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Top 10 facts you never knew about New Age beings

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I admit I was fascinated when I first heard about the Law of Attraction. Mainly, I was fascinated that so many people were so attracted to an idea so intellectually unattractive. Among those who have been taken in are the likes of Oprah Winfrey.

So I peeked a little deeper into the world of New Age channelled beings. They are an intriguing bunch! Here are the top ten things I learned:

10. Abraham, channeled by Esther Hicks, is not a single spirit, but a whole group of them. They thus often go by the name Abraham-Hicks. (This confusing nomenclature does not mean that Abraham are a bunch of rednecks, as it might appear at first glance.)

9. Abraham teach, among other things, that "anything that you can imagine is yours to be or do or have." Abraham do not, however, teach you not to split infinitives. (They would probably prefer that I say "to not split infinitives.")

8. Channelled spirits do not teach spelling, either. Take poor Djwal Khul. Other versions of his name variously add and remove H's. His followers often just give up and call him DK.

7. The continent of Lemuria was a short-lived hypothesis of the 19th century. A better understanding of plate tectonics made it obvious to science that Lemuria never existed — but the channelled spirit Ramtha, who claims to hail from that land, never got the message. Perhaps Ramtha is actually from the real sunken continent Zealandia. They didn't have geography classes 35,000 years ago.

6. Ramtha teaches that we are all gods. In fact, he calls us "forgotten gods" because we have forgotten our divinity. Apparently Ramtha himself forgot this when he led 2.5 million warriors into battle against the Atlanteans.

5. In the New Age, spiritual beings may be warm fuzzy teachers (except Ramtha), but extraterrestrials are militaristic. Just consider Ashtar Galactic Command, led by the ET Ashtar Sheran.

4. Channelled beings care a lot about their copyrights. Abraham's channeller Esther Hicks has been removed from the "Law of Attraction" video The Secret due to "contract issues." Meanwhile, the Austrian Supreme Court recognizes that only Judy Zebra Knight is allowed to channel Ramtha.

3. Channelled beings have their own secret societies. The Illuminati of the New Age is called the Great White Brotherhood. Despite their provocative name, they do not seem to have any connection to David Duke or the National Alliance.

2. Though Christians generally view the New Age movement to be inimical to their faith, Jesus is very busy in the New Age. He is constantly being reincarnated (despite not being dead). He dictates texts like A Course in Miracles that are in utter contradiction of his earlier words found in the Bible. In the New Age, poor Jesus is a pretty confused guy, and I suspect he must be very tired.

1. Jesus is part of the Great White Brotherhood. Of course he is.


Site news


Leave the lights on now has its own domain name, www.leavethelightson.info. The old blogspot address should continue to work, but I have heard that others have had trouble when switching to their own domain name, so you might want to update any links or bookmarks you have.

In other news, I have made some changes to the advertising on this site. I did away with Google Adsense because it was displaying ads I don't agree with — for instance, ads for Law of Attraction nonsense. I switched (both here and on The Road to Black) to PepperjamADS. This program lets me choose by hand every single ad that appears on the site. It takes a little more time, but I think it's important to keep contradictory messages away. If you see any ads you think are objectionable, please leave me a message so I can remove them from the rotation.

I also found several cool new sponsors — check out the banner at the top right corner of the page. Displaying ads makes it possible for me to devote time to producing new content for you. Let me know if you have any comments about the type of advertising you see. After all, the whole point of this blog is to produce content you want to read, and I don't want anything to interfere with that.

You can make sure you never miss a post without even having to visit the site by subscribing for free here. To have all new posts instantly e-mailed to you, enter your e-mail address in the box at the top right corner of the page. Your e-mail is always kept completely private, is never added to any list, and is never shared with anyone. In fact, I don't even have access to it; Feedburner does it all automagically.


Intelligent Motion: The new alternative to the theory of gravity

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Universal gravitation is just a theory, but it is taught in schools as if it were a fact. The Naked Loon, which bills itself as "Puget Sound's Most Spectacular News Source" (marking it as less ambitious than America's Finest News Source, the Onion), has the story on the new scientific alternative to the Theory of Gravity: Intelligent Motion.

Should Intelligent Motion get equal time with theory of gravity in our science classrooms? Discuss.


