I've been pretty quiet about the Joe Horn case and the Grand Jury's No-Bill of him this week, because, quite frankly, I don't think I had anything all that original to say about it. I have absolutely no sympathy for the two burglars that he killed, but I'm also not someone who considers Horn to be a hero. I thought the Grand Jury did the right thing in returning a No Bill (especially when you look at the alternative being an indictment on Capital Murder).
But the things that Horn said on his 911 tape trouble me, and they bring to mind the fact that there are plenty of people in this world who legally own firearms and are just chomping at the bit to get a chance to use them.
These folks scare the hell out of me.
My Dad served three tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine Corps Officer, and he killed a lot of people. He never really talks about it, but he doesn't shy away from discussing it either. He took me hunting once because he thought every father and son should do that at least once, but I could tell he didn't enjoy the actual act of hunting. We had a great time together, but in the end, he summed up his feelings about hunting by telling me "I feel guilty about shooting at something that isn't shooting back at me."
He also stressed to me gun safety by telling me that he can live with all the people he killed during Vietnam, but he would never be able to live with himself if he harmed someone by accident or by being careless with a gun.
But on the flip side of my father's attitude toward firearms and lethal force are people who are much more prevalent than I'm exactly comfortable with.
You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones who were first in line to get their Concealed Carry Licenses when they first were made available. The ones who have more handguns than they have hands. The ones who carry those handguns everywhere they legally can.
The ones that are just praying for the opportunity to someday get to kill somebody legally.
Those folks scare the crap out of me, and if I base my opinion of Joe Horn off of his 911 call, I think he matched that description.
I use the term "matched" rather than "matches", because I also think that what he did in his front yard turned out not to be as exciting as he probably envisioned it. The gun shots don't sound as dramatic as they do on TV. The blood is real.
And the consequences of having taken the lives of real human beings is one the will always weigh on his soul.
Don't get me wrong. I don't cry a lot of tears for the people that Joe Horn shot. They were bad men -- much worse than what the media or Quannel X would have you believe.
But what if it had been a pair of 15-year-old kids doing a stupid prank? Or worse, kids that just happen to be walking across the yard, but look suspicious?
I doubt that Joe Horn will ever pull the trigger on another human being again, but some of those folks who call him a hero might. Joe Horn is talking about how the shootings affected him.
I hope some of his followers will listen to him.