Tony Martin vs. S-Train:
October 11, 2003 9:34 AM   Subscribe

"I looked at the man I shot. He was alive but in bad shape. He looked at me and said that I was lucky that I shot him since he was going to kill all of us niggers."
Really? Just trying to put myself in the mind of a failed white burglar/assassin: If I was shot & bleeding on a black homeowner's living room floor, with his shotgun still pointing at me, would I racially abuse him? Smells fishy to me... Maybe this is a case for MojoFilter?
posted by dash_slot- (30 comments total)
I'm not the only one to feel something about this doesn't ring true: a commenter on S-Train's blog also makes the point: 'If I had a hole blasted in me and was looking up the barrel of a gun I doubt I'd be snarling stuff at a black person about "killing niggers"'.

BTW, as a card-carrying liberal democrat, I admit to some personal conflicts about the morality of shooting burglars generally, but in the UK, they're not commonly armed with guns. I realise that it's much more dangerous to confront intruders when they ARE often enough prepared to kill in order to escape detection and keep the loot. I even admit that the right to self-defense covers what this guy S-Train did, *if* it happened as he describes it, in his own words, on his own blog. It's reported that up to 82% of Britons would do exactly what this guy S-Train - and UK farmer Tony martin did in defending his home: shoot first and ask questions later.

But, does *this* case pass the stink test? I'm definitely not convinced. You?
posted by dash_slot- at 9:37 AM on October 11, 2003

I tried to find evidence of this shooting in the Michigan media and came up empty. The weblog's author appears to be Tyrone Smalls II. He wrote an entry recently about moving to Romulis, Mich. That ought to be enough to find some mention of a home-invasion shooting in the area press.
posted by rcade at 9:41 AM on October 11, 2003

Since criminal records are public, the fact that the author claims his publication was vetted by lawyer and police as long as details are not mentioned also hurts credibility. Not to mention that pesky First Amendment due to which I can't imagine the police giving anyone any advice as to the legality of publishing anything. Blogs, can't live with'em, can't blow'em up. Even mine.
posted by billsaysthis at 9:41 AM on October 11, 2003

I once heard a hilarious recounting of some faux testimony given in an imaginary homeowner-shooting-burglar incident by a Military Police NCO. It was a practiced monotone guaranteed to pass legal muster, but so contrived as to be ridiculous:
"I heard a noise downstairs. I said to my wife, 'I hear a noise downstairs. I had better go have a look. I had also better take a weapon with me in case it is an armed burglar.' I retrieved my weapon from a locked cabinet, and then retrieved my ammunition from a different locked drawer, and then loaded my weapon, insuring that my safety was on. I then went to the head of the stairs, and illuminated my position. I then loudly yelled, 'WHO IS THERE?', to which I received no reply. So I loudly yelled a second time, 'WHO IS THERE?', to which I received no reply. So the third time I yelled, 'I AM ARMED AND I HAVE CONTACTED THE POLICE AND THEY ARE EN-ROUTE TO THIS RESIDENCE.' But there was no response.
But then I saw what I believed to be a man with his face concealed at the base of the stair. He elevated his right arm towards me and I saw an object in his hand I believed to have been a weapon. So I loudly yelled, 'HALT! DO NOT MOVE BECAUSE I AM ARMED!' But he continued to raise his right arm towards me with what I believed to be a weapon in his right hand. And then I yelled 'HALT! DO NOT MOVE OR I WILL BE FORCED TO FIRE A WEAPON AT YOU!'
At this point I felt in extreme jeopardy for my life.
He continued to raise his right arm and point what I believe to be a weapon in his right hand at me so I discharged a single round at him, with the intention of preventing him from inflicting serious or lethal harm to me. But he continued to raise his arm and point what I believed to be a weapon in his right hand at me. So I discharged a second round at him, (etc., all six rounds.)"

Otherwise, in Maricopa County, AZ, a new prosecutor had just come into office during our last debate about homeowners defending themselves from intruders. A reporter asked the prosecutor what people should do under such circumstances, to which he succinctly replied, "You shoot the son of a bitch."

To the detriment of several burglars and armed robbers, this has proven to be an acceptable and popular policy.
posted by kablam at 10:12 AM on October 11, 2003

I find nothing unbelievable about that blog post at all. Have you ever met someone who was truly full of hate for someone because of their race? I have. It's not logical, understandable, or pretty. In fact, I'm inclined to say that someone who is racist to the core is more inclined to say what this attacker said than not say it. As stupid as it sounds, a racist--even one with intent to harm their attacker--is likely to consider being shot in self defence by a black man proof that he was right all along.
posted by dobbs at 10:54 AM on October 11, 2003

A burglar who has entered your house should be shot and killed. What's the problem?
posted by 2sheets at 10:55 AM on October 11, 2003

dobbs: well, maybe you're right that died-in-the-wool racists are as stoopid as that. I forgot who said we should never underestimate the stupidity of the public, maybe that pertains to this. It is far from what I would say, and in expressing the view concisely, the intruder was more shockingly 'cool'-headed than I would ever expect, too.

