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 ]=-
- Posted by Grant Cunningham
- On September 1, 2010