Quick Hits – A Farewell to Logic and Critical Thinking

Where’s Mr. Spock when you really need him? Logic and critical thinking suddenly seem to be our most endangered species. What makes this round of rejecting reality and substituting your own particularly pernicious is even journalists are ignoring the facts and twisting news stories to suit their particular political agenda.

And there’s no better example of this alarming trend than the controversy surrounding the 75-year-old Lake County resident who confronted, shot at, and killed one of six Chicago teens as they approached his home at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

Since a 14-year-old died during the commission of a forcible felony, as Illinois law stipulates, the five surviving teens were charged with first-degree murder.

Lake County

The problem starts with Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton who clearly believes being a minority means never having to say you’re sorry. She’s the “journalist” who actually got away with saying that gay bigotry doesn’t nearly amount to the intolerance directed at black folks.

Can you imagine the nuclear winter that would’ve ensued had a gay white male columnist claimed the converse? But just like Donald Trump, Ms. Glanton has an agenda and she’s willing to “adjust” the facts whenever it suits her narrative.

To add insult to injury, the Trib’s Eric Zorn, from the comfort and safety of his Stetson Avenue office, unilaterally declared the shooting wasn’t justified because the youths were at least 40 feet away from the homeowner at the time.

Yes! Because that’s the justifiable homicide standard. Though I can’t get too crazy about that contention, because as my sainted mother would say, “consider the source!”

So, before it permanently fades, let’s dispense with the emotion and apply a little logic and critical thinking to this sad tale:

1. You could be killed crossing the street

Life is the definition of risk, but certain acts carry considerably more of it than others. Even if I’m not really paying attention, I’ll survive crossing the street in my sleepy subdivision 999 times out of 1,000. But just one errant trip across Randall Road and it probably won’t end very well for me.

To wit, if you show up on private property in a rural Collar County neighborhood at 1 in the morning with criminal intent, the risk of being shot and killed is far greater than if you were at home in bed. Put more simply, it’s not an entirely unpredictable outcome.

 

2. The burden IS NOT and SHOULD NEVER BE on the homeowner

Because it would be beyond insane to do so. How in the bleep is a civilian supposed to accurately assess and determine the direction of the kind of split-second potentially life-threatening situation that gives law enforcement officers fits?

Do any of y’all remember the movie “Glory” with Matthew Broderick? It’s the story of the Union Colonel who led the first all-black volunteer company in the Civil War. One of the recruits turns out to be quite the marksman, but when Broderick tells the man to continue loading his musket and shooting while he fires his pistol into the air, the soldier can’t do it.

Monday morning quarterbacking is bad enough in the NFL, but it’s downright shameful when someone’s life may well have been at stake.

 

3. They were 40 feet away from his front door

I’m 61 and I can cover 40 feet in under two seconds. That’s not a lot of time to make a decision when confronted with six potential attackers. Eric Zorn is an idiot.

 

4. The homeowner had no clue about their intent

Were they there to commit a burglary, steal a car, or to perpetrate a home invasion? The only reason we know the answer to that question is the teens told investigators AFTER they were apprehended. But the 75-year-old homeowner had no idea what they were up to, and so far, I’m the only journalist in Illinois to make that distinction.

Again, the unrealistic expectations thrust upon a 75-year-old man who was woken up by a commotion in front of his house at 1 a.m. only to be confronted by six teenagers are nothing less than mind boggling.

 

5. He should’ve locked the door and called the police

Some of you really don’t have two brain cells to rub together, do you?

Given the similarities between Lake and Kane Counties, let’s use Kane as an example. Though technically responsible for all 524 square miles, Sheriff Ron Hain’s seven deputy patrol shifts are tasked with covering 311 unincorporated square miles.

Do the math and that means each car covers a 44 square mile area. To put that in perspective, the City of Geneva, Illinois, deploys six patrol car shifts for a mere ten square miles of territory. That’s why it took Lake County deputies ten minutes to get to the scene after the homeowner dialed 911 to report the confrontation.

Please note that this is not a knock against local Sheriffs. They can only do what their budgets allow.

I’m sure it doesn’t take much imagination to consider the amount of damage six teenagers – at least one armed with a Bowie knife – could do in ten minutes. This is yet another blatantly unreasonable expectation of a 75-year-old man.

 

6. They didn’t retreat

That’s the real crux here. Whether the homeowner had a gun or not, the second those teens were confronted, they should’ve run. And had they fled, that 14-year-old would be alive today. But we know they advanced towards the house because the resulting bullet wound was in the front of the teen’s head and not the back.

And what’s really telling is, once they retreated, the shooting stopped. If the homeowner shot one of the teens while fleeing, it would be an entirely different story.

We’ll continue this analysis on Friday.

4 thoughts on “Quick Hits – A Farewell to Logic and Critical Thinking

  1. I read the Glanton column first. I, too, was rather dumbfounded that she neglected to mention “the knife” that was reported as found in the scene. I interpreted this as a bid to remove a gaping hole in her own agenda.

    I don’t disagree that the law at issue here may have been a aggressively applied, but what this state lacks is a right of domicile protection (although, that could be applied too aggressively sometimes, too.) At least (in my understanding), we do have civil protection in these scenarios.

    I am sure the narrative form the homeowner fit the evidence on the scene. What she did was essentially subversive.

    Glanton thinks she’s Mary Mitchell. She will never be Mary Mitchell.

    I guess they feel like they have to compete with the prime time cable news loons, but they can’t keep up. This may be the thing that finally make me push the reject button on a hemorrhaging medium that is gasping for breath. I’ve probably been loyal to print longer than is healthy or reasonable:

  2. You’ll probably get to this tomorrow, but whether or not you think the homeowner was justified in shooting — I think he probably was, although I consider it a closer call than you do — charging those kids with their friends’ murder is overreaching.

  3. Pan,

    I will get to it today. And I explain that I like the forced felony charges, but 20 years to life is a bit too harsh.

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