Author: Krey, Patrick
Date published: October 11, 2010
Journal code: NEAM
George Grier, of Uniondale, Long Island, is getting a tough lesson on the fine line delineating when armed self-defense crosses into a criminal act. On September 5. Grier became involved in an argument with another man, who news reports allege was a member of MS- 13, a transnational criminal gang composed mostly of Central Americans that originated in Los Angeles and has spread to other parts of the United States. The argument escalated and eventually Grier was standing in his yard when around 20 of the other man's accomplices, and alleged fellow gang members, converged on his lawn taunting him. Grier said the men were threatening to kill him and his family.
His sister, Caprice Riņes, told the Associated Press that Grier feared for the safety of his wife and two small children, ages one and two. "They were swarming on the property.... He felt like: ? have to protect my family.'" Grier grabbed an assault-style rifle and fired warning shots into the air and the ground to disperse the crowd.
Afterwards when the police did arrive, Grier - a family-man, grandson of a local minister, and church deacon - was the only one actually arrested! Grier was arraigned the following day on charges of first-degree reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. Grier now faces up to seven years in prison and was ordered to be held on $10,000 bail. His sister is shocked that her brother is now facing such stiff penalties. 'This is blowing our minds, that he's being arrested for this.... You're talking about a family that are believers (sic), and we believe we have the right to bear arms."
James Causey, editorial writer and columnist for the Milwaukee- Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, expressed his outrage. "Here is a fact that I didn't know, you may think you have the right to defend your home, but the law says you can only use physical force to deter physical force. Grier told police that he never saw anyone pull out a gun so now a court will decide if Grier was out of line. What? We know that the police can't be everywhere and when a threat occurs, you have to make split second decisions. I believe Grier's actions were appropriate, because he knew discharging his weapon would bring the police faster and because, as I read the situation, threat of physical harm was present."
- PATRICK KREY