Shooting to save your Property...


January 2, 2003, 07:18 PM
The "Shooting to save your dog" thread, along with a similar "shooting over property" thread on TFL, sparked this "continuation" thread.

1. In your locale, are you currently legally justified in shooting to save your property? (C'mon Texans!)

2. Do you feel morally justified in doing so?

3. Would you shoot to save your property?

4. If it WERE legal to shoot over your property, would you?

An interesting point to keep in mind: What if loss of said property would cause the individual a GREAT financial hardship?

Some other big points:

- Some might say "What if the man is only stealing to feed HIS family?" I have thought about that, and while it may *seem* to be a "noble" cause, if the man is of such high moral fiber, wouldn't he find ANY job possible, or at least beg or borrow? I think any of these alternatives are better than theft....

-It seems to me that the only people who should have a problem with a policy of shooting to protect property, as with life or anything else, are those who would violate said policy, and those are people who probably need to be shot anyway.

Don't steal, kill, rape, etc. and you won't get shot over it!

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January 2, 2003, 07:24 PM
1. No

2. Yes

3. No

4. Yes

January 2, 2003, 07:27 PM
Maybe on the first one, although if you keep coming with the two dogs chewing on you I think I could make a case for fear on my own life...

The remainder are all yes: regardless of your state of affairs, I have responsibilities too.

January 2, 2003, 07:43 PM
#1 It depends

#2 YES

#3 YES

#4 YES

I worked I sweated to earn it and I will be damned if I will let someone that has no right to it, someone that sits on his butt all day on the porch come and steal it. Yes I will shoot and I will also sleep good that nite also!

January 2, 2003, 07:55 PM
#1. It depends

#2. yes

#3. yes

#4. yes

January 2, 2003, 07:56 PM
1. No. AFIAK, PA state law only authorizes "reasonable force" in the protection of personal property.

2. Lethal force? I doubt it. "Reasonable force?" Absolutely. If the thief escalates things to a point where I must act in self-defense, that would be most unfortunate.

3. See above.

4. See above.

Standing Wolf
January 2, 2003, 09:52 PM
1. No.

2. It would depend on the property. I doubt I'd hesitate an instant before shooting someone attempting to set fire to my house, but can't see myself shooting someone attempting to steal a garden hose.

3. I'd be sorely tempted, but don't care to go to prison.

4. Again, it would depend on the property.

January 2, 2003, 10:03 PM
Texas provides for the use of deadly force to protect property from various forms of damage and from theft.

Do you actually know of anyone willing to risk his life to damage or steal my property? That is the person who will make the decision for the use of deadly force, not me.

January 2, 2003, 10:04 PM
I doubt I'd hesitate an instant before shooting someone attempting to set fire to my house,

Hadn't considered this. Have to say I'm with the original poster. I'm not sure what it is about arson, whether it's the reasonable expectation of harm to people inside the dwelling or something else, but I'd see that as a justified shoot.

January 2, 2003, 10:32 PM
I do believe my position on this issue is well established. I shall reiterate however. To all questions asked: Absolutely.

January 2, 2003, 10:44 PM
1- Probably not.

2- Absolutely.

3- It depends on the property.

4- Every single time. I can't think of a better deterrent to thievery.

January 3, 2003, 12:06 AM
I am only going to shoot to defend life and not property. That is my call. Killing to defend my 27" screen TV is really not something I really want to do. If my family is endangered in any way I will shoot without hesitation.

January 3, 2003, 12:48 AM
In the old west they hanged horse thieves when they caught them. Stealing a mans horse had the potential to remove the victims ability to survive in the hostile environment. I think the same rationale could apply to a mans automobile.

The wealthy can speak of the value of human life vs. the value of property, and how property can be replaced and human lives cannot. What of those who eke out an existance from day to day. Their loss of property is potentially devastating to them, and is infinitely harder to replace.

This being the case Im not sure that shooting the BG to protect ones property is so far out of bounds.

God made man but Sam Colt made them equal.

January 3, 2003, 01:45 AM

Mark Benningfield
January 3, 2003, 02:08 AM
Hello All.

Here's how I see it:

You have an inalienable right to your property. If someone is stealing your property, they are treading on your rights. As a responsible moral agent, you are required to defend your rights and the rights of others. Now, this doesn't mean that if said BG is trying to swipe the aforementioned garden hose, you can just blow him to Kingdom Come. Any prudent person has to take progressive action commensurate with the threat:

1. "Hey, put my dang garden hose down!!"
2. [Grabs hose] "I said, PUT MY HOSE DOWN, BUD!!!"
3. [Pushes back] "Don't push me, buddy! And put my hose down!"
4. [Ducks punch, swings back] "You're really asking for it, now! Put down the hose!"
5. [BG produces weapon, BG gets plastered] "Shoulda put down the hose!"

