This 18-Year-Old Pulled a Prank — and Got Shot and Killed For It


When 18-year-old Premila Lal hid in a closet planning to jump out and scare her brother and friend, she probably thought the whole ordeal would end in a mixture of surprise and laughter. The Lal family had just moved out of their home in Longmont, Colo., and their family friend, 21-year-old Nerrek Galley, was watching the property. What really happened was much more tragic. Scared that the noise Premila was making was that of an intruder, Galley shot and killed Lal when she jumped out.

Guns are a sensitive topic these days, and this incident sparks further debate about the procedures surrounding gun control and safety. This particular accident, which is shrouded in murky details about who is right, at fault, and wrong, ultimately demonstrates why actions like Galley's are justifiable.

The "murkiness" surrounding this case is rooted in the strong cases that can be made on both sides of the gun control argument. Galley acted upon a natural instinct. He felt like was in danger and needed to eliminate that cause. However, he also acted recklessly by giving Premila's 15-year-old brother (who was with him in the home) a gun, which is a felony in Colorado. While Galley likely gave her brother a gun for his personal protection, a weapon of that power should stay out of the hands of teenagers.

If there had been a real intruder in the closet, Galley and perhaps his companion would have needed to wield some kind of weapon, either to use or to threaten the intruder with. Perhaps Galley acted too rashly by bringing a gun into the house. For those of you who thought "he could have called the police if he truly felt in danger," let me point out that panic can make people forget that step in emergencies. If Galley had stopped a criminal, he would have been labeled as a hero. However, he didn't. He accidentally killed an innocent person a person who was supposed to be at a football game, a person playing an immature prank, a person who did not deserve to die.

When all the facts are on the table, arguments supporting a person's right to own guns edges the arguments centered on limiting those rights. With her parents gone, an intruder is a logical explanation for noise in a seemingly empty house. Although reckless, when faced with the possibility of danger, Galley acted in a way to protect the house, Premila's teenage brother, and himself. The result of his actions ended in a tragic accident, which under these circumstances would have been hard to avoid.

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Nancy Chung

I am currently a student at Emory University, majoring in English. In my free time I enjoy reading, gaming, and collecting spoons.

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