You know how the old saying goes: don’t bring a sword to a gun fight. Or if you absolutely must bring a sword, be sure to bring a sword and a gun to a gun fight.
That was the strategy of 50-year-old Michael Lakin of Paducah, Kentucky, when he had a near-fatal encounter with Kentucky law enforcement. According to the Kentucky State Police, Deputy Jared Rivera, along with an unnamed individual who was participating in a ride-along program, responded to an alleged suicidal person.
Rivera arrived at the residence and knocked on the door, but he didn’t get a response so as he was on his way back to his cruiser when his partner for the day alerted him that there was a man with a gun.
That’s when things went downhill. Rivera’s first reaction was to move the cruiser away to a safer distance, but Lakin left the residence and approached Rivera – wielding a pistol in one hand and a samurai sword in the other. Rivera ordered Lakin to drop the weapons, but Lakin didn’t comply. Rivera was forced to shoot Lakin twice in the torso. Lakin was rushed to a hospital where he has been in serious condition.
Based on this report, it looks like Deputy Rivera operated by the book. We would expect an officer to fire in that situation, even though there were reports that the man was apparently suicidal and might have been aiming for a death by cop scenario.
Lakin is incredibly lucky to have survived two shots to the upper torso, but if you ask him he might call it something else. Lakin will probably survive his injuries and will hopefully get the help that he needs in order to overcome these suicidal urges. Of course, that could depend on whether or not he’s able to beat the 3rd degree charge of assault against a police officer. Lakin might have to get psychological aid from behind bars.
This story brings up interesting questions about cases of self-defense. Are you justified in shooting a guy who’s coming at you with a sword and a gun? Sure — nobody’s going to argue with you there. Deputy Rivera was in a somewhat unique situation because he had information suggesting that Lakin might have been suicidal, and that knowledge could have affected his decision to pull the trigger. What would you do if you were being threatened by somebody who was probably mentally disturbed? Would that make you more likely to pull the trigger? Less likely? Or do you not care at all what the mental status of your attacker is?