On Profiling and Stand Your Ground

This post isn’t really about the Zimmerman case, though I’ll touch on how use of force laws actually work relating to that case, but it is a result of the ignoramuses who know jack about how self-defense laws work who are currently talking about it and pissing me off. Included in that list is the President of the United States.

On Friday, Barack Obama said the following during a press conference. Our illustrious leader is in italics. My response is in bold.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.

Yes. We appreciate the leader of the free world chiming in on local crime issues, especially before any facts are known.

Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.

Where you in the habit of committing battery against people 35 years ago?

And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.

And your preconceived notions, feelings, and emotions should be totally irrelevant in the eyes of the law. Justice should be blind, and a case should be decided based upon the evidence and whether the prosecution can convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed or not.

There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.

Me too. And despite my dad being of darker skin tone than Al Sharpton, according to these Home Depot paint chips I’m only Warm Beige. Also totally irrelevant. I’ve got a family member who takes after my mom’s super lily white side of the family, way the hell whiter than my swarthy self, who always got tailed through stores because he managed to look suspicious, and oddly enough got arrested for shop lifting on his 18th birthday.  

There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.

Don’t flatter yourself. Nobody has ever been physically intimidated by somebody wearing mom jeans. Now Vlad Putin on the other hand, he shows up, hide your wife, hide your kids.

 There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.

And this happens to black men, white men, Asians, Latinos, you name it, and I think that’s awesome. That means that woman is paying attention to her surroundings and knows that simple physics gives a huge advantage to the male in case he decides to do something. Aren’t you from the same side that is constantly complaining that America has a “rape culture”?

I happen to look like a scary 6’5” Tony Soprano. I’m actually physically intimidating, and that is at 37 years old and years of desk job. When I was in my 20s I could bench press 365 pounds and was 270 pounds, 16% body fat, of Big Ugly. I usually had a shaved head and a goatee and I looked like my favorite hobby was punching things, which it was. I was a hundred times more physically intimidating that President Lady Parts on his best day. So I’ve been profiled tons, and I’ve had lots of women obviously assess me like I was a threat.

And I don’t think it is a bad thing at all.


First off, way to bring America together there, champ, sending the DoJ after a guy who got acquitted with your civil rights violations witch hunt. People get shot every single day, and some of them in cases way more complicated and questionable than this one, but none of those happened in the lead up to a national election where you needed to try and scare the electorate that America is still Mississippi circa 1957.

Second off, that is an incredibly vapid and naïve sentiment, not to mention hypocritical coming from a dude whose family will have armed security profiling potential threats for the rest of their lives.

Over the last couple of days I’ve grown tired listening to people who know jack about use of force laws bloviating on and on about how it is awful to profile people, and how the mere act of being suspicious of another person makes you evil. So today I’m going to talk about profiling, and how come it isn’t a bad thing at all. Notice that I didn’t say racial profiling, because race has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Back when I was teaching concealed carry classes I used to spend a bunch of time going over use of force issues. This can be basically broken into two main categories:  Legal, as in when you are legally justified in shooting somebody (a Reasonable Man would believe there is Ability, Opportunity, and an Immediate Threat of Serious Bodily Harm to themselves or a 3rd person from an aggressor), and Tactical, as in the decisions you make in order to maximize your chances of not getting hurt or killed. The two aren’t always the same, as you can be legally justified in getting involved, but it is tactically stupid, or vice versa.

Profiling falls under the tactical end of things.

The single best weapon you’ve got to defend yourself isn’t your gun, but rather your brain. You need to be smart, and try not to put yourself into situations where you would need to use your gun. The best way to do this is by paying attention, and when you notice something which could be construed as a potential threat, you do what you need to do in order to avoid it.

And at this point, somebody is going to read that and shriek about how according to my advice Zimmerman shouldn’t have followed Trayvon… Uh huh, legally that doesn’t matter, because as I noted above law and tactics aren’t the same, and you can be 100% legally justified even if you didn’t make the best decisions in the world leading up to the event. I had somebody get all belligerent on Facebook and demand “would you have done what Zimmerman did?!” And my answer was No, but the jury is going to ask “did you act as a reasonable man?” not “did you act like a guy who has gone through hundreds of hours of training?” And you’d better pray to God they never change it from Reasonable Man to “did you act as Larry Correia would have acted?” because then you’re all screwed.

So getting back on topic, the best way to avoid a violent encounter is to watch out for potential threats so you can hopefully avoid them, or be ready to react appropriately should things go south. That means paying attention to your surroundings. (This also keeps you from getting hit by cars, falling in holes, or being devoured by wild animals, so yay! Happy bonus!) That means paying attention to people who could–but more than likely won’t–want to hurt you.

I used to tell my students to pay attention to their instincts. If you get a bad vibe off of somebody, for whatever reason, pay attention to it. That doesn’t make you rude, or a jerk, that is just you paying attention to survival instincts that have been built into the human species over millennia for a reason. If the person that made you nervous happens to be a different color than you, who cares? That doesn’t make you racist, and it doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means that they’ve made your survival instincts tingle. So pay attention.

