BBC finds Salem case similar to shooting in UK


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WAGCEVP
July 6, 2003, 10:05 PM
BBC finds Salem case similar to shooting in UK
http://www.democratherald.com/articles/2003/07/06/news/oregon/state02.txt

SALEM - The British Broadcasting Corp. is picking up on the story of a
Salem man who shot and killed a 16-year-old intruder who broke into his
garage.

A BBC television crew will be filming in Salem for a few days, and say
they plan to draw parallels between the case and a similar incident in
England where a 16-year-old was shot and killed in a robbery.

The homeowner in England was convicted of murder and sentenced to life
in prison, while a grand jury cleared Linn Stordahl of Salem of any
charges.

Four years ago, British farmer Tony Martin shot and killed the 16-
year-old and wounded an older accomplice in a case nationally known in
Britain. The wounded intruder, a career criminal with 34 convictions,
served 18 months for the burglary.

Martin managed to reduce his sentence, and will soon be freed. He will
be released nearly two years after the release of the man who tried to
break into his home.

The story has captivated British tabloid readers - it's "a case that
shook the nation," according to the Daily Mail.

In the Salem incident, a grand jury decided Stordahl was justified in
shooting Anthony Choate on April 19. The teenager had broken into
Stordahl's garage and started a fire, then advanced on the homeowner
even after being warned to stop.

An autopsy revealed that Choate had a blood alcohol content of 0.31
percent, almost four times the legal limit to drive. Family and friends
say he might have been confused and thought he was in his own garage.

Stordahl has since been the target of vandalism, harassment and protests
outside his home.

The Martin case prompted widespread outrage among British residents,
said Carl Johnston, a producer for the BBC One program "Real Story." The
show will compare Britain's standards for armed self-defense with
America's, Johnston said.

"There is a lobby in this country that says the average man has the
right to protect himself, and damn the cost," Johnston said. "The Choate
case provides a cautionary note to say this is not always the way to go.
This kind of thing can happen."

The BBC crew plans to interview Choate's mother while they are in Salem.
Stordahl has not agreed to an interview.

Prosecutors accused Martin of staging an ambush, waiting for the
intruders to come into his house before opening fire. He had been
burglarized several other times and was tired of being a victim,
according to accounts of the shooting.

"The jury clearly believed he fired in anger, and convicted him," The
Guardian wrote in a recent profile of Martin. "In one television poll
soon after the verdict, 85 percent of those who voted said they believed
the jury had got it wrong."

Martin's conviction was reduced to manslaughter on appeal, and he is
scheduled for release in late July.

The burglar who survived, Brendon Fearon, 33, plans to sue Martin for
the leg wound he suffered. Even as he pursues his lawsuit, Fearon is
serving an 18-month sentence for supplying heroin.

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Boats
July 6, 2003, 11:37 PM
Perhaps the BBC should drop by the offices of the Salem Statesman-Journal and pick up a copy of my letter to the editor published in April congratulating the reporters for calling the intruder a "victim" twice early in the reportage and then never again during the aftermath. It would provide quite the contrast to the bleating of the English reaction to their case.

As I live in Salem, allow me some background for the rest of you. Mr. Choate, the decedent, age 16 apparently broke into the attached garage of Mr. Stordahl. The former was both drunk and high and had just been dumped in the road about six AM by "friends." Anyways, he stumbles into Mr. Stordahl's garage, apparently thinking he is in one of the outbuildings where he actually lived. He begins to build a fire in a corner of the garage, lacking the necessary element of a cast iron pot-bellied stove from home to work with. Alarmed by the noise, Mr. Stordahl, well into his 60s investigates armed with a single action .22lr revolver. He orders Mr. Choate to put out the fire. Mr. Choate doesn't acknowledge him and advances. He is shot one time, the bullet striking the carotid artery. Mr, Choate winds up in Evan Marshall's OSS database.

Soon after, the paper is replete with letters to the editor from the semi-literate friends of Mr. Choate. They uniformally can't understand why their friend was shot burning down someone's garage, after all, "he wouldn't hurt a fly." To be honest, though a misfit, Mr. Choate had no substantial criminal record like the miscreants in England. However, when a man's home is really his castle, one cannot expect to break in, start a fire, and expect to survive if non-responsive.

