by Mel Griffith
A great deal has already been written about the George Poe incident, but a letter to the editor in the last People News contained so much nonsense that it should not go unanswered. Mr. Poe, as you may recall, is the City Councilman who was almost run down by a thief escaping with his son's lawnmower and who defended himself with the weapon he was authorized to carry. The lady who wrote the letter provided a list of alleged "crimes" committed by Mr. Poe, none of which exist except in her imagination. His first "crime" according to her, was to investigate what was happening next door. According to her, if it wasn't on his property, it was none of his business. Has she never heard of Neighborhood Watch? Even if the property hadn't been his son's, Mr. Poe, as a responsible citizen, should have investigated what was going on.
Even though this lady claims to have a concealed carry permit, she seems to have no idea what one means. She seems to think that Mr. Poe's permit was good only on his own property, and that he violated it by taking his weapon off his property. Actually, he did not need a permit to carry his gun on his own property, and a carry permit allowed him to carry it most anywhere he pleased, except for places such as schools and the courthouse where firearms are specifically prohibited.
She seems to feel that since Mr. Poe survived he wasn't really in danger, anyway. That idea is too absurd to require comment. She also says that he "placed himself in danger" so the whole thing was his fault. That, after all, is precisely the purpose of letting law-abiding citizens go armed, so that when duty requires them to place themselves in danger they are not helpless. Mr. Poe had every right to be on the property, regardless of whether it placed him in danger or not, and every right to defend himself while there. Actually, it wasn't Mr. Poe who placed himself in danger, the criminal who tried to run him down was the one who placed him in danger.
The writer of the letter also implies that there was something wrong with Mr. Poe's efforts to locate the thief after he left the property. There have been no claims that Mr. Poe violated any traffic laws in his successful effort to relocate the thief, though the thief clearly did by driving so recklessly that he ran into another car.
Finally, the writer says that we have no right to protect our property, only our lives. She is partially correct. It is not legal to shoot a thief in the back who is running away with your property. But it is a safe assumption that when a criminal charges you in his car, as was the case here, that he means you bodily harm. According to this lady, if you find someone carrying off your property the proper response is to stand idly by and watch as long as they don't endanger you. Lets hope none of our local criminals will want to look up her address and take advantage of her attitude. For myself, if I have a choice between watching my property being carried off or keeping it -I plan to keep it.