Talking wiht a non-cop coworker today, we were discussing justifiable violence and I was reminded of a story from my young cop days.
Mid 1980s, near Chinquapin, LA, we got a call about a gunshot victim near the Brickyard, an area on the outskirs of town. The Brickyard was a mixed area, residence and light industry, no real zoning to speak of. We went out there and found a young gunshot victim in a ditch. He was still alive and very vocal. Some sumbitch had shot him twice in the leg and left him laying in the ditch.
Okay, fine. He was sure enough gunshot, and he was in a ditch, but his story didn't ring true. This fellow was in his late teens/early 20s and was one of our "usual suspects", very well known to the police. He told us an old man had shot him, and walked down the road.
While the ambulance was tending to him prior to transport to the hospital, the young fellow points. "There's the guy who shot me."
We looked up, and here comes an old pensioner, with a cane, walking up the street, carrying a sack full of Honey Buns. The old man had just come from the day-old bread store. We stopped him and talked to him.
"Yessir" the old fellow said, "I shot him, sure did. I was walking to the day-old store to get some Honey Buns, and this young fellow said he'd whip my ass and take my money, so I pulled out my .22 and shot him in the leg."
We took the old man down to the station, and took his statement. When asked why he didn't call an ambulance, he retorted "He wouldn't have called an ambulance after he left me laying in the ditch!" Which, I suppose, has a certain truth to it.
We didn't arrest the old man, but we did take the case to the District Attorney, who I understand later declined to prosecute.
There's not much moral here to this little fable, but I wrote it down just like I remember it, and we shouldn't take any valuable lesson from it. This is a different time with different expectations.