Mr. Stordahl has been cleared by a grand jury. I know of no one in the legal community who has heard of any inquiries into wrongful death by the survivors of Mr. Choate. A couple of weeks ago some girl friends of Mr. Choate were arrested for throwing rocks at the Stordahl house.

Tony Martin should emigrate. He'd be a welcome owner of any farm around here.

Pilgrim
July 6, 2003, 11:56 PM
Soon after, the paper is replete with letters to the editor from the semi-literate friends of Mr. Choate. They uniformally can't understand why their friend was shot burning down someone's garage, after all, "he wouldn't hurt a fly." To be honest, though a misfit, Mr. Choate had no substantial criminal record like the miscreants in England. However, when a man's home is really his castle, one cannot expect to break in, start a fire, and expect to survive if non-responsive.
We're almost to the point where if you shoot someone in self-defense you should hire a public relations firm along with a lawyer.

Pilgrim

Standing Wolf
July 7, 2003, 12:02 AM
Rarely does a day pass when I fail to feel grateful to our forefathers for having rebelled against the English and founded a republic.

English common law exists only outside England.

Boats
July 7, 2003, 12:18 AM
So I went to BBC One's Real Story. They purport to read and respond to each comment. Without further ado, I bring you my comments:

I note in one of my local papers in the mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon, that a certain individual of yours, a Mr. Johnston, is here with a crew filming about a home defense shooting which took place in Salem, April 19, 2003. He doubtless intends to contrast our blase approach to a self-defense shooting to the furor aroused over the Tony Martin incident in England.

Your producer was quoted in the Albany Democrat-Herald as saying, "There is a lobby in this country that says the average man has the right to protect himself, and damn the cost. The Choate case provides a cautionary note to say this is not always the way to go. This kind of thing can happen."

Armed self-defense in this country is larger than any "lobby" boogeyman allegedly being all that stands between the outlawing of the righteous shootings of criminals and the creation of a socialist nanny state paradise where yobs walk off with the fridge whilst one is in the living room.

Yes, in America, this "kind of thing," the freedom to effectively defend one's self and loved ones, happens when a then-suspected arsonist advances on an elderly homeowner in spite of commands to halt. I suppose the police and firefighters would have arrived in plenty of time to save the Stordahls lives and property from destruction by fire and spared Ms. Choate burial expenses? Who could possibly know that? Sorry, but not too many law-abiding taxpayers are mourning the passing of Mr. Choate.

Your Mr. Johnston would be well-advised to scour the letters to the editor of the Salem Statesman-Journal if he'd like to gauge the actual support for armed self defense in this community. I know, I know, Mr. Johnston is here fabricating the "Real Story." Might I humbly suggest that rather than make something up via interviewing Ms. Choate, the "true victim" of this tragedy, you actually try for a balanced presentation? You might start with an examination of the "castle doctrine" in the law here. It should not be completely alien, Blackstone wrote about it in England before you became a degenerate nation.

On a parting note, one can't help but to think that had Mr. Coate a mother who cared for him in life a fraction as much as she undoubtedly will for your cameras, her son would have been better brought up and still alive today via not being a miscreant.

Sincerely,

Name Stricken
Salem, Oregon, USA

agricola
July 7, 2003, 01:34 AM
Boats,

"Tony Martin should emigrate. He'd be a welcome owner of any farm around here"

yep, but if he does I wouldnt pop round to borrow some sugar, complain about the noise or get into a dispute with him for any reason because he just might come round and shoot out your windows, or pop a few shells off towards yourself.

