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“[DeAundre] Hamilton, who works at McDonald’s, didn’t have a key to his father’s condo at 10110 Forum West Drive, so he was waiting outside for his father to come home,” click2houston.com reports. “The 18-year-old says he was on the phone with his girlfriend and when he looked up, he says there was a man holding a gun and yelling at him.” Crucially, “Hamilton says [Daniel Edward] Andrews never pointed the gun directly at him, but he says he waved it in his direction.” Hmm. There is no “brandishing” law in Texas. Which is why Mr. Andrews was charged with . . .

disorderly conduct. Specifically, Andrews was arrested underthe bit of the statute that applies to any citizen who “displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.” Or maybe the bit that covers anyone who “threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property.”

This despite the fact that Andrews never threatened to shoot Hamilton. And Texas penal code 9.04 Threats as Justifiable Force, which states “a threat to cause death or serious bodily injury by the production of a weapon or otherwise, as long as the actor’s purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute the use of deadly force.”

As always, the call comes down to the reasonable person standard. “Brandishing” (not a legal term in Texas) is OK if “the actor reasonably believes the conduct is immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm” and “the desirability and urgency of avoiding the harm clearly outweigh, according to ordinary standards of reasonableness, the harm sought to be prevented by the law proscribing the conduct.” [Sec. 9.22]

And then there’s the part of the story that no one’s mentioned.

It seems clear to me that Andrews believed Hamilton was guilty of SWB. You know, Standing While Black. Perhaps responding officers (whose race is entirely irrelevant to the bust, obviously) didn’t want to “allow” a white man holding a shotgun to interrogate a black man, period. The fact that Mr. Andrews’ bail was set at $500 indicates a certain, shall we say, under-the-radar reluctance to read him the riot act.

OK, so, my point: be careful when investigating suspicious activity, interrogating strangers or generally meeting new people when armed. In states with brandishing laws, you can be busted for arguing with someone with your holstered weapon in plain view. Even on your own property.

It’s not right and a good lawyer will probably get you out of the jam. But my God, the paperwork! And the loss of gun rights, however temporary. And the public vilification (TV news!). The whole thing’s best avoided simply by being polite to everyone you meet. And by being discreet with your firearm. Like not answering the door with an openly carried firearm.

Yeah, about that . . .

I home carry. There are times when I don’t cover my firearm from people working on my property or entering my home to conduct business. Could I be arrested for doing so? In Rhode Island I wouldn’t have been surprised. In Texas? Never gonna… uh-oh. And when Texas goes open carry? Hmmm.

They say discretion is the better part of valor. Or, as gun guys put it, concealed means concealed. Then again, the more the gun muggles see friendly people openly carrying firearms, the better. The question is, do you want to put yourself in the brandishing crosshairs? What if you’re carrying openly and you want to complain about the service with a surly waitress? Something to think about.

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42 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Be Polite to Everybody You Meet

  1. Definitely a SWB situation. Even so – unless something else surfaces – Andrews was charged with the correct crime.

    • It’s difficult for me to understand what new information could become available. The guy apologized (which I, not being of sound legal mind, would call a confession) and the young man clearly stated he did not point a gun at me. Seems the only new information that could come out of this is a lie?

  2. The headline made me think of this quote from General Mattis:

    “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

    Both are good suggestions.

  3. $500 bail is usually pretty standard for a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. That’s also the maximum punishment–a fine of $500.

  4. I can see why Andrews would take the weapon with him to see what was going on. If it had been a different situation, such a man with a gun pointed at whoever might come to the door, then it would be too late to go get his gun, if the guy had started shooting. However, he should have not raised his gun in a threatening stance. Probably should have kept in to his side holding it by the end of the barrel.

  5. Nicely said, sir. I also do my best to be courteous on-duty. There’s no reason to be a jerk to strangers unless those strangers are suspected felons. And if Plan A – Nice Guy doesn’t work, there’s always plan B and C.

