Ethics Dunce: Leroy Schumacher, Grieving Grandfather

Two years ago, 17-year-old Jacob Redfearn and two friends, 19-year old Maxwell Cook and 16-year old Jake Woodruff, conspired with getaway driver Elizabeth Rodriguez, 21, to burglarize an Oklahoma home. Dressed in black and wearing masks and gloves, with one of the three young men  carrying a knife, and another brass knuckles, the home invaders were all shot dead by the homeowner’s son, who used a legally purchased AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Rodriguez was charged with felony murder.

It is tragic that the three young morons met a premature end due to their fatal choices, but it isn’t tragic that the shooter had the means to protect himself and did. That’s not how Leroy Schumacher, the grandfather of  Redfearn, saw it. He maintained that the deaths of his grandson and his fellow home invaders were unfair because the  AR-15 gave the shooter an unfair advantage.

Now we know where Jacob inherited his reasoning ability.

Speaking to reporters, Schumacher  complained, “What these three boys did was stupid. They knew they could be punished for it but they did not deserve to die. Brass knuckles against an AR-15? C’mon. Who was afraid for their life?”

Right. Why would anyone be afraid of home invaders? Come on!

Talk about stupid: on the evening of November 14, 1959, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith  entered a farm house through an unlocked door while the family inside slept. Discovering the safe they planned on breaking into didn’t exist, they bound and gagged the family. They slit homeowner Herb Clutter’s throat and shot him in the head. Then they killed the children, Kenyon, and Nancy, and Mrs. Clutter each by a single shotgun blast to the head. The two knuckleheads left their haul with a small portable radio, a pair of binoculars, and less than $50 in cash.

I can’t decide whether that home invasion was worse than the 2007 Cheshire, Connecticut crime, when two men bludgeoned a father with a baseball bat and left him for dead as they burned down his home around his two daughters and his wife, who had been raped and murdered.  Both were just stupid, of course.

I don’t like those stories, which are true (the first was the basis for Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”) I like the fictional tale told in “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” much better, in which two stupid young women and a stupid young man, all members of the Manson Family, take a wrong turn end up at a neighbor’s house instead of Roman Polanski’s mansion. There they are successively and entertainingly slaughtered, one by a well-trained pit bull, one by having her head smashed to pulp by a house guest skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and the last by being cooked alive in a swimming pool by a the homeowner wielding a flame-thrower.

Anyone who invades a home for any reason deserves whatever befalls them. What is the theory Grandpa was espousing here? He wants rules for defending your home against what may well be a deadly incursion? Should the homeowner be required to have to shout from behind a door, “OK, now, you guys tell me what weapons you have, so it’s a fair fight. Just knives and brass knuckles? OK, I’m getting my baseball bat. Fair enough?”

“There’s got to be a limit to that law, I mean he shot all three of them.  There was no need for that,” Gramps argued. “That law” is the law of self-defense, which is why the shooter won’t and shouldn’t be charged. The law doesn’t require a potential victim to risk his or her life gambling on what kind of deadly force is “enough.” Nor should it.

The old man may have bebeen addled by grief, or senile, or perhaps he was always stupid. Ignore him; the greater concern is how many other people think this way. I suspect it’s quite a few, especially among anti-gun zealots and gun-grabbing politicians, who are prone to justify gutting the Second Amendment by telling citizens how much firepower they “need.”

I’ll decide how much protection I need when three strangers break into my home while I’m in it, thanks. If I decide it’s an AR-15, so be it, and if the invaders are hopelessly outgunned, good.

They should consider themselves lucky that I don’t have a flame-thrower.

[Clarification: This event occurred two years ago. It has special resonance for me now, as the new Democratic majority in Virginia, where I live, plans to ban the gun used to defend that Oklahoma home. The post and its issues are not changed by the age of the episode, but I should have not depended on the links provided to convey that detail.]


Sources: CNN, The Blaze

42 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Leroy Schumacher, Grieving Grandfather

  1. Property rights are systematically being attacked. Without property rights, what rights to we have, really? It’s a conertstone of our society. This includes the right to defend our corner of the universe when people invade it without permission.

  2. This is why we shouldn’t take pointers on law from grieving or traumatized people. Emotion-based decisions are usually bad ones. I’m sorry he lost his grandson. I’m sure it’s very painful and I hope he can work through this over time the best way he can.

    But the best thing for him to do is grieve out of the public eye and leave the law to people who are qualified to utilize it.

    • I’m sorry he lost his grandson.

