February 8, 2013

“Community rallies behind homeowner arrested for shooting at burglar”

I posted about this story over the weekend, and there seemed to be something of a split among commenters on the issue. The larger point of my post then — because all the specifics of the incident itself hadn’t yet been made available — was that the kinds of laws that prosecute those defending their property, whether they seem on some level to be a good idea or not, condition us to hand over property and liberty to a government apparatus that, by mere force of legislative and regulatory momentum, will one day make criminals of us all, if it hasn’t already done so.

And we will have been taught to capitulate.

Today, however, we have more information on the logistics and the event sequence of the Utah robbery and the homeowner’s fired shots, so I’d like to revisit the specific story using the new facts:

Residents in a northern Utah city are coming to the defense of a man who was arrested and faces charges for shooting at burglars as they drove away from his property.

Layton police arrested Clare Niederhauser, 64, last week after he fired one shot at a car and another at a fleeing burglar, said Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of reckless endangerment.

The shots were unlawful because the burglar had dropped a crowbar and was fleeing the property, said Horton, who added that the shots could have endangered somebody’s life.

“There is a responsibility of owning a gun: you need to know when you can lawfully use your weapon,” Horton said. “You’re not authorized to shoot a firearm at a car just because you don’t want it to get away, or to scare them, or disable a tire.”

Layton police said they also have arrested the man suspected of burglarizing the house, Robert Santos Cruz, 47. Investigators are searching for a woman who drove the car that was leaving the driveway when Niederhauser shot at it.

Niederhauser, a concealed weapons permit holder who used a .357 caliber handgun, didn’t immediately return phone messages from The Associated Press. He told detectives that he aimed to shoot the tire of a car leaving the driveway and later to scare Santos Cruz as he ran away. Niederhauser came home to find a car in his driveway and Santos Cruz leaving his house holding a crowbar, Horton said.

Niederhauser’s supporters said he is being unfairly punished for protecting his home. They said the arrest sets a precedence that homeowners can’t protect themselves and have launched a blog urging people to call police to complain and contribute to a legal aid fund.

The blog supporting Niederhauser says at the top, “Support Clare Niederhauser. A good man did the right thing.”

“He tried to act in a way that is responsible and compassionate and keep his head about him,” said Loran Hubbard, 53, of Layton. “We have the right to defend ourselves when we are confronted with a lethal weapon. If a big crowbar isn’t a lethal weapon, I haven’t seen one.”

There had been two other burglaries in the neighborhood in the past three months that had Niederhauser on high alert, said neighbor Teuvo Jones. The shot he fired at Santos Cruz was a warning shot near a hollow, Jones said.

“You would have to have all the laws of physics changed to make that a danger to anyone,” said Jones, basing his assessment on Niederhauser’s account. “It was far from reckless.”

[…]

Clark Aposhian, a firearms instructor and chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, has been following the case closely and believes the arrest was appropriate.

“I can understand the guy getting caught up in the moment, but he’s got some explaining to do,” said Aposhian. “It’s not that he was shooting at the person necessarily, but the reckless endangerment is because he fired his gun when the rounds could have gun anywhere.”

It’s that last bit that drives me to distraction. Because it’s a one-size-fits-all bromide — and worse, it appears not to be true in anything other than the abstract. That is, while it may be true in theory, it wasn’t true in this case, and so punishment here is akin to the kind of zero-tolerance policy that seeks to turn 7-year-olds throwing imaginary grenades at evil in order to save the world into stigmatized offenders of some vague “anti-violence” agenda.

As I noted when I first wrote about this, I wasn’t willing to concede that Niederhauser wasn’t an experienced or solicitous permit holder and seasoned firearms user. Meaning, I refused to jump to the conclusion that he acted without first being certain of his environment and having assessed the risk of unintended harm to those other than the criminals he saw leaving his property. Because to adopt that assumption was to accept the premise that would eventually and ultimately justify what may be either a bad law, or in this case, one that is being misapplied.

