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Escape or Stealing?

by James Denison / February 26, 2013 1:42 PM PST

If someone is running away with your property he stole still in his hands, is that what's called "escaping" now?
I'd sure like to have him define what he actually means by "escape". A citizen needs to be able to adequately defend not just himself, but his property also. A fleeing thief should be a valid target after a warning to stop and drop.

"Task force vice chairman R.B. Holmes, pastor of the Bethel Missionary
Baptist Church in Tallahassee, has noted that Florida's "stand your
ground" law "is associated with an increased death toll that falls
disproportionately on minority groups" and that "shooting a person in
the back, as he is trying to escape, is, by definition, not

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I visualize escape as being
by Steven Haninger / February 26, 2013 7:31 PM PST
In reply to: Escape or Stealing?

successfully breaking free once under the control of a captor. Being sighted in the act of a crime and turning to run is called "fleeing the scene". What a person should do who witnesses such a crime would depend on the type and circumstances of that crime...or so I'd think. Just how important is it that the person not be allowed to get away. The actions would be different with someone stealing property than they would be with someone who'd just committed violence. I'd be more prone to letting a person run who'd just stolen a pack of cigarettes than someone who'd just shot me or another person and tried to flee.

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I agree
by James Denison / February 26, 2013 9:14 PM PST

As for property heading down the road with the culprit, I guess it comes down to how much the person values the property over the life of the thief, not to mention all the legal stumbling blocks he'll have to deal with after the fact. We've often read in the news of a person or group hitting several people violently in the same night or week and robbing them, so stopping such a person the first time could be an important step in reducing crime, maybe saving the life of someone else.

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Disproportional Crime
by James Denison / February 26, 2013 9:19 PM PST

This is an interesting concept that seems in great error when applied to crime. If a disproportional rate of crime is committed, then a disproportional rate of punishment will result. How then can one claim such statistics is disproportional in an effort to reduce the effort for people to be protected against such disproportional criminals? I've seen this advocated as if it's some sort of discrimination in our prison system because there's a disproportional number of inmates compared to some other group. Whatever happened to "do the crime, do the time"?

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whether or not you want to justify it
by Roger NC / February 27, 2013 10:07 AM PST
In reply to: Escape or Stealing?

I'd have to agree that a shot in the back is almost certainly not self defense.

As I understand it, generally speaking, deadly force is not legally justifiable to stop a fleeing suspect if they haven't already demostrated the willingness to use deadly force themself.

I remember a lot of argument years ago about a shooting when a man came home and surprised a couple of guys taking stuff out of his house. He yelled at them to stop, they ran, he shot them as they ran away. He was charged with murder. Unfortunately I don't remember the final verdict. There were people where I worked then on both sides of the issue.

There were those that felt just being found on the property without permission was good enough to shoot them if they ran.

More felt like when he ordered them to stop, it was the same as a policeman commanding them to stop, and if they ran after being seen coming out of the house, particularly carrying stolen goods, he should shoot them, even in the back.

Some felt no amount of stolen goods was worth a life.

So does any theft (not involving personal threats like armed robbery does) justify killing?

If it does, why doesn't "white collar" theft?

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the value of a thief
by James Denison / February 27, 2013 1:35 PM PST

Don't you think a thief sets the value of his own life or possible injury when he decides something is worth the risk to steal it? Still, the value of the item would have a bearing for most on whether they chose to shoot or not.

Nobody makes a thief hang on to what he is running away with other than himself. He can drop it and keep running. Everytime I see riots where thievery is going on and police show up and don't shoot at those running away while still holding the goods, I realize they've just reinforced the idea that it's OK if you are allowed to get away with it. Unfortunately that thinking has infected others who should know better.

White collar crime is not location & time specific and nobody is running away from a crime scene still holding their ill gotten gains. That's why it's treated differently.

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I've been lucky and, so far, don't know what it's like
by Steven Haninger / February 27, 2013 6:03 PM PST
In reply to: the value of a thief

to find someone in the act of stealing from me but I'd expect quite a range of emotions might happen in a very short time. I still get judged by how I responded to the situation. I don't see any real way to plan and prepare for a rational response and know I'd carry it out according to script. All I know is that I'd better not make one misstep or it will go bad for me either way. I risk being overpowered by the crook or overpowered by the law. Not a good thing to think about.

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they don't still hold their ill gotten gains?
by Roger NC / February 28, 2013 6:34 AM PST
In reply to: the value of a thief

the fact they steal from you with computers and lies makes it a lessor crime?


Someone who wipes out your life savings with electronic theft shouldn't be given as severe a sentence as the man who breaks your window out to steal a tv?

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you are mixing things up
by James Denison / February 28, 2013 7:45 AM PST

A sentence implies adjudication. Catching a white collar criminal is a different process than watching someone running down the road with your possessions. The white collar crime then is the same as the burglar who is long gone when you got home. Completely different situation as regards shooting or not. Since it's not time coincident then it has to be tracked down and the police will do that, hopefully. There's a big difference in stopping someone on the scene, and dealing with a loss that happened before you were on the scene or was done in some manner you were not aware of till later.

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so if your accountant steals your money
by Roger NC / February 28, 2013 8:20 AM PST

you don't want to hunt him down?

Yeah, I know what you're saying. You're saying if you can kill him in the act it's ok. If they catch him later that's different. Why?

If you can kill him for running away with goods in his hand, why isn't it a death penalty when you catch him? After all, you said he set the value on his life when he decided to steal.

Do you consider trespassing justification for shooting? breaking in your house and you come home to catch them?

I admit it seems wrong to let the thief run off with your goods, but shooting someone in the back running away doesn't seem any better.

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