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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Published: Monday, 11/18/2013

EDITORIAL

Michigan gun tragedy

Woeful lesson in gun mayhem is playing out in McBride death

Wafer Wafer
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

The latest woeful lesson in gun mayhem is playing out in Michigan. A 54-year-old man in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn Heights was charged last week with second-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of a 19-year-old woman who evidently knocked on his door in the middle of the night, seeking help after a traffic accident.

McBride McBride
AP Enlarge

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy discounted claims that Theodore Wafer was within the bounds of self-defense law, which requires his sensing a grave and imminent threat. There was no sign of forced entry; the victim, Renisha McBride, was on the porch when she was hit in the face by a shot fired through the locked screen door of Mr. Wafer’s house, Ms. Worthy said.

There is speculation that Ms. McBride, who was black, was a victim of racial profiling by Mr. Wafer, who is white. But the prosecutor said that “race is not relevant.” Neither was Ms. McBride’s state of intoxication a factor in the charges, Ms. Worthy added.

Police said Mr. Wafer claimed he thought someone was trying to break in and the shooting was accidental after he opened the main front door to investigate. That doesn’t explain why he did not call 911 or why he opened the door with a shotgun in hand.

Whatever the outcome of the case, the tragic death of Ms. McBride is another symptom of a gun culture where private citizens are too often heedless of gun safety. In a nation armed to the teeth, the wrong circumstances and misunderstandings lead to sudden death and injury in thousands of cases a year.

Lawmakers should consider the lives cut short, like Ms. McBride’s, when they fail to tighten gun safety laws.

— New York Times



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