PZ Myers, the merry desecrator

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I just wrote about some interesting Eucharistic oddments, as this sacrament is fascinating to me and one of my favorite devotions. Yet somehow (despite subscribing to some of the blogs that discussed it) I completely missed "Crackergate" until now.

Background: The whole thing started when a Florida student took a consecrated host home instead of consuming it at Mass. Perhaps he acted out of ignorance (but also defiance, as he was there was something of a showdown in which parish officials asked him to return the host before he went home).

Enter biologist PZ Myers. He is rather evangelical about his beliefs, which include equating "atheism," "science," and "truth." I won't link to his blog "Pharyngula," not wanting to encourage his juvenile attention-seeking, but he gleefully documented all his actions there. (If you really want to read it, let Google help you.)

I said Myers "entered," but "barged in hollering 'Look at me, look at me!'" is more descriptive. He requested his followers readers send him consecrated hosts, which he pledged to treat to profane as foully — and publicly — as possible. They complied, and he published a photograph of a host in the trash can, with a rusty nail driven through it, along with pages from the Qu'ran and Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion.

The blog "The Big Stick" wrote eloquently about Myers' attention-seeking actions.

Myeres does not understand people's love of the Eucharist, so instead he insults them. He is guilty of a number of rhetorical sins, most prominently argument by sneer. Myers has described those upset by Eucharistic sacrilege to be "demented [unprintable]s" in the throes of "mass lunacy" and "astonishing ... insanity." (As you can see, he also plies the trade of perpetuating the stigma on mental illness.)

Myers says his e-mail bag is overflowing with death threats toward him and his family, and he proves it by publishing some of them. The nastiness of the hate mail he has received is enough to make me queasy. I think it is proof that you can have faith without forming your conscience to it, as I asserted in this post.

Elsewhere in his blog, Myers mentions secular humanism as "a good alternative" to Catholicism. If Myers really is a secular humanist, than his conscience seems not to be formed by his beliefs either. "Good will" and "tolerance," tenets of secular humanism's ideal of building a better world, are sorely lacking in Myers' actions.

Myers does not understand his opponents' outrage. Mark Shea remarked, "One gets the impression that both he and his followers, having nothing but contempt for Catholics, have no real grasp of the interior contours of Catholic faith and belief and therefore no grasp whatever of the hierarchy of values at work in Catholic life." Some out-of-context quotes (you would think Myers, who loudly deplores "quote-mining," would know better) led me to believe that Shea also does not understand Myers' motivation, but the whole of his writing shows that he does.

Some of the Catholic responders to Myers, though, do not understand his motivation. Myers does not intend to insult the person of Jesus Christ. How can he, when he views belief in God being as nonsensical as believing in the Tooth Fairy? He wants to demonstrate that "it's only a cracker." He doesn't even believe in such a thing as sacrilege, so he can hardly commit it. His sin is not of sacrilege, but just of being a jerk.


What are your favorite blogs?


I tried being in denial over it, but the fact is unmistakable. Blogger somehow at my blog rolls. All three. So I must rebuild them from scratch, with a little help from Bloglines — and hopefully, from my friends (that's you, dear reader). Know of any nifty blogs on science, faith, or both? (Sf too!) Leave a comment here. And I cordially and openly invite you to nominate your own blog.


Comments on Humanae Vitae from DarwinCatholic

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Don't miss DarwinCatholic's excellent post on the advent of birth control, in which Darwin questions just who is being "unscientific" about the issue.


Top Three questions about the Eucharist you never asked

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Every Catholic making a First Communion learns that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ, that he is really present (a concept descriptively called the Real Presence), and that the host and wine invisibly change into his literal Body and Blood through something called "transubstantiation."

To the curious and practical minded, that leaves a lot of questions still to be answered. And, never fear, when you have a strange theological question, the Church has always thought of it first. Here are answers to some of those questions you may have been too embarrassed to ask:

1. Is it okay if I take only the host or only the cup? Or do I need both to get the "whole Jesus"?

The consecrated host is called the "Body of Christ" and the cup is called the "Blood of Christ," but that refers to their superficial resemblance; the solid bread is analogous to Christ's solid Body and the liquid wine is analogous to Christ's liquid Blood. The fact that one is solid and one is liquid reminds us that we receive both Body and Blood. The answer to the question, however, is that the host and the cup each contain the fullness of Christ's Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Thus, you can receive either one and get the "whole Jesus."

