The Poor Starving, Burglaring Father And Other Fantasy Tales

So, yesterday Glenn Reynolds linked to this story at Hot Air about a home invader (IN TEXAS!) who was so unfortunate (as well as stupid) as to lock the son of the homeowner in the gun closet…  Hilarity ensued.

Only, as I was getting ready to go out and unable to work in those ten minutes or so, I thought it would be a good idea to read the comments.  Which was fine too, except…

Except that I came across something that made me sit down and think.  In fact, I thought all the way in the car to Denver (business) and all the way back, and decided this must be written about.

For those of you not inclined to click on that link, let me summarize.  Story goes something like this: a house in Texas was broken into by three home invaders (a completely different thing from burglars.  Growing up I was always told that the real danger from burglars was to interrupt them in the commission of the crime – please keep in mind that I grew up in a country where gun ownership is not allowed – and so was instructed that, if coming home and suspecting the house was being burgled, I should run next door the neighbors and call the police.  Home invaders are burglars who PURPOSELY go into occupied houses, which is a completely different ball of wax.  In fact, often – from what I read, though I confess I didn’t look at statistics – they’re there for a bit of bizarre sexual assault or other acts of random sadism, as well as property.)

After wrestling with the occupant of the house in residence, i.e. the son of the homeowner, they locked him in the closet.  He got his gun, broke out of the closet, exchanged fire with one of the invaders, the other two fled.  The one who was shot (shoulder and leg.  Cut the homeowner’s kid some slack.  He was probably agitated.  I would be) tried to run, collapsed, was captured.

So far so good and a fairly straight forward story.  And then I hit the comments.

Before I report on this comment I want to point out that from the replies other people made him, he might be a “regular troll” on the blog.  (AFAICT we’re the only blog with active commenters without a resident troll.  This is probably because I’m testy and an overheated Latina.  Deal.  I know it would give us great cache and also that I never let you guys have any fun, but you can MOST ASSUREDLY deal.)

However, the comment bears mentioning because a) if you tell this type of a story at a party, this is almost sure to come back as a talking point.  b) because when I was in college – or high school – while I would PROBABLY not have made this point myself, I would have bought it, hook like and sinker.  c) because not only it’s not a valid “counterpoint” but it’s not even a sane one.  d) because nine times out of ten someone not politically involved will buy it sight unseen.  e) the reason people will buy it.

So, now that you are ready – the comment was made by someone named “nonpartisan” and while I can’t find the comment itself (you can search!) it was quoted enough for me to get the gist of it.  Apparently this critter opened with a gambit that he didn’t think burglars deserve death.  And either in this comment, or in another, he identified himself as a Harvard Law graduate.  The commenters make much fun of this last.  They shouldn’t.  Having received an excellent liberal (!) education in Europe, this seems perfectly plausible to me.

But here’s the part of the comment I could find:

what if you know for a fact that the burglar is unarmed, would you kill him?

a burglar could be a father who is unemployed and at his wits end at finding options to provide for his starving family. Not every burglar is a violent, armed psychotic rapist.

nonpartisan on May 18, 2013 at 9:01 AM

This is exactly the type of story my text books, from middle school on were full of.  The criminal was a misunderstood soul, an exploited work, down on his last dime.  We were hammered with comparisons to medieval people stealing a loaf of bread and being hanged for it.  (Suburbanshee will know better than I, but I’ve come to doubt those stories too.  The Arab world might punish first-time thieves, but I sort of doubt western civilization did.)

When someone brings up a story like that, I’ve been conditioned to feel a pang and go “well, what if…”

Why have I been conditioned to do this?  Well, because that’s a plot for a Hollywood movie, and, beyond my text books, it’s been tossed at us a thousand times in movies and mysteries.  (Did any of you watch Boogie Nights?  Might be one of the worst movies ever made.  We watched it for the same reason we watched a lot of cr*p.  It was in the dollar theater.  Unfortunately once we paid for it, we had to sit and watch it, because Dan feels wasteful otherwise.  No, don’t ask.  It’s a thing.  Anyway, from what I dimly remember, Boogie Nights has that type of thing, where they decide to rob a store, because they’re desperate and stuff.  More on that later.)

We all know about the honest-but-desperate father who goes and robs someone for money to feed his starving brood.

We all know of him – but does he exist?  I’ll remind you that we all also know of Santa Claus.

Right now, off the top of my head, I’m going to say that not only doesn’t he exist, but that if he ever existed, in history, it was probably before the eighteenth century.

Look, in normal human beings there’s  a huge stop before “commit crime to solve my problems.”  There just is.  It might “simply” be fear of retribution, but it’s there.  And when one things of “committing crime” and is desperate enough to break that taboo, there are a bunch of things a normal human being would do LONG before burglary, let alone home invasion (which as we said, is a different animal.)  There’s swindling someone.  If you don’t have the brains for that, there’s credit card number theft.  There’s even up the scale, mugging.  (You get your loot in money.)  Further, burglary, let along home invasion, is a fairly sophisticated crime.  You have to know how to break and enter.  This might have been easy in a medieval hovel, but these days it’s not so much (Okay, I can break into a house in five minutes.  I never claimed to be nice.  What?  Mostly to not be grounded for coming home late.  “But mom, I was in bed all along.  Maybe I was in the bathroom and you missed me?”)

Second, once you break into a house, your chances of walking off with a bundle of untraceable bank notes are slim.  Most people simply don’t sew money into the mattress.  So, if you’re breaking in for money to feed your children (snort) you’re going to have to convert whatever you find into cash.  (I’ll note that I have never heard of ANYONE breaking into a house and making off with the contents of the freezer, so if it’s food they wants, they’re going about it the wrong way.)  This means you need to know fences, or you’re going to be a one-time burglar.

But before that let’s look at how an otherwise law-abiding person could get desperate enough  to become a burglar in order to feed his chil’uns.

Kids, I’ve been broke.  I’ve been so broke that merely being broke would be a relief.  At one point twenty years ago we spent six months paying our Visa with our Mastercard and vice versa.  Twice, we parked in front of soup kitchens, then decided we were NOT desperate enough to go in and went home hungry.

The idea of robbing another person NEVER EVEN OCCURRED TO ME.  In that situation, the hierarchy would go something like this: charities/soup kitchens.  This by itself, might be enough to hold us, until we could get back on our feet.  (who was that guy who moved to a town with his girlfriend and found he couldn’t starve even if he tried to?)  Friends and relatives.  No, I don’t care how broke your friends are, you can usually sleep on the sofa.  Unemployment/Federal/State assistance. (This might come first for most people.  Even for us, unemployment would.)  If you exhaust all of these, if you lose your home, there’s still the charity of strangers.  Look, our city supports a large (!) and colorful (dirt is a color!) population of homeless which I GUARANTEE haven’t done a lick of work in years.  NONE OF THEM IS STARVING.  (And most of them are also not burglars or even muggers.)  There’s soup kitchens.  There’s informal soup kitchens (college students host a dinner for the homeless near my house every weekend.  No. Don’t get me started.)  There’s begging on the street.

And if you’re not going “but all of those are demeaning.”  Yes, they are, but they’re not VIOLENT crime.  And which would you rather be?  A beggar or a burglar?

Neither, right, but begging is at least honest, and I’d bet you most NORMAL people would do that.

It turns out, weirdly enough, that a small percentage of the population commits 90% of the violent (or potentially violent) crime.  It’s not need.  It’s something broken in them.

A lot of these people are heavy drug users or mentally ill.

That said, I’m the first to say our mental health system is broken.

IOW you’re unlikely to find a starving father of four in your home unless he’s also mentally ill and POSSIBLY also an acid dropper.

The problem is that someone with that combination and willing to commit a violent crime has no breaks.  (A lot of mentally ill drug users just want to sit in a corner and talk to the lizards because they’re awesome and stuff.  The ones who get violent are inherently very dangerous.)

So, should you shoot someone who breaks into your house?  Yep.  What are the chances of your killing an otherwise innocent man?  Next to none.  What are the chances of you getting killed otherwise?  VERY high.

So, how come that comment, or the gist of it would have got even me to hesitate when I was much younger?

Because in a million stories, movies, novels, we’ve been sold the story of a creature that if he ever existed is vanishingly rare – so rare that his sightings are more scarce than those of Bigfoot.  – the “poor but honest, desperate father, driven to crime to feed his brood.”

And people tend to think of stories as things they’ve lived.  They “experienced” it.  So, of course, it’s true.

It’s a great story, of course, but I bet you it was much rarer in Victorian times.  (And if you read the bios of Victorian criminals, the being it depicts was almost as rare.  People would go to the workhouse, horrible as it was, rather than commit crimes.  Unless they were one of the few who PREFERRED crime over anything else.)  And it was even rarer before that.

What it comes down to is people have to be told these stories, and be told them over and over again, before they will be scared of defending themselves lest they hurt others.

Civilizations don’t commit suicide unless they’re brainwashed into it.  And destroying a civilization starts with corrupting its story tellers.


Go you, look closely at the stories you tell and make sure you do no harm.

Oh, yeah, and be not afraid.


Note: Will update subscriber content this evening.  To make things clear – I was at workshop Tuesday through Thursday and would have caught up on Friday, except I was cleaning form “fridge burst.”  The weekend is taken up with business relating to managing my business (because I DID build that, and I intend to keep it.)  But there will be content, and there will be a more detailed explanation in the subscriber side.


314 responses to “The Poor Starving, Burglaring Father And Other Fantasy Tales

  1. Burglary’s another of those common law felonies for which hanging is the minimum acceptable punishment.

    It’s for the children.

    • Tom: Hanging by what?
      I guess it depends on the details.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        The usual phrase I’ve seen when talking about hanging is “hung by the neck until dead”. I suppose “hung by the feet until dead” might be a nasty death. Worse punishment would be “hung by male sex organs until they are pulled from the body”. [Very Big Evil Grin]

    • Harry the Horrible

      The “troll” could have been a Brit.
      A friend of mine was on a board discussing self defense, and a Brit, referring to an intruder posted “But what if he is only trying to rob you?”
      If and when we encounter aliens, I think they will be easier to understand that some humans.

  2. I understand the desire by most people to try to consider all angles before judging. But the associated desire – to make excuses for everyone involved EXCEPT the kid who was getting robbed, and who was thrown in the gun (oops!) closet – borders on the pathological.

    • So do I (*evil grin*)

    • Birthday girl

      You beat me to it.

    • Jean Valjean broke into a home when the family was home. He was armed. He did considerable property damage. Do that nowadays and you will see hard time.

    • Dickens provided the more probable burglar/home-invader in the persona of William “Bill” Sikes.

    • And I blame Laura Ingalls Wilder.

      Remember “The Long Winter”? Laura and her family came close to starving to death. I cannot read this book as an adult–the fact I could read it as a child is a testament to my total lack of empathy back then. But Charles Ingalls, gaunt, weak, moving slowly, in the last moments of desperation, goes to a neighbor’s house and steals the seed they had hidden in the wall. Mind you, he did it in full view of the Wilder brothers, who could have stopped him.

      This is the starving burglar that is hidden in the back of most Americans’ minds.

      • Didn’t Ingalls still have his horse at that point (which he could’ve butchered)? I haven’t read that book in ten years but I don’t remember Ingalls being anywhere near that level of desperation. And he wasn’t armed. And he basically shamed the Wilder brothers because they’d been hiding their food in the wall. And it got the younger brother to make the trip out to the farm where he basically steals the farmers seed corn (I think they pay him back when spring comes).

        So I personally don’t see anything like that in the modern home invasion story.

        Blaming Victor Hugo is more likely, but I agree with Sarah that anyone with even a vague grasp of the real world realizes that the likelihood that your home invader is someone like Jean who only wants to steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family is zero.

        • And Pa Ingalls paid for it. The Wilders tried to not let him, but he insisted.

          • And IIRC, that was when Almanzo and Royal Wilder realized how truly desperate the situation was for many townsfolk during that winter. That was why Almanzo and his friend Cap Garland made the risky trip to find the homsteader who had a good wheat harvest stored at his place – and I believe that they bought it from him, also.

        • Eh, shouldn’t comment then run off. That’s almost troll-like behavior. It’s been a while since I read the book, but my comment was more along the lines of ‘yes, I remember a starving father story’ –one that’s probably buried deeper in the American psyche than Les Miserables–rather than “sure, it could happen, so hold your fire”

          And it says something about my lack of literacy that my mind jumped to Ingalls’ books rather than Victor Hugo’s 😉

        • Butchering your horse was slow death. He needed that horse to survive.

      • The story told in The Long Winter related an exception situation. Apparently the actions Pa took were understood within the community, as he did remained a town leader. When and where this happened the large safety net that we have available — described by our able hostess — was not in place. The railroad had made promises to provide services to the people who settled the lands along the line, and, had been unable to do so. This left the town of De Smet in isolation and without expected provisions.

    • Rapunzel – the father goes into a garden to steal exotic veggies for his pregnant wife. Beauty and the Beast – he father steals a rose for his daughter, instead of asking for it. I think I’ve read a Chinese version of the story, and a Japanese one also, where the father steals a food offering from a shrine to Kuanyin (Kuannon, spellings vary), the “goddess” of mercy, for his child.

      • To be fair about Beauty and the Beast, it’s been changed a LOT for various incarnations and I suspect that cultural norms are big; modern folks, getting freaked out about the rose when there’s no obvious owner and you’ve been offered everything else is a bit odd. Takes a little knowledge of hospitality to get the “but just being there isn’t offered” thing.

    • My wife LOVES Les Mes. I like the music. The PEOPLE make me want to climb up on stage and strangle them.

  3. I’m just as happy to keep the blog troll-free, and I appreciate how your efforts to ban certain IP addresses have succeeded in doing so. In my experience at other blogs with resident trolls, once the troll shows up in the thread, all conversation between the other commenters grinds to a halt as everyone ends up responding to the troll. And if a troll is commenting, it is necessary to respond to him/her, because comments threads live forever in Google search results and people finding the thread in a month or three will need to realize that no, the troll’s arguments were not so good that nobody had an answer.

    Result: even though everyone knows this person is just trolling and isn’t arguing in good faith, he/she still succeeds in shutting down discussion in the comments. Hence why the trolls continue, because they’re getting what they want. The only good solution is for the blog owner to ban them.

    Now, a fine line does need to be drawn between trolls and those who are just of other opinions; if you ban everyone who argues with your majority opinion, you get an echo chamber. (Case in point: a certain blog involving colorful sporting goods of diminutive size.) But I’ve seen enough heated discussions among regulars here that I’m pretty confident we’re not going to get an echo chamber anytime soon.

    • And if a troll is commenting, it is necessary to respond to him/her, because comments threads live forever in Google search results and people finding the thread in a month or three will need to realize that no, the troll’s arguments were not so good that nobody had an answer.

      Something I’m working on making a balance of; in those cases where there’s no sane ban authority, I’ve resorted to making rules for myself and openly stating things like “You’re trolling. You’re also trying to change the subject from X. That has been rebutted. Are you going to deal with the revelation that your claim is false?”

  4. A good argument, but far more complicated than necessary. Your home represents a big chunk of your *life*. You’ve traded hours, days, *years* of effort for the means to purchase your home and everything in it. Anyone willing to break into your home and take your stuff is saying, in effect, that your life is his to take (on an unrelated note, is anyone else sick of the sneaky way so many writers are substituting “her” for “his” when gender is not specified nowadays? Just one of my little pet peeves that.).

