Officers volunteer to protect CHL-holder; Some politicians still don't get it

By Chad D. Baus

NewsChannel5 (ABC Cleveland) is reporting that police officers will volunteer their time to protect an Ohio CHL-holder who shot and killed an armed 15-year-old who was attempting to rob him.

Since the April 21 shooting, the CHL-holder's home has been vandalized by friends of the dead robber, who already had a criminal record. Both Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett and NewsChannel5 have reported that the family has been staying at undisclosed locations and living in fear. The ABC affiliate now says repairs are under way to the home.

Within 48 hours of Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett calling for "No sympathy for thug culture", Cleveland NAACP President spoke out in defense of the CHL-holder's right to bear arms for self-defense, and against the thug culture, saying "the black community failed 15-year-old Arthur Buford"

The NewsChannel5 story indicates that the Cleveland NAACP and Cleveland police union are now working together to, as Regina Brett recently put it, "stand up to thug culture" by organizing volunteers to protect the CHL-holder's home.

According to police union President Stephen Loomis, 25 officers have volunteered to serve on the off-duty patrols. "We're there to send a message: Leave the innocent people alone," he told attendees at a news conference. Additionally, Loomis and Cleveland NAACP President George Forbes told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that they have volunteered to stay in the home with Wells his first night back!

From the NewsChannel5 story:

    "If they can run these people out of their home, they can run you out of your home," said NAACP President George Forbes. "I live in Cleveland. They can run me out of my home. People have a right to be safe and secure in their home."

    Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland police union, added, "We cannot allow these thugs to drive our good people out of the city. We can't do it."

In her latest column on the fallout from this attempted robbery, Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett is reporting that

Brett begins by noting that a shrine that had been set up, immoralizing the dead armed robber with phrases like "Why Da Good Die Young?", was taken down in the middle of the night, and observes "Too bad they didn't do it in public. What's the message we're afraid to send?"

Her commentary continues with details of a visit to a local 8th-grade language arts class where she visited with students, some of whom knew the armed robber, about their opinions on whether the shrine should have gone up in the first place.

    The children, ages 13 and 14, were polite. They shook my hand and we held a thoughtful, spirited discussion about the shrine.

    "That's the way we celebrate death in Cleveland," Isaac said. "We get shirts, balloons and stuffed animals."

    Sierra didn't like that I suggested the shrine come down.

    "Why say that?" she asked.

    Taylor answered: "If I had died trying to rob or kill somebody, I wouldn't want a shrine up. I wouldn't want the neighborhood kids lookin' at me like I was some kind of icon."

    Isaac defended it. "That's just the way we celebrate death."

    Taylor tossed out a hypothetical situation: "If you killed five people and the police killed you, would you want a shrine?"

    "Yes," Isaac said.

    Franchesca shook her head. "I wouldn't want nobody to put up balloons if I made a bad decision to end my life."

    They agreed that it was good to remember Buford, but important to remember that he died because he made bad choices.

Unfortunately, Brett notes that not all adults are taking such an intelligent approach to dealing with what she has called the "cancer that has taken over the inner city".

    Greg Groves, representing U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, approached me to defend the sidewalk shrine.

    "They're important to affirm the value of lives lost," he said.

    Councilman Zack Reed...said it was a "disservice to the community" how the media reported the story, that Wells was not run out of his home because that home is leased by someone else, the mother of Wells' fiancée.

Got that? Councilman Reed claims that the house CHL-holder Damon Wells regularly stayed in was not his "home". Goodness, using Reed's definition of "home", the numbers of homeless would be quite high in Ohio, wouldn't they? And if Wells wasn't run out of his "home" - does that mean the Cleveland police union should tell the volunteer officers who plan to give their time to protect Wells' domicile to stay..."home"?

What kind of idiocy is this from the representative of the ward where the self-defense shooting occurred? The same kind of idiocy, perhaps, that has gotten this councilperson arrested for drunk driving and resisting arrest, and sent to jail for probation violations, all while being a councilman.

Regina Brett concluded her column with this stinging rebuke:

    ...Ever since this shooting, leaders have spoken out of both sides of their mouths about kids like Buford.

    These kids need to hear one clear message. They need to know what is right and what is wrong.

    After listening to both groups Tuesday, it seems the kids had a better grip on it than the adults.

Related Stories:
It's time for another Plain Dealer Pulitzer: Self-defense commentary continues

Cleveland NAACP Pres.: Don't blame CHL-holder for protecting himself

Plain Dealer columnists defend self-defense

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