2sheets: It's a brutal dog-eat-dog world, right? I have some sympathy for that view, but am conscious of the number of accidental weapons discharges which occur in the States, too. Including mistaken identity, kids fooling around, safety catch failures, etc.

That though is not my main point - I don't think the quoted words ring true. The lack of news reports or 'Smoking Gun' type leaks makes me withhold judgement still. The guy says, in not so many words, that he was a gang-member at one time. Doesn't that admission complicate matters? Did it make acquisition of firearms more difficult for him?

I think there's more to it - hope more info surfaces, this is fascinating to an outside observer.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:15 AM on October 11, 2003

dobbs is right on.
posted by quonsar at 11:20 AM on October 11, 2003

dash-slot- his gang past would not complicate his firearm aquisition unless he had been arrested on gang-related crimes.

i'm not pro-gun (hell, i'm worse than that. i'm Canadian), but every once in a while you hear a story that "justifies" their ownership. (unfortunately, it's stories like that that, well--the exception proves the rule, right?) if the blogger is being truthful (and i believe he is), then having that gun saved him, his wife and his three children.

i'm not sure what part of it you find fascinating. without the racist element, i bet this kind of thing happens often and never raises a flag. then again, perhaps it's the racist element that you find fascinating. if that is the case, i recommend you check out Blood in the Face (book | movie) and Talked to Death. they're all excellent, non-fiction pieces that you may find illuminating.

on preview: thanks, quonsar.
posted by dobbs at 11:33 AM on October 11, 2003

I'm not pro-gun either - I'm British, for gawd's sake! That's like Canadian with bad teeth, right? (",)

I guess the fascination is in the combination of scary violence (by gunfire and burglary), scary racist ideology (allegedly), and the home-owners rights of self-defence, which in the UK has received ambivalent coverage. I find myself conflicted over this less & less these days. Like I'm hanging on to some long-cherished totem of belief, which has less utility or relevance as I grow older (and more conservative - with a small 'c', I hasten to add. The BBC link above shows how it can get with real Tories)

Thanks for the links, I'll get to 'em soon enough.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:55 AM on October 11, 2003

As I understand it, it is only ok to shoot someone only if you have an imminent fear of harm. Therefore, couldn't he still be liable for the second shot he fired when the burglar no longer posed any danger to him?
posted by gyc at 12:00 PM on October 11, 2003

Your assumption that one shot fired would necessarily remove the threat is unwarranted.
posted by rushmc at 12:53 PM on October 11, 2003

Re: the racist spew after being shot:
A drunk drove into my parents' garage when I was a kid. As there was a school fair across the street, the cops (one white, one black) showed up pretty quickly (walked across the street, mostly). The cops went through the usal motions, walk the line, stand on one foot, etc. The whole time the guy was muttering stuff about the black cop. When the police informed the guy that they were taking him into custody, he tried to run, and they subdued him. They had him, arm twisted painfully behind him, knee pushing his head into the concrete, and he kept yelling "nigger motherfucker" and the like. Granted, he was impaired, but even from his extremely disadvantaged position he was being blatantly racist.

So that part of the FPP story isn't all that unlikely, to my mind.
posted by notsnot at 1:05 PM on October 11, 2003

As I understand it, it is only ok to shoot someone only if you have an imminent fear of harm.

In some states.

Therefore, couldn't he still be liable for the second shot he fired when the burglar no longer posed any danger to him?

Where did you get the idea that he fired a second shot?
posted by kindall at 1:22 PM on October 11, 2003

As I understand it, it is only ok to shoot someone only if you have an imminent fear of harm.

Meant to add: If someone breaking into your home doesn't create in you an imminent fear of harm, what exactly would?
posted by kindall at 1:25 PM on October 11, 2003

Since criminal records are public, the fact that the author claims his publication was vetted by lawyer and police as long as details are not mentioned also hurts credibility.

The alleged offenders in this case, as yet, have no criminal record relating to this offence really.

As for his credibilty being hurt? I doubt it. When I witnessed and helped stop an attempted rape last year I was told I could write about it if I liked, but I should be careful of what I say, because it could hurt the prosecution in a trial if my writings were in anyway inconsistant with my police statement or they made assumptions, or showed emotional bias against the suspect - these things would cast doubt on me as an objective witness.

