Saturday, March 24, 2012

Measure twice, cut once.

There's always that one person who gets a toter's permit and seems a little, well, Barney Fife about it. Now they're a sheepdog! They run scenarios past you:
"What if you're in a convenience store, and you see a guy in a hoodie with his hands in his pockets, looking around at the security cameras?"

"I leave."

"But what if he's, like, between you and the door? And you can see the butt of the gun in his hand?"

"I try and keep as many aisles of shelves between me and him as possible and be a good witness."

"But suppose he's threatening the clerk?"

"Well, I..."

"...and the shelves are set up so there's no cover between you and him, and the clerk is pregnant?"
For many, if not most, people, this is a process of trying to understand what they may and may not do with the pistol they are licensed to carry. With a small minority, however, it does kinda come across as asking "Can I shoot him now? How 'bout now? Now?" as though the CCW permit were a kind of Junior G-Man badge or something.

One of the staff members at, who goes by the nom de screen "TCinVA", wrote an extremely thoughtful post that summed up a lot of my feelings on the matter so well that, with his permission, I'm just going to reproduce it here:
Mr. Zimmerman's predicament here brings up some pretty important lessons for those inclined to learn from the circumstances of others.

Let's stipulate for the sake of illustration that Mr. Zimmerman's actions were 100% justifiable, and that at the moment he pulled the trigger he was in reasonable fear for his life.

Was it worth it?

Look at what he's facing now. He's been branded a murderer. Worse, he's been branded a racist murderer. Where a rap artist or NBA star who kills somebody will be forgiven in the public consciousness as long as their new album is critically acclaimed or their stats are good, Mr. Zimmerman's life from now on will come to be defined by this moment when he killed what a huge chunk of the population will only ever believe was an innocent young black boy who was doing nothing wrong. Mr. Zimmerman is looking down the pointy end of criminal and civil liability out the wazoo. His physical and financial freedom are both now at stake. There's enormous pressure in some communities to basically lynch the man because some communities won't care about the facts, only that the outcome wasn't desirable in their view. Hell, even among self defense enthusiasts this guy's getting raked over the coals. (Perhaps deservedly...we don't know all the facts yet) If a guy who claims he acts in self defense isn't getting a whole lot of sympathy from people who are all about self defense, what hope does he have with a jury?

All of this...for what?

This is the bit about self defense that lots of people on the internet don't get. In all their "be a man!" and "sheepdog!" chest thumping, they never seem to get around to the question of what it's like to live with the aftermath of using lethal force. It's not pretty. It's expensive. It's time consuming. It is life-changing...and not in the Oprah self help guru sort of way. It introduces unbelievable levels of stress into the mix that you can hardly appreciate if you haven't been at the center of it before. It can ruin marriages. It can break apart families. It can scatter friends to the four winds.

I know some people who have had to use lethal force to defend themselves and have had to face long drawn out investigations and litigation over the incidents. It put unbelievable stress on their lives. I asked one police officer how he managed to hold it together after having gone through a post-shooting horror story that makes the blood run cold. His answer?

"Because I know with absolute certainty that I did the right thing."

If you deal with something you had to deal with because it was thrust upon you, leaving you with no choice in the's probably a lot easier to live with the aftermath if it goes to Zimmerman levels. So we would do well to ask ourselves if whatever it is we are about to do is worth living a Zimmerman.

I'd gladly risk a Zimmerman situation if it meant saving the life of a friend or a loved one. Over petty theft, though? Not so much.
Yeah. What he said.


Frank W. James said...

Yeah, I pretty said the same thing here (

I think a good phrase would be "Mind Your Own Business, with the emphasis on the word, BUSINESS.."

All The Best,
Frank W. James

TJIC said...

I hardly think that one cop's opinion of what it's like to be involved in a shooting has any relevant for what it's like for a mere serf to be involved in a shooting.

Cops get the benefit of the doubt - when a cop breaks off a broom handle and anally rapes someone with it, every other cop has his back, and his union pays for his lawyer. Probably the perp's ass cheeks were quivering in a threatening manner.