The belief that one must receive both forms to get the "whole Jesus" is a heresy called Utraquism. To paraphrase the Catholic Encyclopedia, we do not believe that Christ limits his real presence, or holds back part of the spiritual nutrition of the Eucharist, based only on the physical appearance of the sacred species. Since transubstantiation means that the bread and wine are completely transformed, it does not make sense that there should be a limitation on what they turn into.

2. Why is the Eucharist not the same as cannibalism?

Given that Christ is human and that he is really present in the Eucharist, it does sound a bit like cannibalism. And that concern may be what drove away some of his disciples at the end of the Bread of Life discourse in John 6. But when we consume the Eucharist, we eat Jesus in a sacramental way, not in the mundane way that would be eating a person's physical flesh.

Consider what it means to eat meat. You don't take the animal's substance into you; you don't contain "cow-ness" or "pig-ness" afterward. You contain only the physical molecules that made up its flesh. The same happens in cannibalism. Cannibals do not contain the personhood or "human-ness" of their victims, only their meat.

In the Eucharist, on the other hand, the faithful receive the personhood of Jesus. They contain his soul and divinity in a real, mystical way.

Cannibalism is an offense against the dignity of the human person. Because he offered it to us, because in fact it exists solely for us, eating and drinking the Eucharist can never offend the dignity of Christ.

3. What if I throw up after Communion?

Eww. But it's an important question; after all, the Eucharist is often given to sick people, and even people who feel healthy may vomit unexpectedly at times. The main principle is that the real presence of Jesus remains as long as the sacred species retains the physical characteristics of bread and wine. The Eucharist can theoretically be contaminated not only by being vomited from a recipient, but also by becoming dirty, by being poisoned, or by suffering other potential sacrileges. And Christ surely does not expect us to consume a contaminated Eucharist.

In these cases, a priest will, in a dignified and respectful way, remove the appearance of bread or wine; then the contaminated stuff won't be the Eucharist anymore. The content of the cup, the former wine, is diluted with pure water until it no longer resembles wine. A poisoned host is disposed of the same way. A vomited Eucharist, on the other hand, is "gathered up and disposed of in some decent place." No further elaboration is given, but I have heard of it being buried in the ground (surely more dignified than being flushed down the toilet).

More information on these and other Eucharistic mishaps can be found in the papal bull De Defectibus ("On Defects").

Bonus question: Why do you keep saying "host" and "cup"? Why not use the less confusing words "bread" and "wine" in this post?

Because after the consecration, there is no bread or wine anymore. It's gone except for looks — "accidents" in philosophical parlance. It's all Jesus. So it would be inaccurate to call the Eucharist "bread" or "wine" (despite the words used in many modern Eucharistic hymns). And the words "host" and "cup" are more succinct than "appearance of bread" and "appearance of wine," terms which are often used for the Eucharist.


Your conscience: Garbage in, garbage out

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Jen at "Et tu?" posted a response to Annie, a commenter in her blog, who wrote,

To me, it's scary to think I live in the world with people who believe this way. To think only your belief in God is what keeps you from being a bad person? You have no human decency? You have no compassion? You only have your belief in a man in the sky to keep you from doing wrong?

That's scary to the rest of us who live on secular humanism and empathy, based in something much stronger and much more sound.

This quote illustrates the great conceptual divide that believers and atheists face. I could have written almost the same thing:

To think only your belief in secular humanism is what keeps you from being a bad person? You have no human decency? You have no compassion? You only have your belief in some abstract bit of sophism to keep you from doing wrong?

That's scary to the rest of us who live in service to God and our faith, based on something much stronger and much more sound.

If I were to say that, I would just be talking past Annie, the same way she is just talking past me. The real truth is that both of us try to do good because they are internalized values.

The handy-dandy behavioral template

When I make one of my dozens of mundane moral decisions, I don't stop to think consciously, "What would be the best way to serve God? What does the man in the sky want me to do?" Anybody who did this would be paralyzed in pondering, unable to make decisions when they need to.

Instead, like everybody else, when I make a decision I just consult my conscience (as I discussed in this post). That's my internal set of moral values, and it provides quick answers. When Annie makes a moral decision, I daresay she also just consults her conscience.

That's what the conscience is there for — making quick moral decisions.

