Guns · Privilege

Privilege? You be the judge


The facts:

A 67-year old man fired a pistol in his apartment. The bullet passed through the wall he shared with his neighbor.

The shooter failed to report the accident. In addition, when asked by his neighbor and the property management company AND the police about the hole in the wall, he provided various explanations, none of which mentioned a firearm.

Police reports say O’Shea gave property managers and police at least three excuses for the hole, including he accidentally put a screwdriver through the wall while hanging a mirror, and his son accidentally caused the hole while using a pneumatic nail gun.

Nine days after the shooting, the neighbor ran across a spent bullet in his apartment. Only then did the shooter admit what had happened. He was charged with reckless conduct.

Now, you might think this an “open and shut” case. If you’re familiar with the legal system, you might be surprised there was a trial. Most lawyers would tell someone stupid enough to fire a gun in his house, and foolish enough to lie to police about it, to avoid court.

But the shooter knew plenty about the legal system.

DuPage County Judge Patrick O’Shea was negligent when he accidentally fired a revolver through his wall and into a neighbor’s apartment, but a Kane County judge ruled Friday those actions did not meet reckless conduct requirements.

Judge Keith Johnson found O’Shea not guilty, ruling prosecutors failed to prove key components of the charge.

The state did not prove anyone’s life was in danger because prosecutors were unable to prove anyone was home in the unit where the shot was fired or anywhere else in the vicinity, Johnson said.

The phrase “white privilege” rubs many people, particularly white people, the wrong way. This is understandable. After all, life is hard for everyone. Few are spared hardship and disappointment.

On the other hand, who believes the court would have been so understanding about the shooting and lying had it been, for example, a young black man who fired a gun into another person’s DuPage County apartment?



The not guilty verdict  wasn’t the end of the good news Judge Johnson gave Judge O’Shea:

He also signed an order allowing to O’Shea to retrieve two pistols and 49 other guns from the Wheaton Police Department, once his FOID card is reinstated by the Illinois State Police.

Oh good. I was afraid a dope wouldn’t have access to 51 guns.

O’Shea declined to comment. His attorney, Terry Ekl, said they expected and were pleased with the ruling.

Yes, despite the evidence, the confession and the lying,  the ruling was “expected.”

I have no reason to believe, after the verdict was issued, that Judge O’Shea told Judge Johnson “It’s been a privilege.”

But he should have.

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