    Anyone willing to take even a part of your life has abandoned any claim to respect for his own, and anyone whose home is being burgled is a fool to assume anything other than “my life is in danger”. The victim shouldn’t be wasting time trying to find excuses for the criminal. Doing so dehumanizes the criminal by denying his moral agency, reducing him to the status of an animal. By saying “he’s not really responsible for his own actions, he’s not a moral agent or a real person like me”. This attitude is poisonous to social solidarity and social trust. And unfortunately it’s all too prevalent in certain ideological camps nowadays, but that’s another rant that I’ll spare you all for now:-).

    • Mr. jabrwok:

      Would you be so kind as to get out of my head?

      Thank you for your consideration.

    • This was an argument made by Ken “The Black Avenger” Hamblin during his talk radio days. Having lived in “bad neighborhoods” he recognized the animalistic behaviour of establishing territory — the “your home is mine” attitude of the burglar — represented. It is a violent violation of your right to be secure in your home and property for the purpose of establishing dominance. It is the essential stance of the looter, the raper, the slaver.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one who see’s home invasion/burglary in those terms. I never believed my perspective was original, but it’s not one you see bruited about very much (or at least I don’t).

    • Yes, and in the Middle Ages, you must remember that stealing a loaf of bread probably you were recklessly endangering the life of your victim. Possibly even committing murder.

    • Theft is slavery: the thief forces you to labor for his benefit. I hate slavers.

      • FlyingMike

        Theft is also National Socialism. You do all the work, while the thieves enjoy the expropriated fruits of your thus forced labor, strutting around metaphorically in shiny black boots while metaphorically planning to invade Poland and then France. I hate Nazis.

        Also, theft is snakes… nope, nevermind, I can’t make that one work.

    • ” (on an unrelated note, is anyone else sick of the sneaky way so many writers are substituting “her” for “his” when gender is not specified nowadays? Just one of my little pet peeves that.).”

      Yes. The way Weber does it, where the female viewpoint characters think in ‘her’ and the male characters think in ‘him’ works fine, but everytime I read it, it reminds me of all the books nowadays where all genderless people are her, which irritates me.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        It irritates me, too. I learned in school that the male pronoun is correct English when gender is indeterminate, and for writers to arbitrarily change that to the opposite makes me grit my teeth.

        Similarly, I find the change from using “B.C.” and “A.D.” to “C.E.” and “B.C.E.” is irritating, as well.

        • Similarly, I find the change from using “B.C.” and “A.D.” to “C.E.” and “B.C.E.” is irritating, as well.

          *bristles up* It’s freaking theft, and lazy at that– rather than changing the thing they disagree with, they want to take it, make it generic and go merrily along without a single thought in their lives.

          • As an inobservant jew, I acknowledge the primacy of Christian culture in European-based civilizations and agree to using their dating for convenience sake and because writing “8 Sivan, 5773” on a check or attempting to book a con hotel room by my calendar is problematic. OTOH, signifying the date as “In the year of our Lord” or “Before Christ” strikes me as conceding that which is still in dispute. Thus it does not strike me as “theft” or “laziness” to find a compromise between my usage and yours, a compromise which offers minimal confusion and does not involve falsely swearing fealty.

            • You’re still dating it according to the stuff you question; either make the argument or accept that it is lost, don’t try to cheese out of the argument by accepting the benefits while removing all credit.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Foxfier, I find it completely understandable that a Religious Jew *would not* want to use “AD” because of the meaning of “Year Of Our Lord”.

                Since they haven’t accepted Christ as *their* Lord and they see using “AD” as putting Christ above God, I have no problem with them not using “AD”.

                On the other hand, let’s not get into a big argument about it.

                • Thanks, Drak,for understanding the distinction. Jews reasonably have an issue with accusations of theft and selfishness.

                  • Just as an addendum, do Christians not recognize the story of Daniel or of Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego? I can understand differing opinions on the identity of “the Fourth Man” in the fire, but surely we can agree in principle, and surely we’ve more important issues to address?

                    Frankly, I had a harder time choosing a sample song than finding one — there are versions by Johnny Cash, the Statler Brothers, a Doo Wop version by The Wanderers and numerous others.

                    • Here — — is a delightful, sultry and sinuous alternative version of the song.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yep, we recognize their story and it is relevant to the “AD” vs “CE” matter for religious Jews.

                      On the other hand, plenty of us see a modern attempt to marginalize Christians and Christianity.

                      While I make an exception for religious Jews, I do see the “CE/BCE” thing as part of this marginalization.

                      I doubt that the people who started the “CE/BCE” thing had religious reasons to start it.

                      IMO it’s more likely that they wanted a religion-less world and decided that discarding “AD/BC” in favor of “CE/BCE” was a “good starting point”.

                      On the Gripping Hand, there are more important things we can discuss here than the “AD” vs “CE” thing.

                    • I agree that those using that CE and BCE nomenclature are more likely to be attempting marginalization of Christians than they are abiding by their own strictures of Faith — although I question whether demanding atheists express recognition of a deity they deny doesn’t do more harm than good. Ought we not be mindful of our words and actions, and not casually toss about The Christ nor encourage others to mouth his title as empty platitude?

                      This is actually merely an excuse to post another version of the song, which fancies Shadrack, Meshach & Abednego as a trio become a quartet in the furnace — I am unsure whether the additional voice is baritone, tenor or bass.

                      Tying it all back to today’s theme, in all actions be mindful of your effect upon others and take care that you do not needlessly give them afright.

                    • Bingo.

                      Secular version of answering the phone “Heaven-o!”

                    • No. Answering the phone Heaven-o should be punished with flails and drawing and quartering for the same reason Wymen should be. It betrays total lack of understanding of how languages evolve or acquire meaning. I get very upset about the abuse of innocent languages. It’s stupid, it’s secular (messing with a word that means something that has nothing to do with religion) and it’s more than borderline insane. Line them up and make them write twenty times “I shall not abuse languages.” With chisel. On rock.
                      As for the discussion… enough. No one is convincing anyone else, and you’re giving me flashbacks to toddlers in the back seat. Don’t make me stop this blog and come back there.

                • I could see a religious Jew choosing not to use it for that reason as well; however, they would still be defining the era by Christ, which would be just as objectionable.

                  • I hardly think it your place to define what would or would not be “just as objectionable” to a religious Jew. There is a difference between defining the era by Jesus as Historical Event and defining the era in terms of his divinity.

                    The Babylonians believed Nebuchadnezzar a deity, yet Shadrach & Friends refused to bend the knee. Many a Christian died martyred for refusing to acknowledge an authority above His. And yet you presume to tell others how to respect their Faith?

                    • Yet you feel quite free to tell observant Christians what they’re supposed to feel grateful for being allowed to retain, after it’s been re-labeled to remove Christianity?

                      I can’t apply logic, but you get to lay rules about how objecting to the word version of scrubbing crosses from city seals and tearing down memorial crosses is dictatorial and objectionable?

                      Ironic that you want to wrap yourself in a martyer’s cloak over others applying logic to get your claimed goal while at the same time lecturing me over objecting to disrespect to my faith– and even telling me how I should feel somehow granted specially privileged for it being stolen and repackaged in an atheistic manner!

                    • Don’t reckon as I told Christians, observant or otherwise, how they ought feel about squat. Merely suggesting practicing tolerance so as to avoid needlessly alienating potential friends.

                      Further discussion seems useless. As you clearly prefer nursing grievances and resentments please do so without my participation. I doubt my efforts to explain why observant Jews might find your attitude overbearing can be made much clearer.

                    • Says someone who is defining what is and is not objectionable to Christians.

                      It’s hardly your place.

                    • So now you would drive me from Christ? Sara is right – this exacerbates pointless argument.

            • Somewhat tangential, but don’t most Jews believe in Jesus Christ? I mean they believe he was a man, but not the Son of God, meaning that he lived two thousand years ago, and therefore it is an established point to measure time from. I never saw using BC or AD as signifying fealty to the Christian faith.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                They believe that Jesus may have existed but they don’t believe he was the Christ and don’t believe he is part of the God Head.

              • Believing in Jesus of Nazareth as a historical personage is one thing; ceding divinity is something else.

                BC = Before Christ
                AD = Anno Domini = In the year of the Lord

                So, Jews reject his sovereignty as “The Christ” and do not view him as “Our Lord” — and an attempt to accommodate the nomenclature of a conqueror without violating the commandment about “hav[ing] no other gods before Me” is denounced as theft and selfishness?

                • Of course now days they are teaching in school that AD=After Death, not Anno Domini. I recall getting a teacher very flustered by pointing out in front of an entire classroom that she was screwed up. She started to talk about something that happened around 20 AD, and reasonably Christ was alive. When I pointed out that it couldn’t be AD because Christ was alive (I knew better, but enjoy needling idiots) she stuttered that they couldn’t have a gap in dates, so AD and BC had to meet. I honestly don’t think she had ever contemplated that fact that AD=After Death would necessarily change the date by decades.

            • Frankly, someone who does not accept the Christ not wanting to accept the designation “Anio Domini” (sp) because they don’t agree that it is the date of the Christian Christ yet wanting to keep the numbers because the DO want to use the system is at least as silly as the folks who answer the phone “Heaven-o!”

              Using “Anio Domin” doesn’t mean you agree that He is the Lord, just that you’re going from the date specified by whoever for that date; if I was using the From Mohammad Date, it wouldn’t mean I believed in that poser, just that I was using that as a metric.

              You could use Since Santa, if it was an established date, without it meaning you believed in Santa.

              • See above comment. It is a matter of respecting the factual meaning of words, a perspective suitable to a People who believe themselves recipient of The Word. If you used the From Mohammed Date it would mean something different from using the In The Year Of The Prophet Date, because that constitutes recognition of Mohammed’s prophecy and repudiation of Jesus’ ministry.

                Words have meaning; demanding that others ignore or debase those meanings is somewhat ugly.

                • If they really minded, they would be up in arms about Tyr’s Day, Odin’s Day, Thor’s Day, Frigga’s Day, and Saturn’s Day. They aren’t. Therefore, they are just trying to feign it’s not Christian.

                  • Your intention for the pronoun is unclear, but assuming you are referring to Jews who avoid recognition of Jesus’s sovereignty in the calender, there is a difference. The names of pagan deities embodied in the days of the week do not entail acknowledgement of them as deities.

                    Again, it is a matter of attention to nuance.

                    Besides, followers of Ásatrú don’t have a history of nearly two millennia of persecution of Jews.

                • Words have meaning; demanding that others ignore or debase those meanings is somewhat ugly.

                  Words have meaning; pretending that changing them– while altering nothing else– changes the thing that they describe is somewhat ugly, and quite a pox of our time.

                  It’s worth noting that the big push to change the endings for the year isn’t from the religious, but from those who hate Christianity and wish to remove it from the public sphere.

                  • Demanding that others accommodate their beliefs to your own in only such ways as you allow, is a hallmark of Vile Progs and quite a pox on our time.

                    Refusing to recognize meaningful distinctions is another hallmark of Vile Progs and quite a pox on our time.

                    It is worth noting that Christians, with their history of oppression and centuries of driving Jews from the public sphere are ill-positioned to complain when the shoe is on the other foot. As ye treat others so shall ye be treated. The fact that many who want to change the common dating do so from desire to marginalize Christians does not negate the views of those who refuse what they consider idolatry.

                    Pushing hard on this rather than accepting a reasonable effort to get along does little to dispel the stench of intolerance which has frequently attended Christians — who, let it be noted, have a history of sectarian warfare that even Muslims could admire. Christianity seems a Faith too rarely practiced by those claiming its mantle.

                    • RES,
                      Except that the people driving the Christians off now are doing the same to the Jews only with spikes. And that their war on religion includes both groups. It’s part of their divide and conquer strategy and you guys (meaning both sides of this argument) are living proof it works.
                      In other words, this is blue on blue (or red on red.) Stop it now. It grows tedious. You’re not going to convince each other, you’re only going to get more offensive and forget the parts where you do agree.

                    • Grows tedious? Long since. While I don’t think I was the one driving that wedge I am happy to drop the topic.

                    • This kerfluffle, which I have followed only in part, is an example of why I think a like/dislike button is a Really Bad Idea. Afaic the potential disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

                      Some forums have ignore buttons, but such a convenience, though tempting, may well be a bad idea too.

                • Plenty of people who don’t believe in the goddess Roma, or who have their own favorite cities, don’t feel the need to obscure the fact that AUC (Ad Urbe Condita) means “From the Founding of the City”, and that the city in question is Rome. Constantinople called itself “the City” also, but the Byzantine Empire didn’t sit around rewriting the history books to make it something prettier and happier for Christians and Constantinopolitans.

                  So yes, it isn’t my ox being gored, but no, it would be silly to pretend the dating system is what it isn’t. And political correctness serves nobody; whereas accurate knowledge about history serves everyone.

            • A third, because it annoys me so much:
              if someone wants to make up a system that is incredibly accurate, and date it from the time Galileo was imprisoned for making claims without sufficient evidence: fine.
              Make the system, promote it, and try to get folks to change.

              But taking the system that is popular, and slapping a slightly different label on it to say “no, MINE!!!!!”, is incredibly rude.
              Those using the “new” system can’t be bothered to actually make a system, but only add a few new letters on the existing one and pretend that that is a new system.

              • Neither B.C.E. nor A.C.E. is an attempt to co-opt the Gregorian calendar, it is an effort to be respectful to both the benefits accorded by the dominant (if sometimes domineering) Christian culture without violating the commandments upon which Judaic culture is based.

                As Christian’s share those Commandments, demanding others violate them seems almighty peculiar.

                • Nonsense. It is an attempt to co-opt, because it is using it and slapping a label on it to appropriate. Especially since they call it “Common” which it is not.

                  It is the pith and essence of disrespectful, especially since enormous numbers of its advocates do not have the religious motivation you impute to them.

                  • Given that Christians stole the Judaic faith, replacing The One with an idol afflicted with Dissociative Identity Disorder, y’all are in mighty poor position to point accusatory fingers about co-opting.

                    A person might think you were simply looking for any old reason to start up another Inquisition.

                    Some people just don’t want to compromise, even on trivialities. As I am leery of imputing intent in others I will not presume to know why.

                    • ROFLOL. Only a hate-mongering bigot would drag up the Spanish Inquisition here.

                      Especially when to argue at your level would entail saying that it is given that Jews revolted and rebelled against the promise they were divinely given and therefore have abandoned their own faith, and ought not to be catered to lest they be confirmed in their error. Do you really want to get into that level?

                    • Project much, dearie? I might claim that only a hate-mongering bigot would ignore nearly two millennia of oppression and demand another religion violate their religious duties — while justifying that with charges the religion had failed in its religious duties. But I do not, as I don’t think anyone here is mongering anything stronger than ignorance and intolerance. It ain’t the Jews declaring “Our way or the highway.”

                      As for your claim that “Jews revolted and rebelled against the promise they were divinely given and therefore have abandoned their own faith” — a) Christian slander and b) even if true, it is for G-D, not man, to address.

                      Christ! Your followers are the worst argument for accepting your sacrifice.

                    • Clears throat. The argument has to stop somewhere — I know unforgivable things were said, but they’ll only get more so if this continues..
                      “One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh”RAH
                      Laugh privately and stop righting against it.

                    • Regrettably, time lag for those responding to email comments can delay compliance. Yet another reason to avoid trivial arguments.

                    • Some people just don’t want to compromise, even on trivialities.