Only if three video cameras and two bishops witnessed the whole thing will anyone even be sure that the perp didn't do it to himself to frame the cop.

Contrast this with a non-cop (I don't say "civilian" because cops are civilians too) who is in a self-defense shooting: the deck is stacked the exact other way. Instead of a societal presumption of innocence, there's a presumption of guilt. Instead of a free police union lawyer, he's mortgaging his house to pay for a lawyer. Instead of coworkers who laud him, he's got coworkers who fear him.

I don't think these experience have ANYTHING in common.

Ken said...

The other thing about l'affaire Zimmermann is that now we'll likely never know all the facts; it became a circus at a velocity approaching c.

BGMiller said...

A few friends have opined that I have become the most skittish person they know. They've commented on the fact that I'll load up the dogs and leave the park or walk out of the burger joint with a lot less provocation than they will.

"Don't know why you're worried," they say, "you've got a gun."

My response? "Exactly."

Some of them are starting to get it.


SiGraybeard said...

Those "... communities [that] won't care about the facts, only that the outcome wasn't desirable in their view." are bound and determined to make a terrible tragedy (even if it was a completely valid s/d shooting) into an extended tragedy.

If the summary on Examiner (and having read some the sources therein) is valid, it appears to have been justified.

Alan J. said...

Of course we'll never know all the facts of this case - but then again, when do we ever know ALL the facts of any case? That's why we have juries and the 'reasonable doubt' theory of justice. But one fact is that a man with a gun went out of his way and wound up killing an unarmed man. Seriously, what do you think John Wayne would have had to say about that?

Let the jury decide.

MSgt B said...

"...goes to Zimmerman levels."


"...worth living a Zimmerman."

Christ. The guy's becoming a meme now.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman, who is hispanic, not white, was on the ground being pummeled by the 6'2" football player when he pulled the trigger (911 caller). The media's account of the shooting is a bunch of made up BS to propagate an agenda. The guy has yet to be arrested, even charged, yet our dipsh*t in chief can relate.

Anonymous said...

At the time of the shooting the kid was serving a 5 day suspension from school. Model student my a**.

Anonymous said...

TCinVA comment is very wise. Reminds me of something I read from Mas Ayoob about the Joe Horn case (fellow in Texas who killed two men robbing his neighbor's house) a couple of years ago. Full article here:

Relevant quote:

"Joe Horn’s willingness to risk his life for his neighbor’s goods is commendable, but not necessarily a role model for the rest of us. He is out substantial legal fees already, and he has received death threats. While many see him as a hero, I doubt that he feels like one. His attorney has stated that if Mr. Horn had it to do over again, he would stay inside and leave his Winchester Defender Model 1300 shotgun silent. I suspect the rest of us can learn from that."


45er said...

I tell the new shooters that come to me for help to imagine scenarios so they will think about these things ahead of time and know how to get out of situations, not into them. De-escalate and leave. Leaving and living is my job. If I can get the eff out of dodge, that will be my elbows and heels you'll see in the distance. If you are cornered or defending family, then you have another situation. If you're in a car, call the cops and use the skinny pedal on the right.

Tam said...

Wow, TJIC, obsess much?

Way to type a bunch of stuff that was barely tangentially-related to the matter at hand.

You hate cops. They're all thugs. yeah, yeah, I got it the first time.

"every other cop"

Metaphor, right?

Tam said...

Anons 11:21 and 11:25,

I'm sure those facts are of great consolation to Mr. Zimmerman right now.

Anonymous said...

Facts are always of great consolation. If they weren't we would have anarchy. When you have to shoot, you have to shoot. Does it weigh on you, of course. Should you dwell on it, No.

Kristophr said...

Anon: He was still doing it wrong.

You don't start a neighborhood watch solo.

If done properly it is done in small groups, with at least one person wielding a video camera.

Criminals hate cameras. Undesirables who are committing petty crime ( or victimless crimes ) really hate them, and will just leave.

A camera is an astounding weapon, and should have been this guy's first resort. Film of him on the ground being beaten senseless would have short-circuited this whole business.

TBeck said...