I had somebody on Twitter today tell me that according to that reasoning, Martin was justified in attacking Zimmerman, because Zimmerman made him nervous… That’s just freaking stupid. I said pay more attention, I didn’t say go over and commit a forcible felony against them. Duh.

So if you see somebody coming up to your car, where is the harm in locking the door? I know this may offend the president’s tender feelings, but he’ll get over it. You’re out nothing and 99.99% of the time it doesn’t matter, but that .01% of the time you just told a potential predator that he’s better off picking a different victim. (this part is highly ironic, as the people I’ve been debating with keep saying Zimmerman should have stayed in his car, but apparently he shouldn’t have locked the door!)

There’s a saying from firearms instructor Clint Smith, “If you look like food, you’re going to get eaten.” I used to explain to my classes that criminals were as good at their chosen career as the students were at theirs. Criminals are experts at picking out victims, and they prefer the suckers who aren’t paying attention. If you look like work, they’re probably going to pick somebody else to victimize. If you’re paying attention you’ve gone from “food” to “work” and if they wanted to work for a living they’d get a real job.

I think one reason permit holders don’t get into as many violent encounters as the regular population isn’t because the gun is some magic talisman that wards off evil, but rather because once you’ve made the decision to carry a firearm, you tend to pay more attention to the world around you.

So pay attention! Watch people. Watch for those visual, non-verbal clues that set off your survival instincts. If somebody makes you nervous, be prepared for something to happen, or try to move yourself out of the way. I call this common sense. Barack Obama calls it profiling, except for when DHS does it to veterans, because that’s just groovy.

But good people have been trained that judging others is bad! Violent criminals, especially those that specialize in preying on women, are aware of this, and they absolutely love it. The creepers and the stalkers and the would-be rapists take advantage of regular folk’s inclination to be polite. I’ve taught hundreds of female students, and many of them could personally cite some jackass taking advantage of their attempts to be polite, or if the woman stood up for herself (or clutched nervously at her purse and held her breath) they’d get some variation of “how come you gotta be such a bitch?”

Thieves and jerks who want to physically assault you love this too. If somebody is getting into your personal space, the natural human inclination is to move away, but too many people have been trained by liberals to be good little serfs, and they try to avoid giving offense, so they let the bad guy close on them, and once they are too close, it is too late. I’ve seen normal people let scary, aggressive, obviously messed up people close way into their personal space, and they sit there and take it, because they’ve been programmed that “profiling is bad” or he could actually be bug nuts crazy and you let the dude with the rusty box cutter get into bad breath distance. At least after he opens your jugular, at your funeral they’ll be able to say you never judged anyone.

I don’t give a crap if race comes into this or not. I’m the same color as Cheech Marin. During the summer I’m best described as “swarthy” but my olive skin tone and ability to tan well isn’t why I think it is awesome when I see some woman in a parking lot take note of my approach. It is because for all she knows I’m a potential threat, capable of easily physically overwhelming her, and she can stand there like a sucker and bank on fortune and karma that I’m not, or she could notice me and pay attention. Maybe even not stick her head inside the car and obliviously load groceries until I walk past. In fact, I’m so big that I’m used to going around people in places like that, simply to avoid making them nervous.

I’m so big and ugly that if I got into an elevator with Barack Obama he’d hold his breath and clutch his purse. Except I’d never be allowed into an elevator with Barack Obama because his highly trained Secret Service detail would profile me first.

I’m going to teach this to my daughters. Pay freaking attention. I’d much rather they hurt Barack Obama’s delicate lilac scented feelings, than they end up as victims. But then again, I’m also expecting my children to all carry firearms, because a firearm is the ultimate equalizer.

Now, for the people who are getting offended because people are profiling you… Yep. No big deal. Grow up. Some of us are scary looking.  Don’t let it hurt your feelings. You just need to come to terms with the fact that humans routinely victimize other humans, and some of us look more like predators than others. Does it sting when somebody reacts like that, even though you’re the nicest, most genuinely friendly person around? Sure does. Now imagine it was your wife, or your daughter, or your mom, or your grandma, and they were dealing with some scary son of a bitch that looks like you… Yeah, that changes your perspective, doesn’t it?

A fact of life is that people are going to look at you and make a snap judgment. If I see a group of young men dressed all Thug Life, you’re damn right I’m going to pay more attention. If you dress and act in a manner that equates with a culture well known for its violent tendencies, well yeah, people are going to be suspicious of you. Duh. If that offends you, pull up your pants. You look like an idiot with your underwear hanging out anyway. I also don’t trust white guys with swastikas tattooed on their faces. I obviously must be racist toward white people.

When I was 17 I got my jaw dislocated and a concussion from a beating I took from four members of an “inner city youth organization”. They came up and sucker punched me because I wasn’t paying attention and dog piled me (though I did actually win in the end, like I said, big dude). Would I notice them now? More than likely, because I’m older, wiser, and I’ve had the experience of getting my ass kicked enough to reinforce the need to pay attention in public places to groups of young men acting like they’re looking to give somebody the “whoop ass”. Knowing what I know now I might have picked up on the indicators, the way they got charged up, the target selection process, whatever, and I might have been able to move myself out of the way, or at least been more prepared for the confrontation. And in this case, all four of them were within two shades of Home Depot paint chips worth of skin color off of me. Race was irrelevant. I’d notice the same thing if they were Nigerian or Norwegian. Because once they are stomping on your head, race is fairly irrelevant.


