Missouri Youth Kills Thief With Arrow, Claims Self-Defense

(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

The rules we have for use of force in a self-defense situation are generally fairly clear. What many of us forget is that they don’t just apply to firearms. They apply to any use of lethal force. If you’re armed with a knife and use it for self-defense, the legal justification remains the same: Would a reasonable person fear for their life in such a situation?

That also applies to archery, though a bow and arrow is generally not anyone’s idea of a self-defense weapon.

Still, as a youth in Missouri found out, it happens.

Authorities in eastern Missouri are investigating the death of a 40-year-old theft suspect killed by an arrow shot by a juvenile, who said the man came at him menacingly.

An attorney for the juvenile’s family told authorities that the juvenile was walking to a tree stand to hunt deer with a bow and arrow. He allegedly saw [Michael] Stotts trying to steal a lawn tractor and wood splitter.

The juvenile called his father, who arrived and confronted Stotts. Authorities say that during the confrontation, Stotts ran toward the juvenile.

The juvenile called for Stotts to stop. When he didn’t, the young individual–we don’t know if the juvenile was male or female–released the arrow and shot Stotts. Police say the property had been the site of several previous thefts.

Well…I guess we know who the kid’s favorite Avenger is, huh?

Seriously, this is rough, but the kid did what they had to do, unfortunately. Too many people these days are being killed by thieves when caught stealing property. The fact is that Stotts could have run away from both the father and the kid, but didn’t. Instead, he ran toward the younger of the two, likely thinking they were an easier target and not taking the kid’s bow and arrow into account.

Clearly, that worked out well for Stotts.

From my standpoint, the kid did what they had to do. There didn’t look like another option was on the table because Stotts didn’t do the sane thing and just run away. Instead, he took an aggressive action after being confronted, so the kid defended himself with what he had.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty impressed. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to shoot at a person running toward you with archer tackle, yet the kid not only did it but saved their life in the process.

Truly, my greatest sorrow is that it was apparently necessary. It shouldn’t be. Stotts tried to steal some yard equipment, but what he actually stole was someone’s youth. That kid is never going to be the same again. My hope is that their parents get them in therapy, at least for a little while, to make sure they’re good to go.

They’re never going to be the same again, though.

Still, there was a choice to be made. Lose one’s youth or lose one’s life. I don’t think any rational person can say the kid made the wrong decision.