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Friday, May 29, 2009

AP Article :"Oklahoma Druggist Arrested For Killing Holdup Man"

"OKLAHOMA CITY – Confronted by two holdup men, pharmacist Jerome Ersland pulled a gun, shot one of them in the head and chased the other away." Okay - so far, so good. Facing two armed robbers, Ersland defended his life, and the lives of fellow employees and customers, as he has every right to do. This is the serious down side of choosing a criminal lifestyle - you point a deadly weapon at somebody and they're just likely to kill you where you stand. The article continues...

"Then, in a scene recorded by the drugstore's security camera, he went behind the counter, got another gun, and pumped five more bullets into the wounded teenager as he lay on the floor." Oooops! Now we've violated the basic rule of self defense - the threat had already been neutralized (according to the report). Also, five more rounds seems a bit excessive... unless the robber was moving as if to retrieve his weapon (which we don't know). We also have the physical issue of adrenaline still flooding through Ersland's body after the experience, and possible PTSD (Ersland is a disabled Gulf War Veteran), or a "combat flashback". Nobody knows what was going on inside Ersland's head but Ersland. The video shows two men bursting in, one of them pointing a gun at Ersland and two women working with the druggist behind the counter. Ersland fires a pistol, driving the gunman from the store and hitting Parker in the head.

District Attorney David Prater said Ersland was justified in shooting 16-year-old Antwun Parker once in the head, but not in firing the additional shots into his belly. The prosecutor said the teenager was unconscious, unarmed, lying on his back and posing no threat when Ersland fired what the medical examiner said were the fatal shots.

The AP goes on to say, "Ersland, 57, is free on $100,000 bail thanks to an anonymous donor. He has won praise from the pharmacy's owner, received an outpouring of cards, letters and checks from supporters and become the darling of conservative talk radio."

"Many of those who have seen the video of the May 19 robbery attempt at Reliable Discount Pharmacy have concluded the teenager in the ski mask got what he deserved." I haven't seen this video, but I tend to agree with those folks. When a person puts on a ski mask and pulls out a pistol, then threatens somebody with it, the intended victim can reasonably assume you are capable of (and perhaps intent upon) taking somebody's life. You cannot tell a teenager from an adult when they have hidden their face under a mask - besides, a teenager with a gun can kill you just as dead as a 40 year old with a gun! By virtue of threatening to take the life of an innocent person - implied when brandishing a firearm - the criminal puts his own life in a position for potential forfeiture. Even a teenager should understand that!

Unfortunately for Ersland, the robbers weren't just teenagers... they were black teenagers. Okalhoma City should be getting a visit from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton any day now, claiming that Ersland shot the kid only because he was black - certainly not because he presented a lethal threat. Everybody knows that no self-respecting white man would ever shoot a white robber that was pointing a gun at him!

I suppose I could be wrong about all this, but, based on the information available at this time, I seriously doubt it. (If I was on the Ok City Grand Jury, I wouldn't even vote to indict Ersland, much less put him through a criminal trial.)

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