Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


The mother of a suspected vehicle burglar said she's outraged police are not pursuing charges against the El Cajon homeowner who fatally shot her son.

Early Sunday morning, an El Cajon resident said he shot someone he believed was breaking into his truck. In the midst of a confrontation, the homeowner said he fired off several shots from a .357 revolver style handgun.
Outraged? They ought to give the guy a parade and the ceremonial Key to the City.

Yeah, yeah, same old "my son was this close to turning his life around and why'd they have to go and shoot him" story. He told his momma that he "wanted to get sober so bad", but the dead guy was in and out of eight rehab centers by the time that the critter life found him catching one or more bullets.



Nangleator said...

I'll accept he was a career criminal. I'll accept that he belonged in jail. What bothers me is that the truck owner has more of a right to kill the guy that cops would. Cops would have been responsible for stopping the crime, arresting him, even in the face of resistance. Cops would have had to prove the guy's guilt in court, and then the guy would have faced the legally proscribed punishment.

But the truck owner can freely kill the guy any way he wants? Even unannounced, from behind?

Is this a gun thing? Would you feel the same way if the truck owner snuck up behind the guy and garroted him with piano wire? Would it be the same if he had run the guy over with another vehicle of his? Or laughed while his pitbulls tore the guy apart? Or does just the gun let us skip over legal limits of crime and punishment?

Nangleator said...

Well, never mind. I guess in California it's legal. Slippery slope, that.

CenterPuke88 said...

Nan, Texas has provisions in law that allow a property owner to use deadly force, at night, if a thief is absconding with goods or property. During the day, those same provisions are moot, so there are a whole bunch of interesting provisions and consequences associated with that particular law. However, our “beloved” Rick Perry also oversaw an expansion of the protection of persons and property deadly force provisions in law over 10 years ago, and that that widened the net even more. The law(s) are pretty widely written to protect the user of deadly force, which I would presume is pretty common across the U.S., given the time we’ve had to have lawsuits filed since the 70’s or so. That seems to be when criminals started suing places they broke into when they got hurt doing so.

rms/pa said...

What bothers me is that the truck owner has more of a right to kill the guy that cops would. Cops would have been responsible for stopping the crime, arresting him, even in the face of resistance. Cops would have had to prove the guy's guilt in court, and then the guy would have faced the legally proscribed punishment.

why yes,state actors face more restrictions than individuals,supposedly.

this would have been a nol pros in PA too.


Dark Avenger said...

Private property is enshrined in our legal system. In Texas, hot pursuit was legally defined as three days’ horseback riding, the time you could catch up to someone, kill them and take your property back.

Of course, if you erase any distinction between private citizens and agents of the state, you get Communist or other forms of authoritarian rule as a result. IMHSIO.

Comrade Misfit said...

rms/pa, if the cops had confronted the guy and he resisted too hard, they could have shot him, as well. In most places, you're allowed to go out and yell at the critter who is stealing your stuff. If the critter opts to elevate things by attacking you, you get to defend your life.

The cops made a good point: For many people, their vehicle is their life. Take away a person's car or truck and they may lose their job and then it's a one-paycheck slide into poverty and homelessness. They hung horse thieves back in the day because stealing a man's horse was akin to stealing his livelihood.

People get into drugs and sometimes it's not their fault. I get that. I've seen enough of it in my work. but whether they choose to get help to get off drugs or they adopt the critter life to keep using drugs is their choice.

This guy chose the latter and it cost him.

CenterPuke88 said...

Comrade, I’m with you until “they choose to get help”. My concern there is that today’s society has made it increasingly difficult to get the help to kick a large number of things (e.g. drugs, alcohol, depression, other mental illnesses, etc). With our increasingly Republican expectations (it’s his fault he was on drugs/alcohol/depressed/poor) and the lack of any support for reasonable treatment options, things are gonna get worse for a while.

I neither condone nor excuse his behavior, but I suspect there is more to the story than a few column inches can tell. I fear we are seeing the future as more and more jobs get automated and people turn to tried and true methods to make them forget the shit their life has turned to. The hardcore addict will do most anything for the next hit/drink...will we end up paying people with such to keep them passive and quiet, or was that what the opioids are about?

Anonymous said...

For some people, rehab does not appear to work.

Two people I know- a coworker's son and an ex nephew- will still steal from immediate and extended family (including 92 y/o abuelita's medicine), break into family's locked rooms, and break into their family's homes after repeated stints in rehab and jail. The coworker built a place for his son to sleep in the yard, and the nephew is allowed to sleep in his vehicle in the street, but they have not changed. What they have done to non-family over the years I have no idea, but I have kept them from knowing where my house is, and when I'm out of town.

What crime prevention and/ or reasonable treatment option would help?

The law "places the risk for criminal activity on the criminals". It is a tragedy, but there is no excuse. There are always better choices than crime.

3383 said...

Oops; I posted the above 1407.

CenterPuke88 said...

3383, I completely agree, however, those of less resources may never get that chance. It is the willingness of todays society to toss people away (jail or whatever) without any real attempts to address the root causes that worries me.

383 said...

CP88, I'm not sure what you mean by "resources".

And what root causes? And how would the root causes be addressed?

