Monthly Archives: August 2014

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.