Justified defensive shootings are fairly common in Detroit, with 12 justifiable homicides occurring so far this year and a variety of other criminals wounded. Police Chief James Craig has made national headlines by encouraging honest citizens to defend themselves. He has made it clear that citizens involved in self-defense shootings will not be harassed or hounded. The full power of the state will not be used make examples of those who dare to defend themselves. At least not in the way the George Zimmerman was. Instead, the Chief sympathizes with, knows that Detroiters are sick of crime and wants to see them fight back. Some people, though, think this is a bad idea . . .
A couple of examples from detroitnews.com:
At last week’s Command Accountability Meeting, Sandra Hines of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality called the chief “irresponsible” for his comments, and said he is encouraging vigilantism.
Ron Scott, a former member of the Black Panther Party, a community organizer/activist, and another member of the DCAPB opined:
“When you take a Wild West approach and say, ‘Shoot them,’ it’s irresponsible,” Scott said. “It’s frontier justice at its worst.”
Craig, of course, said nothing of the sort and is happy to defend his stance:
“I’m only talking about situations where someone’s life is in imminent danger. When a citizen is faced with a life-threatening situation, they absolutely have the right to defend themselves.”
What is particularly interesting are the views expressed by those who bother to comment under the article. When I checked there were 251 comments. I only found one that was somewhat critical of Chief Craig. From Heidi Ausgood:
La Shanna I didn’t even bother to read the article…why? They do want us to exterminate one another. The plan is to regulate all these people to one side of town and have them prey on one another.
People are starting to shoot one another and alleging home invasion. What happen to the story a week ago about the young man and woman who allegedly tried to break in a man home and he killed the young man. Only to have his mother say on camera he had been hiding from this couple for weeks.
The most poignant pieces I heard was the young sister’s door who was stolen. She said “I understand it is hard”. Don’t get me wrong I am not advocating people not protecting themselves. But let come up with some ideas to create revenue streams in our communities. We are facebook friends in-box I have some ideas.
The vast majority of the comments are explicitly in praise of Chief Craig.
From Pam Csfari: Chief Craig, respectfully, YOU ROCK!
From Michael Morelli: Blame him? We should be congratulating him for showing some common sense. People feel threatened and protect themselves, and that is somehow a bad thing? Unfortunately, in the minds of idiots the answer is yes.
From Rick W. Sutliff: Chief Craig is trying to deal with a lawless city that has run wild for 30 years. The armed homeowners are just exterminating vermin that got in their homes. A good thing.
From Mel Walters: Doing a super job chief Craig and NO there’s NO way you can even share blame. Law abiding homeowners had had enough of the feral thugs roaming the streets.
There are scores of similar comments, but I think the point is made. In spite of being told that Chief Craig is encouraging vigilantism, the commenters simply don’t believe it. Some of them even wish there were some actual vigilantism.
I believe Chief Craig’s job is secure. Perhaps other city police chiefs with crime problems will look at this situation and take note. It will be instructive to see if Detroit’s crime rate drops in the next year or two. Either way, I suspect the vast majority of people in the city appreciate a police chief that they believe is on their side when it counts.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.