So here's a story: One morning this week, Bennie Hall went outside, started his car, and went back inside the house to let it warm up. It's been cold in Ohio, and we had a killing frost one night. No big surprise. I gotta say it wasn't this man's brightest day, because he left the car unlocked. I'm assuming, anyway, because someone walking along saw it running and hopped in it to steal it. Hall shot the thief. He died. For most of the day, Cincinnati PD hadn't identified the thief. Finally late that evening, they figured out it was 14 year old Quavale Finnell. Who had a rap sheet as long as his age, for other car thefts, breaking & entering and various other charges. Then more details start to come out, like the fact that Finnell was about to run over Hall. Let's be honest folks, if someone's stealing your car and you're watching it happen, a lot of us are probably going to do the first reaction, irrational thing and run up like you're going to stop it. Whatever the case, I did hear today from a coworker that Hall had his concealed-carry license.
Story about celebrating Quavale Finnell's birthday.
Local blogger's reaction.
Enquirer story weighing charges against Bennie Hall.
channel 12 interview with Finnell's grandmother.
Fox story on Quavale.
Now, hearing shit from a coworker is what got me so pissed off today. I work with a variety of people from different walks of life, different areas of town, different classes. I mention this because you get people that grew up differently or experienced life differently, and you are going to hear their opinions based on their lives. What I was hearing today was two people discuss their outrage about Finnell's death. They couldn't believe anybody would understand or applaud Hall's actions. One man, let's call him Jeff, was appalled that 700WLW would call Hall a hero for what he did. Specifically because "Not all of the details are out yet." And went on to describe this poor 14 year old dying just before his birthday, and why'd he get shot over a car, why'd Hall 'run in front' of the car, why didn't he just call the cops, etc. So in other words, what he's saying is "Don't judge the story before you get all the details, but I am going to judge the story before the details are out." So I called him out on it. Pisses me off to sit there and listen to people spout illogical arguments. "Well I wouldn't shoot somebody over my car." Right. My ass.
I'm not saying it was right or wrong that Bennie Hall shot the kid. I don't know. I wasn't there. I don't know all the details. If he was in fear for his life, legally he was justified in shooting Quavale Finnell. If he was shooting from the safety of his own home to save his car, well, Ohio law only permits (civilian) use of deadly force if you feel a life is in danger, including your own. I have to be honest and say I don't fault Hall for it. My guess is he probably did what a lot of us would do, and ran out to try and stop the loss of his car. Since the shooting occurred in the middle of the street, it's evident that Finnell had the car in motion. Since Hall is legally allowed to carry his gun, that's probably why he already had it on his body. My point is I'm not judging Hall for what he did. I think this kid got shot because that's what happens when you choose the lifestyle he chose.
What you have here is a clear case of someone breaking the law, and the victim of that crime trying to stop it from happening. People do that. It's pretty instinctual to save yourself, and your belongings. It's a guess, but I'm pretty sure cavemen were hitting each other over the head with bones if another one tried to take his mammoth steak. If you own dogs, one will growl at(sometimes attack) another one that takes its bone. Granted, we're logical beings, capable of thinking about something instead of acting on instinct. But it's pretty fucking easy to sit in a heated office, sipping your cuppa, and hypothesize that if it was you, YOU'D FUCKING DO IT DIFFERENTLY. Pardon my language but shut the fuck up. You can't just sit there and proclaim that you're so much better than this man because you wouldn't do that. I don't believe it for a second. You don't KNOW what you would do in that situation unless you've actually been in that situation. People think they know themselves, but you learn a lot about yourself in the heat of the moment. So all of a sudden you're so equipped to judge this man, since you HAVEN'T been in that situation before? Oh, oh and the other part I loved hearing was "If he had to shoot, why didn't he shoot the tire out?" Quit believing everything you see in the movies. It isn't that easy. Ever.
Am I ranting? Probably. I have to listen to these same two yahoos make judgments on actions the police make. If the situation was altered just slightly, so that it was a cop who shot a juvenile stealing his car (which HAS happened in Cincinnati), you'd have riots on your hands by now. Pisses me off to no end. "Why didn't they shoot the guy in the knee to stop him from running away?" "Why didn't they just let him get away with the car and call the cops?" or "The car is just property, let insurance cover it." "If they let him get away with this, before you know it kids will be shooting each other for shoplifting." *grr*
Later in the day, "Jeff" came back to talk to "Bob" and before I left the room out of frustration, I heard Jeff say something about Hall being a retired marine and he didn't know if Hall was a 'marksman' or not, but if he was...then I left before I blew up.
Are you really going to sit there and say he should have just shot out the tire, or some otherwise bullshit?
As a cop's wife, naturally I have to hear cops in general get bashed. Not that this story is bashing the cops, but I heard a lot of the same arguments that I've heard before when they were aimed at the cops. And you have to be able to see some of the similarities, especially about the gun use.
If you've never shot a gun before, here's a tip. It doesn't work like it does in the movies. There are a handful of people (at most) in the US who can so accurately fire at a quickly moving target that they are willing to take the shot. Nobody has ever purposely shot a criminal's knee out to keep them alive but stop them escaping.
Here's a little tidbit inside a cop's training: They are taught to use their weapons to "Stop the Aggression." They are not taught to kill. They are taught to stop the person from doing whatever it is that they're doing. Usually that's putting another life in danger. And they are taught to aim at central body mass. Why? Bullets travel easily through arms and legs. They hit other people. Cops want to minimize that risk. Central body mass is larger than arms and legs. When the adrenaline is pumping and a cop pulls his weapon, which most of them pray they never have to use it, fine motor coordination goes out the window. It's not the same as standing at a firing range with an immobile paper target, breathing slowly and squeezing the trigger.
I'm not judging Bennie Hall for shooting Quavale Finnell. I don't feel equipped to. I'm not God. I do feel confident in saying Quavale Finnell was headed down a dangerous path in life. If you click on some of those links above, you'll be looking at his mugshots from previous offenses. He would have turned 15 yesterday. He was on house arrest for a prior b&e. He shouldn't have tried to steal someone's car. It's unfortunate that this happened, but I can't necessarily fault Bennie Hall for what he did. He was trying to protect his property. And Bennie Hall still has to face a grand jury and defend what he did. Hopefully they will be comprised of his peers. They will decide if he'll be charged.