Survival After the Fight – Making Your Self-Defense Incident Unattractive to the Prosecutor
Recently I read Meditations On Violence by Sgt. Rory Miller. In his book, Miller discusses two predator types, resource predators and process predators. “Resource predators want something and have decided to take it from their victim. Process predators enjoy the violent act itself.”
When dealing with a resource predator, there is a reasonable chance that compliance will satisfy the predator allowing the victim to survive the encounter uninjured. When dealing with a process predator, compliance or attempts at de-escalation will likely be ineffective and may make the situation worse for the victim. So why is it important for the armed citizen to know this information?
Having this knowledge is likely to influence your response if you are involved in a self-defense situation and can later be used to show why your actions were reasonable.
Before I go any further its time for the standard disclaimer: I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. My intent here is to expose you to some useful information and to inspire you to seek out further knowledge on your own.
Contrary to what you see on TV, decisions to prosecute are more often based on how winnable the case looks rather than anything related to truth or justice. A prosecutor’s career advancement is based in large part, on the number of “wins” he or she accumulates. A self-defense incident where the armed citizen clearly committed no crime is less likely to be prosecuted for “political” reasons if it looks difficult to win.
To be clear, I’m not talking about incidents where the armed citizen commits a crime. If a citizen catches someone breaking into his car and then chases that person down the street shooting at him, the citizen should be prosecuted.
What I’m talking about is the unmeritorious prosecution of an individual for political reasons. This happens more often than you would think, the most extreme example being the George Zimmerman case. A detailed examination of the actual facts (very different from what you saw in the media) of that case can be seen here.
In court, the jury will be asked to determine if your actions were reasonable based on what you knew at the time. The more documented knowledge you have, the more your defense team can share with the jury. If your defense team can educate the jury as to your level of knowledge it is more likely that they will find your actions reasonable. This makes your case more difficult for a prosecutor to win and may be enough to avoid unmeritorious prosecution (assuming your actions were correct and within the law).
The following are some things you can do to make your case unattractive:
- Have Carry Insurance– Carry insurance is something every gun owner should consider and every CCW holder should have. Taking the time to obtain this coverage is an indication that you’ve educated yourself and that you have access to adequate financial resources and experts in self-defense cases.
- Take Classes and Record What You Learn – Take as many self-defense/firearms classes as possible, at least one or two per year. Document the location, date, syllabus, and instructor’s name. This shows that you’ve been exposed to specific information and that you likely have a certain level of knowledge on the subject. Your defense team can then use this to show what you knew at the time of the incident and why your actions were reasonable.
- Read as Much as Possible – Read books on firearms, self-defense, CCW, criminal behavior, etc. Document when books were purchased and read to help establish your level of knowledge.
- Get Involved in 2A Advocacy Groups– This shows that you likely have a certain level of knowledge and access to experts and resources.
If you want to keep your rights defend them by joining San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), and the National Rifle Association (NRA). Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.
©2018 Joseph T Drammissi