My faith is not going anywhere, but if it were to falter, I would not suddenly begin operating amorally, because my faith is not directly the source of my decisions. It's what shaped and formed that behavioral template, my conscience, and the conscience does not change shape as easily or quickly as mere belief can. Likewise, were Anna to abandon secular humanism, she would likely not suddenly begin acting like Machiavelli. Her philosophy formed her conscience.

Based on her blog, I suspect that Annie, like most of us, has met Christians who do not behave as Christians are "supposed" to behave. This contradiction does not happen because the bad actors do not "really" believe in God. It's because they have not shaped their "motivators," their consciences, according to their belief in God.

Probably a great number of them have done little to shape their consciences at all. A conscience is like a computer — you have to make sure you feed it well. Garbage in? Garbage out.


"La Nona Ora": A sculpture of John Paul II

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La Nona OraIn 1999, Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan created this sculpture above, naming it "La Nona Ora" ("The Ninth Hour"). In 2004, it sold at Christie's for $2.7 million. Pope John Paul II is made of wax, and the meteor is volcanic rock.

Science and Religion News discusses some possible meanings of the sculpture. The meteor may represent the new militant atheism movement, or it might be the Kaaba stone at Mecca, showing Islam's ascendancy over Christianity. Cattelan himself raised the idea of an "upside-down miracle," in which a tragedy comes from the heavens and the Pope is saved by earthly forces.

I like to see it as a symbol of the physical illness that John Paul II suffered in the final years of his life.

What do you think of the sculpture? What might it stand for?


The Law of Attraction

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It sounds like a concept from a physics textbook — or from a self-help book on dating. The term itself is attractive, and makes one wonder, What compelling idea does this stand for?

It develops that "The Law of Attraction" actually says that when you activate within you a vibration for something, that thing will be drawn to you, whether it is good or bad.


The Law of Attraction was revealed by a group of spirit entities collectively known as Abraham, speaking through the medium of one Esther Hicks. She and her husband Jerry have attracted to themselves beaucoup bucks through the vibration of canny marketing.

Though Abraham is a personal being (or, rather, collection of beings), the Law of Attraction is apparently an impersonal supernatural force. In Catholic belief, there is no such thing as an impersonal supernatural force; thus the "Law" that is "attracting" things to the Hicks and their followers must be coming from some supernatural person — and it clearly isn't God.

Under Abraham's teachings, there is no charity. The Hicks give, but only to people who seem to want it, never to those who need it. Speaking of a waitress who "attracted" an envelope full of cash from him, Jerry Hicks explains: "She yelled: 'Oh my God, you can't believe what you have done for me. I was going to lose my apartment.' We said: 'If you'd told us that, we wouldn't have given you the money....'"

This quotation is from an interview in the U.K. publication The Independent. It's a story that shows a bewildering degree of shallowness on the part of Hicks couple. For instance, under the Law of Attraction, one brings all bad things upon oneself through bad vibes. When the interviewer inquires whether this applies to the millions of lives taken in the Holocaust, Esther Hicks responds with a banal story about a chicken named Renegade.

The point of the chicken story seems to be that like Renegade, victims of murder and other tragedies bring their fate upon themselves. They only get what they ask for — or, in the words of Esther, "the person receiving prejudice is the one who has the vibration that is attracting it." For his part, Jerry wonders aloud, "So what did they [the Jews] do to bring that on themselves, do you suppose?"



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It wasn't April 1. But it wasn't July 7, 2007, either.

None of my readers called me out on this post. I thought that story sounded familiar — as if it happened... like... a year ago!

But would I have made that mistake if I had performed a good luck charm first?


Welcome new readers


Some of you may be new readers from Sci Fi Catholic or Ask Sister Mary Martha. Others may be coming in from Google or somewhere else. I want to say "Welcome!" to all of you.

This blog is written in hopes of helping to shed light (hence the title) on science and the Catholic faith. We discuss serious issues here, but also whimsical ideas and fun things like trivia. Check out the sidebar for some of the series that have shown up as well as for the most popular posts. You can read more about this blog and its author, (Ms.) Ginkgo100, here.

"Leave the lights on" is updated several times each week. If you would like to keep up with future posts, you can subscribe here using your favorite reader, or enter your e-mail address in the top left corner of the page. E-mail addresses, of course, are not stored on this site and are never used for any purpose other than to send you new posts.