      I’m not. Such are the grandsons who ought to be lost. Mercy would be best, of course, but his survival would’ve necessitated the death of the innocent as a direct consequence of his direct intentions. Mercy is an elevated form of justice, so no unjust intention can ever be merciful. But, going one further, this grandfather’s response to losing his grandson belies a total abandonment of principle for the sake of immediate self-interest. No doubt, these are “values” he instilled in his children and they in his grandchildren. If we’re going to move for the mutilation of our laws, for the sake of bargaining, we could at least make a far less ridiculous mistake in steering the public support to seeking to penalize this grandfather for his not-totally indirect involvement in (and perpetuation of) the crime. Such are the grandfathers who ought to be lost. At the very least it would be an effort (maybe the first I’ve seen in my life) to reverse the engineered-and-enforced public tolerance for addictive ideas corrosive to public decency. It would be better to instill in society (rather than the laws) an intense rejection of ideas like this and the people who hold them, but politics takes place in the realm of the possible, as they frequently tell me.

      Ideas which create violent, home-invading criminals, we can all agree, even in a pseudo-libertarian society, are criminal ideas. When they aren’t criminalized, their protected, entitled purveyors inevitably rise to power and criminalize their opposite. This is the cold, utilitarian argument against absolute moral (ethical?) neutrality. People willing to say or do anything to get ahead will, if not suppressed somehow, and we come to be ruled by monsters. It’s the classic failure mode for democracy. It’s not really very different for an aristocracy or monarchy either, but theoretically it’s easier to guard against ideological corruption in a smaller group (with numerous routes of disagreement, of course). Now, when a corrupted democracy produces a corrupted aristocracy, and that a corrupt tyranny, bloodless reversal is almost a forgone conclusion. I’d say we’re just now barely resisting the elevation of a corrupt aristocracy, wouldn’t you? And it’s happening everywhere at once, except of course where the corrupted aristocracies and even tyrranies are already well-established. (Well, there might be a couple of a Eastern European holdouts.) There’ll be cataclysmic riots and wars before we know it.

      Anyway, the grandfather sucks, and he’s an ugly boil symptomatic of a systemic disease.

    • I suspect this guy was stupid long before his stupid progeny met their well-earned fate.
      If someone breaks into my home, where my precious, beloved family resides, the odds of that person leaving alive are very, very poor. I cannot, and will not, make the potentially fatal inference that such a person isn’t ready, willing, and able to kill me and my family, and I have ZERO sympathy for a home invader.

  3. It’s victim blaming actually. The victim is the citizen whose house was burgled, not the unfortunately raised young men who died from their own poor judgment and woefully lacking moral compass.

  4. This is the Michael Brown, et al. defense (“He was a good boy…just turning his life around…didn’t deserve…”, etc.) used by those who generally resist accepting responsibility for their actions.

    I don’t know what the current statistics might be, but not long ago it was reported that London had a multiple of the number of incidents of occupied home invasions/burglaries compared to New York City. The explanation was that criminals found it easier to deal with almost certainly unarmed residents at home rather than with an alarm system set in their absence. This was exacerbated by confusion among the public as to how much force, if any, they were allowed to use to counter such crimes. I was amused and saddened on reading individual Brits’ comments on an article on the issue. Many were offering up their ideas for setting up various vignettes in their homes to provide a bit of protection without putting themselves, rather than the criminals, at the mercy of British “justice’. They suggested such things as keeping a pair of dirty boots and a sharp spade set to appear as if they had been left by the closet after gardening, having a team jersey and shorts draped over a chair with a cricket bat, a knife and a partially cut loaf of bread on a board handy in the kitchen, etc. They were afraid to appear to have planned to employ force in their own defense.

    • When renting in Holland, we were told, essentially, at least as I understood it, homeowners owe a duty of care to burglars and we could be sued if we harmed an intruder. We need to be more enlightened, like those brilliant Europeans. No thanks. By the way, there is a great deal of property crime in Amsterdam, and not just bikes.

      • Here is an idea circulating in Quora.

        Instead of banning guns why can’t we hold people that are irresponsible with securing their firearms accountable for crimes committed with them?

        First of all, I suppose only a small amount of lunatics really want to “ban guns” (like it’s done in Japan), sane people are probably more interested in introducing gun control laws similar to what European countries have.

        But considering your question, you can and you should make failure to properly and securely store a gun punishable and vigorously enforce that law especially if lost or stolen gun was used to commit a crime. Ask any military of ex-military person what happens if someone loses his rifle? It’s not fun and the person in question is always punished hard.

        The same should apply in the civil life. A gun is a gun. It is as deadly on the street that is in the field. If you are reckless and can not keep it safe: you should face the consequences. Any right MUST be balanced with responsibility.

        In wonder what Jack;’s ethics verdict is on this idea.

        • That would be pretty much useless. Over 80% of the murders in this country are gang-related, so this would have no effect there. Even the Washington Post admits that over 80% of the guns used in crimes are not owned by the perpetrator. But it is even worse than that. Although the Post states that 20% of the perpetrators were the ‘legal owner’ of the gun, that doesn’t mean they LEGALLY OWNED the gun. As other studies that have stated that ‘40%’ or ‘60%’ of criminals legally purchased their guns, felons can’t own guns legally. Just because you fraudulently purchased a gun doesn’t mean that you legally own it. If you buy a gun from the trunk of some guy in the mall, you may have just ‘legally’ purchased it, but it doesn’t mean you legally own it. If you are a felon, have a restraining order, use drugs (including ‘medical’ marijuana), have a felon or drug user living in the same dwelling as you, you don’t legally own a firearm. So, the number of perpetrators who actually legally own a firearm is probably in the low single digits. As for stolen guns, people don’t report them for many reasons. First, most police agencies don’t do anything for you if your property is stolen. That stuff is just gone and all the police do is write up a paper report, no evidence is collected, no investigation is done. Second, if you report a gun stolen, YOU might be investigated.

