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In The Sights:
Ruling Could Lead To Black Men Becoming Shooting Targets?
HOUSTON- A grand jury ruling clearing a Texas man sends the wrong message statewide that could lead to more shootings of Black men.
Joe Horn, 61, shot and killed suspected burglars, Hernando Riascos Torres and Diego Ortiz last November in Pasadena.
Horn confronted the two after he allegedly witnessed them crawling out the windows of a neighbor's house in the Houston suburb of Pasadena.
Horn called 911, but according to the 911 tapes, he told the dispatcher he had a shotgun and was going to kill the men. The dispatcher pleaded with him not to go outside, but Horn confronted the men with a 12-gauge shotgun and shot both in the back.
Despite grand jury ruling, Horn stepped out, took the law into his own hands and acted as judge, juror and executioner. Horn even thought the men were Black, when it was determined that they were of Columbian decent.
Not only are Black activist groups on target about it being racially motivated based on the 911 tape and Horns own words, it raises other questions with activists about whether more will take the law into their own hands and shoot Black men and other minorities, just because they look “suspicious”, are “out of place” or if a person carrying a gun feels threatened or intimidated by a Black man.
“This sends the wrong message,” said Dallas Southern Christian Leadership spokesman Rev. Ronald Wright said. “Where do you draw the line between being a good neighbor and having a happy trigger finger that desires to shoot something Black?”
Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect themselves if it is reasonable to believe they are in mortal danger. In limited circumstances, people also can use deadly force to protect a neighbor's property; for example, if a homeowner asks a neighbor to watch over his property while he's out of town.
Longtime youth advocate and activist Curtis Wilbert said the Black community must look at this ruling with open eyes and do what is necessary to protect the rights and stop the stereotyping of Black men.
“The media has always portrayed the bad side of Black men and we should be very concerned about this ruling,” he said. “We are concerned that this gives people the kind of ammunition they need to push for or start using concealed and unconcealed weapons against us.”
Texas already has laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons with the proper paperwork. Some gun advocates across Texas want to extend that and are pushing for new legislation that would allow the open wearing of holstered weapons and a redefinition of rules governing self-protection and property.
Marshall Native Offers Six Strong Life Lessons
By Darwin Campbell
Lone Star Power Pages
MARSHALL- Joe Massengale came a long way from Marshall, Texas, but today represents how a combination of humble beginnings, hard work and determination can lead to success.
Born on March 29, 1929, he left Marshall at 17, joined his elder brother in Los Angeles and rose above his hardscrabble roots to become a successful Beverly Hills businessman creating a tree service from scratch and building it into an enduring and profitable enterprise tree-trimming and landscaping company called Joe's Expert Tree.
As entrepreneur, Massengale worked as a disc jockey, songwriter-producer, actor, motivational speaker, radio announcer, and sportsman. Now, he has authored a book, "Six Lessons for Six Sons", based on his experiences and success.
Massengale is in Texas sharing some of that success this week in his native Marshall at a special book signing for his latest work, "Six Lessons for Six Sons". The appearances will be at the Marshall Public Library on Tuesday and at Wiley College on Wednesday.
“My life is an American Dream come true, and it can be the same for anyone who wants to succeed here by working hard and living a good life,” he said in a statement. “I hope they'll see that we live in a place where doing the right thing day after day, honestly, makes for a good career and a good life.”
Through years of hard work, he raised his six sons, mentored many others, and built his fortune. Even after Massengale achieved success, he never forgot the life lessons he learned along the way, especially those his father Hugh taught him. He instilled those same lessons to his sons, and now is sharing them with Texas and the world.
Six Lessons for Six Sons brings the stories to life and tells what it means to be means to be a man, a father, a son, a productive member of society and a person of integrity.
The book is a proven blueprint for personal accomplishment and fulfillment, a stirring story of one family's journey through a century of American change, and an inspiration for anyone who wants to become a positive role model for others.
On his work, Massengale said. “I hope (Six Lessons) will help everybody, especially young people, have faith in themselves and in what they can accomplish in life,” he writes. “I hope it will help parents find ways to pass along their own best qualities to their kids, and to talk plainly about the kinds of values and ideas that will help them lead good lives.”
In the book, he divides success into six tenets that include: confidence, fortitude, pride, persistence, fearlessness and focus.
He also hopes that the book will inspire fathers to step up and take responsibility seriously.
“I hope other fathers will sit down with their kids and talk about confidence and persistence and focus and the other lessons in here, and about what they really mean, about what they can do for a person,” he said. “No matter where you start, values like these can help you do the right thing now and plan for success in the future. That's what a father ought to do: help his kids plan to lead good lives, and show them how to execute on those ideas every day.”
For more information about the book, visit www.sixlessons.com or get it wherever books are sold.