If it is true that Niederhauser fired his warning shot into a hollow, and aimed his other shot at a car tire, then the only things he put in danger were some dirt and leaves, and (potentially) a car tire and a fleeing criminal (and really no moreso any potential unintended ricochet damage than the kind of unintentional overpenetration damage that can happen in any legally justified shooting).

So, to return to the theme of my first post on this story and expand on it a bit, it troubles me that firearms instructors are becoming so conditioned to ostentatiously avow their commitment to what we’re all being told is proper gun safety that they are themselves becoming useful idiots in the slow creep toward severely restricting firearm ownership and usage — even as I’m quite certain that they believe, and honestly so, that they are helping the cause of the Second Amendment by taking a hard line on use of force.

This is meant to show them responsible, and as they represent the gun culture in some ways, they believe it buys them some measure of grace from a hostile anti-gun contingent, be they in the media or in government or part of some activist organization.

Which never works.

I believe Darleen, in the comments to the original post, had it right: jury nullification is how you combat this kind of legal absolutism. Let the government know that the citizens are unwilling to punish those acting to defend themselves and their property just because in the abstract we’re to place safety above private property rights — or, if you prefer I go provocative, security over the very foundation of liberty.

(h/t Terry H)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:20pm
67 comments | Trackback

Comments (67)

  1. jury nullification is a very very beautiful thing

  2. . . . the reckless endangerment is because he fired his gun when the rounds could have gun anywhere.

    Yep, and I’m left thinking, huh, well, but the rounds did actually go somewhere and not just anywhere, so, hey, Mr. forensic operator, have you found them yet? And I’m betting no one has even bothered to look.

  3. “…he fired his gun when the rounds could have gun anywhere.”

    Heh.

  4. If I see her, Alaska.

  5. If the law is written in a way that says shooting at a fleeing felon is an offense, yeah, you’re pretty much headed into zero-tolerance-land at some point. It likely wouldn’t matter if the homeowner shot the thieving bastard at the nearest pistol range with the bullet stop behind him.

    Like an attorney of my acquaintance says, “It’s the law, it doesn’t have to make sense.”

    Personally, I have no problem with people shooting thieves. I suspect it would lead to a decrease in theft.

  6. Personally, I have no problem with people shooting thieves. I suspect it would lead to a decrease in theft.

    But then we’d have the BSM reporting on the paradoxical result that even while more and more people are shooting thieves, fewer and fewer thefts are being committed — just like how more and more people are in prison even as crime rates are in decline. NONE OF IT MAKES SENSE!

    I do wonder how they don’t drown in the rain.

  7. It would be interesting to see how Mr. Niederhauser’s case plays out in contrast to the L.A. cops who shot up a woman’s pickup truck because it was the wrong kind of truck.

  8. Can’t we blame the tendency to over-reaction by the fuzz on the latent effects of the story-telling skills of Martin Scorcese and Paul Schrader? They seem to want to make of everyone a tazki driver.

  9. The shot he fired at Santos Cruz was a warning shot near a hollow, Jones said.

    I couldn’t find the guy’s address or street name in the local accounts, but I’m familiar with Layton, and it’s lousy with “hollows.”

    Look up these coordinates and check out the satellite view: 41.057868,-111.921158

    You can see how the residential areas are broken up by green space: that’s not zoning, that’s physics. It’s just too steep to build in those places.

    Those slopes are also covered with snow and ice right now, so it’s unlikely anyone was traipsing around.

    That said, I can’t decide whether the guy did OK or not. If you can’t take geography and other factors into account, then the law is an ass.

  10. I think you’ve got a case for disturbing the peace, and not much else.

  11. Isn’t “disturbing the peace” pretty much a catch-all crime? When in doubt, charge that.

  12. I’d still have to see the spot where it happened to see how responsible this guy was with his shooting, but I still maintain shooting suspected buglers on sight is a bad idea. It’s hard to argue you are acting in self defense when the guy is running away.

    Having said that, I could allow for a shot somewhere safe to scare the turd, it’s the one at the car that bothers me. Shooting a low profile shot at a car…not only does the bullet become un-aimed when it ricochets off the hard pavement, it’s still deadly.

