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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was an incident that happened in my town that is getting a lot of coverage in the local paper, making the aggressor look like a victim.

Here is one of the articles, There are many details left out such as the kids bringing baseball bats to the house and the kid who was shot, was fired upon after he tried to grab the gun away from the homeowner.

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/suffo ... 7909.story
 

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Not really justified. Mr. White and his son should of remained in the house instead of responding to the front yard with firearms.

Even if the kids would have broken a few windows, the outcome would have been better. If you put yourself into that situation and someone grabs for your gun, its either shoot or be shot. On top of that you know tempers are going to flare during the verbal confrontation, by responding with a firearm you are asking for trouble.

The kid that was killed was obviously headed down the wrong path. Sorry to see someone get themselves into this type of situation.
 

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Who knows what really happened? Maybe it will come out at trial, but I won't bet on it. I'll only say that when you go to someone's house and "call them out", you better be ready for a ****storm. And when it hits the fan, it never gets distributed evenly.
 

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I am sure there is plenty being left out right now that will hopefully come out in the trial. Lets face it folks going to a guys home blocking of the street and brandishing weapons is something not rising to the level of deadly force. Approaching a person and trying to take the gun from him is getting pretty close if not crossing the line to deadly force.

I guess it depends on NY law. Is he suposed to retreat if he can? He could have gone back in the house. Is he justified in using deadly force outside his home to protect his home? Most states don't allow deadly force to protect property.
 

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Chaco1 said:
Lets face it folks going to a guys home blocking of the street and brandishing weapons is something not rising to the level of deadly force.
Chaco,

As I understand it, they had some sort of weapons and numerical superiority (there were 4 of them). That is a deadly combination no matter how you slice it. The homeowner should have called the police and stayed inside, but you can't say that there wasn't a danger to the homeowner.

Casual Shooter
 

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Ok Lets read my post and remember words are precise things. I said Deadly Force not danger. Showing up at someones house and brandishing a baseball bat is not rising to the level of deadly force.

When the kid tried to grab the gun is he reasonable in fearing for his life? I can see where this could rise to the level of deadly force. Guy takes the gun from you and you are probably going to be shot aren't you?

Question I have is did they call the Police at all?

Of course there was a situtation where the Whites where in fear for their safety but at this point you can't just start shoting can you? They where probably required, I don't know NY law, to retreat until they could not anymore and should have gone back into the house or not come out at all. Of course I am Monday morning Quarterbacking and don't know the situation I was not there and neither where you.
 

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I believe they had hoped to scare the kids off by brandishing their guns. When that didn't work, things went sour.

They didn't need to retreat. They just needed to stay inside.

In my experience, there are three factors that justify the use of deadly force, and all three must be met:

1) Attacker must have motive to cause harm
2) Attacker must have ability to cause harm
3) Attacker must have access to cause harm

#1 seems to be met since they showed up.

#2 was satisfied because they had a numerical superiority and some sort of weapons.

#3 is the problem. The homeowner came out to meet them. He didn't have to do that, although I'm sure he was trying to defuse the situation. If this whole event took place inside the house after the kids broke in, then there would be no need to discuss this. As it is, I think the homeowner is on shaky ground with regards to the shooting.

I also think that duty to retreat laws are a bunch of baloney. If the 3 conditions above are met, you should not be compelled to do anything beyond defending yourself.

Casual Shooter
 

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I also think that duty to retreat laws are a bunch of baloney. If the 3 conditions above are met, you should not be compelled to do anything beyond defending yourself.
Our opinions mean nothing it is what the law states that matters.

What it comes down to is how much did Mr. White contribute to Escalating the situation and could he have deescalated it? Did he call the Police and if not why? If they were called and took forever to get there, that never happens, then he may have some sort of defense. If he did not call and took the law into his own hands well he is screwed.
 

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Tuff choice, stay in side, or go out. They could come up with a can of gas and start the house on fire very easily. Could have guns, kind'a surprised they didn't... When they blocked off the street, they opened the flood gate. I'd be assuming they ment to kill me if they blocked off my street. Don't know if I would have gone out, but don't blame him for doing it.

Agree with Jack here... they opened a can of whoop a$$, and now cry about what came out.

The debate is wether he should have gone out or not... I think the debate might well be, should they have gone over to that man's house, drunk, blocked off the street, and threatened him and his family... :shock:

bd
 

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There are three requirements that need to be met before deadly force can be justified. Providing what the article says is essentially true, they are in deep water.
The first is "Intent". In this case "Intent" may have been met depending on what was said. Just blocking off a street and shouting from the street/sidewalk does not meet "Intent."
The second is "Means". That the perpetrators outnumbered the Whites and were armed with baseball bats do not meet the "Means" requirement either as the Whites were initially safely inside their home. This put them out of the reach of the baseball bat wielding perpetrators.
The third requirement is of "Opportunity." This means that the perpetrators could reach the Whites with what they were armed with. Not only were the Whites in a secure place (inside of their house) but they were also outside the effective range of their aggressors weapons. What else the perpetrators may have done is not pertinent, only what they actually tried or had the means present counts.
Once the Whites left the safety of their home to confront their aggressors, they put themselves in jeopardy and in the line of harm. This removes one of the basic tenant of self defense; that of being a reluctant participant. Once the Whites armed themselves and went outside to confront their aggressors, they became an active participant and lost pretty much all protections they had. The law does not allow for one to meet their aggressor "half way" or any other distance. Now it is the hands of their attorneys and a jury.
 

