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Michael Dunn (courtesy nytimes,com)

“A perception of danger might be reasonable, but can any of us fairly determine whether it justifies irrevocable deadly force?” Orlando Bagwell, When Loud Music Turned Deadly [via]

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  1. Yes, we can. If you can’t maybe it’s good that you recognise your shortcomings and don’t carry a gun. But don’t try to interfere with us that can.

  2. I like how Zimmerman keeps magically turning into a “white” man when he’s less “white” than Obama.

      • Hispanics are actually categorized as whites for a lot of crime stats and Uniform Crime reporting. I think the FBI has just started classifying them as Latinos and it inflated white crime stats for the longest time.

    • Back when Obama first came to prominence in the US but before he was known internationally someone (too lazy to dredge up 8 year old data) did a survey in Africa with his picture. Everyone there said the man in the picture was white.

  3. I just commented on this in the forum, but there’s an aspect to this that bears investigation.

    I once had a neighbor who’s daughter’s boyfriend had a car stereo so loud that it set off car alarms all up and down the block. When confronted, the boyfriend (a redneck peckerwood in this case) threatened violence against the elderly gentleman making the complaint. Eventually, the noisemaker was arrested and the daughter dumped him, so no one was hurt and the problem went away.

    The issue is, if a strong young man credibly threatens violence against a frail elderly person, and in fact moves as if about to attack, what is the appropriate response? The principle in law is called, I believe “disparity of force”, and acknowledges that a weaker victim may use a weapon when the attacker is capable of inflicting great bodily harm, even unarmed. I don’t know if something like this was in action in the case at hand, but that is the principle to use in judging the appropriateness of an armed response.

    • Opportunity, Ability, Jeopardy.

      As determined by a reasonable person who knew what you knew at the time.

      The quote is right – deadly force is not something you cannot “take back”. This should be an incentive for EVERYONE in society to behave in a manner so as not to provoke it.

    • You’re right about the “disparity of force” principal and self-defense can be defeated by that principal if the amount of force was not justified (see the dangers of using R.I.P. ammo).

      Another thing about this article though is that the shootings in the movie theater (popcorn attacker) and here regarding the music have not been adjudicated yet (if they have let me know) so we don’t know if the “Stand your ground” law is allowing these kinds of shootings at all yet. The writer is basically attacking the laws before they’ve been proven to work or not work. There is still a better chance that these two shootings will be ruled homicides.

      As to if the presence of the law itself is telling armed angry white guys to never back down for anything and to use deadly force always, especially against “Scary” black kids…I don’t think so yet. Are these signs of latent unconscious (I don’t know the shooters, maybe conscious) racism? probably. If these guys are starting the argument with an automatic hair trigger because they fear an angry black kid more than an angry white kid then that’s a society problem, not a problem with the law per se. It becomes a problem with the law if the Jury itself fears an angry black kid more than an angry white kid and agrees that deadly force was necessary against the black kid and not against the white kid. This is a known issue with white judges giving black men longer sentences than white men as shown by several studies within the last decades.

      To me, I fear the latent racism in our society and I hope the jury will not fall for it. The only way to protect the stand your ground law is to ensure that the Jury decides correctly and consistently where deadly force was warranted. That way potential shooters will have a better understanding of where the line is if they are ever confronted with a dangerous situation.

      • I’ve noticed that progressives love for the law to be ambiguous. It makes it easier to twist it so it hurts their enemies but doesn’t apply to their friends. Nice clear laws that citizens know to avoid (stop at a stop sign) don’t fit into their “show me the man, I’ll show you the felony” culture.

      • Proud redneck here, saying that it can be. Just like there can be bad hippies and all the other subtypes.

        • +1

          It’s one thing to self-identify as a subculture. It’s quite another to emulate every negative stereotype attached to that sub culture.

        • Agreed. If you follow the comments here, you may have noticed that I have been carrying on a one man crusade against misuse of the word “hippie”. It seems to be used interchangeably with “wimpy, self-loathing, mindless liberal” of late. I was an original San Francisco Hippie in the early sixties, and this is a misconception. There was a lot more range of behavior and belief among the originals than is now acknowledged. Also – I was far from being the only gun-nut hippie I knew!

          Rednecks, now, they have maintained their (justifiable) pride and respect through country music and other means.