When Mr. Zimmerman elected to follow the young man on foot he deliberately escalated the confrontation and forfeited the mantle of innocence. Even if young Trayvon did attack first Mr. Zimmerman was no longer an innocent victim when he took the shot.

Turn it around. Say Zimmerman was walking home and Trayvon began shadowing him and even left his car to pursue on foot. Creepy much? This white perv probably wants to rape him and leave the body in the retention pond. The kid's big mistake was calling his girlfriend instead of 911.

Nylarthotep said...

TJIC's rhetoric is over the top, but his point is relevant. Police are provided multiple layers of protection on even extremely questionable actions. This doesn't take much research to confirm. With no similar protections the rest of the citizenry has to handle all the extreme costs and headaches on their own.

Kristopher does make an excellent point about neighborhood watches. Too bad this guy wasn't actually working cooperatively with anyone on the problems. We just don't know a lot about the background overall that led to his actions.

Still sounds to me like Zimmermann caused this whole issue. No doubt he had to defend himself from being killed in the end by this charm school graduate, but that doesn't mean by any means that the whole scenario was justifiable in the end.

Anonymous said...

Both Kristopher and TBeck are wrong. It is never illegal to defend yourself, even aggressively. You have the right to feel secure in your neighborhood. Neighborhood Watch is some BS that bureaucrats thought up to keep people from defending themselves. Believe what you want, Zimmerman was within his rights. That’s why he is still a free man.

Cincinnatus said...

Anon 1:37, you appear to also not be getting the point.

Anonymous said...

I made my point in my 11:51 post.

Nylarthotep said...

@Anonymous 1:37 etc.

You appear to be a complete git. Go ahead and do what you say, just remember when you're on the wrong side of the steel bars that someone pointed the way and you ignored them.

Old NFO said...

Good points raised in that one, and honestly some of those folks DO scare me...

RevolverRob said...

Keep your heater where you should keep other tools that will get you into trouble, in your pants.

If Mr. Zimmerman had kept his heater in his pants, played good witness, and let the duty bound men in blue do their jobs, he wouldn't be in this situation.

As near as I can tell how one goes from inside a (presumably) locked vehicle, to face down getting the shit beat of out of them, is a bit of a mystery. WHY one would remove themselves from the safety of a multi-thousand pound get-away tool, to confront a person walking down the street, when as near as I can tell said person was minding his own business*, and was NOT beating a grandma up, is an even bigger mystery.

*As Tam has pointed out recently, "minding one's own business" is a dangerous past-time.


Ryan said...

I suspect there is a lot more to the story. Certainly Mr Zimmerman didn't just shoot a random innocent black kid walking home with some candy for his sister and a snapple. This isn't Alabama in 1965. The cops didn't arrest him which means something significant, ie they think the shooting was justified.

However justified the discrete event of the shooting was Mr Zimmerman probably could have avoided the situation entirely by using sound judgement.

It isn't worth shooting somebody over a TV or a lawn Gnome or whatever.

TBeck said...

When you deliberately escalate a confrontation that results in you using lethal force you forfeit the mantle of innocence that makes it a justifiable homicide. That's established law whether you believe it or not.

TBeck said...

I used to live near Sanford. It's closer to 1965 Alabama than you might think.

Rob Reed said...

I get those "Can I shoot him now..." questions in my CCW classes all the time. It's part of my job as an instructor to try to knock some of the silliness out of their heads.

I tell them, "The more I learn about this stuff, the more fervantly I hope I never have to use it."

I know I've changed a few minds. I hope it was enough.

Cincinnatus said...

TBeck, your belief as to what "established law" is appears to be off a bit. "Escalation" by unjustifiable violence does indeed forfeit a self-defense claim. But getting out of a vehicle and following someone - while exceptionally stupid and counterproductive - does not automatically forfeit a claim of self-defense. A lot of people claim that this conduct or that conduct makes Zimmerman "the aggressor" when it does not necessarily. If Zimmerman first attacked Martin, then indeed he has no self-defense claim.

Bubblehead Les. said...

