Ethics Quiz: The Paintball Attack

19-year-old Brian Solis’ was one of a group of 15 teens that attacked a home in east Houston with paintball guns. Their objective: bring the teenager inside the house outside to fight, police say. After the house was hit with several of the missiles, which typically explode with red paint upon contact, the homeowner and father of the boy fired back, but with a real gun.

This is Texas, after all. If the boys were surprised, they hadn’t been paying attention.

Solis was hit, and killed.  Solis’ family told reporters that they don’t understand why he’s dead. The oldest of six kids  was full of life, and had plenty still to live, they say

Well, not to be unkind, but it’s pretty clear to me why he’s dead: he took part in an attack on a home that had a gun owner inside at the time. That’s why.

An investigation is ongoing, and it is not at all certain that the shooter, whose name has not yet been released, will face charges. I find that interesting: it seems like a case of excessive force, and manslaughter, could be made pretty easily. On the other hand, aspects of the incident are reminiscent in some ways of the Ossian Sweet case, Clarence Darrow’s finest moment, when he achieved an acquittal for eleven African Americans  whose house in suburban  was about to be besieged, or so they thought, by a mob of angry whites carrying  rocks, clubs and torches. One of the people inside the house opened fire, killing someone in the crowd, and all eleven African Americans were tried for murder. I’ve written about the case, here.

The law in every jurisdiction would certainly permit a prosecution, so the decision whether to charge comes down to practicality and ethics. Would a jury convict the shooter, if he says that his home was under attack, his son was in danger, and he was in fear of his own safety? A lot depends on facts not yet known or disclosed. What was being said by the attackers? Did the target’s father issue a warning before firing? A group of fifteen sounds scary to me, especially having just watched the 2011 remake of “Straw Dogs,” in which a group of Mississippians in a backwater town lay siege to  the home of a couple trying to protect a mentally disabled man who has just accidentally killed the leader of the group’s cheerleader daughter, Lenny-style. [Cultural literacy reference!]

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz to begin this Tuesday is this:

Should the shooter be prosecuted for the death of Brian Solis, or did his right to defend his home from attack justify the shooting?

80 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: The Paintball Attack

  1. I would have been unethical for him not to have protected his family when he had the means to do so. It is simply a matter of protecting his life, that of his family and of his property. It also doesn’t matter ethicaly if the aggressors were armed or not, they had already demonstrated that thier intent was hostile, even if they didn’t intend to cause bodily harm the possibility of such existed even accidentally so his ethical duty was to immediately limit or stop the aggression against his family and property.

  2. I’d like more evidence of events as well. But I seriously question if people inside can see the color or the paintball pellets. All I would hear is the sound of them hitting the siding, and knowing that siding doesn’t stop bullets. Someone, lots of someones, are firing at my home and family and yelling. (Probably not clear or coherently) That doesn’t even include the risk of some nutjob group like a horribly mistaken gang or KKK paying a visit… IF, and this is a big if, I realized it was paintball, how would these actions be separated from an intimidation move- and the next stage is real bullets or clubs?

    I’m sorry the kid died, but this falls under dumbth, like juggling running chain saws or taunting predators. I do think the other kids who participated should be prosecuted like a gang or terrorists as felonies. They precipitated the tragedy and are not the victims just because they are young.

  3. Some reactionary thoughts . . .

    I read this on a forum where the shooting incident was discussed:

    “Shooting any kind of gun at a Texan’s house is basically suicide.”

    It must be taken into consideration, I regret to say it, that the victim and the family are Latinos-with-accents, and watching the videos that were put on the news one notices, pretty quickly, that they are far from being ‘the brightest bulbs in the hallway’. I do realize there are stupid people among all social classes and ethnicities, but I think in this case particular cultural factors and cultural background have to be considered.