          There can be sh*tweasel rednecks, and there can be “hippies” like Charley Manson, but don’t oversimplify your understanding of either.

        • This sadly falls into the category of “if you wouldnt do it without a firearm, dont do it with one”.

          Some kind of dumbass to shoot at a fleeing vehicle from INSIDE his own vehicle, Ill be amazed how they justify that.

          Cardinal Rule: D.B.A.D Seems it is taught less and less in florida.

    • Interesting thing about facts and perception. The media will ignore the required ratchet effect as a situation escalates. A verbal “insult” goes to a physical threat where a conflict between young and old creates a “disparity” which then turns to shots fired. The situation in the media is only analyzed from the end state. The gun holder has now swapped the disparity in self-defense but the media reports “white man shoots unarmed black youth” .
      That is not to say what exactly the facts are of this or the Zimmerman case but even while having your head smashed into concrete, some will distill the circumstance down to “man with gun shoots unarmed boy” where unarmed translates to defenseless. They may even go with “Gunman shoots child”.
      Word choice will expose an agenda.

    • And if the frail elderly man didn’t call the police after the shooting and instead went to his hotel and ordered a Pizza for dinner?

  4. There is a whole ‘nother fail in the sentence just before the Quote of the Day:

    ‘The “Stand Your Ground” laws spreading across the country allow the use of deadly force when people believe they are in imminent danger and have exhausted other means of escape.’

    The very essence of SYG is that you DON’T need to attempt to escape. Yet another indication that the author has no idea what he is writing about. (Look! It’s my shocked face!)

    • I agree with you, full of derp. But there’s an idea in that bit you quoted that’s worse than just plain not understanding SYG….

      If you can’t employ deadly force when you have tried to escape and can’t, and imminence is imminent, what the hell are you supposed to do?

      The anti-rights folks’ answer to that question is what REALLY scares me…

      • Ive been told point blank by many of them that they would rather be killed than take anothers life.

        This is sad to me for three main reasons:

        1) It encourages further crime and violence.
        2) They wish to force the rest of us to live in the same system.
        3) Its plain soft and weak minded. Weak and ineffectual people need not influence the rest of us.

        • As a matter of public chit chat and general mood of the populace, I agree. People hear others say such things, consider it noble and enlightened, then vote in ways that bring about the consequences you mention.

          However, on an individual basis, it’s probably bunk. I put keyboard conscientious objectors in the same category as keyboard commandos: it’s all just talk until it really goes down. Given a real opportunity, most people will kill to save their own and their families’ lives. Likewise, given a real opportunity, most people will not go volunteer to go be a battlefield bad ass. So it’s in the middle and depends on whether it’s personal.

          After all, in the year 2014, every last one of us has been delivered here by countless generations of more and more successful ancestors who suffered, endured and survived. We’re all, genetically speaking, All-Stars. That caliber of hard wiring doesn’t just disappear in the heat of the moment, despite one’s habit of spewing pacifist sentiments in comfortable surroundings.

        • Hippies who would rather lay down and die rather than take a life defending themselves or their family are an example of Darwinism at it’s finest. This is a behavior that should be encouraged for them in order to reduce their impact on the gene pool.

        • That’s when I rephrase the question.

          If someone says they would rather die than take a life in their own defense, fine.

          Next ask if they’d feel the same about not protecting their children or family members. Make sure to cite cases of torture or rape prior to murder.

          Its funny that if you do so, usually the tune changes from “I’d never” to “that would never happen to me”.

          As a species and within our culture, the idea is that we have 100% control over our own destinies to the degree we can choose to end ourselves rather than violate our principles. However, even the most progressive person will feel a duty to protect others who are defenseless if at all possible.

          Use this during arguments, especially the hypothetical ones.

        • I had a conversation with a girl recently about rape on college campuses. Her contention was that if a man was convicted of rape in the college’s internal kangaroo court system he should be expelled. I have no problem with that, and as long as it’s a fair trial and it was not a case of, “woke up, and my judgement returned” style regret and it’s actual rape, I say throw the book at them. She cared nothing for that, and started harping on the idea that if we just expel rapists that the rule itself would be enough of a deterrent to keep anyone from assaulting anyone else. I mentioned that rape is illegal off campus with much more severe penalties, and it still happens. Once again ignored. She then started harping on ending “Rape Culture” which would end rape forever(I kid you not). I gave her the benefit of the doubt even though I think Anti-“Rape Culture” campaigns are BS misandry, and said, “that may very well be, but it does nothing for the reality we live in right now.” Those women on campus should be allowed to protect themselves with the best tool possible. A gun. Even offered to take her to the range. Like you mentioned she said, “murder is not the answer. Just because someone commits rape doesn’t mean they are a bad person.” That’s where I ended the conversation. No point in trying to have a discussion with someone who has such severe HUA syndrome.