    Reckless endangerment? Yeah, it’s like those fools that shoot in the air at New Years, killing dozens all across the land. Give’em a fine and a suspended sentence, tell’em to quit being a dumb-ass.

    Like I said though, I’m just spitballing without actually seeing the scene.

  13. Regarding “firearms instructors.”

    I’ve had a bug about this attitude myself for quite a while now. Some time back I posted the following:

    What I found disappointing about this was how many self-appointed “firearms self-defense experts” piled on to Zimmerman in the aftermath, smearing him as being obviously unfit to have a CCW license.

    But then, I’ve never been very big on this self-anointed firearms self-defense priesthood in the first place.

    I think most of these people mean well, but they’ve been coopted without even realizing it.

    Unfortunately, Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) is precisely the state of mind that gun-hating fanatics try to instill in the general populace, not to mention gun owners themselves, some of whom as a consequence succumb to the “high priesthood syndrome,” in which some gun owners try to tell other gun owners they must obtain the equivalent of a doctorate in firearms ownership, and then follow an ownership and use manual only slightly more complicated and onerous than the Obamacare law, in order to safely and properly own and operate firearms.

    All this to possess and use one of the most simple and ubiquitous devices ever invented by man.

    And don’t get me started on the FFL guys, many of whom would be out of business but for the artificial market created by the state for their services via various firearms registration and transfer laws, and who therefore claim to see no infringement of the RKBA by the dismal system that feeds their pocketbooks.

    I know, harsh. But I’ve been feeling sort of harsh, ever since, oh, last November 7th or thereabouts.

  14. And a very different, alternate even, “community” gets behind one of their own.

  15. speaking proggtard to “power”

  16. The FFL guys now are not the same as the FFL guys that were originally created by the GCA-68. Around the Clinton era they started demanding that to be an FFL you had to have an actual profit making business buying and selling guns. Back in the 70s I had several friends who had FFLs. Not so any more.

    I’d like to see GCA-68 et al be repealed or at least have that thrown on the table. Make the Left compromise toward fewer restrictions as the norm.

  17. At least reckless endangerment is not a felony in Utah.

  18. In some places, the grand jury would not indict. Granted, most of those places are in Texas. Louisiana also has a “shoot the burglar” law. That’s what most people called it anyway.

  19. Shooting a low profile shot at a car…not only does the bullet become un-aimed when it ricochets off the hard pavement, it’s still deadly.

    Yep.

  20. the LAPD is as retarded as it is corrupt and that’s really saying something

  21. And we all know those police officers acted reasonably because they were afraid for their lives and the safety of the public.

    –or some damn thing.

  22. the LAPD is as retarded as it is corrupt and that’s really saying something

    There’s nothing worthwhile inside of LA. Except for that networks of freeways circling the innards of the city.

    Could we close those freeways that leave the city, and just leave that miserable beast to feebly simmer in her own rotten juices ?

  23. Firing a shot at a fleeing vehicle proves just one thing: the shooter lost his/her temper.

    An intemperate person firing a gun recklessly is never a good thing. Makes the rest of us look bad.

    If it were my vehicle stolen, and it contained an infant child in a car seat, or a cache of weapons that might get into the wrong hands, then I might risk a shot to kill. But only then.

    This fellow should’ve blocked the burglar’s car with his own, then held the two at gunpoint for police. Car vs. car, somewhat safer; bullet vs. car, reckless.

  24. The only time a CCP holder should fire a gun at another person is to kill that person. Never to ‘warn’ or ‘scare’ or shoot out tires. Your license is specific to the point: kill if your life is endangered. Don’t shoot just to make noise, or to scare, or anything else. Just not worth the followup, as Mr. Niederhauser’s experience has proved.

  25. Your license is specific to the point:

    This is exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about: This appeal to the conditions of some license granted by the state. That very license infringes on your right to keep and bear arms, but you don’t see that. You’ve been co-opted, and your chains are resting lightly.

  26. One of the great triumphs of the statist project has been its ability to move debates from first principles, eg. “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” to discussions of process, as in long-winded debates about just exactly what such things as licenses do, or should, permit. But all this really means is extended conversations about the precise nature, size, and weight of the chains you are being fitted for.

