Thursday, January 5, 2012

The answer is Yes.

This is a question I wish people didn't think they have to ask. Unfortunately, under the circumstances it was a very important question.
"I've got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?" asked McKinley, 18.
Now, at this point I'm supposed to get all snarky and anti-sheeplike-behavior, because that's my gig. But let's face it, it's a very important question. The lady's on the phone with a police dispatcher. Having already taken that step, the answer to the question is equally important. It's life and death. The jackass who's trying to break in brought a knife to a gunfight: He's not that big a problem as long as she's got the cojones to pull the trigger. (Which, by the way, she did.) But the next visitors she gets might be wearing armor and carrying rifles, and have even less compunction about killing her. History is very clear on this point. So yeah, the question is important. And so is the answer.

The answer she got, frankly, shocked me.
"Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself," dispatcher Diane Graham responded. "I can't tell you that you can do that, but you do what you have to do to protect your baby."
Now, at this point I'm supposed to get all snarky and anti-cop, because that's my gig. And no doubt in some other jurisdiction she'd have received a completely different answer. Can you imagine those words coming from the mouth of a Chicago PD dispatcher? Because I can't.
The dispatcher told HLN's Jane Velez-Mitchell on Wednesday she learned in training that she could not tell a caller to shoot someone, "(but) as a mother, I wanted her to protect her baby."
And I think that's very cool, and you're not going to hear that from me very much concerning somebody who works in a police station.

Then the story took a completely bizarre turn.
First Assistant District Attorney James Walters told CNN that McKinley will not be charged because she acted in self-defense.

"A person has the right to protect themselves, their family and their property," Walters said.
Wait. What? You're a DA! You're the guy I'm supposed to especially hate! You're supposed to make this poor, innocent woman's continued existence a living hell, for having the effrontery to defend herself with lethal force instead of being raped and murdered like a good little taxpayer! Tradition demands it! You're screwing with my understanding of the workings of the universe! What the **** is wrong with you?

Granted, again, this is Oklahoma City, a place I've lived near, and OKC has never been a good place to be a violent predator. But still - If I can't depend on cops and prosecutors to be despicable, what can I depend on?

This lady's encounter with the intruder, BTW, has a loverly happy ending...
Martin, 24, was found [dead as a doornail - J] between the door and a couch with a knife clutched in his gloved left hand, police said.
You go, girl. And kudos to the forces of law'n'order who decided not to be pricks that day.


Jac said...

It's 2012, Joel... Cops and DAs acting human is just another Sign.

Joel said...

I confess, I have a hard time believing that we're really winning. But sometimes it seems I need to revise a few of my kneejerk prejudices.

MamaLiberty said...

I'm so glad she had the guts and the TOOLS to defend herself. Wish she was my neighbor.

And I'm damned glad she doesn't live in Chicago...

What IS the matter with those people?

Plug Nickel Outfit said...

I wouldn't go gettin' all 'road to Damascus' on us yet, Joel. I call this an anomaly.

Consider the 21 minutes she was on the phone with the dispatcher - what kind of mayhem (or mischief) were the LEOs up to that they couldn't be bothered to roust up and defend a woman and child?

As for the DA - they'd have to be an utter fool to stand against a justified case of self-defense in that particular locality. They'll be plenty more opportunity for them to stomp on proles for the grandstands.

Claire said...

Maybe this dispatcher will help restore your normal, healthy cynicism:

Tamara (remotely) said...


You mean you might have to start taking people as INDIVIDUALS?

Clutch the pearls! ;)

Joel said...

Demonizing entire demographic groups is wrong and dangerous, Tam, when practiced by prejudiced amateurs. It should be left to the trained professionals like me.

MamaLiberty said...

I just thought of something... this sort of situation would be a marvelous place for the old, "don't ask, don't tell" thing, wouldn't it?

And Plug Nickel the time I had to shoot a man to save my life, the average cop response time in that area was about an hour and a half. AVERAGE, remember. One time a neighbor called about an abusive X and it took nearly 12 hours. They were "busy" elsewhere.

The bottom line, as I'm sure you know, is that the cops have absolutely no obligation to come to anyone's rescue at all. And that includes if they are already in the room.