Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Going Too Far

Normally I'm a big proponent of citizens defending themselves against criminals with lethal force. But a home owner in Detroit went way too far. Tigh Croff's house had be broken into "three times in the last week." It's understandable that he'd be pretty angry when he found two men in his backyard yesterday. But they ran away. He chased after them and one got away. The other one? Well, this is what happened.
The other stopped running, turned around, put his hands up and, according to a police source, taunted the 31-year-old homeowner.

“What are you going to do?” Herbert Silas of Detroit reportedly asked, his hands still in the air. “Shoot me?”

“Absolutely,” Croff told investigators he replied before pulling the trigger, the source said. Silas was hit once in the chest, killing him.
If Silas had been in Croff's house, or possibly even still in his yard, depending on his actions, I'd be defending the shooting, and congratulating Croff on ridding the area of a criminal. But when someone runs away, you can't chase them down and then shoot them because they taunt you. I'm not sure how Croff thought that was a justifiable killing. Silas was unarmed, not acting threatening, and it's not even clear he was a burglar, or had done anything beyond trespassing. Croff went from a man defending his property, to a maniac killing someone for something they said. He's been charged with second-degree murder, and rightly so.

I was unhappy to see that Croff is a licensed gun owner. If you are going to purchase a gun, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the circumstances in which deadly force is justified. I'm not one for blindly following the law. If your life, or the security of your family is threatened, you should err on the side of eliminating the threat, rather than following the letter of the law. But we really don't need gun owners who think it's ok to kill an unarmed, unresisting, unthreatening man outside their property, simply because they've been burglarized in the past, caught someone trespassing, and he dared taunt them.  


  1. One less burglar.

    Excuse me while I don't weep.

  2. I'm not weeping for him either. Taunting someone holding a gun on you is really stupid

    But it's not even clear he was a burglar. He was in the guy's yard at one point. That makes him a trespasser. But he wasn't killed in the act of trespassing.

    Someone acting like this particular homeowner makes all gun owners look bad, and is the kind of thing that anti-gun types will use to try and enact more restrictions.