Gun violence in America – it’s so rare, isn’t it? But of course, guns have nothing to do with it, right? I’m sure if the Florida man who’s claiming self-defense, after jumping over a fence to shoot his victim, didn’t have a gun – he still would have pursued the young man and killed him.
Because that’s what happened. Basically 32-year-old Claudius Smith decided to play police officer while pursuing 21-year-old Ricardo Sanes who had jumped from his yard, over the fence and into a neighboring apartment complex. Apparently that’s where Mr. Smith claims Mr. Sanes was peaking in windows, looked suspicious, and decided to confront him.
He then allegedly pulled out his gun (again, this wasn’t on his property) on Mr. Sanes, prompting the hoodie-wearing man to walk away. Which then prompted Mr. Smith to grab Mr. Sanes by the hoodie in an attempt to drag him back to his house so he could call the police.
Which is what this idiot should have done in the first place.
Well, as you can imagine, grabbing someone by the hoodie after you’ve just pulled a gun on them probably isn’t going to go too well. Mr. Sanes then allegedly punched Mr. Smith in the mouth and reached for his gun.
I’m pretty sure you can guess what happens next – Mr. Smith then shot the victim.
Police report finding the 21-year-old victim lying dead in the grass surrounded by six .45-caliber shell casings.
Oh, and according to the early police reports all six shots appear to have entered the victim’s back and neck. Apparently, Mr. Smith is claiming those had to be “exit wounds.”
For the record, a gun was found hidden in the crotch of the victim’s pants. Something Mr. Smith admitted he wasn’t aware of.
So, is this a case of “mental health” leading to gun violence? Doesn’t sound like it to me.
To me it sounds like this guy felt “brave” owning a gun, identified someone he felt was suspicious and instead of calling the police (like someone who doesn’t have a gun might do) he decided to “play cop” himself. It sounds to me like he confronted this individual with his gun, grabbing him as he tried to walk away (if that’s even accurate considering the bullets appear to have entered the victim’s back) then when the victim supposedly attacked the guy – he shot him six times.
I sense a possible “stand your ground” defense coming. Though I find that incredibly hard to believe.
Look, if someone is on your property (or especially in your house) by all means defend yourself. If they’re not, call the cops. Owning a gun doesn’t give anyone (outside of law enforcement) the right to track down and confront someone they think might be a criminal.
This is similar to the Trayvon Martin case where Zimmerman tracked, then antagonized the young man into attacking him before finally fatally shooting him.
By all accounts, crime in the particular area where Mr. Smith shot his victim was an issue. Evidence seems to point to the victim indeed being on Mr. Smith’s property. But once he left, Smith should have called the police instead of taking the matter into his own hands. Something I don’t believe he would have done if he hadn’t owned a gun.
So don’t tell me all gun violence is a result of mental illness just like I won’t tell you guns are the only things causing gun violence. It’s a combination of many factors that are systemic in our society.
And this case of Mr. Smith shooting Mr. Sanes is a perfect example of just that. Ordinary citizens aren’t meant to be judge, jury and executioner of people they feel might be threatening them. There seems to be far too many people who are getting away with murder because suddenly “self-defense” is allowing people to chase down their victims because loopholes are being made that allow for such behavior.
If we keep going down that path, we’re pretty much headed straight back to the days of the “wild west” when citizens walked around with guns holstered ready to “deal out justice” whenever they felt it necessary.
It’ll be interesting to see how this case plays out.