  6. The whole point of having the gun is so I don’t HAVE to be rude. There’s no reason for me to need to verbally intimidate or threaten you, because if you do happen to be a bad person and decide I am just too nice not to rob/beat/attack/etc., I can then shoot you. Either way, win win (for me, anyway).

    • This exactly. I can leave the tough guy act behind if i know I have sharper teeth than the people around me.

    • Having to shoot someone by being too nosy is never a win. If you suspect suspicious behavior, just call the cops or keep an eye on it until it becomes apparent what the guy is doing.

    • Exactly right. The comments made proved that. This was an idiot who should have stayed in his home and called the police.There was no reason to approach the young man at all. This is not a case of someone on there own property. It’s someone approaching someone in an apartment complex that by nature has new people all the time. Sad really.

      • You hit the nail on the head. Don’t inject yourself into an unknown situation if you can help it. That’s what the police are for. This guy could be the IGOTD.

        • Yes Eric and Kevin, I am the older brother of Dan Andrews and he should get the Idiot Gun Owner of the Day award. He has always tried to stir shit up. I wish there was a cure for this and I truly hope he is able to look in the mirror and see the true cause of all of his problems. If he would simply get a job, work diligently and quit trying to be captain bad ass things could go so well for him but sadly, like our father he would rather as my grandmother said “be king of the losers, than apprentice himself and look at what successful people are doing and follow that.” He has caused incalculable harm and although he has the power to turn things around I’m not sure he will. I’m surprised this has not happened before but I’m happy that nobody was hurt. I hope they can do something to truly make him realize that he needs to mind his own damned business and get his own shit together and quit browbeating people. It would be awesome to see him quit being so lazy arrogant and destructive and for him to make a real positive difference in this world.

    • Hamilton got lucky, indeed. Sounds like he was basically minding his own business and was accosted by a self-appointed do-gooder neighbor with a gun. Ok, well, life’s not fair and we all get profiled by someone at some point.

      Hamilton’s attitude thereafter is what could have gotten him killed. If someone rolls up with a shotgun and asks me questions about who I am and what I’m doing there, then they obviously are neither a robber nor serial killer themselves. They have an agenda. Wrong, right, racist, whatever, they have an agenda. It’s better to keep calm and communicate who you are, what you’re doing there, and resolve it, rather than get into a heated, obscenity-laden argument with an armed man.

      A cool headed offer to call the cops and have them come resolve it would work, too; but this whole 911 nonsense is what ratchets things up to dangerous degrees. That’s how….mistakes…..are made, which can be kinda sorta hard to undo.

  7. Seems like the proper outcome.
    While I’m not familiar with the TX version, in NY State “Discon”, as it’s known, is a wonderful tool for a smart cop needing control of a vague situation.

  8. +1 Dave…I’ve been accused of being intimidating just by being large & aggressive. I can’t imagine combining that with brandishing-especially in Illinois. Funny thing is some Jehovah’s witnesses came to my front door and were talking loudly. My doorbell is disabled( on purpose so anyone there has to knock loudly). If I had a gun on me I might have pulled it. As it was I forcefully told them to go away. And not politely.

  9. If charged under Texas Penal Code Art. 42.01 (a)(8), which is the offense described above, it is a class B misdemeanor.
    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PE/htm/PE.42.htm

    Some jurisdictions in the state have abusively used this statute as the basis of prosecution of persons peacefully and lawfully exercising their right under state law to carry long arms (rifles and shotguns). A “man with a (long) gun” is not even a legal basis, without more, to even stop and question someone any more than is someone walking down a sidewalk with a dog on a leash.

  10. “I home carry. There are times when I don’t cover my firearm from people working on my property or entering my home to conduct business. Could I be arrested for doing so? In Rhode Island I wouldn’t have been surprised. In Texas? Never gonna… uh-oh. And when Texas goes open carry? Hmmm.”

    Wait. Am I missing something?

    Aren’t you talking about while on your own property?

