In Wayne County, Michigan last Thursday, Theodore Wafer was found guilty on all three charges of 2nd degree murder, manslaughter and felony firearm in the shooting death of 19 year old Renisha McBride on the porch of his house in Dearborn Heights, MI.
McBride was one of a depressing litany of unarmed victims who have fallen prey to gun carriers claiming self-defense.
Other well publicized cases included Trayvon Martin in Florida; Ronald Westbrook, a 72-year old man from Georgia suffering from Alzheimer’s who was shot in circumstances similar to McBride; Jordan Davis, who was shot dead while he sat in a vehicle in a convenience store parking lot; and Chad Oulson who was killed by a gun carrier following an altercation with an angry movie-goer with a gun over texting during the previews.
Convictions have been harder to come by than liberal Republicans in the gun-friendly legal environment that prevails in many states.
George Zimmerman, of course, was found not guilty in Martin’s case.
And a Florida jury deadlocked on whether Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis, although they did nail him for the attempted murder of his three equally unarmed friends, who were lucky to escape with their own lives after Dunn fired at them as they fled the car park. He is to be retried on the murder charge but, as with Ronald Westbrook’s killing in Georgia, prosecutors will again be seriously impeded by a lunatic stand-your-ground law that makes a conviction very difficult; more power to the prosecutors, therefore, that they won’t give up.
Depressingly, the alleged shooter of Westbrook was not even charged because prosecutors did not believe they could overcome Georgia’s stand-your-ground law to win a conviction.
The trial of the man accused of killing Oulson is pending.
Many saw the McBride case as one suffused with racial undertones but, in the end, a jury cut through all of that and simply saw a man who had acted recklessly and without justification to cut short the life of a young woman on a flimsy and ultimately unconvincing assertion that he felt threatened and in danger.
Too many states have virtually given gun carriers a license to kill with their misguided and dangerous SYG laws and, as we have seen all too often, holding the perpetrators accountable has been a huge challenge.
But Renisha McBride was not forgotten, not by this jury and not by the justice system that put her killer on trial and won a conviction.
It would be nice to think that more courts in other places in America will start to hold gun carriers accountable when their unreasoning fear or anger ends in an unnecessary death. But I won’t hold my breath.
Still, I’m glad that Renisha McBride and her family received a measure of the justice they so richly deserved. It’s not enough but it will have to do for now.