911 Recording from Joe Horn

Click on the picture below to hear the recording of the 911 call from a Pasadena, Texas man when he called the cops about two burglars breaking into his neighbors house. For those of you who haven’t heard about this, you can read the news story. In part:

He grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and called 911, Lambright said.

"Uh, I’ve got a shotgun," he told the dispatcher. "Uh, do you want me to stop them?"

"Nope, don’t do that," the dispatcher responded. "Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over, OK?"

Horn and the dispatcher spoke for several minutes, during which Horn pleaded with the dispatcher to someone to catch the men and vowed not to let them escape. Over and over, the dispatcher told him to stay inside. Horn repeatedly said he couldn’t.

When the men crawled back out the window carrying a bag, Horn began to sound increasingly frantic.

"Well, here it goes, buddy," Horn said as a shell clicked into the chamber. "You hear the shotgun clicking, and I’m going."

A few seconds passed.

"Move," Horn can be heard saying on the tape. "You’re dead."






Horn redialed 911 and told the dispatcher what he’d done.

"I had no choice," he said, his voice shaking. "They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick."

There is all kinds of debating going on about whether this guy was right to do what he did, so I might as well add my voice.

A 61-year-old retiree willing to confront two young thugs is no coward. You can hear in his voice that he doesn’t want to go out, but that he feels compelled to. He’s had enough of thievery and people hiding scared in their houses. He takes action.

God bless him.

As to the validity of the shoot. He warned them, "Move [and] you’re dead." They advanced on him. He shot. That sounds like a good shoot, although exact logistics need to be determined (there was an awfully long pause between the second and third shot). Horn’s attorney is, of course, claiming self defense.

As to the circumstances. The castle doctrine in Texas was recently expanded precisely because the citizens of Texas were tired of rampant crime. This is the zeitgeist in which this incident takes place. That is important in determining state of mind.

As to Joe’s actions. The most foolish thing he did is tell the 911 dispatcher that he was going to go outside to kill those two guys. This denotes premeditated intent. If I were sitting on the jury, however, I would take it a different way: I think Joe was trying to tell himself that he would be capable of such a thing if it became necessary, to hype himself up. You can hear the trepidation, if not real fear, in his voice as he prepares to go outside to do what is right.

Bottom line: a citizen tries to stop a crime. That is not only the purview of the police, but the duty of every citizen. When this citizen attempted to stop two men from committing wrong, they charged him and he felt his life was in danger. He shot.

God bless him.

Joe will have to live with this the rest of his days. I’m glad it wasn’t me. But at this point, I’m equally glad there are citizens like Joe Horn willing to stand up for right.

Posted November 27th, 2007 Filed in Legal System, Second Amendment

What a Trade!

Cop holding missle launcherGuy “finds” surface-to-air missile launcher in a shed (he swears he doesn’t know how it got there — maybe it wasn’t even his shed). Guy trades it for a pair of tennis shoes in an Orlando guns-for-shoes program. Click link for pic.

Mmmm, could this be a whole new spin off for Cash in the Attic?

[Guy says he took it to three dumps trying to get rid of it but they wouldn’t take it. Damn, I’d have given him more than a pair of tennis shoes for it!]

HT to Gizmodo.

Posted August 19th, 2007 Filed in Legal System

One of Few Bush Wins

I still contend that GW has been a near-disastrous president on the domestic front: bigger government, uncontrolled borders, no Social Security reform, no cohesive energy policy, no real and lasting improvements in education.

But one of the few places that Bush has made a difference, a will continue to make a difference for years to come, is the appointments that have been made to the Supreme Court.

Legal Times writes:

The first full term of the Roberts Supreme Court was a blockbuster, with major rulings on abortion rights, school integration and campaign finance reform.

The Court’s conservative wing was victorious in most of the key cases, leading many commentators to view the term as a historic turning point.

