Another reason I won't be visiting Texas any time soon

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I was appalled by this story I read today. Jose Luis Gonzalez was acquitted of murder charges after he shot 13-year-old Francisco Anguiano for breaking into his house and attempting to steal some twinkies. Now, I understand that in Texas, it is legal for people to use deadly force to protect their homes and their property. However, there are aspects of this story that, in my mind, are much more akin to vigilante justice than protecting one's home:

  1. Gonzalez was not in the house at the time; he was in "a nearby building" when he saw four teens enter his house. Rather than calling the police, Gonzalez went into the house with a shotgun, ordered the unarmed kids to kneel on the ground and then proceeded to hit and kick them as they begged for mercy.
  2. Gonzalez claims that he shot Anguiano because the boy appeared to be "lunging at him," but the medical examiner's report showed that the boy was "shot in the back at close range." Logically, doesn't that imply that if the boy was indeed lunging, he would be moving away from Gonzalez?

What further disgusted me was the fact that many local residents supported the decision and didn't even think he should be prosecuted in the first place. I agree that the boys shouldn't have been in Gonzalez' house, they were clearly committing a crime, and should have been punished, but it seems pretty obvious to me that the use of deadly force was unwarranted. If Gonzalez truly felt that his life was in danger and was afraid of these boys, why did he go into the house in the first place? Call me crazy, but shooting someone IN THE BACK and claiming self defense just doesn't jive with me. Granted, I don't live in Texas, but I don't understand how people could actually think that
young Anguiano "got what he deserved."