By David Tulis
A Navy commander should not be prosecuted for paperwork violations just as a jaywalker who saves an old woman’s life should not be prosecuted after sweeping her out of the way of an onrushing truck.
So say protesters who gathered Wednesday by the handful in front of the federal courthouse in Chattanooga. The object of their ire is the possibility that Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White will be prosecuted for paperwork violations in connection with a pistol.
The lieutenant used the personal weapon to fire back at Mohammad Abdulazeez, the Muslim martyr in who killed five American service members at the Navy and Marine facility along the riverfront in Chattanooga on July 16.
“Just because you are in the military doesn’t mean you lose your constitutional rights to carry a weapon,” says Tex Luther, a host at AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio, one of half a dozen demonstrator holding hand-inked signs. “If anything, since you are defending the constitution, it is all the more imperative that you carry one anyway.” He condemns the possibility of the Navy prosecuting him. How can Navy facilities ban private weapons when the 2nd amendment is one’s gun permit to bear, Mr. Luther demands.
“I think he should be protected under the good Samaritan law,” says Crissy Essex of Chattanoogans for Justice, a Facebook group.
“That’s doing something for the greater good,” said another protester, Mike, who declined to state his last name. “We believe the Navy should drop all investigations right now. It’s a waste of time, energy, money and resources. This officer, from all the information we have, was acting not only in self-defense but also in defense of his fellow servicemen.” The good Samaritan statute absolves do-gooders who cause minor injuries in their effort to save a life or spare someone a major injury.
For example, a man performing a Heimlich maneuver to prevent a man from choking to death cannot be accused civilly or criminally for breaking a rib of the man whose life he saved.
The event was thinly promoted by Mrs. Essex, a single mother of two girls, with her 500 Facebook followers. Mrs. Essex had launched the page to defend Mr. White, a family man, practicing Christian and prospective defendant in the Navy’s drawn-out investigation of the attack 1½ months ago.
The event was covered by TV9 cameraman Houston Brock, TV12 reporter James Mahon and by a photographer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Angela Foster.
The turnout was about half a dozen, about the scale that Mrs. Essex had expected as she appeared in radio interviews seeking to interest radio listeners in Mr. White’s cause. A newspaper report this week indicated the department investigation will last until month’s end. Until he is charged, public support for Mr. White is likely to remain quiescent.
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