A black man cosplaying a criminal was shot and killed by a racist store clerk after the clerk freaked out and thought he was being robbed.
Anton Kirby, 18, was apparently engaged in an obscure cosplay where participants dress up like serial killers. Anton Kirby was dressed up as the Unabomber, complete with gray hoodie, dark glasses, and blue nitrile gloves (to keep fingerprints off of bomb parts) when he walked into a Cleveland Food Mart to show off his costume, complete with a small handgun like we would presume ol’Ted Kaczynski himself would carry when he came in to town for supplies.
Unfortunately for little Anton, on seeing seeing the hoodie, the gloves, the dark glasses at night, Anton’s black skin, and the handgun, profiled Anton as a criminal wanting to rob the place. After pretending to be cool, the clerk, a licensed koncealed-karry-killer, pulled out the murder weapon and shot little Anton in the face while he was showing off his gun.
Well, that’s not what actually happened, but it’s as good a fairy tale as anyone else will make up.
While there are indeed some questions about Anton’s decision to rob the store, there is no doubt at all that Anton, dressed in a gray hoodie, rubber gloves, and carrying a loaded .380 robbed the store.
Video clearly shows Anton enter the store and point the gun at the clerk. Video also shows the clerk start to cooperate with his attacker before turning with his own gun and firing four shots into Anton’s face.
The only question which needs to be answered is, “Why did Anton decide to rob the store?”
Anton had no criminal record. He had never been caught committing even the smallest of crimes, not even jaywalking or hosting national security information on a private server in his home. He was a star athlete in high school. He was preparing to enter the University of Cincinnati.
Some people out there attribute these kinds of incidents to a lack of parenting but, at least in this case, all accounts point to strict parenting, solid accountability procedures, and a generally positive life path.
But the facts are indisputable. Little Anton pointed a firearm at another human being, threatening him with death if he didn’t cooperate.
The victim defended himself with, in our opinion, supremely accurate marksmanship; discharging four rounds into his attacker.
We feel for all involved in this.
We feel for Anton and whatever unknown circumstances drove him to commit a violent felony against an innocent human being.
We feel for the clerk; forced to take a life in defense of his own. He will forever doubt himself and ask if there’s was any other way to protect himself from a man with a gun. He will forever feel the pain of being forced to cut short the life of a young man, regardless of the violence he was committing.
We feel for the parents. You work hard, raise your kids right, teach them to respect life. And then one of them goes off and commits a violent crime, threatening an innocent man with death, and losing his life in the process.
However, our feels are tempered by the inevitable politics of the situation.
The clerk was white, Lil’ Anton was black, and in spite of the incontrovertible video evidence, the cries for a Grand Jury investigation have already begun; accompanied by the inevitable, uneducated declarations that the clerk should have shot Anton in the arm or something.
We can forgive Anton’s mom, Marilyn Britten, for making such unknowingly stupid comments in her grief.
But, lawful gun owners, the stupidity will not stop with Mrs. Britten. It never does.
If you wind up using force to defend yourself, you will get to see the best side of your attacker paraded throughout the media, your decision to defend yourself questioned, your character attacked, and the crime your assailant committed minimized or omitted.
In this case, we get the extra question of, “This was his first mistake! Why couldn’t you shoot him in the arm or something?”
In all of the pressure and drama that follows your lawful, justified use of force in self-defense or defense of others, please hold on to these thoughts:
YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BAD DECISIONS MADE BY OTHERS.
YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DISCERNING THE INTENT OR THE CRIMINAL HISTORY OF THE PERSON POINTING THE GUN AT YOU.
IT IS LESS SAFE TO SHOOT AT THE ARMS OR LEGS AND, UNLIKE A CENTER-MASS OR HEAD SHOT, LEAVES YOUR ATTACKER CAPABLE OF CONTINUING THEIR ATTACK.
In short, the clerk is not responsible for Anton’s death. Anton is responsible for Anton’s death and, after the Grand Jury confirms this and the rioting dies down, we hope that the clerk and Anton’s family will be able to find some peace.