It is simply a question of choice.

A burglary suspect was shot and killed Thursday morning at a home in northwest Miami-Dade. 

According to Miami-Dade County police, Ernest Holdman tried to burglarize a home at Northwest 112th Street and 18th Avenue. Neighbors said Holdman, 31, climbed onto the roof of a trailer and tried stealing the homeowner’s yard tools.

Dennis Law, the 49-year-old homeowner, then shot Holdman, police say. He was dead when police arrived.

“He’s a good guy, you know,” said Lynn Eason, Holdman’s sister. “He never really hurt nobody or went out of his way to be mean or nasty to anybody. Maybe he did get caught in the wrong situation, but I think it could have been handled differently, better than that.”

“He wasn’t armed. I mean, lawn equipment?” said Melissa Jones, a friend of Holdman. “It doesn’t make no sense to kill somebody for a weedwacker that cost $110. C’mon. That’s somebody life.”

We, members of a society, made a choice to live under certain set of rules. The finer points of the rules may vary, but one of them is “You Shall Not perpetrate Malum In Se against your fellow humans.”  When you choose to violate that simple rule, you open yourself to possible consequences that might no be of your liking. And yes, sometimes people make the wrong decisions, pay for them and hopefully they learn from their mistakes and live a productive and peaceful life. But if you choose to repeat the same conduct that got you in trouble in the past and you paid for it, then you are opening yourself to more of the same consequences or even worse as in this particular case.

“It doesn’t make no sense to kill somebody for a weedwacker that cost $110. C’mon. That’s somebody life.”

He did not get killed for a weedwacker. He got killed because he violated the sanctity of a neighbor’s household, violated the safety of the neighbor and decided that the property was his for the taking dismissing the hard work that the neighbor put to acquire that property. Basically he made a series of purposeful choices that ended his life and there is nobody else to blame but Mr. Holdman himself.

And yes, Mr. Holdman might be going through a rough time in his life and needed the money, but so are many people in out country and they made the conscious decision of not going the criminal way and to hold on to whatever figment of dignity and morality they had left rather than trying to victimize somebody else. I did a quick check and found no less than 10 churches in Mr. Holdman’s neighborhood and there was one from his domicile to where he ended up dying. At any of these churches he could have found, if not God, at least a helping hand, a friendly ear or even a meal and a chance for hope.

He chose poorly.

13 Replies to “It is simply a question of choice.”

  1. I’ve never liked the phrase “It’s not worth killing for it”. I rephrase it as “They decided it was worth dying for”.




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  2. This is not a tough one for me. While I certainly have a right to protect myself, should I really be ending someone’s life because he’s trying to sneak away with one of my lawn tools? Morally, no. “Rules,” like the Ten Commandments followed at those churches you mention, support that.

    As far as violating the sanctity of a household and property goes, the neighborhood kids regularly do that at my place every day as they run through and across my lawn. It’s trespassing, but am I justified in taking their lives? No, I don’t think so.

    Dennis Law is going to have an uphill legal battle ahead of him, I’m afraid.




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    1. Common misconception. The 6th commandment(7th if you’re Catholic, I believe) is not “Do not kill.” It’s very specifically “Thou shalt not murder.” This is the root of a very large number of complaints ignorants have against Christianity, and the root of a large amount of confusion among Christians.

      If the commandment was “Thou shalt not kill,” then it would be forbidden to kill pests in your yard, eat meat(as an animal died to provide your meal), or execute people for murder, treason, or rape.

      By the way, the book of Deuteronomy lists death as the penalty for murder and rape.

      Killing in self-defense or the defense of another, killing pests in your yard, killing animals for food, and executing of criminals are not murder. In fact, they are(mostly) repeatedly encouraged in the Bible.




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    2. I’m not sure how the law works in Florida, but if it’s anything like Colorado, Mr. Law is free to go.

      In the state of Colorado, if someone breaks into your home, they have taken their life into your hands. In fact, if multiple people break into a house, and either of them dies for any reason whatsoever, all survivors are automatically charged with first-degree murder.




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    3. The article does not provide any information to make a sufficient judgment. Maybe the guy was just derping around stealing a weed whacker and surrendered when confronted by the homeowner. May be made and aggressive move against the home owner with the lawn equipment he was stealing (an ax is lawn or yard equipment BTW). The way the article is framed you are led to believe the situation was the former rather than the latter. But the fact of the matter still remains, there is nowhere near enough info provided for anyone to make a judgement past homeowner shoots intruder. Which if I am not wrong, the homeowner did not necessarily act inappropriately according to Florida law.




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      1. “But the fact of the matter still remains, there is nowhere near enough info provided for anyone to make a judgement past homeowner shoots intruder.”
        Keyword: Intruder.
        You are saying that if you find somebody uninvited in your house, you will engage in some sort of survey to determine the intentions of such intruder?
        And castle Doctrine is pretty much the law of the 50 states, not just Florida.




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        1. Nope I am not, you misinterpret me. I was attempting to explain just that to Brad. The man was an intruder no if ands or buts. I only pointed out the lack of info because we only know the basic facts, homeowner shoots intruder, to say the man acted incorrectly without knowing anything else is not right; this is my meaning.

          Also FYI there is no explicit castle doctrine on the books in CT. The requirement to use deadly force is a reasonable belief the you or a third party may encounter death or great bodily harm. I would say home invasion qualifies but I am also no lawyer. It is also rumored that in practice we are a castle doctrine state and we do not prosecute such types of cases, this fits the advice every cop will give you; they say if you shoot someone in your home and he dies on the porch they say drag them back inside. And I’m not kidding this is something multiple state and local police have said to me and many other people.




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          1. this fits the advice every cop will give you; they say if you shoot someone in your home and he dies on the porch they say drag them back inside. And I’m not kidding this is something multiple state and local police have said to me and many other people.

            And that is why you never should follow legal advice from the cops. At a minimum you just destroyed & tampered with evidence.




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  3. $110= a days pay at a decent job. Stealing anything worth that much is taking 8 hours out of the owner’s life when he has to spend another 8 hours replacing it.




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  4. Awesome commentary, Miguel. Property = money = time = life. Pretty obvious to me.

    But what do we know? We’re all just a bunch of horrible people who just don’t understand that Mr. Holdman was going to turn his life around, cure cancer, invent cold fusion and bring peace to the MidEast any day now. 🙄




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