What was he thinking? Read the article, “Self-Defense Case: Pharmacist Guilty” in the Wall Street Journal from May 27 2011 and you’ll ponder that same question. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303654804576347891729253696.html)
And yet we joke about it. I don’t remember the politician, but after he left his sick wife, we all said if that was our wife the last words we’d hear would be “How do you reload this damn thing!” Of course, the humor comes from the unexpected punch line.
Mr. Ersland is going to jail because after he shot one intruder in his store and chased the other from the building he retrieved a second gun and shot the wounded Parker five more times……Yipes!!
The Castle Doctrine doesn’t allow you to shoot a person with impunity. You still need to be able to verbalize why you needed to shoot him in the first place and second, that his actions after being shot continued to place you in danger.
Ersland, as captured on the store security tape, is seen walking past the wounded Parker, retrieving a second gun and shooting several more times. His defense: Parker was still moving and a danger.
Here’s my second guess on it. Ersland should have reloaded his gun after chasing the second person from the store, taken a position of cover and concealment, if available, and waited for the professionals to arrive. Not having a reload, he should have weighed the danger of walking by a wounded individual he thought was still dangerous with an empty gun to retrieve a loaded weapon. I’m not sure I’d do that.
If the person was so dangerous I needed a reload, which required me to walk past the person, then the person was too dangerous to go past. No, it’s not circular logic; its survivor logic.
Ersland would have been better to retreat with an empty gun and wait for the police. Unable to do that because of a hostile crowd around the store, unsafe weather conditions, or customers present in the store which he personally felt responsible for, Ersland would have been better served in finding a different route to the gun and then taking cover and waiting for the police.
What do I learn from this? One, always have a reload. Two, once you’re out of danger, stay out of danger.