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The Law Versus Justice


Sometimes being right isn’t the same as being correct. This seems to be the case for a responsibly armed American in Chicago.

Dog Gone It

Araceli Diaz, 21, had negotiated the sale of a dog online. At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 29, she arrived at the 2300 block of South Drake Avenue in Chicago. The other woman remains unnamed because she is 14 years old. The area is a slice of Chicago no visitors see — shabby, older homes; elm trees lining buckling sidewalks; and streets with potholes large enough to hide a police cruiser.

When they met, Diaz no sooner said hello before the 14-year-old pulled a gun and hit her in the head. According to the reposting of the incident on Blue Lives Matter’s Facebook page, the teen tried to “steal Diaz’s property,” presumably her purse and cellphone.

Unfortunately for the thief, Diaz was carrying her own legally owned handgun, which she drew. She shot the 14-year-old girl in the chest. Paramedics transported the teenager to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital in critical condition.

Turns Out…

My first thought was to congratulate Diaz for taking a blow to the head and responding in a correct manner to protect herself. It did not matter that the teenager was holding a pellet gun, not a firearm. At any distance or in an actionable instant, it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between a SIG Sauer P226 pellet pistol and a SIG P226 Legion in 9mm. The teenager was arrested at the hospital on Saturday morning and charged with attempted armed robbery.

A blac-and-white photo of a man wearing a backwards baseball cap aiming a handgun at the camera.

You have less than a second to decide on a response. What’ll it be? (Photo by Rick Sapp)

“We’re not sure where they met initially or how they communicated,” Chicago officer Jose Jara said. “All we do know is that the 14-year-old did show up with other intentions, and she pulled out a BB gun. A BB gun can appear like a real gun. To anyone out there, it’s going to appear like a real gun — to the police and to any individual. And if someone’s carrying and they have their own [concealed carry permit], they may use their own gun to defend themselves.”

Not a Happy Ending Afterall

This story doesn’t end with a successful example of self-defense and the arrest of the perpetrator, however. Diaz had her Firearms Owner Identification Card (FOID) as required by Illinois, but that wasn’t sufficient. The police arrested Diaz because she did not have a concealed weapon permit.

The police and/or the local prosecutor decided to make an example of Diaz. While she was not arrested at the scene of the shooting, they did search for her. She was taken into custody at 6:45 p.m. the day of the shooting and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon — a felony in Illinois. If convicted, Diaz faces one to three years in prison which means that — assuming the 14-year-old recovers from the gunshot — the perp will be back on the street in a matter of weeks, while the administratively incorrect victim goes to prison.

I am usually for respecting and abiding by the law. But sometimes the persnickety details of laws written by and for lawyers conflict with justice and common sense. I think this is one of those cases.

About Rick Sapp

Rick Sapp earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology after his time in the U.S. Army working for the 66th Military Intelligence Group, USAREUR, during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Following his time in Paris, France, he worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing. Along with being published in several newspapers and magazines, Rick has authored more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.



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