Honest citizens who defend themselves when criminals attack should not be targeted by the police. This is morally wrong. The citizen did not start the confrontation; the criminal did. That is why I support the “Honest Citizen Pledge” promoted by the Home Defense Foundation, hdfnola.org.
The pledge states: “I promise that when a criminal attacks an honest citizen, and the honest citizen defends himself, I will resolve all doubts in favor of the honest citizen. I will not resolve doubts in favor of the criminal who started the attack.”
Two cases, one involving a black citizen, Pastor Willie Littleton, and one involving a white citizen, homeowner Merritt Landry, indicate the correctness of the pledge.
In Littleton’s case, thieves were stealing parts from his church’s air conditioner. When he confronted them, they tried to run over him with their truck. The pastor then fired at the truck with his legally owned firearm, but afterward, prosecutors went after Littleton. That was wrong. By prosecuting Littleton, they gave the benefit of the doubt to the criminals, not the honest citizen.
Equally unfair was Landry’s treatment. He was asleep at 2 a.m. with his pregnant wife and child when a criminal climbed his fence and tried to break in his house, as fingerprints later found on the window shutters proved.
Landry, who had to defend his pregnant wife and baby, went into his tiny front yard and said, “Freeze,” but the intruder made a sudden move and was shot and seriously injured. Then Landry called the police.
When they arrived, they did not arrest the intruder, who had an outstanding warrant for previously stealing a gun. Instead, they arrested Landry on “attempted murder.”
Thankfully, our citizens had more sense than the government on this case, and when it was presented to a grand jury, they twice refused to vote for an indictment. Later, when the intruder recovered and was back on the street (surprised?) he tried to break into another house. This prompted the case against Landry being dropped permanently. Thank heavens.
The Littleton and Landry prosecutions were not fair. These were honest citizens defending themselves against criminals. As the “Honest Citizen Pledge” indicates, they deserved the benefit of the doubt, not the criminals.
All the citizens of New Orleans, of all races, can unite on this, and our government officials should support it as well.
founder, Home Defense Foundation