When Self Defense Becomes Murder

tellner

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One of the things good self defense and firearms instructors stress is that you can't keep using force once the threat is gone. This story illustrates the point nicely.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Wednesday that 57-year-old Jerome Ersland was justified in shooting Antwun Parker once in the head on May 19. But Prater says Ersland went too far when he shot Parker five more times in the abdomen while Parker lay unconscious on the floor.
 

shesulsa

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Such a slippery eel, that.

Some go into the red zone upon attack and are truly not aware of what they are doing in the moment until it's all over. Nice survival trick to have, but you can definitely overdo it while in that zone ... something about the need for the guaranteed removal of threat?

Man, I've got to take a reading vacation and go refresh my facts.

Anyway ... for martial artists, it's pretty clear that we need to train for the panic response, the adrenaline dump for this reason (amongst others of course).
 
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tellner

tellner

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I didn't want to quote the whole article. This should clear up any ambiguity:

Prater showed a security video in which two men burst into the pharmacy and one being shot. Ersland is seen chasing the second man outside before returning, walking past Parker to get a second gun then going back to Parker and opening fire.
 

shesulsa

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Yeah, that would likely be going too far.
 

zDom

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Unconcious = stopped attacked.

He should have been dialing authorities at that point.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Maybe I am the odd one out, but I just do not have it in me to feel any pitty for the robber. He would likely have been out again doing the same thing (if he was not indeed already) in a few short years, hardened and meaner and with extra street cred thanks to prison time.

Yes, it was technically wrong of the pharmacist. But not so wrong as the kid trying to rob the store. When you go waving guns at people and demanding that they hand over their cash, you deserve to get what that you get. That kid got what he had coming to him.

Would I do that or recommend it? No. As others have observed, once the threat is gone, there is no further need to shoot.

Daniel
 

just2kicku

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It becomes murder when someone or something (ie video tape) does not corroberate your story.
 

JKD143

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I can certainly understand why legally this is considered a no-no. Morally/ethically? I agree with Daniel.

I have an uncle who has studied martial arts since I was born. He had an impact on my choice to do so for sure. A man attempted to rob him at knife point when I was about 11 years old. An altercation ensued an my uncle sustained some cuts on the forearms, but the attacker went to the hospital in serious condition. Attacker lived and sued on the premise of "overkill". He lost in (civil) court. All is well with SD in America. 36 months later, he stabbed my uncle outside of his home and split. Uncle survived but with many complications. I always reflect on that memory when these discussions come up. How many repeat offenders of violent crime do we have in America? Does anyone know the stats? I don't want to be stabbed or shot 2 or 3 years after defending myself when someone gets out on parole.

I know this isn't all that common, and I know the thought process can be taken to ridiculous lengths, ala the mafioso revenge movies where the cycle of violence never ends. I do however, believe there is something to be said for leaving the job half finished.
 

searcher

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If the threat was stopped and you procede to continue firing, it is murder. But if they still pose a threat, it can be a different story.
 

Bill Mattocks

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When a victim decides what a perpetrator deserves, and meets it out to them, they are taking the role of judge and jury. Our nation (USA) is a nation of laws, and we do not permit that, however we might empathize with the victim.

You may be the victim of the crime, but the crime itself was against the people, and that is how it is prosecuted in a criminal court - The People of the State of X versus Joe Badguy. You as victim may not usurp the role of the people, or you are committing a crime against the people yourself.
 

JKD143

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If the threat was stopped and you procede to continue firing, it is murder. But if they still pose a threat, it can be a different story.

I think that is the interesting question. Someone willing to rape, murder, molest, rob etc... how likely are they to do it again? When we speak of "stopping a threat" as it applies to legality we mean the "immediate" threat. However, history has shown us that violent offenders repeat in statistically high numbers. Doesn't that change the notion of "threat elimination"?

As a martial artist, I understand as do all of you, that reaction is always slower than reaction. Many of us study and train to have a higher threat awareness and perceive attacks before they happen. Certain careers may have given us an increased ability to do the same. And yet, I can't defend myself until the gun or knife is already brought into play? Always found that interesting.
 

shihansmurf

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When a victim decides what a perpetrator deserves, and meets it out to them, they are taking the role of judge and jury. Our nation (USA) is a nation of laws, and we do not permit that, however we might empathize with the victim.

Exactly.

It isn't like the pharmacist killed that robber in the initial exchange if gunfire. Hell, he didn't even shoot him on the way by which would have at least been explainable, as in "I was afraid he was going to shoot me from behind while I engaged the other robber", if not legal ( I don't know the civilian laws that govern such things, but in the military we could get away with a "double tap" on the initial assault through). The moment that he went back and grabbed another gun he decided, in a premeditated fashion, to decide to punish the robber for his action. He denied the criminal due process, and wasn't acting in self defense.

I hate and despise criminals as much as anyone, but I don't think that private citezens performing executions on unconsious crininals is the right answer.

Mark
 

celtic_crippler

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I'm a firm believer in personal responsibility, but this guy clearly crossed the line.

Yeah, the robber got what he deserved when he was shot but the cashier was out of line by coming back and repeatedly shootihg him after he was down and no longer a threat.

That action was uncalled for and unprovoked. Self Defence involves doing the minimum necessary to ensure one's safety or the safety of a loved one. The clerk's safety was clearly no longer in jeopardy at the point in which he returned and shot the robber again. That was malicious.

While I understand his anger, he had no right to shoot him again. The robber was already disabled and no longer a threat.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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How many repeat offenders of violent crime do we have in America? Does anyone know the stats? I don't want to be stabbed or shot 2 or 3 years after defending myself when someone gets out on parole.
I do not know the stats. I only know that I see way too many repeat offenders on the news for having killed or violently attacked someone after having been through the system more than once.

Parole should be grouped in with other words that are not considered socially acceptable. The practice should be banned. The criminal is sentenced to a specific time to fit the crime. Parole short circuits that.

Needless to say, Bernard Geotz did not particularly bother me. Nor does this pharmacist. Perhaps he should have turned off the video on the way back to get that gun.

Certainly hope he can get parole. God knows the real criminals do.

Daniel
 

Daniel Sullivan

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That action was uncalled for
Yes, it was.

and unprovoked.
No, it was not. Once you try to rob someone, you have provoked them. Getting shot does not instantly unprovoke your intended victim.

Self Defence involves doing the minimum necessary to ensure one's safety or the safety of a loved one. The clerk's safety was clearly no longer in jeopardy at the point in which he returned and shot the robber again. That was malicious.
Why the minimum? The criminal will do the maximum harm to you and will strike at you the moment he can at a later date, probably bringing friends with him. Best bet is to do it right the first time.

As for the rest, one thing we do not know is how many times this guy had been held up before by punks like this kid. While this does not justify the clerk, if you are held up multiple times, you do kind of lose patience with the legal system.

While I understand his anger, he had no right to shoot him again. The robber was already disabled and no longer a threat.
Agree 100%.

Daniel
 
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The modern legalist in me knows this was wrong a case of vigilantism. Someone obviously taking the law in their own hand. The cave man in me though strongly sympathizes with the shooter. Call it karma or suicide by bank robbery, but the robber earnt his death.
 

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