MAG40 Notes 9

There is a crossover between police response and police investigation. An assigned investigating officer will make a recommendation to the DA as to whether to press charges. You will want to give this man the right impression.

This man does not entirely agree with “don’t talk to cops.” He is a cop. Use your discretion. If you are truly and unimpeachably innocent (as you are) then you may speak to them. When the defense attorney tells you to shut up, you don’t necessarily shut up. It is entirely possible that your attorney has never defended an innocent man!

Conserve words. Don’t talk too much (Don Draper, y’all). Establish your own innocense and victimhood: “He attacked my child/me/wife/that guy/raped the puppies and if he survives I will press charges!”

What do the cops need to know that will convince them of your innocence? Tell them who saw what happened. Identify witnesses. Tell them where badguy’s bullets went. You are innocent. Act like it. That does not mean “answer all questions.”

The man interrogating you is not your friend. He does not get bonus points for finding innocent people. He gets points for catching bad guys. He assumes you are badguy. He is there to get you to say what he believes needs to be said. He is interested in what he wants to hear, not what you say. He has assumptions. His assumption is that you are guilty. He is an imperfect human being and he is very goddamn busy. He may misunderstand your account and if that misunderstanding makes it into the police report then he is committed to it and you. are. fucked.

So don’t confuse him. Don’t use too many words. Tell him the active dynamic. Do not answer specific questions. “I am a victim. He was there, that guy was over there, that guy shot and I can’t explain more because this is important and I should talk to my lawyer.”

Submit. Do not resist arrest. Act innocent because YOU ARE INNOCENT.

Do not call your lawyer at 3am Friday night. That is a waste of a call. Call a ‘trusted other,’ a spouse, best friend, or parent. Someone with a stable and normal life who can be contacted reliably (not the globe-trotting fun-loving uncle who’s in Thailand this week ok?) This person should have numbers for your attorney, your backup attorney, your attorney’s home phone number, and a way to get you an attorney. Your attorney’s nephew is not backup. Get an experienced trial lawyer with 20 cases. Sorry Pete.

A bondsman will probably be necessary. Don’t cheat the bondsman. He owns you. Bounty hunters are not nice people. They have invisibility at level 1 and Jinada hurts. You do not want to meet bounty hunters. Also they are expensive. Good fucking luck with that.

Your trusted other should also have access to your high dollar private investigator.

Trusted other should be able to call in ten thousand blades to your defense. You cannot do that from jail.

If you retain an attorney, it makes you look like a professional criminal. Hire an attorney for an hour and ask him about the DA and the feelings of the city on guns.

MAG40 Notes 8

In cases where a gun has been drawn, cops will always be called. To an officer, you are a man with a gun at the scene of a crime.

Being a cop breeds cynicism and an “us and them” attitude.

These factors lead to the possibility of a mistaken identity shooting. The responding officer may not be uniformed, leading you to engage him by mistake. He may decide you’re badguy and shoot you, what with you having a gun and all.

3 rings of safety:

  1. The message. Cause a message to be sent to the police describing the situation and physically describing you, the goodguy: “There has been an armed robbery. The robber is down, the citizen holding the robber at gunpoint is 6 feet tall with fair skin dark hair and blue eyes. He carries a Glock.”
  2. The welcoming committee. The officers are met by someone they can trust who will repeat the message. Ideally this is the same person who sends the message, a manager at a store or bank, a trustworthy well-dressed professional, or grandma. Tell this person to lock all the doors and open them only to identified police. Assume worst-case scenarios.
  3. You. You are the innermost ring of safety. Your demeanor and bearing must be nonthreatening to the incoming officers. They will order you to drop your weapon and you will do it. Do not turn toward them with a gun in your hand. Put yourself in the place where you can see the first officer coming and be ready for him to yell at you. Be prepared to holster one-handed by feel, which marks you as skilled with the gun. If ordered to drop it, fucking drop it, after verifying that he’s a cop.

