Many people in these pages have been wringing their hands that Gail Gerlach will be charged for killing a thief. And yet there is little room for interpretation. The thief was not in Gerlach’s home, Gerlach was in no danger and Gerlach broke the law.
Help me imagine the consequences if he were not being charged.
First, he would become a Second Amendment hero, celebrated around the nation by National Rifle Association apologists. He would become a TV talking point to demonstrate how blasting away at criminals effectively stymies crime. Second, word would spread to other states that the Wild West is alive and well in Spokane: travelers be advised.
Third and worst, his example would embolden other armed citizens to shoot first and ask questions later. Every righteous or hostile or sick gun handler could point to the precedent in the Gail Gerlach case. One need only resort to the proven alibi that the dead man or woman seemed to have been wielding a gun.
I don’t leave my car running in my driveway. But if I did, I’d lock it to prevent a thief from being tempted. I would not pack around a big pistol to kill him.