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It's hard to argue that you are afraid for your life when you are firing warning shots, An if she had a FL carry permit then she was taught so. To me as a certified armed professional a warning shot show that you had discretionary time. FL requires permit holders to take a safety class. Zimmerman, IMO has no claim to the stand your ground law because he had already retreated to a safe place after he assessed a threat was present. He was also acting to protect an interest other than is own that was not a forceful felony. Guns are for causing life to cease via massive trauma and bleeding. Any time you present a weapon you are representing lethal force, the only time you should do that is when the threat is an IMMEDIATE DEATH to LIFE either your own or a forceful felony. If you keep a firearm for protection it behooves you to educate yourself in "the risks and hazards associated" with that weapon in order to be qualified. My YouTube channel has more info on risk management for anyone interested. However I urge people to get training if they carry, training that you can back up.
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Charles Mikesell's profile photoRobert Daggett's profile photoJohn Lieske's profile photo
25 comments
 
+Aaron Hoberman I am going to look to buy that ASAP. It's my cup of tea. Verbal Judo by Dr. George Thompson is one of my favourites. They have a short class on youtube as well. Just search verbal judo. Thx for the Tip as well. These matters come down to a jury and a little thought can help your lawyer a lot.
 
This is messed up, I keep thinking there is more to the lady's story than were being told. If not however she should have the same rights to self defense as Zimmerman, who I believe is in the right as well.
 
I think zimmerman may be in the right as far as when he pulled his trigger he felt threatened. But, I think what lead up to that was a series of poor tactics and decision making. I alluded to in my post. If he was acting in the capacity of a neighborhood watch, and intended to carry at the time he should have done 2 things. Gotten better training, Carried at LEAST one other force option with him. Even though he remained a civilian, so do I when I am armed as a guard/agent. But I have been train as to what I can do when acting in the interest of another party. I keep thinking about this next big mistake. Why would you leave the car? Why. That I think is what is going to get him in hot water. He isn't required to retreat but he did. Then exposed himself again. Fist vs. gun if he was properly trained he could have been cleared by now. His attacker would be alive to bear witness to what happened. A carry permit does not make you an armed guard. If this was me on a unarmed post I would have been cooked. If he had tried to use a less lethal force option it would be easy for him to show how he tried to use options. But I can't say he was right. The man made so many poor choices that lead up to a persons life being taken over a POSSIBLE PROPERTY CRIME, that was escalated into a fatal conflict. In the time he took to call police the least he could have done is find someone to be a witness. A lot of mistakes were made. But at the time he pulled the trigger he may have been right.
 
I agree, observe and report, that was his real duty as a watchman. Legally though there was no crime in what he did, no sense in it either. So that puts him in a lawful position when the assault happened, and since the other party appears to be the aggressor and had a clear upper hand, serious bodily injury or death could have easily happened. What ever happened up to the point of the assault is legally immaterial since it was not an act of instigation or illegal. You never have the right to attack someone because they are following you.
 
I will admit though, when I was a security guard and posted at a remote area, an abandoned power plant to be exact, I carried a mini 14 and was supposed to be unarmed. It was right across the river from a rather violent farm labor housing area, there was often riots there. And since this was a power plant, there was thousands of tons of copper that some of the illegals were constantly trying to steal. One guard from our company was shot in the gut, I wasn't going down without a fight.
 
Like you said, Robert, the point where he squeezed the trigger is and should be the last point of consideration considering Zimmerman's case, because that point in the confrontation only came about from a series of immensely bad decisions on his part. Those decisions were obvious and more importantly directly against what law enforcement dispatch instructed of him.

I read about that other case and immediately compared hers to Zimmerman. For +Charles Mikesell, if you're looking for different factors here they are: she was being abused by her husband. Her husband was trying to forcibly take her children from her home. The kids were outside and the husband was approaching her in the kitchen. She fired a warning shot away from where anyone was to scare off the husband. Police charged her with child endangerment along with the weapons charge. I find that to be bunk since the person she was warning off had a history of abuse and was essentially attempting kidnapping. Her warning shot was as much to protect her own physical self as it was her children. She did the right thing and has been penalized for it. That she had the wherewithal to fire a warning instead of put two in the husband's chest speaks to having paid attention to the training she received when obtaining the firearm to begin with-- something I usually encourage people getting a gun to take very seriously.
 
Comparing the two is like day and night to me. Firing a warning shot is a big taboo. For the very reasons I spell out in my video series. It Shows that you not only did not fear for you life but that you had the discrimination to take a warning shot. Unless your in the military you don't use lethal force as a "warning" or to scare people. The presence of a firearm is warning and should scare them. You should be working your way up your force options, not jumping to the top.
 
