More Wrong Than Wright: Sheriff Calls For Citizens To Arm Themselves And Mete Out Their Own Justice

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright surprised many this week in calling a press conference to discuss an assault on a woman in one of the city parks. Wright used the opportunity to repeatedly call on all of the citizens to arm themselves and expressed frustration that someone with a weapon did not come along and take care of Walter Lance, 46, rather than have him dealt with by the justice system. Wright began his news conference by saying, “Our form of justice is not making it. . . . Carry a concealed weapon. That’ll fix it.”

Wright is clearly someone who is not burdened by concerns over the implications of his statements. He is sworn to uphold the “our form of justice” and seems oblivious to the message that he is sending: that it is better to dispatch felons on the streets than would them to enter the legal system.

Calling Lance an “animal,” Wright repeatedly returned to the purpose of his appearance at the press conference: for citizens to to arm themselves and take care of such matters themselves. After noting that Lance has a long record going back decades, Wright added “And I’m aggravated.”

Saying that “this animal deserves to be out in our society,” Wright said that he knows “liberals” will object to his form of “chain-gang form of justice” but “let me inform you, your form of justice isn’t working either.”
He said Lance should not have had the right or opportunity to “violate a good, upstanding woman.” Of course, he is not advocating any form of justice. He sounds like he is advocating mob justice. He insisted “It’s too bad someone with a concealed weapons permit didn’t walk by. That would fix it.” So the system would be “fixed” by people shooting felons and circumventing the legal system? No one can seriously debate Lance is a man who is a danger to society and should be put away. Moreover, no one would question the right of citizens to stop a crime in progress if they have the ability. However, some citizens are likely to hear something more from these comments: a license, if not an invitation, to dispatch criminals in they have the opportunity to do so.

Wright even used the press conference to do a type of infomercial. Holding up a fanny pack, he announced “They make this right here where you can conceal a small pistol in them. They got one called The Judge that shoots a .45 or a .410 shell. You ain’t got to be accurate; you just have to get close.”

“You ain’t got to be accurate”? Just fan this baby and hope for the best? Now that is a reasonable police announcement. Yet, Wright made sure his citizens knew that “gun control” in his view “Is when you can get your barrel back on the target quick. That’s gun control.” He then stopped and said “I think I better stop before I get sanctioned.” Wow, that took a while.

This is not the first time that a public official pandered to the mob. However, it is rare for a law enforcement official to to encourage citizens to take justice into their own hands and not worry about accuracy. He is also reaffirming the view of some citizens that the legal system is their enemy and serves the interests of criminals. It is not just a reckless position it is a dangerous one for a law enforcement officer. It is also likely to be popular. He knows that he is not likely to be sanctioned but rather lionized by a public eager to hear “tough talk.” The question is whether he will be called to account with the first bystander wounded by inaccurate “gun control” or a shooting that is less of an intervention than an execution.

Source: WYFF as first seen on Reddit.

85 thoughts on “More Wrong Than Wright: Sheriff Calls For Citizens To Arm Themselves And Mete Out Their Own Justice

  1. My, what a sophisticated rebuttal.

    Before there were PD’s there were U.S. Marshals and local sheriffs and in the Old West, the Army did indeed perform some policing functions alongside this usually poorly resourced local sheriffs. The para-military structured PD’s didn’t come about until after the Civil War and it wasn’t until the 70’s that they started to militarize (an off shoot of the policies of LAPD Chief Gates). When people of the frontier took justice into their own hands? It was out of necessity rather than an appropriate legal duty. It was . . . wait for it . . . exigent circumstances. And just as often as not, they ended up dead for their efforts.

  2. “It is NOT only a thing by the way. For some people it can be the difference between life and death if they steal something critical.”

    That tactic is called moving the goal post, Mr. Straw Man.

    A person who is stealing a respirator from someone who needs it to live is placing their live in imminent danger and constitutes exigent circumstance. But most things? Are really just things.

  3. Just what did the local sheriffs do back east when there were no cops? Did they call upon the citizens and did they order them to turn out to assist him? In short, from what little I know the citizens were supposed to assit in law enforcement. What about this term hue and cry? What did that mean?

  4. “Just what did the local sheriffs do back east when there were no cops? Did they call upon the citizens and did they order them to turn out to assist him?”

    Yes, and they were deputized and supervised by the sheriffs – professional law enforcement.

    It was not their full time job nor were they professionals until the time local sheriffs starting hiring (and usually training) full-time deputies.

