Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Information, Please

Headline: Texan Kills Thieves: Hero or Homicidal?

A few quotes from this...story. "Don't go outside the house," the 911 operator pleaded. "You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think."

"You want to make a bet?" Horn answered. "I'm going to kill them." (Broadsword: I wonder if he really said this? Who is more believable, the AP or...take your choice. )

"The case brought back memories of Bernard Goetz..."

"At issue is whether it was reasonable for Horn to fear the men..."

Comments I left at the site:

Why are the only two possibilities Heroic or Homicidal? Who that is homicidal calls 911? Does the behavior of the criminals bear no scrutiny whatsoever? Have they no responsibility at all for their actions? Whose choice was it put them downrange of a shotgun? They were just innocent workmen plying their day job of breaking into homes, taking property they did not earn or own? If only that wicked man had left them be, they would not have lunged towards him? They really only wanted to be left alone? And this, "It's horrible," she said. "He was so eager, so eager to shoot." How do we know his state of mind? If he was "eager to shoot", why did he call 911 first? Eager to shoot shoots first, checks for signs of life, shoots again to be certain, and maybe then calls 911 to dispose of the bodies. Weren't the dead "Eager, so eager to attack a citizen?" Suppose Mr. Horn had been unarmed and himself beaten to death. Would the AP quote his widow, "Why were these men eager, so eager, to stove in my husbands skull?" I'm holding my breath AP. Furthermore, "The case brought back memories of Bernard Goetz.." Brought back memories for whom? What memories need bringing back from the dead are memories of fear criminals ought to have at committing felonies in broad daylight and not so broad night time. They need to fear being arrested. They need to fear being prosecuted. They need to fear not being released on bond. They need to fear 6-10 for a first offense. They need to fear having their heads stoved in an aroused populace, enraged by a journalism that remembers only those poor criminal boys now resting at room temperature. If those poor criminals boys had elected to go into another line of work, they would not have had that close encounter with groups of 4-aught.Lastly, "At issue...said Fred C. Moss..." So what if he teaches criminal law? Does he have any experience or training with firearms? If so, what sorts? Has he ever been a victim of crime? Does he believe in personal responsibility or victim theology? Has he ever been assaulted, and thereby have some sense of how quickly an assault can occur, and an appreciation of the emotional state following an assault? Same question about emotional state afterwards when a citizen believe they are at risk of great bodily harm or death, and use deadly force to defend themselves. As long as "Big Journalism" perpetuates their this-side-versus-that-side "stories", and inserts their own passive voice narrative into "stories", (those ubiquitous phrases "some say", or "the fear is"), such "news" reports no news, fails to give readers sufficient facts, contexts and data to understand or make up their own minds regarding current events. Think about the day to day reporting of newspapers and television. How is one day's "story" connected at all to the next days? Reporting has become just fireworks, day after day after day. Fireworks get old when every snow festival, every baseball game, every home run ball and halftime show is occasion to set them off. Tell me about the fireworks makers, or the history of gunpowder, or medicines made from sulphur, or the biases of Liz Austin Petersen, AP writer. Is she homicidal, or heroic?

Broadsword: To reiterate, nothing whatsoever is said about the two thieves' behavior. No questions about their motives, questions about their choices. What was the state of their consciences? Who is responsible for another man's conscience? The law will decide whether Mr. Horn will be charged with any crimes, but if he had been killed, would we hear from the parents of the thieves saying, "They didn't mean to kill him. He should have stayed in his house."?

Broadsword, update 11/28: It may seem I am criticizing Mr. Fred Moss. That is not my intention, and if it seems so, it reflects my poor writing abilities. I think the journalist's only asking about the legal inferences but none of the other questions reveals her ignorance, and possibly bias.

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