          So, anyone who actually cares about murders would be cracking down on gang activity. This gang activity is responsible for the disparity between the violent crime statistics in the US and those in the low-violent crime European countries (multiply their numbers by 5 and compare). How are our ‘gun control advocates’ dealing with gang crime? They are pushing for gang databases to be destroyed because they are ‘racist’. I don’t trust anyone who lies about their motivations. Gun control advocates do not care about murder victims. They are liars or deluded, ignorant puppets of the liars.

          Gun control effectiveness? Well, as shown above, the best we could do is eliminate less than 2000 murders/year (assuming all the non-gang related ones are by legal gun owners). However, we have up to 3 million self-defense incidents/year with guns in this country. If only 0.07% of those self-defense incidents prevented a murder, you will actually INCREASE the number of murders by banning guns, guaranteed.

          The last statistics I saw out of England were that they had 110 burglaries/robberies per 100 people each year. Only 50% of the people were effected, so the poorer 50% of the population is subjected to an average of 2 robberies/burglaries each year, every year. Oh yes, I almost forgot. England only reports CONVICTIONS, not complaints. We have convictions for less than 20% of such crimes in the US. That is the ‘paradise’ we could have in the US if we banned guns, except our gang activity would make it so much worse.

        • Imagine any other scenario where the victim of a crime, theft in this case, was responsible for how the thief used the stolen item. Whenever this idea is floated as common sense gun control, it proves the inability of coherent reasoning.

  5. It does not lessen the importance, I was just baffled that you seemed to think it had just happened. Any followup on whatever happened to the getaway driver, was she prosecuted?

  6. It is an ethical problem when some body of persons wants to decide for others in what way or with what weapons to defend their lives. The right to self defense is unquestioned, as should be each person’s choices to achieve their level of comfort for that defense.
    Armed criminal assault is already illegal .
    The penalty for non compliance should be severe as your stories relate. I’m not sure why people think that home invasion can never happen to them.

    with that can be assured by

  7. So if Redfearn had survived, he would’ve been charged with felony murder. Is that what the Grandpa wants? I assume he’d still be facing a minimum of life in prison.

    As a wise man once said, you can fix ignorant. You can’t fix stupid.

  8. With reference to ME’s comment on: “Instead of banning guns why can’t we hold people that are irresponsible with securing their firearms accountable for crimes committed with them?”

    And if someone steals your car? We have recently had an outbreak of young crims stealing cars and screaming around our residential streets. Fortunately no one killed yet. Yet!

    A couple of coppers (LEOs) recently commented to me that whilst our State (leftist) Government is talking big about tackling youth crime they are actually pushing through laws that make it harder to lock up juvenile criminals. We only have one house in our State Government, so there isn’t any viable check on the Government.

    Furthermore, we have the same problems here in Oz that others have mentioned occurring in Europe. You must have an excuse for anything defensive around the house, and all firearms have to be locked up, with bolts and ammunition, if appropriate, in a second locked safe.

    • A couple of coppers (LEOs) recently commented to me that whilst our State (leftist) Government is talking big about tackling youth crime they are actually pushing through laws that make it harder to lock up juvenile criminals.

      Even here in the US we have a lot of this. I live in an an arguably reddish-purple state, and the kids who stole my brother’s car were let off even though their fingerprints were all over it. Then he had to pay to get his car out of impound. That was eight years ago!

      I have to imagine the Democrats’ entire base is made up of car thieves and drug pushers.

      At least we’re allowed to shoot home invaders here, for now.

    • Here was another comment I got on Quora.

      Because we are a law abiding nation and the Police are quite effective. If you use a firearm in self-defense you will find yourself in quite a lot of trouble. Even though it was self-defense. Our legal system considers walking around armed for self-defense to be provocative. You know like you were asking for trouble.

  9. Would Grandpa Schmacher be less aggrieved if his grandson and cohorts had their home invasion adventure short circuited by a Smith & Wesson revolver launching .38spec projectiles? Those are actually bigger than the ones launched by the AR, just somewhat slower….

    Look at the brighter side: if these 3 thugs had succeeded that night, they would just be more enthused to try it again, and again, and again until someone else dropped them. Look at all the home invasions prevented by this event.

    • And the somewhat cleaner gene pool!
      It really is a win for us all when violent criminals are permanently taken out of circulation. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Don’t leftists say we’re killing our planet with overpopulation?
      No 3 hots and a cot on our dime, too.

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