A few nights ago, I spent over two hours listening to "Frank", the Criminal Defense Attorney I introduced you to a few posts back. As promised, he put on a seminar for about 35 Concealed Handgun License holders, and bottom line...... he scared the pants off me!
Of course the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case was at the forefront of his presentation and provided quite a bit of material for discussion. Frank reminded us that our CHL is a privilege, granted by the State --- not a right. He then spent considerable time explaining the legal ramifications of being involved in a shooting. Terms like "Reasonable Belief"; "Deadly Force in Defense of Person", "Adequate Cause" and "Sudden Passion" were all foreign expressions that he assured us would become part of our vocabulary should we ever need his services.
But the concept that rocked my world was the fact it would be my responsibility to explain "the reasonableness" of my actions. It became very clear to me, and was backed up by Frank's authoritative counsel, that my conduct would be "reviewed" for its "reasonableness under the circumstances."
And that, my dear readers, is exactly what is happening in the Martin/Zimmerman case. Regardless of the fact that three major news outlets (NBC, ABC, and CNN) have admitted to doctoring video and audio tapes to present a fictitious version of what happened that night, it will be your responsibility to prove you acted in self-defense. Did you act intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence? Your actions will be scrutinized and judged by media with an agenda, social groups who don't have all the facts, and a judicial system that will put you under the microscope. After discussing these legal issues of the case, we pretty much all agreed that, regardless of Trayvon Martin's innocence or guilt, Zimmerman handled the situation badly.
So, my first thoughts were, why would I ever try to defend myself with a weapon? And if I felt threatened, would I hesitate, knowing that I would have to face the aftermath of my actions? Would that split moment of hesitation cost me my life?
article by Gabe Suarez, a noted tactical trainer from Arizona. Mr. Suarez states that the controversy in Florida will divide gun owners into two absolute camps. One, the ”never get involved in anything” crowd will point to this and say “You see…we are right”. The other, the Captain America Defender of the Innocent crowd will say Zimmerman was right. But there are no absolutes in this world, and Suarez offered some sage advice.
He teaches his students that they should seek “distance from disorder” in their lives, and unless something shocks the consciousness of humanity, to mind their own business. As an example, he compared two different scenarios: a) a suspicious-looking kid walking the neighborhood, and b) an active shooter in a restaurant. The first situation is none of your personal business -- call the cops and let them do their job. The other, if you happen to be there, is in fact your business, and should you decide to take an active part in that situation, your actions could save a lot of lives.
In other words, you don't know what that kid is up to, or if he even has a weapon, and the important wording here is you don't know! And it's not your duty or responsibility to find out. However, if someone is shooting up your local restaurant, there are bodies everywhere, and blood all around, then it would be "reasonable" to assume you would stop the killing spree if you are able to.
There's another fact we must all consider: in a perfect world, the justice system would be ruled by truth and fairness. Too often it is is controlled by politics and money. And none of this makes me feel any better. I take my privilege of having a CHL very seriously. I spend lots of money and time to get expertly trained, so that I do not make the kinds of mistakes that appear to have been made in this controversial case. I want to feel confident that my training will give me the proper instincts, without worrying about an unprincipled media and a corrupt judicial system. I believe in being able to properly defend myself, and I will not let those of the "anti-gun" persuasion convince me that society would be better off without the Second Amendment.
And in just the last couple of days, there is another fly in the ointment, so to speak. Racial tensions are at the boiling point, with extremists on both sides of the equation calling for revolution. This situation makes it even more imperative that we distance ourselves from involvement in violence and bloodshed; while simultaneously knowing when it's time to defend ourselves.
And no one can tell us when that will be. Everyone has to make their own decision. The hard truth is that we live in a decaying society, and I choose to take the serious step of training to defend myself. I am not interested in becoming a hero, so unless I, or my loved ones, are directly harmed then I will not become involved. I will keep a safe distance from disorder, and unfortunately that means I probably won't be coming to your rescue. I urge you to take the steps I did and choose to defend yourself; but get the requisite training and know the law. It's a complicated issue and incidents like the one in Florida will continue to draw attention to a gun culture with inadequate training.
Isaiah 59:14 "So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter."