Monday, December 05, 2011
Gila Hayes over at the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network (ACLDN) just posted a very nice review of The Gun Digest Book Of The Revolver in their monthly journal. (In the interest of full disclosure, Gila is both a friend and the person who introduced me to my publisher. She is also known for her scrupulously ethical writing, which makes me doubly proud of her review.)
For those waiting for my book to come to the iPad, the publisher assures me that it's coming "soon" to the iTunes Bookstore. Not sure what's taking it so long, but they tell me the delay is on the iTunes end of things. As soon as it shows up I'll let you know.
(Speaking of the ACLDN - are you a member yet? The ACLDN is the premier organization for anyone who keeps a gun for self-protection. It's not unusual for justifiable self defense cases to end up in the courtroom, and the ACLDN provides support to its members should that ever happen. They also provide educational resources, attorney and expert witness referrals, and much more.
Take a good look at their benefits, look at the renowned experts who sit on their board, and seriously consider putting all that to work for you by becoming a member.
I know there are competing organizations with similar-sounding products looking to make a quick buck from you, but the ACLDN is where your money should go - they're the professionals. Regular readers know this isn’t the first time I’ve praised the ACLDN, and I'll continue to do so because I believe they are the best and most trustworthy resource in the field.)
-=[ Grant ]=-
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
While easting my lunch yesterday I decided to do a little surfing. I bounced around a bit, watched a couple of YouTube videos, and ended up doing something I always regret: checking out some of the more popular gun forums. Why 'regret'? Because they usually make my head hurt; inanity does that to me.
Yesterday's was a thread with the title "I need a gun-friendly lawyer." The writer goes on to say that he needs to find one in his area in case he's ever involved in a self-defense shooting.
Sadly, no one gave him the correct answer: "no, you don't. You need a lawyer who's good at his/her job."
If you're involved in a defensive shooting, what you want is a lawyer who understands the intricacies of the justice system, but more importantly understands the unique demands of making the affirmative defense that exists in all righteous self-defense cases: 'yes, I shot him, and I had a darned good reason to do so.' Whether that lawyer happens to be "gun friendly" is beside the point - you pick the lawyer on expertise, not affinity with your hobbies.
Though not related to self defense, I have an illustration of the concept. A number of years ago I was a member of a large gun club. Our club had a big parcel of land, part of which was encumbered by a power company right-of-way. There were a lot of complicated legal issues about what could and could not be done on that slice of property, and we needed the best real estate/natural resource lawyer we could get. As it happened, he was at best ambivalent about guns; he told the Board that he didn't really feel comfortable around them and didn't want to be. At first this angered the membership, who felt their dues were going to pay an anti-gunner.
Luckily the Board used their critical thinking skills and decided that it was a good idea to have an attorney who understood land use law better than ballistics. He turned out to be a tireless advocate for our cause, prevailing multiple times against a huge legal department filled with good lawyers. If we'd insisted on a lawyer who liked guns, we might not have been so fortunate.
Don't start your search by looking for "gun friendly" attorneys. Instead look for attorneys who have experience with prosecutions for serious charges. That might be a criminal defense attorney, maybe a former prosecutor who now works the other side of the street, or perhaps the lawyer who defends police officers when they've discharged their firearms in the line of duty. What you want is someone who can defend you, not who agrees with you. Once you've found that person, then you can decide if his/her opinions on firearms are likely to be a help or a hinderance in your case.
Of course if you can find a good defense lawyer who is also sympathetic to the rights of gun owners, so much the better. You’re not likely to find them on some ill-defined list of “gun friendly attorneys”; instead, such people tend to hang with the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network. Because of that it's an organization well worth your time to investigate.
Critical thinking: much better than listening to some anonymous guy who calls himself “Rock-A-Glock47”.
-=[ Grant ]=-
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Some time ago Force Science News told the story of a police officer named Dan Lovelace. He shot and killed a suspect who tried to run him down and was almost convicted of second degree murder. Prosecutors argued that he lied about the shooting, and one of their sterling pieces of evidence was the location of a single piece (Lovelace fired one shot only) of expended brass.
One. Single. Piece. (Note that I'm not commenting one way or the other about Mr. Lovelace's guilt or innocence, only on the reliability of certain kinds of evidence that might be entered into any 'righteous' shooting investigation.)
Force Science recently did an interesting followup study about the patterns of ejection from autoloading pistols, and basically found that one piece of brass told nearly nothing about where the shooter might have been during an altercation.
As I've said before, and as I'll continue to say, there is no such thing as a 'clean' shoot - at least until a jury says there is. It behooves you to understand all of the things that can affect the evidence presented, how they’re interpreted, and most importantly the counter-arguments to neutralize them.
-=[ Grant ]=-
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I've been pretty clear over the years about my belief in the myth of the 'clean shoot'. It's a phrase that comes up with amazing regularity in various forums and in gunshops all across the country: as long as your shoot is 'clean', nothing else matters.
As I've pointed out, the people who decide if your self defense act was 'clean' sit on a jury. Whether you think it was a 'good' shoot, whether I do, whether your instructor does, or whether the anonymous guy hiding behind a pseudonym on your favorite gun forum does, is completely irrelevant. The people who decide if you were in the right, if what you did and how you did it was reasonable, are the men and women on your jury.
