Should You Shoot a 'Child'?

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For a little over a year, Time magazine has been running “The Detroit Blog,” a special assignment blog dedicated to attempting to understand and write about Detroit. The writers are from Detroit and/or the surrounding area, and mostly, the blog is meant for curious outsiders who think Detroit is a freak show that makes for good rubbernecking entertainment.

My suggestion for undertaking this particular blog, written by Darrell Dawsey, is to read the title, scroll down to the very last sentence and read that morsel, and then scroll back up to the top to read the whole piece. Then carefully read a story about the carjacking in question on ClickonDetroit.

The author of this interesting Time piece muses on the thought of killing a “child” who threatens to kill you by showing that he, at 5’10” (hardly childlike), is carrying a gun and means business. Two kids, who appeared to be about twelve years old,* decided to carjack a woman and her mother in their driveway at the point of a gun, in Harper Woods, Michigan, a suburb of Wayne County that borders Detroit. The punk with the gun threatened to kill the woman with the car keys. The author notes that he discussed the topic with an acquaintance who remarked, “The first thing I thought is, I would’ve shot ‘em.”

First, let me clarify some details about Harper Woods. This suburb sits between Eight Mile Road (the line of demarcation) and Seven Mile Road to the south. It borders both the ritzy Grosse Pointes (to the east) and Detroit (to the south and west). For many years it was a quasi-Grosse Pointe for those uppity wannabees who could not afford the luxury of the Grosse Pointes but could manage to mortgage their future for an overpriced, brick ranch with a Harper Woods address. I grew up about eight blocks to the north and I still live and play in the same area.

Harper Woods was once expensive, charming, and semi-exclusive, back in the days prior to the housing bubble burst. Now it’s become a foreclosure-ridden rat drop, thanks in part to the mortgage-o-rama social engineering trap that created endless housing opportunities for folks with no creditworthiness and no sense of ownership or obligation. I have a family member who has lived there since the late 1980s — his well-kept house is now worth next to nothing, and he is stuck in that home until the cows come home.

The city, in recent years, has been riddled with car thefts, carjackings, home burglaries, and home invasions. Empty homes are everywhere, littering what used to be, only 15—20 years ago, perfectly kept, brick neighborhoods. The suburb, like all other suburbs bordering Detroit, is a perfect crime stop for criminals from the city. The local shopping mall — Eastland — is a huge draw for dubious outsiders to come and hang out. I’m not sure there is a single suburb in the Detroit area where I have witnessed such an immediate and harsh ruination. Its numerous blemishes have overshadowed the old Grosse Pointe charm.

In getting back to the original theme of this story, you have a situation where some rather tall person — black or white, young or old — aggressively approaches you in your own driveway and reveals a gun, vocalizing his intent to kill you. The Time author raises the questions:

How do you treat a child like an enemy combatant? How do you threaten violence, even in self-defense, against a little boy? How do you shoot a pistol-packing 12-year-old child so warped that he’s willing to blow you away just to steal a car whose dashboard he probably can’t even see over?

My response is clear-cut: in such a situation, you are looking at an immediate threat, an unfriendly, hostile foe, a gun-wielding wildman who is brazen enough to face off against you and dare you to lay down your cards. You are an individual who would never go on the offense against another person or their property. Yet here you are, facing a potential execution, and you cannot guess what form that action will take. If your mind starts flashing thoughts and images very quickly, you might think about the year before, when Matthew Landry was carjacked behind a Quiznos just two miles to the north, in Eastpointe, and taken to an abandoned home in Detroit where he was beaten, tortured, and shot in the back of the head. Mr. Landry’s abductors were eighteen and seventeen years old.

Unfortunately, so many people have been taught to always submit, submit, submit — to the government, to folks with badges, and to the criminals. It’s a part of the propaganda and conditioning process that is used to quell critical thinking and individual resistance. Folks have been brainwashed to believe that no property they own is worth taking the life of another. However, none of these reeducated citizens can explain exactly how it is you go about finding out what your aggressor wants from you. Kindly asking questions first with the intention of pondering over the answers will certainly get you a trip to the morgue.

In a car theft, the car thief wants your property — whether it’s for a joy ride or turning a profit. That is to say, he’s looking for and making off with an empty vehicle. By definition, a carjacking shows much more violent intentions. The carjacker knowingly and purposely confronts an individual (or individuals) in an aggressive manner and the end result for the victim is often violence or death. The aggressor may desire to take the victim along with the vehicle, or, as is often the case, the attack and ensuing response from the victim results in a panicked aggressor who reacts with brute force. If the carjack victim is a woman, there is the additional risk of enduring a brutal rape.

In the case of the carjacker, the terrorist who stands before you is a person with a gun. If he’s a man and you’re a woman, that’s even worse. You don’t want to guess his age, his game, his real intentions, what cards he holds, or his ability to follow through with his threats. So you do the only sane thing you can do — you shoot him. By definition, self-defense is a resistance to force, and using enough force to cause death is justified when such force is deemed necessary to prevent bodily harm or death. After all, speaking for myself, I don’t carry a .45 in my purse because my right shoulder rejoices over the added four pounds of gun-and-ammo weight.

Furthermore, I would think that no jury of my peers would convict me for defending myself from a menacing and armed potential killer who confronted me on my property and threatened to kill me. That’s another reason why I would not hesitate to shoot a 5’10” man (“kid”) with a gun who is threatening my life.

*The gunman is in custody and is actually 15-years-old.

Karen De Coster, CPA [send her mail], has an MA in Economics and is a libertarian freelance writer/blogger and habitual rabble-rouser. By day, she is a docile accounting/finance professional who works in risk management in Detroit. She was born in Detroit and spent 10 years as a resident of the city, and still lives a few paces away. This is her archive, her Taki’s Magazine archive, and her archive. Check out her website.

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