That is why he would have been advised against offering too much detail or conjecture. Because no amount of online venting would make up for these guys getting off.
posted by sycophant at 1:58 PM on October 11, 2003

Where did you get the idea that he fired a second shot?

Oops, my bad. I need to read more carefully.
posted by gyc at 2:20 PM on October 11, 2003

I also have been acquainted with many racists over the years and they would deem it a point of honour not to appear cowed by a black man, whatever the circumstances.
It all seems depressingly truthful to me.
posted by Fat Buddha at 3:20 PM on October 11, 2003

Dash-slot and the rest of you.

Imagine the following.

You've just been shot.

You're lying in a pool of blood.

You're hurt, and you're angry.

You were part of a home invasion gone awry.

What do you expect someone in that story to say? I'm sorry?

What the hell do you think? This is someone, outside of your happy little realms, who came armed to kill. With a gun. His accomplice backs up the story. What the hell is the problem?

Fat buddha's got it.

Sycophant's got it too - if what this dude wrote conflicted with either his statement to the cops or his eventual testimony, the intruder (if his lawyer is any good) will make good capital of that.

Remember - in many jurisdictions, even if you're within your rights (as I think this guy was) you still will be prosecuted for discharging your firearms.

Hooray for the anti-gun lobby. The guy who shot the poor innocent home invader will likely also be civilly sued (after all, he hurt poor mr. home invader, and thus, he's got damages coming to him...)

To me, it's open and shut.

You come in my house with a gun and use it in any way that menaces me or mine, and you don't have a warrant of any sort (and aren't law enforcement), and I hurt/maim/kill you, it's self defense. Badabang.
posted by swerdloff at 5:16 PM on October 11, 2003

swerdloff: I don't dispute his right to self-defence, as I said above. I doubt that he's telling the whole story, as it happened. If his story doesn't match a police report because a police report wasn't filed, what possible legal difficulties would he face? Telling tall tales to his readers? (Note: his blog is sub-titled 'Flights of Fancy over the Tundra of Lunacy'...) It doesn't ring true:
I then pointed my shotgun at the broken window and I could see someone running away...I looked at the man I shot. He was alive but in bad shape. He looked at me and said that I was lucky that I shot him since he was going to kill all of us niggers. I almost pointed my shotgun at his head and pulled the trigger. Thank God for my wife who lightly grabbed my wrist and said, "It's over baby, I called the police." All this time, my 5 and 4 year-old were watching from the balcony. They saw everything...The police came and did their thing. The man was carrying a .357 Magnum and have three outstanding warrants. He's in serious but stable condition. I was scared that because of my gang history, self-defense was going to get nullified. The police assured me that that wouldn't be the case. Thank God again for the attacker's accomplice turning himself in and telling the police everything...
Hmmm, so no-one can verify the admission of the shot burglar, as even the unidentified accomplice was running away at the time - to tell the police(!) Why would he do that? The supposed police and his supposed lawyer provide a veil, in his story, by OK'ing his blog entry:
"...I asked my lawyer and the police if I could write about the situation on my personal website. As long as I used no names, gave no city location, police department name, and just described the situation as I gave it to the police, I was in no violation of anything. Yes, I do have to appear in court and will be blogging about that experience. But I can't tell you anymore details than that...."

Others in the comment section of the blog make similar
I also doubt the veracity of this story. I own a shotgun that is almost idenical to the one used in the home defense, mine is a Remington 870. These are powerful, 12 ga. shotguns. I can't imagine a human being absorbing a blast from one of these at a range of just 10' and still having the composure to real off a soliloquy about "killing all you niggers." 1) a reformed "gang Member", 2) unidentified accompanist conveniently turns himself in and confesses 3) a black family attacked by a pair of white people and the Neyw York Times doesn't pick it up and splash it across the entire nation for at least two weeks? Like MarkJ said: this is a typical Hollywood script for liberal dupes. Posted by: Jim Long at October 11, 2003 12:28 PM