To drop it: turn to the side and drop straight down. SLOW motion. Step on the gun once dropped.

The cop may speak to you abusively. Let it go. This is not a time for pride.

MAG40 Notes Part 7

Interaction with witnesses is important. Witnesses are given great weight, especially “impartial” witnesses. This is despite the fact that they might not have been paying any attention and they might be biased based on prior life experience. Anyone see “12 Angry Men”?

We must be able to articulate why our testimony may indeed be valid, why we have picked up on danger cues that a witness might miss.

If we’re not paying attention or are paying attention to something else, we are stricken by inattentional blindness. We will not notice something for which we are not looking. If we don’t know what we’ve seen, it will not register.

A ‘percipient witness’ is one who participated.

A trained fighter will see a telegraphed punch and know that the counterpunch was justified. A layman will not. Coach the attorney to ask whether a layman witnesses  who didn’t see badguy go to gun might not have been qualified to notice. It’s like the blind men with the elephant.

There’s also a tendency to trust one’s own expertise, and to believe that “If I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.” People only see one thing at once. Things happen despite our failure to notice them.

Confabulation is not a deliberate lie. The witness starts at condition white, with little awareness, and goes “oh my god what the fuck” while he pieces the situation together based on preconceived notions and a limited reading of the evidence. This limited reading will gel and become indistinguishable from true-to-life memory. The witness will honestly believe a series of events which may have nothing to do with what really happened.

Elizabeth Lofthus has a series of books on this sort of thing.

Do not attempt to lead a witness. It will backfire. Don’t put words in the witness’s mouth. The witness will think you are a lying asshole. Do not attempt to lead a witness.

Do fulfill your responsibility to witnesses. That responsibility is inherent to the decision to carry a gun. Witnesses may think you’re badguy. You still have responsibilities. Worry about the other good guys with guns. Worry about badguy’s associates. Worry about whether badguy is incapacitated in truth. Worry about whether he has other victims nearby. Carrying a gun and taking control of a situation compels you to care for the people around you.

A pointing finger and a command break apathy and demand action. doing so gets people involved and deputizes them as assistant leaders. “Call the police, call an ambulance.” The words ‘Police’ and ‘Ambulance’ survive language barriers well. “911” might not.

“Has he hurt anyone else? Look around and see.” This establishes badguy as such.

MAG40 Notes 6

It’s not about “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.” It’s about threat management. If anyone dies, including the perpetrator, somewhere there is a failure to control the system. The ideal operation ends with everyone alive and well, including badguy.

Do not impersonate police officers.

If badguy runs, let him run. If he shoots, shoot him back first.

Use a strong, intimidating shooting stance. For intimidation and to stop without bloodshed, aim at his pelvis. If you aim center-mass, your gun blocks your view of his hands. A broken pelvis stops movement very fast. Furthermore, if you miss, it’s less likely that your bullet will injure a bystander on its way to the ground, given the relative angle. The pelvis also stops bullets very reliably, preventing overpenetration. Finally, nobody wants to be shot in the genitals.

A shot to the pelvis stops an unarmed assailant or one armed with a contact weapon. An assailant armed with a gun is still armed. For a reliable stop, you should familiarize yourself with tactical anatomy. “Aim where you’d do CPR.” Always aim to stop, never to kill.


MAG40 Notes Part 5

Sorry y’all, I really dropped the ball on this. Peter’s bachelor party was awesome, though. I’m sure the three people who read this were very disappointed with the lack of daily updates.

Fleeing Felon shooting: read the Garner decision, TN v. Garner. The decision states that you can only shoot this suspect if his continued freedom and activity present a danger. Garner was fourteen years old.