    Or: What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand?

  27. Finally: Lost in all the debate about this particular case is one simple fact: No guns would have been fired, no people shot at, absent the original actions of the criminal in question.

    In other words, if you don’t want to get your ass shot, refrain from breaking into other peoples’ homes.

  28. This is exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about: This appeal to the conditions of some license granted by the state. That very license infringes on your right to keep and bear arms, but you don’t see that. You’ve been co-opted, and your chains are resting lightly.

    No. That license not only enables me to carry a firearm, but ensures other citizens that I’ve been properly trained in it’s use: when to use it, and when to keep it in my pants. We need licenses to drive, to fish, to do other activities; this license to carry is a license to kill, IF the circumstances permit. That’s not something to take lightly.

    This fellow did not pay attention in his CCP class. The first thing you learn (after gun handling safety) is that every bullet you fire comes with a lawyer attached. You should only fire to kill, not to wound, or to scare by making noise. This permit holder broke all the rules.

    I’m not for anarchy, nor was the 2nd Amendment written to promote anarchy. There are rules that citizens follow, because to not follow rules infringes on other citizens’ rights. I don’t want to be caught in the crossfire when an intemperate shooter, however licensed, forgets his training and succumbs to the heat of the moment. You might, that’s your right, of course.

  29. the stupid cops are turning something what should’ve been an admonishment into a crime cause they approach things with a stupid cop mentality because people what become cops are violent and stupid people, by and large

    also they’re usually racist

    it’s a thing

  30. serr8d unchained!

    vengeance is off da hook, and it don’t need no license

  31. I repeat: What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand? Does the Second Amendment read: “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed unless the state wishes to only permit (enable) you to carry arms by issuing licenses permitting you to exercise the right, as well as reassure citizens that you are properly trained?”

    No, it does not. Those most easily co-opted are those who don’t even understand that they have been. You are fitting yourself for your own chains, even as you claim to be a free man.

    Bubba.

  32. This fellow did not pay attention in his CCP class. The first thing you learn (after gun handling safety) is that every bullet you fire comes with a lawyer attached. You should only fire to kill, not to wound, or to scare by making noise. This permit holder broke all the rules.

    You’re making a lot of assumptions about an incident you didn’t witness and a class you didn’t attend. As for Bill, well, we love Bill.

  33. @serr8d: I assume that you would prefer not to live in a state like Vermont, where the government does not impose licensing requirements in order to “enable” you to exercise your constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms?

  34. You think Mr. Niederhauser would be in the clear if these events had transpired in Vermont instead of Utah?

  35. I agree that firing a shot to scare someone, as Niederhauser apparently claims to have done, is imprudent. (Warning shots are a waste of ammo.) I do not agree that it rises to the level of a criminal offense, particularly when done on one’s own property.

  36. As long as the bullet comes to rest on one’s own property, agreed.

  37. the cops are acting like big girls in this case

    big fascist girls

    like nobody on their stupid thug police force has ever fired a warning shot

    fuck them

  38. like nobody on their stupid thug police force has ever fired a warning shot

    Exactly like that. Just because you saw on TV, doesn’t make it true.

  39. i dunno I seen a LOT of tv

  40. You should only fire to kill, not to wound, or to scare by making noise.

    This is exactly the way I learned from my instructor. Carrying a lethal weapon comes with much responsibility, something a lot of the dime store cowboys out there seem to forget.

  41. Then its a good thing your stereotypical dime store cowboy doesn’t carry.

  42. It’s the keyboard cowboys I worry about.

  43. I repeat: What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand? Does the Second Amendment read: “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed unless the state wishes to only permit (enable) you to carry arms by issuing licenses permitting you to exercise the right, as well as reassure citizens that you are properly trained?”