From what I can tell in the details I recall reading, she claims she feared for her (and her children's) safety but reflexively avoided a fully lethal response. He already saw her gun and was still advancing. I'd argue that she took the right step to escalate the situation without going for the kill shot. It's difficult for someone who has experienced abuse to cross that line and still remain in control.

I see what you're saying, though. However, there are exceptions in my opinion for when a warning shot is warranted above aiming for the center of a target. It's definitely not suggested as a common consideration, but I don't think it's always out of the question. And I agree with what you said about having a gun out should be the final step and not a first or intermediary one.

I'll also disclaim that I don't currently nor do I plan on owning a gun, but have been taught how to handle (and fire) them for my own education. But I'd insist my own preferences against owning one don't disqualify me, because I've gone to the trouble to learn and understand both sides to a pretty strong degree. In fact, my education and introduction to weapons has served to remove irrational fear of guns, has led me to be in favor of people's right to ownership, and has helped me in at least two instructive situations where I had to show someone proper handling because they lacked training while still having acquired firearms (and may have saved someone injury or worse).
 
I agree the kid may have thought he was in danger, I dis agree that he was. The stories to me sound more like he was annoyed rather than frightened. It is a huge case of "should not have happened", or "all the wrong things at the right time".
 
+John Lieske I want to think there is more to her story. Secondly I wouldn't ever admit to calling it a warning shot. I would bet he didn't think she'd shoot and he was right. She was not prepared to make that choice. You need to ask your self this when you draw your sidearm "Am I ready to pull the trigger if I have to an take a life" If the answer is no you have no damn right to have that sidearm out. Put it right damn back. We have castle doctrine in PA So I can assume that your in my house for nefarious reasons. I don't go taking pot shots at someone to warn them though. "Stop, I have a gun....drop on the floor don't look at me." That is a warning, warning don't kill people. I doubt she "knew her target and what was behind it" what if she shot a neighbor? What if the kids ran off and hid or snuck back in. I don't say this often but you are FLAT WRONG. NO WARNING SHOTS EVER. If you can find me on firearms instructor that says otherwise I would be shocked. It is a mutually exclusive relationship. Your using that force lethally or your not using it at all. This could have ended much worse. Warning shot, husband knows she is HESITANT to shoot, takes the weapon and turns on her. You never escalate force if you don't plan on using it. You know how the story goes I pull a knife you pull a gun. What if he had a gun now you made this a gun battle to fire a warning shot. I don't fire warning shots and never will. Either you had multiple warnings or you are an immediate threat. Either way I have made the descion to shoot when I drew my pistol and I have a sight picture as soon as the safety is off. I hate to sound so firm but I do take this very seriously and have spent many hours in classroom and field training both in firearms and risk management and I feel very strongly about the matter.
 
"But I'd insist my own preferences against owning one don't disqualify me" Absolutly not this is more of a logic issue then anything.
 
"reflexively avoided a fully lethal response" I would lean more this way if she hit him somewhere. I also heard they both flipped on the story too. I also need to know if she had a carry permit.
 
I thing the walk away from this is: Zimmerman; Observe only, Do as LEOs tell you, if none else cover your ass have a witness and/or record what you can't. No NW should be working alone anyway. One holds the camera the other deals with the job at hand. The woman: Evaluate if you are ready to shoot a person and don't get the gun out till you are, don't fire a warning shot, not one can blame bad aim but no warnings, if not buy a big mean looking .22. Kidnapping may have covered her. I don't think 20 years is right either. In both cases they needed more training, mostly zimm because of his function. If they knew of this law they need to make it clearer. You can't retreat and then decide to stand your ground. If you can retreat you should still. If it's a forceful felony SHOOT. Your saving the kids from being raised by a murderous person then. My 5 cents I guess.
 
You absolutely make some good points about the responsibility of handling a gun in a situation like that (which, incidentally, is why I choose not to own one), and I can't disagree with them. I'm just trying to keep in mind some context like the history of battery, but I still think you make a good point. Reading your link actually gives some more context, and it seems the problem with her case falls more on the issue of mandatory sentencing. It seems like too often mandatory sentencing is earning people way more trouble than the problems the mandatory rules are meant to address in the first place. But I think that's a different discussion, and to the point of whether to discharge or not your points are solid.
 
