What is justice? I ask myself this question at times when I see the court system come to a conclusion that by the facts that I see does not sound rightfully fair. The only encounters I have personally had with the court system are that of my divorce experience in 1997. It was not a good experience. But honestly divorce is something that is not a good gage to use when one is judging the accuracy of the system. It is too easy to come out with "bad" feelings.
Yet when it comes to the criminal system sometimes I wonder. Recently a case was tried in the state of Oklahoma that drew much attention. A local pharmacy was burglarized by two young boys. In the encounter one of the young men was shot and later died. The pharmacist, the one who shot the 16 year old was charged with murder and last week his trial finally was held.
Now to hear this story one would say that it is an open and shut case. The pharmacist was obviously shooting in self defense and of course should not be charged with murder. Yet when you hear all the details, and in turn really listen and watch all the details it is hard to not understand why he was charged in the manner he was.
The boy who was shot was 16 year old Antiwun Parker; A young black boy who participated in the attempted robbery with another young man. They entered the pharmacy as the other young man had his weapon drawn and Parker attempted to pull a mask over his head. At this time the pharmacist 57 year old Jermone Ersland pulled out the weapon he kept behind the counter and shot at the two young men. A bullet struck Parker in the head. He fell to the floor unconscious as the other boy ran out the door. All of this was caught on surveillance video so it cannot be disputed.
If this had been the story's end still I would see how a self defense verdict would be the obvious outcome. He was only protecting his store and himself. How could anyone think otherwise. Yet the story does not stop here.
After shooting Parker, Ersland comes out from behind the counter and walks out the front door. He attempts to follow the man who had been armed and ran from the store. At this time he shoots his weapon two more times. He then returns to his store walking past Parker who is lying motionless on the floor from the gunshot wound he received in the head earlier. Ersland then goes behind the counter and retrieves a second gun. He walks up to Parker who still is lying on the floor and commences to shoot him five additional times in the abdomen.
As the trial began to get underway, many people were outraged at the fact that he was being tried at all. Even after the surveillance video was shown over and over on the evening news many still defended his actions. When the trial drew to a close and the guilty verdict was read, the same outrage came once more. They called him hero, protector, and so on.
For the last two years as this trial has went down its rocky road of stories being changed, judges being dismissed and all the other issues that befell it in an attempt to draw the final outcome out, the evidence was obvious. Protecting ones home, work, or self is one thing. Intentionally shooting someone an additional 5 times after they were initially shot and stopped with a head wound, lying on the ground unconscious and not threatening in any way is a totally different story. But then that is my own opinion. I have attached the surveillance video so that you can watch it yourself and make your own conclusion.
For once I agree with the conclusion that the court came to. For once it appears that justice really was fair and just despite the pressure from some to steer it in other ways. Then why are so many outraged at this? And why do so many feel that he was justified in the actions that he took. Some may say race played a part, perhaps I am not sure. Yet I would have the same feelings regardless if the boy was black, white, red, yellow, or green. Why is it so easy for so many to feel otherwise. I guess I am just looking for some sort of explanation.
I promise to be back soon with my more upbeat bright sunny stories. This was just something that was heavy on my heart and mind and I felt I needed to share.