EAST RIDGE, TENNESSEE — Back in June, a masked man entered a convenience store in East Ridge, Tennessee, chased down a store clerk and threatened to hit her with a butcher knife if she didn’t clear out the register. After she complied, he then pulled her out of the store and said he had a gun and would kill her if she didn’t come with him. As he lead her out of the store, a customer pulled up and saw the clerk being dragged out by a man with a butcher knife in his hand. He drew his gun and shot the man.
According to ABC News Channel 9, that man is just now being told he will not face any charges from the District Attorney’s office. For anyone counting, that’s an almost six month delay between an act that was clearly justified by evidence and authorities determining no wrongdoing on his behalf.
All of this for a violent criminal who looked to have every intention of doing unspeakably horrible things to this defenseless store clerk.
“It’s an experience I don’t wish on anybody,” said the gun owner. “Everybody has things that they say. If I was in this position I would do this, I would do that. But until you are actually faced in a situation like that – you really can’t say what you would do.”
We’re glad this gun owner did the right thing and stopped this violent felony from going any further than it had already. If there wasn’t a good guy with a gun that just happened to be there and willing to act, that clerk could have lost her life or been more severely harmed.
The fact that it takes so long for the law to determine no wrongdoing should give us all some indication of the hard road ahead of us after a defensive shooting incident.
There was video evidence and witness testimony all backing this man’s judicious use of deadly force. Despite an overwhelming mountain of evidence helping this man, he still had to probably invest in a very expensive attorney and sit tight for almost six months wondering the outcome of his life.
All of this after having to make the very heavy decision to take another man’s life to protect another innocent person… That’s something.
We can add up all the factors and quickly see that society clearly does not always reward good people doing good things for others. That man could have seen what he saw, got on the phone with police, and refused any further action. He could have watched this truly despicable piece of scum from the safety of his vehicle.
No, he chose to act. And for that clerk and her family, they’re probably glad he did. Unfortunately, it may take awhile for authorities to catch up.
Defensive gun use is not a clear cut matter in a court of law. This is something we need to always keep in mind when we imagine all these scenarios we’re theoretically prepared to handle. This story, if anything, is a clear reminder that when we do act, we need to be cognizant of all that we stand to lose if things go south.
Make sure you’re on the right side of all the legal definitions for the use of force. Do the right thing. Carry responsibly every single day.