Editorial: Amarillo’s tragedy shows need for laws

A recent tragedy at an Amarillo pizza restaurant shows how two state laws in Texas designed to protect the public work.

 

While it was a tragedy that person lost his life, laws must still exist to protect innocent life.

The laws relevant to this tragedy — in the case of this editorial — are the state’s laws which license individuals to carry a firearm in public and to protect themselves and their property with deadly force.

Here is what happened, according to Amarillo Police Department: A man was shot and killed Tuesday during an attempted armed robbery at pizza restaurant. At around 10:30 p.m., the armed man entered the back door of the business, grabbed an employee by the hood of the employee’s sweatshirt and went toward the front of the business. It was then that the man was confronted by another employee, who was also armed. The intruder pointed his firearm at the armed employee. The armed employee shot the intruder, who later died.

It was discovered that the intruder had a BB gun or a pellet gun which had been modified to resemble a real handgun.

However, how was either employee supposed to know the intruder was brandishing a BB gun, especially if someone had gone to the trouble to make the gun look like a legitimate — and much more dangerous — firearm?

Were these employees also supposed to assume the intruder was not going to use this firearm in order to carry out this crime?

These are questions with no easy answers — and questions that have life-or-death consequences, literally.

The employee who fatally shot the intruder has not been charged with a crime.

Texas has a state law (sometimes referred to as a “Castle Doctrine” law) which allows lethal force in certain circumstances, including at workplaces for self-defense or to stop ““aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.”

The aforementioned crime certainly fits those parameters.

And it should not be overlooked that the employee who fatally shot the intruder was licensed to carry a firearm.

Sadly, there is no one to blame for this loss of life but the individual who chose to commit a crime.

In the meantime, the state needs laws to legally protect those who must sometimes resort to lethal force to protect themselves, others and their property. This type of criminal act is precisely why such laws are needed.

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