Oh, and I mentioned the thing about my not owning and not discounting because, living in TX, I get a lot of cavalier dismissal until they learn that not only can I handle a gun just fine, I'm not all that bad a shot either. :-)
 
The only logical reasons for not owning a gun is that A: you cannot afford one, or B: you simply don't want one. Choosing to not own a gun because you don't want to deal with the responsibility just sounds strange. like having your testicles removed because you don't want kids. I own quite a few guns, far more than my wife would like, but I do not carry one around with me, except on my property. My responsibility is near zero, I keep them locked up, responsibility is satisfied till I take them out. I live in nv, another stand your ground state. I would not shoot a person stealing me blind, but the simple act of them turning down the hallway will earn them a one way trip to hell via a 12g shotgun with 00buck. That is the difference, take what you want from the living room, come near the bedrooms where my kids are and you'll not see another day. Guilt and prison be damned if someone is threatening the safety of my kids, they will die, even if it takes 2 or 3 rounds of 00buck. Execution? yes, so?
 
Actually, I plan on getting a vasectomy because I don't want kids.

I don't avoid guns, mind you. I just have no need to possess something that is expressly used to end someone's life as a matter of course. My opinion is that owning a gun isn't a default proposition, it's something that you should be able to make a positive action choice on. I also think it's something that one should be allowed to make, but like I said I don't see owning one as being necessary or expected. I don't own a riding mower either.

But again, that's a different discussion that, while interesting, may be out of the scope of the current topic.
 
You view guns as strictly a killing tool? Since you say you are good with them, how many have you killed? Mine have never killed anyone, and only a few have killed animals. My shotguns so far have only killed clay targets. But I don't fault people for not wanting to own one, it is a personal choice. It just sounded odd for someone to say that the responsibility is too great to own one. I will have to take back the never killing anyone comment, 3 of my guns are ww2 relics, they may very well have been used to shoot someone. I do own a riding mower, was wondering how to outfit it with dual miniguns. Seriously though, nothing wrong with choosing not to own one, more for me.
 
Well, I never tried hammering in a nail with a handgun, but my theory is that a hammer would do the job better because that's it's design.

I'm aware that all sorts of people own guns with no intention at all of killing a human being (though many aim to kill other things), but I'm talking about the design of the thing. Same goes with a bow and arrow (another instrument I'm not bad with but have no desire to own). Targets, clay pigeons, stacks of hay-- those are all practice use, and that's perfectly fine if those are the only things a person does with them (practice). But failing to admit that the tool is explicitly designed to remove a living thing from the realm of the living just seems negligent. There's nothing inherently wrong with the tool being as much. If anything, it's a testament to how well we can specialize our tools. I just happen to have no use for such a specialized tool (and if I ever wanted practice I can rent one at a range for less hassle here in TX), just like I have no use for a riding mower.

Also, a clarification. I'm nowhere near what I'd consider "good" with guns. I'm good enough that I won't shoot myself, and I've been shown how to aim with some basic control, but people who I'd consider "good" with them have a level of expertise and time put into them that I don't qualify for. My training was to understand what I'm looking at and to remove irrational fear, not to become a subject matter expert.
 
I mistook you for another that said they were pretty good but didn't own one. You are right, I shoot clays in the hopes of one day getting to go duck hunting, and the duck has very little chance of surviving a hit. I coyote hunt, try to deer hunt. Most of what I shoot I eat, except the coyotes. I view them as a life saving tool or a food getting tool. In the coyote case a livestock saving tool. But that is my hobby, I love tools, whether it be firearms, wrenches or power tools, I am fascinated with man's ability to invent things to make a job easier. And yes, guns were invented as a tool of war, as was many of the things we use today. I have a love for guns, from the first ones that "might fire" and you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with, to the most modern battlefield weapons. My favorites being from mid century, especially german and russian ones.
 
* Most of what I shoot I eat...*

That's pretty awesome right there. I'm always very grateful to folks I know who share their extras from hunting.
 
I once only had one pistol and rented at the range, I had a gold membership and got them free. It worked well if you just did target shooting. Your not the only person I know like that, my pal mike is too. He says he hopes to never have to shoot someone, I do too except I have the means. He says he doesn't want to take a life, I reminded him I carry a .380 sometimes! Yeah it's a dynamic thing we have here too. Kid are involved. This last one state they were in a room and not the car. YIKES. She turned down a plea agreement that could have let the judge decide a sentence too, but she wanted to go to trial to prove a point or something.
 
I can't imagine I'd be doing much beyond target shooting. Of the hunters I know I'd be really crappy at it compared to them. They put real time and effort into doing things as efficiently as possible, and I'd be on a steep learning curve just to catch up-- and that's not counting the lack of shared interest.

But showing someone how to properly load and unload the gun they just bought, when they know full well you own no guns and have no interest? That's been priceless.
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