November 2014 Network Journal - Pg 2
We’ll then set aside all non-critical tasks to concentrate on packaging and addressing copies to mail to Network members.
Obtaining this new book for the 2014 educational item is a big financial commitment for the Network. At the same time investing in member knowledge pays off by creating members who are less likely to make errors of judgment or to give misleading details while handling the legal aftermath. Educated about both the law and society’s negative reaction to using force–even in undeniable self defense–Network members reading this new book will be even quicker to avoid situations that might lead to a fight.
However, if preclusion fails and a Network member is forced to choose between using a gun for defense or death or crippling injury, the member must have an understanding of the legal aftermath that will follow. “Know the standards to which you will be held,” Ayoob urges early in Deadly Force, but in a time where layers upon layers of law and precedence have been imposed upon the basic human right to self defense, how can a layperson obey that advice?
Indeed, some have asked, “Why not leave understanding how to defend self defense to your trial team?” Introducing his chapter on commonly misunderstood aspects of self-defense incidents, Ayoob sums it up thus, “If you keep or carry a firearm for defensive purposes, you are a potential victim of an unjust accusation based on legitimate actions that will need expert testimony so the jury can properly and fairly interpret the evidence to determine the facts. It will be hugely helpful in court – and to your decision-making ability at the danger scene itself – for the law-abiding armed citizen to understand these things beforehand.” He goes on to educate the reader about the many facts that police, prosecutors, judges and juries must weigh before finding the armed citizen’s use of force lawful and justifiable.
Following a tradition established in his classes, Ayoob makes understanding self-defense law easier by first distilling the elements that must be present to justify self defense and then fully explaining them in everyday terms. These he blends with explanations rendered in the same words you and I might use in daily conversation. Each element of justification is illustrated with stories of the defendants on whose trial teams Ayoob has served as the expert witness.
For example, while “mantle of innocence” may be used by lawyers to explain that a client avoided escalating an argument leading up to an attack against them, Ayoob writes that one who fails to preserve their innocence “kept the ball rolling” in a confrontation and will be judged to bear some responsibility for being part of the conflict. He gives “bare fear” and “reasonable fear” the same treatment in colorful terms that stick in the mind and later does the same for the Latin malum prohibitum and malum in se and for the doctrine of necessity.
An important side effect of knowledge is increased confidence in actions undertaken in self defense when you have no choice but to resort to lethal force to remain alive. In his chapter on what constitutes an assailant’s ability to kill or cripple, Ayoob details knife and bludgeon lethality, explaining how employing a firearm in defense against either may be painted as excessive. The reader comes away further convinced of the necessity of being able to stop non-gun attacks quickly and decisively.
Nowadays Internet arguing is a high art form and discussions between those genuinely interested in uncovering the truth are often interrupted by online trolls who dispute the facts then challenge, “Show me the court cases.”