A Grand Jury has decided that Officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the shooting death of Micheal Brown. Everyone and their uncle is covering that part of the story, the riots, the politics, etc. I want to bring a different perspective, and use the events of that day to reinforce some lessons that other may not be mentioning, but definitely are worth repeating.
Lesson #1. Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes
Michael Brown, it could be argued, was a stupid person, in a stupid place, at a stupid time, doing stupid things. He won a stupid prize for his stupid behavior, and won’t ever make that mistake again. Unfortunately some stupid behavior on his part, only escalated to more stupid behavior. Ultimately you could say a $45 box of cigars cost him his life. The cigars is just where it started, he failed the attitude test with a police officer, assaulted the officer (meaning Mr. Brown was the aggressor), and ultimately paid for that box of cigars, poor decision making skills, and bad attitude with his life.
Lesson #2. Bring enough gun to the fight.
Officer Wilson shot 12 times. Not once, not twice, but twelve times. If someone is shot they do not immediately fly back 20 feet when they are hit. If the attacker is determined, 12 may not be enough. If there is more than one attacker, you may not have enough gun if all you carry is 7 rounds.
Lesson #3. You aren’t going to come out of the fight without getting hurt, at least a little.
In a life and death situation, with a determined attacker, you are going to get hurt. Officer Wilson had his head cracked pretty hard. In a fight like this, you need to apply more violence more swiftly than your assailant. If you don’t, you may not survive the encounter. (There is still a chance that you may not survive even if you are the last one standing.)
Lesson #4. Have other options.
In Officer Wilson’s testimony, in his mind he went through all the options he had available to him before deciding to draw his firearm and apply lethal force. He couldn’t reach half of the tools available to him, such as mace, his baton, taser, etc. because one of his hands was occupied in fending off the assault. What if his other hand had been tied up, instead? What if you’re in a situation where your strong side hand is preoccupied with defending yourself and you can’t get to your gun? Is that your only option? Have you just lost the fight because you didn’t have a backup plan, or an alternative? If all you carry is a gun for self defense, you aren’t carrying enough. You should have something on the other side, your support side. A knife that you can open with one hand, mace or pepper spray, even a tactical flashlight. Have something so that you can fight your way to your gun if you need to.
Lesson #5. Unarmed does not mean harmless.
The text below is from a friend of mine who serves in law enforcement;
He does not have to have a broken eye. The point is disparity of force. 6’4″ 280lbs can easily overpower 5’8″ 180lbs. Brown has already punched you In the face twice, and has grabbed at the gun while in the car. If he tackles you, he will be able to overpower you, knock you out and take the gun. Stats show if an officer loses his gun in a fight, there is an 80% chance he is going to get shot with it.
Every call an officer deals with is a “man with a gun” call, because the officer brings the gun. An officer CAN NOT allow himself to be knocked out, or overpowered. Period. Losing the gun or an attempted gun grab escalates the fight to deadly force even if the suspect is unarmed. Unarmed attackers are typically attempting to arm them self with the officers gun.
A weapon doesn’t need to be a knife or a gun either. Bricks, baseball bats, crowbars, even something as simple as a pen, can all be “weaponized” even though they are not technically weapons. No assailant is ever “unarmed.” Neither are you.
Lesson #6. If you pull the trigger, you’re going to court.
The laws in other states might be different, but in the state of Texas, if you pull the trigger on a firearm in self defense, you’re going to court. It may be the most clear cut case of self defense, with 30 camera angles, and all the witnesses saying “Thank goodness he was there!” Tough. As my friends so eloquently state on so many occasions, “you may beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.” Granted this is informal slang, but basically what it means is that the police responding to the scene aren’t the ones who will decide whether it was a justified shooting. That task is for a Grand Jury.
What other lessons can you take from these events? I’m sure there are more.