February 3, 2013

“Utah homeowner arrested for firing shots in burglary”

Because the presumption that your property is yours — that it is purchased with the sweat of your labor and requires a goodly portion of your finite time on this planet — and so can be lawfully protected against those trying to pilfer it, sets a bad example, and must be dispelled.

After all, if we allow things like this to stand, how can we later claim that when the government confiscates your property or land or firearms or liberties — either by way of some local ordinance, or excessive taxation, or bureaucratic regulation that carries the force of law, or court ruling that institutionalizes the government’s right to compel your commerce — you don’t have a right to defend yourself against such state-sanctioned theft.

In this case, process trumps righteousness and reason. Rules (even those that seem in many ways a good idea) nevertheless stand guard over lawlessness. And the police state that we’ve set up to protect the “rights” of criminals grows its roots ever-deeper, even in places like Utah. And in spite of prior Common Law (h/t Pablo), with no evidence that deadly force was intended.

Because face it: it’s easier to arrest the homeowner for his failure to follow established process — no matter the provocation — than it is to chase down those who were attempting to steal his property.

(h/t Terry H)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:50am
21 comments | Trackback

Comments (21)

  1. The guy fired shots at the vehicle as it was driving away.
    According to the article, the burglar had not yet entered the house, and the home owner was not inside the house at the time.

    The shooter was in clear violation of the law, and really, common sense. Had the criminal ran at the homeowner with the crowbar, the homeowner would have been well within his rights to open fire.

    You do not shoot at a fleeing man who poses no danger. You certainly to not shoot at the guy while he is driving away in his car.

    I think you are getting too worked up over this.

  2. I’d give the homeowner a bit more benefit of the doubt, if only because if I caught somebody trying to break into my house I’d want to do him some serious hurt even if he did run away as soon as he saw me.

    Then again, if one of my neighbors shot at a fleeing burglar and one of the stray bullets hit me or my wife or my dog, well…

  3. Practice saying this until it becomes second nature:

    “I felt like my life was in danger. I felt like my life was in danger.”

    It may serve you well one day.

  4. The shooter was in clear violation of the law, and really, common sense. Had the criminal ran at the homeowner with the crowbar, the homeowner would have been well within his rights to open fire.

    The point is not that the homeowner wasn’t “in clear violation of the law’; the point is that the law protects criminals and punishes those who attempt to thwart property theft. It serves process. To McGehee’s point, there was no mention of anyone else in the line of any fire, so my first response is to believe that the shooter took that into account.

    You do not shoot at a fleeing man who poses no danger. You certainly to not shoot at the guy while he is driving away in his car.

    He knows where I live, knows that I saw him trying to break in, etc. How do I know he poses no danger? Procedure tells me to wait and find out, see if he comes back. Process tells me there’s a way I have to defend myself and my property.

    I say fuck procedure and process. I’m not getting “too worked up” over anything. I used the story to make a larger point about conditioning us to accept what we can and cannot do to protect our property.

    You can lay claim to level-headedness. You aren’t one of the conspiratorial crazies. Good for you. But you’ll be defined that way no matter what, so you may as well embrace it.

  5. I’m done for the day.

    This is why I don’t blog on weekends most times.

  6. Greetings:

    Quoting from the above: “In this case, process trumps righteousness and reason.”

    And as one George Zimmerman of the great State of Florida can now probably attest, sometimes the process is the punishment.

  7. You can lay claim to level-headedness. You aren’t one of the conspiratorial crazies. Good for you. But you’ll be defined that way no matter what, so you may as well embrace it.

    Eh, I was going to say the same thing. Self defense is one thing, and that wasn’t it. I’d send the guy to jail for 6 months just for the stupid alone, and add another 3 for giving gun owners a bad name.