As someone who has HAD to shoot at someone as a Civilian, it's not a Hollywood Movie scene or a Video Game. TCinVA has it dead nuts on. Most of us who have had to pull the trigger on another Human Being really don't like the "membership fees" that goes with joining that particular club. But it doesn't mean I've "Hung up my Guns," either. It does mean for me that I'm much more aware of my surroundings, I don't go into situations and/or places that just don't feel "Right", and I don't go "looking" for a fight.

Whether or not Zimmerman was Justified or not, all I know is that, for Political Crap, he's going to be Hung Out to Dry, even if he was Totally Innocent under the Law.

And THAT issue is what scares me the most. There's enough Crap going on in the World that We,the People don't need to give up the Rule of Law to appease the Mob.

SGB said...

The problem is the truth has departed the Zimmerman case to be replaced by emotion. I agree with Tam that when possible put distance between you and a threat. If the public hanging of the truth in Florida isn't enough to convince you, then you can't be convinced.

Jenny said...

I think I have to take the other side of this Tam. At least the principle - I confess I don't know and haven't studied the specifics of the case.

Sure, if it's a simple property crime I don't fault a CCW-er just being a good witness. Heck, if it's an ambiguous enough situation that our Reasonable Man can't sort out aggressor from victim - again, I'm happy saying it's wiser to leave to the professionals.

But with your cut and dry mugger-robbing-the-nightclerk type situation - I hope the CCWer steps in. I wouldn't expect it - I don't think I'd call "coward" on the father of two who slips out the side door and gets on the phone instead of engaging the gunman.


I think having plain ol' folks that think like sheepdogs in our society is a positive good, and I'll praise the ones that step and do it well.

I want the Joe Zamudios out there.

Anonymous said...

We are doomed. Chicks with weapons are telling us that we need to be armed but not to use our weapons. Should have spiked this kid's head at the drive thru.

Kristophr said...

Anonymous 1:37: Please point out exactly where I said self-defense should be or is illegal.

Here is a hint: I said no such thing.

Stop trying to put words in my mouth.

What I did say was that Zimmerman was a bloody dumbass for getting out of his car and confronting this choir boy when he had no need to do so and zero backup.

Kristophr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristophr said...

Anonymous: Yes, we are doomed.

Doomed to see posts by dumbass mall ninja wannabes that make Gecko45's troll characters and Gunkid look like sane rational people.

I have a small request: Stop trying to be on my side.

Roberta X said...

It's possible to be, legally, in the right and to still have been an idiot. But it should be avoided.

Keith said...

"Pulling the trigger is a binary choice. "As surely as the bullet rips through the victim's flesh, organ and bone, it shatters the image of the man who presses the trigger." ~Max Payne

the pawnbroker said...

Whoever upthread said Neighborhood Watchers should be shooting vid, not lead, has it right. I think it was LawDog who said, "juries love them some video", and the flip side is that would-be perps hate them some. Shoot it from inside the car if possible, and you've got an effective and relatively safe neighborhood crime prevention tool. But that's not how this particular watch program was administered, and all this drama is the result.


"...Sanford. It's closer to 1965 Alabama than you might think."

Truth to Power there, dude...except in bizarro fashion. One can only imagine the media and public response if a group calling itself The New Klan held court on teevee proclaiming that "We know that boy is guilty of defiling that lily-innocent girl; we're giving the authorities one chance to bring him to justice, but if they don't we will!", then plastering the area with Wanted Dead or Alive posters offering a $10,000 bounty...

Outrage? Censure? Criminal charges for violent threats? Uh, no. More like a celebration of support and a summoning of more of the same.

The endarkenment of 1965 ain't got nothing on enlightened 2012.

mariner said...

TCinVA makes the point that many people who claim to believe in self-defense are rushing to judgment to condemn someone who defended himself.

Commenters here trip all over themselves to show he was right.

I'd hate to be on trial for anything and have this lynch mob for a jury.

fast richard said...

There are a lot of people making up facts to fit their interpretation of the case. That is happening in news accounts as well as in this thread. Was Zimmerman acting as an out of control vigilante who chased down an innocent kid and murdered him? Did Zimmerman start a fight with this kid, and then pull a gun when things started going badly for him? Did Zimmerman get out of his car so that he could see where a kid behaving suspiciously went, then stumble into an ambush? I wasn't there and there are conflicting stories.

