Much of the discussion over the fatal police shooting of 77-year-old Henry Lee Sr. Sunday night—shot dead in his doorway after allegedly raising a gun toward police—has focused on whether it was an appropriate use of deadly force, or whether the Seattle Police Department's intervention policy in incidents like these unnecessarily escalates such crises to tragic consequences. I'll leave that conversation to others.
Police dispatchers reportedly told officers that Lee was armed and agitated, and family members say Lee was suffering from Alzheimer's related dementia. Which of course raises a question: Why was a man known to be suffering from dementia allowed to be armed?
Lee's son reportedly took away most of his father's guns, but obviously not all of them, a decision I'm sure he now deeply regrets. But that decision should not have been his to make. Lee's deteriorating mental state made him a danger to himself and others, and once his diagnosis was confirmed he should no longer have been eligible to legally own a firearm.
The Second Amendment right to bear arms is not absolute. We as a nation need to have at least as much respect for the awesome responsibility that comes with owning a deadly weapon as we do for that single, caveat-filled sentence in the Bill of Rights.