Saturday, March 15, 2014


Doing this is apparently legal in Texas:
The Houston father who police say fatally shot a 17-year-old boy who was inside his daughter’s bedroom early Thursday morning will likely not be charged, an area prosecutor told

Although a grand jury will review the case, prosecutor Warren Diepraam said it is unlikely that the father will be charged.

... it appears the father ... found the teen in bed with his daughter and confronted him. His daughter apparently told him she did not know the boy.

The father said he told the teen not to move, but reportedly saw the teen reach for something, at which point police say the father opened fire. The teen did not have a gun. His daughter later confessed that she snuck her boyfriend, 17, into the house, the report said....
If you believe that kid actually reached for anything, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

I first saw this story at Fox Nation yesterday. It was on the front page at a time when not much was being reported about the shooter, his daughter, and the dead teenager. Now we know that all three are black. The story's no longer on the Fox Nation front page.

Still, for a while, it clearly embodied the right-wing perspective on the proper conduct of society -- if you find a boy in bed with your daughter, of course you should be able to take your gun and kill him.

The race of the people involved makes the story, for the Fox audience, a lot less relatable -- but I'm not surprised that the authorities are going to let the shooter walk in this case, even if he is black.

The salient point here is that the shooter still outranks the victim -- he's a black man, but his victim is a black teenage boy, which makes him the lowest form of life as far as most of America is concerned. We know that George Zimmerman walked because, as an adult male Hispanic with fairly light skin and a European surname (and an avid interest in "law and order"), he vastly outranked the black teenage boy he shot. By contrast, we know that it's considered justice to sentence Marissa Alexander to twenty years, and perhaps resentence her to sixty years, because she's a black female, and the abusive husband at whom she fired a warning shot is a black male -- yes, black men are very low in the hierarchy, but they still outrank black women, because males outrank females when we're talking about sex and violence.

The principle that murder is justified if a father finds his daughter in bed with her boyfriend would not, obviously, have been extended in the Houston case if the boyfriend were white. But since that wasn't the case, the principle still applies. These are just simple, commonsense values we're talking about, right? Even if an unarmed boy who was just doing what teenagers do is now dead?


Warren Terra said...

If you believe that kid actually reached for anything, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.
Actually, I'm perfectly prepared to believe that he reached ... for his trousers. This would be completely natural: clothe yourself and gain some psychological armor, plus you can then skedaddle if it looks like daddy's going to blow his top.

On the other hand, there's this:
it appears the father ... found the teen in bed with his daughter and confronted him. His daughter apparently told him she did not know the boy.
Uh, huh. I'm sure that claim was believable.

Unknown said...

"Reached for something" in this case is a major irony compared to the Martin killing. Few know it, but Zimmerman admitted that in that final confrontation, when Trayvon demanded to know why he was stalking him (and Z refused to answer), that he (Z) grabbed for something in his waist area where the gun was. He tried to alibi that it was his phone but Z had just put his phone in his jacket pocket.

So Z refused to ID himself and grabbed for what TM would have every reason to believe was a gun, and that was the moment (by Z's own words) when TM hit him and tried to pin him down.

Also of note was that when the cop was handcuffing him, Z joked with him that he wouldn't want the cop to think he was reaching for his gun.

Victor said...

Boy, "Caddyshack" wouldn't have been nearly as great a comedy if the judge Ted Knight played pulled out a gun and killed that kid golfer when he found him in bed with his daughter.

mtar925 said...

I dunno. The teen was an unknown intruder, from the father's perspective. One news source reports that the father first called 911 while holding the teen at gunpoint, and then the shooting occurred. That sounds like a timeline where the teen did *something* that the father perceived as a physical threat. While tragic this may be a fair application of the castle doctrine.
I'm reminded of a story from a few years ago, when a father witnessed his daughter being raped in her own bed and quietly left the room, because he mistook the rapist for her boyfriend and she was too terrified to call for help.

Ken_L said...

It depends to some extent on what the daughter said and how she behaved. If she was asleep when her father went to the room, and the boyfriend was under the bed (as reported elsewhere, not "in bed"), and she put on a good "OMG who is that and what is he doing in my ROOM?" act ... then I guess the father was justified in thinking the poor kid was potentially dangerous. If the daughter was convincingly panic-stricken, and a 4 year old boy somewhere in the house, I can understand why the father might have got a bit trigger-happy if a fit young intruder made any sudden moves.

Then again if the father was just busting to find an excuse to shoot someone he suspected was a young punk having it off with his daughter, it was murder. Unfortunately it's unlikely we'll ever know the truth, because father and daughter will both be (consciously or unconsciously) trying to justify their behaviour in any evidence they give. But at least it's going to a jury, unlike the Zimmerman fiasco.

Aunt Snow said...

I can't imagine how horrendous a scene that would have been. And for the daughter - although it sounds like she did something really stupid, saying she didn't know the boy - to have him killed by her father in her own bed is horrifying.

The affect this will have on both families is tragic.

flarenut said...

I am betting that a white father would have had no problem either. There have been cases where they've killed their own children.