Saturday, July 30, 2016

Similar cases in Massachusetts and Texas Shootings, Different Outcomes

Scene of San Antonio Shooting

Image from

On 16 July, a homeowner in Chicopee, Massachusetts was confronted with three men who were attempting to break into his house. It was an hour past noon, in broad daylight. He called the police to report the attempted break in. He tried to get them to leave,  but one persisted in pounding on the door.  When the would be intruder broke glass, he shot one shot through the door. That intruder died.  It turned out that the intruder was 15 years old and had been illegally drinking with his two friends. Afterwards, the surviving young men claimed they were "confused".

The homeowner was charged with first degree murder.

In San Antonio, Texas, a remarkably similar circumstance happened on 21 July, at about 10 a.m. In this case a man is attempting to break into the house.  The homeowner is there with his wife.  They call the police to report the attempted break in.  The tell the intruder to leave.  The intruder continues to pound on the door. The intruder breaks the door handle. The homeowner shoots through the door, and the intruder dies. It sounds very similar. 

An intruder, or in Massachusetts, three intruders, attempt to break into a house in broad daylight.  The homeowner calls police and demands that the intruders leave.  They continue to pound on the door.  One breaks glass, the other breaks the door handle.  Both homeowners shoot through the door, and one intruder in each case dies. But Texas is not Massachusetts.  Instead of being charged with first degree murder, the homeowner is congratulated.  From
Authorities arrived at the 9700 block of Autumn Dew around 10 a.m. after the homeowner and his wife, who is in her late 60s, called police to report that a man was attempting to break into their home.

SAPD spokesperson Douglas Greene said the elderly man pleaded with the attempted intruder to stop his efforts to get into the couple's home, but the man continued to force his way into the home, eventually breaking the door handle.


Greene commended the elderly man on his response to the situation — first calling police, informing authorities he had a gun in his home and then making attempts to stave the would-be intruder's attempts to enter his home.
There are some differences.  in Massachusetts the three intruders were drunken teens.  We do not know the toxicology on the 42 year old intruder in Texas, but he was a big guy. Three drunken teens who break down your door are at least as much a potential threat as a 42 year old man.  In Massachusetts the homeowner was alone.  He is  42 years old.  In Texas the homeowner was 78, with his wife. He is reported to be a retired special forces colonel. 

The difference is primarily one of law and culture.  The law in Texas protects homeowners rights to defense of self and home better than nearly all other states.  Massachusetts has weaker protections than nearly all other states. 

In Texas, the Sheriff's office commended the homeowner.  In Massachusetts the DA charged him with first degree murder.

The population of the United States is highly mobile.  A person may find themselves moving from state to state with some frequency.  Study the law of self defense for the state that you are in.  While the laws change, changes in the laws of defense of self and property seldom occur more often than once a decade.

Access to the Internet has made this research fairly simple.  If you own a firearm, it is worth your time to spend the few minutes that it takes to know your local laws. 

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Got Equal Protection? Oh and umm, states are not empowered to make or enforce laws that abridge the privileges or immunities of the Citizens. Self defense being the core of the Second, neither state is empowered to prosecute either of these people - because something called the Constitution makes clear they have no power to prosecute exercise of a right, further that they do not even have the authority to legislate a law TO prosecute.