Some might say, "Well, you just shot a man over a garden hose." But that's not true. You just shot a man because you were defending your rights and he persisted in the face of your defense.

January 3, 2003, 07:36 AM
Arson meets the criteria for DPF if the dwelling is occupied. I don`t think that`s changed in the 29 years when I was in the police academy. Local laws may differ.

January 3, 2003, 10:25 AM
Depends what was being stolen and wha level the violence was taken to. A life is worth more than property. However, if I were to shoot someone in the leg (non-lethatl) trying to steal my car then good.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 3, 2003, 10:46 AM
1. Yes

Texas does allow lethal force in defense of property; but you can still go to jail if it looks bad.

2. Yes

You make the choice to come into my house to take my property, you had better understand that getting shot is a possible outcome. If I was stealing from someone's house, I would expect to get shot if caught and the person doing it would be within his rights.

3. No

Ethically - I know lots of people who started out a little on the wild side and who now are stable, reliable adults who are a benefit to their communities. Some of them have done things that might well justify shooting. I am not going to take someone's life away over property if they don't present a threat to me or my loved ones. They are still someone's husband, brother, son, friend, etc. and it isn't worth the price of a TV. Keep coming back though and my thoughts on this might change...

Practically - In the CHL class I took I was told that out of 52 shootings by CHL holders (at that date), 51 were no-bills (justifiable/no indictment) by the grand jury and 1 was still pending. Out of those 52 possible criminal charges, there were 52 civil law suits costing between $10,000 and $55,000 to defend against. So, lose a TV set and stereo or risk imprisonment and legal fees (worst outcome) or $10,000 in legal fees defending a spurious lawsuit against someone who can't pay your legal fees (best outcome)?

BTW, the one pending case was a CHL holder who pursued an unarmed man stealing his car stereo for several blocks ordering him to stop with a drawn handgun. The guy dropped the stereo and the CHL still pursued. Finally the guy spun around and reached for his belt (CHLs version of story) and got shot. Texas law on property notwithstanding, the case was looking pretty grim for him.

4. No

For reasons outlined above.

January 3, 2003, 11:45 AM
Don't steal, kill, rape, etc. and you won't get shot over it! Ditto.

Double Naught Spy
January 3, 2003, 11:58 AM
Shooting to save property?

I think this is a very gray area in terms of what people perceive as shooting to save property. During a robbery, for example, a bad guy points a gun at you or a knife and tells you to give him your wallet. You draw, shoot, and kill the bad guy. You had $6.00 in your wallet, credit cards, ID, and some family pictures, plus a shopping list for groceries needed for dinner that night. Did you just kill a person over the contents of your wallet, totalling no more than a few dollars? Many people would argue that is exactly what you have done. That would be wrong, however. You defended your life from a bad guy who threatened you with harm. At the point and time your well being is put in danger, the fact that the bad guy wants your wallet is no longer of consequence. The confrontation is now one of life and death, not for the contents of your wallet. The issue of the wallet is only salient in that it is what attracted the bad guy to you.

I realize a lot of folks would gladly turn over their wallet and chalk up the incident to experience, file a police report, and comfort themselves with the notion that they could not use violence to protect something like their wallet. This sort of reasoning is based on the concept that the bad guy is essentially negotiating with you for your wallet. "Your wallet or your life" type of negotiations. The obvious choice is to give the guy your wallet, only why would you believe you will still get to keep your life? If the guy is breaking the law by robbing you and threatening your life, then why would you believe he is negotiating in honest good faith and will simply leave after getting what he wants? Giving him the wallet does not assure you that the bad guy will leave without harming you.

In such robbery situations, it isn't about the property at all. It is all about my life and the lives immediately around me.

Change the scenario. You are standing next to your car and you have your wallet on the hood a couple feet from you. The contents of the wallet are the same. You hear footsteps, turn around, and just catch a glimpse of a guy running full speed who has snatched your wallet off the hood of the car. Do you shoot him? That is your call to make. In that case, I would chalk the incident up to experience. My life is obviously not in danger, no threat was ever made, and now both my wallet and the bad guy are quickly gained distance from me.

So, many of the situations where people are said to have been killed over X amount of goods really are not situations where people are killed over the goods, but over threat or risk to life.

