by Massad Ayoob would help shed some light. I found the article on the Back woods Home Magazine web site.

    Massad Ayoob Blog Archive IN THE MATTER OF JOE HORN

    Massad Ayoob
    « REFLECTIONS ON HELLER, PART TWOIN THE MATTER OF JOE HORN
    In the Comments section under Part Two of “Reflections on Heller” in this blog, reader azasu writes, “Hey Mas, I was wondering if you were going to do a post or article on the whole Joe Horn thing in Texas. I’d be interested to hear your take.”

    Joe Horn of Pasadena, Texas made national news twice. The first time was last year, when he shot and killed two illegal immigrants who were burgling his next-door neighbor’s house. The second was this past week, when he was no-billed by the Grand Jury. Since it was publicized as two unarmed, fleeing men being shot in the back, most of the public expected him to be indicted for Murder or at least Manslaughter. Some were shocked by the Grand Jury’s decision, and some pleasantly surprised. Since both of the deceased had long and ugly criminal records, there was not a great deal of sympathy for them in some quarters.


    There are a lot of subtleties that haven’t made it into the mainstream media yet, azasu. Many have heard his 9-1-1 calls, in which the dispatcher advised him to stay inside and he excitedly replied that no, he was going to go outside with his shotgun. The tape picks up Horn saying “Move and you’re dead,” and then three shotgun blasts.


    What many do not realize is that one of the burglars was armed with a crowbar, and that they had faced him at fairly close range and were moving toward him – on his property by now, not just the neighbor’s, Horn said – when he opened fire. News reports say both men were shot in the back, but I’ve seen several cases where the suspect broke off his attack in the instant he realized he was going to be fired upon, and his turn came faster than the shooter could react to the change in the threat level. The average adult male can make a quarter turn in a quarter second, and a 180-degree body turn in half a second. Reaction time to an unanticipated stimulus takes longer than that, which means that the initial aggressor is likely to be shot before the defender can react to the turn and halt a trigger finger that is already in action.


    Horn was in his sixties, and the two men he shot were much younger and stronger. That constitutes disparity of force. The crowbar one allegedly held constitutes a deadly weapon under these circumstances. Lunging at Horn as if to disarm him, under these circumstances, can also constitute lethal force, and Horn’s unleashing his 12-gauge Magnum could thus be justified three times over by a good defense attorney. In his videotaped walk-through at the shooting scene, recently released by the police department, Horn told the lead investigator, “I thought they were gonna get me…if they got the gun away from me, I knew what they were gonna do.” Moreover, Texas law is the most forgiving in the nation of private citizens who use deadly force in protection of property as well as life. Grand Jury proceedings tend to be super-secret, and we do not know to what degree a backlash against crime (and illegal aliens) may have influenced the Grand Jury’s decision not to render the true bill that would have set the stage for prosecution.


    In a great many jurisdictions – including some in Texas – a citizen who went out and shot these guys would be under indictment for Murder or Manslaughter by now. Joe Horn’s willingness to risk his life for his neighbor’s goods is commendable, but not necessarily a role model for the rest of us. He is out substantial legal fees already, and he has received death threats. While many see him as a hero, I doubt that he feels like one. His attorney has stated that if Mr. Horn had it to do over again, he would stay inside and leave his Winchester Defender Model 1300 shotgun silent. I suspect the rest of us can learn from that.


    As more information becomes available, azasu, I might be doing a full-length article on this in my continuing feature, “Self Defense and the Law,” in Combat Handguns magazine. If you’re interested in a full-length treatment in my Backwoods Home column, let editor Dave Duffy know. He is very responsive to article suggestions from readers.


    Best wishes to all for a safe and meaningful Independence Day.
    By faith Noah,being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear,prepared an ark to the saving of his house;by the which he condemned the world,and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith Heb.11:7

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  3. #2
    Thanks for the post....I love reading Mr. Ayoob's take on self-defense cases. His insight is priceless, and he's an excellent storyteller.
    Victory rewards not the army that fires the most rounds, but who is the more accurate shot. ---Unknown

  4. #3
    I don't think Mr Ayoob siad anything that hasn't been said before but amybe some will understand it better from him. Primarily that Mr. Horn was extremely lucky with the two fellows and their reputation that he shot and that it was in Texas.

    Also Mr. Horn says that if he had it to do over he would stay inside like the 911 operator said to do. Lots of people made a lot of disparaging comments about the operator but I think Mr. Horn wishes he had listened to her advice no matter how it turned out.

  5. #4
    Taking of life changes all involved, life will never be what it was before so sit down and have a beer and believe someone else would die if you had not done what you did. Some people should die.