    Are you saying that is “Open Carry” there and you have some legal jeopardy? I thought on your own property was your own business, and that the carry laws have to do with “out in public.”

  11. If you live in a shitty place, you should get to know your neighbors. At least if you know them, you can more easily figure out if they are up to no good or not. I can’t believe that a man that has lived there “25 years” does not know his neighbors, unless he is some sort of a hermit, or he works really odd hours. If I were Andrews, in that situation, I probably would have known at least a little about the kid, and I probably would have invited him into my home while he waited for his dad.

    torch

  12. Investigating is one thing, if you are “interrogating” someone as the author put it, then you need to take a step back and realize that interrogating is not your job and is out of line or an armed citizen or anybody for that matter, unlesa there is a clear and present danger

  13. “The fact that Mr. Andrews’ bail was set at $500 indicates a certain, shall we say, under-the-radar reluctance to read him the riot act.”

    There’s nothing untoward nor under-the-radar about it. A Class C misdemeanor, as Disorderly Conduct is, normally wouldn’t even be something you’d get arrested for. That’s a traffic ticket level offense and a ticket is normally what you’re handed when charged with DC. It’s likely only because there’s a racial element to this case that he was even arrested in the first place, though from the report here is does sound like a DC charge itself may be warranted.

    Beyond that, bail isn’t meant to be punitive or expressive of anyone’s displeasure. It’s meant to serve as collateral helping to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court to answer the charges against him.

    This man has lived in the same place for 25 years, presumably gainfully employed in order to maintain consistency of residence. Neither is he likely a felon, since he was in possession of a firearm but not charged thusly. I’m not seeing flight risk out of this man for this charge. $500 bail is more than adequate.

    • I’m wondering if the guy likes the jail food or something, because, can’t make five hundred bucks bail? Even _I_ could scrape that up in an emergency.

    • Yeah that comment struck me as coming from someone who thinks they know more about the legal system than they do. It’s not like cops set bail anyway.

    • Daniel Andrews is my little brother and has been trying to be captain badass for his entire life. My family is very rageaholic alcoholic and Danny acts the same way my dad did. Danny has always mooched off of others and to compensate and try to feel important he tries to be a big shot. To his credit , he has been taking care of my mother since my aunt put her on a plane and sent her to Missouri threatening suicide to get my brothers to help. I have declined to help. When my mother first became ill I drove to Houston and stayed with my aunt who went on a binge and attacked me. I fought back and called the police but did not file charges because I figured she would end up being my moms caretaker. I have cerebral palsy and am gay and my mother has spent her whole life picking up after my aunt and brother who both can’t seem to keep jobs or stay out of trouble. So my mom never hd time to spend with me because she was always picking up after my brothers and aunt or any other person who couldn’t keep a job or keep themselves out of trouble. Anyway, when my mom was sent to Missouri it turned out good for my brother because he had just (no surprise) lost a job so he drove to Houston and moved in with my mom and demanded access to her accounts. Long story short, now after his incarceration my aunt has my mom again and I have to wonder if she would be better off in a facility and my aunt and brother will be forced to find jobs and be responsible adults.

      • Oh and by the way ..Danny Andrews was in Drug treatment at least twice as a kid and has not lived in that residence for more than a few years. When he lost whatever job or get rich quick scheme he was involved with and my crazy aunt sent my mom to Missouri he drove her back to Houston and moved back in with her. So no, he is not a model of stability. He has always tried to start shit and be captain bad ass and my mom bailed him out time and again. Unfortunately she is now quite incapacitated. I have cerebral palsy and have always kept a job and have not mooched money off of her ever with the exception of in 1998 when my car died in the desert coming back from California. I hope he gets his act together and gets some stability along with my aunt. If I can keep a job and be responsible so can they.