        • To repeat again Heinlein’s quote, in context:

          “Well, in the first place, an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. For me, politeness is the sine qua non of civilization. That’s a personal evaluation only. But gun-fighting has a strong biological use. We do not have enough things that kill off the weak and stupid these days. But to stay alive as an armed citizen a man has to be either quick with his wits or with his hands, preferably both. It’s a good thing.

        • I’m happy to hear people tell me that they’d rather die than take another life.

          My standard response is “Then please do so, as quickly and cheaply as possible. Help evolution along, please.”

    • That’s what I was going to say. They invoke ‘stand your ground’ and describe ‘duty to flee’. Typical NYT derp. Worse yet they seem to have an issue with ‘duty to flee’. What are you supposed to do when you’ve exhausted every means of escape? Your choices are fight or die.

      • “We prefer you just die…..wait, we want taxes from you…. Let me see for inmate, Wait I mean citizen # 686-23-5488, if they die now we get a lump sum payment of 1.3million if we take annuity payments we end up getting 2.5milllion over time. Wow, making decisions about how we are going to take money from other people is hard”

    • ^ This!

      Ability means: a relatively young, fit person or almost anyone with almost any weapon.

      Opportunity means: they have to be in close proximity to you and within both visual and striking range.

      Intent means: they have expressed with their words or actions their hostility toward you and their intention to harm you.

      Think about that. Every fit person within 20 feet or so of you (which could easily be several hundred to more than a thousand people a day for most of us) meets the criteria of Ability and Opportunity. The only missing piece is Intent. I am quite confident that an overwhelming majority of people can recognize hostile intent from a stranger.

  5. I think they will have a hard time proving 1st degree murder in this case. I don’t have much sympathy for this guy though. I can maybe see asking them to turn down the stereo, but then he says he heard somebody say something about killing him and felt the need to confront them again. Then he says he saw “something” and opened fire. Guys like this need to spend more time training and less time looking for a confrontation.

      • Not necessarily. I saw a reality show where repo guys was taking an “gang banger” ie unaffordable, car. he was confronted by the gang banger and his posie. Verbal chatter ensued and the two friends look at each other and take off for no apparent reason. I said to myself they’re going to get some gats. And sure enough 60s later they return with some guns in the repo guys face. Moral of the story: just because one guy is on the ground and his friends have scattered doesn’t mean the fight is over.

  6. It’s always tragic when life is lost, and certainly if the man described in this article pulled the trigger because he didn’t like the kids’ music then he’s a murderer and should go to jail. But the article is scarce on details. What if the two young men in the SUV were aggressive and threatening upon being asked politely to turn their profanity-laced music down, and then one of them made a violent movement consistent with pulling out a weapon? How long do you have to wait before employing force to defend yourself? (And not just with a firearm…) I would argue that having to wait until you are actually being assaulted defeats the purpose of having the right to bear arms for your defense. From the video, the defendant states that the kid in the backseat picked up something off the floor that looked like a shotgun, said “You’re dead, bitch,” and started to get out of the car. At that point, fire away. “But, but what if it was just a tire iron? Or a baseball bat? Or an airsoft gun? Maybe he was just trying to scare the defendant!” Too bad. Still tragic, but totally justified.

    Secondly, watch the video attached ot the op-ed. It’s one of the most skewed, biased pieces I’ve ever seen in my life. It uses all the tricks the media perfected in the Trayvon Martin shooting; using old pictures of the victim to make him look young and innocent; emotional appeals from grieving parents; grainy, black and white video footage of the defendant in police custody. “Dunn claims he shot in self-defense after seeing a shotgun pointed at him, but police never found a firearm.” Sure, but they leave out the part where the SUV sped away from the scene, giving the kids ample time to ditch any weapons they may have had. “White Man kills Black Kid.” Screw the circumstances, forget if it was justified, it’s obviously racially motivated and the defendant should be put away for life.

