Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Villain or Hero?


Another guest post by Dana


You may have heard [THIS STORY].

Last week, Margaret Matthews, 68, decided she'd had enough of two neighborhood boys (12 and 13) who she claims have been harassing her in her south side Chicago home for more than a year.

She had been grocery shopping and when she returned to her house she noticed broken windows and saw two boys running away.

The boys came back and Matthews stood on her porch and confronted them. Allegedly, they responded by throwing bricks and rocks at her. One hit her in the chest.

She went inside, grabbed a gun and called police.

Concerned the police wouldn't make it in time, she went back outside and fired at the boys, wounding the 12-year-old in the shoulder.

According to Illinois law, Matthews' use of force qualifies as self defense if she "reasonably believed that such force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm." The police decided not to charge Matthews. The boys face charges of aggravated assault.

The 12-year-old boy's family told another story, insisting the boy didn't break the window and the shooting was unprovoked.

Some in the neighborhood are calling Matthew's a hero, a descriptor she takes issue with.

"There is nothing heroic about any individual getting hurt by another individuals hand," Matthews said. "I pray for this young man and am so happy he'll be alright."

"I'm sorry that all of this happened," she said. "I hope and pray that something positive can come from what happened to him.

"He might not realize it," she added, "but I might have saved his life, because if he keeps on going on the path he's on someone else may not be so lenient.

"This way," she said, "he's got a chance."

What do you think? Is Matthews a hero or a dangerous granny with a gun who over-reacted?



furiousBall said...

Not a fan of guns. That wounded 12 year old could also take this incident and turn it into a whole new kind of anger.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

While I hate that she had a gun I am not completely against what she felt she had to do. And what the hell kind of kid throws rocks at an old lady? C'mon. I have turned into my granfather of late -"these kids have no sense of right or wrong and most importantly why?"


Grant said...

All children should be shot.

Boonie S said...

Tough call. If she’d shot him dead I think it’d be wrong for sure – so wounding him’s probably wrong too – but we don’t really know whether or not she was provoked. I think that’s the deciding factor.

All the best, Boonie

Karen said...

Clearly shooting a child is not a good idea, but standing up for yourself and your property after having been harassed continually is heroic. Kids and gangs can take over a neighborhood and the citizens who stand up against them are rarely successful.

Dana said...

furiousBall, I think retaliation would concern me here.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too), I wonder if throwing the rocks back at the boys would have been a better option?

Grant, I shoot mine regularly ...

Dana said...

Boonie, I'm concerned that she wasn't shooting to injure, she was just firing willy-nilly. She could have hit her 72 year old neighbor just as easily.

Karen, this is a BAD part of Chicago - a neighborhood where violence isn't just tolerated, but expected. If nothing else I do hope it brings the neighbors together to make a stand for their neighborhood.

Bina said...

I certainly wouldn't call her a hero, but from what little I have read (and only what I read here) I would say she did the right thing. Something similar happened a few months ago here. Some boys were out terrorizing a neighborhood, throwing rocks at the houses and cars, ringing door bells and running. One guy came out, shot a few times (it was around midnight and he had NO idea who it was) and hit a 14 year old boy in the leg. He didn't get charged, and people were in an up-roar. But he lives in a neighborhood where bad things can, and DO happen to people.

I don't think he is a hero either, but I certainly don't blame him for acting the way he did.

Mike said...

The boys left the house and she went after them. Her life was no longer in danger. I think this would be a tough one for her to win.

LilliGirl said...

Many good points here...I def would have thrown stuff back but not shot them. I don't think she is a hero but standing up for herself wasn't wrong.

J.J. in L.A. said...

I think she's defending herself and her property...and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm tired of kids (who have nothing better to do) committing crimes for fun and their families defending them, instead of teaching them that violence and vandalism isn't okay. She shot him in the shoulder, when she could have just as easily shot him in the heart. He should be thanking his lucky stars!

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

I am not sure the shooting was necessary as she had called the police and the boys had stopped their attack (or so the story seems)..

As far as if they had come up on the porch or if she was in the house when they broke the windows then...FIRE AT WILL

Dana said...

Bina, good to see you chika! I don't think "hero" either, but if she gets something positive going in that neighborhood I might change my mind!

Mike, as of now, the police are not charging her, and honestly? I don't think they will.

LilliGirl, standing up for oneself is highly underrated. I think she surprised everyone.

Dana said...

J.J. in L.A., I do hope a lesson was learned by the boys, but in this neighborhood that is highly unlikely.

Vinny "Bond" Marini, again, in this neighborhood, there is no telling how long it would have taken the police to get there. Rock throwers are the least of their worries!

Shelly Rayedeane said...

The question is who is the stronger of the two. I do not know the laws for that state but in certain states it depends how close the attacker was in distance in regards to the victim.

In California she would lose simply because she went back into the house. Breaking windows might not be considered equal force if she wasn't in the vicinity of the window being broken.

I say she did teach the kid a lesson though.

He is lucky she didn't aim for his penis and turn his ass into a soprano.

Raquel's World said...

While shooting the little lads were extreme, I dunno. Throwing a brick at a senior citizen could have had deadly consequences as well.
Kids today are OUT OF CONTROL. I will need more info before I can make a firm opinion. Like did she ever speak to the parents, what kind of history does that boy have? etc.
So again, I am unsure. I mean I can definitely see grandmas point for busting a cap in some thugs ass, but if I was the mom of that 12 year old I'm sure I would feel differently. Need More facts on this.

J said...

Kids need to be spanked (that does not mean abused) when necessary and parents need to be held responsible when the don't properly discipline their kids. I'm so tired of seeing my 10 year olds friends acting like disrespectful ill-behaved little shits. My kids have boundaries and a healthy fear of being punished for crossing them. Mind you I am Avery loving mama. My kids know I am here to love and protect them but it is also my job to raise the to be good law abiding men. Kids need to fear repercussions for bad behavior, when the don't they turn into thugs.