All that is in public. What about in your home? You come home and find a burglar in your home. Would you shoot the burglar? In some states, this is allowed by law and in some it is not. What if you wake up in the middle of the night and find a burglar in your home?

My thoughts are that if somebody is in my home, an intruder, they are a direct risk to my safety. Rarely do they wear neon signs that stipulate the reasons for being in your home, such as "I AM HERE FOR THE TV ONLY." As one mother repeatedly proclaimed on a talk show discussion concerning her dead son who was one of several unarmed kids that invaded this guy's home as part of a gang initiation, "The penalty for trespassing is not death!" Sure enough, the penalty for trespassing is not death. However, the homeowner was 100% justified in his actions. He went as far as to identify himself, announce that he would shoot, and the boys advanced on his position, coming down the hall to where the bedrooms were. That is when the guy opened fire. He perceived a very real threat to his well being by a group of intruders. He had know way of knowing their intent, but did know his family was in danger. No doubt the legal system found that he was justifiable in fear for his life.

Personally, I don't believe in protecting property with lethal force. That is my call. However, I live in Texas and I very much appreciate having the right to use lethal force in certain types of property-related circumstances. Like carrying a gun, it is an option I like to have at my disposal and that I get to make the decision on and not some politician several hundred miles away making it for me.

All in all, I would say that there are some very real risks for those people who wish to commit crimes against their fellow humans and the risks may include serious injury or death. The stakes can be very high whether the criminals understand that or not.

January 3, 2003, 12:02 PM
Well, my take on it is that we must be talking about property OUTSIDE of the home, not TVs and stereos, etc. Because ... if you break into my occupied home (if not occupied, I wouldn't be there, right?) then you are toast unless you are dam lucky. I don't have time to sort it out with a potentially armed invader. If you knowingly break into an occupied residence, then you must mean harm to the occupants.

Outside .... ? I suppose it might be the "garden hose" scenario: "Stop, put it down" ... BG attacks and then it is a self defense situation.

But I have to wonder about those poor ranch folks down on the border who are constantly getting their fences cut, animals killed, and property stolen and vandalized. I bet they can't get insurance on stuff anymore - besides, I never heard of insuring a barbed wire fence. Their livelihood and land are effectively being stolen from them.

I have to agree with Drjones - if it was legal and accepted to shoot to stop property theft, that type of crime would practically disappear.

Chris Rhines
January 3, 2003, 12:52 PM
1.) There isn't much state law to this effect in Indiana. In the absence of case law, I'll err on the side of caution and say no.
2.) Absolutely.
3.) It would depend on the property.
4.) It would depend on the property. Point being, the individual should have the option to decide whether or not his property is worth killing over, and under what circumstances.

- Chris

4v50 Gary
January 3, 2003, 01:00 PM
1) No
2) Yes
3) Yes
4) Yes

California does not permit the use of deadly force to protect property. Let me qualify my response to #3 (Would you shoot to save your property) by adding that I would do so only if it were legal. Say I was in the Silver State instead of the Golden State. You betcha I would. It's rehabilitation through reincarnation. However, being in Calif., it's a wrongful death suit and criminal charges.

January 4, 2003, 09:00 AM
Property can be replaced and the courts can handle that problem. The only thing worth shooting anybody over to me is my family's physical health and welfare. hint.....



January 4, 2003, 09:49 AM
I think DNS's post is pretty much on time with my thoughts on the matter.

1) Being from Texas, it is a "justification to the defense" for using lethal force to protect property. I like having that right.

2) Morally, I feel justified defending my personal property especially if protecting my property exposes me to personal harm. Again, this is circumstancial in terms of what the total context of the situation

3) Depends on the property and other elements of the situation,

4) N/A

Generally, I'm would prefer not to go this route. I believe it will be tough sledding through the judical process and it may bother me to take this action on personal level. That said, I don't lose any sleep when I hear about a BG getting popped for stealing property. In that case, the BG assigns a value to his own life equal to the value of the item he's stealing or destroying.

January 4, 2003, 10:04 AM
Over a water hose..., maybe not, but you'd better hope I'm in a good mood. Anything else and you're going to get very permanantly damaged. Everything I own I paid for by being puked on, bled on, and cussed at. That makes me a tad bit protective. As far as civil suits go, I'll file a counter suit for the cost of the bullet and the cleaning bill. And if it's my day off, I've got 200 acres and a shovel, I wonder if you'd be missed.

Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but I just can not stand a thief.