  14. This story reminds me of an encounter I had one late night at the UCSD trolley station in San Diego. My sons and I had just left a concert held at UCSD and were waiting on the trolley platform, there were maybe three other people on the platform and it was about midnight. A young black male was walking slowly up and down the platform and kind of checking everyone out…so I kept my eye on him. Like I said, it was late, very few people there and I had my kids with me. After about 5 minutes the young man stopped, looked directly at me and said “What, you ain’t never seen a black man before?”

    I just smiled and replied “Actually I have seen quite a few, just thought you looked a bit suspicious, nothing personal”. He kind of smiled and walked over to me. We then had a polite conversation about how he had just gotten out county lockup and was a bit leary of white people who might think he was up to no good and make a scene resulting in the cops getting called. For all I know he was a bad guy but nothing happened that night and we all walked away happy.

    Before anyone asks, no I wasn’t carrying. It’s San Diego County and I am not on the list of those the Sherriff deems to have a “valid need” for a permit. I suppose that will change soon but it won’t matter as I am moving to Texas next year.

  15. While carrying; it is even more important to be non-confrontational; because if you do need to defend yourself with lethal force; it needs to be very clear that you did not instigate the violence.

    Anyone that hasn’t learned that by now; especially with the Trayvon incident; is living in a cave, or an idiot.

  16. I thought being polite was just something you did. I see no reason to be rude to people I don’t know.

  17. “disorderly conduct. Specifically, Andrews was arrested underthe bit of the statute that applies to any citizen who “displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.” Or maybe the bit that covers anyone who “threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property.””

    You mean there is a statute on the books that could be used to lock all those OCT “loons” up and not a single one has been locked up?! /sarcasm.

  18. It’s hard for me to understand what he thought he was going to accomplish. I won’t be upset if he loses the gun, maybe they can offer to give it back if he agrees to live as a hermit in the woods where that kind of behavior makes more sense.

  19. In every training class and my book I stress that, “With great power comes great responsibility.” I tell my students they might as well get familiar with “The Sermon on the Mount”, because the law requires you to be completely free of bringing on the difficulty to qualify for the defense of self-defense in court. We People of the Gun should be the easiest-to-get-along-with folks on earth, since we have the ability to use deadly force. That includes having the intermediate force options, like pepper spray , martial arts, etc. with us as well. The mind is the weapon. The gun is a tool.

  20. Robert, by your logic there is no such thing as rape in Texas either because it’s called sexual assault.

    Your post is written almost with the intent to confuse.

  21. Another idiot gun owner. If you suspect something suspicious call the cops, if someone is breaking into your home then get a gun. Not a good look for all responsible gun owners.

  22. I want to thank the maker and all of you who commented on this site I am Andre hamilton this young man’s father I am over joyed you guys are sharing our story with the world I would like to invite all of you to help us fight this travesty of justice please friend request my son deaundre Nigel hamilton on facebook and also express your concerns and comments I deeply want to thank all of you god bless and please help us fight this we are currently asking people to call into all the Houston local radio stations to express your concern and build awareness thank you all again

  23. Thank you for doing this Article on my son and this incident. Daniel got 60 days for Disorderly Conduct with a fire arm…..

    • Hello DeAundres Mother,
      I am so sorry about what my brother did to your son. I feel like our family has this violence and intimidating other people curse that I hope the Lord can break. Most of all I am glad that your son is alive and well and I hope that my brother can be graced to turn his life around. I have had time to think about this and I had a hard time feeling love for my brother because for so long he has been trying to intimidate people. My dad did the same thing, back before that his uncles and before and before..family members for generations. I hope my brother can turn it around with gods help and be a helpful and happy person in life. I would like nothing more than for him to be peaceful and helpful to people. If I could change that day, I would have hoped Dan would have just located Deaundres dad so that he could have let him in. In God, we are all one family and I pray the best for your son, your family and my family..God bless you..Joe Andrews.

      • Thank you Joe yes we wish things would have went different that night we are grateful our son wasnt physically hurt emotional yes but we made it through just fine. I pray ur brother learns from this had my sons father been in his old ways things wouldnt have been so nice. We have moved on from this and my son will be attending college soon!!

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