How not to deal with a robber, whatever his race

I learn from a reader that Jerome Ersland, a 59-year-old Oklahoma pharmacist, has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He killed Antwun Parker who, with another “youth,” came into the pharmacy wearing a mask and brandishing a gun:

A dramatic surveillance video shows Antwun Parker running into the pharmacy with one of his two accomplices and pointing a gun at Ersland.

Ersland, 59, then shot Parker in the head with a pistol, knocking him unconscious. After chasing the other two men out of the store, Ersland shot Parker five more times with a different gun.

The Medical Examiner’s office said that it was these five shots into the unconscious teenager’s abdomen that killed him.

And Ersland was convicted of murder because of those five extra shots.

In August, 2010, Antwun’s mother shared her wisdom with the public, thus:

“A coward is someone who will kill someone when they’re done [probably “down”]” said Parker’s mother, Cleta Jennings. “That’s not a hero. The real hero here is Antwun.”

Jennings said that while her son did go into the pharmacy with a gun, she believes other people put him up to it.

“I know he was scared to death,” she said. “I know Antwun was scared to death when he had to go into that pharmacy not under his own will.”

In an exclusive interview with KOCO, Jennings said she was angry when she found out two pathologists with the Oklahoma County Medical Examiner’s Office filed conflicting statements, which call the former chief’s ruling into question. That ruling could affect the District Attorney’s decision to prosecute.

“That man literally shot my son down, had no remorse, went back, got another gun, reloaded it and came back and shot him five more times,” Jennings said.

The interim chief said he’s still reviewing the case. District Attorney David Prater said he’s not prepared to drop the case against Jerome Ersland, but said it is his duty to listen to all evidence that’s brought forth in every case.

Jennings said her son will never have a chance to prove his innocence.

“He still should have had a chance to go to court and defend himself,” she said. “He’s just like everybody else, innocent until proven guilty.”

She said she will continue to share his story and remember his achievements as she carries the pain inside her.

“He was not a masked robber. His name was Antwun Parker. He was a human.”

[end of article]

No matter how much adrenalin was pumping through Ersland’s body after a life-and-death encounter like that, when he repeatedly shot the unconscious Parker, he was committing a criminal act.

It’s not clear whether Angry White Dude agrees.

- end of initial entry -

Gintas writes:

Usually it’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by six, but even the 12 could see that Erslund went over the line. But first degree? That’s for murder in cold blood, and there was too much hot blood here. Too bad he didn’t plug him straight away.

About Parker: as they say in the South, “He needed killin’.”

July 15

The news item was sent by Paul Nachman. The following exchange between us began before, and continued after, I posted the entry.

LA to Paul Nachman:

This is something. But I’m not going to post it right away. I’ve had so much on black violence lately that I fear the site is starting to seem anti-black or obsessed with black criminals. There’s no end to these black savage acts, so I need to pace the way I post about them. [Note: I did decide to post the item, but without the usual commentary.]

On Ersland’s conviction for murder: what he did sounds like murder. Just because they’re feral savages doesn’t mean we can just go around killing them in cold blood.

Paul Nachman replies:

My sympathy is entirely, a gazillion percent with Ersland. He should have walked.

He had his blood up, and well he should have. He’s there in his store, causing trouble for nobody, and this “hero” comes in and waves a gun in his face? And Ersland’s supposed to be cool and collected after dropping the guy to the floor, then diverting himself to chase the other heroes out of the store, then coming back into the store to be reminded? If he was that cool—if I were that cool—then the thing to do would have been to pump a second bullet into the hero’s head with the original gun and claim later that it was two shots right at the beginning.

Instead, his life is destroyed when all he was doing was minding his own business.

Call me a nihilist—if I could, I’d go into prisons and personally dispatch hundreds and hundreds “in cold blood.” Tens of thousands, actually.

