Drunk Boulder Girl Who Entered Wrong House is Shot, Arrested

Last Wednesday, 21-year-old Zoey Ripple got stupid drunk (0.2 BAC) in Boulder, CO, wandered to a house she thought was still the same house she had been partying at (three-quarters of a mile away), opened an unlocked screen door, said “hello,” and was shot in the hip by one of the occupants. The following Tuesday she was arrested and charged with first-degree trespassing (a class-five felony). (This story made national news via the AP newswire.)

The couple, both psychiatrists, who own the $2.75-million home were in the bedroom that Ripple was entering. They yelled at her to stay out and announced they had a gun before she entered and the husband shot her. The Daily Camera reported that the wife had been stalked and terrorized by an erotomaniac former (female) patient of hers for over a decade before this incident.

There’s no doubt Ripple behaved imprudently and is in fact lucky to be alive. But there is also no doubt that she had no malicious intentions. While it is important that people feel safe in their own homes, if you are going to defend your home with deadly force doesn’t it make sense to look before you shoot? How gripped by fear and paranoia must those homeowners have been to shoot a confused little drunk girl who mistakenly walked into their house?

And then for the Boulder DA’s office to charge her with a felony (or any crime) is utterly unnecessary. Being shot in the hip is already a hugely disproportionate punishment for an innocent mistake. Adding criminal charges and all of the stress that goes along with them isn’t going to help Ripple’s health or address her drinking, and it isn’t going to benefit the community in any way; it only offers one more person the criminal justice system gets to punish for the sake of punishment.

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