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Comment Archives: stories: Blog: Last 7 Days

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

I wasn't present at the time of the shooting, so I have no way of knowing if Mr. Gerlach really legitimately felt threatened. My purpose in adding to this blog is to point out that had you been able to aprehend a person in the act of stealing your bicycle and had hit him or her, causing that person to fall and hit his or her head and die, you could have faced the same charges as Mr. Gerlach, and you might have used the same self-defense plea.

In that same vein, you may wish to re-read the comment 4/11//14 at 5:04 PM. I believe that the comments by Mr. Shields and myself would support the assertion that you yourself might be legitimately charged as Mr. Gerlach was.

Posted by Al Hagen on 04/15/2014 at 5:53 PM

Re: “Calling all Spokane-area zombie extras for a new TV show

im down to do it, I volunteer to be a zombie for the Zombie Hike for River State Park, I can do this.

Posted by Josh Insanej on 04/13/2014 at 4:27 PM

Re: “Calling all Spokane-area zombie extras for a new TV show

im so i. as a zombie i can sound exactly like one and walk exactly the same. 5092948875 i want in. please let me be a zombie

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Andrew Bradley Ward on 04/13/2014 at 4:01 AM

Re: “Talking to my dad about Gail Gerlach

Your dad sounds like a thoughtful, decent man. Surely you realize that people like him and his beliefs are routinely caricatured and criticized in the Inlander.

Posted by muddydog on 04/12/2014 at 5:10 PM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

The verdict wasn't a surprise. The jurors live in a town where law enforcement is perceived as ineffectual and lawless, and property crimes are rampant. There's a lot of pent of frustration and little confidence in the criminal justice system.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by muddydog on 04/12/2014 at 4:58 PM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

So now deadly force is ok in property crimes. Wait until someone shoots your kid for being in their yard or fooling around. Or you're looking for your cat and your neighbor decides your breaking into his car and shoots you. Welcome to the brave new world.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by garyspokane on 04/12/2014 at 4:39 PM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

This adult chose to steal a car, he chose to put himself in the position of getting harmed. Stop blaming the victim of this crime for the choices made by this criminal. Next time he should choose to not steal from someone with such good aim...oh yeah there won't be a next a next time. Good shot, society thanks you.

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Ed Anderson on 04/12/2014 at 11:49 AM

Re: “Talking to my dad about Gail Gerlach

Great article, Luke. I would venture the media is somewhat responsible for the Gail Gerlachs of this country. They help perpetuate the notion that there are packs of 'Mad Max-like' gangs out there just itching to victimize us. That never before in human history have we been in more danger from random strangers than we are today. Statistics prove this to be pure bullshit. Crime--especially violent crime--has been trending down for years. And violent crimes at the hands of total strangers are so rare, they are statistically insignificant. It could be argued, in fact, that we are less likely to be a victim of violent crime than ever before.

That's not to say crimes don't happen. Sometimes hideous unthinkable crimes. But these instances are truly outliers. I'd venture that those odds weren't running through Gerlach's mind as he almost instinctively fired his weapon.

Is a life more important than a pickup truck? Did Gerlach believe he was in physical danger? The answer to both questions is very likely 'yes.' So while it serves no purpose to demonize Gerlach, it is appropriate to shine a light on the media and how they cherry pick incidents to build a false narrative that Gerlach and millions of other Americans have for one reason or another have bought into.

Posted by Mickey Lonchar on 04/12/2014 at 9:08 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

choice is a weapon, use it wisely. If you choose to break the law, bad things will happen

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Doug Stuart on 04/12/2014 at 9:05 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

I think it's worth talking about how a craftsman, a person who supports their family through the work of their hands, would feel watching their tools and their livelihood be taken away from them.

I also think it's laughable in this town to suggest that we should just let the police handle these things. Gerlach only shot once; SPD wouldn't have that level of restraint, if they even bothered to try and solve a property crime.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by TheRain on 04/12/2014 at 8:27 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people


This was never about stealing the car, it was about self defense. Not only did a jury not convict Gerlach the Jury said Gerlach's use of deadly force was justified.

I have some concerns about you are saying especially since I think you know better or at least should know better. By continuing to state the thief was shot for stealing the car you are promoting that shooting people that are stealing stuff is lawful. By doing this are you willing to accept partial blame for the next uninformed person that actually does shoot someone for sttealing be4cause after all that is exactly what you are saying happened. This is dishonest journalism at best.

6 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Mrapp on 04/12/2014 at 8:04 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

"According to many barstool pundits in the weeks following, and now seconded by a jury in Spokane County, killing a person as they steal property is legitimate self defense."

It certainly is, if he refuses your order to cease and desist and submit to arrest, and that is the only way to stop him --- regardless of arbitrary and frivolous decisions to the contrary by this state's Supreme Court.

