Rebel of the Week: Patricia MapesApril 4th, 2012
Imagine you’re home alone in bed when suddenly you are awakened by the sound of your front door opening. Fearful, you grab a .45 caliber handgun from your nightstand and slip out of your bedroom. There, barging through your front door, are three intruders. What do you do? Many of us, those with any shred of self preservation, might just shoot first and ask questions later. In this case, the intruders had the good sense to identify themselves Lee County deputies. But Patricia Mapes stood her ground anyway, shouting back “I don’t care who you are. I’ll shoot you!”
Patricia Mapes is a 71-year-old woman who was visited by three deputies conducing a “well being check” at 9pm on Friday, March 23rd. They identified themselves as deputies, but she was unwavering, demanding that they leave. And who can blame her. Three men intruding into the home of a frail old woman is frightening no matter who they are. But as they say, the firearm is a great equalizer. When they refused to leave she opened fire from her bedroom doorway, shooting twice, and they fired back.
Patricia was shot and taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. They haven’t disclosed the extent of her injuries but report that she is “stable.” Tough old gal. The deputies are on paid administrative leave. She’s facing two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, but was released on bond.
Here’s why I think this is interesting. With the Florida Stand-Your-Ground Law under fire after the killing of Trayvon Martin, I think it’s valuable to check out what this thing actually says. According to the law in Florida a person is justified in defending themselves with deadly force if “He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.” Further, the law stipulates that in an instance of home invasion there is a presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.
So if these intruders were not cops she could have shot them dead and it would have been perfectly fine apparently. But the standard in the law is that a person “reasonably believes” the intruder poses imminent danger. I don’t know about you, but if someone barges into my house and claims to be police I don’t necessarily believe them, because if I was a burglar or a rapist that’s exactly who I would claim to be. So even though they were cops I’d still argue she could reasonably believe that deadly force was necessary to protect herself. But of course cops are privileged class. Good for her all the same.
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