Wednesday, November 22, 2006

License To Shoot

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be sane.

An Associate Press report this morning:

Woman, 92, Slain in Shootout With Police
The niece of a 92-year-old woman shot to death by police said her aunt likely had reason to shoot three narcotics investigators as they stormed her house.

The police "knocked and announced" and forced open the door at 7 pm.
Kathryn Johnston, living alone in her home at age 92, grabbed her gun.
Apparently she was a pretty good shot, hitting each of the three invading officers.
They executed her in self-defense.
All three officers survived.
"My aunt was in good health. I'm sure she panicked when they kicked that door down," said Sarah Dozier, her niece. "There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog."
They had a warrant to look for drugs.
No one else was living in the home. There were no drugs, Sarah reports.
The victim was an African-American living in Atlanta.
Her fear of police and desire to defend herself was actually pretty sane.
All she lacked was impulse control and an ability to assess the situation and determine that self-defense was not in her best interest.
It's the frontal temporal lobe that does impulse control and that kind of reflection.
Many of us don't have strong impulse control and critical thinking at ages 20, 40, or 60--at least not enough to handle a stressful crisis like this one. A 92-year-old brain would be a little weaker in these departments, even if far from a diagnosis of dementia.
How sad that this elderly woman with the ability to live alone and think pretty clearly should lose her life because of the mistaken and panicky actions of police officers.
Kathryn Johnston would have been better off with dementia, living on the secure floor of a home for the elderly.
And by the way, does your older parent still have a gun in his/her home?
At what age should we take away the license to shoot?

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