BART holdup victim grabs knife, kills robber

The robber’s accomplice has been charged with murder. Under California law, if someone dies as the result of a felony being committed, anyone involved in the crime can be charged with murder.

Heard a story about teenagers in LA. From good families. They were driving around, one had a toy gun that looked real. They saw a middle-aged man about to get in his car. The kid with the toy gun said let’s jack him, and walked up to the man, pointed the toy gun at him, said give me the keys. The off duty LAPD officer pulled out his service revolver and shot the kid dead. The other kids were charged with murder.

When I heard that I thought, jeez, cops generally look like cops. But not always. Sue and I were on an elevator once in a building in LA where the DEA had an entire floor and you needed a special pass card to get off at that floor. A dirt-bag looking guy, scruffy, shabby clothes got on with us. I thought “Hmmm.” You got it, he got off at the DEA floor.

Like too many other laws, the felony murder law seems extremely harsh. The kids in the car didn’t participate in the crime. Should they have said, no, don’t do it to their friend? Absolutely. But to face decades in prison because they didn’t is grotesquely vindictive. As for the robbery accomplice who stuck a gun in the victim’s face, yeah, he should do lots of time. But he’s 18, does that mean he should be in prison until he’s in his 40’s? Because he probably will be.

One comment

  1. There’s a similar law in Texas that actually allows accomplices to be put to death. While I’m all for the rule of law, I question the state’s ability to legislate peer pressure.

    Consumer culture, on the other hand, seems ruthlessly effective at promoting peer pressure values. Cue Laura Ingraham (or Rage Against the Machine)

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