The property he is stealing represents part of your life --- the hours, sweat, and talents you have invested in creating or acquiring it. In the case of an automobile it can be a significant part, and its loss can reduce the quality of your life substantially. You have no duty to passively surrender that property and absorb those losses on the specious ground that the thief's life is "more valuable" than your property, or on the even more specious ground that you are somehow responsible for the thief's behavior because as "a member of society" you have failed to provide for him. You had, and have, no duty to provide for him.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by gmorton on 04/12/2014 at 8:02 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

"Unfortunately, our justice system's focus on punishment and isolation over treatment . . . ."

A criminal's fellow citizens have no duty to "treat" him or "rehabilitate" him. The criminal, like all other persons, is responsible for keeping his own behavioral house in order, including respecting others' rights.

" . . . .and our culture's devaluation of people who have made mistakes."

Robbing, raping, murdering, stealing from someone is not a "mistake." It is a planned, deliberate, conscious act. Persons who commit such acts have negative value, by any rational assessment of value, and the rational response to those acts is to remove their perpetrators from the community forthwith.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by gmorton on 04/12/2014 at 7:43 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

Filled with Christian platitudes, Gerlach laments the loss of opportunity for Kaluza-Graham to turn his life around. The hypocrisy of this self-anointed pontificator of "christian" values is beyond the pale. Not since the George Zimmerman fiasco has there been such a miscarriage of justice and such a claim as to holding the moral high-ground. I suggest Gerlach head to the closest house of worship, prostrate himself, and beg Jesus to enlighten him about forgiveness and truthfulness. He doesn't seem to understand the values that Jesus taught....and it wasn't to shoot first and ask questions later.

5 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Pat OLeary on 04/12/2014 at 6:29 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

My version of the events is consistent w/ the police description and the evidence. The fact of the matter is that someone is dead for committing a crime that was NOT A CAPITAL OFFENSE. What is it about that you crackers do not understand? I grew up in Spokane, but this verdict and the local responses to it make me feel ashamed. What if someone steals an iPhone? Citizen administered death penalty. What if there are extenuating circumstances? Anyone who is happy with this verdict should be willing to live with its real-world application, yet I suspect that there are very few that are.

5 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by William E. Elston on 04/12/2014 at 12:44 AM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

Think there is a two way street in retrospect in which maybe both parties were at fault in some ways but the perpetrators creation of the response holds him to accept his own justice without this case it was his life; a choice or thought that must have ran through his head before committing the crime as a possibility. Stealing an automobile is not a human need like food, medicine or clothing so empathy will not be present and thus Gerlach emotional response should be waved. This is not about comparing value of life to material objects, it is more about action, reaction and probability.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Randall Bishop on 04/11/2014 at 10:43 PM

Re: “Talking to my dad about Gail Gerlach

Thank you for sharing this. Your dad seems very wise and kind. Killing someone over stealing a car is just horrific. A young life is gone. No chance for repenting. Lifelong pain and suffering for his family. Stealing is wrong of course. No dispute. But killing him? O M G ! !

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kathy Spraggins Simka on 04/11/2014 at 10:37 PM

Re: “Talking to my dad about Gail Gerlach

Thank you for sharing that story, Robbin

Posted by Luke Baumgarten on 04/11/2014 at 9:20 PM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

Really people. Gerlach and his wife have to live with this decision, and Brendon Kaluza-Graha does not. In the same place, police (yes, even our local purportedly trigger happy police) would NOT have fired because they are trained to think about the background and collateral damage versus the danger present. And they ALL testified that seeing a threatening gesture was impossible. Unreasonable doubt. Pray for Mr & Mrs Gerlach. They may have been found not guilty in criminal court because of the law there, but they will be convicted in civil court. And broke. And despondent. If you are celebrating the decision today, be prepared for what comes next. God have mercy on them. I hope they do not become the example of why this type of response is so wrong. The distance between a hero and and tragic cautionary tale is very narrow. If you think this verdict gave you the right to go all vigilante on us, be prepared to be very, very disappointed...and litigated. Please holster your weapon until the full story plays out. There IS a reason the NRA refused to pay for Mr Gerlach's defense.

10 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Dirk Vastrick on 04/11/2014 at 8:37 PM

Re: “The Gerlach verdict and the value of stuff over people

Thank you for a well written, thoughtful article. What struck me as this trial came to a close is that our judicial system can only make one side a winner and one side a loser. Guilty or not guilty. There is no grey area. In fact, both Gerlach and Kaluza-Graham made bad choices which led to this tragedy. I don't think a guilty verdict and the draconian sentence that likely would be attached is appropriate; nor do I think that complete exoneration of wrong doing is fair either. I don't know how we get around that but I wish there was some middle ground.

9 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Bob Wilson on 04/11/2014 at 8:02 PM

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