Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A practical lesson of the Zimmerman case


Any time you are carrying a lethal weapon you should have a less-than-lethal one as well. This whole affair would have ended much better, for everyone, if Zimmerman had successfully used a stun gun, or pepper spray, or a kubotan or what have you, instead of his pistol. He was clearly outclassed in the fistfight; when that happens and all you have is a gun, the outcome is always going to look bad, whichever outcome that is. One possible outcome is that the person beating you up takes your gun and shoots you with it. That did not happen in this case but has happened numerous times in the past. In this case the unarmed fellow got shot, and would that he had not. The incident has stirred up a storm of ill will that now even involves the highest levels of government.

I may have more to say later about the social activism aspect of the case and the political climate that permits it to go on and on after Zimmerman's acquittal. For now I thought I would point out a short lesson that all would do well to consider.

6 comments:

  1. It isn't always available to you. I have a stun gun, but it requires physical touch. I would hope to keep an attacker as FAR away from me as possible. The same thing applies to a kubotan or a baton. I want to keep any attacker away from me. George Zimmerman didn't have that option. According to his statement he was attacked from behind. He never had any time to even try to deploy an alternative self defense weapon.

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    1. The fatal shot was fired with Zimmerman underneath Martin. In that situation there were parts of the assailant that could have been reached with a stun gun. The trouble with second guessing events, as I am doing here, is that I cannot be sure that what I suggest would have worked. The attempt might have gotten Zimmerman killed. See:

      http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2013/07/16/zimmerman-verdict-part-2-the-unarmed-teen/

      But we'll never know because Zimmerman was out of options; he had only his pistol.

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  2. Stun guns are a joke. If a guy is performing a rage-fueled beatdown on you, he might not even notice you hit him with one.

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    1. Again, in this situation it might not have worked. Consider, though, exactly which body parts are accessible if the assailant is in a BJJ "mount" position.

      I agree that the stun guns on the market are short on zap for what they are expected to do. Likewise, a lot of pepper spray gets sold that isn't as hot as the curry at my favorite Thai restaurant.

      We really could use a better LTL option.

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    2. The old saying if Wishes were fishes , comes to mind. However, as you point out, we weren't there. So any hypothesis we might have about possible outcomes is moot. We weren't there, we weren't in that position. Therefore all we are doing is adding fuel to the speculative fire.

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    3. Not exactly. I propose it as sound in principle that you have layered options in the use of force. If that wouldn't have helped in this case, or if it would have (for who knows?) it has helped in others; see the "use of force continuum" concept used by police and others.

      That's what I'm suggesting to the armed citizen. A lot of people aren't up on the concept. This case is the obvious example to use because it is the one everybody is talking about, and we'll really never know what else might have happened that didn't. After-the-fact discussion of any case at all, not just this one, is going to consist of the same kind of speculation.

      About all we can do, lacking a crystal ball, is look at the past and learn whatever lessons we can: What worked, what didn't.

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