                      IMHO this is the biggest reason why the anti-big-government coalition has long-term eroded (with ups and downs) ever since Reagan left it as a governing majority in 1988.

                      The point of principled coalition politics is to have your partners feeling better off in the coalition than outside it—while not compromising essentials and long-term goals. That’s hard.

                      Conservatives/libertarians stink at coalition politics.

                    • The current “gang of (whatever)” push in immigration is a good example– supposed allies are willing to make common cause with the other side because it advances their interest, and then we’re supposed to be oh-so-pleased that occasionally they’ll also work with us for shared goals. And heaven forbid that you dare complain about being stabbed in the back when they work with the folks attacking you.

                    • The other side of the immigration thing is the lack of conservative outreach—any that I can see, anyway—to trade unionists and African Americans who know full well they are being hurt by open borders. (Of course I mean tactical outreach on this particular issue.)

                      For that matter, iirc not a few Hispanic Americans are skeptical about open borders, in contrast to what the elite media would have us believe. Where’s the outreach to them, and where’s the effort to educate unconvinced Hispanic voters?

                      We stink at coalition politics.

                    • What, the individualists failed to organize?

                      But I think you’re wrong on the “reach out.” These people have been taught their color trumps all else, and they want to “belong”

                    • What, the individualists failed to organize?


                      But I think you’re wrong on the “reach out.” These people have been taught their color trumps all else, and they want to “belong”

                      The kind of outreach I had in mind would be a sustained long-term effort.

                      Biracial couples are noticeable here in semi-rural Central MA. That suggests that the conditioning is not working as well as intended. If interracial romance declines, look out.

                      Come to think of it, I wonder if it is declining among the ruling class, e.g. at elite universities. Hopefully not. Seems worth researching (prudently) if no one is doing so.

                    • Blast it, the 😛 above was intended to be its own paragraph.

                      Not that this is a democracy, but I vote:

                      Like/dislike button: No!
                      Ignore button: Probably not
                      Preview button: Yes!

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      … replacing The One with an idol afflicted with Dissociative Identity Disorder…

                      Irrelevant of the subject at hand, that’s just funny, right there.

                  • Andrew Drummond

                    Mary, I’ll be wishy washy here: It’s _somewhat_ an attempt to co-opt the dating scheme. That Gregorian calendar is surprisingly useful with its leap years and all. But I think RES has more the right of it.

                    Years and starting years are very much a convention. Arguably, it is a “common” era because it derives from English usage (the people AND their language); the Spanish/Portuguese haven’t quite managed to imprint their languages on top of everyone else’s quite as successfully (yet?) even with the Church’s division of the world way back when into appropriate spheres of influence/expansion.

                    I conclude my formal annual letter to friends with updates on this block text:
                    “By my Hand, this 20th Day of December, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve, Year 2765 Ab Urbe Condita [could be Anno MMDCLXV] , of the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, Year the 4th.”

                    Since I am a Christian, my usual response is bite me if you’re offended that I used AD, and I really don’t like denying my faith, which is why I think RES is coming at it more rightly. Besides all that, you’re the one who gets to choose how far along you want to go with that BCE/CE convention, or any other one; they’re all made up for convenience’ sake anyways.

                    I used to date from the adoption of the Constitution of the US, also, but that became too bulky to be amusing any longer, and I was having trouble remembering the month various years start in. We have, even in English-language usage just in the US, a fair number of options to choose from. But, yes, co-opting the calendar has a religious suppression element to it almost by default. It has to, if we want to be moderately respectful of people who have other schemes to offer.

                • “Common Era” is trying to co-opt the dates into a generic form– to take from your prior suggestion, an alternative would be something like “BC” and “AC”– “Before Christianity” and “After Christianity.”

                  Or an even simpler one that requires no change: don’t use AD, and when you write BC consider it to be “Before Christianity;” there’s already a default that unnoted dates are since Christ.

                  • Common Era is recognition with minimal accommodation required. Quibbling over how others accommodate to your dating scheme is just being needlessly stiff-necked and expresses a Shiitey sort of dictatorial abusiveness.

                    • It was kind of strange when I saw the differences until I realized that it really didn’t change the year and it was easier for those who were in the sciences. (not all of the scientists are atheists). I use AD and BC, but I am not threatened or find meaning in the use of BCE or CE designations. I have other things on my mind to make me mad as hell. Having a chronic disease, I am not that concerned with the little things. 😉 I save it for the big things– like who’s at the door and are they bringing a package or trying to get into the house. *sigh

                    • I will throttle bunnies over the spelling of Wymen, and I use BC and AD because I’m old and cranky. However for the longest time I thought AD meant After Diaspora — i.e. after the disbanding of Israel. Look, I thought Denver was by the sea. Deal.– I didn’t find out I was wrong until … two years ago. (I think my dad explained it to me that way with Apos instead of after. Dad would make these off the cuff comments — I think tweaking me — and I’d believe them.) The fact that the two didn’t mesh didn’t bother me.
                      But people can call it whatever they want, provided they don’t mess with the numbers. I have trouble enough with the numbers because here we are in 20something and WHERE IS MY FLYING CAR?

                    • I don’t have the reflexes for the flying car now *sigh but where is my Moon dome city? Yea– I was using AD as After Death and even though I know the meaning now, I still think After Death even though it is NOT accurate. 😉

                    • Trying to frame scrubbing Christianity from the public sphere as accommodation is quite “shiitey and abusive.” “You should thank me for taking your thing and renaming it in my own image– be grateful for being used!”

                      If you don’t want to be sullied with the Christian things, then make the choice and deal with it; don’t take what you want and scrub off the serial numbers.

                    • Foxfier, your position is regrettably noted. In spite of your quite eloquent arguments I disdain to join your intolerance and hostility. Whatcha gonna do about it?

                      I hope you will understand how many Jews are ROTFL over a Christian complaint about “taking your thing and renaming it in my own image.”

                    • Plus since my family are mostly Viking– I kind of think it is cool to have a Odin’s day, Thor’s day, etc. 😉

                    • I find this foreign stuff disturbing. I propose a world wide compromise. My native country is the ONLY one of the Latin countries that only names Saturday (Sabado) and Sunday (Domingo) (Dominos) after any religious anything. The days of the week are named Second Fair (the first was on Sunday, natch) Third Fair Fourth Fair, Fifth Fair, and Sixth Fair. Fair as in market. No, I don’t know why. But what better week-day naming for our country, if we embrace Capitalism again?

                    • lol– some things are ingrained– 😉

                    • We even have a days of the week poem–

                      Monday’s child is fair of face,
                      Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
                      Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
                      Thursday’s child has far to go,
                      Friday’s child is loving and giving,
                      Saturday’s child works hard for his living,
                      And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
                      Is bonny and blithe, and good, and gay.

                    • And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
                      Is bonny and blithe, and good, and gay.

                      Oh my, I am sure that the author did not mean to say what this now says — and glory be, please do not take this as stating a value judgement one way or another upon my part. How our language has changed. 😉

                    • Happy actually– and no, the word “gay” is a recent invention imho (some people think 1938– some later– the word gay was used as happy until the 1950s so some interlap)

                    • Yes, but Gay also referred to prostitutes in Victorian England. Don’t go there. Just don’t.

                    • I am forever wondering whether this is the basis for the modern meaning of “gay”:

                      As for the Victorian meaning, I am now wondering whether the author of The Beggar’s Opera was actually named John Gay or if it were a pseudonym.

                      I also wonder who wrote the Book of Love. I wonder whether I wonder too much.

                    • Actually, you’re wAndering. Off point 😉

                    • I wonder as I wander, out under the sky . . .

                      On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 2:49 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

                      > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “Actually, you’re wAndering. Off point ;)” >

                    • LOL– could be… and I am not interested in going that direction–

                    • Robert and I were both born on the Sabbath day. Marshall was born on Wednesday…
                      I’ve consulted Robert and I and neither old nor new meanings seem to apply 😛
                      Maybe blithe — as in dance in where angels fear to tread.

                    • Blithe–Showing a casual and cheerful indifference considered to be callous or improper.

                    • I’m a Saturday’s child– and it is very true in my case–

                    • Clark E Myers

                      Viking is a verb not an adjective

                    • So you haven’t met my family — we use it as a verb, adjective, noun, and it is very useful for describing various activities. My family were some of the first that went Viking in the 1000’s. 😉

                    • verb, adjective, noun, swearword, term of endearment, definition of occupation and, yes. 😉

                      In my area it mostly meant “rapist” — eh.

                    • ARG– well the brothers have gotten rid of the “rapist” tendencies. Since I raised them they have learned to at least respect OLDER sisters. 😉

                    • LOL. I believe that. To be honest, though, at that time rape was “something you did on Saturday night because they haven’t invented television” and it cut across all cultures and races, depending on opportunity.

                    • Just a Saturday’s evening entertainment lol

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  The problem with your argument is that the normal use of it is almost certainly meant to be specifically anti>-Christian. I would think that if a person merely didn’t want to use the terms, they could refer to dates as being + or – xxxx Gregorian. The use of both the “her” pronoun and the “C.E.” date terminology stem from the “Progressive” rejection of existing culture and “The Patriarchy”.

                  I understand that the terminology used in the modern Gregorian calendar can be problematic for Jewish people, though I would also tend to think that it would not be a particularly common issue for every day, having its core in historical dating where some confusion may arise in which side of the zero date is intended, unless merely using the date system at all is a problem, and if that is the case, I’m not sure why someone would consider that merely changing terms would make a difference, when the basis was still there.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              RES, one Orthodox Jew on the Bar explained his usage of “CE” and “BCE” (Common Era & Before Common Era) in very similar terms as yours.

              Quite frankly, I find the Jewish desire to use “CE” and “BCE” much more reasonable than the Secularist desire to do so.

              Of course, in most situations people don’t use “AD” or “CE” at all. [Smile]

      • Me too, but I’m a stickler for old Indo-European grammar.

      • I suppose if we are going to de-genderize all language, locigally we should not stop and Her for Him, or be content to merely flip to Them or Their.
        Think on it, the very term Person? Per-Son? It should reallllly just be Perindividual.
        Of course, once we have arrived at that point, we must drop Reason and substitute ReaPerson, and of course Prison must be replaced by PriPerson. It is more authentic, somehow.

        • BOB!
          Seriously don’t even. I am looking for my blood pressure meds, and I don’t have ANY.

        • The mangling also screws up those of us who didn’t “peek” to find out if the unborn child is a girl or boy… I managed to confuse my family by flipping between the singular “them” and the non-specific “he.”

          • We called Robert Blueberry and stuck to it. 😛 when he got massively obvious inside, we called him Bundle. This is how come I have a Mother’s day card from 91 signed by “Dan and Bundle.” 😉

        • I see Perindividual and I think someone missed hitting the space bar and begin to wonder how many items are being issued to each (or taken from each)… 😉

          Some things are just too silly.

        • Nothing wrong with It. After all in the discussion:
          “Who is it?”
          “It’s the secretary at the doctor’s office.”
          “what does it want?”
          we revolt at only the third line, which shows that our aversion to applying “it” to humans is fundamentally irrational.

          • Not exactly– only in the last line does “it” specifically apply to an individual. (The secretary.)

            If you changed the line to “it’s the doctor’s office” then the response would be “what do they want?”

            Once the subject gets specialized down, it’s not the same.

            • Or your speaker is Turkish, they only have 1 third person pronoun and the great multiplicity of third person pronouns in English is hard for them to keep track of sometimes.

  5. Harold Ancell

    So, should you shoot someone who breaks into your house? Yep. What are the chances of your killing an otherwise innocent man? Next to none. What are the chances of you getting killed otherwise? VERY high.

    Especially high since it is nearly impossible to establish the invader is a lethal threat without giving him a good opportunity to kill you in the process.

    But only do this after checking your state laws and case law (e.g. Self Defense Laws of All 50 States by Mitch Vilos for a start, although it’s now a couple of years out of date).

    The checking of case law is critical because many states have good laws that the courts have nullified. In my home state of Missouri, we have a very nice, crystal clear Castle Doctrine law (that’s the general name for laws that allow you to use lethal force on home invaders before conclusively determining their intent), which has been judicially nullified through the allowed jury instructions (one place to always check). (Which is no surprise, thanks to the Missouri Plan our judges are picked by the governor from a selection created by the usual suspects, so our bench is far to the left of this Purple trending Red state.)

    One very strange outcome of this is that you’re still allowed to use lethal force while someone is in the process of breaking in, due to a separate state law that as far as I know is still valid. But is devolves back to the norm for when you’re outside your “castle” once they finish breaking in.

    • So, according to at least one judge, it’s permissible to shoot a burglar while he’s on your front porch breaking down your door, but once he’s across the threshold you’re completely at his mercy? And these clowns aren’t tarred and feathered why?

      It’s odd because I remember a case years ago in Colorado where a woman shot her estranged husband (boyfriend?) on her front porch. She claimed he was breaking down the door. The question was did Colorado’s Castle Doctrine extend outside the physical boundary of the house. I forget how it turned out for her.

      • Harold Ancell

        […] but once he’s across the threshold you’re completely at his mercy?

        Not quite “at his mercy”, you just can’t initiate lethal force without satisfying the much higher standard for outside that ignores the already well established facts that our host details.

        And these clowns aren’t tarred and feathered why?

        One good reason is that they would be replaced by identically thinking clowns due to the Missouri Plan.

        Now, we are trying to fix the latter, but until we elect a Republican Secretary of State the SoS will continue to bias the “Fair Ballot Language” of initiatives as was successfully done on this issue in the last election, with of course the judges who had been selected by this plan totally backing the SoS.

        • Merely replacing them would be one thing. Tarring and feathering is another.

        • Andrew Drummond

          For the replacement clowns: Lather, rinse, repeat as needed?

        • Jeff Gauch

          Seems to me that the Secretary of State needs to do a chicken impersonation.

        • snelson134

          One good reason is that they would be replaced by identically thinking clowns due to the Missouri Plan.

          Only until you run out of candidates. Which won’t take very long especially if the removal process is especially painful.

  6. Larry Patterson

    Sara, there are a lot of hunters in the Algarve, with shotguns; and pistol permits are granted to a few who can show good reason. But shooting an unarmed burglar will get you 3 to 5.

    The east European mafiya is better armed than the GNR, (national guard, a paramilitary police), and a 12 gauge is no match for a fully automatic machine pistol, no matter what Hollywood depicts.

    OK, back to US home invaders, I wouldn’t shoot one since my .22 single shot would just get me in trouble. That there are people who do shoot these druggies surely gives them pause, unless the monkey on their back has robbed them of the little common sense they might have had.

    • Larry, the idea that a 12 gauge is no match for a “fully automatic machine pistol” is a faux argument really. (Not to mention that machine pistols are silly things.) Because weapons don’t match up, people do. A willing person with a 12 gauge is a match for anyone carrying anything but not prepared.

      • I didn’t even know there were full auto pistols outside of “hey, I bet I could make–” type novelty builds.

        I’d take a full auto BB gun over either, honestly. (Yes, they exist; they’re used for taking out tires, windows, doors and such with law enforcement, especially in those areas where they’re not allowed home defense rounds, and military for the same reason.) Twenty pounds of tiny pellets, GO!

    • William O. B'Livion

      A properly loaded shotgun is more than a match for a automatic machine pistol (presuming by this you’re referring to something like the Glock 18, the VP70M and similar). If you’re referring to something like the MP5, Uzi or other SMGs, then you’re looking at what SPQR indicates–at that point it’s loadings (again), tactics and the willingness to use speed, aggression and utterly overwhelming violence.

