What in blue blazes is this world coming to? First, an 89 year old woman in Des Moines is so afraid for her own safety that she keeps a handgun in her apartment:
An intruder bashed in the front door of Turner’s east-side Des Moines house about 5:30 a.m. Turner said she yelled at the man, telling him he had the wrong house and warned him she would shoot if he came inside.
“He was a big, burly guy,” Turner said. “He was pulling at his shorts and talking crazy. If they stay outside, OK. But I always said if they come inside, it’s me or them.”
Turner fired one shot – and missed. “I squeezed it again but it didn’t go off,” she said. “By then he was pounding on the coffee table.”
As if that weren’t enough shocking news for one day, Des Moines Police spokeswoman Lori Lavarato, absent any legal or moral justification, had this to say:
“By no means do we condone shooting at a burglar.”
Wait a minute. Re-wind the tape. Did I hear that right? The Des Moines Police don’t condone protecting yourself in the event that a burly stranger breaks down your door and attempts to enter your home?
Yes, folks, you heard that right; the very person in charge of communicating with the public regarding criminal matters has just offered an incredibly irresponsible (and legally incorrect) position regarding self-defense.
Perhaps it’s time to review the law, yes?
Something I vaguely remember from my days in law school is the fact that a person can use deadly force to repel an invader if the person reasonably believes their life is in danger. As usual, the devil is in the details and cases like these turn on the definition of “reasonable.”
Is it reasonable to believe that your life is in danger when a psychotic madman is breaking down your door and uttering unintelligible gibberish? How about if you’re an 89 year old woman?
I say yes, and I would much rather a jury of 12 judge that I “reasonably” believed my life was in danger than to leave this earth much too early because I was willing to give a drug-addled maniac the benefit of the doubt.
But wait a minute! It appears there may be some dissension in the ranks at the Des Moines Police Department! Some of the officers on the scene (most likely not “spokespersons”) thought Mrs. Turner acted quite reasonably:
“There were about six officers here,” [Turner] said. “All of them were hugging me and telling me how brave I was.”
Yes, Mrs. Turner, you are brave. Unfortunately, the position offered by Lori Lavarato as that of the Des Moines Police Department is not.
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