Please feel free to leave a comment introducing yourself. You can link to your blog or website so we can get to know you better. Again, welcome, and I am looking forward to getting to know you!


Magical thinking and superstition

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Today is One year ago was July 7, 2007, and Time magazine has declared it "the most popular wedding day ever." After all, the date 7-7-07 "carries some serious cosmic cachet," according to the Pittsburgh Times-Review.

Wait, wasn't I just writing about superstition just the other day?

I have been thinking about magical thinking all weekend, and my thoroughly non-scientific conclusion is that it seems to be the "default" way of thinking for human beings.

The behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner believed that superstitions arise from coincidence combined with reinforcement. When a person experiences a fortuitous (or unfortuitous) event associated with something unrelated, posits Skinner, she may come to associate the unrelated thing with the stroke of fate. Then, whenever she experiences that unrelated thing, she will look specifically for the event she believes is connected to it. If the event doesn't happen, her thinking is not affected much, but if it does, the superstition is reinforced.

But that does not explain why superstitions become embedded in cultures. Everyone in the English-speaking world knows that the number 7 is good luck (hence the popularity of the 7-7-07 wedding) and 13 is bad luck. (Good thing 13-13-13 will never appear on the calendar.) In Chinese-related cultures, 4 is unlucky. Specific colors, animals, objects, and behaviors (like knocking on wood) are frequently co-opted into superstitions.

I think the popularity of superstitions stems from the natural human tendency toward magical thinking. It's probably an adaptive way to think, since in the nitty-gritty of daily life, magical thinking will usually do a person more good than harm. It's like the way the smarter animals think. In humans, the ability to reason seems to be appended to it.

Do you have any superstitions? What are some weird superstitions you have heard of?


Magical thinking in religion

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Science writer Brian Clegg recently wrote in his blog* that religious thinking is often "magical" thinking. He gave several examples from the Judeo-Christian tradition, including this one from the Church of England:

I would suggest that those in the Church of England who don’t want women bishops are motivated by magic. Their argument is that it has always been that way, that Jesus only chose male apostles, and that bishops sort of stand in for Jesus, so have to be male, as he was.
Clegg is a science writer, and quite a good one, but his expertise does not extend to Christian theology. His example above confuses magical thinking with sacramental thinking.

Magical thinking is "nonscientific causal reasoning" that follows certain rules, a bit analogous to scientific laws. Like scientific laws, magical thinking does not identify these rules as arising from any particular source; they just are. Superstitions arise from magical thinking.

Christianity — particularly Catholic Christianity and those Protestant traditions most akin to Catholicism — is deeply imbued with sacramental thinking. In a sacrament, there is an outward, visible symbol of a supernatural reality. In the case of ordination, the supernatural reality is that deacons, priests, and bishops are marked with a supernatural character that gives them the ability to "stand in" for Christ. The outward symbol includes the necessity that the ordained be similar to Christ in the most fundamental way: they must be male. (I think it's interesting that the Church of England is hung-up on female bishops, since it already allows female deacons and priests — doesn't it make sense that God would require male gender for either all ordinations or for none?)

Unlike magical thinking, the associations found in sacramental theology are attributed to a specific and personal source — God. Male gender is not necessary because of our limited perceptions and understanding, nor because of some great cosmic "should"; it is necessary because God made it so.

* Do not, by any means, miss the first comment to Clegg's post! It will make your day.


Trivia answers #2


Trivia #2 was not wildly popular, but neither was it totally ignored. Thanks for playing, Anna! You were correct on all four of the questions you attempted.

  1. The mental disorder involving multiple personalities is called, descriptively, multiple personality disorder, or in the Psych Bible (the DSM-IV-TR), dissociative identity disorder. I was fishing for the wrong answer of schizophrenia, which contrary to the popular imagination, does not involve switching among multiple personalities at all. The confusion probably comes from the fact that some schizophrenics hallucinate that they hear voices.
  2. Yeah, I meant a car that uses hydrogen as fuel. Thanks for correcting my sloppy writing. Steam would come out of the tail pipe of such a car.
  3. Concupiscence is what I was looking for.
  4. Jimmy Akin, Catholic apologist.
  5. Richard Dawkins, atheist apologist. His writing on evolution is much more coherent, though.


New poll: What would be the best domain name?


