So the debate has become very relevant to me, personally.
Yesterday a co-worker and friend was killed in a domestic dispute in Dallas. He had gone to see his ex-girlfriend for some reason (possibly financial in nature, relating to the children he had spent the last few years helping to raise), there was a confrontation with her current boyfriend, and he was shot. Then he died. The specifics are pretty sketchy, but my conversations with the crime beat reporter assigned to the case by the Dallas Morning News seem to indicate that the police aren't expending a lot of man-hours on the case. After all, its just a dumb piece of gun violence and a young black guy is dead, so why bother with a lot of effort?
Two things about this bother me greatly. One, the only official statements on record are those of the shooter and his girlfriend. There is no other side to this case, because the other side is now dead. Because these two parties claim the shooting was in self-defense, its been handled as an open-and-shut case. My friend (call him Mr. Wall), tried to bust up into the woman's residence and her current boyfriend retreated, then shot him. I don't know about that. This shooter just happened to be armed at the time? He keeps strapped even when coalescing with his girl? Maybe they knew Mr. Wall was coming, maybe the weapon was next to his carkeys. I don't know. And neither does anybody else, except the two people with a particularly vested interest in recalling events in a very particular manner. I don't doubt there was a lot of stupidity involved. I don't doubt it was senseless and uncalled for and that my friend was dumb for involving himself in the situation. But when there is a killing, and only party is armed, I think maybe there should be a bit more care taken in determining what has happened, and why. Mr. Wall didn't go over there looking to get shot, and the official statements that are the only existing narrative for what happened appear (to me, obviously biased a bit) fairly unbelievable.
The other thing that bothers me is the weapon itself. Nobody knows the status of the gun used, and the police haven't made that information public. Given the participants, I sort of suspect the gun wasn't purchased at a Wal-Mart after a three-day wait period. But since the case is being handled as a 'self-defense' case, the status of the weapon has never entered the public record, and as far as the crime reporter on the case can ascertain, it was never confiscated as evidence. Which seems astonishing to me. Perhaps there is a very good reason this information is not available at this time, but at the moment, the only thing that can be puzzled together is that this was a case of self-defense, and so from the police's perspective, the legality of the weapon itself is irrelevant, and has not been verified. Because Second Amendment. I guess. I don't know.
If these two young men had decided to determine their fate with a gun duel at noon on the wind-swept prairie, I think probably the victor would end up facing more legal scrutiny than the survivor of this particular one-gun, one-sided shootout. I just don't understand how a homicide involving one death, and only one gun, can be determined as 'self-defense' based solely on the testimony of two people who have all the reasons in the world to see the violence as 'self-defense.'