There are 6 criteria for when it’s okay to shoot a fleeing felon:

  1.  Shooting must involve a heinous felony against the person, against life and limb, not just property. Murder, attempoted murder, stranger kidnapping (not non-custodial relative!), arson of occupied structures, violent sexual assault.
  2. You know beyond a reasonable doubt that this is the perpetrator. You must have seen him do it. Cops shooting those women delivering newspapers during the Dorner thing would surely have failed this criterion if they were prosecuted like the rest of us. It’s not enough to see him pick up a bloody knife (or a pistol, see Zamudio at Giffords shooting).
  3. You should be identified and identifiable as the good guy. Chasing and shooting at unarmed badguy in the back makes one appear to be badguy oneself.
  4. Suspect escape would be open-ended. If he’s running toward a police roadblock, you don’t shoot, because capture is imminent.
  5. All other means of capture have failed or are obviously impossible or unlikely to succeed under the circumstances.
  6. Suspect’s continued freedom presents a clear and present danger to innocent human life and limb.

In any case, a private citizen never has any duty to shoot.

Read the dissenting opinion in Garner. Presidentender has a higher standard for the use of lethal force than at least 2 sitting supreme court justices.

MAG40 Notes 4

Internet adolescent: “Shoot him inside, drag him outside, put a kitchen knife in his hand.” This is very stupid. It is untruthful, dishonorable, and unlikely to work. Forensics can figure that shit out. This makes you a liar and undermines the true statements you might make later. It’s also obstruction of justice and might be construed as premeditation. Giving such advice is subordination of perjury and is a felony.

Don’t give this advice.

Ball ammo tends to overpenetrate. Be sure of your target and what is beyond. You are accountable for the stuff beyond the target. Even if you miss, JHP has much less tendency to overpenetrate.

If the prosecution refers to the JHP ammo you carry as “cop killer bullets” or something, call a police officer as a witness, and ask what he carries.

Hollow points are, counterintuitively, more humane. You have fewer average shots before a reliable stop. A guy shot fewer times has fewer holes from which to bleed to death. A faster and more reliable stop also limits badguy’s ability to continue badguying.

Choose a load for reliability, controllability, optimum penetration, , reduced ricochet, and a proven field record. (Next time someone posts on /r/guns about the latest iteration of the solid copper hollow point, point to the lack of a track record.)

A furtive movement is a sudden, suspicious movement consistent with going for a weapon but not reasonably indicative of anything else under the circumstances. In and of itself a furtive movement does not justify the use of lethal force. It indicates the ability to cause harm (he has a weapon) but not the opportunity or jeopardy. All of these factors must be considered as part of the totality of circumstances.

Suicide by cop – guy makes a furtive movement so that the cop or armed citizen will shoot him. The officer’s attorney might argue that this validates Darwin. Presidentender believes this is sad.

Note to badguy: don’t try to scare people who are already so afraid that they’re pointing guns at you.

MAG40 Notes Part 3

5 levels of proof:

  1. Mere suspicion. Belief not founded in authenticable fact. Never act, much less use force, based on mere suspicion.
  2. Articulable suspicion. Means you can explain why you suspected.
  3. Probably cause. More than suspicion, less than certainty. Arrests are allowed based on probable cause in order to gather evidence.
  4. Preponderance of evidance. More than 50% sure. This is the standard applied for the burden of proof in cases of an affirmative defense.
  5. Beyond a reasonable doubt. A reasonable person would have no doubt about this proof.
  6. Beyond all doubt. This is never achieved.

Mere suspicion corresponds to condition white, articulable suspicion to yellow, probable cause to orange, and so on.

The answer to “did you shoot to kill” is always “no.” You shoot to stop the threat. Not to wound, not to kill, but to stop the evil that this man intended to do. Better than he live. Better still that he never bring more harm to others.

“Sorry” has contextual meaning. It may connote guilt if the judge is a dictionary. Don’t say you’re sorry, that you regret or that you feel remorse. It’s more complicated than that. You feel compassion, sadness, but you are not sorry to be alive. You do not regret that you will see your hypothetical grandchildren. You do not feel remorse that your wife is not a widow.

