Friday, July 7, 2006

Criminal responsibility

There is a story that is currently on the news in Florida. It relates to a policeman that was shot while trying to apprehend a drug dealer. The nut of the story is that the police tried to stop the individual. At first he ran. When he could run no more, he pulled a gun and the shooting started.

There was more than one policeman at the scene. When the shooting stopped, one of the policemen was shot in the spine and left paralyzed. The perpetrator in now on his second trial. The first trial ended in a hung jury.

The point of contention is that the bullet that paralyzed the policeman is still in his body. They can not remove it. Since they can not present clear and conclusive evidence that the bullet that paralyzed the policeman was fired from the perpetrator’s gun, his lawyer is saying that he should not be held responsible, that one of the other policemen could have accidentally shot the first one, causing the injury.

I have to ask, so what? Who, besides this lawyer, cares if the bullet was fired by one of the policemen or by the perpetrator? The policeman would not have been shot if the perpetrator had not ran in the first place and started shooting in the second place. As soon as he ran, any and all ill affects of his running should be on him. This is the same sort of backward thinking that has led to no-pursuit rules for police.

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