January 4, 2003, 10:16 AM
We're not allowed to shoot over property here, however, IF there is an intruder in my house, I WILL SHOOT. I don't know or particularly care why they're in my house, only that they are. With that being said, I believe that one is moraly, if not legaly allowed to use force to protect what one owns if it is deemed necessary by the individual.

January 4, 2003, 12:00 PM
In Utah, you're not allowed to even show your weapon unless you are encountered with a deadly threat. So the answer to #1 is No.

Going with the eye for an eye philosophy, I wouldn't feel justified in shooting someone over just stealing my crap.

Of course, if more states had laws like Texas and more people felt okay with shooting someone over steeling a garden hose, or whatever... we sure would have a lot less burglary!

January 4, 2003, 02:25 PM
Offhand, I can't think of any personal property I own that I would be willing to kill over. If, however, I have any inkling that someone intends to harm me or mine,( and that includes waking up in the middle of the night and finding an intruder in my home), I would do whatever was necessary and sleep well at night.

January 4, 2003, 07:05 PM
I agree with everyone that stuff is stuff and can be replaced, this is why I have fire insurance.

But I hate paying theft insurance.

Last time I checked, ohio's laws sucked. I have to be in fear of my life before doing much of anything.

I had some stuff stolen once as well. I learned the police showed up to make a report simply so I had something to send to my insurance, but at the time I had no insurance for theft. They made out like it was entirely my fault since my stuff would never be recovered.

And now due to budget problems prisoners are being released early in a lot of states.

I won't break ohio's laws, but I also won't trust the police or courts to change things anytime soon either.

Only states with the "make my day" property laws will change things.

I am of the opinion that if you ccw because you feel the police can't protect you then why would the police be able to protect your stuff?

And telling me to just get insurance is solving the symptom. The disease continues happily along.

January 4, 2003, 07:21 PM
para and the other one:

I'm not interested in the value of the physical item.

I'm more concerned with the moral and philosophical aspect of it:

Stealing is just wrong.

If more people were shot for stealing (as well as any other crime) those crimes would go down.

If not, we can always buy more bullets until it does go down! :D :p

Seriously, I don't look at it as, "why would you shoot someone over $x.xx?" Or; "I couldn't justify shooting someone over merely a _____ "

Its the principle....

January 4, 2003, 07:31 PM
1. Circumstances dictate.

2. Y

3. Y

4. Y


Gila Jorge
January 4, 2003, 07:59 PM
I'm fron Texas, obviously. Yes on all accounts as the decision to use deadly force was assumed and made for me by the criminal who was confronted by me. Now circumstances might mitigate killing him outright but it is unlikely. Mitigation might only get me or my household killed.

January 4, 2003, 08:12 PM
1. No
2. No
3. No
4. No

I'd shoot to defend a life. Property can be replaced, but that's just my crazy take on the subject...:rolleyes:

January 5, 2003, 12:28 AM
I would most deffinately announce that I was armed and in fear of my life.

I wouldn't feel morally justified to shoot someone for stealing, but If the BG did anything other than run away then I would be forced to.

So property defense laws don't really matter if handled like this. If the BG doesn't leave he obviously intends on doing more than just steal. At that point it's no longer a property issue.

Mike Irwin
January 5, 2003, 02:08 AM
Depending on the property, yes to all four questions.

If the property were my dogs? Without question.

January 5, 2003, 02:28 AM

* certain circumstances,i.e. about to commit arson, mine or other property, I'm legal.

January 5, 2003, 08:50 AM
I think it would be morally justifiable to use deadly force to defend property, as the thief is abusing your God given, government acknowledged civil rights.

I might not do it, but I thinkit would be justifiable.

Its easy not to get shot in this country, just dont do anything bad.

January 5, 2003, 09:45 AM
I'm from Texas (thank you God)

I don't think it wise to shoot someone over property and wouldn't want to trust a jury in such a case.

Unless the property crime escalates into a situation where I beleive my life is in danger, they can take my VCR. I'll try to be a good witness and let the police do their job.

January 5, 2003, 10:42 AM
Yes to all, with a few qualifiers, not for water sprinkler, yes for camper,not for my car jack, yes for my car, you get the idea.
Also not if I could stop any other way.

January 5, 2003, 12:44 PM
Dr Jones:
I'm not saying it's OK to steal ( my stuff, or anyone else's). Or even that it's morally wrong (for you, or anyone) to shoot a thief. I'm just saying that I've thought about it long and hard, and if I, or those around me , aren't threatened, I don't see myself shooting.

January 5, 2003, 02:44 PM
Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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