PREEMPTIVE STRIKE

“To take action before something occurs or to prevent something from happening rather then waiting till it happens to deal with it.”

Under the laws of the land, it is not an acceptable defense to say that you have committed a violation of the law in order to prevent a criminal action against yourself or another. A simpler way of putting it is that you can not kill someone that some time in the future may kill you.  Since the future is often written as life moves through what is happening right now.  You can not justify self defense against some one who has at the moment not done anything to kill you.  At the moment they have not put your life in immediate danger, so you are not defending yourself.

The following is based on an actual case where the person did kill his best friend with the claim that he knew that sometime in the future the victim without warning would kill him. FOR THE MOST PART, the authorities did not doubt that this truly was the case. The names are not the true names of the actors involved:

Tim had grown up in a area where the general opinion of the Police was one of distrust.That the Police did not do their job to protect the citizens and more was a occupying force. It did not help Tim’s opinion when he made the decision to get involved in crime.  A younger life of committing crime, getting arrested and serving time.

But with his last prison time, he finally came to believe this was not the life he wanted.  He learned a trade in prison and if you ever took a look at the choices of trade that are available to learn while locked up, it might make you wonder just how anyone could really make it on the outside.  But Tim did, he worked hard and soon his life had changed with a family and working daily. His life was more like that of middle America, a nice house for himself and his wife and children. Nice things to enjoy and a pleasant and comfortable place to live.

His life long friend and someone he had grown up with was Fred. They had hung together, laugh together and even done time together.  Each had the others back and were just a call away from the other.  If one had done time in prison, the other would be there when they were released with new clothes and a place to stay till they got back into the swing of things. Fred was Tim’s only real friend and likewise, it had been that way since the beginning. When Fred had gotten out the last time, it was Tim )though by then had straighten out his life) who was there with the new clothes and brought Fred to his home to sleep on the couch and fed him.

While Fred had been locked up the last time, Tim had bought the family a new large color TV. One day when Tim and his family were out shopping, they came home and discovered the TV missing.  The house had been broken into and the only thing missing was the TV. When Fred came back he seemed to also be confused and angry that someone would have done such a thing to his best friend. He said he would try to find out who it was along with Tim was going to try to find out.

Both had gain a reputation of someone it was not wise to mess with, but with Tim it was more one that he was a good man and from his past not suffering well being fooled with easily.  He was actually well respected in the neighborhood as much for having turned his life around as for being a hard man if crossed. While Fred was known to be someone that if crossed was not a fair player or an honorable man. Many people could not understand why Tim was such a good friend to Fred and had mentioned it to Tim.  But Tim was not going to abandon his oldest and best friend so the relationship held.

It got to be somewhat a routine, Fred would come over ever week or so to tell Tim he heard it was “so and so” who took the TV. Tim would go and find them to confront them and it was not long before he would realize that they were not the one.  Only to have Fred show up again later with someone else to blame.

Al, was not someone that if the person wanted to stay healthy would mess with! He was beyond the coldness of a gangster but you would be safe if you had not wronged him.  One night as Al walked down the street he was shot in the back with a shotgun, it almost killed him.  But missed his spinal cord and with rehab he was back to being healthy enough.  It became almost common knowledge on the street that it was Fred who had shot Al.  Without warning and from behind, that was also one of Fred reputations that he would never come at you from the front.

The day came that Fed came to Tim with the story that it was Al who had broken into the house and took the TV. Tim had known Al almost as long as he had known Fred, he also did not think that Al would cross him like that. But he did go and confront Al about it to his face, Tim right off could tell that Al was being truthful when he denied taking the TV.  But it seems Al was the only one that was brave enough to tell Tim that it was his best friend Fred who had been bragging about betraying Tim, having taken the TV and played him for a fool.

The picture was becoming too clear, Fred had shot Al and knew that his own life was endanger now that Al was recovered enough to be looking for him for revenge.  Tim was a hard enough man to be a real threat to Al and the two stories had combined to one solution.  Fred had taken the TV and was now using Tim to side step Al from his revenge.  What Al said hit home hard, “Tim you know me, if I was going to screw you it would be to your face and ready to kill you. I would not expect it to go any other way!  But you are being played for a Chump, Fred took your TV, has been even bragging about it on the street.  He has been lying to you all along and now is wanting you to front for him in this between him and me!”

