As reported, Kenneth Plummer is an 82 year old WWII veteran who lives in Fayette County, PA. In December, a criminal forced his way into Plummer’s home and tried to rob him. In the scuffle that ensued, Plummer was able to grab a knife and stab the criminal in the stomach, driving the criminal off and saving his life. This week, the elderly man again suffered a home invasion robbery, with 3 men breaking in to his kitchen. Plummer was able to scare the men off with his gun, and fired at them as they fled Police confiscated Plummer’s gun because, as the the local prosecutor explained, firing at fleeing criminals is not self defense. My thoughts are below:
Shooting at Fleeing Robbers
As I’ve said before, firing a gun at someone is only justified to defend oneself or another innocent person against an imminent threat. At the same time, criminals have been known to act as though they are fleeing, only to resume the attack moments later. Given the danger that a criminal may restart the attack at any moment, plus the stress and danger that the innocent victim suffers due to the criminal’s actions, I’m of the opinion that a citizens actions while defending themselves should be paid a great deal of deference by prosecutors or other individuals who later review those actions for correctness. In light of that, and the fact that this elderly man was facing 3 home invaders shortly after having endured the trauma of a previous home invasion, his firing at the fleeing criminals should not be too heavily criticized by a prosecutor who is sitting in the comfort and safety of his or her office.
Confiscation of the Man’s Gun
What really concerns me is that the prosecutor and police have chosen to disarm this man. Without a gun, this 82 year old veteran may be unable to defend himself against even a single, unarmed home invading criminal. If the criminal were to be armed or have accomplices, the outlook is even bleaker. Making matters worse, this man seems to be the deliberate target of home invaders, and as such his risk of suffering another such home invasion would seem to be quite high. The fact that the criminals may read the newspaper and know that his gun has been confiscated may encourage the criminals to return, or invite new criminals to prey on an easy target. Given the fact that senior citizens have a great track record at defending themselves and their loved ones, I’m of the opinion that senior citizens really should consider a gun for home defense – and that it is unconscionable to disarm this man.
My thanks to Anders for pointing out this news story.