In a tragic case of adrenaline trumping form, an armed citizen opened fire on a would-be car burglar after the thief had begun to flee the area, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The attempted thief was armed with a tire iron, which absolutely could and should be considered a deadly weapon, but when he realized that he wasn’t alone, he ran for his life.
He almost lost that life.
The car owner, 31, spotted someone trying to steal from his vehicle in the 3400 block of Shenandoah Avenue shortly before 3 a.m., police said. The address is between Grand Boulevard and Compton Avenue in the Tower Grove East neighborhood.St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The car owner grabbed his gun and confronted the other man, police said. Then he saw the would-be thief had a tire iron, so he retreated.
The would-be thief fled, and the car owner fired several shots, hitting the man in the back and leg, police said. He was taken to a hospital in critical but stable condition.
Authorities were investigating. Charges had not been filed against either man.
Now, there are two ways to look at this, and they may seem to be contradictory — they’re not.
First, you might feel obligated to say something along the lines of “You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”
It’s a valid point. The thief wouldn’t have ended up hospitalized if he hadn’t attempted to commit a crime, and remained armed while doing so. This is the instinctual view of a large portion of citizens everywhere — and it’s completely legitimate.
However, we would be remiss if we failed to note the danger into which the armed citizen placed himself by taking the action he did.
At the time of the above initial report, no one had been charged — I’m certain that has changed since then. The citizen exposes himself to charges because he opened fire after the threat to his life ended.
It’s not fair to have to think with perfect clarity in such a moment of extreme stress — but life isn’t fair. If we want to stay out of prison, and if we want to give all gun owners a good name — which we all do — we have to operate beyond reproach.
Be safe out there, folks.
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