    • I would speed away from somebody that was shooting at me, that’s not a indication wrong doing.
      But did they go directly to a hospital?

  7. The comments on the original article are an interesting insight into the mind of an anti gunner. It’s amazing how much hate and vitriol is being spewed towards the NRA, white people in general, Chl holders, and gun owners as a whole.

  8. Just about everything we read or hear is some combination of fact and opinion. While we’re all entitled to our own opinions, no one is entitled to his own facts. Take our Mr. Bagwell here:

    “The ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws spreading across the country allow the use of deadly force when people believe they are in imminent danger and have exhausted other means of escape.”

    Those laws do no such thing. All they do is remove the duty to retreat, providing the defender was not himself committing a crime and had a legal right to be where he was, before all the normal statutes regulating use of force kick in. They don’t “allow” anything extra. If anything, they deny prosecutors and juries the authority to second guess a defender. The laws force them to focus on the facts of whether imminent lethal danger was present, and not on coulda woulda shoulda speculation about potential escapes.

    When a writer gets the premise of the article wrong, not to mention refers to the Zimmerman case, which had no SYG component to the trial, then his credibility suffers.

  9. SYG or not, this is why developing your “soft skills” is still incredibly important.

    Legally carrying a gun and actively putting yourself into a situation where you have to use it will never play well with a judge, jury or politician.

    • +1 absolutely. The more tools you have to deal with a situation the more you can avoid going to jail or killing someone.

    • True. It’s why when someone claims “I had no other choice”, I may well agree *at that point*, but what did they do or not do leading up the encounter that allowed their options to dwindle to just one lethal option?

      I could find someone legally not guilty, but still regard them morally culpable, in certain scenarios.

  10. 99% of these situations would never happen if people were respectful to others. You can be respectful even if you are not polite or don’t like someone.

    I bring this up because the opposite of respect is hostility. If someone is not respectful to you, they are hostile. At that point it is only a question of what level of force is legally justified for your response.

    Keep in mind that the force continuum ranges from stern words to hands-on to pepper spray to less than lethal weapons to lethal force. In most cases of hostility stern words to hands-on is appropriate. Lethal force is only justified if a reasonable person concludes that a threat of death or great bodily harm is imminent.

    • Consider the number of murders committed in inner cities because someone “disrespected” the murderer. Then carefully consider how low the bar for disrespect is: one such individual mentioned that eyes can be disrespectful. So you could be killed for simply looking at someone.
      We as a country are going to a place where Tombstone might seem safe & calm by comparison.

      • Compared to South-side Chicago or North Philadelphia Tombstone was in fact a peaceful and welcoming place, so far as history allows us to know Tombstone. Even when Tombstone was an active old-west town the Lower East Side of NYC was worse. People liked the escapism of reading the penny westerns. It let them ignore the filth and violence present in their own east cost cities such as Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. It’s still the same today: Easterners talk about the ‘gun nuts’ in the west. It makes me laugh. The big crime-ridden urban neighborhoods of the east and upper-mid-west make Texas and Nevada look safe. And CA? Hell, even the Sheriff of San Francisco commits a crime of domestic violence? No wonder CA votes anti-gun. They’re voting their own secret propensities. “Stop me. Please!”

      • And those instances of murder are not legally justified. Further, I will argue that the inner-city definition of “disrespect” is wrong, not to mention the fact that inner-city types confuse rudeness with disrespect. How you look (or look away) from someone has nothing to do with respect. And if a person speaks to someone in a “disrespectful” way, then that someone is free to “meet force with force” which means they are free to respond with stern words. Unless a stranger has announced their intention to harm a person (whether verbally or physically), that person is not legally justified to use lethal force.

  11. Try and kill me or another and I will reciprocate. Cussing? No. Getting in my face? No. Armed approach? Yes. B&E in the midnight hour? You have invaded the wrong home.

  12. Do you think this jackass would have gotten out of his car and confronted the kids if he did not have a gun on him? Florida SYG is a disgrace to reasonable gun owners around the country. Instead of just ignoring annoying people, armed folks decide to confront and shoot. Pathetic.

    • and they still get charged with a crime if not justified, so what is your point? do you really think this guy shot because of SYG law?