      If you’re talking inside the house and a homeowner who’s defending his/her children with a Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 and has absolutely no concern for legal issues v.s. a couple thugs that just wanna have some fun and make some scratch?

      Get the mop and bucket.

      • Harold Ancell

        You’re being needlessly over precise, SMGs (sub-machine guns) have often been called “machine pistols”, e.g. the Nazi MP 38 and MP 40, MP standing for Maschinenpistole.

        Also, I’ll bet that in such locations the subjects aren’t generally allowed anything better than a double-barreled shotgun. In fact, while I don’t know how widespread this is, any sort of pump gun is looked upon with disfavor in Europe, even in some countries (well, at least one, Switzerland) where semi-auto rifles are legit, they’re the political equivalent of “assault weapons” over here I suppose.

        So that makes self-defense a more dicey proposition, especially if serious (#1 to 00) buckshot is not available.

        But your general point stands, the first home defense gun I bought was an 870, because legal possession of handguns was nearly impossible where I lived, but I did not consider myself to be at all undergunned.

    • ” a 12 gauge is no match for a fully automatic machine pistol,”

      I would argue that is a moot point, whoever is shot first (either with a 12 gauge, at common room dimensions, ie >12 feet, load is unimportant on an unarmed opponent.. or with several rounds from a ‘machine-pistol’) is going to be seriously incapacitated. The 12 gauge may carry less rounds, for multiple individuals, but a fully automatic weapon in the hands of anyone less than expert in its use, generally uses up the entire clip in one to two trigger pulls, which actually makes it less satisfactory for engaging multiple individuals.

  7. I tend to agree with the thinking that if somebody if burglarizing your house, it’s a pretty unlikely scenario that they are a desperate father who is only trying to get food for their starving children.
    Nevertheless, unfortunately, I find your counter arguments unconvincing.
    Most of your argument can be summarized “I would never commit burglary even if I were starving, and I HAVE been broke, so I know.” From there you go on to say “I’m a normal people. Normal people think the way I do and analyze situations the way I do.”
    OK. I’m not able to tell if you’re correct saying that a normal people or not; I know so few normal people that I don’t really have a basis to analyze. What I do know is that most of the people I know are individual, and think in different ways than I do. (To crib from John Campbell, not necessarily worse, just different.)
    Other people aren’t you. There are 315,000,000 in the US, and they have 315,000,000 different circumstances and different ways of thinking and different backgrounds… and you don’t know them. But you have just analyzed the circumstances of all of them, and decided you can make second-guess their actions for them without knowing anything about them.
    Had your conclusion been “it’s a very unlikely scenario,” I would have agreed. But your thesis is “only doesn’t he exist, but that if he ever existed, in history, it was probably before the eighteenth century.”
    No well argued. Your argument (“I wouldn’t do it. I’m normal. Therefore, anybody who would is not normal.”) does not sustain that conclusion.

    • No, that was part of my argument. The other part is that I’m normal BECAUSE most burglars have records as long as your arm. ALMOST all of them.

      • And if your thesis had, in fact, said “most”, or possibly even “almost all,” I would not have bothered to object. However, that would have been a completely different argument.
        You are, essentially, propounding the great American mythos: the world is full of evil men, and by learning karate/carrying a gun/taking a body-building course, a virtuous man (or woman) can and should fight back/defend him or herself/kick sand in the face of bullies. As long as you can correctly make instantaneous decisions with deadly consequences (and be right every time) that is admirable. Anyway, it makes great fiction– we love Dirty Harry and the Karate Kid, and their many heirs in fiction and film.

        • Tell me WHERE I said the world is full of evil people. I said NORMAL people don’t do this. this Normal as in most of them. The ones who do are dangerous & if you’re going to tell me the honest man doesn’t have a right to self defense, pick. You’re being fatuous

          • Whether you enter a person’s home uninvited, or come upon a bear in the woods, it is incumbent upon you to approach with the cautious awareness that you might cause alarm and that it might go poorly for you.

            Anybody fool enough to walk up to a camp without first hollerin’ “Halloo the fire” owes an apology to those what shot ‘im.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          I believe that if you go back and read more carefully, you’ll see that she’s saying that one should not feel guilty for killing a burglar or home invader. I see nowhere that she made any claims as to how effective one would be at it, just that you should not let indecision freeze you because, “he might just be an innocent man down on his luck”.

          • Clark E Myers

            Neal Knox – some of you may recognize the name in a firearms context – used to scatter hidden revolvers around his place with a shot shell up first but followed by more lethal loads. Mr. Knox figured a less lethal first shot would make his family more willing to take some immediate action. The range of possibilities being so wide he feared hesitation with only a more lethal choice.

            • It also might put his family in lethal danger, if I pull the trigger I intend to stop (doesn’t necessarily mean kill, but the most effective stopping method is an instantaneous kill) what I am shooting at.

          • Yep, got it. How in heck he got from this that I thought evil was everywhere and it was every man for himself, I don’t know. It must be that libertarian thing — you know, we care nothing for anyone, and have several recipe books filled with how to cook neighbors when the collapse comes. or something. I also never lend any help to indie writers and I never mentor anyone. (And d*mn it, yes, I’ll put links and promo up tomorrow. I came back from Denver and had to deal with some stuff.)

            • Oh, do you have a first edition of “To Serve Man?” If so, where did you get it? I’m missing that from my collection and no one has been able to find one for me. 😉

            • Wow, I’m not sure what I wrote that merited such a vehement response, nor why you think that this is identical to my saying that you never lend help to indie writers and you never mentor anyone, both topics about which I have neither opinions nor interest. Mentor, don’t mentor, I don’t care.
              This is, however, perhaps the most common of American tropes, and certainly the most powerful. It is a fiction and film motif that we are surrounded with. You seem to object to my pointing out the connection of your essay to the themes of High Noon, Karate Kid, Home Invasion, and so forth? Nevertheless, this is the background and the theme that you are exploring in this essay.
              The French may have Les Miserables as their great national theme, but in American fiction, we shoot bad guys.
              I’m sorry if I imputed that you said that they were “evil,” a word which you did not in fact use. What you said, actually, was that they were not “NORMAL.” I’m not sure what this word means. In context, you seem to be using this word to mean “people who clearly and rationally think out the consequences of their actions.” I am certainly in favor of this– but I am not sure that this is “normal.”

        • snelson134

          Except that it ISN’T a mythos. The examples from history are too numerous to list, including the 2 million defensive gun usages last YEAR.

    • When that person commits a felony against my family or myself, they’ve sorted themselves out of “normal” pretty well for me.

      • Yes– Brianna– home invasion and kidnapping of a young woman– her body was found in a field outside of Reno several months later.

        Home invasion– two guys broke into a home where the old man (over 65) was shot, he shot back and one of the burglars died and the other almost bled to death. The homeowner died, but saved his wife (the home invaders were shooting at both of them).

        Home invasion– sexual assaults on young college women.

        Home invasion– recent death of two older couples and a 52-year old man.

        Every home invasion in my area in the last two years has been someone who either wants to kill or wants to sexually assault someone. (Usually meth addicts as well). Some are stealing stuff to sell for drugs, but the opportunity to do damage is part of the reason these burglars invade while the family is home.

    • Youy are arguing that there are more people around than you know and you don’t understand them so Sarah can’t understand them either so everyone must fall back on learned catechism. Good argument.

      Go volunteer with community services that deal with violent drug offenders, go volunteer at the mission. Go work as a receptionist at your CPS, then come back and talk to me about the criminal mind and moral equivalency.


    • When I was living in my former apartment there was one burglary while I was in home. If you can call it that, since the front door wasn’t locked. At that time it couldn’t be locked, no keys. The two second floor apartments had their own entrance (which was the door with no key), there was some cold storage room downstairs, stairs to the second floor, our apartments and each had a cold attic next to it, so four doors altogether. And while I kept my attic locked the other one always had the key on its lock because the main fuse box was in that attic and the main fuse blew at least once a month during the winter (yep, the whole place was probably a fire hazard, the wiring was from about forty years ago and had never been updated to modern use – the house is still standing and being rented but there were renovations after I moved out, I really do hope they worked on that too). And both attic doors had similar locks, so the same key fit.

      And all those locks were, anyway, as old as the house. Even I could have picked them.

      Anyway, I heard this noise of somebody coming up the stairs. Since I knew my neighbor was not at home I went out to look and this guy, coming up and looking kind of startled when I opened the door, asked for water. I closed the door, went and filled an old cola bottle and took it to him. He said something about how dangerous it was to keep stuff in the stairway (I had an old spinning wheel and a box full of books there) because somebody might get the urge to put them on fire and went down. There was some noise from there so I followed for a look, and his pal was going through the stuff in the downstairs storage (nothing worth anything there). I didn’t say anything, went back up and called the police. Took the police about half an hour to get there (and that house is about ten minutes drive from the main police station) but the wannabe thieves were long gone, so the police asked a few questions and left.

      It wasn’t a home invasion because they probably thought the house was empty, it was a couple of opportunistic burglars who found an open door. You can get non-dangerous ones. But I think one of the reasons is, here, that thieving, especially that kind of thieving, can be done without much fear of consequences in Finland. A home owner who does more than just uses harsh words and calls the police will probably get in trouble (I remember one case of a guy who did own a handgun ‘brandished’ it, unloaded and without pointing it at anyone, when he tried to get a rowdy, uninvited guest out of his house. Yep, he was the one who got punished), and even if they are caught by the police they will probably not get much more than some equivalent of that proverbial slap on the wrist. And things like car thefts (well, the technical term for that is ‘unauthorized commissioning’ or something like that) are not investigated, nor are small time thieving like the one which happened in that house, so unless the people who do those really are caught by the police in the act, or happen to meet a property owner who is bigger than they and too pissed to worry about the law they really have not that much to fear.

      So the prize is that you pretty much just have to stand by and look while somebody walks away with your property or risk fines or sometimes even jail time, and besides getting bolder thieves it’s possibly you get more of them than you would if people were allowed to defend their property. And that does not eliminate the crazies and violent ones. That happens here too, and they, while so far fairly rare (only five million of us, so not that many crazies, but now we are getting criminals from East Europe too, not just locals) do also have a free playing field.

      • So yes, my argument is, more or less, that if you start to protect the poor burglars to the extent they are protected in my country, you still get all the violent or potentially violent ones, but now, on top of those, you probably also start getting more non-violent opportunistic ones who will just take your stuff. 😀

        • And third – who are the most likely victims to the opportunist? Those people who can’t afford good locks or home alarm systems… when you protect the thieves you are suppressing the honest poor. Who knows, it may even be the reason that poor dad ends up as a criminal. Maybe some career criminal just took his last money or the car he would have needed in order to keep his job.

      • Great Britain has double the burglary rater of the United States, and they are as likely as not to come in while someone’s home, whereas that happens only one time in seven in the United States. This is because American burglars spend more time casing their targets, and openly admit it’s because breaking in with someone home is the way to get shot.

        • Yes.

          I also had problems with my neighbors in that place, during the last years I lived there. Not as fights or arguments. Petty thievery. Probably my neighbors, since things started to disappear after two new ones moved in, a couple of young guys. Small stuff. Two bags of dirt I had bought for the flower bed I shared with my next door neighbor (one of the young guys) at the time the downstairs guy was working on his. The broom I had bought for the stairwell. Some of my paintings from the attic. The next door neighbor also cleaned that damn flower bed one spring, and threw the few perennials I had managed to buy for it into the compost heap. He knew I had perennials growing in it, I had told him when he moved in (I had also told him he’d be free to use the bed any way he liked – as long as he’d leave me about half of it and was careful of those perennials).

          Small annoyances, but aggravating because I have always been living pretty much hand to mouth. I didn’t have the money to buy more dirt that time the bags disappeared, not early enough to use it on the bed while I was planting, and it had taken me five years to get those five perennials for the bed because I could afford to buy about one per year (mostly I bought seeds). Okay, perhaps I would not be willing to shoot somebody for filching two bags of dirt, but I do think the way things are here now is the kind of environment which encourages that kind of behaviors – thieves are seen here mostly as poor, deserving pity and help, or else as these countercultural (except what culture when the dominant one seems to be exactly the one which approves?) robin hoods fighting against the man or something. There is very little risk of anything for them, especially if what they take is not worth much, and the rightful owners don’t have that many means to defend their property (even if the police you called were to catch the thief in the act, well, he might get a fine, and no way to make him pay it, and he’d be out, free to continue, the next day). Well, pretty much none unless you have money.

          And, as said, this also leaves us fairly defenseless against the violent individuals.

          Have to say I regretted, in the end, the fact that I didn’t call the police the time I found two pot plants growing in that flower bed after he had emptied the dirt of two flower pots on it. Except it probably would not have gotten him evicted, just pissed at me.

          • Jeff Gauch

            You need to get yourself to a civilized country. Or, perhaps, start agitating for changes in how thieves are treated. Who knows, maybe more people think like you, but are convinced they’re all alone.

            • Yes… there seems to be some backlash starting, a lot of people are pretty fed up with our current system. But I doubt it will be enough. Socialism as the ideal is pretty deeply entrenched here. You combine somebody ought to do something (aka we need better laws) with fed up with the way things are now and it may be more likely thing will go like they are going in Greece now than return to any kind of civilized. Well, maybe not the street riots, Finns are not really the rioting types, but voting for anybody who talks good and promises to rule us better.

              Or maybe I’m just a tad depressed right now.

              • Jeff Gauch

                Another generation or so and I think you’ll see different. That anyone could see Socialism as an ideal is pretty absurd to me. I mean, Communism can’t work because it assumes that everyone is perfectly altruistic. Pure market Capitalism can’t work because it assumes everyone has perfect information. But a system that assumes bureaucrats have perfect information and are perfectly altruistic is going to work? What precise flavor of stupid do you have to be to buy that?

                • Robin Munn

                  Most people who support socialism don’t think that far; they don’t think past the kindergarten concept of fairness: it’s not “fair” that someone else should have more cookies than me. When the teacher is the one who made the cookies and is handing them out gratis, the argument makes some kind of sense. (Though there are still flaws in it, which I’ll skip over for the sake of time). But what about if the guy has more cookies than you because he went and baked a big batch of cookies? And here’s where the concept of “fairness” becomes revealed for what it truly is: envy.

                  And because the socialists are still stuck on that kindergarten concept of “fairness”, they want the “teacher” (the authority of the state) to take the other guy’s cookies away and redistribute them to everyone else, so things will be more “fair”. And they forget that while kindergarten teachers could generally be trusted not to steal the cookies for themselves (most people become teachers because they like children and want to help them), government bureaucrats are NOT kindergarten teachers and can’t be trusted that far. Again, short-sightedness, and thinking that’s stuck at the kindergarten level. More sophisticated arguments, but a basic concept that still assumes the world is like kindergarten.

                  • Jeff Gauch

                    I wouldn’t even say they’re more sophisticated arguments. They just use bigger words than the average 5 year old.

                    • Sophisticated or simple, polysyllabic or mono — their arguments still end with heads up bums.

                    • It tends to happen when you decide reason and logic are racist. So really, they don’t end up with RCI, it’s their starting point.

                  • Well, that also explains the justice system. The only one who can keep order and be trusted to do something right if, say, somebody steals your cookies, is the teacher. It’s bad idea to let the kids start fighting, so if the kid whose cookies are just being taken by other kid dares to do something like hit that kid you’ll punish both, and then one will learn not to steal and the other to call to the teacher next time something like that happens.