Fear: articulate the fear that prompted the shot. Absent reasonable fear there can be no justifiable use of force. Not terror, which is unreasoning. Reasonable fear. Great fear. Not panic, not terror.

The only time you can be restricted to “yes” or “no” answers is if you are treated as a hostile witness.

“Do you still beat your wife?” “Your honor, I cannot give a straight answer to a trick question, may I explain?”

“Counsel, I am well aware that I am under oath. I am equally aware that you are not.”

“Why did you threaten him?” “Counsel, I performed my duty to warn.”

Duty to warn does exist. Badguy threatens. Good people warn. That’s why it’s “DON’T MOVE” and not “Go ahead, make my day.” Clint Eastwood characters don’t have to answer to courts because they’re movie characters.

In a self-defense shooting you are always the victim. Establish that right away. Call the police immediately before the attacker can do so.

MAG40 Notes Part 2

The justification for homicide is immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent. ‘Otherwise unavoidable’ is important, here; if you can run, you run. Castle doctrine or stand your ground laws might legally mitigate this, but it’s Presidentendential policy to maintain standard of care as if Castle Doctrine and SYG do not exist.

Other than Castle Doctrine states, the danger must be immediate, unavoidable, and presented to the innocent. You do not shoot the police in order to protect a felon from being shot by them. You do not shoot the vice cop who’s being arrested and crying ‘rape.’ You don’t shoot the big guy beating up the little guy if the little guy has a knife. You don’t shoot unless you must.

Badguy must have the ability to present the threat, the opportunity to exercise his ability, and put the innocent in jeopardy.

Ability means that badguy has the power to kill or cripple. This power might stem from a weapon, such as a knife or gun; it might stem from vastly superior strength, or from some other factor. The important consideration is disparity of force. Numbers can create such a disparity. A very strong man faced with violence by a gang or a lynch mob cannot rely on the strength of his body.

Men versus women are always assumed to have the ability to cause harm. If Woody Allen attacks Chyna, Allen is probably fucked in court. This also means that a rapist is automatically using disparate force and is therefore susceptible to being stopped by justifiable homicide. Women with guns tend to have the advantage, even against similarly armed men.

If you have become disabled during a confrontation, then the force becomes disparate, even if you were physically peer to your adversary at the outset. This means that if opportunity and jeopardy are present, a shoot might be justified.

If the attacker is known to the victim to be skilled in the use of force, then responding with lethal force to a threat by him is justified. As an aside, it might be best not to run around bragging about your days with the Airborne Ranger SPEALZNAZ.

Opportunity means that badguy cannot reasonably kill you from across the street. If he shouts “I’m going to kill you,” but can’t reach you, then you have a duty to flee. Opportunity applies mostly to contact weapons rather than guns. Badguy can probably shoot that far.

Distance might prevent opportunity. Obstacles might prevent opportunity. ‘Distance’ is for the jury to understand. Always tell the truth. Don’t claim that he could reach you if he couldn’t. Don’t kill just because you think you might be able to get away with it. Killing is to be avoided.

Jeopardy means that the assailant is acting in a manner a reasonable person would conclude is in line with an intent to kill or cripple.

When ability, opportunity and jeopardy exist, then and only then is lethal force justified.

Ayoob covers several self-defense cases. I will not recite them, because his analysis of them is a huge part of the value of the class, and I want you to have to pay for it rather than getting it all for free.

If you carry, do not carry an insufficiently energetic cartridge. Do not carry a .22. Carry a spare magazine.

At this point Ayoob begins to discuss the skills of handgun use. Again, you will have to give Ayoob money to learn what he has to say, although someone might at some point have written some things on /r/guns and maybe you could use the search function possibly to learn about how to shoot a handgun.

