Thursday, August 1, 2013

It Never Hurts to Put Yourself in Someone's Shoes

An article appearing today at the American Thinker entitled After Zimmerman: Lessons for a Citizen Carrier by Paul Jacobson is worth a read. He makes some good points that Zimmerman didn't do everything right, though the law doesn't require a person to do everything necessarily right. Rather, the law asks whether a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have done what Zimmerman did. Still:
So then, what would I have done in George Zimmerman's shoes? First of all, Zimmerman fell right into the middle of the Rule #1 trap the moment he lost sight of Martin. The 911 transcript makes it clear that Martin had seen him and that Zimmerman knew it; Martin's disappearance alone converted the location to high-risk. But Zimmerman seems to have naively, absentmindedly let down his guard, making himself a sitting duck for Martin's sudden, close-up reappearance and criminal assault with no way for Zimmerman to back off.

When Martin disappeared, Zimmerman should have resorted to Rule #2 while continuing to wait for the police: get in the truck, make sure the windows are closed, lock the doors and start the engine... and put the Kel-Tec PF9 over on the passenger seat. This situation would have provided something of a barricade if Martin had reappeared with, say, a crowbar and started bashing windows. It would also have provided a possible means of escape; if Martin had showed up with a gun, that gas pedal would have been down there on the floor waiting to be tromped. Shooting accurately at a moving target is notoriously difficult.

How about Rule #3? In short, it has no relevance to this incident, notwithstanding AG Holder's bogus attempt to link the case to stand-your-ground laws. The prosecution tried all the facts -- and lies -- it could muster but failed to prove beyond a reasonable or even unreasonable doubt that Zimmerman stalked Martin with intent to kill. The charge was utterly baseless: when the 911 operator said, "We don't need you to [follow Martin]" Zimmerman's response was, "OK." This is one thing Zimmerman did right. However, observing Rule #2 as elaborated above would obviously have eliminated all possibility of making the stalking charge.
Well, maybe, and maybe not, but it never hurts to play Monday morning quarterback and try to put ourselves in a situation, and play it out in our heads. I particularly remember on admonition by my own instructor: "Whenever you get into a confrontation, you know there is at least one gun." What he meant by that is that one should avoid confrontations at all costs.

There was a time, not so long ago, that when a man's honor was impugned, he was duty bound to prove to the world his honorable nature by fighting a duel. Now, if the slanderer was confronted, and immediately apologized, then a gentleman was duty bound to accept the apology. But, if our slander raised the defense that what he said was in fact true...well, there's the rub. After the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression) the law began to take over such private disputes, and these matters more and more were settled in courts.  In general, I agree that fighting it out doesn't really prove who is in the right, only who is the better shooter.  After I started carrying, I found there were all sorts of situations that I had previously gotten in peoples face over, that now I don't even acknowledge.  I just walk away.  I am the most careful of drivers, the most agreeable of partners, because of what my instructor admonished his students.

In the movie  Sling Blade the main character says that "Some folks just need killin'." That may be, but the Lord says "Vengeance is mine." My old Karate Sensei said that you will never lose a fight you don't have. All good advice.

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