Man shoots sex offender attempting home invasion; Columbus Dispatch describes aggressor as "victim"

By Gerard Valentino

Yet another potential home invasion ended with an honest law-abiding citizen using a gun for self-defense. According to The Columbus Dispatch, a convicted sex offender was shot while trying to break into an apartment and died from his injuries.

From the story:

Columbus police yesterday identified the victim in a Friday night shooting on the Northeast Side as Charles R. Sprague, 35, of Columbus.

Sprague was shot while trying to break into an apartment at 5764 Cooper Rd., said detective James Day of the homicide squad. A man inside the apartment fired shots because he felt threatened by Sprague, Day said.

"It appeared that the victim in this incident was the aggressor and that the shooter was acting in self-defense," Day said. "He'd actually tried to force his way into the apartment at the back door when this occurred."

Clearly, nobody wins when a criminal forces an honest person to use deadly force. However, considering the alternatives if the home invasion had been successful, this was a far better outcome.

It is never acceptable to describe a home invader as the "victim." The shooter in this case is the victim. His home was the target of a criminal invasion and he was the one attacked. He was forced into a situation where he needed to defend his life from a criminal, a predator.

The fact remains that when an honest person is forced to shoot someone in self-defense there are consequences. Some end up with post-traumatic stress disorder and some are even ostracized by their own friends and family if they've killed another human being. Often, the stigma of having killed affects all aspects of the law-abiding citizen's life.

There is also the uncertainty of being run through the criminal justice system even though it would seem to be a formality in clear-cut cases of self-defense. Still, this shooter has to live under the cloud of having his actions put before a grand jury.

Anyone not familiar with how the process works is likely going to be apprehensive and is likely going to have to retain an attorney which adds financial burden to an emotionally taxing situation. Even if the shooter is cleared completely by the police and grand jury the fact remains that a law-abiding citizen had his life turned upside down through no fault of his own.

Clearly, that makes the shooter in this case a victim in the truest sense of the word. He didn't ask for a convicted sex offender to invade his home and he did what any honest person would do when in fear for their own life.

Describing the person who put the entire series of unfortunate events in motion as the victim is also unjust. Instead, the criminal should be described as the aggressor or perpetrator because, despite the fact that he lost his life, he is anything but a victim.

Gerard Valentino is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and his first book, The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative, is available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store.

Related Story:
Homeowner defends self when men invade his home; Toledo Blade describes robber as the "victim"

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