Your Mr. Johnston would be well-advised to scour the letters to the editor of the Salem Statesman-Journal if he'd like to gauge the actual support for armed self defense in this community. I know, I know, Mr. Johnston is here fabricating the "Real Story." Might I humbly suggest that rather than make something up via interviewing Ms. Choate, the "true victim" of this tragedy, you actually try for a balanced presentation? You might start with an examination of the "castle doctrine" in the law here. It should not be completely alien, Blackstone wrote about it in England before you became a degenerate nation.

not that one agrees with the premise of the BBC programme, but how exactly do they come up with a "balanced presentation" without speaking to the family of the shot man?

with regards to the article itself:

"The jury clearly believed he fired in anger, and convicted him," The
Guardian wrote in a recent profile of Martin. "In one television poll
soon after the verdict, 85 percent of those who voted said they believed
the jury had got it wrong."

and, of course, reading the media reports on a case make your opinion count that much more than the twelve people that were exposed to the facts of a case in a sober and impartial setting.

Once again, Martin was convicted on the basis of all the evidence, not all the evidence made available by the papers. The similarities between this shooting and the Martin case are 0 - one was justified, one wasnt.

Tamara
July 7, 2003, 06:36 AM
yep, but if he does I wouldnt pop round to borrow some sugar, complain about the noise or get into a dispute with him for any reason because he just might come round and shoot out your windows, or pop a few shells off towards yourself.

A little reductio ad absurdum there? Has Tony Martin ever shot anyone who was borrowing sugar or asking questions, or has he pretty much confined his indoor skeet activities to burglars with impressive criminal records?

Noting that the one he only winged is yet again serving time in the graybar hotel, one must nurse a private wish that his second shot had been slightly more centered.

243_shooter
July 7, 2003, 06:41 AM
one was justified, one wasnt

I must be missing something here.. Bad guy(s) break in, get shot. How can one be justified, and one not justified?

Leo

Kharn
July 7, 2003, 08:00 AM
"Tony Martin should emigrate. He'd be a welcome owner of any farm around here"

yep, but if he does I wouldnt pop round to borrow some sugar, complain about the noise or get into a dispute with him for any reason because he just might come round and shoot out your windows, or pop a few shells off towards yourself.

I bet if you bothered to knock and wait for him to open the door, rather than making your own entry with the aid of burglary tools, you'll probably find Mr. Martin to be more pleasent than the deceased burglar and his accomplice found him. Or, be a good chap and give him a call before dropping in. :)

Kharn

agricola
July 7, 2003, 09:56 AM
tamara,

he had a history of popping off some buckshot at people he considered had wronged him - one incident involved shooting out a neighbours windows, he had also shot at other people.

Boats
July 7, 2003, 10:18 AM
not that one agrees with the premise of the BBC programme, but how exactly do they come up with a "balanced presentation" without speaking to the family of the shot man?

Well gee, agricola, though I am not up on the latest sensationalization techniques that fortify one to wallow about in the aftermath of a tragedy, one could earnestly make a start at balance by interviewing the authorities, who have no stake in the canonization of Mr. Choate as a martyr to the American gun culture. Certainly, in order to provide the information necessary to conduct an inquest via a grand jury, the police and prosecutors investigated the incident with all means available, including full forensics and a detailed dossier of each of the participants. In fact, the investigation was detailed quite extensively here in the city paper.

The germane question is what insight is possibly to be gained by interviewing a person who wasn't there? The only value one could hope to realize in interviewing Mr. Choate's survivors would be a hoped-for elicitation of some incendiary comments about how unjust his end was. We can all be certain that Mr. Choate will be rehabilitated in death by a BBC man who came to town announcing his rather obvious agenda.

Of course Mr. Stordahl has declined his invitation to a taped inquisition by a man who would make no attempt to understand, let alone condone, his decision to fire the fatal shot at an "innocent young lad who made the mistake of drinking too much this one time." Besides, Ms. Choate still has the majority of three years in which to find an assault lawyer, perhaps from Portland, and file a lawsuit, maybe through the aid of the Brady Campaign. He is well advised to decline talking to leftists with cameras.

It might also be the case that Mr. Martin is somewhat unhinged. That does not excuse Mr. Johnston from traveling halfway around the globe in search of a parallel that doesn't exist so that he might advance his own views on the impropriety of armed self-defense.

I will be contacting my brother shortly. He has chosen to live in the sheep pasture out of love for his English wife. I will have him tape me this program on BBC One if and when it appears. I am betting I am right about Mr. Johnston and his show.

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