We understand some of you will read this and likely think: Every reason to kill someone is wrong.
This rationale holds ostensible merit, you, reader of great virtue. But there is a difference -- minuscule as it may be -- between wrong and just plain dumb. Every excuse is wrong, but some are just so effing stupid and baffling and sad that the offenders should be thrown into a special prison where they're forced to watch Rain Man on loop so they can try and glean some of his keen intellect.
On Sunday, the Houston Chronicle published a report on justifiable killings in the city and across the state. It was a worthy dispatch, finding that 27 "justifiable" homicides happened in Houston in 2010. In 2006, it was less than half that number. There are also some astounding anecdotes, though the report lacks one seemingly commonsense insight: Someone got killed -- for that?? Here's the lead from that article:
For $20.29 stolen from the tip jar of a Houston taco truck, 24-year-old Benito Pantoja was shot with a .357 Colt and killed. The owner of Tacos Del Indio, parked near the Ship Channel, ran him down as he tried to escape with the cash, fired into the getaway car and hit Pantoja in the back.
WTF?!!? Who hasn't thought about stealing money out of the tip jar? Sometimes we think that money is supposed to be taken, you know, in case we just realized we can't afford that extra scone. And here's Rambo owner of the Tacos Del Indio whipping out a Colt in brazen pursuit, spraying bullets for 20 bucks. Dude got gunned down cold -- for some singles and change?
Second dumbest reason to kill someone
Beer is indeed the lubrication of sane society, requisite to nearly of our sexual encounters. And if deprived of it, our sadness would be both immediate and profound. But last week, one 19-year-old clerk at a convenience store in southeast Houston couldn't even comprehend the reality of his store losing some of that precious nectar. So he did what anyone else on this list would do. He grabbed his gun. Here's what happened, according to KHOU report:
"This one guy comes in here every day and he steals a 12-pack and 20-pack every day," said M.D. Zaman, a store employee.
This time, when he allegedly grabbed a 12-pack of Bud Light and walked out, the clerk grabbed his gun and followed. Outside the store, the clerk opened fire and shot the suspect an unknown number of times. The suspect collapsed in the grass and died at the scene.
The reporter on the scene also gathered this tidbit: "Some regular customers feel the clerk went too far." No kidding. A man was shot -- apparently in the back, no less -- and died in some grass over 12 cans of Bud Light. Sigma Chi bros rejoice: You finally have proof that Bud Light is indeed worth dying over.
Third dumbest reason to kill someone
Then there's Raul Rodriguez and his video recorder and gun. Get a load of this one: In rural northeast Harris County in 2010, Rodriguez got so fed up with the noise at a nearby karaoke party he decided there was only one way to solve it: murder. And, genius that he is, he recorded the whole thing.
According to testimony from last week's trial, he said, "I am fear of my life" several times to a police dispatcher after he'd approached the party. He had then apparently lured several people outside with a flashlight and shot and killed one 36-year-old man, wounding two others. This incident gets a place on the list because not only was the reason idiotic beyond belief, but it was premeditated, and -- what's more! -- self-recorded. Stupid is as stupid does.
And unlike the other two reasons -- miracle of miracles -- charges were actually brought against Rodriguez, who tried to get off under Texas's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows the use of lethal in the protection of self and property. Rodriguez got 40 years in prison.
Fourth dumbest reason to kill someone
Because they're a godless infidel! Authorities recently uncovered the remains of a man named Jose Ramirez in north Texas who was apparently shot and killed five years ago. Police charged Justin Green, 30, with first-degree murder in February. Green's sister told police her brother had shot Ramirez twice "because he did not believe in God." Death to all nonbelievers!
A friend of Green's sister then used Ramirez's credit card to buy pizza, the Chronicle reported. The relevant Bible passage: If thee has smoten the faithless, go hence, believer, to Domino's Pizza.
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Fifth dumbest reason to kill someone
This one may or may not be anything more than conjecture. It may actually just be a madcap raving out of James Howard Kunstler -- who positively despises petroleum and, by proxy, Houston. But if there's even a grain of truth to this story, it warrants mention.
Using a slew of Chron reports to list Houston's inadequacies ad nauseam, Kunstler wrote: "One particularly insane story told of a man who shot and stabbed a visiting friend who 'dissed' his dog."
Though we have no further proof of this occurrence -- and can find no mention of it in the Chronicle -- we'll concede that this, in all likelihood, did not happen. But if it did, we wouldn't be surprised if the killer bought pizza afterward.