The above introduces a transcript of a discussion of the court. Even though it requires registration to access the transcript, it only costs an email address and is worth the trouble. Among other things, the participants point out that:

  • In terms of divisiveness, the Court this term, in one-third of its docket, divided 5-4, where a single vote made all the difference. That number is the highest that it’s been in a decade . . .
  • John Roberts had said in his confirmation hearings that one of his goals was to get clear decisions, and by and large, with the exception, actually, of the race cases, the Court managed to do that.
  • In terms of ideology, for the 24 5-4 decisions, the highest percentage by far, 13 of those cases, were decided by a conservative majority. That is to say, Justice [Anthony] Kennedy and everybody to the right of him: Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas.
  • Six of the [24 5-4 decisions] were decided by Justice Kennedy joining the more liberal members of the Court. That is the second-lowest number of wins for the liberal wing of the Court in the last 10 years, and so it fared pretty poorly
  • In the 24 5-4 decisions, [Justice Kennedy] was in the majority in all of them, every single one. In the 72 cases decided this term, he was in the majority in 70.

Best quote:

I think more liberal members of the legal community are dismayed, are basically giving up, saying, “Maybe we should shut the Supreme Court down. Is it really all that necessary?”

And for that, I thank W.

HT to non-blogging Fourth Horseman.

Posted August 19th, 2007 Filed in Legal System

FBI Can Eavesdrop Even When Cell Phone is Off

Fox News informs us that the FBI can activate the microphone in your cell phone and listen to your conversations, even when your cell phone is turned off

We’re carrying our bugging devices around with us. How did we get to a place in which it is OK for the FBI to use your own cell phone to bug your house, but the “right to privacy” invented by the courts is used to support abortion.

HT to Health Knowledge Blog via Digg.

Posted July 22nd, 2007 Filed in Legal System

Satanic Murders Revisited

14 years ago three 8-year-old boys were savagely murdered, their naked bodies bound with their own shoelaces found in a drainage ditch in West Memphis. 3 youths that became known as the West Memphis 3 were convicted of the murders in a trial filled with Satanic overtones and public outrage.

The investigation was sloppy, the only confession coerced and the trial filled with inconsistencies (Freedonian has a nice summary if you can ignore the anti-Christian ranting, the complete story can be found in Court TV’s Crime Library). The entire affair has been the subject of 2 films (with another on the way) and 3 books, and numerous celebrities support retrial.

The retrial may be on its way: DNA from one of the murdered boy’s step-father, Terry Hobbs, has been discovered on the rope used to tie one of the boys. Terry Hobbs confirms that an investigator for the defense told him that one of his hairs had been found in the knots of the shoelace used to tie victim Michael Moore.

On the other hand, is a single hair enough for a retrial? No way, especially as police chief Mike Allen thinks the hairs presence is due to “normal transference”.

Still, the mother of one of the boys expresses her doubts:

Pam Hobbs said she “chose to believe all those years” that Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were guilty, despite her realization during the trials that the prosecutors “didn’t have anything” and persistent doubts afterwards that the defendants “were smart enough or hateful enough to have done it by themselves and clean it up.”

Whether you believe the death penalty is a deterrent or not, I can’t get past those cases in which the system simply makes a mistake. Which is why I still don’t support the death penalty.

In this case, the only one of the West Memphis 3 that sits on death row was a budding sociopath that has an IQ that makes Paris Hilton look brilliant and a history of mental illness. But there is evidence enough to show that a terrible miscarriage of justice took place in West Memphis 14 years ago, ruining the lives of three young men. As Court TV’s writer puts it:

The fight to have the guilty verdict reversed would require that the judicial system, intrinsically bureaucratic in nature, look within itself and acknowledge its own weaknesses and shortcomings. Any admission of its own failure will only occur under extreme public pressure and outrage at the injustice which has occurred. It takes time for such a process to occur, statistically at least ten years. Jessie and Jason have a lifetime, but whether Damien’s time will run out before this slow process is complete is yet to be seen.