I hear wistful, generalized "if we only did X for them" on several societal issues (e.g., firearms, drugs, violent crime), but few actual details. But I am sure that, at he very least, incarceration will at least keep people shown to commit crimes out of the rest of our society. Hopefully they will think again before trying crime again.

Comrade Misfit said...

It seems to me that every time there has been a serious effort to provide rehabilitation and training for convicts, the Right begins screaming about "coddling criminals". And so we have what we have now, prisons that are more training grounds for better criminals (and makeshift nuthouses).

The "coddling" argument is bullshit. It costs significant money to lock people up. If we can get into a system where those who want to be helped are helped, it would save a lot of money. On the other hand, there are those who, for one reason or another, have chosen the Critter Life and for them, they get what they deserve.

The people that this shouldn't fall on are the victims.

CenterPuke88 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dinthebeast said...

The way I see it, we need to decide whether we want to punish people or fix the problem, and as someone who has seen the inside of a jail cell, I do not believe that they are one and the same.

-Doug in Oakland

CenterPuke88 said...

3383, let’s define some terms and see if we can agree on a few things:

Resources - Money, effort and materials.

Jail - A place to isolate a criminal from society. Currently primarily used to warehouse criminals rather than rehabilitating them.

Rehabilitation - Use of resources to aide a person in correcting deficiencies in education, treatment, opportunity, or societal integration.

Reintegration - The Holy Grail for an effective justice system, in that it allows those who have be through the system to return into society and perform.

I think was can agree that the current U.S. criminal justice system is broken. We have more people incarcerated than Stalin had, and we spend far too much on warehousing “criminals” with no attempt made to rehabilitate the vast majority of them. The vast majority of these “felons” are guilty of nothing more than minor thefts (repeated shoplifting, etc.) or drug crimes (most often possession). We are growing our private prison industry, which provides a perverse incentive to jail more and more people.

Crime occurs for a number of reasons, but the closure of the Mental Health Institutions about 50 years ago and the “War on Drugs” (especially starting under Reagan) escalated the incarcerated population greatly over the last 35+ years. Other than that, a lack of opportunity is one of the prime movers of crime, in that a person with no opportunity to work because of no jobs in their community, no transport to a location with jobs, and/or a poor education because of a lack of resources at their schools, sees very few chances to advance. We continually talk about an America where anyone can rise to the top, but study after study shows this is no longer true, there is actually more social mobility in Europe than America now.

We’re about to put more police officers in schools, but study after study shows this will result in more minority youth being placed in the juvenile justice system. It is a sad fact that even minority teachers propose and support harsher discipline against minority students than white students. We have contunally broken minority communities by dividing families since the, and I fear we are now breaking communities as a whole with a move to necessary two-earner households.

As fewer and fewer kids have a parent at home, minor transgressions can turn into contact with the juvenile system. I know that as a twelve or thirteen year-old, if I had no supervision, I’d have done (more) really dumb shit. There is also a fair chance that the opioid crisis is simply the tip of the iceberg related to this evolution, and the price will turn out to be quite steep.

So what do I mean by "resources" in my earlier post. How about we direct some of the money spent warehousing prisoners on programs to keep them out of prison and working at learning skills and/or getting an education. Why don't we stop using SRO's as a way to funnel kids into the system and instead have them divert kids out of the system? When we must imprison, lets do it in a system that trys to promote education and skills rather than provising a finishing school for criminals.

Comrade Misfit said...

There's a recent case in St. Louis: A guy was released after serving 39 years. Because he did his full sentence, he was basically dropped off at the local intercity bus station. No help, no support, no retraining, no nothing. The guy tried to find some work, but between being old an being wholly unfamiliar with the modern world, he ended up on the streets.

He concluded that being in prison, where you had a bed, food and basic medical care, was a better deal than being homeless. So he robbed a bar and then waited for the cops to show up.

Maybe, with some assistance, this old guy could have had some productive years. We'll never know. But it seems, from the facts presented, that he made the best choice for himself that he could.

Zendo Deb said...

Everyone (here) bemoans the state of the criminal justice system. If you read my blog, I usually characterize it as being criminal, not interested in Justice, and system - that is a .gov bureaucracy more interested in preserving itself than anything else. There are a lot of things that need to be done.

But I am also old enough to remember what it was like before we got "tough on crime." When the murder rate currently seen today in Chicago would have seemed like a miracle - because it was 40 percent higher than what Chicago saw in 2017. That would be the early 1990s.

Are some minimum sentences wrong? Of course. Is the idea of minimum sentences a bad idea? No. Because judges were sentencing violent criminals to no (or very little) time. And if you make something cheap, you will get more of it. You can see this with gun crime in Chicago because Cook County rarely prosecutes gun crime to the fullest extent of the law. See Second City Cop's blog if you doubt that.

As for self-defense. Of course the police have to do more. Police should always be held to a higher standard. (They aren't always.) The guy in this case was not the police. He heard a noise, and went to investigate, and ended up having to defend himself. What should he have done?

What should a woman do if confronted by rapist? What should a gay man or a lesbian do if confronted by a basher? What should anyone do confronted by a kidnapper? Self-defense is a human-right. And in most of the US it is also your legal right.