                    If only it worked like that with adults too. Only it doesn’t, and even if it did we’d pretty much need one of those ‘teachers’ in every corner, ready to rush in the moment something starts to happen.

                    Maybe right now they are hoping that the surveillance cameras and other tech will be able to take the role of the ‘teacher’. Hah.

                    Okay. I am depressed.

                    • But isn’t part of being an adult taking responsibility for your cookies – including making sure someone doesn’t just take them? Constantly relying on ‘teachers’ of whatever stripe sounds like an argument against taking that responsibility and becoming an adult.
                      Or maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re trying to say there.

                    • I’m trying to figure out why my country got where it is now. Seems more than half of our people think that most people really are like those kindergarden kids – we should not be allowed to act ourselves but rather wait for the ‘teachers’ to come and figure things out when something happens. According to the way our system works if you do something like kick the guy who tried to snatch your purse and happen to hit him in the balls that’s disproportionate response – even if most of your spending money for that month happened to be in the purse. Now if he had been trying to rape you it might fly. If you can prove he really was trying to rape you. But defending your money is rarely judged good enough a reason to cause physical damage to somebody else. So trying to fight if somebody tries it is a risky proposition for two reasons – the common sense one, he might hurt you instead, but also if you happen to hurt him the end result may very well be that he will be seen as the victim, both by the justice system and by the majority, or at least the most vocal part, of public opinion.

                      And even if it is something like rape – one example I have used here before happened several years ago but it’s one of those which have stuck to my mind because it was among the first which forced me to start paying notice – a woman was sentenced to four years in prison because she stabbed a man who was raping her with a fruit knife and he died. Now that was a situation in which one might question the facts – she was in his apartment, and her story was that he had offered her his couch to sleep when the last bus had gone or something along those lines. They were, at the time, coworkers, and she had assumed she’d be safe with him, but had then woken in the middle of the night with him on top of her, raping her, she had reached a hand in effort to find something and that knife had been on the sofa table in the fruit bowl, she used it, and the fact that he died had been accidental.

                      So you could question her story.

                      But the problem with that case is that the court thought that even if she found herself in the middle of being raped she should have been able to restrain herself and not use the knife because that was disproportionate response. She should not have taken the risk she might kill him. She should have screamed, and struggled otherwise, and then, afterwards, called the police, but she should not have fought him in a way which might result in his death.

                      And that is the usual advice to us here. You can fight if you are attacked, but do not do anything which might risk the bad guy’s health or life, pretty much no matter what he is doing, just try to get away and call the police. They are the ‘teachers’ because they are trained for that. Since you are not you cannot be trusted to be able to judge something like what would be an appropriate amount of force to use. And using a gun in self defense is always illegal here, unless it’s against an animal (and even then the critter should preferably be something like a bear…). Well, except when it’s done by the police, and actually, even for them it is somewhat risky, especially if they happen to kill somebody. The aim is that nobody should never ever die. Even if it’s somebody who just killed an innocent victim.

                    • Huh? Geez– it looks like they are trying to re-engineer the fierceness of the Finns. Ugh.

                    • A common tenet of Socialists is that the State holds a monopoly on use of force, and certainly over Life & Death. Allowing people to defend their own lives might give them the idea that they are not property of the state and encourage them to get other peculiar ideas.

                      One could derive numerous other unsavory conclusions about their attitudes — such as tolerance of rape as a momentary inconvenience of no lasting harm — but that is unnecessary and puts you in alignment with some of the worst of the Vile Progs.

                    • I have thought this too (you say it more eloquently RES). When a teen or OWS says they are proud to belong to the State, it makes me cringe.

                    • Not taking responsibility for your fate in adulthood is the charm of the Leviathan and how it garners its votes.

      • It really baffles me that European governments take these attitudes of tolerance for and near encouragement of crime up to and including car theft.

        • And then when you do get crack-downs, you get melodrama like this

        • Because if the barbarians are among the houses and on the streets, the authorities can use that as a pretext to grab more power and control, higher taxes, more resources and greater regulation over every-day life.
          In the end, like the Soviet system, everyone who can’t suck their way into patronage can be considered a criminal since no-one can live a life without violating dozens of laws by just living, and the authorities can take in a citizen at will to shake down or abuse unless the citizen can call on a patron to give them an indulgence.
          It was simpler under the Ottoman system, not different.

    • If your response to “my kids are starving” is “I will commit a crime with a high risk of death or injury to others, a high risk of threat of the same, and a low possible rate of good outcome for my kids”– they F YES, YOU ARE BOTH DIFFERENT AND WORSE.

      Good grief, the observation that something can be different without being bad doesn’t mean you’re free from noticing that yes, in this case, it really is bad.
      Especially in a country where you can have food for the asking– or simply for not moving quickly enough. (My husband has twice been given donated Christmas baskets on the basis of being the lowest paid guy in the shop that has kids. We re-donate them to St. VdP’s with our usual deliveries.)

      Your kids really starving? Swallow your pride, walk down to the WalMart and hold a sign saying “please, my kids are hungry and I can’t do anything– can you please buy them some food? God Bless.” (You’ll also end up with enough cash to gag a horse.)

    • Bottom line Geoff, I DON’T CARE, IF THEY DON’T WANT TO RISK GETTING SHOT, THEY SHOULDN’T BE BURGLARIZING! Or even moreso invading homes. It doesn’t matter if they are looking to rape and kill the occupants, or just trying to steal some warm socks so they don’t get frostbite. Break into a home (especially with the homeowner present) and you deserve (and need to expect) to get shot.

      • There is a reason I keep the front door locked– and one day my husband (he does this often –only thing that really irritates me) left the door unlocked. We were sitting in the living room of a two bedroom apartment when a strange man (East Indian btw) walked into our front door. I bellowed in my command voice– get the f-ck out of my house (three times). My husband turned around and ran to the door. The East Indian man hurriedly walked out of the door, screaming “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” A week later the man and his wife moved out of the apartment complex.

        IDK if he forgot which door or was trying doors–but if I had a gun close, I would have shot him. He just barged in– no knocking– nothing. (We have the castle law too). Also I think I scared him. 🙂

        Also– there are people (usually young men sometimes hispanic, sometimes black, and sometimes white– ) who come to the door to do the magazine scam. (Yep– it is a scam). Anyway, they come to the door, knock, give their spiel and ask to get a glass of water. They check out your home, then when you are gone, they send a crew in to burglarize your home. It is so common in Nevada that the police have told the citizens to call when they come to the door. These guys are not violent– (like a vanguard) and are usually polite.

        • Well — my kids used to leave the door unlocked — we tried to get across to them how dangerous this was (I was usually in the shower, while Dan drove them to school.) Nothing. Then the check my mom had sent for xmas vanished from the fireplace mantel and THAT finally got it across to them “leave door unlocked, people can do bad things, and we’re lucky they didn’t hurt mommy/the cats.)

          • I think the guy walking into the door kind of made him check the door more often. 😉

            I have used the voice before and it really screws up thieves as well.

  8. Here it is– a few days ago a 52 year old man was found dead at an exit off of the highway and his truck was stolen. Then four older couples (in different homes) were found shot dead in their homes. One of the couples was in their 80s. A burglar was found running out of the second home, where they found the second couple (over 60s) were dead. The burglar was a young man of the age of 25– who is now being charged for murder– also a druggie.

    Here is the story the police have pieced together.
    1. The man lived on the same street as the 80 year old couple. He forced himself into the home, shot and killed the couple with a gun he took from their home and killed them. They think he killed them in their sleep. Plus he stole their vehicle.
    2. He disappeared for three days– and then at the exit of the highway played a poor man with truck trouble. He killed the 52 year old man– left the man on the side of the road. Stole the second truck and went back to his home where he burglarized another home and killed two more people.
    3. The son of the second couple was coming into the house when the killer was running from the door. He stopped the killer and the police took the killer into custody. At first they thought he was only burglarizing the home.
    4. They have no idea why he would do it– (as if motive by this time would help). But they are trying to find out what he did during the three days after the killing of the first couple and the 52 year old man.
    5.–there might be other dead bodies.

    Home invasions are imho should be met with force.

  9. IOW you’re unlikely to find a starving father of four in your home unless he’s also mentally ill and POSSIBLY also an acid dropper.

    We actually had a case this week– maybe last?– in North Bend where a father of four, previously well employed etc, was stabbed to death when he broke into a house for the second time that day.
    First time he went in while the lady and her mom were making cookies, held the lady hostage until he got cash, and left; second time he came at night, husband went to investigate with a bat and wasp spray, and was losing so badly that the (pregnant!) wife had to run to the kitchen and get a knife. Assailant didn’t survive.


    My response to “property isn’t worth killing someone over” variations is to point out that the criminal chose to threaten my life to get the stuff– that is implicit in their crime.

    • “My response to “property isn’t worth killing someone over” variations is to point out that the criminal chose to threaten my life to get the stuff– that is implicit in their crime.”

      Aye, it’s simple logic really (probably explains why liberals have trouble with it). My life is more valuable than his. He thinks my stuff is more valuable than my life. Ergo, his life is less valuable than my stuff. He’s the one claiming “just stuff” is more important than a human life, take it up with him. I’ll even provide the Ouija board.

      • Robin Munn

        My life is more valuable than his.

        Make this “My life is of equal value to his” and your argument will be better. Because while I agree that a homeowner’s life should be valued more highly by the law (and society) than that of the criminal breaking in, said values have changed as a result of the criminal’s actions. At the starting point, before people’s actions are considered, all people’s lives should be considered equally valuable (and any society that doesn’t do this, that considers one person’s life more valuable than another just because of their birth or whatever, is not one I want to live in). And since your argument rests on the criminal’s actions and expressed values (“he thinks my stuff is more valuable than my life”), if you assume something about his actions from the get-go in saying “my life is more valuable than his”, you’re arguing in a circle. Very subtly, but it’s there.

        Start from the “my life is just as valuable as his” point, then start taking actions and attitudes into account, and you’ll be on much firmer logical ground. And besides, if you’re arguing with a liberal, that’s a point they’ll be unable to argue with — whereas if you say “my life is more valuable than his” they’ll immediately disagree with you, and get so focused on that point that they won’t listen to the rest of your argument.

        • *grin* Oh, glee!

          The prior comment I made– about Catholic theology– Robin just made much better.

        • Jeff Gauch

          No, I just reject the concept of absolute value. My life is more valuable to me than a random stranger’s (there are a few non-strangers whose lives I consider more valuable than my own), but I recognize that a random stranger is going to value his life more than mine. As a result I avoid putting people in him-or-me situations.

          Now, when it comes to the state, the government should consider all law-abiding citizens to have equal value. But we’re not talking about the state making a determination. This scenario has only me and the burglar. I don’t care what how the government values his life, just like I don’t care about his mother’s opinion.

          Now, none of this is to say that any life is without value entirely.

  10. The Progressive mind MUST side with the burglar, because you see, he is doing exactly what those politicians are doing to the rest of us – he is stealing their wealth at gun point. The fact that they hire thugs to do it for them changes nothing. They feel their dainty hands are clean if they steal removed from the direct assault, by corrupt law, and use of hirelings. However make no mistake. They can excuse theft in their minds and go to bed at night untroubled by a bad conscience. They define themselves as righteous no matter what they do, and by necessity must define you as evil and in error for wanting to resist.

    • Harold Ancell

      It goes further than that. In a new variation of the old theme of the upper and lower class joining against the middle, in anarcho-tyranny criminals are allowed a certain degree of predation on the mostly unarmed, or not legally, or not legally allowed to use them in self-defense, as has been true in the U.K. for decades. It becomes a matter of life or death to vote correctly, else your neighborhood will lost its police protection. Blair did that to the rural U.K. (withdrew 2/3rds? of the police), and I think other some areas, although he was most explicit about his desire to destroy rural society. When I was living in Arlington, Virginia I heard this happened in D.C., although that’s not well documented.

      One area where federalism wins big, we in the US don’t have a centrally controlled police force that can be withdrawn at whim.

      • Clark E Myers

        The U.S. does have cities in which the police powers will write off an expanding area of the central city to make resources available. Those resources are then used to protect the perimeter against the central city.

        • Birthday girl

          Please tell more about this. Is it assumed that the wealthy have moved to the outlying areas and the central city contains only those to be defended AGAINST? As in contrast to the European model of the wealthy remaining in the central city and the suburbs being for the poor/immigrants/etc and circle the wagons to defend the wealthy/privileged a la the old-time castle/fortress? Or are you talking about something else?

          • Clark E Myers

            No assumptions just fact but perhaps a poor choice of language in central city though true in the specific instances – the general model for a city is a target of bulls eye and rings with residents balancing distance from the center and other factors so that each ring is nominally homogenous but distinct from rings closer or farther from the city center.

            In reality take a city like Denver as likely to be familiar to most readers. The oldest neighborhood is Sunnyside in the bend of I-70 and I-25 and a walk around the neighborhood will show most doors and windows barred and grilled. Sunnyside is north and west of the city center taking argumendo Civic Center Park as a center. The housing south and east at about the same distance getting over toward the Cherry Creek Shopping Center the residential pattern is quite different for a failure of the target model by strict distance. Sunnyside is on the verge of gentrification with subsidized senior housing taking over whole blocks but with lots of security and RFID.

            Be that as it may the example I had in mind was Chicago where in recent times the University of Chicago area was protected at the expense of surrounding communities especially to the south and west. The Back of the Yards was once protected with a line drawn well east of Ashland then the line was eventually moved west toward Western and so it goes. These examples are not particularly current. Notice too Russia has used a system of criminal attacks on the population to justify repressive rule under the Czars and the Commissars – word for the system starts with an S as I recall but it’s not coming for an SF reference see the series of shorts about the great steam locomotive in Pournelle’s anthology series.

  11. “(A lot of mentally ill drug users just want to sit in a corner and talk to the lizards because they’re awesome and stuff. The ones who get violent are inherently very dangerous.)”

    The guy talking to lizards and unicorns is a harmless acidhead or peyote eater.
    It’s the meth freaks you have to look out for. Guess which drugs are most common these days – bath salts anyone?

    Back in the day everyone knew “speed kills”.

    • Note: the famous “bath salt zombie” guy turned out to have nothing in his system but high levels of THC.
      (High like recent, not high like “how the heck did he manage that?!?”)

      Up to the reader if they decide that’s because of the high correlation between smoking pot and having psychotic breaks (which causes which is up to you), or because newer pot is just to strong. (check Taki’s mag for an old pot smoker trying the newer stuff)

      • Old Surfer

        Good point – the new cultivars are a whole new ball game. There was some good weed on the Big Island back in the 70’s, but more than one hit was overkill even then, and it didn’t lead to instant psychosis despite government propaganda. The new stuff is toxic and I wouldn’t touch it even if I still used. The old ganga was like beer and about as harmful (and yes, beer can be a gateway drug), but not instantaneous like ice or crack, and I never heard of munchies leading to cannibal assault.

        • To the best of my knowledge, there was only ever folk-propaganda about one hit instantly making you crazy– well, and that one horrible exploitation movie that was just making a hash for cash– but the last study I read about pot and insanity was from… gah, Norway or some other European place that has nationalized healthcare and no law against using. It was flat statement of statistics, and only stuck in my head because of the high correlation between users and knee-jerk responses in my facebook post.

