Wednesday, December 11, 2013

“Stand your ground” against dementia patients!

Mr Ronald Westbrook
This should never have happened, and it makes me indescribably sad. Ronald Westbrook, age 72, a man with advanced Alzheimer’s, was shot in the chest 4 times as an intruder under the “stand your ground” line of thinking where you can shoot anyone you feel is threatening you. No charges were filed against the shooter.
Mr. Westbrook wandered from his home in the middle of a cold night, dressed inappropriately for the weather, with his two dogs. At 2:30 a.m. a police officer questioned him but apparently was satisfied that the man lived in the area and was walking his dogs.
About 90 minutes later, 34-year-old Joe Hendrix heard a knock on his door. Perceiving a threat, he called the police and then went outside to confront the intruder—an elderly man wearing thin clothing, carrying some mail, with two dogs. Hendrix decided the confused senior citizen was “coming right for him” (as they say on South Park as a defense against shooting anything) and shot him four times in the chest with a .40 caliber handgun.
“Under Georgia law, people are not required to try retreating from a potential conflict before opening fire to defend themselves from serious imminent harm," said Russell Gabriel, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at the University of Georgia. State law allows people to use lethal force to stop someone from forcibly entering a home if those inside reasonably fear they are going to be attacked. Deadly force can even be used to stop someone from trying to forcibly enter a home to commit a felony.”
My best friend grew up in the boondocks of Pennsylvania, a place full of gun-toting rednecks from which she escaped as soon as she graduated from high school. She was taught how to use a gun when she was seven years old, and to respect a gun, and when not to shoot a gun. When I told her about this story she was appalled on many levels. I’m not a “no one should have guns” person, but there should be rules…and one of the rules shouldn’t be “it’s coming right for us” so let’s shoot it, straight out of South Park. She said if everyone was properly taught to use and respect firearms as children, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.
The shooter, even though he killed an unarmed, sick, elderly man, was not charged with a crime.  I know I said that before, but I'm still in disbelief.
Long-time readers know that my dad "escaped" twice from my mom.  Once he was angry, once he thought he knew where he was going but got confused and lost.  Both times he was returned to us unharmed; we were probably more frightened than he was.  I can't imagine the phone call to his poor wife, who hadn't realized he was missing.  "Ma'am, your husband left your house and was shot to death.  Sorry about that."
Would Mr. Westbrook have died a horrible death like my dad?  Perhaps.  Or perhaps not.  Even if that was the case, he shouldn't have been shot.  He was probably scared and or confused.  One article said he used to live there at the Hendrix residence, or thought he did.  Maybe he thought he was home.  Then a strange man came outside, shouting things at him that his poor old brain couldn't process, and instead of helping him or welcoming him, the man from inside the house shot the old man to death.
His wife was a nurse, well-qualified to be caring for him at home.  She had the doors alarmed.   There's no mention I can find of how he defeated the door alarms and got out of the house.  But there didn't seem to be a reason for him to be in a nursing home, or that his wife could no longer handle his care.
This is just heartbreaking, and yet the news cycle was all about some guy from a movie about driving fast dying in a car accident while driving fast. 
(I read several articles about this, some with varying details.  I picked the best one to showcase here.)
enlarge article here
Original URL and photo source


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