[Ed. – One important question about this incident is whether the citizens of New Orleans could have achieved the result they did if the national media had been all over this story. It is very heartening to see the unity and common sense Weinberger outlines here. Would it have survived an onslaught of race-baiting from the MSM and professional race-mongers? What if the Obama administration had deemed it important to intervene using the Justice Department’s crack protest-facilitation team?]
After spotting [an] intruder [homeowner Merritt Landry] said he yelled for him to stop, but the young man made a sudden move. Mr. Landry fired one shot that seriously wounded the trespasser, then called the police. They arrested and charged him with second-degree attempted murder.
Merritt Landry, then 33 years old, is white. The intruder, Marshall Coulter, is black and was then 14.
The episode raised an important question. In a majority-black city like New Orleans, can the justice system handle such a case impartially, or will racial politics cause it to malfunction? Today we have the answer: The system can render justice, especially when a coalition of black and white citizens demand it. …
At a second rally in front of the Landrys’ house, one attendee, who was black, told Mr. Enzi and me that his house had been invaded several months earlier. He said that he shot and killed the intruder, who was white, but was not arrested. Louisiana has a law protecting homeowners who use fatal force to stop an intruder, but a loophole left them vulnerable to prosecution if the intruder, like Marshall Coulter at the Landrys’ house, was only wounded.
Although some black citizens asserted that Mr. Landry had overreacted, many others understood his situation. At one meeting Al Mims, a black retired Orleans Parish civil deputy sheriff, said Mr. Landry was defending his family and had done nothing wrong. …
On May 15 the case against Mr. Landry was formally dropped. Seeking privacy, he made no statement. But he has returned to his job with back pay. A few days later, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a law, passed overwhelmingly in the legislature, that gives homeowners who shoot and wound a home invader a presumption that their actions were lawful.