          • Ah yes,The infamous “Reefer Madness” in living black and white. I think these days, with relative tolerance toward grass, more people may be self-medicating using weed as an alternative to more dangerous prescription antidepressant/antipsychotic drugs with heavy and unpleasant side effects. That might explain any apparent correlation between pot and insanity. You could probably find a similar relationship with alcohol.

            • You might want to go find the study; when they corrected for risk factors, there was still a higher rate of pot use, before any symptoms; not so with other drugs.

              Another route may be to look at the way that smoking tobacco is known to be more common among those who have mental issues– study cause-and-effect for that should be worth something….

              • People have been using stuff to feel better forever, and I do not find it even slightly surprising that nicotine use is associated with mental discomfort. Nicotine makes THC look mickey mouse pharmacologically. The question with any substance use is which came first, the discomfort or the self-medication. I don’t know how you could determine causation since symptoms might be sub-clinical, and it would be easy to make a post hoc ergo prompter hoc error.
                This is an interesting discussion, but a bit off topic. Maybe our hostess would like to take a look at the “War on some drugs” one day – bet that would generate some heat!
                Re the burglar question, there’s always the shoot, shovel and shut up approach.

            • I don’t hold with it– and won’t use it, but weed is starting to look good for chronic illness especially when a person has intolerable side effects from the meds. It also slows down the progression of some chronic diseases.

              • I would find its use more credible if greater attention were being paid to dosage, and if methods for its employment did not entail filling the lungs with incandescent gasses. It seems not unreasonable to suspect the medical use is a horse for the Trojans. Tobacco has recognized medical benefits, as well, for blood pressure, weight control and as a preventative of certain forms of dementia but that seems insufficient for its continued societal acceptance.

                • Many of the people in my chronic illness groups have compromised lungs so smoking is out. They are talking about eating it.

                • Older son did research on e-cigarettes for school. He says they’re actually BENEFICIAL if you abstract all the tar, etc. In fact, I own a set and use the non-nicotine version in Winter, because it is a sort of little portable humidifier. It also gives me “something to do with my hands while reading” which otherwise can and often does turn to snacking. We’ve been told the minimal nicotine dose might help younger son with his test anxiety. We have not got around to it, because I don’t think there are that many benefits to acquiring an expensive habit. But what I mean is nicotine has beneficial applications too, with doses controlled. It’s just ‘uncool’ perhaps because older people like it. Who knows?

                • Aren’t some folks using the vapor cigs for self-treatment? (our hostess, IIRC)

              • I wish they’d do research on it, but I live in an area that’s getting a “lovely” rash of crimes because every three to five blocks have two “medical pot” places.

                • That is a problem–
                  1. Research is illegal because it is still an illegal drug
                  2. Many people can now carry weed, but are not allowed to buy it
                  3. Medical pot centers — have disobeyed laws
                  4. and people with the medical pot cards (some of them are addicts)
                  5. People with legitimate diseases have problems getting good medical care at a good cost even before the train wreck coming.

                  So until there is research– I sure it is still a danger–

                  • And the pot places are still a good place for addicts– assuming we’re going to recognize that pot smokers can be addicts, I’ve been informed that’s not possible by some smokers– to rob for cash and drugs.

                    They have recently busted one “come in and get prescribed pot for anything you want” place, though.

                  • oops– I still think it is a danger due to as you are saying dose problems.

                • And then you have the problem that developed in Europe, especially Amsterdam, where the mobs and gangs muscled into the legal business and drove most of the small distributers out, effectively taking the business back over. I don’t see Ye Olde Hippie Farm with a couple hundred plants being able to compete price-wise against a cartel or gang that grows the stuff by the acre and section, and that’s before you add in the, ah, persuasive abilities of the gang or cartel sales force.

                  Plus, can you imagine what would be in cheap Chinese-grown pot? *shudder*

                  • shudder– there would be lead in it somewhere or a heavy metal.

                  • IIRC, Amsterdam legalized the cafes but not the supply chain– although they “winked” at the small time operations, too; it’s been a while since I looked at it, but I believe the “cafes” were also technically illegal because of the amount on hand, but as long as they didn’t sell more than the legal amount per person it wasn’t enforced.

                    Hard to get good information, and rather thankless.

  12. Clark E Myers

    I’ve never heard of a poor starving father in the legal system for stealing to feed his child. I used to know a woman from Blackfoot, Idaho who said after she left her parents home and started living on her own it was some years before she realized emotionally that the whole world couldn’t live on potatoes that were free for the asking as she sometimes did.

    I am reminded of odd-ball circumstances involving cultural norms and a form of thieving for food. There are more such cross-cultural non-violent by intent but perhaps by intimidation e.g. claiming property to be community – or asserting a right by social superiority – men of the family looting a shop stall owned by a young woman.

    Long time ago in a small college town there was a circle of student wives from Africa whose immediate families in the U.S of A. were doing well on a combination of work, local assistance including athletic and academic scholarships and money from home.

    Unrest in the homeland ended the money from home leading to a sharp drop in the standard of living for the students and the families. Somewhat after the manner of Jack London’s boxer (and some of the husbands were on athletic scholarships) the men expected (read demanded) lots of good red meat in the diet. Preparing the food and setting the table was clearly women’s work in the family dynamic.

    To meet expectations and maintain an accustomed standard of living the wives organized a shop lifting ring apparently with the limited purpose of maintaining the various families in their accustomed diet of expensive cuts of red meat – and maybe a few more luxury goods.

    Not exactly burglary and very little threat of violence but stealing food they couldn’t afford – and arguably didn’t really need to provide nutritious meals – to make something close to an exception that proves (tests) the general observation.

    • As I asked a few days ago: what do you suppose the takers would do should the one they’re taking from resist the taking?

  13. Your property is your extended phenotype. Taking it is a form of cannibalism that doesn’t require immediate murder. Statist government is a branch of animal husbandry. I have found this framework to be quite useful, ymmv.

  14. Thankfully, Texas has the Castle Doctrine. So anyone who decides to enter my home why I am home that does not live there and that I do not know, runs the risk of being removed from the home in a plastic bag.

  15. … a burglar could be a father who is unemployed and at his wits end at finding options to provide for his starving family.[channeling my best John Wayne voice] Waaal, then, pilgrim, he made a bad choice of what to do and which house to do it in.

    Not every burglar is a violent, armed psychotic rapist.

    But any burglar could be, and none deserves the benefit of the doubt when you consider the potential harm of erroneously granting them the upper hand.

    N.B. – in the story as reported, the son forced into the gun closet had ample reason to believe the intruders armed.

    • I think that this says it as well as anything. A home invader (or someone committing a “hot” burglary) must be considered a violent, armed, psychotic rapist. The fact that it might not be true is irrelevant. Self-defense means you don’t have to wait until *after* they prove it by raping or murdering you.

      The consequences of “granting them the upper hand” are unacceptable.

      Should you kill a home invader when you have other options? No, you really shouldn’t. That’s not what castle doctrines are about. They’re about no one *else* being able to legally second-guess what your true options really were. They weren’t there. They can’t know.

  16. Shoplifting is a crime we all pay for, whether we actually acknowledge it or not. Most shoplifting is done by organized groups, not the ‘lone individual’. The loner is far too easily caught. The organized groups know how to shield people from the surveillance cameras (and where those cameras are).

    My wife was a store detective for the Exchange service in Germany. The one thing that caused her to quit was seeing several mothers of service-members, teaching their children how to shoplift. She reported it, but the store did nothing about it other than say “oh, well”. Most of those women probably lived in subsidized housing (military quarters), received a pretty decent income (not enough for some luxuries, but plenty to meet minimum needs), and had a great dis-incentive to be caught (loss of said quarters, immediate return to the States, usually the service-member would also be placed in some form of supervision above normal military standards). Yet Jean noticed SEVERAL mothers doing this — setting their children on a life of crime, and training them to do it. THOSE, to me, are the most despicable people on this earth.

  17. In the Victorian era, William Ernest Henley translated Villon’s Ballade de bon conseil (advice to fellow criminals, focused on the idea that everything they make will go to bars and brothels) into London thieves’ cant. One of the lines in the list of dubious trades is

    “Dead-lurk a crib? or do a crack?”

    I researched it, and dead-lurking is watching a house until the occupants go out to divine services, leaving it undefended against thieves; doing a crack is breaking into a place with larcenous intent. That is, the activities you describe were recognized then as a well-known illegal trade.

    “The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”

  18. As I see it, anyone making the starving-father case is a moral lackwit and ignorant of the facts on the ground.

    As Jabrwok asserts above, property is life. Therefore, theft is at the very least, attempted murder, even without assault. Lethal force in defense of property IS defense of life. It is a smooth moral continuum.

    If a person threatens violence — no matter what he hopes to gain from it — he has forfeited all consideration of the law-abiding. He has presented himself as a threat and therefore as a target for defensive violence in response. Deadly force is indicated. Entering another’s property under arms renders one suspect. Threatening the use of the arms removes suspicion.

    Need is a piss-poor determinant of deserts. I meet your assertion of need with a countervailing assertion that what you put forth is not need, but convenience. It is inconvenient to you to earn what you need, therefore, you rationalize a moral need to take it? I. Don’t. Think. So.


    • Turning the intellectual tools of Vile Progs against them we can argue that property theft is equivalent to ex post facto enslavement. As your life energies are embodied in accumulated property, forced conversion of that property is conversion of some portion of your life.

      In colonial American slavery slaves were allowed to sell their services (take employment) with a portion of their earnings going to their owner. This is not fundamentally different from the burglar’s allowing you to earn money and buy pretty things which he can then take from you. The slave-owner at least does you the courtesy of making the relationship clear before you earn your trinkets.

      Is it unreasonable to employ lethal force in defense against ad hoc ex post facto enslavement?

  19. How ungenerous of you. The liberal can’t feel sorry for the victim; everyone feels sorry for the victim. There’s no moral superiority there. To feel sorry for the crook — now, there’s something not everyone could do.

    Why, you don’t expect them to actually do good in order to feel moral superiority, do you? That might mean they are out of pocket, or must expend time, to achieve what is their natural right.

    • The Liberal is welcome to feel morally superior all he wants, for whatever reason floats his boat. Where the line must be drawn is at laws and policies which subsidize those feelings of moral superiority at the expense of everybody (anybody) else.

      My feeling of moral superiority over Liberals is maintained at no cost to Liberals.

  20. There is a lot of discussion of the motives of potential burglars and home invaders, with the implication being that if they had the right motivations, then you have no right to defend yourself against them.

    I’ve never understood why their motives matter in the first place. A predator may need to kill its prey to survive, but that doesn’t mean the prey shouldn’t fight back! (Or won’t. Animals seem singularly unimpressed by social philosophers.)

    I suppose we should try for a society where such zero-sum-game competition doesn’t ever become inescapable for anyone – in the long run. But my attitude has always been that if someone has decided to profit from your demise, his survival/life/reasons are not your concern – yours is.

    • 1st paragraph – didn’t mean to imply discussion by your commenters – they seem to be mostly non-suicidal. Meant – this is the drift the discussion usually takes in conversation with most people.

      I once had a conversation with an actual communist where he demanded that I justify why the life of someone being assaulted was intrinsically worth more than that of the burglar and who was I to make that determination for myself? (Worth more to who?) I boggled at the bizarre notion that there was anything to justify, or anyone to justify it to, or why I should care if any supposed authority presented itself to arbitrate! If someone wants to kick in my door in the middle of the night, I’m fighting back. So is anyone else who values his life and wants to survive!

      • I once had a conversation with an actual communist where he demanded that I justify why the life of someone being assaulted was intrinsically worth more than that of the burglar and who was I to make that determination for myself? (Worth more to who?) I boggled at the bizarre notion that there was anything to justify, or anyone to justify it to, or why I should care if any supposed authority presented itself to arbitrate!

        Oddly, I’m perfectly familiar with the theory– it’s part of the basic moral theory for Catholicism. Folks who are acting to violate the Good have less… argh… words no coming… “right” to act than those acting to promote moral good. (If this sounds freaky, don’t worry until after you check out VALID natural law/Catholic theology. For some reason, it’s a popular place for nasty creeps to steal vocab from.)

        • I concede the Communist’s point, and acknowledge that the life of the burglar is of no intrinsic greater value than his victim’s … just before I sink my fist three inches into the commie bastard’s solar plexus. I am always willing to acknowledge the superior command of dialectic when it justifies punching a commie.

          With reasonable folks you can point out that the burglar’s initiation of force justifies force in response, lest we succumb to the “law of the jungle” in which case all values beyond strength are irrelevant.

          • *laughs* Inherent worth doesn’t do anything to change response when they do the wrong thing, just means that they can’t equally define you as life unworthy of life.

  21. scott2harrison

    While I agree with the sense of our hostess and the other commenters, I believe that there is an important point to make about the definition of home invasion. In Utah (whose laws I lke in this area) you are permitted to assume that an intruder in a home is an immediate deadly danger if and only if said intruder entered tumultuously or stealthily. This means that if you leave your front door unlocked and someone walks through it, you may not assume that they are a deadly danger. If they break it down, or come through a window your can.

    This is important as twice in my life I have had drunks wander in thinking that my house was their house. In one case it was our next door neighbour. The moral of this story is that if you are going to respond with deadly force, keep your doors locked when you are home to prevent tragic accidents.

    • Being entitled to employ lethal force is not the same thing as being required to.

      It’s helluva thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever going to have.

      • scott2harrison

        Agreed, but the point is that there is under a second to make that determination. If you don’t know the person (which was the case in one of my incidents) you will normally come down on the “they are a threat” side. That is why I believe it is important to make sure that people cannot wander into your house without actually breaking something if you are going to be using deadly force in self defence.

        • Harold Ancell

          Its worse than that. How do you make that determination without giving the home invader a chance to mortally injure you before you could get off your own first shot? Taking it to a higher level, you risk surrendering the initiative.

          Its going to depend on the situation, but frequently enough its just not going to be possible unless you take some pretty extreme preparations (like remote control of lights) and are lucky. You can improve your chances with body armor, but still….

          • I grew up in Europe. I secure my doors.

            • Harold Ancell

              Not that I want to give you a hard time, but doors in steel frames? Or with bolts with a greater than 1 inch throw? Or that design where the door mechanism captures the jamb fixture?

              I bring all these up because most don’t realize that your standard US door, frame and lock arrangement has enough give that it can be opened by a criminal with a pry bar faster than you can do it with your keys. For … hmmm, most of my adult life, renting, I’ve only been able to count on my door giving me a few seconds of warning to get to a gun.

              Granted, this US “standard” will filter out most of the drunks, but seldom anyone determined and minimally strong, which anecdotally includes a few drunks.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                But that’s plenty to meet the standard Scott brought up above. If someone breaks the door, then they can be assumed to be not simply lost.

          • Jeff Gauch

            Very few people are simply going to start shooting the moment a stranger walks through their door. Assessing the situation is a standard part of weapons training. A stranger coming through the door would warrant drawing your weapon. If he’s obviously armed I would start shooting. If he isn’t I’ll probably confront him and demand he leave. If he starts shouting back I’d call the police, but if he moves towards me he’s going to get shot. If at any time he walks back out the door I’d call the police (there have been multiple cases of burglars pretending to be drunks when surprised by someone at home, calling the police may save a neighbor’s property.)

            • Clark E Myers

              ” A stranger coming through the door would warrant drawing your weapon. ” I take the reference to drawing your weapon to assume a handgun. I most emphatically disagree.

