Theodore Wafer was found guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter yesterday. I have to admit that I was shocked that he was found guilty. I didn’t think he was innocent, but I didn’t think a jury would convict him of murder and that he would end up getting off on a self-defense plea.
As much as people have tried to infuse race into this case, I don’t think race played a major role at all in this case. On one hand, there was an intoxicated young lady who may have been looking for help after being in a car accident. On the other side, there was a homeowner who was awaken before 5am by someone banging on the doors of his home.
I’ve had someone banging on my doors late at night before, and like Wafer, I instinctively grabbed a gun from my gun safe and went to investigate the noise. Unlike Wafer however, I didn’t go and open the door trying to play Ben Cartwright defending The Ponderosa. Instead, I found a defensive position that gave me the advantage over the knocker as well as kept me safely out of harm’s way. In my case, it happened to be the local police department, and the situation was quickly resolved.
Relying on the training I’ve received, I don’t see any situation where Wafer should have opened or even approached the door. He made the statement while on the stand that he refused to cower in his home, or something to that effect. One should never cower in their own home, but one should not unnecessarily put themselves in a dangerous situation. By approaching and opening the door, the situation could have been completely different had it been a group of armed individuals who were intending to break into his home.
My sympathies go out to the McBride family, and I hope they can find solace within this verdict. There’s nothing that will bring Renisha back, but I hope they will be able to look beyond her final moments on Earth and remember happier times they shared with her.
My sympathies also go out to the Wafer family. It’s easy to Monday Morning Quarterback this and say that he shouldn’t have shot McBride, but he’s the only one who knows exactly what was going through his mind at the time. Does a person have a right to defend themselves in their own home? Yes, they do. Sometimes the homeowner has to take matters into his own hands, and sometimes it’s best to let the authorities handle it.
This case was one where I would have at least phoned the authorities prior to doing anything on my own. Banging on the door sounds scary, and it could be a precursor for a break-in attempt. At the same time, banging outside means the person isn’t in the house just yet, and I have time to use multiple avenues to address the situation. If I can get the authorities there to arrest or scare off the person, then the task is done without me endangering myself or my family. If the person is inside my home, then it’s self-preservation time with no questions asked. That is what I see as the difference between self-defense and murder in a case such as this.