I’m an Air Force brat. My father spent a 30 year career in the service and during that time my family moved to bases all over the United States. One of those bases was Warner Robbins Georgia. While we were there, my brother and I helped our mom deliver Meals on Wheels to senior citizens in the city. I was 8-10 at the time, and I remember disliking delivering to some old folks in the really poor part because of the ben-gay old people smell. But I never felt unsafe. I know it was safe because my mom would not have delivered in those parts of town if she felt it would endanger her or her children.
This memory of mine was happily bouncing along in my memory when I clicked on a Drudge Report link during one of the big snow storms in January 2014 that was talking about a big snow fight in Warner Robbins, Georgia. I thought a bunch of kids having a snow day got in a big snowfight and typical overreaction, the police come and start arresting people. Of course someone starts crying when they get hit in the face with a snowball or whitewashed. Reading the story in the Macon.com newspaper, I found it was something completely different:
Two teens have been arrested in connection with an attack in front of Warner Robins High School while school was out due to snow.
According to police, a group of about 30 people were having a snowball fight at the high school Jan. 29. Members of the group allegedly were jumping on vehicles in the parking lot, and when one of the vehicle’s owners asked them to stop, they allegedly attacked that person and three others who came to his aid….
The wife of one of the men in the sledding group stayed in their van with their infant child. When members of the group having the snowball fight began hitting the van, the victim said, the woman got out and asked them to stop.
At that point, he said, someone hit her with a snowball, and part of the snowball landed on the baby. The woman’s husband then approached, asked the group to stop and was attacked, he said. He and two other men in the sledding group who came to his aid were assaulted. He said no one in the sledding group instigated physical contact.
The victim said three of them, including himself, suffered concussions, and one had two cracked ribs. Members of the sledding group were white, and those involved in the snowball fight were black. He said the attackers yelled racial comments at them during the assault.
He said they did not call for an ambulance because their first concern was to remove their children from the scene. As the adrenaline wore off later, he said, they realized they were injured and sought treatment.
He said he thinks about 30 people were directly involved in the attack, and he hopes there will be more arrests. He said one female in the group having the snowball fight tried to stop the attack, and she was “thrown back.” Other than the female, he said, “there was not one innocent bystander.”
He said it ended when one of the wives dialed 911 and started reading out license plate numbers in the parking lot. When the group realized that, they stopped and fled.
An subsequent story announced that 5 had been arrested in the attack – three 17 year olds, a 15 year old, and a 14 year old total.
This happened in a city of about 48,000 people, and the county (including the Air Force Base), has about 116,000 people. A small southern military city, big enough to have the hospitals and a variety of stores, but small enough that you avoid much of the hooliganism of larger cities like Augusta or Atlanta. The kind of place where you would not be adverse to moving your family if a good job was offered to you there.
My conclusions from this story –
Conclusion #1 – Use of deadly force would have been justified (but not advised) in this situation. There was a disparity of force (30 vs 3), the men injured were defending a family member and infant child , the men attempted to defuse the situation rationally (asking the people throwing snowballs and jumping on cars to stop). The concussions and cracked ribs also are serious enough injuries to demonstrate that there was grave bodily harm actually received.
Conclusion #2 – 13 vs. 3. That is why you carry a reload for your pistol.
Conclusion #3 – Dad would probably have gone to jail if he had so much as a knife on him because it was school property, a legal law-abiding-citizens-here-are-unarmed zone. He was kicked and beaten in a school parking lot. If Dad had used deadly force to defend himself from grave bodily harm, he would be found guilty of possessing self defense tools in a self defense tool free zone, as well being accused of a hate crime because he was white and the teens attacking were black. Does that sound like justice to you?