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I spend some time on car forums to advance exposure to my own vintage vehicle enthusiast website. On Saturday, posted a topic thread about a Michigan couple that shot a pair of young 16-year-old thieves as they attempted to steal scrap metal from the well-armed couple. The story sounded too outlandish to be true, but it sparked a serious gun debate on a car website. Apparently the homeowners baited the young thieves into the theft by painting two by fours with a metal colored paint and enticing the kids into a scrap metal theft.

The couple wounded the teenagers- but they were subsequently spared any legal entanglements apparently because of Michigan gun and property protection laws. The female shooter/ poster claimed that even relatives of the ventilated teenagers were ok with the shootings.

This story has a false ring to it, but it opens up an instant debate about the right to defend your property with lethal force. Results of such an action may vary from state to state in a legal sense, but it has an even bigger variance in the court of public opinion.

The mood on the forum was a mix of for and against the couple’s alleged actions; not unlike the gun debate in any public forum. But it seemed that the general mood on the car forum was not onside with the homeowners.

Personally, I thought that the story (true or false) was not defensible. The teenagers were not a couple of alley cats that ripped open a garbage bag. I agree with the right to defend property, but I believe that I would be more than willing to put my hands in the air when a gun is pointed at me. I am not faster than a speeding bullet and you don’t have to shoot me to stop me in my tracks.

Scrap metal theft is not a big enough hill to die on in life. Nor is it alright to shoot somebody over a baited theft. And, if the story is true (and that is a long shot-no pun intended), I would not brag about a very questionable shooting in a state with competent litigation lawyers. Those kids could end up with more than just scrap metal.

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  1. Jim the whole thing smells like BS. First off, in most states it is not legal to use deadly force to stop a crime unless the crime is one of violence – assault, burglary, arson, rape, attempted murder, etc. As I understand it, Texas is one of the few states that expressly authorizes deadly force to stop nearly any felony but I don't know about MI.

    Reading "chantel's" post she even admits to shooting the "kids" as they were running away, which would have led to charges being filed against them almost anywhere. Later on she says they (a) admitted to the crime (b) lied about their ages (they were conveniently 20) and (c) they stated that they were stealing the scrap metal for drug money (rolling eyes here.)

    That story's just a little to "pat" for me, and the fact that it's not backed up with a link to a local paper, not to mention that it's made by a new poster (joined in June) who seems to have a flair for the dramatic (check out her other posts) and Occam's Razor cuts this one pretty cleanly: It's either completely made up or heavily embellished.

  2. I agree on the BS quotient, unless the couple have smaller IQs than gun calibers. However, I did find the subsequent posts kind of interesting as a hot button gun issue on a car site. It certainly elicited a response from car guys.


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