Too low an IQ for the death penalty? Tough, we simply shouldn’t have to put up with them—the death penalty has multiple functions, deterrence among them, but also ridding ourselves of further, needless concerns.

Maybe we disagree because you believe in God and I don’t.

LA replies:

There are an awful lot of secular and atheist liberals who will agree with me on this one. This is not based on Christianity, it’s based on the most basic aspects of the law and of a civilized order—ANY civilized order, based on ANY religion or none. If people can with impunity carry out executions on unconscious people, then we’re living in a jungle, period.

Now if we didn’t have a system of law and justice, if society had devolved into the law of the jungle, then, obviously, people would have to do what they have to do. But we’re not there. We still have a system of justice. And before you say that we are living in a jungle without any system of justice, please remember that millions of black felons are currently behind bars, put there by the system of justice whose existence you implicitly deny.

July 16

M. Jose writes:

I think he should have gotten second-degree murder. Or seomthing less than the maximum.

Given the circumstances, I think that the charge should have been mitigated somewhat, but what he did was still wrong, and was still murder.

Ken Hechtman writes:

I never expected to out-conservative you but in this case I guess I do.

The way I see it, if you’re minding you’re own business and someone points a gun in your face, he deserves to get hurt. How bad he gets hurt is entirely up to you. The law here in Canada is much the same—you’re allowed one shot to disable, anything after that is aggravated assault, attempted murder or murder. But this is one of many instances where the law is an ass. When I learned to shoot, I got taught this: Once you point a gun at someone (and I’m talking from the point of view of the storekeeper here, not the robber), you’ll have to make a decision—you will have to kill him or you will have to turn your back on him. One of the two.

You’re asking the storekeeper to turn his back on a man he’s just shot and wounded. That’s asking a lot. Maybe the justice system will work the way it’s supposed to. But maybe it won’t. Maybe the robber he wounded will get the charges dropped on arraignment because of police misconduct. Maybe he’ll make bail. Maybe he’ll escape. The storekeeper has a right not to worry about those possibilities. The robber doesn’t have a right to expect better treatment.

Ken Hechtman continues:

I am American enough to believe in guns. I don’t own one at the moment. The black-market price for anything you can be reasonably sure wasn’t used in a murder that you’d actually want to own runs at $3,000. But I did learn to shoot some years ago.

True story: I usually don’t get into policy debates within the NDP [Canada’s leftist New Democratic Party], it’s not my thing and it’s not where the real decisions are made, but back in 2006 there was a party conference in St Jerome where a gun-control resolution came onto the floor.

I went up to the mike. I delivered the most impassioned issues-speech of my life. I said that within walking distance of this room, there’s a community that twice in the last fifteen years has had to take up arms to defend their homes, their land, their livelihood, their culture and all the rest of it. [LA replies: what community was that?] And the NDP was on the right side of that. But we were not what made the difference. What made the difference was military hardware in the hands of private citizens. The gun-control vote passed unanimously (I was speaking with observer status). I didn’t change one person’s mind in that room.

LA replies:

I admit that you’re bringing me up short. What exactly is a person, say a store owner, expected to do when he wounds a dangerous armed robber, the robber is lying unconscious on the floor and may wake up at any moment and attempt to kill the store owner?

Whatever you do, you don’t kill a person in cold blood when he’s not threatening you. That is murder. You have to do something else. No system of law is going to justify what what Ersland did. You keep your gun trained on the unconscious robber while you call the police.

Ok, but what if the robber stirs? He hasn’t yet made a threatening move, but he stirs. Do you shoot him? Do you tell him, “If you move, I’ll shoot”? But doesn’t that expose you to the robber’s possible attack? Why should you do that?

Mr. Hechtman has a point that there is no principle of right in expecting an innocent man to expose himself to an armed dangerous thug who has invaded his store. I don’t have a complete answer. Yet at the same time, there is a line that is murder. And Ersland crossed that line.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 13, 2011 12:04 PM | Send

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