    One thing I notice, time and time again, here in the region in Latin America (Colombia) where I now live: people do not know how to reason very well. It is a question of bad (incomplete) education and the general influence of the surrounding culture. They have difficulty thinking in terms of cause and effect and also of *consequences*. They approach many things ’emotionally’ and ‘sensationally’ but not with sufficient reason.

    There is another aspect here too: at least in my region: One is not allowed to engage in full self-defense. Even if someone breaks into your house and your family and children are there you cannot simply shoot and kill the attacker. That is considered ‘disproportionate’. You could have charges filed against you and you could be sued by the family of the person you killed (or wounded).

    These sorts of laws are pretty common all over Latin America. For example, if you are assaulted in the street and a robbery is attempted, and let’s say you slash that attacker’s face or wound him with a knife, believe it or not you stand some chance of being charged! (If you wonder where this face-slash fantasy comes from it is because I was robbed in this way a month ago and contemplated, in future, of slicing the next attacker’s face with a ultra-sharp knife…and I know that this would not turn out well for me, though as a woman I might be cut slack).

    The laws take away, in many instances, the right to defend yourself. Now, there is a bizarre logic here even though it sounds irrational. They want to eliminate crime, and all incidents of violence, so anyone involved is *seen* by the law as contributing to the violence. It is a very paternalistic governmental situation. You are only allowed to respond with ‘proportionate force’. But how can you know (and why should you care!) if the person breaking into your house will not end up killing you or your family? If he has a knife only, how can you know that? And the attacker on the street: how can you know how far he will go?

    Now, return back to these ex-Mexican children and their recently-American parents. I will wager that they were raised up to think in these terms, and even criminals in Latin America have all sort of ‘rights’. They do not sacrifice those ‘rights’ the second they pick up a weapon and engage in violent robbery. They retain them because they (the poorer classes) are numerically superior and the legislative classes pander to them.

    The band of kids who came at midnight to shoot paintballs at the house and to get the other kid to come out … give an example of acting without examining consequences. You can’t quite blame the little momsers — it is strongly possible that they were not raised right. Further evidence of general stupidity is the whole rehearsal the family is putting on as to “Why, oh why, did this happen?!? He was a good kid and he made us laugh!” They are working emotional angles and they hope for *sympathy* and this is how the whole thing goes: when they have more democratic power their legislative superiors will pander to them. See, they refuse to examine causation and remain stuck in emotionalism and emotional-sentimental *reasoning*.

    The reason this happened, you brainless idiots, is because you did not teach your children properly.

    • I’m poking the Alizia monster.

      I understand that there are differences in societies and even subcultures within any given society but I will not rationalize the behavior of these thugs because of the culture of their heritage.

      I don’t give a damn what the laws or the culture is where their family heritage came from, they came here because our culture, economy and freedom are considered “better” in enough ways to caused them to migrate here. Even though our society is a melting pot of lots of different people from all over the world, it’s not our responsibility to irresponsibly pollute our culture and laws in ways that are similar to their previous society, it’s their responsibility to assimilate themselves to ours.

      On the note of emotionalism; this is exactly the direction that the extreme political left is pushing our society.

        • Californians do the exact same thing to the surrounding states. They never have the self awareness to realize their own progressive voting patterns is what turned much of California into a shithole.

        • Turning our country into the country they fled?

          Yup, they come here because they like what we have to offer and then they try to turn it into the same shit-hole they left. The explanation for this behavior is they’re political and social imbeciles.

      • The Alizia monster will kick the dentures out of your insulting mouth, you freak.

        So there’s that. 🙂

        I understand that there are differences in societies and even subcultures within any given society but I will not rationalize the behavior of these thugs because of the culture of their heritage.

        Sure, don’t ‘rationalize’ it, but understand it. Through understanding you can then oppose it. In the absence of clear understanding, you would not be able to. I am solidly opposed to ‘multiculturalism’ and ally myself with European identity ideas and movements. Obviously, my ideas are non-popular. Yet they are defensible.

