The Rest of the Story

Great Headline but not an Accurate Description of Events

I’m all for the concept of defending one’s home, up to and including killing burglars. That being said, there are rules. It may be okay to shoot a burglar, but it is never acceptable to field dress the kill. A baseball bat is not the best choice of weapon. It leaves a mess in the living room.

Here’s the rest of the story. The burglar tried to push his way into an occupied residence. Bad idea #1. The minor child, who answered the door, managed to push the burglar out and lock the door. The teen then called big brother. The burglar did not run off but waited outside. Bad idea #2. Big brother came outside with a baseball bat. He did not bring a ball and glove. The burglar decided to talk his way out of the situation. Bad idea #3. Big brother commenced batting practice, using the burglar as the ball. The burglar did not flee. Bad idea #4. Somewhere along the line the burglar was also stabbed. He did not survive.

The first consideration is that this took place in New York. Anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line on the east coast, self defense and protecting one’s castle is highly problematic. It can be done, but not with the abandon allowed in the so called flyover states.

A good general rule is defend your home and family but when the bad guy leaves, let him go. If your home defense was effective the police can follow the blood trail to find the suspect. The point is, in one’s home, the actions are defensive. Chasing a suspect down the street, wailing away with a baseball bat or throwing shots at the offender shifts the action to active offense.

Make no mistake, the burglar in this story was a shithead. Do not mourn for him. I suspect that the beating he received went beyond what was necessary to ensure his presence when the police arrived. The cops got it right and manslaughter is probably an appropriate charge. The defendant has not been wrongly charged for defending his home.

This may be a case of life imitating art. If so, it displays the difference between police and civilian application of force. I have made the observation before that in the movies, you can judge how bad the bad guy is, by the manner of his death.

A kinda sorta bad guy takes a bullet in the chest and dies. No fuss, no muss. An unlikable bad guy is shot multiple times, with the impact and blood spray captured in slow motion, with closeups. A really bad guy gets shot while standing on a ledge on the fourteenth floor. The bullets don’t kill him and he falls off the ledge. On the way down he passes through the blades of his get away helicopter and looses a limb or two, but does not die. Next he crashes through a plate glass roof and falls into a running wood chipper. Now he is dead as a red mist explodes out of the chipper.

Generally, not always, cops employ deadly force because they have to. Civilians also find themselves in the same position. However, sometimes there is a hint of punishment and playing catch up and that is where the problem starts.