  5. This what happens when unsupervised and untrained citizens form a posse to enforce laws. It’s not “back East” but I think it makes the point:

    “San Antonio Express: Sunday Morning, June 2, 1918, Page 10

    Six Negroes Dead After Battle With Citizen’s Posse
    Entire Family Wiped Out as a Result of Resistance to Draft Call

    By Associated Press

    Huntsville, Tex., June 1-Sarah Cabiness, negress, and her sons, George, Pete, Cute, Tenola and Lena are dead and her daughter, Bess, is fatally wounded, as the result of a shooting affray in the Dodge neighborhood in this county this morning. George Cabiness was shot and killed on Thursday afternoon when he resisted offivers [sic] who had gone to his home to arrest him for pulling a gun on A.P.W. Allen. The killing of Cabiness aroused the members of his family to a point where they made up their minds to kill the entire Allen family, and on Friday Mose Allen was informed of the intention of the negrœs.

    About 10 o’clock last night one of the Cabiness negrœs carrying a double barrel shotgun approached Mr. Allen’s home, and upon failing to give an account of his presence and reason for carrying the gun, was shot and badly wounded. The other members of the Cabiness family were near and carried the wounded man to their home about two miles away.

    Shortly after daylight this morning a posse of citizens surrounded the Cabiness home and were met by the negrœs with a volley from six shotguns. The posse began firing into the negro house and soon it began burning. As the flames gained headway the mother began carrying the bodies of her four dead sons to the yard where she too met her death.

    The negrœs fired nearly 200 shots at the posse but none of the white men were injured. The Cabiness negrœs were among the most desperate in this county and the cause of the killing was the result of George Cabiness for refusing to register in the selective draft and failing to answer two calls sent him by the Walker County exemption board.

    Sheriff T.E. King and a number of deputies were on the scene early this morning and on his return to the city late today stated that the wounded Cabiness girl could not recover and that by her death the entire Cabiness family had been wiped out.

    The San Antonio Light, June 1, 1918, Page 5

    Six Negroes Slain For Alleged Plot to Wipe Out Family
    Wholesale Execution Sequel to Killing of Draft Evader at Dodge, Tex.

    Huntsville, Tex., June 1-As a sequel to the killing two days ago of George Cabiness, a negro draft resister, following threats the negro had made against Sheriff T.E. King and the King family, six more negrœs were shot to death today and their cabin burned near Dodge, ten miles from here.

    The negrœs, it is said, had plotted to avenge the shooting of Cabiness by murdering the King family, their plot being exposed by a seventh negro, who had ostensibly joined the conspirators. The wholesale execution occurred shortly after daylight this morning, the participants in the affair dispersing quietly immediately after. Reports thus far received here did not make it known whether the negrœs were killed in resisting sheriff’s deputies or whether they were attacked and killed by a mob.”

  6. Joe Horn was not cleared primarily on the basis that the burglars were escaping. His main defense was that he feared for his life. After attempting to get them to surrender, at least one ran in his direction.

    The controversy, even among many pro-gun people, is that Horn escalated the situation to stop burglars. Most of us understand on our own and are trained/advised that deescalation should always be attempted and that discharging our guns is the absolute last resort. By leaving his home to stop a burglary, he partially created the circumstances that led to the shooting. However, since he was charged by one of the suspects, he could argue that he was legitimately in fear for his life, so it didn’t matter that he did something stupid to put himself in that situation in the first place.

    By the letter of the law, the shooting was legal but IMO deplorable. Horn should have been a good witness from the safety of his home.

    • Jason,I did not know you were on the grand jury so as to know what they went by. I am also at a loss to see how he could have de-escalated the situation since they were in the commission of the crime and police were notable by their absence. Horn also went above and beyond the law’s requirements by giving them the chance to surrender. He could have legally simply opened fire. Once again, it was the crooks who made the decision to NOT surrender and tried to keep the loot. Horn also shot one of the crooks who was doing nothing other than running away with the loot and was no threat to him.

      Most crimes do not carry the death penalty, so that makes the use of firearms almost unnecessary There are lots of crimes and situations in which cops can legally use deadly force to prevent the escape of the perpetrator, such as attempted murder, rape, escaping from prison or custody, etc..The idea that deadly force can only be used in death penalty crimes is absurd. Also I would shoot if the person was keeping the loot. If they dropped it, then it would be illegal to use deadly force and you would be right that in that case it would be shooting for simply running from the crime instead of continuing it.

      Another thing to consider is that if you hold to the idea that deadly force can only be used in death penalty cases, it will put the armored car business out of business. I guess the guards could de-escalate by simply giving the money to the crooks and just calling the cops and being good witnesses. Besides the money is insured and using deadly force to stop crooks from stealing just money is not fair or moral or safe and the crooks lives are far more important..