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uglydog said:
The second is "Means". That the perpetrators outnumbered the Whites and were armed with baseball bats do not meet the "Means" requirement either as the Whites were initially safely inside their home. This put them out of the reach of the baseball bat wielding perpetrators.
uglydog,

I disagree with you on "means". The aggressors definitely had the means. They had superior numbers and baseball bats. Means is independent of opportunity. The aggressors did have means but they did not have opportunity while the Whites were inside of their house.

Casual Shooter
 

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At what point do all you "experts" think the man should be free to start shooting?

When the young white punk has a grip on the gun?
When you are inside and glass starts breaking?
When the front door is being kicked?
When you smell smoke?

If I show a gun, I will be fully prepared to use it.
If I have family in the house and I believe people on my property are a threat to them, I may choose to meet them outside in defense of the house and occupants.
If they are on my property, armed and threatening harm, and advancing on me, I will shoot.

In this case, accident is claimed. That may be convenient under the prevalent law. But it is also claimed that the punk went for the gun after the shooter turned back toward the house. If that is true, the kid got exactly what he deserved.
 

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For an accident - it sure was a good shot - right in the face.

You come in my front yard brandishing weapons, I can't help it you brought a stick to a gun fight.

Call the cops and stand in your doorway. They get closer than 20 feet or so and show no signs of retreat, there's a fist-full of BBs comin at your legs. Hang on tough-guy...this is gonna sting.
 

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Chaco1 said:
Showing up at someones house and brandishing a baseball bat is not rising to the level of deadly force.
What? I would think that my life is in danger if someone shows up at my house with a bat. I don't want to have to wonder if I will only get a leg crack or two, or beat to death in the head. I would have little issue shooting someone in this case.
 

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Look, we can all tell how this went down. The black kid gets in a little trouble at a party and gets booted out. He probably mouths off and goes home. Then the drunken testosterone-filled white italian boys are saying let's go kick his ni%%er ***. They show up at the guy's home, and Dad is like WTF? Then naturally the boys are calling them all f%%kin ni%%ers and theatening them. Not only is Dad and boy scared, but also getting agitated by this. My guess is Dad was offensive and defensive in the shooting. I bet he allowed himself to be taunted into killing one of them and I bet the white boys didn't think he would do it. The boys should have gotten the heck out of there the second they saw firearms. I blame them all - it was a Darwin night. I think Dad will get off and I won't be terribly bothered by it. If you are going to play with the big boys you have to suffer the consequences.

Sorry for the crude language but you know that's how this thing went down. Completely senseless.
 

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Casual Shooter said:
uglydog said:
The second is "Means". That the perpetrators outnumbered the Whites and were armed with baseball bats do not meet the "Means" requirement either as the Whites were initially safely inside their home. This put them out of the reach of the baseball bat wielding perpetrators.
uglydog,

I disagree with you on "means". The aggressors definitely had the means. They had superior numbers and baseball bats. Means is independent of opportunity. The aggressors did have means but they did not have opportunity while the Whites were inside of their house.

Casual Shooter
I still maintain that the agressors did not have the means to harm the Whites as the aggressors were some distance away on the outside, apparently still on or at least near the street/sidewalk, and the Whites were inside their house. I can't see any possible "Means" of the aggressors harming the Whites in this situation when they are more numerous and armed with clubs. "Means" is not fully independent of opportunity as the aggressor(s) must also have the potential ability to immediately inflict harm on the individual and varies based on the weapon type involved. This is where the "21 foot rule" has been established; generally anyone inside this distance with a contact weapon (knife, club, etc) is an immediate threat to a person not behind some sort of cover. With the outside structural surfaces of a building between the two parties, the type of weapon used by the aggressors, and the distance between the two parties, the aggressors did not have the "Means" in addition to the "Opportunity" to harm the Whites. When the Whites left the protection of their home to confront the individuals outside, they not only gave up the safety of their home's walls but also the legal safety afforded to them by state and case law by becoming active participants in this altercation. That their case for self defense is rather weak is also bourne out in the implied additional defenses in the story.