Possible reality?
1) The whole thing is fabricated, from start to finish. At this point, there is no evidence of any event actually taking place.
2) An incident occurred, a gun was discharged, but the quoted words were not spoken - effectively, a cover up has been staged, with a racist element added to throw in a red herring.
3) It's all true. I have to say that this following blog entry is very intriguing to me:
OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING THIS BLOG Hello. My name is Tyrone **** and I'm vice-president of Kaph Media, Inc. (a web developer and streaming media content creator). We own the server that this blog is on. The blog author named S-Train has expressed to me his concern over posting about is recent incident. When I looked at the comments and saw that my name was mentioned, immediate action was required. First some facts: 1. Kaph Media, Inc. is a privately held company. 2. I am the administrator of this blog. I set up the Movable Type software for S-Train to use. I am also listed as an author of this blog by being an administrator. 3. S-Train is a client of Kaph Media, Inc. You will get no more information than that. 4. Any and every new inquiry to S-Train as to the validity of his incident will being sent to me and my attorney. I already have three IPs of people who have made inquires about this that has crossed into our territory. Our attorneys have been notified for our protection just in case illegal action is taken against us. On a personal note, I am very disappointed at how this has grew into this situation. Kaph Media, Inc. has been called by people asking about S-Train and other information. We will not divulge any information. We are also conducting our own background search into the three IPs that seem to be too interested in this. As of today, The S-Train Canvass will have no new posts until legal matters are satisfied. We have also came to an understanding with S-Train that this subject will not be talked about again on his blog until legal matters are satisfied. We are also contemplating removing the posts of S-Train's incident from the blog but will hold out until we see if this situation simmers down. The comments section for this post will be left open for you to address me. The comments section in S-Train's posts about this incident are closed.
Best regards, Tyrone ****
Vice-President & Co-Founder
Kaph Media, Inc.
tyrone**** ** UPDATE: 2003-10-11 16:00:11 S-Train's real name is Solomon ****. He and his lawyer wanted me to publish this to clear the air on who is the author of this blog. I will update this entry periodically to inform you of any updates. I apologize for these actions but as a company, we have to protect ourselves also. Thank you.

Uh, I hope I didn't add to the legal difficulties by pointing readers that way, and of course, if this turns out to be legit, I will humbly take it all back. I don't know what to make of the latest entry, I really don't.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:23 PM on October 11, 2003

Solomon Mason is his name according to a new post on his blog. I'm sure now someone can find out whether it's all true. The question is, why is it news?
posted by bokononito at 8:19 PM on October 11, 2003

My suggestion is if someone invades your home, shoot-to-kill, because if you don't, they'll sue you for physical damages. And win. Unload the whole clip, because dead men tell no tales, and if the NYPD can unload 40 rounds into an unarmed immigrant in under 15 seconds, I don't see anything wrong with shooting someone in the chest 7 times. Just tell the cops it took a lot to knock him over. If you used a 9, they'll believe you anyway.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:47 PM on October 11, 2003

I agree with Swerdloff regarding the burglar's comments. Burglars aren't the brightest or nicest of people, and in fear and anger people will say whatever irrational crap comes into their head. It would be no surprise that the burglar is racially prejudiced, most people are, especially stupid ones. Most people, if angry with a person, will express that anger by attacking the person verbally with whatever comes to mind: race, sex, age, whatever's obvious about the person and different from the speaker.

This is one of the irritating habitual misconceptions authoritarian left-wingers put about. For a white person to call a black person a "damn nigger" does not make the speaker a dyed-in-the-wool, irredeemable white racist. It means that the speaker is angry with that other person. It's possible that the speaker has a general level of anger with all black people, it's probable that he/she has a lower level of tolerance for angering behavior that comes from black people, but all that can be fairly derived from the use of the word is that the speaker is angry with a black person and is (probably) not him/herself a black person.

Scratch any human being and you will find an instinctive fear and distrust of different kinds of human beings.

Now, about that "(probably)" above: individual hates reflect society's hates, and vice versa. Minority black people in a white-dominated society will--unthinkingly, as insults generally are--use "nigger" against one another. Children below the age of awareness of sexuality will call each other "fag".

So, maybe this particular burglar really, actually was some kind of genuine white supremacist who really, actually wanted to kill black people. Or maybe he was a white man who was angry with a black man.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:28 AM on October 12, 2003

Am I the only one who read the FPP and thought of this?
posted by nath at 11:00 AM on October 12, 2003

nath, i don't see the connection between a burglar and the Beatles' Come Together. what is it?
posted by dobbs at 11:03 AM on October 12, 2003

Good grief, people. If you are afraid of someone breaking into your house get a dog that barks loudly. Burglars hate noise more than they hate light.
posted by dglynn at 11:45 AM on October 12, 2003

Geese are good too.
posted by i_cola at 1:50 PM on October 12, 2003

what is it?

I think it was the use of the phrase MojoFilter in the FPP.
posted by nath at 3:28 PM on October 12, 2003

Good grief, people. If you are afraid of someone breaking into your house get a dog that barks loudly.

Fear and bravado and a childhood of action movies are a powerful narcotic.
posted by moonbiter at 9:25 AM on October 13, 2003

- I'm tired of being threatened verbally by white people, especially white males.

Well. Problem solved.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:45 PM on October 13, 2003

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