              I might in times and places I thought it appropriate answer the door with an M4gery in a single point sling with a high powered light and laser. But I do believe that in a stress situation only a prompt righteous shot make’s for a righteous draw from the holster. This may apply doubly to folks who’ve practiced live fire presentations on the clock a lot – don’t take the office next to Bill Jordan’s – but it seems to me to be a good general rule.

              • “A stranger coming through the door” =/= “answering the door to a stranger.”

                If someone I don’t know is coming through the door with no justifiable reason, they’re very likely to get shot. The basic assumption is, don’t go into someone else’s house without an invite.

                • Clark E Myers

                  You are of course entitled to your beliefs. North Bend despite the Twin Peaks TV show is a reasonably safe place and walking up Mt. Si is always a pleasure. The Larson family made good cherry pie.

                  A general policy of assaulting strangers for darkening the doorway is a general mistake.

                  • 1) that is NOT a reassurance to the lady who was assaulted, and then had to stab the returning bastard later that night. Statistics are only valid in general, not specific
                    2) that would have a lot more validity if I had ever seen the damn show, rather that basing my knowledge off know.. living in the area?

                  • A general policy of assaulting strangers for darkening the doorway is a general mistake.

                    Darkening a doorway means “coming to the door,” not “coming THROUGH the door.”

                  • I would have to agree Foxfier on this one, if someone comes into my house uninvited, they are liable to be blown right back out the door. Now granted I live on twenty acres without another house (other than my parents part-time residence) within a half-mile, so unlike an apartment building there is small chance of a drunk mistaking my house for their own. Also the half-dozen dogs pitching a fit when they pull up ought to give them a clue.
                    That being said, I would have to find my keys before I locked my house, it hasn’t been locked since I built it. My theory is if someone is going to burglarize it a locked door isn’t going to stop them, I would rather not have to replace my picture window as well as my stolen belongings.*

                    *Note: this theory only works with semi-intelligent thieves, the one time I had my truck broken into, not only was it not locked, but the keys were in the ignition. The thieves didn’t bother to check, they just broke out the back window, reached through and stole the gun out of the backseat, the magazine for the gun was on the dash, as well as the doors being unlocked, and they never bothered to take it. (the truck was inside a fenced yard, at work, the thieves knew me, knew where the gun was kept, and knew there was about an hour between the time I parked and left in the crewbus, and the time the mechanic showed up at the shop.)

                  • So, what does living near Coos Bay have to do with a Hooters type bar again?
                    Or am I making an unrealated non-sequiter to divert and muddy the discussion?

              • See, that puts too much of the initiative in the hands of the potential bad guy. I don’t know where you live (Windsor castle?) but in my place there aren’t many sight lines that are longer than the distance someone could sprint across in my decide-draw-aim-shoot cycle. By making the decision and drawing the weapon I can eliminate the longest two legs of that cycle and stand a good chance of engaging if things go south.

                And answering the door with a long gun is pure folly. You’re already well inside the minimum range necessary to bring the weapon to bear. I suppose you could hit him with the weapon to gain time to separate, but if he’s expecting trouble and already has a handgun out he’ll shoot you while you’re breaking his nose. Not sure that’s a winning trade.

                • Clark E Myers

                  Answering the door without a long gun just might be unfortunate too – might be somebody in the background.

                  I mostly don’t have a flashlight on my carry gun – though Mad Mike and I once exchanged some thoughts on appropriate carry with a rail mounted light and he promised me a meal I’ve never been able to collect – and I don’t want a co-witnessed light leading me to point my pistol muzzle astray. Hence a handy flashlight carrier with a nice high powered flashlight for the guy in the bushes.

                  • Where do you live, Fallujah? If you’re that worried about goblins in the bushes I’d go with a handgun in one hand, D-cell Maglight in the other, the wife on the second floor with the rifle and night vision, and the kids in the mortar pit in the back yard.

                    • In my area, the “be careful of the rush” tactic is rather important. More because of crazy than because of careful tactics, not that it matters once you’re dead.

                      Seattle blob.

                    • That’s why I think a handgun would be more appropriate in answering the door. You don’t have to retreat as far to bring the weapon into play (indeed, as several incidents show, a handgun can be effective at clinching distances), which means the rushers have to cover more distance in the time it takes you to run your OODA loop.

              • “But I do believe that in a stress situation only a prompt righteous shot make’s for a righteous draw from the holster.”

                You can believe all you like, but you’re simply wrong. There is a continuum of force familiar to any military, LEO, or security officer, and most if not all trained laymen. Presentation of deadly force and use of deadly force are two separate elements in that continuum, and they each have their place. If you’re waiting to draw until it’s time to fire, you’re a fool, and likely to become a dead fool if charlie starts dancing the foxtrot with you.

                • He seems to be fond of using five dollar words tonight, doesn’t he? I interpreted that to mean only an expert can draw fast enough and shoot straight enough, in a life and death situation, to justify not drawing until the moment of crisis. But that interpretation doesn’t make any sense with the rest of his argument (in fact it repudiates it), so your interpretation is probably what he intended to say.

                • Rob Crawford

                  “If you’re waiting to draw until it’s time to fire, you’re a fool…”

                  Perhaps, but the law demands you be a fool — at least when you’re outside your home. At least here in Ohio, drawing is an escalation, and escalating could negate your claim to self defense. But, if you’re in your home, you’re presumed to be acting in self-defense unless the prosecutor can rebut that claim.

                  • Interesting; I was not aware of that. My sympathies for having to live with that kind of law – I think it’s very poorly thought out and I hope it’s changed soon. I’m only well-familiarized with the laws of my own state, which allow for up to deadly force in prevention of a violent felony, though not property crimes. If you are in a dangerous enough situation to consider firing, I would think that drawing would be a reasonable intermediate step, but legislators are not known for their wisdom.

                  • Harold Ancell

                    Ohio is notoriously one of the worst states for self-defense, because when you claim it as an affirmative defense, the burden of proof is uniquely on you. So other crazy things it does are none too surprising.

                    As you’ve probably gotten the impression, there are other states where you are allowed to threaten lethal force without having to use it (that’s in fact part of the continuum of force concept). Kansas is a prime example where in early 2010 the courts said the law didn’t allow that and it was quickly fixed by the legislature and governor.

      • William O. B'Livion

        I have locked doors and windows.

        If you’re in my house you were either invited or you broke in.

        There is no “gun free house” sign outside my door. I’m not baiting.

        If you broke in and you do not run as soon as I instruct you to drop, or if you clearly have a weapon in your hand (in which case your first instruction will be the bullet hitting you) you have made your choice. I *might* feel bad about it. Your family probably will. But you made that choice, not me.

    • It happened to me once, too. I believe the fellow who walked in late at night into my unlocked house, with people sleeping upstairs, had walked away from a mental hospital in town. There he stood, next to my block of kitchen knives while I looked on from a late night meal, stunned, far from any knife or gun, with sleepers to defend.

      I had to make a snap judgment based on the fact that his coat was zipped up and his hands were empty, and he seemed calm, and it didn’t seem like he could easily reach for a personal weapon. Thank goodness I was right and able to just walk him out of the house while talking to him. But it was VERY educational.

      May I never be in that position again.

  22. If I caught someone stealing something out of my pickup bed in broad daylight, of course I’ll be unlikely to shoot to kill. He’s crossed a boundary, but not one of the most important ones. But suppose I pull a gun on him and tell him to quit, and he advances toward me instead. Then I’d be a fool not to shoot. He’s just crossed a very dangerous boundary. Ditto for the guy who’d break into an inhabited home. He’s too dangerous to let live, even though I know there’s some possibility he’s just confused or desperate. If he gives me a clue that he’s just off his meds before I have to hurt him, and I can incapacitate him in safety, I’ll try to do that, but he doesn’t get much benefit of the doubt.

    We actually had a confused guy wander into our student co-op home when we lived next to the VA hospital in Houston years ago. He raided the pantry and helped himself to a suit he found in a hall closet. The problem was, that was the suit that one of our housemates planned to wear as best man the next day in the wedding of another of our housemates. The ring was already in the pocket. The police chased the guy down nearby and retrieved the suit pants and wedding ring. Anyway, we wouldn’t have shot him even if we had been armed at the time. He was giving out all kinds of signals of harmlessness. He was like a wounded animal looking for a hole to crawl into.

    On the other hand, a weirdo showed up in our neighborhood here the other day and gave everyone the creeps, even following one neighbor to her door. She went inside, armed herself, and called for help. He quickly found out the entire neighborhood is armed and ready to gather at one call. Even then, no one had to shoot him. We just trapped him until the sheriff could arrive. He turned out to be a felon with a rifle and meth in his truck. He’s off to jail.

    Texas is not a good place to give off creepy, dangerous vibes. A burglar (or, worse, a home invader) takes his life in his hands here, as he would in any sensible state.

    • Clark E Myers

      Texas penal code chapter 42. disorderly conduct – …
      (8) displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm;

      There are issues with brandishing a gun in Texas just as there are issues with pulling a gun without the immediate intention of discharging it anyplace.

      A gun escalates what might or might not be an innocent mistake or even a more or less harmless prank into an unfortunate situation and potentially a tragedy

      It’s often useful to have less lethal tools at hand from sprays to knives to canes and I carry a couple of mini-Maglites (one for each hand) as Kubotons – there’s Surefires for flashlights. A camera as e.g. a cell phone camera can be very useful indeed. The Tueller Drill complicates short range interpersonal disagreements but maybe start with a camera and a command and escalate as necessary.

      Course long ago when I was living in Austen there was shooting at a (miniature? golf course where a man shot a total stranger – plea was mistaken identity the stranger looked just like another man who needed killing under the unwritten law and the jury found innocent by reason of the honest mistake and transferred intent – so Texas is a peculiar state for fatal shootings.

      • I couldn’t use any of those less lethal tools without being far within the reach of someone who would most certainly be larger, faster, and stronger than I am.

      • William O. B'Livion

        A gun escalates what might or might not be an innocent mistake or even a more or less harmless prank into an unfortunate situation and potentially a tragedy

        Stupidity should be at minimum painful.

        Some pranks go way past stupid. That someone might be armed should be a default assumption.

        • I did want to say something about the “a gun escalates the situation…” bit.

          When we lived in California some kid got shot at his graduation party because he got out a gun and waved it around when some guest got out of hand and then the guest shot him. Some things truly do qualify for a Darwin award where you don’t get to learn something and get smarter because now you’re dead.

          The rule is… you don’t pull a gun and point it at anything that you aren’t prepared to utterly destroy.

          That means you don’t “brandish” a gun to intimidate if the situation doesn’t call for destruction. But that doesn’t mean you must pull the trigger… it just means that you don’t use a gun in a situation that is not already *there*. It can’t be escalated because it’s already at the point where the threat justifies self-defense. So yeah, drawing on someone breaking into your truck probably isn’t going to cut it, but drawing on someone who broke into your house as a *prank* will. Pointing your gun at someone who breaks through your door or pushes through when you’ve told them to stay out, no matter the secret content of their heart, will, no matter if you have to pull the trigger or not.

          If someone breaks into your house as a prank, or waves a gun around as a lark… that’s on them. Weapons aren’t toys… which is the point. Scaring someone by breaking into their house because you think it’s funny… or sneaking up on a woman in a dark parking lot and scaring the shit out of her because it’s just a *riot*… it’s not an “escalation” if you end up dead, it’s Darwin. And if you’re very lucky you’ll live to learn how to be smarter.

      • 1. My house is not a public place.
        2. You are deliberately misreading that statute. Texas also has a Stand Your Ground law, and the brandishing doesn’t apply to self-defense.

        • Clark E Myers

          Sorry, didn’t realize you parked your pickup in the living room.

          I park mine at the curb mostly – it has a cap and that’s locked by habit.

          People have been charged and convicted for displayingbrandishing a firearm in order to stop an acknowledged theft from parked farm equipment on their own farm

          • 1. Not in TX anytime recently.
            2. And if they are, that’s what jury nullification is for.
            3. BTW, TX law treats my vehicle as another place I have no duty to retreat from.

            Now go away, troll.

            • He is not a troll, he has commented here for some time. That being said, I strongly disagree with him. My pickup is my property, regardless of where it is parked. Locking your canopy is all very well, but some of us don’t use canopies, because we might have to haul something that doesn’t fit conveniently in one, and bottom line it doesn’t matter. Anyone with a working brain cell knows that a pickup is private property, and taking anything out of the bed of it is stealing. If they anticipate the possibility of getting shot, they will be less likely to steal.

            • If you’re not in the truck how does “no retreat” apply? Just curious.

              “Stand your ground” seems to be more or less that you never have to retreat from anything at all, but with the exception of defending the life of another person I’d doubt that the law covers going on the offensive if someone on the other side of the parking lot is breaking into your truck.

              It’s something to be sure of… legally.

              • snelson134

                Actually, Synova, TX allows deadly force in defense of your life, your property, others lives, and others property, according to my CHL instructor from a year ago.

              • Actually TX allows the use of deadly force to protect your property from thieves. I don’t have time to look up a link right now, but a few years ago there was a case of a thief stealing a bicycle from an old woman, she confronted him, pulling a gun, when he started to make off with it. She told him to stop, he laughed at her and started to pedal away, she shot and killed him. Defense of property, case closed.

                • Harold Ancell

                  As I’ve heard it, the telling him to stop was critical, you’re only allowed to use lethal force to defend property after a verbal warning is ignored.

                  I would be careful about depending on this, I expect that one day the courts will nullify it as e.g. the Oklahoma courts have nullified a similar provision and pretty much everything in the law that goes beyond the general US standards for use of lethal force.

      • Mike_in_Kosovo

        “There are issues with brandishing a gun in Texas just as there are issues with pulling a gun without the immediate intention of discharging it anyplace.”

        Brandishing aside, feel free to quote the Texas Penal Code sections that support your claim.

        • Clark E Myers

          I should say do your own research with suggestions as below – and I hasten to avoid further foolishness by suggesting the force of the rules for licensed concealed carry cannot be avoided by carrying without a license which has its own issues – but out of the kindness of my heart and because I love guns and object to misunderstandings read to the end – :
          Texas Concealed Carry Laws – CCW CHL Concealed means concealed unless….

          on youtube

          It will depend on how your state defines “concealed”. In some states, it just means that you have it covered and out of sight. In Texas, it means that it cannot be visually detected. If a person has a Concealed Carry Permit in Texas, and they carry their gun in such a manner that it can be visually detected by a casual observer under your clothing, it is not concealed. If the person can see the gun itself, even briefly, you are guilty of brandishing your weapon. Check your state laws to see how they define “concealed”.
          What does “concealed” mean?

          Concealed means that the weapon cannot be visible, and that its presence cannot be discernible through ordinary observation. It is a criminal offense for a license holder to carry a handgun in plain view, or to intentionally fail to conceal the weapon.
          49. What happens if I am caught carrying my handgun in plain view? Or what happens if my handgun is visible?

          If a concealed handgun licensee is caught carrying a handgun in plain view or if his/her handgun is visible then he/she is subject to criminal charges. Specifically, he/she would be subject to prosecution for the Class A misdemeanor, Unlawfully Carrying of a Concealed Weapon by a License Holder, Sect. 46.035(a), Penal Code.

          Sec. 46.035. UNLAWFUL CARRYING OF HANDGUN BY LICENSE HOLDER. (a) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder carries a handgun on or about the license holder’s person under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and intentionally fails to conceal the handgun.