  6. #5
    gpbarth Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by HK4U View Post


    In a great many jurisdictions – including some in Texas – a citizen who went out and shot these guys would be under indictment for Murder or Manslaughter by now.
    Like Ramos and Campean? They were LEO and they didn't kill anyone, but they're in solitary in prison for shooting a drug smuggler who tried to run over them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
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    Regardless of what the law says, if I were in Mr. Horn's situation, I would have stayed in my home and let the theft of property become a problem for the insurance company. OTOH, had I been watering my lawn and witnessed the theft, and the BG decieded to agress me, I would have fired in SD.



    gf
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Glock Fan View Post
    Regardless of what the law says, if I were in Mr. Horn's situation, I would have stayed in my home and let the theft of property become a problem for the insurance company. OTOH, had I been watering my lawn and witnessed the theft, and the BG decieded to agress me, I would have fired in SD.



    gf
    Having worked for the local Sheriff's Department at 2 of the county jails (psychiatry) I spent a couple of years interviewing all of those who were arrested each day I can tell you one thing, crooks are territorial. Once they find a profitable area they keep coming back for more. If Joe had not addressed the issue that day, his house might have been next. All they had to do was follow his order not to move and my guess is they would be retelling their story to their partners-in-crime at the local jail even as we speak.

    In my neighborhood we often communicate to each other our plans to be away for a couple of days so we can remove mail, newspapers, and such from their property. No reason to leave out a welcome sign for the bad guys. My neighbors know that my GSD will lick most people to death, but I don't advertise that fact. I just got me another puppy (another GSD) on Monday, so at the very least most crooks will move on to something easier when they hear all the noise.

    We never know what may happen when we enter into a situation like Joe faced, but my advice would be if you are not sure you can pull that trigger when faced with a life threatening situation (your call at the moment), stay in the house. For that matter you may want to reconsider owning a gun (which is why as much as I would like her to carry, I would never give my wife a gun).

    BTW, 'GSD' is German Shepherd Dog. On another post (in an area that is off subject) I would love to tell ya'll about a recent furniture delivery (by 3 crack heads) that could have resulted in a home invasion or burglary if not for my Southern Bell watching over things with a few well placed snarls.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_from_AL View Post
    Having worked for the local Sheriff's Department at 2 of the county jails (psychiatry) I spent a couple of years interviewing all of those who were arrested each day I can tell you one thing, crooks are territorial. Once they find a profitable area they keep coming back for more. If Joe had not addressed the issue that day, his house might have been next. All they had to do was follow his order not to move and my guess is they would be retelling their story to their partners-in-crime at the local jail even as we speak.

    We never know what may happen when we enter into a situation like Joe faced, but my advice would be if you are not sure you can pull that trigger when faced with a life threatening situation (your call at the moment), stay in the house. For that matter you may want to reconsider owning a gun (which is why as much as I would like her to carry, I would never give my wife a gun).

    Though the BG might return another day and possibly attack Mr. Horn's house, under the law, they cannot be charged/convicted of what they "might" do. There's no reason why anyone should be killed over personal property. Being that you worked in "psychiatry", you can understand the psychological aspect of taking a human life. As for "pulling the trigger" when faced with a life threatening situation, I would have no problem firing upon the BG. It's unfortunate, but it's something I did many times in my military service. I'm still bothered by the experience. With that said, if given the opportuity to be a "good witness", versus playing "Superman" and stopping a couple of BG from stealing personal property, I'll choose to be the "good witness". Unless the BG is directly threatening a human life, I'll stand back and observe. Call me a coward or whatever you want, but I'm not going to go out of my way to cause the BG to agress me so I can shoot them. It's easy to say "All they had to do was follow his order not to move...", but think about it, do you seriously think a couple of career criminals will listen? They're going to try to get away to avoid capture.

    Let's be real folks, I'm glad that Mr. Horn wasn't injured. It's good that the BG are off the street. Look at the cost of the outcome. From a financial standpoint, Mr. Horn now has a huge legal bill. The bigger cost is that Mr. Horn will have to live with the fact that he took human lives. Everyone deals with this differently. For all I know, he may be the type of guy who liked it. I still feel ill each time I think about the lives I took.


    gf
    "A few well placed shots with a .22LR is a lot better than a bunch of solid misses with a .44 mag!" Glock Armorer, NRA Chief RSO, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, Muzzleloading Rifle, Muzzleloading Shotgun, and Home Firearm Safety Training Counselor

  10. #9
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    As one who has had personal property stolen more than once I pray that TN will someday allow the use off deadly force to protect property. It is a violation that is not easily received. Does that mean I would always shoot? Of course not, but if that was the only way to keep what I have worked hard for....well so be it. It is not I that makes the decision as to whether property is worth a life or not, is the crook who knows the possible consequences and chooses to take what is not his anyway.
    “Because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away”

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