    So, your argument is that the very need for a CC permit is against the ‘shall not be infringed’ clause of the 2nd Amendment? That may well be true, but even in Vermont, where CC licensing isn’t regulated, shooting your piece off willy-nilly in an uncontrolled fashion should be frowned upon. I don’t care if your state has requirements for a CC license; what I care about is that you, or anyone else in possession of a deadly weapon, realize what are the natural constraints that should define one’s use thereof. Firing shots at fleeing vehicles is stupid, and shows the shooter has little consideration for the well-being of others. Same for firing shots to ‘warn’ or ‘scare’.

    Bottom line, this Niederhauser fellow had a couple of improper gun use moments. No matter how heinous are the existence of his state’s licensing requirements, or what the 2nd Amendment guarantees, that’s the bottom line.

  44. You think Mr. Niederhauser would be in the clear if these events had transpired in Vermont instead of Utah?

    Don’t know about Vermont, but he wouldn’t have a problem in TX. See, in TX we don’t believe in letting some scumbag enslave us to earn the money to replace what he decided he was entitled to, so the firearms laws are specifically written to allow deadly force to defend my property or another’s.

    So yes, leigh, worry about me. Because my right to self-defense is pretty damn absolute.

    And sdferr, he didn’t “let his piece off willy-nilly”. He let it off in response to someone who had NO DAMN BUSINESS being where they were and doing what they were doing. I’m just sorry both the thieves weren’t DRT.

    If it is true that Niederhauser fired his warning shot into a hollow, and aimed his other shot at a car tire, then the only things he put in danger were some dirt and leaves, and (potentially) a car tire and a fleeing criminal (and really no moreso any potential unintended ricochet damage than the kind of unintentional overpenetration damage that can happen in any legally justified shooting).

    I may not agree with his tactics, but it looks like he had due regard for where his shots were going from that.

  45. I’m not worried about you, SDN. You know what you’re talking about.

  46. I’m guessing SDN that you took my “yep” for a comment on the quote I chose to pick on in my first comment, whereas it was in fact a yep in agreement with Jeff’s conclusions. Just in case that’s what urged you to think that I had thought the guy discharged his weapon “willy-nilly”, which I neither said nor thought (though equally, I can’t happen to know he didn’t). It’s a minor thing, this misunderstanding, but there it is anyhow.

  47. Bill Quick says February 9, 2013 at 9:20 am
    Finally: Lost in all the debate about this particular case is one simple fact: No guns would have been fired, no people shot at, absent the original actions of the criminal in question.

    In other words, if you don’t want to get your ass shot, refrain from breaking into other peoples’ homes.

    Absolutely! One could only wish that the laws were written this way. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions you’ve got to meet the “Reasonable Person” rule before you can discharge your gun — would a reasonable person in your situation believe themseves to be in immediate danger to life or limb? Shoot the kid going out your back window with a VCR under his arm? Shoot at a car fleeing the scene? Shoot at some knucklehead running away with a crowbar in his hand? If you weren’t in fear for your life at the time you fired that shot you’re likely to be in Deep Shit. That SUX, but that’s the law most places.

  48. Reasonable Person” rule

    needs a proggtard/moonbat exemption

  49. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions you’ve got to meet the “Reasonable Person” rule before you can discharge your gun — would a reasonable person in your situation believe themseves to be in immediate danger to life or limb?

    This is where we’ve gone soft. We’ve left little disincentive to being a criminal. Just abandon what you’re doing and I have to let you go scot free, off to find another, less resistant victim.

  50. I’m leery of going hunting these days, what with all the knuckle heads that mistake an orange hat with deer horns. I’d hate to go out doors at all, if everyone thought it was open season on suspected thieves.

  51. What the hell, let’s also impose the vigilante death penalty on tagers and for parking in a loading zone.

    We don’t need no stinking badges.

  52. Lee, the definition of reductio ad absurdam is your picture.

  53. sdferr, my humblest apology. That comment was intended for serr8d’s 2:39 pm immediately above (yours didn’t have the word willy-nilly in it).

  54. Ah, so the guy you just found breaking your front door open with a crowbar is a *suspected*, *alleged* burglar. Who knows, he might have been trying to rescue a child that fell down a well your bathtub drain.

  55. Exactly, SDN. Crooks have no business being crooks. That’s a nice overarching sentiment that would solve all our problems, if we could just convince ‘em to behave.

