Thursday, August 08, 2013

Broad Ripple Shooter Update

     The case is going before a grand jury, who will be deciding if he acted as "a reasonable man" would have behaved in the same circumstances.

     Remember those words!  If you're ever involved in anything but the most straightforward armed self-defense situation, that's (probably -- local laws differ) the standard you'll be evaluated by, too.  This is yet another reason to do your darnedest to avoid having to shoot folks well in advance of actual confrontation.  You may be pure of heart, as stalwart as John Wayne and as skilled as a ninja, but in the end, what you did in the blur of the moment will be analyzed by a bunch of your peers sitting in comfy chairs with lawyers, police and a judge around, and if they don't think what you did was reasonable....  Ahem.

     The grand jury system is not without faults but they'll be getting testimony from the sources instead of filtered through a reporter and we will, in time, at least find out if the guy's a ham sandwich.  Will he be charged?  Will there be a trial?  Stay tuned.

     The more I hear about this, the less I think I know.


Bubblehead Les. said...

Having stood in front of a Judge defending my Actions when I shot at my Home Invader, I recommend that one have a Lawyer on Speed Dial if one ever has to pull the Trigger.

TriggerFinger said...

Don't forget, juries are scared of people who think they are ninjas, resent the pure of heart for being above their own moral failings, and think John Wayne was a crazy cowboy who reminds them of Bush. :)

The key, I think, to the reasonable man standard is to convince the jury to put itself in your shoes, to remember that people are fallible and that self-defense situations are dynamic and that mistakes or less-than-ideal choices happen.

If a member of the jury can see himself or herself doing pretty much what the defendant did, there's a good chance they'll vote to acquit. Most juries aren't made up of ninjas in cowboy hats and crusader suits. I suspect being too competent would be a negative, except for police officers.

Paul said...

It is the reasonable man they can't find. According to prosecution the reasonable man is a mental case with a lobotomy.

Tam (remotely) said...

" I suspect being too competent would be a negative..."

So your suspicion is that incompetence would be looked on favorably by your fellow citizens?

TriggerFinger said...

Tam: My suspicion is that juries appreciate competence that they can identify with, but don't identify well with people who think and act like operators unless they actually *are* operators (military or police).

If you're in a self-defense situation and you haven't done everything perfectly, juries will find it easier to forgive you your mistakes if you come across as a normal person.

If you come across as Tactical Timmy the Mall Cop who thinks he is John Wayne the ninja operator, that's a problem. Not an insurmountable one, but still a problem.

Tam (remotely) said...

Define "Tactical Timmy the Mall Cop who thinks he is John Wayne the ninja operator."

JohninMd(help?) said...

Mas Ayoob pointed out the first real clue Zimmerman was going to be a show trial was when the State bypassed the Grand Jury in favor of a "Special" Prosecutor. The DA prolly thought the Grand Jury's Bull Dukey detectors woulda pegged on that evidence....

TriggerFinger said...

Tam, I suspect a jury would feel more comfortable with a guy or girl who goes shooting a weekend or two at their local range each month and maybe has a concealed-carry license than with someone who regularly pays thousands of dollars for tactical self-defense training and appears to be in between a "normal person" and a legitimate expert.

If you are familiar with the uncanny valley in computer graphics, it's a similar concept. At one level, the jury sees you as a reasonable person and is willing to forgive mistakes or confusion. At another level the jury sees you as an expert or authority figure who has legitimate expertise and competence.

In between is the person who seems to be trying to behave like an expert without actually being an expert. That person loses the benefit of the jury being forgiving, but may not yet be able to convince the jury they have legitimate expertise.

I am NOT saying the jury is necessarily right to react this way. Just that I think a jury would do so, depending on how a defensive shooter was presented.

Tam said...

" Just that I think a jury would do so..."

Based on what evidence?

Mas Ayoob, who notes that malicious prosecutors who have no facts to stand on will instead attack the character of the shooter, has mentioned that, all in all, it's easier to defend competence than incompetence.

This being a topic of some professional interest to me, I am always on the lookout for data proving or disproving it.

TriggerFinger said...

I'm going to throw this out too -- my original comment was meant more as a joke than a serious debate proposition.

TriggerFinger said...

"Based on what evidence" -- none, just speculation.

Tam (remotely) said...

I was seriously curious.

I do know that mock juries in one study tended to be harsher on competent women and incompetent men, for example.

Paul said...

Most times in a analysis one point does not a line make.

I am seriously curious about this subject as well.

Zimmerman is not the only person who has been treated badly on a defensive shoot.

I recall a fellow down Texas or Arizona way that got caught up in a defensive shoot with some neighbors that did not fight fair. Mas helped in that case as I recall.

This is one area I know more than I should and less than I could so it does concern me as to what constitutes a good defensive use.

Shermlock Shomes said...

Tam said, "So your suspicion is that incompetence would be looked on favorably by your fellow citizens?"

Two words: Barack Obama

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Sherm, to what location would you like your Internets sent?

Old NFO said...

It will be interesting to see which way this one goes, and you're right. Timmy Tactical would NOT be the right 'appearance' to put on...

Anonymous said...

Superficially, this reminds me of the the Gerald Ung case in Philly a couple of years back. Ung was acquitted, as I recall, mostly on the strength of surveillance video showing him retreating as he was being rushed by multiple (but unarmed) attackers.


Ed said...

From what I am reading, this shooting occurred outside of a nightclub during late night or early morning hours.

The question will be asked if this was part of some type of alcohol based dispute that escalated or some random attack.

Whether the shooter was drinking at the time will also be called into question.

With a little research into news accounts, which could be completely inaccurate, I found:

"Indianapolis Metro Police arrested Tristan Crayton, 28, of Westfield. Police say Crayton was at the RA Nite Club (formerly CT Peppers) when one of his friends got into an argument with another man.

