Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

But he never got into trouble

How many times have we seen someone say that after a loved one has been killed doing something he — or she — shouldn’t have been doing? In the latest case, three Oklahoma teens, ranging in age from 16 – 19, broke into a home. Dressed in black, wearing masks and with at least one sporting brass knuckles, they chose the wrong house to rob. The house was not unoccupied at the time. Instead of finding easy pickings, the teens were confronted by one of the residents of the home.

The young man who came face-to-face with the three did so armed and he protected himself and the other occupants of the house. He opened fire and the three who broke in were killed. In the time since, a 21-year-old young woman has been arrested. Her alleged role in what happened was as planner and getaway driver. The possible charges against her include three counts of murder because Oklahoma, like other states, has a statue that allows for the charging of someone with murder if someone is killed in the course of a crime in which they are involved. It doesn’t matter if they pulled the trigger or not.

Now, there’s been some debate since this incident about whether or not it was right for the young man to defend his home with an AR-15. You know the weapon I mean. It’s one of those “evil” assault rifles. Fortunately, those condemning him for the use of the AR have been few and far between. Most of them are smart enough to understand that he did what I think most of us would in his situation — he protected himself and his family from masked intruders.

What prompted this post, however, was an interview I read with one of the so-called victim’s grandfather’s. I understand that he is hurting and he wishes his grandson had not been killed. But the so-called excuse that the teen had never gotten into trouble before rings hollow. Most “good” kids don’t dress in black, wear masks and don brass knuckles before breaking into someone else’s house have never done anything wrong. It usually means they’ve never been caught or the family member had never been advised of the trouble their kin had gotten into.

My question is this: what was the young man supposed to do when confronted with three masked intruders? He could, presumably, see the brass knuckles. One could also assume there was a threat from the three — or at least that the young man felt threatened. I know I certainly would have were I to walk into my kitchen and find three intruders there.

Was the young man supposed to wait until they struck him with the brass knuckles? If he had, what sort of condition would he have been in? Would he have been able to protect himself, much less anyone else in the house?

Or was he supposed to wait to see if the intruders had other weapons?

Or maybe he should have just winged one of the intruders on the hope that, while doing so, the other two didn’t pull their own guns and shoot him or someone else?

The young man acted legally, at least as far as I can tell from media reports. It is a shame that three teens lost their lives but they did so solely because of decisions they made. Had they not listened to the young woman who is currently charged as their accomplice, they wouldn’t have broken into the house. Had they not worn masks and carried brass knucks, they might not have been shot. Instead, the young man who confronted them might have not felt so threatened he saw only one way out.

Choices have consequences and, in this one, those consequences were fatal. It doesn’t matter if the grandfather knew of no other problems his grandson might have experienced. What matters are the choices the young man made that night. I feel for his family, and for the families of the others who died with him that night. But I also feel for the young man who found himself faced with the decision of either protecting himself and his loved ones or standing aside and letting three masked intruders do who knew what to him and them.

However, saying the young man had never before been in trouble rings too close to the defense set forth for Ethan Couch after he killed and injured a number of young people while driving drunk. It was argued he shouldn’t be held as accountable as others because his parents had never taught him that actions have consequences. Isn’t it time to quit coddling our kids and teaching him that, in real life, what we do will have an impact on ourselves and others and that it might not always be good?

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9 Comments

  1. piotr1600

    I have grandchildren – so I do have a great deal of sympathy for grandpa’s loss & pain.

    But he needs to STFU about “fair”: had it devolved to a physical altercation, 3:1 odds, with them armed (BTW – they had knuckles and a knife), and the intended victim not, would have meant that the victim lost – hard & fast – unless he managed to escape somehow.

    It’s not a game, and it’s not a Hollywood movie, and they have no excuse at all for not knowing what could possibly happen: it’s Oklahoma, and we are known to be well armed.

    • I totally agree. Breaking into a home in OK is like breaking into one here in TX. You ought to know there is a very high probability that the homeowner will have at least one gun in the house and, if you’re really “lucky”, it will be on the owner at the time you break in.

  2. Tom

    In many states, simply entering someone’s home is deemed sufficient justification for lethal force due to the number of times burglars have killed occupants. The kid was completely justified in the shooting based on what I’ve seen.

    As for the would be burglars, I have no pity. I can’t muster any. He’d never done anything wrong before? False. Remarkably few criminals start with home invasion. I’d be very surprised to find out that these three hadn’t been involved in numerous crimes previously, and if not convicted, at least arrested. Maybe it was only one who was the real problem child here, and he simply talked the other two into it, but you know what? Anyone who tried to talk me into a crime found themselves down a friend, so I can’t develop much sympathy for them either.

    I suspect that the grandfather chalked any previous interactions the kid had with police as “kid’s stuff” and didn’t heed the warning signs for what they were.

    • I have a hard time feeling sorry for the three who broke in — or for the young woman who thought up the idea for the break-in and drove the getaway car. I do feel for the families, though. However, I don’t buy that the one kid had never gotten in trouble before. Gramps might not know about it but I guarantee there was something in the past that helped lead to the young man breaking in this time.

      • Tom

        Agreed. Gramps either didn’t see it, or it was kept from him so he wouldn’t think ill of his grandkid.

  3. Too bad, so sad the little bushwhackers got themselves whacked. Yeah, I can understand the families’ pain in losing loved ones, but the little dolts brought it upon themselves. They were by no means innocent little darlings.

    One of the articles about it I saw on Yahoo! had a headline something like “Oklahoma case brings new difficulties about Stand Your Ground”. Only it’s not a SYG case. It might be Castle Doctrine, since they were inside the house illegally and armed. And no where in the article did it mention what any of these difficulties might be, other than three teens got themselves offed in the commission of a felony.

    • I’ve seen similar headlines and the thing they all seem to be referring to is charging the young woman who was the so-called “brains” behind the break-in with three counts of murder. Of course, that has nothing to do with the Stand Your Ground or Castle doctrines. It does have to do with felony murder (or whatever OK calls it).

  4. One of the local accounts went way beyond calling it “Castle Doctrine” or “Stand Your Ground.” They said that this was an exercise of the “Make My Day” law, and included a clip from Dirty Harry for emphasis.

    • I heard that as well. I think it was on one of the national news broadcasts and claimed “make my day” was what the law was called in OK.

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