Monday, March 03, 2008


Want to feel dumber? Go read this:

Eye On Albuquerque: Choices

It's a dumbass piece of commentary about an ex-marine who caught a man trying to steal his car, and shot him. After chasing him about a quarter-mile from the break-in. Let's review: the attempted thief ran away, and the guy chased him down and shot him. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison, plus reparation to the victim's family (which is required by law in this state). There has been quite an uproar from the "law and order" types, arguing that the sentence was too harsh, apparently because the guy only killed someone out of his deep concern for law and order (see link).

Although this incredibly dumbass piece of commentary is titled "Choices," it focuses entirely on the choices of the burglar, essentially stating that he engineered his death by choosing to break into a vehicle. Where it misses the boat is failing to identify that the shooter fucked himself by choosing to chase the guy down, then choosing to shoot him when there was no danger to his own safety. Those choices seem to be above reproach, the plain language of the law notwithstanding.

The author points out that the burglar had a criminal history, as though this hindsight approach--raising facts not known to the shooter--is sufficient to invoke some sort of retroactive justification for the shooting. Among the huge number of problems with the dumbass's approach, the two I choose to focus on are the assumptions that death seems to be an appropriate penalty for attempting to steal a car, and that this penalty can be legitimately imposed by any yahoo with a gun rather than, say, a jury of one's peers who finds guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Dumbass.