    Here’s another overarching sentiment I cling to: people who use guns irresponsibly make things bad for everyone else. I just can’t get behind someone who’s made the errors Niederhauser made: shooting at fleeing cars and using a gun as a noisemaker. If that means I’m in chains and a dupe of the Government, well, see it that way if you like. I’ve been an activist NRA member since the early ’80’s (no Johnny-Come-Lately) and realize the WAR we’re fighting has to be conducted correctly. You see what happens when a foolish gun owner (eg, Adam Lanza’s mother) fucks up. And she did fuck it up, really. While not to that level, Neiderhauser adds a couple faggots to the fire that’s already scorching all of us.

  56. he might have been trying to rescue a child that fell down a well your bathtub drain

    A prolapsed rectum is nothing to joke about. This is serious stuff, Pablo.

  57. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions you’ve got to meet the “Reasonable Person” rule before you can discharge your gun — would a reasonable person in your situation believe themseves to be in immediate danger to life or limb?

    My response to this (which is why I am not a lawyer, and should absolutely lawyer up every time) would be: is it your position that I am not a reasonable person? Is there any evidence that I was not a reasonable person before I pulled the trigger? Is your entire case against me built on the circular argument that I am not a reasonable person because I shot that guy, therefore no reasonable person would have done that?

    My position is that I was a reasonable person yesterday, and am still a reasonable person today, and that someone’s hypothetical about what a reasonable person would do in those circumstances is absolute crap next to what a reasonable person did.

  58. The Left’s been attempting to implement their anti-gun agenda since I can remember. Bill Clinton’s first AWB cost him the ’94 Congress. The backlash against that continued through 2000, when Al Gore lost his home state, and that election. Al Gore blamed the NRA for costing him that election.

    Since, the Left has wised up. They’ve developed new strategies. They’ve Community Organized around their new message, that ‘sensible gun control makes sense for America’, and they’ve hammered that message home to new generations of Americans who’ve taken it to heart. Seems like we are now losing what was considered a bulwark of Conservatism: to stop the infringement on the 2nd Amendment.

    How do we do combat against their new tactics? Certainly not by making dumb mistakes.

    Make sure every gun owner you know realizes that bad things can happen if they aren’t disciplined. Spread the message that we are losing this battle, just as we lost the ’08 and ’12 elections, because our adversaries have learned just how to manipulate the soft and complacent sorts who now consider themselves ‘Americans’.

  59. Ah, so the guy you just found breaking your front door open with a crowbar is a *suspected*, *alleged* burglar.

    The story I heard was he was in the yard with a crowbar. Was there damage to the door? I hadn’t heard that. Either way, it’s a long way from a right to own a gun for self defense, to shooting thieves on sight. And if you are going to fight for a right to both, you will lose them both.

  60. @LBascom: I suspect I may be older than you are, but when I was growing up in midwestern farm country we kids knew there were some orchards we did not dare trespass upon, lest the irate farmers light up our asses with shotgun shells loaded with rock salt. Not generally fatal, but pretty painful nonetheless. That said, if some farmer blew up a trespasser with a real shotgun, folks might lament the outcome, but they would blame the trespasser, not the farmer. Now, this was more than half a century ago, and firearms rights were in far better shape than they are today. So I believe your initial premise is incorrect.

    What really does endanger firearms civil liberties is a change in the American mindset from blaming crooks (and absolving them of all responsibility for their choices and deeds) to excusing them, and consequently demanding that citizens pay more attention to the “rights” of criminals than to their own constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties.

    When we permit that viewpoint to poison our own to the point where we worry far more about not breaking the myriad of laws infringing on our rights to keep and bear arms for our own defense of life and property in favor of the rights of criminals, we are buying into the precepts of tyranny. And the implementation of those precepts has been so insidious most folks don’t even understand that’s what they are doing. Because it’s all for our own good, right?

