Erik Scott was a West Point graduate who went on to serve honorably in the Army, get his MBA from Duke and establish a lucrative career in real estate and as a sales rep for a medical device company. He was 38 years old when he was gunned down in 2010 in the portico of a Las Vegas area Costco store by officers from the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. While it was 7 bullets from the only people we’re supposed to trust with guns that snuffed out Erik Scott’s life, what really killed him was an irrational fear of firearms – hoplophobia.
A coroner’s inquest concluded that the shooting was justified, just as a similar inquest had concluded that the gunning down of an unarmed, small-time pot dealer in his apartment a short time before the Scott shooting was ruled to be justified. Just as such coroner’s inquests have concluded that officer involved shootings were justified in 199 out of 200 incidents since 1976.
Erik Scott’s family has strongly contested the conclusions of the coroner’s inquest and the entire inquest process. They succeeded in getting some changes made to that process, but those changes have been held up by suits from the police union.
The Scotts filed a wrongful death suit in federal court, but recently dropped that effort, convinced that they had no hope of winning with the system stacked against them.
When one person’s irrational fear of a peacefully armed man can result in that man being gunned down by police with no consequences for anyone except the victim and his friends and family, something is terribly, terribly wrong. Hoplophobia killed Erik Scott and a corrupt system allowed his accusers and executioners get away with it.
Something is terribly wrong, indeed.