    • In my younger day I definitely would have confronted them without a gun. I have always had a low tolerance for idiots and, back then, a certain air of invincibility that comes with youth…

      Now (slightly) older and carrying everywhere I go, I’m more apt to actually AVOID this type of thing. If things go sideways there is a good chance it’s not going to end for anyone.

      That aside, isn’t it the case that in most states without a codified “Stand Your Ground” law you can still legally use lethal force in self defense? Doesn’t stand your ground, in a legitimate self defense setting, effectively just remove your civil liability?

    • What on earth does this case have to do with FL Stand Your Ground? Nothing.

      The video and article contain this objectionable flaw, that they attempt to blend Trayvon in with another more ambiguous case, in order to rehabilitate the memory of a violent kid. But wait, there’s more: Next the claim is made that such incidents incite racial tensions. Eh? I thought it was the slanted videos, half-truth NY Times stories, and ominous marches featuring Al Sharpton that jacked up racial tension.

      Getting out of one’s car twice to tell a bunch of teenagers to turn down the music is about the stupidest thing I’ve come across lately, though.

    • No, Stand Your Ground means you don’t have to turn your back on someone who is trying to kill you, nothing more.

  13. ‘At that point, Mr. Dunn reached into his glove compartment, pulled out his handgun and shot eight rounds at the car, four of them at the back seat and four more as the car pulled away… Mr. Dunn did not call the police, believing no one had been injured, he told his lawyer…’

    First he continued to shoot at the fleeing vehicle and then he didn’t bother calling the police. I hope he doesn’t have any plans for the next 40 or 50 years.

  14. Mr. Dunn told his lawyer that he spied the barrel of a shotgun pointed his way from the back-seat window closest to him and heard a verbal threat to his life.

    More than enough to get him off if he were a cop. Lesson is if you want to shoot kids listening to music or fire wildly at fleeing vehicles and get away with it seek a job in law enforcement.

  15. Determining whether to use deadly force, or not, is the decision of the individual.

    Determining whether the use of deadly force by the individual was justified, or not, is the decision of the court and jury.

  16. I’ve got to be honest, from the details I’ve been able to glean from various sources this sounds an awful lot like a bad shoot. But that doesn’t excuse the big pile of derp coming from the NYT on the issue….

  17. Yes, the time to use deadly force is when you see someone in a pickup truck, thats ok./// This person has the guts to bring up tm as an example of when not to shoot? Well, these guys get weeded out by the people they protect. I love it when a plan comes together, Randy

  18. I read the opinion piece. The author is a racist. He admits that he struck out at every perceived slight when he was young, and though he claims to have adopted his parents’ peaceful means of dialogue and reconciliation, he is unchanged inside. His perception that “stand your ground” laws are merely a legal excuse for allowing white people to murder black youths is utter tripe. And the question he poses is a non sequitur–if your fear of immediate injury or death is reasonable, then lethal force is justified as a matter of law. End of discussion. The law does not concern itself with individual’s moral dilemmas, only conduct. Moral issues are left to the legislatures that enact the laws.

  19. This is where common courtesy comes in. When I get on an elevator with a woman, I stand opposite her instead of uncomfortably close out of respect for personal space. This is in large part to put myself in a position that is least convenient to attack someone from.

    When I handle firearms at the range, it’s in my hand pointed upwards, on the rack pointed upwards, on the bench pointed downrange or in my bag, cleared and zipped up. This is not done just to be safe but to show anyone else around that the rifle *can’t* be a danger to them. If it were to magically fire a round that round goes downrange or up in the air.

    Healthy human behavior is chock full of these shows of good faith. If someone is being recklessly dangerous you can leave their presence, if they insist on following you you can prepare yourself and if their fangs come out, so do yours.

    So in short: yes. My long answer: yes, you idiot.

    There’s a reason the laws regarding self defense so often employ the phrase “reasonable fear” of losing life or limb.

    • I love his closing line: “Is this the society we hope to leave to our children?”

      I’m always nearly in awe at the progressives ability to frame a discussion as an honest inquiry and yet structure that discussion such that only the progressive conclusion seems reasonable, by posing the question in such a way as to attempt to make any conclusion aside from their pre-chosen one emotionally uncomfortable to voice.

      Can we get a quick update on TTAG on the verdict with Michael Dunn when it arrives? We don’t need to know if he breaks any consumer electronics in six months, but i’m hoping for a conviction for this guy and i’m curious show it’ll turn out.

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