  61. I’ve read this comment blog and thought I’d add some practical perspective. I’m the guy (Jones) who was quoted in the article about the shot going into the hollow. The fact is that this was an incredible tense situation and all hypotheticals aside, Niederhauser acted with incredible clarity of thought through it all. To clarify, he did not shoot at a “fleeing” car. The media reports make it sound like the car was going down the street with Niederhauser in pursuit. In reality, the car had been blaring it’s horn for half a minute to alert the thief inside the home and when the driver saw Neiderhauser backing the theif out of the house to the front porch, she put the car in reverse and began slowly rolling back. The front of the car was about 10 feet from Niederhauser when he attempted to disable it. The ballistics investigation using laser tracking equipment showed the shot going through the tip of a snow bank directly where the car tire would have been. There were no marks found on the driveway meaning the bullet hit the car and the only person in danger of a ricochet was Niederhauser.

    The shot into the hollow was into a HUGE wooded space down a steep ravine. Again, a purposely placed shot that put no one in danger. I am not going to debate if he should or should not have taken those shots but I will offer that the net effect of doing spared the life of the career criminal, stopped him for the police and eventually contributed to catching the getaway driver. Two bad people off the street, no one was hurt including any bystanders.

    Niederhauser knew that the shots he fired would be controversial when he was firing them. he felt like it was his moral duty to do everything he could to stop them even if he would pay a legal price to do it. He was truly concerned about his conscience knowing that someone else would be hurt if he didn’t do his part. He really did think about these things when he was holding the man at gunpoint. Very clear thinking.

    My learnings from this incident are: 1 – Shoot the guy when he has the crowbar in his hand, 2 – Keep your mouth shut when the police arrive if they will have any opportunity to interpret law against you, 3 – The police will act like they are your friend until the chief decides to press charges, then those same friendly officer will treat you like a criminal, 4 – hire a good attorney and don’t mess around with amateurs. The legal system is stacked against the citizen and in favor of the criminal, 5 – Police chiefs, city attorneys and city councils are political animals and quickly change directions when the community expresses outrage. They conveniently settled on lesser charges (likely firing a weapon within city limits) when faced with the reality of hundreds of angry citizens attending the council meeting that night. As part of the settlement, they add insult to injury and demand Niederhauser to read a statement supporting and praising the police’s actions?!? Stay tuned, this may not be over yet.

  62. Thanks for that update, Mr Jones.

    Keep us apprised. As you may note from the tone of my posts, I’m squarely on the side of Niederhauser, mostly because I despise the law being “zero-tolerance”; if Mr Niederhauser was cognizant of what he was doing and used the gun responsibly — that is, he didn’t but anyone but the criminals in danger — than it makes no sense to charge him, or “make and example” of him.

    All you’re doing at that point is teaching others that they’re better off not protecting their property, because it isn’t worth the legal hassle.

    Which I suspect is what the political class wants: take away the individual’s inherent right to protect himself and his property, but make him surrender that right rather than have the state actively try to usurp it.

    This was the point of my original post on the subject. My secondary point was that I wasn’t going to assume from a media report that he’d used his weapon irresponsibly. After all, this is the same media who can’t really define an “assault weapon” yet throw around the term as if they’re authorities on the subject.

  63. EpicCowlick, if your account is true, Niederhauser should have got an award, not arrested. Personally, I would have kept the guy on his belly in the house and called 911, but that’s not to say I think what he did was wrong. He was just more ambitious than I imagine I would have been.

    Bill, I’m 52, and when I was a lad there was a farmer in the community with a rep for shooting rock salt at anyone straying onto his property. The rumor was enough to discourage any first person accounts of it actually happening. I am a strong advocate of the right to bear arms, and I’m all for the death penalty for murders, in fact I think the process needs great streamlining.

    Having said that, I also believe liberty requires personal responsibility, and a right to due process for the accused is also an important part of the constitution.

  64. Here is a nice web site. Scroll down for “Latest Armed Self-defense News Stories”. The Republicans should invite all those people to the state of the union speech tomorrow to counter Obama’s parade of gun violence victims.

  65. All you’re doing at that point is teaching others that they’re better off not protecting their property, because it isn’t worth the legal hassle.

    And conversely, you’re abating the risk inherent in being a criminal.

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