Travesty of Justice -- the
Plight of Melvin Spaulding
by Nicki Fellenzer
December 7, 2003
"They wanted me to call
9-1-1, but there was no time to do anything but take action." -- Melvin
Spaulding, St. Petersburg, FL
KeepAndBearArms.com -- Last Sunday
night, Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputies arrested 71-year-old Melvin Spaulding.
Mr. Spaulding's "crime"? He saved his 63-year-old friend and neighbor
George Lowe from being beaten and kicked to death by a band of local street
punks. According to news reports, Mr. Spaulding was arrested and held
without bail. The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's office is in the process
of investigating the case, and no decision has been made at the time of this
publication whether or not Mr. Spaulding would be formally charged.
Charged with what? Attempted murder.
Yes, believe it or not. Mr. Spaulding's elderly friend was being kicked to
the ground by three thugs, who, according to Mr. Spaulding, have a history of
terrorizing his neighborhood with their violent antics. They beat and
kicked Mr. Lowe for having the courage to tell them to stop hitting neighborhood
cars and mailboxes. They beat and kicked Mr. Lowe, without mercy.
And the only thing standing between the possible painful death of George Lowe
was Melvin Spaulding and his pistol.
I spoke to Mr. Spaulding this afternoon by telephone. He graciously spoke
with me for about twenty minutes, despite the fact that his telephone has not
stopped ringing since the national media picked up his story. "This has me
worried," he admitted. "I'm 71 years old. I have emphysema and heart
problems. I did the right thing. My friend could have died if I had
chosen to wait for the police."
As we spoke, I was more and more
outraged that this gentle, kind man could, indeed, be charged with attempted
murder. Mr. Spaulding is a military veteran. "I shoot all the time,"
he says. "I didn't want to kill him." He wanted to stop him.
He did what he could to stop James Moore and his violent pals from killing Mr.
Lowe. "I shot him in the arm. His arm was away from his body when I
"I'm sure he was concerned for
his friend's safety...," said Pinellas County Sheriff's spokesman Tim Goodman.
"The use of a weapon to stop a confrontation is not the right way. He would have
been better off calling 911."
Melvin Spaulding had seconds to
react. Not minutes or hours. Seconds. "There was no time to do
anything but take action," he said. It sometimes takes police an hour to
respond, and he didn't have that kind of time. So when Moore raised his
fist, ready to inflict more pain on Mr. Lowe, Melvin Spaulding fired. And
for this brave act, Mr. Spaulding could spend the rest of his life in prison.
There is a bright side. Mr.
Spaulding says he's received hundreds of telephone calls of support. The
national media, including Bill O'Reilly have picked up his cause, and local law
enforcement officers have also been supportive.
But we can do more.
I asked Mr. Spaulding what we, as
KeepAndBearArms.com members and readers could do to help him. Would
contacting the State Attorney's office en masse and demanding that no charges be
filed help? "That would be a good bit of help," he replied.
I believe that as Second Amendment
supporters, gun owners and human beings we have a duty to help Mr. Spaulding.
We have an obligation to do our best to ensure that the kind of travesty that
has landed hundreds of our fellow Americans in prison for simply defending their
lives and the lives of others instead of relying on the nanny state to protect
them does not touch Melvin Spaulding. I believe we - as decent, law
abiding human beings - must act now.
Please, for the sake of everything
that is decent and for the sake of everything that is good and right, pick up
the telephone or a pen and paper and write or call the
County, Florida State Attorney
Bernie McCabe requesting that he not charge Melvin Spaulding with any crime.
Leave Melvin Spaulding alone. Don't punish him. Don't waste taxpayer
dollars prosecuting him for defending the life of someone who was outnumbered by
street thugs, laying on the ground and being systematically, violently
Your letters will reach Mr.
McCabe's office within a few days, but your telephone calls will reach him
quicker. Please show an outpouring of support for a man who had the
courage to save another from three violent criminals. Please don't let him
be tried and arrested for saving Mr. Lowe's life - for acting like a decent
human being. Call and write the Pinellas County State Attorney right now.
Bernie McCabe, State
Sixth Judicial Circuit
PO Box 5028
Clearwater, FL 33758
Use all resources possible to
contact the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Attorney General's
office on Mr. Spaulding's behalf as well.
Crime Prevention -
Attorney's General's Office
Florida Attorney General's Civil Rights Contact Form
Sheriff's Department Website
10750 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33778
of Pinellas County
Pinellas Crime Stoppers Coordinator:
Susan L. Fraley
Sheriff Everett Rice
Sheriff's Advisory Board