Everyone involved in the argument got kicked out of the bar.

As Crayton and his friends were getting into a vehicle, police say the men involved in the earlier argument - Andrew Allen of Carmel, Gabriel Daniels of Filmore and Raymond Williams of Indianapolis - approached them and accosted them. Police say Crayton's friend was punched in the face."

According to police, Crayton, who possesses a lifetime permit to carry, fired his handgun. Allen, Daniels and Williams were injured. A fourth victim, Samuel Wade, was struck by a stray bullet. Wade was a passerby and was not involved in the argument."

Anyway, even if someone is completely innocent and had nothing to do with starting or escalating the argument, situations like this are not viewed favorably by courts and jurors, especially since he hit an innocent bystander several times.

It reads like you were out drinking and got into an argument which escalated into a fight which escalated into a shooting--an escalation of an alcohol based event. These types of disputes are not exactly unknown at places that serve alcohol.

It comes across as shooting someone who you got into an alcohol based dispute with outside of a place where you were just thrown out of for having this dispute.

Matthew said...


Your comment made me think about the Operator School for Operators meme.

Appearances and packaging matter.

"Defensive Pistol III" can contain essentially the exact same training as "Enhanced Operator III" but at trial the course title and video and pictures of you, fellow students, and instructor in khakis and a polo shirts using normal English versus full camo and milspeak are going to present different perceptions of "competence."

Concerned citizen versus "wanna-be."

The trappings of militaria gain you exactly zero in practical effect for self-defense, it is -all- ego stroking. There's no possible practical up-side, and Ma and Pa Kettle on the jury certainly won't identify with it, so why do it if your interest is self-defense?

Tam said...


"Enhanced Operator III"

Do you have a link to which school offers that handgun class?

I have never seen a pistol class where anybody was in cammies, although I guess they dress that way in that one? Which trainer is it?

Roberta X said...

Swelp me, when I am rich, I will open a shooting school (Tam can be the instructor) an' we're gonna have a "Night Operator III" course for the truly advanced student.

On Day One, everyone is issued cammo jammies, in their choice of hues and either long nightshirt style or a footie, drop-seat union suit, and you by-gosh have to shoot the whole course wearing that an' carryin' a stuffed animal, in low light. Extra credit for wearing a long, tasseled nightcap, too. And we'll tape the whole thing.

'Cos if you can shoot okay and exercise proper judgement under those circumstances, you'll prolly do okay in the real world; and you won't be much tempted to brag about what an Operator y'are afterwards.

Yessirree, Bobbi an' Tammie's* Cammo Jammies "Night Operator II" course. It separates the posers and wannabes from the "wanna-learn."
* Do. Not. EVER. call her that. *I'm* gonna get yelled at over it, but it's worth it for the scansion.

Matthew said...

No Tam, I was not referring to a thing, but a type of thing. Which you know.

Just as Mas notes it is easier to defend competence than incompetence, in his writings he and others have also noted that perceptions matter as much as reality.

Given the choice between two equal items, the one that is least objectionable in appearance to the greater number of people will be the easier to defend if challenged in front of a jury drawn from those people.

All things being equal in practice, there is no rational basis to deliberately make your own job potentially harder when other options are available.

Every battle, however minor, you can preempt by wise choices is resources available for the battles you cannot avoid. Every choice you don't have to justify or defend at length is an angle of attack denied.

I'm not sure where your objection to that general idea comes from.

Tam said...


"I'm not sure where your objection to that general idea comes from."

I don't have an objection, so much as a bit of curiosity about whether we're indicting the curriculum and students of Straw Man Tactical Operator Academy or not.

Matthew said...

No, we aren't "indicting a strawman" for two reasons. First, I defined the curriculum as identical between the two hypothetical schools so there's no indictment to be had. Second, I'm referring to a type of thing, not a particular thing. A hypothetical illustration, not an analogy.

The hypothetical is general, to illustrate the concept that, since perception is reality in the minds of many if not most people, if you don't want to unnecessarily alienate those potential jurors it behooves you to use forethought in all your choices regarding carry inasmuch as such choices don't result in less competence.

You wouldn't wear a "kill 'em all" t-shirt and cammies to your self-defense trial; it makes no more sense to have such things associated with your training experience, particularly since that is all discoverable. There's nothing wrong with dressing like that, but it has no benefit best case, and can turn public and jury opinion against you worse case as well as wasting your resources overcoming the false perception of you as a nut at trial. So why do it at all? Why hand your opponent an opening for attack?

Again, I'm not talking about any given school, or dress code, or posting choices, just general forethought about how it all can be perceived and making wise decisions as long as you have equal options.

Roberta X said... cammo jammies?

Ian Argent said...

Camo Jammies would be an interesting band name.

Matthew said...

I dunno, do people regularly take discoverable pictures of you (or others similarly situated) in your cammie jammies in the particular context of questions about your training and competence vis a vis a potential self-defense shooting?

Reducio ad absurdum does not work that way.

Roberta X said...

Good, since that's not what it was.

I was seein' the both of you all stormclouding up and threw in some utter nonsense. Didn't help a lick, but *I* feel better about it.

Most people with guns -- and "carry permits" -- have on the most basic of training, covering safe handling and marksmanship. You guys are spatting over 1% of 1%. I know how many classes Tam goes to in the course of a year and I know she reports what she sees, without bias.

Matthew said...

Then I will cede the field, because you're right, we are arguing angels and pinheads and I can guarantee Tam has more personal training experience than me.

In whatever defense I can muster, I'm (also) a ginger, and Irish to boot, so no topic is too minor to happily spat about. :)

No disrespect intended to either of you.