Posted July 20th, 2007 Filed in Legal System

MSM Shocked at "Conservative" Supremes

After a small slew decisions today, the WaPo has come to the conclusion that the Supreme Court Leans Conservative:

Four of the five cases announced today were decided by the conservative majority led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., as the divisions that narrowly but decisively split the justices on social issues were on full display. . . .

Today’s decisions added to the court’s rising number of 5 to 4 votes this term, substantially higher than last year’s total. A few of them favor the court’s liberal wing, but conservatives are on a recent roll.

Predictably, the Red Rag NY Times is up in arms about the decisions, printing a small slew of articles and editorials in protest. Indeed, the editorial spells out the Times’ view in no uncertain terms: Three Bad Rulings.

Whether the rulings are “bad” or not depends entirely on one’s point of view.

The court upheld the right of a principal to suspend a student who promoted drug use by creating a banner that proclaimed, “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”. In light of the lack of discipline in our public schools, I don’t know that a restriction on children’s free speech is uncalled for.

The court split hairs in ruling that tax money could be funneled to faith-based initiatives if the source was the executive office rather than congressional decree (which is prohibited by precedent). But the unspoken conclusion is that precedent may be overturned by this court if the proper case presents itself. In other words, a bad precedent created by a liberal court may be overturned in the future.

But the high point of the day had to be the loosening of restrictions on free speech as a result of the Constitution-shredding McCain-Feingold. The court ruled that the only advertisements that can be kept off the air in the days before an election are, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, “susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate.”

Describing and then dismissing the rationale for the advertising restrictions, Chief Justice Roberts used a phrase that seemed to sum up the new majority’s view toward campaign finance regulation. “Enough is enough,” the chief justice said. . . .

It may be only a matter of time before the court reconsiders its 2003 decision upholding the constitutionality of the entire law, or at least expands its Monday decision to strike down any restriction on advertising. Three of the five justices in the majority, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, declined to sign the chief justice’s opinion because it did not take that step.

Even before the last election I was vocal in my feelings that Bush’s domestic policies are little short of disastrous. But the conservatation* of the Supremes offsets that a little.

* Shakespeare made up over 3,000 words. Allow me this one.

Update: Liberal spin is gearing up on this one. Check out this headline: Supreme Court Sides With Administration, Corporations In New Decisions.

Posted June 25th, 2007 Filed in Conservative Causes, Defining Bush, Legal System

"Crooks with Guns"

Once again, the gun instead of the criminal is being made the focus of crime and punishment.

Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin will join other Law Enforcement from around Tennessee Monday as part of a state wide effort to make your streets safer.

Their goal is to drum up support for the new Crooks with Guns legislation. Chief Godwin and other lawmen from around the state are fed up with the number of guns that fall into the hands of criminals.

Yeah, like the three machine guns, two semiautomatic handguns and two 12-gauge shot guns that were stolen out of a SWAT van in Memphis. (To be fair to Memphis police, the SWAT van belonged to some Raleigh, NC cops who were just passing through.)

“This weapon right here is an s.g. 551 6-hour 223 fully automatic it will shoot one round burst three round burst 20 round burst, this weapon right here is capable of firing 550 600 rounds per minute,” says Director Godwin.

Uh-oh, big scary gun! Must be bad!

Just how many of those weapons right there have been used in crimes? Not exactly the weapon of choice for the average Mapco holdup dude, is it?

And not relevant to the conversation other than the fact that it is just the kind of prop needed to make headlines and scare little old people into voting for the $70 million that will be required to pay for the results of the Crooks With Guns legislation.

State Senator Mark Norris (usually one of my favorite politicians) is co-sponsoring the bill and claims that similar legislation in NY state “cut crime by 58 percent.”

“We’re trying to crack down on violent criminals to quit coddling criminals,” says Norris.

Now we’re talking!

The bills cover crimes from illegal firearms to gang violence. It also adds extra prison time to repeat offenders who commit crimes with a guns.

