In a properly functioning civil society, there is a “priority of life” for law enforcement officers in dangerous encounters.
- Hostages/victims (people currently being threatened with death by criminals/terrorists)
- Innocent Bystanders (people not being threatened, just in the area of the threat)
- LEO personnel (officers assume risks as part of their career choice)
In a properly-functioning civil society, there is also a “priority of life” for non-sworn citizens in dangerous encounters.
- Innocent bystanders from whom you elect to accept responsibility
In both instances, protecting the lives of innocent victims must be held as the higher priority, while the lives of criminals, while not worthless, are devalued by their decision to commit crimes against society.
That’s why I have very little sympathy for the lives of violent criminals like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown, or that of lesser criminals such as recently-deceased burglar Trevon Johnson.
Relatives of a 17-year-old are angry the teenager was shot and killed by a homeowner who police say was protecting her property.
The sister of the teen who died identified him as Trevon Johnson. She said he was a student at D. A. Dorsey Technical College.
“I don’t care if she have her gun license or any of that. That is way beyond the law… way beyond,” said Johnson’s cousin Nautika Harris. “He was not supposed to die like this. He had a future ahead of him. Trevon had goals… he was a funny guy, very big on education, loved learning.”
On Thursday, police say Johnson burglarized a home south of 79th Street near I-95 — just blocks away from where he lives.
The 54-year-old woman told police her surveillance system alerted her to the break-in of her home. She said she rushed home and found the teen climbing out of a window.
“She observed a subject leaving the home through the rear,” said police Det. Dan Ferrin.
Miami-Dade police said there was a confrontation and shots were fired. Police said they were on scene seconds after the shooting and gave CPR to the teen. Johnson was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Johnson’s family, like that of so many criminals in recent memory, want to flip the social order upside down and insist that the criminal was the real victim in this scenario, not the homeowner he was trying to steal from, Gwendolyn Jenrette.
While it wasn’t a very intelligent move from the tactical perspective for Jenrette to check out the burglar alarm on her own before police arrived, it seems likely that she was acting within the law when she arrived and encountered Johnson. If Trevon Johnson moved aggressively towards a woman 40 years his senior she would seem to be easily justified in shooting him. As it appears that his death came from a single gunshot wound to the chest, and not a shot from behind suggesting that he was fleeing, the odds of Jenrette facing any sort of criminal charges are slim. Florida’s would also seem to prevent Johnson’s family from filing a civil case against Jenrette over his death.
For our civil society to remain intact, we must resist attempts by opportunistic politicians and activist groups to insist that criminals be treated as the most important members of society, instead of the drain on civil culture that they clearly are and have been. If we allow criminals to assume that their lives matter more than that of law-abiding, contributing members of society, then our entire culture and way of life if at risk.
Criminals are not good people, and not members of our society that deserve special attention or protection.
All lives matter.
Some just matter less than others.