As near as I can tell, the third choice seems most likely. The consensus of commenters here seems to be that we should stay locked up in our homes and vehicles at night, and not venture out for fear of running afoul of those who might wish to do us harm. Maybe we all need to stay barricaded in our bunkers and only venture out for neccessary supplies.

Are we supposed to assume that every teenager we see at night is a deadly threat? Is there any scenario in which a self defense shooting might occur, in which the shooter cannot be blamed for being there? It's all well and good to pick on Zimmerman for being wrong tactically. Twenty twenty hindsight is a wonderful thing, and none of his critics would ever make a tactical mistake.

Kristophr said...

fast richard: I've made quite a few tactical mistakes. Fortunately I managed to live through them, and not end up in jail or successfully sued.

You may be surprised at the amount of real world experience some of the folks posting here have.

Anonymous said...

Devil's advocate:

Several commenters have opined that it's not worth shooting somebody over property. Why not? As I recall, part of what got NYC cleaned up was that the police and courts stopped their de facto policy of only dealing with "serious" crimes and started going after even the "broken windows", the minor crimes that seem to serve as gateways for worse things: punk breaks a window and see he can get away with it, so he breaks a few more and gets away with it, then graduates to going through the window to steal something, etc., etc.

What message do we as a society send not only to the crooks but to ourselves when we say that our property is "not worth somebody's life"?

Conversely, what would be the result if we collectively decided that our property IS worth somebody's life, and crooks had a very reasonable expectation of being shot / killed for "minor" crimes like theft or burglary? "If I try to snatch that lady's purse, she or somebody else may shoot me. If I break into that house and somebody sees me, I may go home in a body bag."

As an example, consider the Great Northfield Bank Robbery. The citizens of Northfield decided that it WAS their business, that theft DID warrant lethal force, etc. Results: end of a major gang.

Ryan said...

@docjim505, Let me clarify my personal position, It isn't that I have some deep moral feelings about the value of every human life or whatever.

The issue is that you can't just cap somebody, toss the body into the dumpster and go about your way. If that was the case and it was all legal then we would have a misdemeanor free fire zome. However it definitely doesn't work that way at all. Shooting people, particularly as a civilian is a huge hassle.

I am looking at what is best for me. Lets say I come home some friday evening and see some guy stealing my TV. He is about to walk out the back door with it. I take out a gun and say "Put down the TV" he goes to leave. If I shoot him in the face my whole weekend is totally messed up as well as the week and probably month. There will be all kinds of hassles and potentially civil and criminal legal issues. On the other hand if I do not shoot him and the guy leaves I call the cops to make a report, fix the window, call my insurance company and get a new TV the next day. By mid day Saturday I am back to my business.

If the system was streamlined with a ton of protections for people to use lethal force in defense of property (like give a statement over the phone and they come by to pick up the body) maybe I would rethink my position but I can't see that happening.

Tam said...


If you live in a jurisdiction where you can bust a cap in a fleeing purse snatcher and not have your relations with Mrs. Docjim505 reduced to quarterly conjugal visits, then it may be worth it to do so. In most of America, that's not the case, however.

I'm not saying "it's not worth it to shoot a purse snatcher" because the value of the special snowflake in question is greater than the purse. Odds are that his net contribution to the human race doesn't add up to the used Chapstik and parking stubs in the bottom of the bag; it's the legal and social reaming that will almost certainly follow that isn't worth it.

TJIC said...

Tam said...
> Wow, TJIC, obsess much?

A woman who writes a blog about guns, guns, guns, guns, bacon, guns is upset because I have two or three interests of my own?

> Way to type a bunch of stuff that was barely tangentially-related to the matter at hand.

UTTERLY tangential...except for the fact that I was directly responding to a line that you wrote.

I hate the phrase "X much?" but since you started it with "obsess much?", I suppose I might as well respond with "avoid addressing the topic much?"

And, for the recrd, I don't think that ALL cops are thugs. I've explained this to you in calm, well reasoned emails.

