Take my word for it! Oh but I didn’t mean it like that!
“Yeah, I’ve seen that guy slinking around here. I can’t wait for him to come to my house so I can cut him in half with my AK 47”!
A statement like this, posted on social media, even if spoken in jest, can significantly change your chances from going home to spending the rest of your life in an 8 by 10 with bars and a roommate who really really likes you.
Specifically when related to cases of self-defense, statements like this can tip the scales in a way we don’t want, and may not even expect. The statement above (which has been slightly paraphrased from the original) was posted on a social media group page about local crime, where someone posted a photo of a suspicious person in a neighborhood who was looking in garage windows and ringing doorbells. Although this page is intended to be helpful, how you post on it can also be used against you in court, showing an intent, or even premeditation to take this guy out. A prosecutor might even find a way to argue that you found a way to “lure” or “bait” the guy to try something at your home so you could “cut him in half with your AK”.
Guess what- What you say can and will be used against you!
This really is silly though, right? People are smarter than this and know better than to say stupid things like that. Cough! Snort! Look at the following headline and picture. Are they smiling in the photo now?
“Trespassers Will Be Shot” idiot convicted of murder
I have had dozens of conversations at tables I have manned at gun shows, at special events, gun stores, and other places. Many times I have felt the need to pick my jaw up off the ground after hearing statements like the one above. I have also heard people say “anyone coming onto my property lets me use my gun and backhoe the same day”, “if I shoot them, all I need to do is drag them inside the front door and I will be fine”. “my place is posted, so if they are on my property I can do anything I want”.
It’s ok, my friends have my back!
One attorney tells of a case he tried to have moved to a different city. The defendant refused because the Jury would be made up of his friends. After his conviction the Attorney found the Jury at the local bar. When asked what happened, because he felt he had presented a pretty good case for no intent on part of the defendant, the Jury just said, “He was an asshole and we thought, what’s the most time we could get him put away for, and that’s what we chose”.
Along the same line are signs in your yard and bumper stickers on your vehicle. These speak volumes to juries, and give the prosecutor a whole new avenue to pursue on the highway to convict you. You know the ones I’m talking about. Here are some examples:
I admit! These are funny. I’m totally sure you INTEND them to be funny too. But also kind of like- don’t mess with me real. Which is it? That may be for the jury to decide. Why give them that option.
Massad Ayoob, one of our Nation’s foremost experts in the Self-Defense arena has a mantra called CYA. I’m sure you all have heard of it right? The proverbial “Cover Your A**”. He likes to rephrase that like this: Can You Articulate, Can You Authenticate. In other words how good are you at explaining, in a clear and concise way, what that means, and can you authenticate that your explanation is the way it should be interpreted.
How about this- Don’t put yourself in the position of needing to explain that in the first place!
When I have conversations with professionals in the industry one thing often comes up. The clearer and more concise things are the easier they are to prove. If you are behind the table in the seat labeled “defendant”, how many obstacles do you want to be in place for your attorney to overcome in order for you to go home to your family? The plains of Kansas, or the Rocky Mountains of Colorado? I like the saying “KISS”, Keep It Simple Stupid. Open and shut. Innocent, court adjourned, let’s all go home.
Want to know more about Alaska’s self defense laws and how they apply to you? Check out our Level 1 Course where you’ll get 2 hours with an attorney explaining the law as it’s written and our Use of Deadly Force Course where you’ll learn more about the law’s practical application.