Here is a chance for "Leave the lights on" readers to influence the future of this blog!

If this blog were registered under its own domain name, which one would be best? Give your answer in a poll on the sidebar to the right. (Click through if you are viewing this post in a reader.) If you think there's a better choice that is not yet registered, leave it in a comment to this post.

Thanks for your feedback!


When is deadly force justified?

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After Joe Horn killed two burglars, a grand jury no-billed him. Apparently this shooting was legal. But when something is legal, it does not necessarily follow that it is ethical or moral. How does the Horn shooting stack up against Catholic moral philosophy?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church conveniently includes an entire article on the fifth commandment ("You shall not kill") which explains exactly when one may morally kill another human being. Paragraph 2264 declares,

[I]t is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.

In principle, then, Catholic teaching allows the killing of another human being for the purpose of defending one's own life. We are stewards of the life God gave us, and we have a duty to keep it safe.

The Catechism has more to say. Paragraph 2263 explains:
The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. The one is intended, the other is not."

Double effect is a philosophical principle of Thomas Aquinas, the source of the quotation in the paragraph above. The rule of double effect can be contrasted against consequentialism, commonly stated as "the ends justify the means." The essential difference between the two is that according to consequentialism, intention does not matter, while according to the rule of double effect, intention is key.

When consequentialism is applied to this situation, Horn's actions appear to be proper. If the ends justify the means, then the fact that Horn achieved a legitimately good end — the safeguarding of his own life — justifies the intentional killing that secured it.

Catholic moral teaching, however, rejects consequentialism in favor of the rule of double effect. And this rule, when applied to self-defense, demands that no more than the minimum amount of force necessary may be used to stop the threat. The Catechism quotes Aquinas, "If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful."

The problem in the Horn case is that Horn used more than necessary violence. In fact, in his situation, violence was not necessary at all. The surest way Horn could have defended himself against the burglars would have been to simply stay inside. Horns' actions are indefensible under the rule of double effect.

Earlier in this space, I argued that Horn's primary motivation was not self-defense at all. Though the details considered by the grand jury are sealed, it apparently concluded that self-defense was the justifying principle for Horn. But even if it qualifies as self-defense, it does not qualify as a morally acceptable action. Horn may not be a criminal, but he is culpable.


Getting away with murder in Texas

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On November 14, 2007, Joseph Horn called 911 and told the dispatcher he intended to go outside his home and kill two people. Before police could arrive, and despite the dispatcher imploring him to stay inside, he carried out his plan. He killed Hernando Riascos Torres and Diego Ortiz with shotgun blasts to the back.

Horn and his lawyer, Charles Lambright, have tried to mitigate Horn's actions with several other relevant facts. Torres and Ortiz were burglarizing Horn's neighbor's house when the call to authorities was placed. And after Horn went outside, they allegedly entered Horn's front yard. On the basis of these facts, two grand juries declined to indict him.

Not self-defense

The fact that Torres and Ortiz were on Horn's property when they were shot cannot alone justify a self-defense shooting. They would have to be there as part of a situation in which a reasonable person would feel his life was in immediate jeopardy. The fact that they were shot in the back seems to indicate that Horn's life was not in immediate jeopardy, at least to me (and I would like to think I am a reasonable person).

Even more damning is the indisputable fact that Horn went looking for trouble. He stated clearly that his intention was to kill the burglars. He also stated — many, many times — that the reason he was intervening was because he was "not gonna let 'em get away with it."

At one point before he went outside, Horn told the dispatcher he wanted to defend his own life. The problem with relying on this statement as evidence of a self-defense motive is that Horn put his life into far more danger by going outside.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Lambright had the audacity to say, "Just because he went outside doesn't mean he went outside with the idea of shooting them." This despite Horn's announcement to the 911 dispatcher, "I'm gonna kill 'em," and despite his hollering, "You're dead!" immediately before he fired the shotgun.

Defense of property

According to his own statements during the phone call, Horn's motivation was not defense of human life, but of property. (Someone else's property, no less.) The 911 dispatcher summed the ethics of this case up neatly while trying to dissuade Horn from his plan: "Property's not worth killing someone over."

I am flabbergasted that not just one, but two grand juries were able to overlook Horn's blatant crime. If Texas law allows these actions, then Texas lawmakers have a grave duty to correct those laws.

Further information