What Would You Do?
Here is how the case unfolded:
Unknown car pulls into Al’s driveway late at night. Al goes out to see who it is. Someone is behind the wheel he didn’t know. The driver is almost incoherent. As Al reached for the car keys, the driver leapt out of the car and chased Al and his wife around the yard. The couple end up on the front porch while the “high” driver gets back in the car. Al is worried that the offender might 1) crash his car into the home (a mobile home), and 2) might kill someone down the road in his highly intoxicated state,
Al steps off the porch and goes up to the car, telling the driver not to leave, that the police have been called. The driver appears to be trying to start the car, so Al:
Does nothing, hoping the police will do something if they show up in time, or
Uses his firearm to shoot out a tire or two so as to disable the car.
Al picks B. He shot out two tires.
Cops show up fifteen (15) minutes later. The crazed driver was so out of his mind that he thought he was parked in his friend’s driveway in Albany, GA. He never even knew that his tires had been shot out as he never heard the shots he said. He was taken to the psychiatric hospital for evaluation. When he was released, he wasn’t arrested for anything because the cops didn’t place a hold on him (they didn’t want to pay the hospital bill). So this guy never was arrested and a DUI warrant is still, to this day, pending.
Al is arrested for reckless conduct for shooting out the two tires. However reckless conduct requires that there be proof that someone might have been injured, not just some magical maybe someone gets hurt scenario. With no proof that any neighbors, children, etc. were anywhere around, the reckless conduct fails.
As to the self defense statute, OCGA 16-3-21, it includes you, your family and everyone or anyone else in harm’s way. Many of you take the position that it is all about you and your family, which is understandable, so I am not criticizing that. What I do want to point out is that it can be okay to discharge your firearm to protect others, which was the argument to be made in this case.
Was it speculative that the guy might have made it to Albany without killing anyone? Sure. But if a cop could have arrested the guy for DUI (and warrants were issued, although not served), why can’t you do something to protect the public at large? In this case, Al was worried about his family and others, he stated it clearly and emphatically, yet he was arrested. But in the end, the case was dismissed, as it should have been.
Obviously many of you would not have done with this homeowner did. But that doesn’t mean he was wrong, he just did what he thought he needed to do. Was that reasonable? I think so, but other reasonable people might disagree. What say you?