Ayoob recommends the affirmative defense: the defendant acknowledges that he shot the deceased, and then proceeds to argue that the shooting was justified. This differs from other options, arguing that someone else shot or that a specific other dude shot or that it went off by itself. Again, pay Ayoob for a complete version.

The priorities of survival must be straight. Just as a Stradivarius doesn’t make you a violinist, expensive gizmoshit doesn’t make you a great hero. Don’t get hung up arguing about 9mm vs .40 vs .45 or Glock vs H&K or what-have-you. None are magic.

Priorities: mental preparedness, tactics, skill with the safety equipment, and only then optimum choice of safety equipment.

The gun is not the weapon. The mind is the weapon. The gun is a tool. A competent man with a .38 is better off than some fool with a .44 Magnum he purchased as a codpiece.

Jeff Cooper was a soldier. Mas Ayoob is a cop. Cooper’s 4 colors are Ayoob’s 5; Ayoob adds condition black back to the mix.

If you agree to be interviewed by the police in the aftermath of a shooting, you should have the interview videotaped by a professional legal steganographic service.

Ego-investment careers, such as attorneys, doctors, and police, make for bad defendants. They can sound especially callous, especially if the interview is reduced to a transcript. The video guarantees that the jury can see facial expressions and hear inflection. And make sure that your attorney is in the interview with you.

Can shoot does not mean must shoot. Many threats will surrender when faced with the gun. Let the threat live if he ceases to present a threat.

MAG40 Notes 1

Ayoob introduces the course by saying that “Most shooting schools offer a major in how to do it, with a minor in when. This is a major in when to shoot, with a minor in how.” That’s a pretty accurate picture of the course content: while there was a range portion, trigger time was not the primary focus of the course. That makes MAG40 or the classroom MAG20 extremely useful to the gun enthusiast who spends more time shooting and less time reading: it gives you a perspective you might not have considered. In my opinion (not Ayoob’s), if guys like Zimmerman took these courses and gave consideration to these factors, we’d see a whole lot less media feeding frenzy over self-defense shootings and probably a more polite society in general.

You must be able to articulate the reason why you did what you did. You must be able to convince a group of 12 strangers, specifically chosen for their lack of sympathy to your perspective that your use of force was justified. You must be authentic, and you must tell the truth. There’s a legal fiction called the ‘Doctrine of the Reasonable Man’: would a reasonable person have acted as you did, given the same background and placed in the same circumstances?

In order to make this as clear as possible, you must be able to pick up danger cues, and you must impress upon the jury your ability to pick up danger cues. It is reasonable to act on danger cues, but only if you notice them.

A given adult male can turn 90 degrees in a quarter of a second, or turn his back completely in about half a second. If he’s quartering on approach (leading strongly with one side of his body) it’s not unreasonable to think that he might be able to turn his back to you faster. You react to anticipated stimulus in about 1/4 of a second; it’s impossible to test, experimentally, how fast a person reacts to unanticipated stimulus. An assailant turning his back is unanticipated. This means that you might not stop firing as he turns. If you have drawn and are firing 4-6 shots per second (which is pretty normal), he may well be inadvertently shot in the back, even if this wasn’t your intention.

Ayoob also covers the OODA loop, which I will not reproduce here. He mentions that his use of profanity is on account of the inherent vulgarity of the topic. We should not ennoble that which is innately ugly.

The ultimate success is deterrence. A shooting death is an indication that one has done wrong. There is no winner in a gun fight. There are only reduced or mitigated losses.

Threat management, therefore, is the meat of the course. The gun is not an evil talisman and the trigger does not pull the finger. The presence of the gun should create more caution, not the swaggering bravado that seems to say “I can do whatever I want and you can’t fuck with me because I’m armed.” One might even think “I cannot punch this man. I am carrying a gun.”

A gun owner must adhere to a higher standard of care. Much as medical training teaches us that we shouldn’t move someone with a possible C-spine injury, and an EMT can therefore be held accountable for injuries resulting from such action when a layman cannot, a cop or a gun owner has no excuse to misuse force. He must be judged according to a stricter set of rules.

