Author Alan Korwin is a marketing maven. His book’s title and subtitle are an irresistible lure for any firearms owner who knows that saving a life by ending someone else’s is a potential path to prosecutorial purgatory. Korwin also get bonus points for his seriously snarky style; After You Shoot’s early chapters are suffused with the kind of take-no-prisoners prose that would be right at home here at TTAG. But After You Shoot begs the question posed by both presidential hopeful Walter Mondale and Wendy’s restaurant: where’s the beef? Or, more accurately, how do I beat the beef? So to speak . . .
The “Adnarim Statement” lies at the core of Korwin’s book. It’s the mysterious McGuffin he’s dangled in front of gun owners in press releases and media interviews. Readers who somehow endured The Da Vinci Code will immediately recognize the odd name as “Miranda” spelled backwards. As in Miranda rights: the statement the police give you when they arrest you. But NOT before asking you about the guy who bled out all over your oriental carpet. See how that works?
The Adnarim Statement is YOUR statement to THEM, after you drill some new holes in the bad guy, before the cops are obliged to tell you that you have the right to STFU. We’re talking about a magic incantation that prevents the po-po and their pals from doing everything in their considerable, state-sanctioned power to trick and/or force you into incriminating yourself. And the Adnarim Statement is . . . gasp . . . choke . . . sputter . . . flop . . .
I’m interested in cooperating and will exercise my right to remain silent after reading this statement. And the statement is . . . gasp . . . choke . . . sputter . . . flop . . .
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Let’s try that again . . .
I’m interested in cooperating and will exercise my right to remain silent after reading this statement. Please do not attempt to violate my rights in this regard. I want to speak with my attorney. I respectfully ask you to honor this without any purpose of evasion and insist my lawyer be present prior to and during any questioning without exception.
I refuse to consider to any search of my person, papers, premises, vehicle, immediate location and effects. I invoke my rights under the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 10th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and any applicable state or federal laws. If you Mirandize me and ask if I’ll speak without my attorney present the answer is no. Thank you for your cooperation, and may I have a glass of water please.
Note: I did not make up any of that, including the refreshment request. Also note: I’m not a lawyer. But I’ve edited a few million words in my day. If you asked me to distill the Adnarim Statement to a single mnemonic declaration, I’d go with “I want to speak to my lawyer.” Adding, in parenthesis, “then shut up.”
Korwin doesn’t disagree with this all-too-obvious (for a mystery writer) summary. In fact, he devotes a great deal of the text following the Adnarim Statement to shooting down the Adnarim Statement. To that end, Korwin recruits some of his lawyer friends, whose comments are cut and pasted from emails or transcribed from conversations. Which is an incredibly boring and lazy way to pad a book—especially if you’re as talented a writer as Mr. Korwin. Which Mr. Korwin is, obviously.
After You Shoot’s shambolic structure is a shame (much like my spurious spurts of annoying alliteration). In the course of exploring the non-wisdom of his own advice, Korwin raises an important question: why should a self-defense shooter feel obliged to dial 911 to report an incident when the person on the other end of the line is trained to extract information which will later be used against the shooter in a court of law? What happened to the self-defense shooter’s right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination?
Gone. Korwin’s right to point out these trampled rights. But the Adnarim Statement does nothing to right that wrong. It’s a bit of legalese to be read after a self-defense shooter calls the cops, after The Man arrives. At the end of After You Shoot, Korwin proposes a far more effective solution to the “Dial 911 and fry” dilemma: a new law to provide 911 callers limited immunity. Helpfully enough, Korwin provides text for [cut and pasting] just such a law.
Yes, well, the chances of this non-Mirandized immunity concept passing into law anywhere in these United States are lower than my high school SAT math scores. Korwin gets that, too. So he offers “Adnarim State Part Three, Ten words for 911.”
“I’ve just been attacked. Send an ambulance and police to (location).” Then hang up, call your lawyer and wait.
While I’d add a quick self-description (so the cops don’t cap yo ass), I reckon that’s some sound advice right there. If you provide 911 with bare bones info and hang up, you won’t be giving prosecutors taped evidence to use against you in a court of law, such as confused or incorrect answers to the operator’s questions and the emotion (or lack thereof) revealed by the sound of your voice and word choice.
Calling an attorney straight afterwards is also a good thing. As Korwin points out, you need someone to keep the cops at bay. And the sooner your brief starts the process of creating your self-defense defense, the better. Again, I agree with Korwin that the first and only words out of your mouth when the first responders respond should be “I want to speak to an attorney.”
It’s ironic. Korwin thinks spelling Miranda backwards is his book’s hook. In fact, the real value in this work lies in the final chapter. Korwin should have written After You Shoot backwards. In any case, After You Shoot will convince readers that some things are best left unsaid. And some things that need to be said need to be said more clearly.
[After You Shoot is available at gunlaws.com]