Crime and Punishment: What Would You Do?
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
When crime strikes, I’m sure many people have experienced a similar dilemma, and because of a lack of preparation and planning, froze up in a moment of confusion.
Imagine the following scenario. Please read carefully. At the end of the story, you’ll be asked a few questions.
Theft of catalytic converters has become a big business, especially here in Las Vegas. Here are the number of reported catalytic converter thefts, year-to-date, from January until August, just in the City of Las Vegas:
2017 — 4
2018 — 5
2019 — 26
2020 — 471
2021 — 1076
2022 — 1,783
Obviously, this is a problem. A big problem. And, it’s getting worse. The data above proves this. READ MORE HERE
Replacing a catalytic converter can cost $1500-$2500 depending on the vehicle. So, this isn’t a petty crime. It’s very costly to the victim.
Now, here’s the story:
Imagine it’s a pleasant weeknight. Nearing midnight, you are about to go to bed. You hear some noise outside in your driveway. You look out the window and see a thief underneath your car, presumably trying to steal something, probably the catalytic converter. It’s late. You are dressed in pajamas. You have a baseball bat near the front door. You also have easy access to a loaded handgun in the nightstand.
What do you do?
Okay, so that’s the first part of the discussion. Now, some more detailed questions that require more thinking:
— Do you call the police first thing (911)?
— Do you confront the thief directly, and if the answer is yes, do you — yell a warning….sneak up on the criminal and then attack him….hit the criminal with a baseball bat….pull the handgun and try to hold the criminal captive until the police arrive….shoot the criminal in the leg at the first opportunity?
— If the criminal is startled and begins to run away before you confront him, do you pursue him? Do you fire warning shots? Do you shoot the fleeing criminal?
— What if there’s an accomplice (two thieves). How would this fact change your answers?
— Finally, if you opted for an act of force and it turned deadly, do you think you’d be prosecuted for overreacting to the crime?
These are not trivial questions. I’m sure many people, perhaps even a few readers, have experienced a similar dilemma and because of a lack of preparation and planning, froze up in a moment of confusion. This is perfectly understandable. Accordingly, this is one reason I’m posting this (hypothetical) story, because if could happen to you (or I) and apparently happens hundreds of times monthly.
I’d like to read civil discussion and debate on this. In all sincerity, I hope to learn something and even craft my own response in case of such an event.