It is incredibly rare that you’ll find me agreeing with the socialist polemicists and fantasists of Think Progress, but this is one of those incredibly rare occasions.
Shannon Anthony Scott’s teen-age daughter was being harassed by a group of her peers, and shots may have even fired in the direction of their home (though no bullets or casing were ever recovered). Scot responded by walking outside and firing his gun into the first car he saw, killing a young man who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. In a gross miscarriage of justice, a judge ruled that Scott’s reckless gun-play was protected under South Carolina’s version of “stand your ground” law.
Despite the defense’s evidence that Scott had no proof the young man was an “imminent threat,” Scott’s attorney — who, oddly enough, is state Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-SC) — argued that if Scott hadn’t shot Niles, he would have had to go back to his home and “hope that the cavalry (police) are going to come.”
“All that matters is that Mr. Scott felt his life was in jeopardy,” Rutherford said.
On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Maite Murphy accepted those arguments and ruledthat Scott believed he was aiming for the group that had threatened his daughter, and therefore was protected under South Carolina’s 2006 Stand Your Ground law.
Darrell Niles’s mother was devastated by the order. “It’s not right; it’s not right,” she told a local TV station, saying she fears her son will be vilified in death and seen as one of those threatening Scott’s daughter. “The truth needs to be out there.”
If you cannot identify that a lethal force threat exists, you should not be presenting a weapon. If you cannot isolate where or what that threat is, then you should not be aiming a weapon, and you certainly have no business firing it. At a minimum, Scott should have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
The judge’s decision is being reviewed by an appellate court. Hopefully they’ll act with more sanity than Circuit Judge Maite Murphy.