        If you recognize there are ‘differences in societies’ and ‘even subcultures’ then understanding what I am getting at is conceptually possible. So, you agree that differences may exist, but then hold back from rationalizing what these kids did because of ‘heritage’ or ‘cultural matrix’? I would suggest that they will tell you something like “Don’t tell us that we have to adapt to you”. The more demographic-democratic power they get, the more adamant they will show themselves.

        I don’t give a damn what the laws or the culture is where their family heritage came from, they came here because our culture, economy and freedom are considered “better” in enough ways to caused them to migrate here. Even though our society is a melting pot of lots of different people from all over the world, it’s not our responsibility to irresponsibly pollute our culture and laws in ways that are similar to their previous society, it’s their responsibility to assimilate themselves to ours.

        Latinos, if I may generalize — and I most certainly can because it is fair, appropriate and necessary to do so — have a murky and confused way of regarding the US. They receive various streams of information that they get from left-oriented educational institutions in their homelands. (There is hardly any Right-leaning educational emphasis). They see the US as a sort of cash-cow from which they can get money. And they have little sense that they must transform themselves or serve the (US) country in any particular sense other than to work there, or study there, and bring those benefits home. It’s opportunistic.

        Mexicans DEFINITELY are educated that the US has been their oppressor and robbed Mexico of their lands. Many Mexicans see their coming to America as a reconquistaof lands that is theirs by right. It is a strange — I would say somewhat sick — relationship they have.

        We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.

        It would have been the responsibility of US citizens — if we are to speak realistically — to have limited, drastically, the influx of Mexicans and Mesoamericans into the US as they are generally incapable of, and not interested in, adapting to civic American ways.

        Therefore, you should definitely be conscious of the multitudes of people that are being brought into the US, and should examine, and oppose, the loose policies that allow the demographics of the US to be radically shifted.

              • The ethical rule that you propose is a good one. In a proper civil society, where basic respect existed and was honored, each party would understand the rule and the reason for it.

                Mr Witherspoon seems to feel that I am open game for insult.

                In his case, because he shows signs of being a brute, he will get kicked like a brute.

                It is ethical in this circumstance for a brute to get just punishment.

                That is how I look at it.

            • When you insult, you narcissist, you will be insulted back. It is a rule of life. Got it?

              I didn’t complain about being insulted at all, I wrote about your apparent sense of humor and the fact that I don’t think it’s humor at all.

              I can’t believe that I actually had to explain that to an adult.

                • At what physical age, may I ask, does a person become an ‘adult’ in your view?

                  No you may not ask, it’s completely irrelevant to my point. The fact that I do consider you an adult and I think it was ridiculous to have to explain such a simple comment to you, an adult, is relevant.

                  I suggest that you do a better job of choosing your battles.

                • At what physical age, may I ask, does a person become an ‘adult’ in your view?

                  No you may not ask, it’s completely irrelevant to my point. The fact that I do consider you an adult and I think it was ridiculous to have to explain such a simple comment to you, an adult, is relevant.

                  I suggest that you do a better job of choosing your battles.

            • When you insult, you narcissist, you will be insulted back.

              That’s on Jack’s rationalization list.

              7. The “Tit for Tat” Excuse This is the principle that bad or unethical behavior justifies, and somehow makes ethical, the same or equivalent unethical behavior in response to it.

              Alizia, It’s true that I think you are misguided but I really don’t think you’re a monster.

              I apologize and I’ll not use the phrase again.

              • OK, all well and good.

                Please do me the favor, and also do the blog in general the favor, of clearly pointing out in posts I have written where exactly I am ‘misguided’. I would be very happy if you’d take just one topic and express your view.

                Do this as a favor to me and — even perhaps — as an ‘ethical imperative’.

                • Please do me the favor, and also do the blog in general the favor, of clearly pointing out in posts I have written where exactly I am ‘misguided’. I would be very happy if you’d take just one topic and express your view.