As for answering Spacegold's question of "When", I would say in this case they should have called and waited for the police until/unless entry was forced into their home or some other escalation of force that could cause great injury to their family was implemented (such as the implication of arson). The Whites were in no immediate threat of injury and as described, the worst they might have recieved some sort of property damage. Waiting in the house may be somewhat humiliating but is much less expensive than attorney fees and a lot less likely to put one in prison than going out and confronting the aggressors. It is something one needs to think about and is pretty well established in case law if not statutory. Changing precedent is fraught with danger to one's freedom not to mention finances.
 

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uglydog said:
"Means" is not fully independent of opportunity
Yes it is. All three factors are independent. All day long people come into contact with you. They have opportunity, but usually not the means to cause harm. On the other hand, if you walk into the kitchen and someone is chopping vegetables, that person has means and opportunity, but not intent. So don't shoot them. :)

Right now I have the means to cause harm to the White family. What I do not have is opportunity (or intent).

uglydog said:
as the aggressor(s) must also have the potential ability to immediately inflict harm on the individual
What you just described is "opportunity".

You are claiming that the aggressors don't have means if they don't have opportunity. If that were true, then we'd only talk about two factors (intent and opportunity) instead of three.

Someone can certainly have the means without having the opportunity.

uglydog said:
This is where the "21 foot rule" has been established; generally anyone inside this distance with a contact weapon (knife, club, etc) is an immediate threat to a person not behind some sort of cover.
This is what I call "imminent danger". At this point, the defendant should be prepared to take action because the intent, means, and opportunity have all been established.

Casual Shooter
 

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What? I would think that my life is in danger if someone shows up at my house with a bat. I don't want to have to wonder if I will only get a leg crack or two, or beat to death in the head. I would have little issue shooting someone in this case.
Ok again lets get this straight. If I show up at your house with a bat and am on the sidewalk or even in your yard near the street I am not a threat at that point. You can not start shooting can you? You may feel like you are in danger and of course a reasonable person should and would. But how can a person with a bat harm you when you are in your house? When they try to gain entry to your house then you can shoot. If you go outside and confront them well you have just escalated the situation and that is putting you in a position to be partially responsible.

Still no one can answer my question. Did the Whites call the police and when did they?

I think the kid got what he deserved. Did it have to come to this? No. Does White share some responsibilkity for what happend? Yes. Is he legally responsible? Well that depends on the law. Some states it is ok to shoot an intruder on your property and some you are required to retreat till you no longer can. What is the law here? It shows that you need to know the law in your area and what you can and can't do.
 

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Casual Shooter said:
Yes it is. All three factors are independent.
Not necessarily. "Means" is the ability to inflict harm. Part of the requirement is being able to reach and cause harm to the victim with a given weapon. Brandishing a club, knife, or other contact weapon while across the yard and outside of a building does not constitue "Means" as the distance and a physical barrier prevents the aggressor from using his chosen weapon to cause the victim harm. It also precludes "Opportunity" for the same reasons though a change in weaponry can alter the way either or both are looked at.

Casual Shooter said:
Right now I have the means to cause harm to the White family. What I do not have is opportunity (or intent).
If you are in NC and the Whites are still in Long Island, I highly doubt you have the means of causing them physical harm. Few people have at their disposal the means of reaching out several hundred miles to harm another. If this were true, one would be justified in shooting a person who threatened to go home, retrieve a weapon, then return to harm you. Since doing just this has sent a LARGE number of people to prison, it seems to be based on some faulty reasoning.

uglydog said:
as the aggressor(s) must also have the potential ability to immediately inflict harm on the individual

What you just described is "opportunity".
No, it is different as the one has to be armed with a weapon capable of reaching across the distance or barrier (either under its own power or what a jury of "reasonable people" would consider to be close enough if manually propelled) to cause harm. Again, this does have some overlap with "opportunity" but they are not intertwined. A bludgeon at 50 feet and especially with a building between does not give the aggressor the means of harming the victim. Now, replace that club with a Molotov cocktail or firearm and there is then a change in "Means."

Casual Shooter said:
You are claiming that the aggressors don't have means if they don't have opportunity. If that were true, then we'd only talk about two factors (intent and opportunity) instead of three.

Someone can certainly have the means without having the opportunity.
One can also have the opportunity without having the means. Example: a person can intend to harm another with a knife, gets within 20 feet of the intended victim but due to a physical barrier such as a wall of people, cannot close to within contact distance of the victim. In this case there is intent and opportunity (is within close proximity) but did not have the means to carry out the attack as the weapon lacked the needed range in this circumstance.

uglydog said:
This is where the "21 foot rule" has been established; generally anyone inside this distance with a contact weapon (knife, club, etc) is an immediate threat to a person not behind some sort of cover.
This is what I call "imminent danger". At this point, the defendant should be prepared to take action because the intent, means, and opportunity have all been established.

Casual Shooter[/quote]

I agree and "immenent danger" was something that was missing in the White's case until they decided to interject themselves into the problem by leaving the house. By doing so, they became active participants in this altercation and pretty much gave up any claim of self defense. Not becoming a larger part of the problem and causing an escalation is a very basic element in self defense.
 
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