  8. Let the record show MrShad is no absolutist. No sir.

  9. Here’s his defense: Fleeing Felon Rule

    “Immediate stopping of the fleeing felon, whether actually or presumably dangerous, was deemed absolutely necessary for the security of the people in a free state, and for maintaining the “public security.” …

    “Indeed, it has been said that the social policy of the common law in this matter was not only to threaten dangerous felons and hence deter them, but was also to induce them to “surrender peaceably” if they dared commit inherently dangerous felonies, rather than allow them to “escape trial for their crimes.”

  10. I agree with Mr. Shad. In this specific case.

    Rule four is “know your backstop”. This condition, on top of the absence of a direct personal threat, would have led me to keep my weapon holstered and concentrate on remembering details of the perpetrator and his vehicle.

    Utah state law is very clear on armed self defense. A citizen needs no other justification than criminal entry on the part of an intruder to justify employing force, up to deadly force, to end the threat.

    There is no duty to retreat while in pursuit of your lawful travels, in or outside your home. I think this one needs to go in front of a jury.

  11. Two words:

    Jury nullification

  12. Darleen says February 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Bingo. And if he does raise the fleeing felon defense Pablo mentions, I’ll bet he walks.

  13. I am kind of mixed on this one also. Had the dudes actually committed a felony? Or any crime for that matter? The story isn’t clear on whether they had actually attempted to enter or not.

    When you start shooting folks because of what they might do you that is kind of a dangerous line.

  14. “Let the record show MrShad is no absolutist. No sir.” ???

    The criminal was fleeing. In a car. Trying to get away. The specifics of the case make it clear the homeowner used his gun inappropriately. I am not sure what I am being absolutist about, other than the very specific details of this case.

    I live in Utah, I owned several guns (until I lost them all in horrible boating accidents), and I have a conceal weapons permit. I would be the first one to use lethal force to protect me (if I still had my guns, which I can assure you I do not), or my family, but shooting at a guy who is driving away? You don’t really know where those bullets are going to land, you know?

  15. Even if they were fleeing, as long as they were still on my property, I’d be in my rights to shoot the low down scum bastards.

    I was standing beside our newly elected Sheriff when a citizen was telling him about some property that was missing including a couple of guns. The town police chief also was standing there. Sheriff described the suspect vehicle to the police chief and then told the home owner…too bad someone wasn’t at home with a gun and shot the bastard.

  16. Having just taken the Utah Concealed Firearm Permit course where we covered such scenarios: it appears the homwowner may be in violation of a Utah Law.

    However, this does not mean that particular law is not stupid. They have several in this area that are rather head-scratching.

    I’d love to be on that jury, because I’d nullify the charge without a moment’s hestitation.

  17. However, this does not mean that particular law is not stupid. They have several in this area that are rather head-scratching.

    Bob, I don’t follow. Which law is stupid? The one in the story involved; standing in your driveway and blasting away at someone suspected of burglary, fleeing down the street.

    That’s a good law I think. Despite the movies, even cops aren’t allowed to do that.

    It’s not a good idea to drive towards one though…

  18. FWIW, I looked at his house on a map (assuming there aren’t two Clare Niederhausers in Layton, Utah), and he lives off a golf course. It looks like the parking lot of the clubhouse is directly across from him, but otherwise, it’s all fairways and fields — not a dense neighborhood. According to the article, he fired twice and his friend was booked for running after the guys.

    I am reading a lot between the lines, but it sounds to me like Niederhauser and his friend were pretty darn close to teh burglars — close enough to chase and pop off a couple of shots.

    I’d nullify the life out of any prosecution, it what I’m saying.

  19. It also sounds like the police are being overstepping douches here. Seriously, booking the friend for “investigating a burglary on foot”? Why is that even a law?

  20. our piggy piggy union whore police class

    they value our freedoms very very cheaply

  21. Seriously, booking the friend for “investigating a burglary on foot”? Why is that even a law?

    Do they have police unions in Utah? Maybe he violated a work rule. He’d better hope they don’t file a grievance.

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