Last November, Bandar Abu-Karsh was tending shop at his corner takeout joint, when two thugs came in with guns at the ready fixin’ to rob the place. Abu-Karsh resisted, retrieving a pistol from the counter and firing at the robbers. He hit Lamar Allen in the head, who collapsed on the floor. His accomplice ran off. Abu-Karsh briefly gave chase outside, but returned to the store, locked himself and his quickly expiring assailant inside, then took Allen’s TEC-9 and shot Allen twenty-six times in the back.
Needless to say, this hastened Allen’s departure from this world and turned a straightforward self defense shooting into a manslaughter trial.
Abu-Karsh pleaded not guilty, and the case went to trial. The facts of the case were pretty clear, the store was covered inside and out by several security cameras, which recorded Abu-Karsh’s actions flawlessly. Based on the facts as I have them, I would have no doubt voted to convict.
Attorney John McMahon asked jurors to put themselves in Mr. Abu-Karsh’s place on that November morning and to decide how they would act. He questioned whether they would be rational after just experiencing men with guns threaten their lives.
“After all that, the state wants to impose a duty of rational thought on Bandar at that point. No way. No way,” he said.
I believe the jury did more than that. I think the good people of Toledo have had just about enough of thugs threatening them, and sent a clear message. If you don’t want to get shot 26 times in the back, don’t knock over our take-out restaurants.
Crime in America at the moment is a curious thing. Nationwide, overall, it’s as low as it’s been in my lifetime. But in localized jurisdictions, it’s through the roof, and authorities in those areas are unable to keep up. As our municipalities continue to go bankrupt paying retired cops and firefighters lavish retirements, current police and fire department funding will suffer, crime will go up, citizens will respond, and we will see more Abu-Karsh’s in the future.
As I may have suggested in the past, folks, carry your guns! In that crucial moment that we hope never comes, you will be totally on your own and your safety will depend on your tools and skills, and your mindset to use them. Your survival after the fight will depend on how your conduct during the fight appears to 12 of your peers. As this case shows, we may be given increasing leeway, but much like a fight for your life, you don’t really win a trial even if you’re acquitted, you merely survive.