The problem is that it can take a lot of time, money, and anguish to get to the point where they decide you're clean, time/money/anguish that could have been saved had you paid some attention to your situation ahead of time.
Yet another cautionary tale in how things can go from bad to much, much worse comes from the life of one Gerald Ung. It's obvious that he did some stupid things, but according to internet experts all over those things shouldn't have mattered if his shoot was 'clean'. They did matter, and it took some time and money and stomach lining to get a jury to exonerate him.
Don’t be ‘that guy’.
(Another illustration of why I never take medical or legal advice from someone who won't use their real name.)
-=[ Grant ]=-
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
One consistent theme amongst the less informed is that all you need worry about in a defensive encounter is that it’s a “good shoot.” Nothing else, according to these keyboard commandoes, matters - you can do anything, as long as the shoot is "clean."
The trouble is that neither you, nor they, get to decide what's "clean" and what's not. In my state, a Grand Jury makes the first decision, and if they say it isn't "clean" it then goes to a trial jury to make the final decision. They're the ones who will scrutinize any self defense shooting, and the pseudonymous self-appointed experts from your favorite forum will be conspicuously absent.
You see, what looks "clean" to you may not look "clean" to another person. Even if you explain it in detail they may still not see it your way, especially if it's a jury weighing your explanation against someone else trying to convince them of the opposite. Malicious prosecutions and lying witnesses exist, and they don't make that job any easier.
For those of you who still don't get this concept, I urge you to run over to the Armed Citizen's Legal Defense Network and read this month's Journal. It is devoted to the story of Larry Hickey, who just recently won his freedom after two trials that stemmed from a defensive shooting. His ordeal, recounted in complete detail, serves as a caution to all those who still believe in the myth of the "clean shoot."
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not saying that you necessarily need to indulge in some fearfully exaggerated lawyer-proofing of your defensive preparations, but you do need to understand that you can’t run around like Rambo, either. This article dramatically illustrates the the value of knowing how to interact with the police after you’ve been involved in a shooting, the need to be able to articulate why you did what you did, and how evidence can be ignored, lost, or even turned to your disadvantage.
The article runs twenty-two pages, and I believe it to be invaluable for anyone who carries a gun for self defense - and should be required reading for anyone who pontificates about legal issues on gun forums. The Journal is in PDF form; here's a direct link to that file.
Don’t brush this off - go read the article.
-=[ Grant ]=-
Monday, December 14, 2009
GETTING THE MESSAGE: I've been harping on the failures of "Rule #1" for some time now, and it seems that the attitude is catching on. Slowly, but at least progress is being made.
IT ISN'T JUST ME: I've recently expounded on the issue of dogmatic teaching in the self defense world, and I'm not alone in my criticism. Check out this post from Roger Phillips over at warriortalk.com, then read the entire discussion. (I've never met Roger, don't know him from Adam, but he makes sense. Can't say that about everyone.)
POCKET COMPANION: no, not a J-frame! From Dustin's Gun Blog I learned of a new iPhone/iPod Touch app called Legal Heat. It's an interactive version of their printed guide to concealed carry and gun laws in all 50 states, written by attorneys and instructors. It' a great idea, and something that's needed. Unfortunately, despite the viability of the concept I cannot in good conscience recommend this particular app.
There is a big issue with Legal Heat's usability. The pages are just images of the book, which means they're pictures and not text. This sounds inconsequential, but it's not. When you bring up the laws on a state, because it's showing the whole page the text is tiny; unreadably small. To read it, you need to magnify the image by pinching. (The usual double-tap doesn't work, because it doesn't work on full-frame images!) Once you magnify the image to read the text, you have to continually scroll back and forth because images don't wrap text. Finally, the app doesn't support screen rotation; it only displays in portrait orientation, which exacerbates the scrolling issue.
Frankly, iPhone users are accustomed to a higher level of application quality than Legal Heat delivers. If they would simply make their pages actual text and enable screen rotation I'd be comfortable recommending it. As it stands, even at $1.99 it's not worth the hassle.
DEAL ALERT: My background in commercial photography has left me more than a little anal retentive with regards to optics, particularly when it comes to binoculars. I'm a fan of porro-prism designs, as they a) have better three-dimensional perspective, b) are brighter, and c) cost less than roof-prism types for any given level of optical quality (resolution/contrast.)
Minox makes some of the best porro-prism binocs. The optical performance is exceptional, and the build quality matches the glass. They make an 8x and a 10x version, and at a street price of roughly $550 they are something of a bargain; you'll need to spend roughly twice as much to get a roof prism of comparable performance, and you still won't get the perspective advantage that the porro-prism design gives you.
Despite their advantages, porro-prism designs are distinctly unfashionable these days and don't sell well regardless of brand. Roof prisms are what people buy, and Minox has bowed to the market: they've discontinued the 10x model. SWFA is closing them out at $299.95, which has to be classed as a screaming good deal. You won't find anything even approaching their optical performance for that kind of money. (Yes, I grabbed a pair - for that price, I wasn't about to pass them up!)
-=[ Grant ]=-