                  We don’t owe each other any favors but there’s really no need go any further than the comments in this blog post and the one back in May. I’ve voiced my opinions and I think I’ve been clear that I think you’re misguided. Enjoy rereading your comments and piling on more commentary if you like.

                  • You are thoroughly disingenuous. You cannot go any farther because you are filled with hot air only. You made vague and vain insinuations here and in other places and — obviously — you cannot back up any part of what you assert with any coherent argument. Therefore, I reject 100% what you have said.

                    The bulk of what you have written amounts to paja. Here’s a visual:

                    You say that I am ‘misguided’. I say you speak out of your butt-end.

                    This is the one thing that you said which has some semblance of an *argument*:

                    You say that as if it’s a bad thing. Maybe you’re more inclined to something like American showing pacifism when confronted by multiple regimes that threaten the United States? Diplomacy from a position of military and national strength is always better than appearing to be weak.

                    Quack goes the duck. The duck only quacks. It is the nature of the duck to quack.

                    With this, you reveal ignorance of how the US is perceived by the rest of the world. And unawareness in a substantial sense of what certain elites in your own country are up to. You likely do not know the ‘real history’ and present doings of your own country. And it is imperative to know that history if you wish to genuinely understand what is happening today, in the present. You are like tens of thousands — millions — of people, citizens, who fail their civic duty, and thus their ethical responsibilities, by forming their ideas from idées reçues.

                    And then you open your bill and quack. How proud you must feel!

                    • This was an unbalanced exchange, not even following the golden rule. He used the term ‘poking the monster,’ but you upped the ante with kicking dentures out and other ad hominem comments throughout. He apologized for the original monster and said he thought you were misguided. To be fair yourself, you should also apologize for some of your intemperate words as well.

                      Some of the rest of us may have false teeth, but that is TOTALLY irrelevant to our opinions about the topic at hand. You seem to be disapproving of home and family defense with lethal force, but you are awfully fast to threaten to ‘kick someone’s teeth out’ to avoid massive cognitive dissonance in your speech.

                    • Marie Dowd, just *for the record* and to help you understand better. Since proverbial Day One here I have been constantly and unfailingly insulted by people who feel they have a special right to do so. Spartan, Chris, Zoltar, Humble Talent — there is a list of 10 minimum. They always seem to feel that they can bring out an insulting crack, but the more interesting part is that when they are (even minimally) insulted back they forget their own initial behavior … and crank up their insulting even more. They set up a dynamic. I noticed this, and I chose to consciously participate in that dynamic. You see, no matter what anyone says I do not change my tack. I simply go forward and try to explain my ideas. That is my purpose here: to lear, to read, to analyze, and to see what other people are thinking. I stated my goals right at the start, and have kept to them.

                      You surely know (?) that on a forum/blog like this, these social games are part of a forum tactic. These have to do with who is supporting who, and who one is not supporting. I’ll explain. The blog *needed* its resident lefties because they served the function of a punching bag. Some hate what they see going on around them, and if they have a target to rip into with all their anger and frustration, they do so. Chris was given that role but there were others. They have been driven out … or left … or some combination of the two. That’s two bad. (I genuinely likes each of them though Chris was hard to like at times).

                      In my case, mostly starting from my opinions about race and ‘race-realism’ and then my opinions about the social need to keep homosexuality under wraps (suppressed) and not *promoted* (as it is being done now as a tactic of social and political control) I was given — mark, I did not choose but I was given — a particular role here. Anyone can take a crack at me. Anyone can say anything and there are no consequences. I am ‘low on the ‘totem-pole’ and fair game. This explains Steve Witherspoon. He ‘third-personed’ me by using the Blog’s terms for me as a freak or a ‘monster’ and he did so because he could get away with it. He figured, I reckon, this would function as a way in. He insulted 3-4 times in a row. He will be repaid 10 times over. (I am not quite done!)

                      That is the rule. And I explained why it is ethical and not unethical. Some brutes cannot be reasoned or negotiated with. Force is the only way. Then, when they show proper form and politeness, you can ease it up.

