Most people claiming self-defense are not prosecuted

Don’t be misinformed by some of the more prominent national cases.

I read the story in the Courier Herald about the workplace invasion at the Ryterra Quarry on July 12 (“Enumclaw quarry workers recount ‘mass shooting in the making’”, published Aug. 3). I am sure most of the community is thankful that no one was injured, and a person who was clearly a threat to our community was promptly detained. The men working at the quarry displayed bravery, concern for co-workers, concern for the person threatening them, and an admiral sense of civic duty in following up to testify in the arraignment of their assailant.

All of that said, I was surprised that the employees at Ryterra seem to be have heard “stories” that caused them to feel that they would suffer legal, financial, and reputational harm if they had been forced to use the weapons that were available to them, in self defense.

A quick search of “Self Defense Cases that Lost” shows a limited list of names: Rittenhouse, Ahmad Arbery, and Chrystal Kizer. Looking further in the search results, it turns out most people for whom a claim of self-defense resulted in the claimant being successfully prosecuted is when the person who claims self defense is female. The three gentlemen in Georgia convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery are a rare exception.

This search result (thank you internet access) caused me to wonder where our neighbors had heard the “self-defense backfiring” story that was cited in the article as a motivating belief. I am a news junkie, and I suspect that the source of this impression (self defense claims gone wrong) is coming from particular sources of misinformation. As I write this, a jury just awarded the Infowars mouthpiece $45 million in damages for his lies about the Sand Hook Elementary School massacre.

All to make the point: many people are profiting off of the misinformation that exists in our information spheres. Foreign autocrats are invested in our public discourse, and want there to be random violence and a sense of threat among our neighbors.

I am grateful that our local heroes did everything in their power to protect each other and our larger community. This is what citizens do. These gentlemen’s restraint resulted in the best possible end result. Now, our judicial system kicks into action, and hopefully there will be justice so the harm done can be healed, and the accused can get the help he so clearly needs.

Shawn Johnson