3/05/2010: Drunk Kivalina man wanders streets w/shotgun, threatens others

3 Responses

  1. I’m confused. According to the police report you link to, Mr. Stalker, wielding a rifle, invaded Mr. Booth’s home. They had an altercation, Mr. Booth discharged a shotgun and then Mr. Stalker left. Mr. Stalker then wandered the streets with his rifle making his death threats.

    Both were picked up by the police and charged with two misdemeanors (MIW IV and Assault IV), but Stalker was also hit with a felony charge, Burglary I (likely due to his home invasion).

    1) Is there more information that suggests that Mr. Booth was wandering the streets with his shotgun making threats? Or was Mr. Stalker wielding a shotgun, not a rifle, as you suggest?

    2) This appears like it may be a valid defensive gun usage. Mr. Booth apparently responded to an armed home invasion by discharging a shotgun. The home invader then left. An armed citizen cannot shoot a fleeing criminal in the back; once Stalker turned around to leave then Booth (and other villagers!) did the right thing by not shooting him down in the street as you suggest. If they had it would have been vigilantism, not self-defense. Once the threat of imminent bodily harm or death goes away, so does your justification for using force in self defense.

    While we still need more information before passing judgment, its telling that Booth wasn’t charged with a felony and Stalker was. MIW IV is something that you get automatically charged with if you possess a weapon while intoxicated, but I’ll be interested to see if Mr. Booth’s charges stick or if they are dropped by the prosecutor or plea bargained down.

    • Hey Chris. I appreciate your candor. The post by the Troopers says that Stalker “was observed making verbal death threats while still carrying the rifle.” Are you asking me if it matter that it was a rifle vs. a shotgun? I don’t think it really matters, that’s my take on it. As for the weapon being used in self-defense, sure, it seems that it was. But did it make the situation any better? I argue that it did not. Mr. Booth should have simply left the residence and called the police. He put himself in great danger by trying to fight with Mr. Stalker, and in the end, both ended up in jail. Mr. Booth would have been better served by notifying the authorities and letting Mr. Stalker pass out on the couch. I agree that the legal outcome of this situation would be nice to know, but I don’t believe it has much bearing on whether gun ownership resulted in a better outcome, because gun ownership led to the situation in the first place. Thanks for writing!

  2. Ah, gotcha. So its just a typo. I was confused because I thought you were accusing Booth of making threats and was wondering if I missed a news report with more information.

    I don’t know, maybe they know each other (village life is a small community) and there is prior history here. Still, I don’t really feel comfortable inviting armed home invaders to take a nap on my couch though as you suggest.

    I don’t think gun ownership led to the situation. The situation occurred because an angry drunk with a weapon made a criminal choice. Stalker could have had a knife or machete or baseball bat or gang of drunk buddies instead of a gun and still made the same choice to invade Mr. Booth’s home. The rifle didn’t possess him and make him do it.

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