Monday, June 17, 2024
Public Safety

Another Day, Another Vigilante Murder in Detroit.

Walking the dogs yesterday morning, we noticed that our secondary gas station– purveyor of more affordable snacks and drinks than the positively gross Citgo closer to us- was closed, yellow police tape cordoning off the entire lot. A man was hauling plywood out of a van, boarding up windows. What happened? Turns out that a shoplifting incident resulted in a fatal shooting. Again. (A similar thing happened last week, too, but at a different gas station). One life cut short, one life relegated to a long time in prison at massive taxpayer expense. It’s a lose-lose for everyone. We often hear how crime in Detroit is so bad, the product of a “democrat-run city,” of course– but we don’t talk much about the rise in vigilantism and things like homicidal road rage that have made headlines recently.

The news reports don’t mention much, only that the 25-year old shoplifter stole some items from the store, left, and then returned at some later point, at which point the clerk fatally shot him. If you’re unaware or have been watching Tucker Carlson for so long that it has melted your brain, you may be unaware that it is, in fact, wholly illegal to extrajudicially execute someone, whether for a petty crime or a capital offense.

Following the shooting, Detroit Police Chief James White, whose immediate predecessor bragged about his rabid pro-gun credentials, reminded citizens that firearm homicide is not an appropriate resolution to petty theft. The clerk was also expected to be charged with carrying an unregistered handgun, which is illegal in Michigan (unless you happen to be the Republican speaker of the house who, before trying to bring an illegal, loaded handgun onto a commercial aircraft, also may or may not have sexually abused his future-sister-in-law). A Pure Michigan moment, to be sure.

Having frequently dealt with the people who own these gas stations and liquor stores– who drive into the city in a gleaming Ford Expedition that they park out back and proceed to price gouge poor people buying milk, eggs, cigarettes, whatever, before driving back to the suburbs- I find it hard to have an iota of sympathy for either of the clerks here, who seemed unconcerned with their role in facilitating the extermination of undesirables (read: “petty criminals”). I don’t really have sympathy for someone who gets busted for shoplifting, but I certainly don’t think they deserve to die as a result of a petty crime. It makes me wonder what the hell is happening to our society that this is so increasingly commonplace. Crime in Detroit– already kinda the Wild West from a regulatory perspective- is certainly an issue that we should be paying attention to, but it doesn’t need to be an issue like this.

Affordable snacks no more, for the “better” of our two local gas stations has been shut down after the clerk murdered someone. It is the second of such incidents in recent months after a clerk at a different gas station locked the door to prevent the escape of a shoplifter, who proceeded to murder one of the customers.

As on COPS, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Nat M. Zorach

Nat M. Zorach, AICP, MBA, is a city planner and energy professional based in Detroit, where he writes about infrastructure, sustainability, tech, and more. A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he attended Grinnell College in Iowa, the Kogod School of Business at American University, the POCACITO transatlantic program, the SISE program at the University of Illinois Chicago, and he is also a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow. He enjoys long walks through historic, disinvested Rust Belt neighborhoods at sunset. (Nat's views and opinions are his own and do not represent those of his employer).

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