A little before 1AM on November 2, Detroit police received a call about a no-injury accident in a local neighborhood. The 911 caller said a woman had been speeding down the street, struck a parked car, got out of the vehicle and then left; police initially considered the incident a low priority, so no officers were immediately dispatched.
About 40 minutes later, police received a second 911 call saying the woman had returned to her vehicle, but she was gone when police and EMS arrived. That woman was 19-year-old Renisha McBride; her family believes she was going door-to-door asking for help because her cellphone had died.
At about 4AM, just six blocks away from the accident, Renisha was shot in the face by a man who says he thought she was trying to break into his home; he also says his 12-gauge shotgun discharged accidentally. Now, no one knows what happened between the time of the accident and the time of the shooting, but McBride’s family believe she was shot because she as black.
Michigan prosecutors are now trying to decide whether to charge the homeowner, whose name has not been released. His lawyer says he acted properly, but there are many unanswered questions.
Such as: Renisha was shot in the face — with her wound going front to back, right to left — so the rifle had to be up in the man’s arms and aimed at her face. And while there is some dispute about how far away Renisha was from the homeowner — the autopsy report shows that she was shot in the face and there was "no evidence of close range discharge of a firearm" — it is clear that she was standing on the man’s front porch.
Which begs the question: you hear a noise outside your house at 4AM. You grab your shotgun and head to your front door; you open your front door — and the rifle has to be down while you do this — and then you see a young girl, a five-foot-four-inch tall girl, on your porch. Did the rifle come up? Did the gun go off accidentally? What, if anything did Renisha McBride say to the homeowner before the gun “accidentally” discharged?
McBride's death was ruled a homicide; the homeowner has not been charged.
Here we are again. It’s another Trayvon Martin; another Jonathan Ferrell — see that post HERE. This is the perfect example of why we need gun control in this country. This man has a right to own a gun, but apparently doesn’t have to know how to keep it from discharging. This man has a right to own a gun, but doesn’t Renisha McBride — and Trayvon and Jonathan and others — have the right to the benefit of the doubt before a rifle is raised to her face?
As I’ve said before, if you have a gun, you intend to use it. This man heard a sound, thought his home was being burglarized, grabbed a gun, opened a door and fired. Did he see Renisha before he fired? Did she say a word before being shot in the face? Was she, like Jonathan Ferrell, asking for help after a car accident? And were her pleas for help unanswered because someone chose to shoot first?
We’re rapidly becoming gun nuts in the country, and one day soon half of us will have guns and the other half will be afraid to leave our homes.