Any sane person who arms themselves for self defense will tell you that they don’t really want any trouble, they carry the gun in case trouble finds them. But life is anything but simple and a recent self defense situation in Denver shows how ugly self defense can get.
An unknown male in Denver had his car stolen from the Northfield parking lot 2 weeks ago. Using an app he had on his phone, he was able to track his vehicle down. Upon finding his car, he jumped out to confront the thieves, one of which was a 12 year old boy. As the owner approached the vehicle, at least one other occupant in the car started shooting at him. He drew his gun and fired back multiple times. 2 of his rounds found the 12 year old driver who died from his wounds after speeding away. Once the gunfire was over, the owner of the vehicle did not continue the pursuit of his car. He called the police who tracked down the vehicle and the deceased driver. The other occupants of the car were long gone.
Video of the shooting has just been released.
The Denver District Attorney announced publicly last week that they don’t intend to file charges due to the unlikeliness of getting a conviction based on the evidence they gathered. The family of the boy who was killed have been vocal about their feelings about what happened. They have indicated that they would like to sue the owner of the car for the death of their son.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds in a story like this. Why was the 12 year old stealing cars? Where are the parents? Why did the car owner decide to go look for his car instead of letting the police handle it? Who shot first? Was the car worth the life of another human being? Each of these questions is important but nearly impossible to answer in today’s social climate. The reality is that good honest citizens are frustrated with crime, the police are over extended due to lack of staffing as well as policy changes, there are a lot of “kids” out doing bad shit these days and parents are not doing their jobs.
If this story had been in the news 5 years ago, it would be a lot easier to blame the car owner for taking matters into his own hands. But the way our society has seemingly dramatically shifted in the last few years, it becomes much more difficult to expect the good guy not to take risks. The veneer of law and order that existed in years past appears to be gone. The fact is, more citizens are more likely to take more risks than they used to. Whether it’s right or not, it IS happening.
Not only is violence more common, but the potential long term risk is higher. The family of the boy have indicated that they want to sue once they find out the identity of the man who pulled the trigger. Right or wrong, it doesn’t change the fact that this man may be involved in a multi year, multi million dollar legal fight. I’d be interested to know if this man still feels like his car was worth the trouble and the life of another person. He may feel that it is. But the point is that when we defend ourselves we must have a good understanding of what we are risking when we do it.
These kinds of stories also hammer home to me why it’s important to have a legal plan in place before the moment of self defense arises. I hope I am never in the position to have to take lethal action against another person, but the fact is that it is not up to me. I am prepared with a solid legal plan that will make it easy for me to call an attorney immediately. I have a strong feeling that this car owner called an attorney right away, considering how quickly the DA announced that charges would not be filed as well as the fact that the DA has remained silent as to the identity of the man. The aftermath of a self defense incident is a minefield, and I am not planning to do it alone.