...but I suppose it's more fun to ignore my actual words and set up a strawman.

Anonymous said...

Ryan - If I shoot him in the face my whole weekend is totally messed up as well as the week and probably month. There will be all kinds of hassles and potentially civil and criminal legal issues.

Tam - [T]he legal and social reaming that will almost certainly follow that isn't worth [shooting a crook in a situation where one doesn't fear for his life]

I don't disagree with these points; reality is what it is, and the legal problems and social oppobrium that can and usually do result from shooting a hoodlum are very real.

What I suggest is that these issues are a (shall we say?) self-inflicted handicap on society: we've done this to ourselves. I don't know at what point we collectively decided that our property* isn't worth defending, or that killing a crook is only slightly less odious than drowning a puppy, but we seem to have done it.

Please let me be clear: I don't want to suggest that we should embrace vigilanteism, lynch mobs, or going out looking for trouble. I certainly don't want to suggest that people should get a warm, satisfied feeling from shooting their fellow man. I simply wonder if we've gone too far in the other direction.


(*) And it isn't just property. For some of the more (ahem) passionate on the other side, defending one's life is hardly worth killing. "Lock yourself in the bathroom! Shove your finger down your throat! Give them what they want! It's not worth killing over!"

OldTexan said...

An acquaintance of mine shot and killed a man here in Texas a few years ago in a home defense situation on a farm and a stupid DA brought charges against him. After $50K in legal expense later and many months the charges were dropped. When asked if he would do it again, he said that under the circumstances he felt that it was a life or death situation and his decision was worth it since he was the one still alive. As a guy who has a gun close by most all of the time I hope and pray that I never have to make the decision to pull the trigger and end a life of another person no matter how sorry that other person is. If I do have to shoot in defense of self or another, it will not be because of an action I have taken but due to the decision the aggressor has made to put himself in a mortal life or death situation and I know that if I am successful my life will change due to his decesion to die that day.

A few years ago my dog woke me up at 2:00 am and I looked out my front room window to see several guys pulling the expensive wheels and tires off of my neighbor’s SUV that had been jacked up and put on cinder-blocks without the alarm going off. I got my little rifle and went back to the window and banged on it until I got the tire liberators attention and then I shined a strong flashlight at them and they made a real fast exit. I then went over and woke up the neighbor so he could call the police and make a report. Being a young guy in his 20’s he looked at my 45-70 guide gun I had at my side and asked my why I didn’t just shoot them. My answer was simple, I was going back to bed and except for the fact that the neighbor now had abandoned two floor jacks and some nice cinder blocks we were all in a good situation and all he had to do was put the tires back on his SUV and that was that, end of story.

As for all of the mess in this Zimmerman shooting, I am glad that I am not in his situation and I am sure we don’t know exactly what happened and I hope Zimmerman comes out of this OK when all of the facts are known.

staghounds said...

I have jumper cables and a battery charger.

I still check to make sure the lights are off and the doors closed, even when I park for five minutes.


Kristophr said...

TJIC: Helllooo? Gun blog?

One would expect gun geekery on a gun blog, dontcha think?

If you want her computer blog, hit the Digital Fossils link on the right margin.

OtherWhiteMatt said...

I have to take Jenny's side of it. If we are so worried about the potential aftermath, why carry a gun? That's an automatic invitation for potential problems.

I carry a gun to defend myself and the public. And that includes crimes where a victim is not present (burgarly). Now that doesn't mean I'm going to run up and try to arrest them. But I feel its my duty to prevent or stop crime. If that means wait in my car and call the cops until they get there, or confront somebody who is burglarizing somebodies properly- that's fine.

Evil triumphs where good people do nothing.

JFP said...

Tam - [T]he legal and social reaming that will almost certainly follow that isn't worth [shooting a crook in a situation where one doesn't fear for his life]

Without a doubt true. The problem is IMHO, that mindset has helped lead us to a society where other bad things happen as a result of non intervention. So we are still damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Take this case:

That or the case from the UK I think from a few years back. A 4 year old girl got loose from her daycare center. A bakery truck driver happened to see the girl in a vacant lot playing. He thought it was odd but didn't stop for fear that a lone man around a 4 year old girl would be viewed as a kidnapper/molester. The girl died before she could be found by the daycare/police.

