When I look at a crime like this I have a lot of different feelings. I personally feel threatened and vulnerable because it highlights the fact that there are criminals out there and in my mind I feel that I could be in store one day when criminals decide to initiate a robbery. I feel anger at the perpetrators because I hold them responsible for my loss of feeling secure. At the same time I feel anger toward society in general.
An incident like this become a focal point for my anger at society because I don’t like the way our society handles poverty, and crime. My personal feelings are that we have programs in this country that seem compassionate and good a first glance, but the programs tend to keep hundreds of thousands of people in the country in a cycle of poverty. My feelings are that my tax money is being used to incent women to have babies – women who are not capable of raising a child, that these children are raised in an environment that tends to perpetuate the past pattern and gives rise to career criminals, an environment that gives rise to the kind of criminals who attacked Ersland.
In some sense I feel like a citizen who protects himself or herself - is acting like my agent to deter potential crime in the future. It's easy to have some part of me that identifies with Ersland. And those feelings can confuse the logic of what actually happened. If I'm strongly identifying with Ersland because of my own fear of criminals, or my anger over how society is dealing with criminals or how society is dealing with poverty. It’s very easy for part of me to start rooting for Ersland and it’s very easy for me to feel hatred toward the criminals. I also can start to have this sense of thinking that – even though I don’t like the fact that the robber was executed – maybe it will send a message to the other criminals out there. If I am strongly identifying with Ersland for these reasons and he ends up getting prosecuted by society – I can get even more feelings of anger because it seems like it’s adding insult to injury. Society hasn’t adequately dealt with the poor underclass and criminals and then society is spending resources on punishing a guy who I identify with on some level. I sometimes have this feeling that if enough citizens arm themselves and “dispose” of enough of these thugs and punks, then the rest of them will either get the message and stop attempting to victimize us, or “we” will just keep at it until they are all finally dead – problem solved either way. But that’s not a rational line of thinking. For one thing, criminals are stupid and they don’t learn either from the mistakes of others or their own mistakes. And criminals are like Doritos, you can kill as many as you like – somewhere, someone is making more of them.
When I look at this situation rationally, I realize that Ersland murdered that robber. And I am left with my anger over the fact that we have laws and policies in place in this country that seem to perpetuate and protect – even nurture criminality in this country while hindering and hampering citizens from protecting themselves. The trick for me is to not let my emotions over it confuse my logic over what happened. And just because someone logically comes down on the side of the verdict in this case – I have to tell myself – they’re not giving validity to all the wrong-headed thinking that we have going on in society the thought that it’s somehow morally better to be a victim than to use a firearm to protect one’s self… If someone agrees to the verdict in this case it’s just a recognition of the truth, that in this case Ersland murdered that robber.