Last week, I discussed how pharmacy worker Jerome Ensland courageously saved himself and the other innocent people in the pharmacy from armed robber Antwun Parker. Now, the family of that dead armed robber is speaking out, claiming that the robber was a sweet and innocent person, and that the pharmacy worker was wrong to defend himself. These statements, and my responses, are below:
The family’s comments
“[The pharmacist who acted in self defense] needs to know that he killed our brother and know the hurt and the pain we feel,” said Parker’s sister, Brittany Baldwin.
I’m sure that the family of the dead robber is feeling much grief, and for that grief they have my sympathy. However fault for their grief does not lie with the pharmacy worker who rightfully defended himself and his customers from a violent attacker. No person has the right to rob and threaten the life of another, and when a person does so, the victim is legally and morally justified in shooting that criminal to save themselves. The fault for the death of this robber lies with the robber himself and his accomplices, not the pharmacy worker.
“My brother didn’t have intentions of robbing that store.”
The facts pretty clearly establish that this was a violent armed robbery attempt. I understand how a family member may wish to believe the best about their dead relative, but such a belief does not change the reality of the situation.
Cleta Jennings said that she’s certain that her son didn’t plan to rob Reliable Pharmacy. She said he may have become involved with the wrong crowd. “He was my baby,” she said.
(Almost) every mother loves her son and thinks the world of him. However a mother’s love for her son does not mean that he is innocent when caught red-handed, committing a violent and life-threatening robbery. I would also note that just about everyone whose child becomes involved in criminality likes to believe that their child is good, but just got involved with the “wrong crowd.” I find that idea to be unpersuasive. We all make choices as to whom we associate with, and what actions we take. Growing up, I knew kids who committed robbery, sold drugs, etc. I chose not to associate with them, or commit those crimes. Had I chosen to engage in criminality, it would have been my fault, not just the fault of those criminally minded kids.
She said Parker, 16, [the dead robber] loved to play basketball and draw pictures.
Here we have an attempt to try and make this violent robber seem like a more sympathetic person. The fact is that even the most hardened, violent, and sadistic people can have hobbies like basketball and drawing. Remember, Hitler was an amature artist, and even tried to go to art school. The fact that this violent robber had hobbies is rather irrelevant here.
“If (Ensland) would have called the cops [instead of shooting in self defense], I would rather him be in jail than on that [morgue] table.”
Here, Parker’s sister states that the pharmacy worker should have called the police instead of shooting in self defense. This suggestion is without any real merit. An armed robbery is a dangerous situation, where victims are often shot by robbers, even after cooperating fully. Just offering the robber a chance to surrender at gunpoint can result in the citizen being shot by the robber. The police are minutes away at best, while it can take just seconds for that armed robber to ruin or end the victim’s life. It is simply not reasonable to expect a crime victim to risk their life in order to preserve the life of the very robber who is wrongfully threatening them.
I would like to reiterate that I understand the grief this family must be feeling, and do not blame them for feeling this way. However their understandable sadness over the loss of their loved one does not in any way justify that criminal’s actions, nor does their grief in any way make the pharmacy worker at fault. Instead, the fault lies with the now-dead criminal, and his accomplices. I’m not going to sit here and assign fault for this now deceased young man’s decision to become a criminal, since I don’t know all the facts. However I will say that I’m sure a large part of why I just graduated from law school and am a law abiding member of the community has to do with my upbringing. My relatives instilled the importance of being a law abiding citizen, and would not have allowed me to become involved with the “wrong crowd.” They would not have permitted me to engage in criminality, and would have known if I was doing so. Again, not speaking specifically about this situation since I don’t have all the facts, I’ll just say that it seems that a lot young criminals have parents who are not properly supervising and raising them to become law abiding adults, then act surprised when their child is found to have committed a crime
I would also like to note that I find this newspaper’s publication of this story to be somewhat unreasonable. This is not news, or even well reasoned opinion. It is just an attempt to drum up sympathy (and money, see the end of the article) for a criminal who wrongfully threatened the lives of multiple innocent people, and to vilify a hero who saved himself and other innocent people from that criminal.
Finally, as sad as it is to admit this, the pharmacy worker likely saved a great many other people from having their lives endangered by Antwun Parker in the future. That is because armed robbers like Parker tend to become career criminals, who commit their violent crimes time and time again. Jail does not tend to reform such criminals, and they often commit repeated offenses until they are finally fatally shot by an armed citizen. Because Parker was stopped early on in his armed robbery career, it is likely that many people will never have to look down the barrel of his gun as he threatens their lives while taking their belongings.