Afternoon Delight

Old White Guys and the Chuck Norris Rule

November 26, 2015

Multiple Pages
Old White Guys and the Chuck Norris Rule

As this is Thanksgiving week, I thought I’d take a break from Muslim terrorists and social justice warriors and all the other negative stuff to give thanks for something positive that happened in 2015. In two separate but similar criminal cases that were resolved this year, a precedent was established that will possibly, hopefully, influence prosecutors in the years to come: Elderly white guys are not legally mandated to play by the “Chuck Norris rule” if they believe their lives are at risk.

What’s the Chuck Norris rule? As anyone who’s ever seen his family-friendly brand of martial-arts ass-kicking knows, the Chuck Norris rule is simple: Force can only be met with equal but not greater force. An evil ninja comes at you with fists, you use fists to defeat him. Kicks can be met with kicks. Weapons like a staff or a sword are only allowable when the bad guys use them first. And a gun? That’s only a permissible line of defense when the villain is firing directly at you with intent to kill.

In the Chuck Norris universe, this type of proportional response to villainy is mandated. It’s why, for eight seasons, CBS was able to promote Walker, Texas Ranger as family-friendly entertainment. At heart, the Chuck Norris rule is the direct antithesis of the “Chicago way” from The Untouchables.

It’s become a media cliché to say that the white population in the U.S. is “rapidly aging,” but clichéd though that claim may be, it’s not inaccurate. Like all elderly people, aging whites will become increasingly susceptible to crime, and matters relating to self-defense will become more and more important. Which is why I consider it a small victory that this year, two separate attempts to penalize old white men for not abiding by the Chuck Norris rule failed miserably. If you didn’t read about these two cases in the news, it’s almost certainly because, since all the participants were white—the good guys and bad guys alike—neither story got Trayvonified into a national cause célèbre involving rioters, burned-out CVS stores, and presidents waxing poetic about hypothetical sons.

“Why should an 80-year-old with a broken collarbone and multiple bodily injuries be held to a different standard than Walker, Texas Ranger?”

In July 2014, 80-year-old Long Beach resident Tom Greer had the utter gall to think he could just waltz into his own house after spending an evening out. Unfortunately, his act of aggression—coming home—surprised two local thugs (both with a history of crimes against the elderly) who were in the process of ransacking Greer’s house when the old man returned. The criminals—a 26-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman—began mercilessly beating Greer, breaking his collarbone and knocking him to the floor. As the male robber tried to force open Greer’s safe, the female continued the attack, stomping on the helpless octogenarian. Finally, she left to help her boyfriend with the safe, giving Greer time to crawl toward where he kept his .22 Smith & Wesson. Injured, in great pain, disoriented, frightened, but not particularly keen on the idea of dying that night, Greer managed to get to his feet and come after the wealth redistributors, who fled at the sight of the gun. Greer pursued them into the alley behind his house, where the female hoodlum pleaded with Greer, “Don’t shoot me, I’m pregnant, I’m going to have a baby.”

He plugged her like a carnival shooting-gallery duck.

There were two things that Greer did not know at that moment. One was that the female hood was not pregnant. Her plea was a rehearsed line to be uttered should one of her victims get the upper hand. The other was that the male thug wasn’t just running away out of fear. He was actually heading to his getaway car to bring back reinforcements. However, the “lookout”—his 49-year-old mother, a Snooki-tanned gorgon—decided that now that a gun was in play, it was best to flee.

Mother and son went to jail, and Miss Phantom Pregnancy 2014 went to the morgue. End of story…or it would have been, if not for the leftists who began pressuring prosecutors to charge Greer with murder because he violated the Chuck Norris rule: He shot a woman who had no gun (proportional self-defense only!). The fact that Greer was 80 years old, badly injured, and completely certain that the attempted murderers were going to finish the job if given the chance made no difference. Greer should have taken out the girl with a well-executed leg sweep and a gentle karate chop to the neck. Why should an 80-year-old with a broken collarbone and multiple bodily injuries be held to a different standard than Walker, Texas Ranger?

Hispanic activist Ruben Navarrette led the charge to have Greer put away for the danger to society that he is. In an op-ed for CNN, Navarrette rather coldly declared, “If there is any justice, the 80-year-old should spend the remainder of his golden years in prison.” He accused Greer of “stalking his prey.” Yes, the beaten and panicked 80-year-old is a “stalker,” and the thugs who broke into his home and tried to kill him are “prey.”

“Greer should have called police and waited for them to arrive,” said Navarrette, a vocal gun-control advocate.

As 2014 came to a close, prosecutors in Long Beach were still mulling exactly what type of punishment, if any, to mete out to old Tom Greer. At roughly the same time, prosecutors in Reno were wrangling over the case of 74-year-old Wayne Burgarello, a retired schoolteacher. Burgarello had the nerve to own a rental unit, a duplex, that he wasn’t using (greedy white man! So many people can’t afford one home, and he dares to have two?). A heroic junkie decided to break into the duplex and use it as her own personal medicinal meth clinic. Burgarello had been becoming more and more agitated about break-ins and thefts at the duplex, so one evening he decided to drop by, foolishly thinking he had the right to visit his property anytime he wanted. After calling out a warning demanding that any trespassers leave, Burgarello entered. He found the junkie and a trick she picked up that night sleeping on the floor. Startled, the trick picked up a black flashlight, and Burgarello, armed and thinking the flashlight was a gun (the room was dark, as there was no power in the unit), opened fire, killing the trick and wounding the junkie.

Burgarello was arrested, and his bail was set at $2 million (because an elderly man who had previously suffered a heart attack and two strokes is the most obvious of flight risks). The Reno prosecutors wasted little time on navel-gazing: They charged the old man with first-degree murder and attempted murder. Since Nevada has a “stand your ground” law, prosecutors had to prove that Burgarello acted “aggressively” to initiate the confrontation. In court, they argued that Burgarello’s act of aggression was walking into his own property. Yes, they claimed that it was an act of aggression for him to enter a vacant duplex he owned. And more than that, Burgarello had violated the Chuck Norris rule: He met a flashlight with a gun. The elderly Burgarello should have had Norris’ eagle-eye vision to distinguish a black flashlight from a gun in pitch darkness, and he should have responded by using an exquisitely executed roundhouse kick to disarm the stranger, followed by a gentle karate chop to the neck.

At the beginning of 2015, both Greer and Burgarello faced the possibility of a lifetime behind bars. Had both men been sent away, a very dangerous legal precedent would have been set. Elderly people who commit the “crime” of entering their own property would have been put on notice: If you can’t defend yourself proportionally, if you can’t execute nonlethal martial-arts maneuvers like Chuck Norris, then lie down and take whatever the bad guys have in store for you. Maybe the villains will take your life, as Greer’s violent, repeat-offender opponents surely would have, or maybe they’ll scatter like rats, as Burgarello’s startled junkies probably would have. But regardless, if you don’t give them the chance to take your life away, the state will take it away for them.

It took the jury in Reno all of six hours to find Burgarello not guilty on all charges, including the lesser ones they had the option of considering (including second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter). And in the Greer case, the DA decided not to file charges at all, stating in a press release:

Thomas Greer is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury…. This presumption coupled with a careful review of the evidence presented makes it clear that Thomas Greer exercised his legal and legitimate right of self defense when he shot and killed Andrea Miller. No criminal liability arises from his actions.

A victory for elderly white dudes, and a devastating loss for junkies, thugs, Ruben Navarrette, and the Chuck Norris rule. In a year filled with bad news, the fact that Tom Greer and Wayne Burgarello are closing 2015 as free men is indeed a reason to give thanks.

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