          (b) A license holder commits an offense if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed, on or about the license holder’s person: [series of places and circumstances]


          • snelson134

            None of which applies if I am under threat. If no one is threatening me or anyone else then YES, I must keep the gun out of sight. However, if there is a threat, displaying it to cause the threat to stop is not an issue.

      • A gun escalates what might or might not be an innocent mistake or even a more or less harmless prank into an unfortunate situation and potentially a tragedy[sic]

        Odds of it being a harmless prank or innocent mistake are far less than it being an intentional act.

        Assuming it may be a harmless prank or innocent mistake may a) get you killed b) allow a predator to continue in his misbegotten ways.

        Assuming it is not a harmless prank or innocent mistake may result in an unfortunate death, which is one reason to encourage people to a) not engage in “harmless pranks” or b) be careful to avoid potentially lethal mistakes.

  23. Hot Air’s ‘nonpartisan’ is a poor excuse for a troll. He was too clueless to utter the magic words that annul any act of self-defense:

    Disproportionate response.

    That incantation summons the State to do what the home invaders could not.

    • Not if you live in a sane jurisdiction, with a Castle Doctrine, SYG, and no civil liability if no criminal (TX meets all three).

      • 1. Ah, but the incantation also summons the feds, who are always looking for pretexts to intervene in conservative jurisdictions. They can investigate, at potentially ruinous legal cost to the family, whether a hate crime was committed. And if anyone in the family misspeaks, that’s making a false statement to a federal officer: plea bargain time—or else.

        2. No matter what logic-chopping the lawyers do, the distinction between civil and criminal liability has always struck me as smacking of double jeopardy. It’s good to know that there is at least one state that doesn’t go along. Thanks for the info.

        • Harold Ancell

          There are a fair number of states that bar civil liability, including my home state of Missouri and Florida (the latter came up in the Zimmerman-Martin case and is one of the things driving the subsequent political show trial).

        • Wayne Blackburn

          “making a false statement to a Federal Officer” – if there’s any law which should cause the person who proposed it to be hanged, it’s this one.

  24. Sarah, you made my comments before I had the chance, so I’ll just pass this story along.
    In the community I live, a person told me of a mean (in the miserly sense) man who refused to help him when he really needed it. And this person was fairly vocal in his denunciations.
    A while later another person told me of a kindness the ‘mean’ man did for them. The difference? In the second case the man was trying hard to make things work, but they weren’t; circumstances beyond their control. This other man (call him Jasper) heard about it.
    So the next day Jasper went to meet the man, provided food and finances to help he man out until he got on his feet. And didn’t want it spread about.
    Jasper had been dead for years by the time I heard this story.
    And the first man? Well, he was always railing about inequities, people not sharing and the like. I do think that if he’d worked a job as much as he did his mouth, he’d have been well off at least.

  25. A.B.Prosper

    People who are willing to commit home invasion robbery are almost always chronic dangerous offenders and when the homeowner kills them stone dead its a net plus. Same with forcible rapists.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish

  26. This comment section was worth reading just for the mention of Ken Hamlin. I miss his show.
    About the starving dad, in Corpus Christi within the past year, a man went into a convenience store to rob it. He was almost at the door with the loot when he broke down in tears and said he couldn’t do it. That is the ONLY case of a starving dad robbery I have heard of in my 76 years. Notice it was not a home invasion, it was a non-personal store robbery he could not even finish. I do not know what the outcome of this was legally, I just saw the security video they showed on TV.

  27. The Rules of Castle Red: 1) Doors are locked while people are home. 1a) Wooden door may be open but screen door will be locked. 2) Doorbells that ring between 1100 and 0600 local time are answered by a resident who will only open the door to a known neighbor, and who may or may not be armed. 3) Doorbells that ring at other times will be answered by wary resident who may or may not be armed and who will not invite you in unless you are an expected tradesman or are known. 4) You come in via the window, you are in serious trouble. 5) You kick in the screen door or break a window and enter, you are in serious trouble. 6) You go poking around my neighbors’ houses at odd hours and the police will be called, while other neighbors watch and may or may not inquire of your business and relation to the homeowner in question.

    • Andrew Drummond

      I had to knock on a neighbor’s door after 10pm one night a month or so ago; during my late night dog walk I saw their truck still parked with the lights on (still = had first noticed it at sunset, so that was 2 hours later). Knocked on the door, moved back to the top step instead of being on their porch, and hoped I wouldn’t look too threatening, me and my two black labs. Rental dwelling back there, and had only talked to the folks there a few times. The big burly guy answered the door cautiously, and we spoke briefly. I suspect nervousness on both sides.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I was training once, many years ago, to do door-to-door sales (don’t ask, I quit before I actually went out on my own), and their policy was, knock on the door, step back three steps, and turn at least halfway, so that you are not directly facing the door when they answer it.

        • I notice the kids and adults who go door-to-door around here (at least those older than eight [with parents lurking just behind them], or in scout uniforms) all keep their hands in view, as well.

  28. A lot of studies have shown that even normal burglars usually rob houses, stores, etc. as much for the thrill of B&E as for the monetary rewards. The ones that really go for this become cat burglars, art thieves, and the like. (Witness the Israeli cat burglar who stole all those watches from the watch museum — he didn’t even sell the watches or display them, and he had plenty of skills for other jobs. He temporarily quit a long bank robbery job to fight in the Six Day War, and then went right back to it.) People who just want to make money don’t stay burglars very long; there are better and safer criminal careers for that.

    The home invasion/rapist guys transfer their paraphilia from entering the house and taking stuff, to doing stuff to you personally. That’s why home invasion and burglary are both often gateways to serial killing.

  29. Well, should you entger my home invited I will freely and without malice remove you from the premises. If I need to ventilate your body to accomplish said eviction, so be it. I will also use any weapon that comes to hand to force my will.

    I really don’t care a wit what your motive was. I am a well read man, but I lack eloquence to allow you will have anything but ill feeling for me and my own if you don’t have the common decency to yield to my will when you are in my house.

  30. Curious to read this column, where I agree with Sarah’s point, then go to Sunday School, where were are studying “The Christian World of the Hobbit,” and one of the points is about Bilbo finding The Ring from Gollum, and why he chose NOT to kill Gollum in self-defense there. I know the situations are different, but there is something in there that to my mind connects the two ideas.

    I think there is definite difference in the type of self-defense situations, and that the liberal crying for the hypothetical person on hard times (doubtless put there because of the hardships of capitalism and lack of an adequate safety net) invading your home, versus Bilbo in the Goblin cave, but only using self defense when necessary I think is an important concept.

    You notice, however, that both decisions have nothing to do with any unknown hypothetical background of the person threatening the self-defender. It all has to do with the current situation of two people brought face-to-face, based only on knowledge known to the self-defender at the time he is defending himself.

    Apologies if my concept seems more intuitive than overtly logical.

    • Interesting. I just read the same part of the story, and I was struck that Tolkien mentioned that one of the reasons why he didn’t have Bilbo kill or attack Gollum was that the little troll (yes, I know he’s not a troll. He’s a … gollum…thing.) wasn’t any threat to Bilbo at that moment.

      And to further muddle things, in that situation, it was Bilbo who was the little burglar. 🙂 (even if he didn’t know he was burgling at the time.)

      So I think Sarah is right, here, perhaps writers should take greater care in their works to not make a mythical beast when they talk of the “starving man/ young boy, who just wants a loaf of bread to eat.” (Aladdin? Jean Val Jean?) I can see why it would happen. People want contrasts in their story. Someone, somewhere along the line decided that they were going to challenge themselves and turn a street thug into a sympathetic creature. That story line was so popular, lots of writers started to do it. The unintended consequences are, of course, the mythical creature known as the Noble Criminal.

  31. When a police officer pulls you over, there are certain things you do and do not do. You do keep BOTH hands on the wheel and in plain sight. You do not: hop out of the car and trot back saying “What seems to be the problem officer?” You do not lurch for the glove box when the officer asks for your license or registration. You do not jam your hand into your purse or jacket pocket and suddenly withdraw it.

    There are more guidelines, but I think this makes the point.

    Same situation applies when you enter a home not yours without invitation, especially if that involves forcing the door or a window. If your intention is innocent that will sadden the homeowner, but it will not make them guilty of anything.

    • Exactly; don’t give the appearance of being a threat.

      Part of why I defended a guy who shot members of a gang that had invaded his house in the back– just because someone is currently running away from you doesn’t mean that they’re going to keep running away, and “Fall back, I’ll go right, you go left” is a great way to flank and…neutralize… a single person when you’ve got superior numbers.

      • There have been cases where the goblin spun around faster than the person’s reaction time, such that a shot initiated at the goblin while he was facing the shooter became a shot in the back.

  32. In this society the poor, starving father could feed his children by asking people for help. Americans, or Americans who own guns anyway, believe in charity. They are even willing to chance being taken for fools on the off chance that the beggar really needs a break. The poor, starving father-burglar is being a fool for pride.

    Liberals don’t tend to think of this, because Liberals have mentally turned the functions of charity over to the state and are, in consequence, as tight-fisted as the cliche Scotsman.

    Liberals talk compassion. Ordinary, everyday Americans DO.

  33. It’s not “second fair.” It’s “second weekday.” Weekday is feria in Latin. However, the words for “festival” and hence for “fair” are also “feria”, because “feria” also can mean “a day off.” (So basically, it’s either “just another day” or “I’m taking a Day off!”)

    Anyway, this comes into play if you pray the Liturgy of the Hours or use a Latin missal, because the non-Sunday days of the week are often noted as feriae by number.

    • But the Portuguese term is not segunda-feria, it’s segunda-feira; a feira is a fair, in most cases a market. In Brasil at least, the markets move from day to day and knowing which day/market it is tells you where you’ll go to buy food that day. And now I’m pining for third-world street markets when I should be working. 🙂

      • Yep. And they have different specialties. It might, to be honest started as feria (Ferias are holidays.) But clearly enough people thought we were counting the FAIRS…

    • So, Portugal is just ORGANIZED? — jaw drops — it must be the only thing!

      OTOH let me explain why “fair” makes sense. When I was little, we went to a different fair every day of the week, and they were regular and all within about ten miles 😉

  34. Starting a new thread– lol
    So I am a Saturday’s child, then if I go Viking it will be hard work. *sigh Takes the fun out of it. 😉

  35. I read about this on another site, and made my usual rude, anti-social comment re the crook. Having read Sarah’s comments I have to say that I worked with some very liberal, okay, far left, people one especially who would come up with the, “what if it’s some poor soul stealing to feed his/her family,” line. There is so much charity available to the “down and out” that it’s unbelievable, so no one really needs to steal to feed his/her family, and hasn’t for a good long time either. The local rag has short articles every day about some moron or other who attempts or succeeds in holding up a convenience store or casino, and gets caught. They usually have a record of other crimes, are single, on drugs or drunk, and are just generally not to the sort of people you’d want to associate with unless you’re a fellow criminal. As for the (usually around here) women who embezzle from their employers or swindle the elderly or otherwise gullible it’s because they’ve either got a gambling habit, or just like to spend way more money than they can earn honestly.

    It’s fairly easy to determine if someone is home, so if someone enters my home while I’m there, even if they only intend to steal my property I can only assume that they are there to do me harm. I have no obligation to inquire as to their intent, “oh, if you’re only here to steal the tv, go ahead we have insurance.” Although I’m nearly deaf enough that I can’t hear the dog bark with my hearing aids removed, my wife has ears that are second only to those of the dog and would hear him and wake me up. Unless it’s a full force home invasion and I’m sound asleep the criminals are likely to receive a very warm greeting. If any of them end up dead I’m told that I will feel very bad about it. Maybe so, but better to feel bad than be dead. If they should happen to harm either my wife or my dog I’m sure I wouldn’t feel very much sorrow at all. I hope I never have to find out, but having made up my mind what to do I’ll do it and if a housebreaker or invader ends up dead I won’t feel like I’ve deprived some poor child of his sole provider.

    • Clark E Myers

      Once upon a time I came downstairs and caught a teenage boy in my front room with my TV set in his hands. Sound like a good chance to increase my head count? Brandish a firearm?

      Truth is this was married student housing at the University of Idaho. All with no notice including notice of entry required by the lease and the law.. Turned out a changeover was in progress from a U. of I. Community Antenna TV system to a for profit cable system. As part of the midyear changeover the cable provider furnished free cable to student housing for the rest of the school year (expecting most households to pay beginning the following school year) because existing student housing agreements promised free TV (originally based on the CATV system). I called the cable system and explained to the teenager’s father that there was some risk involved in walking in to hook up a cable box to the antenna lead. The father had assumed University Housing would give due notice and accompany his son – in fact University Housing had given the boy a master key and turned him loose.

      The only people who’ve entered my home by breaking and entering have been good friends who knew perfectly well I would take a second look.

      At one time in a variation of the Kobayashi Maru the only man to survive a walk through the test to destruction Gunsite fun house from entrance to exit was Ray Chapman. His joke was to stand at the entrance and shout out police take cover after which he ran through the house fast enough to unbalance the instructors while shooting everything in sight including no-shoot and hostage targets.

      There is no utopia. I used to know a far better gun handler than I am who had his share and more of righteous shootings. Happens I reviewed the case file for the defense in a case where he in full uniform and appropriately armed had talked down an armed drunk who when confronted had pointed a rifle more or less center of mass at the officer. I asked why a low key arrest? A very good man said that he had no desire to shoot people and at that time there had been half a dozen chances that would have been written up righteous but he had passed on. He took early retirement for stress. Sadly the stories of Douglas Zerby and Amadou Bailo Diallo had another kind of end.

      It’s not a magic wand.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        So… your point is that you’re fine with taking chances with your own life? Fine. Don’t use that as a club to force other people to do the same.

        Your example of the officer is poor, because he was clearly used to reading people, AND good at it, and could tell when someone was bluffing. Also clearly had good negotiating skills. If I tried the same thing, I would probably have died. You can’t use examples of statistical outliers to base your decisions on how everyone should act, because it doesn’t work. Whether it is high expectations or low.

  36. The father with “starving” kids in question could be my cousin. In past decades it could have been _his_ father, my uncle.

    And yeah, if I caught either of them in my house, I’d shoot them. Even if I somehow had the magical ability to know for certain that they weren’t armed. Because they’re criminals, and they can’t be trusted. (I have no reason to believe either one of them has ever been personally involved in a hot burglary/home invasion, but property crime has been a way of life in that wing of the family for a long time. And my uncle did once kill a guy in a fight, although my grandmother managed to pull enough political strings to keep him from serving any time in prison for it.)

    Of course, if I caught them at any point other than their initial entry, they’d almost _certainly_ be armed, since our guns and the ammunition for same are about the only things in the house that’d be worth enough to a fence that any moderately sane person would bother to go to the effort of taking them away. (Unless, of course, they really _were_ after food, in which case they’d have a way easier time by going to the free St. Vincent de Paul pantry at the church down the block, and just asking for it.)

    • Unless, of course, they really _were_ after food, in which case they’d have a way easier time by going to the free St. Vincent de Paul pantry at the church down the block, and just asking for it.

      A very smart young man The Spouse and I met in college had a most promising future in chemistry. That is until he decided to experience a form of better living trough self administered chemistry. As his life spiraled downward we noticed that he developed a rather quirky logic. For example, he had no trouble with working as a lifeguard, which he saw as getting paid to sit by the water and get a chance flirt with at pretty girls in next to nothing, but otherwise he generally would put in far more work figuring out how to get money without doing work than it would have taken to simply work. People can be quite strange.