September 2013 - Pg 15-Attorney
A case in which I worked on the defense side settled advantageously for us shortly after we found the teenage plaintiff’s website, in which he nicknamed himself “Li’l Fucker,” and showed photos of himself lasciviously exposing and bragging about the gunshot wound scar on his upper thigh (“Hey, girls …”) that the complaint in his lawsuit claimed had caused him extreme embarrassment and emotional distress.
I recently counseled a client to stop proclaiming in his e-mails to friends that he regularly violated a particular jurisdiction’s gun laws, by carrying his handgun there illegally. The saying we’ve all heard, “I’d rather be tried by twelve than carried by six,” has a catchy ring to it until it is introduced as evidence before the twelve jurors who are trying you.
Consider in advance how it will affect a jury considering your use of deadly force in a road rage incident to see police evidence photos of the bumper sticker reading “Insured by Smith & Wesson” on your pickup truck, together with photos of a Confederate flag in your truck’s back window. Stay away from custom grips for your .45 that have a black widow spider or a skull and crossbones on them, and from using “Zombie Killer” ammunition.
I and many other instructors and law enforcement agencies have long ago stopped calling the “two to the body, one to the head” technique a “Mozambique Drill,” due to the potential racial connotations of that name. It’s now a “stopping failure drill.”
In a case I worked in a few years ago, all of the books on the bookshelves in the gun-owner’s gun room were photographed, along with a half-consumed bottle of Scotch and a shot glass on the top shelf.
Although there was no evidence or allegation of drinking at the time of the gun accident, it would have been better not to have a bottle of liquor in the gun room altogether. If they were your books, would you like the jury to see a photo showing titles like Improvised Explosive Devices, Home-made Silencers, and Planning for Armageddon? As a defense expert witness in a high-profile murder case, I was once hotly cross-examined because I had, several years earlier, written some gun articles that were published in Soldier of Fortune magazine. (“Could you please tell the jury what a soldier of fortune is?” “Is that another term for a mercenary?” “Have you trained military personnel in foreign countries?” “Are you a mercenary?”) I avoid drinking alcohol in public when I’m carrying a gun, because in the unlikely event that I am forced to use my gun in self defense, I don’t want my level of alcohol consumption, or the fact that the responding officer smelled alcohol on my breath, or any question about whether my judgment or perception or skill level might have been impaired, to have any possibility of finding their way into the police officer’s notes, or the newspaper or television coverage, or the trial if there is one.
I’m not trying to mandate how you should dress, or what books you should read, or what you should eat or drink or publish on Facebook, or what kind of gun or ammunition you should carry. But as adults in a litigious society, where the criminal justice system and the media may in some cases be decidedly anti-gun and anti-self-defense, you need to realize that your actions and choices can have consequences. It would be a good idea for some gun owners to grow up, and begin using some common sense.