Monday, April 18, 2016

Tragedy in a Maryland home "health check" adds new wrinkle to the gun debate

A recent death of a firefighter and wounding of another (one was a volunteer) forcibly entering a home in Temple Hills, MD (Prince Georges County) to do a “health check” recently, when getting a call from a concerned neighbor or relative, raises questions about self-defense at home, weapons policy, and how authorities should respond when they have reason to believe someone who lives alone is in trouble.  News reports indicate that the shooter's brother feared he was having a diabetic emergency (possibly like a "diabetic coma").

Police have filed no charges yet against the homeowner, according to a local televisions news story (with video)  because the homeowner may have been acting in self-defense within Maryland law.  He apparently believed a home invasion was occurring.  But a grand jury could hear the case. A civil suit "wrongful death" might be possible, as there is a different standard of evidence.

Active seniors, especially, often live alone in older homes that may be well secured, particularly with deadbolt Medeco locks that make entry difficult, as well as security systems. Falls down stairs could leave someone to die slowly of injuries if not found in time, if the person doesn’t have a medical alert button. This sort of situation is becoming more problematic as families are smaller and more people live alone, “hunkered down”. That’s one reason why some churches have joined “lotsa helping hands”.

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