It did hurt, he realize someone he had trusted and thought he knew better of had been playing him. If it was anyone else and before his turning his life around they would not have seen the next sun rise.  But this was Fred and someone he could not have loved more if he was his own flesh and blood.  Tim went home and his family had gone to church that night, he was alone and trying to get it all straighten out in his mind. When Fred came walking in the front door, bumping his gums and acting all happy.  For some time Tim did not respond, then he finally told Fred that he knew it was him who had taken the TV.  Fred acted insulted and flippant then finally shouted “if you think I did it then F’ing shoot me!”  Fred drew a pistol from under his coat and threw it on the couch in front of Tim.

Tim was hurt and was admittedly angry, but he also knew that this was Fred and he was not in the mind to kill his best friend. It was only when Fred started to pick the gun back up that Tim because he knew Fred and that Fred would not come at him up front and with a chance.  Fred now would have reason to take Tim out and it would be from the darkness and might even be when Tim and his wife and children were simply coming out of the grocery store some night, putting his family in danger and being in the way of a shot out of nowhere.

As Fred lifted the pistol from the couch, Tim grabbed for it and the struggle was on.  Because of their height difference, Fred had the advantage and was struggling to turn and bring the gun down toward Tim’s face. Tim forced the gun more toward Fred and it went off.  It struck Fred in the stomach and the gun came loose and into Tim’s hands.  He fell to the front room floor, wounded and yelling that he would get Tim for shooting him!  Tim stood looking down at his friend, he knew Fred well, perhaps better then Fred’s own mother knew him.  Tim knew that if Fred recovered he would carry out his threats and it would be without warning or concern for who ever was around him at the time.  It was a certainty in his mind, Fred would kill him and maybe anyone of Tim’s family that was with him.  It would not be today or tomorrow, it might be in a month or the next year or so.  It might be coming out of a store one night or simply walking out of the house early some morning while going to work.  But Tim was certain that Fred would be carrying out the threat to kill him.  Calling the Police was not an option, here was a man shot laying on his floor and Tim’s finger prints all over the gun. The story could just as much go that it was Fred struggling for the gun to save his own life instead of it was Tim.  And Tim had several Felony convictions and now had this gun!  The answer was clear, if Fred was alive he was a threat to Tim and his family.  If he called the Police he could lose all he had worked so hard to have.  He started to cry as he lifted the weapon up toward his best friend and then fired two rounds.

For the next few hours he actually cradled Fred in his lap as he cried for his lost friend.  But then he had to get the body out of the house and clear the scene for his wife and Children who was going to be home soon.  He wrapped Fred in the rug and carried it out to the car then drove out to a lonely road in the area of the Coliseum. He gentle place the body in a ditch and returned home still at a loss as to what will happen?  What would or could he tell his wife, she would notice the rug missing from the front room.  The rug had a good rubber backing and no blood had leaked through by the time he had rolled it up around Fred.  Tim’s clothes were covered in Fred’s blood, but it did not occur to him that he needed to hide or destroy them. It would be the next day before that truly did occur to him, his concern had not been to hide the crime but to protect his family from it. The clothes came off after getting home and into the trash.  Again he sat naked and crying in the bedroom, the sorrow of what had happen was deep within him.  He showered and dressed as his family walked in the door.

It would be another four days before a Police detective came to the door and asked about Fred’s death.  Tim could not hold it in, he told him he had killed Fred and why.  Fred was known to the Police very well and Tim’s reasoning was actually sound to them.  A detective told Tim he could have called and said anything and he might have been believed.  But the court does not see preemptive strike as a justification for killing someone.

Tim was first charged with first degree murder and it was pled out to manslaughter.  There was no doubt that if he had let Fred live he and his family would be in danger in Tim’s mind.  There also was not doubt in his mind that he still loved Fred like a brother.  He even while waiting to be taken to the State Prison he would cry for his friend.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “PREEMPTIVE STRIKE

  1. tstb, wasn’t what you write about the failed defense attempted by Scott Roeder?

  2. tosmarttobegop

    No and yes, while Roeder was claiming to be defending the unborn by killing Dr. Tiller.
    The Tim character in the accounting was defending his own life and that of his family.
    In reality there was no one that did not believe he was right in believing what he did.
    That if Fred had been let live he would have killed Tim with a shot out of the dark.