Anonymous said...

For the folks who want to be more aggressive about property crimes: Just be sure that you could live with standards being applied to you and the folks you care about.

I have "broken in" to my own dwelling and car when I have done something dumb with my keys. I glad I wasn't shot.

As kids, we'd occasionally sneak into places we weren't supposed to be. I don't think we deserved to die for it.

Would you want a random stranger confronting a member of your family at gunpoint for something that they thought looked wrong?

Angus McThag said...

Some of this is bordering dangerously close to "let the perp kill you because it won't be worth living afterwards."

It's kind of depressing that it may be true.

Matthew said...


The thing is, those aren't binary choices.

Being armed, yet not approaching, and simply shining a light on and yelling at a suspicious person from your house or car that you have called the cops and (perhaps) are filming them is doing your civic duty. Even following them (in your car or from a safe distance) while you wait for the cops, to make sure you get plate numbers and such, is positively intervening in a possible crime.

If they turn to aggress on you, you can drive away, or retreat inside, or, if neither is possible, use force knowing that they were the clear "aggressor" throughout as you had identified yourself and your intentions.

The point is don't make choices where you are 100% responsible for the use of force being necessary to defend yourself. That's not "blaming the victim", that's being a competent human being.

Like Zimmerman, who was in a crowded neighborhood, the bakery driver had the choice to put the girl above his convenience, and stop and watch her and actively involve others to call the police without risk of false accusations or negative outcomes.

Zimmerman may have yelled from a distance to identify himself to the kid, or yelled out "What's going on here!?" or something to alert homeowners to come to his aid, but I haven't seen any info that he did. Which was foolish at best.

Martin, similarly, though being followed by a stranger, apparently didn't call the cops, or challenge Zimmerman from a distance as to "Why are you following me!?", or go knock on a door, or call out for help, until the fight began. Which was also foolish at best.

For civilians it's "communicate, move, shoot."

Anonymous said...

If they turn to aggress on you, you can drive away, or retreat inside.

@matthew: or you could put on a dress and ask them to dance. Maybe invite them in for coffee. Of course, most men would shoot them.

TBeck said...

Wow, the chest-thumping and dick-beating sure has gotten loud in here!

Anonymous said...

It's not about ascots and white teeth partner. Its about surviving. Be an Alpha or a beta, or even a metro. I don't care.

TBeck said...

This reminds me of a story Massad Ayoob told in one of his LFI-1 classes that I attended twelve years ago. The name of Jeff Cooper somehow came up and Mas related Jeff's opinion of him:

"Massad Ayoob is a coward and a fool. He teaches his students to cower in the bedroom while thieves make off with the family silver."

I remember thinking, "Wow, Jeff! Most of us don't get the chance to travel to the third world to shoot wogs. We have to live in America where we have due process and all that jazz."

This is the internet. You can pretend to be whatever Avenger you fancy the most. God help you if an ambitious prosecutor ever subpoenas your computer and ISP data so they can show the jury how you think there is something wrong with a country where people have to account for The Decision.

Anonymous said...

This is the third world, 8 year olds are not welcome.

Matthew said...

Anon @6:53

Why on earth would I waste my valuable time and bullets shooting someone I don't absolutely have to?

That's time and money better spent on shopping for frilly undergarments and tea sets, wouldn't you say?


Kristophr said...

What caliber rifle should I carry to shoot bears with?

Anonymous said...

When you are armed, You have a moral duty to protect those around you.
If you can't handle that, you shouldn't carry.

Tam said...

Anonymouse 12:06,

"When you are armed, You have a moral duty to protect those around you.
If you can't handle that, you shouldn't carry.

1) You don't get to tell me what my "moral duties" are.
2) You don't get to tell me if I "shouldn't" carry a gun.

Sorry 'bout that. Hate it for you.

Steve said...

You just got your carry permit and now you think you're Batman. Good luck with that. Maybe you look better in tights than I do.

TIM said...

