Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ok, so I'm out of touch

Yea, I know.  I’m out of touch with reality.  I’m ok with that.

I’ve come to this conclusion over the little tempest being whipped up over Joe Horn protecting his neighborhood.

Yes.  He shot two men.

In the back.

While they were running away.


Maybe that was some sort of firearms ordinance violation and he should be punished for discharging a firearm in a residential neighborhood or something like that.


I’m having real trouble demonizing this guy, though, for several good reasons.


First off, we all know burglary is a pretty low priority for city cops.  There are murders to investigate, missing people, traffic tickets to write, then eventually burglaries somewhere down the list.  Consider the ramifications of a burglary:  nobody dies, insured property is stolen, and there’s no revenue for the city.  Murders are a public safety issue.  Traffic tickets are public revenue.  Property crime is just a nuisance.  The only people hurt are insurance companies, less the deductible for the homeowner.  Besides, if the homeowner had an alarm and better protected his property the burglary wouldn’t have happened, right?  Or maybe if more of us had neighbors like Joe Horn.  Hang a big sign that says “beware of neighbor wielding shotgun” should be a hot seller right now, eh?


Anyway, since burglaries are so low on the list—unless it’s a serial burglary that nets enough loot to make headlines—the cops aren’t going to give it much of a priority.  “Check the pawn shops to see if your stuff turns up” and “no, we don’t have any fresh leads” and “we’re doing all we can to catch the guy, we just don’t have much to go on” are the responses you get from the PD.  Sound like I’ve heard this stuff before?  You’d be right.  And besides, the guy is going to get out in 4 weeks anyway and be back to his old job—robbing houses.


Second off, because it’s a low priority response time isn’t going to be particularly swift, even for cops.  If the usual response time is somewhere near 20 minutes, you can count on a burglary to be somewhere closer to 30—usually.  According to the recording plain clothes cops were on the scene by the time the shooting had stopped in Mr. Horn’s neighborhood which puts the response time somewhere near 10 minutes.  Maybe the fact that Mr. Horn had a shotgun and was willing to use it had an effect on that time?  Maybe?  You think?  Yea, I think.


Finally, thieves generally return to fertile ground for their crimes.  I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that this wasn’t the first burglary in that neighborhood.  I’m willing to bet the criminals who broke into those houses before haven’t been caught and the property hasn’t been recovered.  I’m willing to bet the response time was north of 20 minutes.  I’m willing to bet that at least a few of those burglaries were perpetrated by the recently departed.  And I’m also willing to bet that there won’t be another one for quite some time, too.

Of course, that wouldn’t be the case had Mr. Horn not taken care of business.


I bet “protected by Joe Horn” signs go up all down that street now, too.  I know I’m getting one.


I’m not willing to suggest that we should just go shooting people.  But I AM willing to suggest that if the cops do their jobs, and community activists focus their efforts on the human fecal matter that perpetrates these crimes, then maybe residents like Joe Horn won’t be so apt to take the law into their own hands.


Could he have handled it better?  Sure.  A better ending would have been for him to subdue the criminals and have them laying on the grass at the pointy end of a shotgun rather than laying dead in the grass as a result of the pointy end of a shotgun.


Maybe a better resolution would have been for police to have responded better when the first break in happened several weeks ago.


But maybe an EVEN better resolution would have been for those two turds to have not been breaking into the house in the first place. 


Yes he shot two men.

In the back.

While they were running away.

But they’re not victims.  They’re criminals.


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