Pro life killers?

Unless you’ve been living in a box, you’ve probably heard of Joe Horn, a 61 year old white male who shot two dark skinned males (who looked African American but are in fact of Puerto Rican descent)for breaking into his neighbors’ house.

If you haven’t read the story, read this first.

Joe White wasn’t in any physical danger himself, and neither were his neighbors since they weren’t home at the time. The 9-11 call clearly indicates that White intended to kill the two men when he walked out the door even though the 9-11 operator repeatedly told him to stay inside.

If the men had broken into White’s home while he was present, then a case could be made for self-defense.

But this isn’t what happened. Joe White took matters into his own hands and shot the two men point blank.

As I was watching footage of the clash between black protestors and the white neighbors, I couldn’t help but think about the irony of it all. No, I don’t think it can be proven that this was a racially motivated crime, but yes I think what Joe White did was wrong. The 9-11 operator was right. Human life is more valuable than possessions. As a Christian, I shudder to think about the fact that these two men, if they had been allowed to live, could have turned their lives over to Christ at a point in the future, but now the opportunity has been snuffed out. At least for these two men, judgment triumphed over redemption.

It saddens me that so many of the neighbors, and those in the surrounding neighborhoods stuck up for this man, especially knowing that this area is one of the most conservative Christian areas in the country. 70% of this particular county voted for Republican Tom De Lay and I’ll make a bet that many of them voted for him solely for the reason that De Lay is pro-life. It also saddens me that so much of the commentary I’ve read on this subject, again by conservative Christians, feel that what White did was the right thing.

No, I don’t think the law should treat Joe White the same was as those who kill for “less noble” reasons, but isn’t it odd that so many who call themselves pro-life are so eager to defend the right to kill?

Posted on December 4, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Aaron, Can you expound on what you mean when you say that judgement triumphed over redemption? From what I read, judgement will happen to everyone. Do you have differing thoughts or am I just being paranoid? Also, while this case seems fairly black and white ( oops that actually wasn’t meant to be a pun ), I will say that the old “only in self defense” theory is really shabby. I know that many Christians have chosen pacifism because they think “How could I kill someone who might be a potential Christian?”, but if they really value potential choices for Christ than they would be asking, “How can I sit by and do nothing and then this person goes and kills several potential Christians?”. Some times taking a life means saving lives. Now that probably doesn’t apply in this case ( I can’t be sure without all of the details- which it sounds like no one has ), but I wish more people would think about the consequences of inaction as much as they think about the consequences of action.Anywho, your points are valid. I just want to note that there is a difference in killing a dangerous adult and murdering an innocent defenseless baby. Pete

  2. I thought you would bring those points up Pete. Believe it or not, I actually agree with the points you made. (It does happen some time) This is why I’m not a total pacifist (notice I used the word total) and neither am I against the death penalty, although I feel it should be used sparingly. As far as my statement “judgment triumphed over redemption” I meant it in human terms, not in terms of God’s ultimate judgment. Perhaps these men could have made something of themselves, or they could have given their lives to Christ and done good things with their lives, but they were judged prematurely by human hands and denied that opportunity. Point taken on the difference between killing a dangerous adult and killing a defenseless baby.What upset me about this case though was there was no way of knowing whether the burglars were actually a physical threat to anyone. They were killed because they stole someone’s physical possessions. Even in the Law of Moses, the penalty for thievery is not death, but restitution. Scripture values human life over material things…which is why I’m so upset that so many Christians have defended this man’s actions.

  3. Yeah I know. I’m with you man. It really sounds like a case of a man who watched too many movies where the good guy shot the bad guy and everything was good.Pete

  4. Glad you see it that way Pete. Interesting comment on the movies, I haven’t thought of it that way before.

  5. I see several flaws in your assertions, Aaron. First, you’ve obviously been only hearing national coverage of this story where they conveniently leave out details which I believe to be important. There actually was an undercover police officer on the scene who witnessed the shootings and his expert opinion was that the shootings were justified. Joe Horn discussed Texas law with the 911 operator because he apparently didn’t want to break the law. Horn stopped the thieves while crossing his property, telling them to “freeze until the police arrive”. Instead of stopping, one of them jumped toward Horn, and then was shot. Also, Joe Horn’s neighborhood had an escalating crime problem, forcing his neighbors to live in fear, with the police unable to do much to stem the crime.It seems to me that you’re assigning a label (pro-life) and then pointing out the contradiction your label has with what you think happened. From my point of view (a local Houstonian) I would suggest the label of “pro-justice” for Joe Horn and the majority of Texans who feel like defending life and property is a worthwhile cause. Because of this pro-justice stance, I can be both pro-life and pro-death penalty without contradiction. Describing Joe Horn as a man who watched too many movies is completely unfounded. If he was some sort of vigilante killer and wanted to take the law into his own hands, why did he discuss the law with the 911 operator? He wanted the crime in his neighborhood to stop, and I find it hard to fault him for that.I’m sure that Joe Horn did not wake up that morning wondering if he was going to have the opportunity to kill someone that day. I suspect the burglars, who reported hit as many as 4 homes a day, might have. Joe Horn is a man who was put in an unfortunate position, and had to make some decisions that few of us would be able to make. I’m sure he regrets his decision now, but I find it difficult to fault him.I should disclose that I have my own biases against this type of crime….

  6. Thank your for your perspective Bruce. It’s always good to get another side of a story.

  7. Bruce, I am very pro-justice and am quite the proud gun owner (as Aaron could tell you). I stand by my comments. If you are pro-justice and understand the use of guns as self defense tools, which most Texans do, than you know that he was outside of the bounds of using deadly force. Quite frankly, if there was no threat to life, he should have never drawn his weapon at all. Holding a gun on someone until cops arrive has time and again been proven to be a bad idea. Think about it. You force the person to sit there and think about how they will be spending years in jail if they don’t make a move. Are you really surprised that they made a move? Instead, if the man calls it in, gives the police the license plate number, and clamly watches from his window, the thieves have no reason to think that they’ve been spotted and end up getting nabbed a mile or two down the road.Now if someone is being harmed or there is a legitimate threat to life, things change, but in this case the man was in the wrong and I really do believe that it came from a sense of justice learned from Hollywood.Pete

  8. Although I disagree with Bruce’s perspective on this particular case, I can certainly understand where he is coming from. For the record, I also happen to be both pro-life and pro-death penalty and I don’t see a contradiction between the two. I do think, however, that the death penalty should be reserved for the most extreme cases.

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