The family of a man shot to death when he tried to help a woman who was being robbed said they have forgiven his killer.
The teen responsible for killing Mario Gonzalez, 72, was sentenced to 80 years in prison Wednesday in Marion Superior Court.
Mr. Gonzalez came to the aid of a woman being robbed at gunpoint by the then 16-year-old Dominique Staten.
Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Courtney Curtis said, "He aimed the firearm that he had a right to carry and then he lost his life."Gonzalez died from a single .357-caliber bullet to the abdomen. His gun was found at the scene, but he did not get off a shot.
The forgiveness angle is good. It occurs to me that perhaps this is one place where Christians have got it right. But, I suppose there are many vengeance-seeking Christians out there. What's your opinion? Is forgiveness of this type a Christian thing?
Another interesting aspect of the story is the fact that Mr. Gonzalez was a concealed carry permit holder, and as such was armed when he intervened in the robbery. What do you think went wrong? Isn't it strange that he didn't even get a shot off? Would he have approached a robbery in progress so unprepared? What's the point of carrying a gun if that's what happens?
Is it possible that many concealed carry permit holders are untrained and unprepared? Do some of them think the gun itself gives them some kind of protection? What do you think?
Of course, I was interested in the provenance of the gun. "Dominique Staten, then 16, had just bought a stolen gun from a friend," the article said. I couldn't help but wonder if the gun had been stolen from its legitimate owner and how easily that had been accomplished. Besides straw purchases, it seems that stolen guns are one of the main sources. Do you think that's right? Isn't there any way we could encourage gun owners to be more careful with their weapons? If the monetary damage of having a gun stolen is not enough motivation, would legal sanctions help? What if all guns were registered to specific individuals and those individuals had to be accountable for their weapons?
One other observation is that apparently the young shooter has made some efforts to turn his life around in spite of the fact that a good portion of it will be behind bars.
Staten's attorney, Eugene Kress, said his client wants to better himself.
"He's done a lot of work since he was initially incarcerated, furthering his education," Kress said. "His goal is to continue that. He's going to, I hope, use his time wisely."
How common do you think that is? How many young prisoners truly make an effort to turn their lives around? Does rehabilitation work in some cases?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.