Would you shoot a guy in a wheeelchair?
Many people are intolerantly devoted to their own prejudices. That is the definition of being a bigot. Bigotry is based on intolerance, a refusal to look at life from a logical standpoint. Bigotry is plain old ignorance.
I recently wrote about bigotry in a blog article that I posted on PDN. I probably wasn’t as direct about the bigotry there as I’m being here, but it certainly is an underlying theme of the post. You can read it here.
The post deals with the shooting of Jeremy McDole by police in Wilmington Delaware. McDole was black and he was shot by police. You can see where this is going with this, right? Only you would probably be wrong.
The intolerance of others has nothing to do with the color of McDole’s skin. Instead it has to do with the fact that McDole lives life in a wheelchair.
As I point out clearly in the article, I don’t know if the shooting of McDole was justified. What I do know is that public perception and our own perceptions can impact how it is that we interpret a situation. I talked with Massad Ayoob about this issue and the fact that all kinds of extraneous factors can impact the out come of the legal proceedings of a defensive gun use. You should take the time to read and listen to the show and consider picking up Massad’s book, Deadly Force, so that you have a more complete understanding of the use of force and the law.
Imagine yourself dealing with someone with some kind of a disability. Are you likely to cut them some slack? Are you likely to evaluate their ability to cause you harm differently than someone that you perceive as “whole?”
That is exactly what the public sentiment seems to think that police should have done. Headlines and comments seem to focus on the idea that McDole was in a wheelchair and that he somehow couldn’t really be threat to police, to others and to himself.
That my friends is bigotry.
In some circumstances it might be an appropriate move to assess a man in a wheel chair as less than a lethal threat. If a person in a wheelchair is 30 feet away on sandy ground, it might be reasonable to assume that the individual does not have the opportunity to cause you harm right now, change the ground, or the disability or the weapon and the situation changes as well.
The fact is, that every person and every situation needs to be evaluated on its own. Making assumptions about a person and their likelihood or ability to do you harm based on age, or skin color, or gender, or religion or physical ability or disability is foolish. First off, it’s bigotry, second, it sets you up for failure when it comes to self-defense.
You can read the article I wrote at the PDN here and I would love to hear you comments on this topic.