Guns are not like the magic rock that keeps tigers away. They are not protective amulets versus evil. They’re like fire extinguishers, safety and rescue equipment. It provides a line of safety for you and yours and stabilizes the situation until trained professionals can get there. A gun owner is like a first responder, with first response training. He’s not like a doctor who’s been to medical school. The first responder hands the situation off to the EMTs or paramedics, who hand it off to the doctors. Gun owners hand the situation off to police and judges.

It is more often appropriate to speak or to physically restrain an aggressor than to draw and fire.

Deadly force or lethal force: that degree of force which a reasonable person would consider capable of causing death or grave bodily harm. A warning shot is lethal force.

Grave bodily harm is a fancy way of saying “crippling injury.”

Do not use lethal force unless you are certain that you are authorized by law to kill the target. The truth is strong, and truth will set you free. Do not lie and pretend that the situation was different as part of your legal defense. If you suck one cock you are a cocksucker. If you tell on lie you are a liar. You are on ice. Walk where the ice is thick.

Justifiable homicide means that it was right to kill. You never ever have a duty to kill.

Excusable homicide is largely archaic. “Probably shouldn’t have killed him, but I can see where someone might make that mistake.”

Manslaughter: no evil intent, but reckless and wanton disregard for human life.

Murder: caused death with malice.

  • 1st degree murder: Premeditated. Coldly planned.
  • 2nd degree murder: “Crime of passion.” Caught Presidentender in bed with Zaptal and killed us both because of how much you love me.
  • Capital murder: kill a LEO or prison guard on duty, assassinate a politician, kill a victim during kidnapping or rape.
  • Felony murder: murder committed during the commission of another felony. If you commit a felony and someone dies as a result, even if you weren’t trying to kill them, it’s still murder.

The power of justifiable homicide must come with commensurate responsibility. It is your responsibility to do right. Do not leave your gun where Adam Lanza can get it.

Anyone who carries a gun in public does so with the anticipation that he may someday have to use it; why else would he carry? He has a responsibility therefore to be well-trained and to prove to someone that his shot will fly true. (Presidentendential aside: seriously, if you’re carrying without so much as a long weekend of professional training, fuck you.)

Scumbags, criminals, wogs, gooks, japs, jerries, evil men and Ted Bundy are human beings. Death of such men is to be avoided if possible. Fuck you if you want to kill.

The standard of care for use of force by a police officer is necessary force to fulfill and acquit his duties. The standard of care for use of force by a citizen is equal force to that presented by the threat. This means that a police officer can dislocate a perp’s shoulder to stop resistance, but a citizen cannot, because the citizen does not have the cop’s obligations. (Aside: shouldn’t that mean that the cop should have a legal obligation to help? I mean it’s been held in the past that they don’t.)



Presidentender’s MAG40 Notes: Introduction

In days of yore, Presidentender did take a course from Massad Ayoob, which was MAG40 and it was good.

And Ayoob did speak to the class, saying “Verily, students, thou shalt write the words I speak, even in your notebooks, and later shalt thou copy the words that thou hast writed, and send them via certified mail to a person you trust, and that certified mail shall serve as a record that you did in fact take this class and if and when you are on trial as part of a self-defense incident the transcript of your notes shall serve as a testament to your state of mind and your competency and shall be useful in convincing judge jury and society that you did the right thing probably.”

And Presidentender did think “Yes, this shall I do,” and then he did not, because he is really lazy but only now it’s like three years later and he found his MAG40 notes so here they are.

I’m not copying the entire content of the MAG40 course. Ayoob has to eat, and the course itself should provide you as much value as possible. I am providing enough of the notes to give you some benefit and serve as a convincing advertisement for MAG40 and all of the Massad Ayoob Group’s course offerings.

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2