Hey Mark, how about extra prison time to every repeat violent offender? I don’t care if someone uses a .22 popgun, an everyday screwdriver or (in the case of a rapist) a body part, violent assault is a dehumanizing, invasive, scary experience. A repeater offender shouldn’t get a chance to keep on doing it, no matter what the weapon of opportunity turns out to be.

Let’s quit blaming the gun and start focusing on the criminal.

Posted April 30th, 2007 Filed in Legal System

More on “Illegal” Wiretapping

I keep hearing that the administration’s foreign wiretap program is “unconstitutional”. These people should take a stroll over to the Volokh Conspiracy’s page on this subject.

Continue Reading »

Posted August 19th, 2006 Filed in Legal System, War on Islamofascism

Amateur Hour on the Bench

Judge Anna Diggs-Taylor has ruled that the wiretaps being used to fight the War on Islamofacism is unconstitutional. Attorney Bryan Cunningham (former federal prosecutor under Clinton) tells us why her ruling is little more than a series of blunders.

First, the judge did not hold any hearings and thus did not hear any evidence. Moreover:

Worse, the judge clearly failed to do enough homework to understand the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act itself, much less the Fourth Amendment. She gets basic provisions of the statute itself wrong . . .

More worrisome still are the judge’s breathtaking mistakes in analyzing the Fourth and First Amendments—errors that would earn our first-year law student an “F.”

There’s much more, like this (my favorite line):

Her reasoning, to the extent one can follow it, is little more than one would find in watching a surreal “Schoolhouse Rock” episode.

Heh. Almost as funny as the cartoon from Cox & Forkum.

Cunningham is hardly alone: everyone who is anyone has taken up the cry. Example, this brutal bit from Mark Levin Fan in which he takes the decision apart:

Are there no limits to which activist judges won’t go to advance their political and policy agendas? Answer: No. I wrote an entire book about it. And U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, appointed in the twilight of the Carter administration, is the latest in a long list of disgraceful lawyers who abuse their power.

Volokh Conspiracy’s Orin Kerr is puzzled over the lack of analysis and suspects that “this opinion is important more for its political impact and its triggering of appellate review than for any analysis in the opinion itself.

Eugene Volokh says that it is a “seemingly angry, almost partisan-sounding opinion” while PowerLine calls the ruling pathetic.

Damnum absque injuria observes that “Jimmy Carter is the gift that keeps on giving.” In this case, a pro-terrorist judge.

Patterico has an excellent roundup and predicts:

I have now read the opinion. It is one of the most embarrassing pieces of garbage I have ever read. The idea that a sitting federal judge wrote such a shoddy piece of junk in a high-profile case should make even the most rabid Bush-hater squirm. …

And tomorrow, the media will shun expert analysis that would reveal these glaring deficiencies in her “reasoning.” Count on it.

Patterico seems to be wrong, as even WaPo calls the ruling a judicial misfire.

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Posted August 18th, 2006 Filed in Legal System, War on Islamofascism

Why We Should Have Let Katrina Win

The Louisiana National Guard is back on the streets of New Orleans:

Nagin had sought the troops after five teenagers in an SUV were shot and killed in the city’s deadliest attack in at least 11 years. Police said the attack was apparently motivated by drugs or revenge. Also, a man was stabbed to death Sunday night in an argument over beer.

The city is only half the size that it was before Katrina, yet they have a police force 79% of the pre-Katrina size. And they are already losing control.

Crime has been creeping back into the city: 17 killings in the first three months of 2006, and 36 since the start of April.

There have been 53 murders in the city this year (by comparison, Memphis — with twice the current NO population — reached 80 a few days ago), and the rate is increasing. It sounds like gangs are moving back in and establishing new turf boundaries.

Tell me again, why are my tax dollars being used so someone else can live on the coast at below sea level?

Posted June 20th, 2006 Filed in Legal System