                      Now, I hope that you can see, and if you can’t please believe me! that I am 100% unaffected by the insults and rancor that I receive (the snide comments, the underhanded insults, everything). I choose not to be affected by any of it, and as you see I just keep on in the same vain. It is imperative to define the ideas that may lead to a) one person being able to renew their self, and b) the possibility that this might happen in our culture. This is the only thing that has importance.

                      I have lost ground because this way the dynamic was bequeathed to me, this I admit, and it is also true that many people don’t take me seriously for a few and various reasons (thought they should!), but this is simply part of the dynamic established which has been my *ticket* to be able to remain here! But I want it to be recognized: I never insult unless I am insulted first. But if I pretend to being angry it is complete sham!

                      Dealing with people and their absurdist rehearsals is just part of the game of participating in the social world.

    • Alizia,

      You raise an interesting point. I live in Houston – where it is frickin’ hot and humid (PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!!) – and I saw this story on the news. It happened in South Houston. A little bit about South Houston: Stay the hell out of there. At all costs. It is as close to a Hell Hole as one can get without actually being in a Hell Hole. It is an unincorporated area of Harris County, Texas, at the southern edge of the City of Houston. It is politically independent of the City of Houston and is a major petrochemical center in the region, with atmospherics to show for it. It is about 78% Hispanic, where Spanish is the primary language spoken. The median income is $42,615 (as of 2016). It is above the state and national averages in property and violent crimes.* Gang activity is a problem. Just for grins, read through this report from the Texas Department of Public Safety from 2018 to see what gangs operate in here. It’s a fun read:

      http://www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/2018/txGangThreatAssessment201811.pdf

      I don’t know how local news is reported in other cities, but if Houston is any guide, it is no wonder we can’t reason ourselves out of a wet paper bag.** The local reporters interviewed the “victim’s” relatives and, you are correct, they are blood-boilingly stupid/ignorant. Without fail, the victim,and in most cases the perpetrator, is a great person, with a bright future (a future rap or Tejano star in the making), usually smiling in Sunday bests, and never a brain-dead Neanderthal who can’t get out of his/her own way. Generally, the victim’s family members ask that universal question, with tears a-flowin’: “Why did they have to shoot him? He was a good person. He only meant to fight that kid. There was no reason for that kid’s father to shoot him.We just want justice for ______.” When you read or hear “justice” think revenge or payback.

      Now, the fellow who shot the would-be-paint-baller is shown in video from the street. He is not interviewed for the nightly news but his driver’s license picture gives us a feel for the type of person he is, as we are shown video of his home with the bicycles and jacked up cars in the driveway. It is very subtle.

      jvb

      *See, https://www.cityrating.com/crime-statistics/texas/south-houston.html

      **Ed. Note: Local news here is maddeningly awful. Usually, the nightly anchor is some fetching lass or hunk, who stands just so to highlight her/his figure, arming half cocked to show bulging biceps and toned forearms, while engaging the viewer in the story. The stories are usually pitched with some “click bait” type lede line or sensational declaration, and the anchor then turns to the Big Screen TV screen with the reporter on the scene who will give us the story, not without some kind of pitch to reporter: “Clint, tell us what is happening.” Clint will then acknowledge the introduction with something like “that’s right, Dave, authorities tell us . . . ” Then, Clint will finish his report/update in about 60 seconds, looking severe or stern, with pass back to the studio, “. . . that’s what we have for now. Back to you, Dave.” Dave, then, will thank Clint for that update, pause a few seconds so that we can clear our heads, whereupon Dave will give us a 3 minute report on some heart-warming story of a lady and her squirrel. Dave, then, will turn to Mia and ask her to lede us into the weather, where Mia will talk breathlessly about the heat with the weather person for a few moments and the weather person will take it from there with cool graphics and maps and stuff. Commercial break, three more short stories and SPORTS, SPORTS and more SPORTS.

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