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Many years ago I was in court for various criminal hearings. During a break in the injustice I chatted with the court reporter. She was complaining about the assertions of the defendants of their several legal rights. This unnecessarily slowed the process in her opinion. “People have too many rights!” she screeched.

Too many rights. This sentiment is as common in modern American as it is atrocious. The good news for the rights haters is that our natural rights are steadily eroding. That’s bad news for the rest.

All across the country on almost a daily basis one may read of summary rights deprivation by the state – of the militarized police gunning down unarmed citizens. The haters still assert the police are protecting us from ourselves. If people don’t want to be killed, they shouldn’t break the law, they say. Obey the law. Too many rights. Sieg heil! and all that.

Consider, if you will, if you can, the following tale are martial woe:

On Monday evening Chris and Leah McKinley were enjoying a television movie in the living room of the Atlanta area home. Their family time was interrupted by gunshots in the kitchen. Uninvited, three criminal gang members broke into the kitchen and proceeded to shot the McKinley’s dog. When Chris investigated (unarmed), the intruders shot him also. For good measure the criminals shot one of their own too.

The burglar suffered a serious wound but should recover. Chris McKinley’s injury was, luckily, minor. The dog died in the kitchen.

The horrible but all too common twist to this story is that the McKinley’s attackers were police officers.

Shortly after 7:30 p.m. Monday, three DeKalb County police officers were dispatched to a burglary call on Boulderwoods Drive, just off Bouldercrest Road, about a mile south of I-20. Derek Perez, the man who made the 911 call, wrote on Facebook that he’d told police about a possible burglar outside of “the farthest house at the end of the street.”

The officers, however, stopped at Chris and Leah McKinley’s home — the second house on the street — because it matched the “physical description” given, according to a release from the GBI.


The officers went to the rear of the home, onto the screened-in porch and through a “reportedly unlocked rear door,” the GBI said.

According to neighbors, that’s when Chris McKinley — who’d been watching a movie called “Serendipity” with his wife and 1-year-old — walked into the room with his dog. Authorities said two of the officers opened fire after they “encountered a dog.”


McKinley, 36, was shot in the leg, and his dog, a female boxer, was killed. One of the officers — identified Tuesday afternoon as Travis Jones — was shot in the hip by a colleague, the GBI said.

“Are we perfect?” DeKalb director of public safety Cedric Alexander said. “Absolutely not. But when we find a mistake, we own it. We own the fact that we were at the wrong house. We didn’t hide it. We didn’t mismanage it. We were at the wrong location based on information that was given to us.”


This is as close to a real apology as the police give for these incidents. They will not be prosecuted for their misdeeds. The taxpayers may suffer should the county pay some settlement to the McKinleys.


Chris McKinley, survivor. AJC.


One of McKinley’s assailants. AJC.

This shooting was mild compared to some others in the news lately. In other circumstances McKinley might have been killed. Or, he could have been framed with the officer’s shooting or some fictitious type of resisting or obstructing. Chris McKinley (and his dog) broke no laws. He did not “resist” the police. He did nothing wrong. He didn’t need protection from himself. He was minding his own business.

“Why did they shoot me? Why did they shoot my dog?” McKinley asked a neighbor who came to his aid.

Why did they shoot Chris McKinley? Maybe it was a tragic mistake. Maybe it’s because he has too many rights.