Blogs » Politcs Plus » Vigilante justice or self-defense?


The story about the pharmacist killing a holdup man in Oklahoma City was quite disturbing to me. Jerome Ersland (pharmacist) pulled a gun and chased one of the holdup (14 year old) persons out the store and shot the other in the head. This would have been a job well done, but as was a recorded by the drugstore’s security camera, Mr. Ersland got another gun and shot the 16 year old teenage robber; as he lay wounded on the floor. Mr. Ersland is being charged with first degree murder, but it is being turned into a case of vigilante justice or self-defense.

The pharmacy is in a high crime area of South Oklahoma and it has been robbed before so that sets up the self-defense claim and I suspect the defense will cite the “Make My Day” Oklahoma law that was passed in 1980 giving people the right to use deadly force when they feel threatened inside their homes. I know I will be labeled a weak –knee, bleeding heart liberal, for saying that that threat was over when the young man was lying on the floor bleeding. Others will say “What about the killing of unborn babies” but those people would call this a justified killing. This is the difference I was talking about in my recent blog “conservatives v liberals.” .A member of the NRA was quoted as saying “you shoot more than enough to make sure that threat has been removed” and an Oklahoma City conservative radio station talk show host said his lines have been jammed saying “Mr.Ersland should have put all five of the shots into the teenagers head.” I strongly disagree with that.

The owner of the pharmacy the stands behind Mr. Ersland but a judge ruled that he can no longer own a gun, even though it might put his life in jeopardy or cause him to lose his job. The judge told a defense lawyer, that his client should look into a different line of work. Some will say the ruling is unfair to Mr.Ersland (disabled Gulf war veteran) but I think he should also have a psychological evaluation because this is the type of person that should never own a gun.

Have we become that fearful of a nation that we have to glorify sadistic actions; whether it be torture or vigilante justice?