The Spokesman-Review

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Vigilantism is dangerous

I applaud the Spokane County prosecutor for filing charges against Gail Gerlach for killing that thief. Gerlach is no hero. He fired a pistol within the city limits.

He committed vigilante justice. Should a neighbor of mine indulge in vigilante justice, fire a weapon, miss the presumed criminal, then hit a loved one of mine, I would be outraged. That is the danger: missing the target and striking an innocent bystander with the bullet.

Those who deem Gerlach a hero either fail to understand this danger or deliberately ignore this danger. If that neighbor killed a member of my family while shooting at a presumed criminal, do I have the right to exercise vigilante justice and kill the neighbor?

Whether or not the police properly deal with property crime is beside the point. Killing an innocent bystander is the point. Life is more important than property. Vigilante justice is wrong. The prosecutor made the correct decision.

I state this as one who has been victimized by a property thief.

Duwane Huffaker

Spokane



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