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Son saves father’s life with literal shot in the dark

In Van Zandt County Texas, east of Dallas, a son is being hailed a hero for saving his father’s life.

Weldom Atherton was awoken in the middle of the night as he heard a prowler rummaging through his property.

Weldon saw the intruder scuttle away but he got his rifle just in case he returned, which he did soon thereafter.  Weldon got up behind the thief and tapped him on the back with the rifle.

BREAKBad move Weldon, never get that close, you have a rifle, not a stick, shortening the distance to where the bad guy can grab it will do no good.

At this point the thief turned and took a step toward Atherton, who thought he was going to go for the gun and told the thief that if he took another step he would be shot.   The thief ran off at that point.  Atherton noticed that the thief left his truck running and went over to it to, and reached in to turn it off.

BREAK – Good intention, but with a threat still out in the night, taking your attention off a target lurking somewhere is a dangerous proposition.

While Weldon was reaching into the truck for the key the thief jumped him and there was a scuffle for the rifle which went off in the fracas.  Fortunately that shot woke up Weldon’s son Jonathan because Weldon now found himself on the wrong side of his own rifle.

Weldon’s adult son told a reporter his thoughts on the scene that he came across:

“He was fixing to kill my dad, so there was no thought in my head but to put a bullet in his.”

From 150 feet away, in the dark with only enough light to see that his father was in grave peril and to make out his target, Jonathan shot from his truck and felled the would be murderer.

The County Sheriff’s department has finished their investigation and has ruled this a justified shoot and it is up to the District Attorney as to where the case will go from here.  I assume that trying a son for saving his father’s life from a thief about to murder him isn’t the kind of case a Texan DA wants to pursue so I think a happy ending is on the docket.


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  • If government and society were governed by Yahweh’s immutable morality as codified in His triune moral law, the son would be justified in killing the burglar EVEN had he been UNARMED:

    “If the thief is caught while breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account….” (Exodus 22:2-3)

    “The crime described in this passage is not theft, but burglary. Bouvier’s Law Dictionary defines burglary:

    ‘The breaking and entering the house of another in the night-time, with intent to commit a felony therein, whether the felony be actually committed or not.’ (John Bouvier, “Burglary,” Bouvier’s Law Dictionary: A Concise Encyclopedia of the Law, 3 vols. (Kansas City, MO: Vernon Law Book Company, 1914) vol. 1, p. 404.)

    “A person who defends his family, home, or possessions by killing a thief in the dark of the night is not to be held accountable for murder.However, if an unarmed thief who has no intent to cause bodily harm is killed during daylight hours, the killer is to be held responsible for the thief’s death….”

    For more, see online Chapter 12 “Amendment 2: Constitutional vs. Biblical Self-Defense” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution:The Christian Perspective” at

  • Bob

    Proverbs 13.14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

    Ecclesiastes 8,5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.

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