Tam for me you couldn't have said this any better.I have not thankfully had to shoot someone I have seen someone be shot up close and personal and I wouldn't want to if at all possible relive a situation like that again.Like you say I don't think people really truly think or understand what comes along with that type of situation the rest of your life.

SDN said...

Take a bow, guys.

"Crime is rampant because the law-abiding, each of us, condone it, excuse it, permit it, submit to it. We permit and encourage it because we do not fight back, immediately, then and there, where it happens. Crime is not rampant because we do not have enough prisons, because judges and prosecutors are too soft, because the police are hamstrung with absurd technicalities. The defect is there, in our character. We are a nation of cowards and shirkers."

NotClauswitz said...

I got the Old Sig because I was afraid that if I had to actually use a gun I'd never see it again - and I didn't want to lose my Historic Touchstone 1943 GI Colt that way. So then I bought another Sig and then another, following the reductive equation of two=one, one=none... and then I touched The Philosopher's Gun, and had to buy it. Now I don't want to shoot at all. I should have bought a Tupperware Glock instead if I wanted to dispense lead so casually.
What's the moral duty of that story? It had better be pretty powerful stuff to ignite my trigger finger.

Seerak said...

Anonymous 12:06: self-sacrifice and "moral duty" is for slaves, not free and sovereign individuals.

Anonymous said...

If you have to shoot, shoot. Otherwise:
(From Godzilla)
Hank Azaria: What do we do now?
Jean Reno: Running would be a good idea.

Tam said...


I hear your keyboard clickin' but I don't hear your gun bang-bangin'.

'Til then, you're all hot air and bluster, and I give your words all the respect they deserve.

Tam said...

(Incidentally, you bring a real crime to me, and I'll give you all the "fighting back" you can handle and then some. Walking down the street ain't a crime, Batman.)

SDN said...

And I hear your gums a flappin about "Second Amendment Advocacy" and "Right to Carry" but when it actually comes down to it: Give them what they want. Kitty Genovese? Bitch deserved it. I'm not opening my door. Run away! Run Away!

And, of course, that whole "walking down the street" is total BS put out by antis who hope for exactly your attitude. Eyewitnesses from the original police report who say that so-called choirboy Trayvon was the one who hit Zimmerman first. You swallowed the narrative hook line and sinker.

There's a far cry from being concerned about watching out for the area and people where you live and patrolling whole cities. But you know that, so your whole schtick is geared towards "if you aren't doing everything, you aren't and shouldn't be doing anything."

And, of course, if my gun was bang-banging, how would you know? Or are you claiming clairvoyance?

Tam said...

"And, of course, that whole "walking down the street" is total BS put out by antis who hope for exactly your attitude. Eyewitnesses from the original police report who say that so-called choirboy Trayvon was the one who hit Zimmerman first. You swallowed the narrative hook line and sinker."

Yeah, I read it. So far the only person who says anything about who hit who first is Zimmerman. Eyewitnesses do have Trayvon giving him an ass beating on the ground before getting shot, though.

As far as buying the narrative, here's the narrative:

Trayvon was walking down the street.
Zimmerman, already on the phone with 911 and the po-po on the way, got out of his truck to confront him.
Zimmerman got cold-cocked by Trayvon and wound up shooting him, apparently in a struggle over the gun.

I'm a psychic: I know which one of those events Zimmerman regrets the most right now, and it ain't pullin' the trigger. Keep Batmannin' and you'll get to find out for yourself.

lelnet said...

At this point, watching what's happening in this case, I would stop carrying, if I were single, because I am no longer prepared to endure the inevitable consequences of self-defense, even if the alternative is my own death. I would rather take my chances with God than with the lynch mob that's forming around Zimmerman. My own life is literally not worth _that_ much to me.

Orphan said...

Without addressing this case, of which details are lacking -

I will not pass on the miseries that chance might bring upon me to somebody less aware or less prepared, for that is precisely what is going to happen; the mugger I evade will simply mug another. I will not seek them out, but I will not retreat.

I would rather purchase something with my time other than time itself.

Tam said...


It's your call to make. Get down with your bad self.