  7. “The controversy, even among many pro-gun people, is that Horn escalated the situation to stop burglars. Most of us understand on our own and are trained/advised that deescalation should always be attempted and that discharging our guns is the absolute last resort. By leaving his home to stop a burglary, he partially created the circumstances that led to the shooting . . . By the letter of the law, the shooting was legal but IMO deplorable. Horn should have been a good witness from the safety of his home.”

    Exactly.

  8. My state allows concealed carry – after a training course.

    Relative to a home, one cannot shoot an intruder unless one’s life is in danger. If I open my bedroom door and find an intruder, who doesn’t rush me or point at me, I should retreat and let him leave. I wonder how often someone shoots the intruder and claims he charged.

    Anyway, if I intervened in a purse-snatching, I would shoot the perpetrator only if he threatened me or the victim with a weapon. I would not shoot somebody running away – with or without the purse. I don’t think the penalty for running should exceed the penalty for the crime.

    I agree that the Judge is not good for concealed carry. The cylinder is as long as you’d expect a cylinder to be if it chambers .410 shotgun shells.

    (I’ve been robbed before, have captured the villains, have held them for the Police, and have posted the stories in other threads.)

  9. Not all is crazy in Texas……

    Official: Shots fired when census worker visited
    Worker uninjured; lawyer jailed on aggravated assault charge.

    Williamson County sheriff’s officials have charged an attorney with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, saying she fired five shots when a U.S. Census Bureau worker visited her home Saturday , court records show.

    Carolyn M. Barnes , 53 , could face up to 20 years if convicted of the second-degree felony. She was being held in the Williamson County Jail on Wednesday afternoon with bail set at $50,000 .

    http://www.statesman.com/news/local/official-shots-fired-when-census-worker-visited-685522.html

  10. I wonder if she went to a first tier law school, but one can only hope. At least another crooked lawyer will be in prison.

  11. Even trained law enforcement are wildly in inaccurate when using handguns in an attempt to stop violent crime. A citizen intervening runs as much a risk of getting himself or innocent bystanders killed as doing in the perpetrator or preventing the crime — crazy videos and “The Armed Citizen Notwithstanding.” When law enforcement shows up on one of these scenes they are immediately confronted with two or more armed persons and no idea who wears the white hat. It’s a recipe for disaster cooked by up by the reactionary, over-emotional sheriff, and cheered on by the macho gun-toting crowd for whom every situation can only be resolved by a smoking gun barrel.

    • I am fully aware of the limitations of myself and weapons and the risks. I know that I am not Annie Oakley and need to be very judicious in using a firearm considering the situation. It is fairly easy for the cops to know who the good guys are since the good guy will be the one putting his weapon on the ground immediately when they show up and following their orders.

      I thought initially that the law would give rise to severe problems as you cited, but it has not turned out that way. So I have changed my opinion. As for reactionaries being the only ones in favor of such laws, you missed my post which pointed out that a liberal black State Sen is the one who originated the law. Sen Wilson is NOT a reactionary by the way. Nor are all the folks who carry.

  12. Arthur Randolph Erb
    “Jason,I did not know you were on the grand jury so as to know what they went by.”

    http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/pasadena-news/article/Joe-Horn-cleared-by-grand-jury-in-Pasadena-1587004.php

    Horn’s attorney:
    “Joe was not some sort of wild cowboy, He was trying to help police. He was put in a situation where he didn’t have any choice.”

    I don’t think shooting burglars is a situation where he had no choice. From the same article: “Horn’s defense hinged on his assertion that he fired out of fear for his life, making the shooting justifiable under Texas law.”

    “I am also at a loss to see how he could have de-escalated the situation since they were in the commission of the crime and police were notable by their absence.”

    I didn’t say he failed to deescalate; once he escalated it by leaving his home and trying to stop them, deescalation probably wasn’t possible. Point being, he turned a routine burglary into a double shooting. This is apparently a philosophical disagreement. I don’t think property is worth killing over. You do.

    Also, a police detective was present, which means that had Horn chose not to leave his house, the burglars likely would have been caught. Even if they hadn’t, far worse things happen in the world than two idiots getting away with some property.

    “Horn also went above and beyond the law’s requirements by giving them the chance to surrender.”

    Again, philosophical difference. He shouldn’t have left his house in the first place.

    “He could have legally simply opened fire.”

    It was mighty big of him to not summarily execute two people for the destroyer of society, burglary..

    “Once again, it was the crooks who made the decision to NOT surrender and tried to keep the loot. Horn also shot one of the crooks who was doing nothing other than running away with the loot and was no threat to him.”

    If you watch the video of him reenacting the incident only hours after it happened, you’d see that he, assuming he was being truthful and I think he was, didn’t shoot to keep them from getting away. The first one charged him, he fired, and he then caught the second one in his peripheral vision and shot him instantly, because he was afraid he was about to die, not because they were escaping.

