The Continued Saga of George Poe
Letter to the Editor:
I know that I will raise the ire of some Cleveland residents with the contents of this letter but I would like to take the opportunity to address some of the other points that are not being discussed in the "whitewashing" of the George Poe incident. I am not seeing an impartial editorial that addresses the crimes that Mr. Poe did commit.
I possess a Concealed Carry permit from the state of Tennessee. I paid for and attended a several hour class that specifically detailed my rights to carry a handgun and in what instances I would be allowed to use the handgun as personal defense. Notice I said "personal defense." A handgun may only be used when your life is in real and imminent danger and you have no other means of escape. In plain English, you had better be about to be killed before you draw your own weapon and be willing to kill the other person.
Now, let's look at what has been released to the news media about George Poe and the discharging of his weapon.
1. He observed a theft in progress on a property that was not his own.
2. He approached the perpetrators by leaving his own property and walked onto the property of another person.
3. When seen, the perpetrators attempted to flee and while doing so allegedly almost ran over Mr. Poe as they were departing.
4. Mr. Poe fired his handgun. By some accounts once at them and the rest into the air. By other accounts all shots were fired into the air.
I am not going to discuss the pursuit by vehicle at this point because I have a really hard problem swallowing Mr. Poe's statement that he was not chasing the suspects in his car, with a handgun, through busy city streets.
Let's look at the violations of the Concealed Carry law that Mr. Poe did commit.
1. He saw a theft on another individuals property. Not a threat to his life.
2. He approached the perpetuators on the other individuals property with his weapon. At this point he has violated the Concealed Carry law of Tennessee by using his handgun in a manner that was not legal. His life was not in danger and he is using his handgun to intimidate another person, not protect his own life.
3. The individuals attempted to flee and allegedly almost ran over Mr. Poe. Now at this point, Mr. Poe's life may have been in danger, but he placed himself there by his actions.
4. Mr. Poe discharged his weapon. Was his life in danger with no means of escape to safety? Apparently not since he was able to step backwards and not be run over by the departing vehicle. He was not defending his own property but the law does not allow you to defend your own property anyway, only your life.
Mr. Poe's actions became illegal once he left the safety of his own home, approached another person with his firearm, and discharged his weapon when his life was not in danger. He also fired a weapon within the city limits which is illegal.
I am proud that I have the right to carry a firearm but I am also well aware of the responsibilities and rules that I have to follow and obey. I am questioning if I were involved in the same circumstances as Mr. Poe would I be allowed the same privileges such as not being transported and booked at the jail, continue to carry a handgun, and possibly have all charges dismissed against me because of who I am. I don't believe I would have been given the same treatment and that makes several people in violation of the laws of Tennessee.
- Mrs. Rhonda Mason, Cleveland, TN