62 year old Joe Horn was alone in his Texas home one evening when he noticed two men with bags climbing through his neighbor's window; the neighbor was out of town. Mr. Horn did what any concerned citizen should do. He called the cops. What he did next, however, was pretty controversial.
"Don't go outside the house," implored the 911 operator. "You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think."
"You want to make a bet?" Horn replied. "I'm going to kill them."
And Mr. Horn did just that. He grabbed his 12 gauge shotgun, exited his house, approached the neighbor's and, according to his lawyer, became frightened when these men didn't scare off so easily. So he shot them both in the back.
Now, he certainly didn't kill any upstanding members of society. Both victims were illegal immigrants and one had already been deported once for a cocaine-related crime. Still, the killings didn't seem to be the result of fright, exactly. After all, did he not say to the 911 operator before he got off the phone that he was going to kill them?
Yesterday, a grand jury cleared him of all charges.
You know, one of the great things about the United States is the fact that different states can govern themselves differently. What works for Texas may not work for Maryland or Washington. In this particular case, I'm glad for that. I believe in a person's right to defend their own property. But, the neighbor's?
It also begs the question - was the issue of illegal immigration, or maybe plain ol' racism, a factor in the acquittal? Would things have gone down this way had the burglars been, say, skinhead meth addicts? Was Mr. Horn more comfortable, and the jury more forgiving, because he was killin' darkies? Illegal ones, at that?