    “The idea that deadly force can only be used in death penalty crimes is absurd.”

    I agree.

    “Also I would shoot if the person was keeping the loot.”

    You might be legally cleared, but IMO, it would be a disgusting thing to do.

    “Another thing to consider is that if you hold to the idea that deadly force can only be used in death penalty cases, it will put the armored car business out of business. I guess the guards could de-escalate by simply giving the money to the crooks and just calling the cops and being good witnesses.”

    So I guess that was addressed to me. See above.

    mespo727272-
    “Even trained law enforcement are wildly in inaccurate when using handguns in an attempt to stop violent crime.”

    This is true. It’s also true that in many law enforcement agencies, cops barely touch their guns, often just enough to make their yearly qualification. One of the reasons that used police guns are such a great bargain is that they usually have only superficial holster wear. They typically haven’t been fired much.

    “A citizen intervening runs as much a risk of getting himself or innocent bystanders killed as doing in the perpetrator or preventing the crime — crazy videos and “The Armed Citizen Notwithstanding.”

    If this risk was real, you should be able to easily find many such examples. Accessible concealed carry has been the law in most of the country for about 20 years. I can present links to scores of successful self defense shootings (and I didn’t even get them from The Armed Citizen!). In the years that I’ve paid attention to such things, I’ve found one incident of an innocent being struck during a defensive shooting, and even then, it was ruled an accident and the shooter wasn’t charged. If you know of large numbers of innocent people being shot by CCWs, I’d appreciate seeing the stories.

    • I think that you should take the comments of the DA as to what the grand jury ruled on. He said that under Texas law deadly force is justified in stopping property crimes under certain circumstances. The self defense did NOT figure into his presentation I would guess. Since the DA was there, I think that is the definitive statement. His lawyers take is irrelevant since he was NOT there.

      I agree that you have a different opinion and if you think you have the votes and support of the people of your state, you can make such things illegal. I think that in many states this is the rule, but not in Texas and many others too. Texas is not alone by any means in this law. In fact the law is way too loose in some of those states, and I think Texas has it about right.

      If you read the article you would know that the crooks were getting away with about $2000 worth of property. Now for most of the folks on this blog, it may not seem like a lot, but for the majority of people that is a severe hit. The crooks know the law and if they choose to commit crimes like this, they also have to accept the risk that they may be shot and possibly killed.

      As for the instance of the case at hand, it is obvious that the criminal justice system made NO impression on the crook since he has a long rap sheet. The question is how do we deal with such folks who continue their criminal careers. At least if he had been shot, he might have been killed or cured of his bad habits.

  13. “It is fairly easy for the cops to know who the good guys are since the good guy will be the one putting his weapon on the ground immediately when they show up and following their orders.”

    Is abject submission to authority your only criteria for who is a “good” person?

  14. ARE sez: “I wonder if she went to a first tier law school, but one can only hope. At least another crooked lawyer will be in prison.”

    ************************************

    After considerable search, I found a reference connecting her to a smallish law school in Texas. If that is true, then it is a tier 4 or 5 school. i could not find confirmation but also did not exhaust all the possibilities of Dr. Google. I just interviewed 13 sheriff’s deputies and am too worn out to pursue it further.

    As for her being crooked, I do not read the complaint against Carolyn M. Barnes as charging her with being crooked. Not mentally stable certainly and remarkably poor self control, yes. But that is not “crooked” in the usual sense of the term. She is not charged with any kind of fraud or other such illegal act.

  15. I’m not a lawyer but do have a MBA from a top tier school. Reading many of these comments concerns me greatly. Law abiding citizens should have the right to be armed.

    While I do want the police and justice organizations to work – and they do most of the time – the police cannot be present to prevent crimes. There just aren’t enough of them. I figure 300,000,000 people in the US and 500,000 law enforcement officers. Assuming three working shifts that means that there are approximately 1,800 Citizens per officer at any given time. When you add to that violent criminals being paroled every month with 50% of them that end up back in jail, budget cuts for police and prisons, and the lingering recession you have a recipe for more violent crimes against law abiding citizens.

    If you don’t allow law abiding citizens to own weapons to protect themselves essentially they become victims used to identify criminals for arrest. Is that what you really want?

  16. It really boils down to this..do you choose to be a helpless victim, hope you survive an assault on you, hope the cops catch the perp, hope the courts convict him, hope the criminal is then not let back out on the streets to attack someone else OR do you choose NOT to be a victim, carry a firearm legally and HOPE you never have to use it. Doesn’t seem like a difficult choice to me.

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