Stand Your Ground Laws

In related idiocy, the other thing that I’m hearing a lot of bleating about is how evil Stand Your Ground laws are. I keep seeing people saying that Stand Your Ground should be repealed, and then they cite a bunch of crap that actually doesn’t have anything to do with SYG type laws. Of course, Attorney General Eric Holder, who is best known for illegally smuggling thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels, is totally trust worthy on this topic.

I saw a blog post from another sci-fi author talking about how SYG laws basically make it legal for white people to kill black people if the black people make them nervous… Wow… That’s like saying we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima because Americans weren’t fond of origami or haiku. No, dumbass, that’s not how the law works. Just because MSNBC told you SYG laws are racist doesn’t make it true.

The thing is, SYG laws protect everybody, and everybody includes minorities. It protects anybody who acts in self-defense from the state and from over-zealous prosecutors. I keep seeing all these liberals talking about the racist injustice inherent in the system and how blacks are more likely to be sent to prison, and in the next sentence they are saying that we need to give the state MORE prosecutorial power and get rid of things like Reasonable Doubt and SYG laws.

There are two differing sets of law that govern how state’s self-defense laws work, Stand Your Ground and Duty to Retreat.  Basically all Stand Your Ground means is that you don’t have a Duty to Retreat, and most states have been this way since George Washington chased out the British, so this isn’t anything new.

Duty to Retreat means that you MUST flee from your attacker if possible. If you don’t retreat, and you shoot, then you can be prosecuted for that. Some states even require you to try and retreat from inside your own home. Stand Your Ground means you have no Duty to Retreat (but it doesn’t mean you can just shoot whoever you want whenever you want like people are trying to spin it).

But why wouldn’t you want to avoid shooting somebody? I always taught my students to avoid shooting if possible. That sounds great! Except here’s the problem. You get into a violent encounter. You’ve got a couple of seconds, tops, of gut wrenching terror in which to decide a course of action, commit, and see it through. So somebody attacks you, you are in fear for your life, and you shoot them. Except now when you go to court the prosecution can go after you because in those two seconds, when you didn’t see a way out, the prosecutor thought of one! And nowthey are going to pontificate on what you should have did differently, and how you should have tried harder to get away… Only they are going to do it in an air conditioned court room for ten thousand times longer than you had to decide, and when they get hungry they are going to order pizza.

With Stand Your Ground, that’s not going to come up, because you’re not required to try and run away. That’s it. That’s really all it comes down to. You’re not required to try and flee.

It doesn’t mean you can just shoot brown people who make you nervous. That’s propaganda bullshit. Even in the most lenient use of force law states (one of which I live in and taught this stuff for a decade) that’s not how it works at all. Let me condense down a couple of hours of legal lecture into a few points to see if any given shoot is justified or not. Most states operate on the following criteria:

Would a Reasonable Person (like a jury) make the following assumptions in your circumstances?

Were you in fear of receiving Serious Bodily Harm from an attacker? (some states use the term Grievous Bodily Harm instead, but either way it means were you in fear for your life, or of getting a bad life threatening or potentially life altering injury? Also, in some states it is you, or a third person, meaning that you can get involved not just to save your life, but someone else’s life as well)

If so, would a Reasonable Person come to the conclusion that your assailant(s) met the following three criteria:

  1. Did they have the Ability to cause you Serious Bodily Harm? (basically meaning can they actually hurt you?)
  2. Did they have the Opportunity to cause you Serious Bodily Harm? (basically meaning can they reach you with their ability?)
  3. Were they acting in a manner that suggested they were an Immediate Threat? (basically meaning are they actually acting like they’re going to do all this stuff to you now? Some states refer to this as Jeopardy)

Check. Check. Check… Bang. That’s fundamentally how the law works. Keep in mind in a class I would spend an hour going over examples of shoot and no shoot situations based on those things, but that’s basically all there is to it.

So let’s look at Trayvon Martin getting shot by George Zimmerman. Go through the criteria. The stuff leading up to it is basically irrelevant for this portion. Serious Bodily Harm? In most cases there aren’t even any physical injuries to show, and you’re still justified just by the reasonable belief of potential threat, but in this case there are actual injuries. Slamming your head into pavement meets the legal threshold. In fact, any blow to the head sufficient to render you unconscious is sufficient to kill you, and also if somebody renders you unconscious a reasonable man can say that you can assume they’re not going to stop there. So good to go.

Ability? Yep. Physically Martin was dominating Zimmerman. Opportunity. Yep, it’s happening right now. Jeopardy? Already in play.

Right there, within a couple of days of the shooting most of the self-defense instructors in the nation looked at this case and said, yep, he’s getting off. Not because of race, because for us you could flip the races and it was the 1/8th black Peruvian that got shot after committing battery against a black guy, and the answer remains the same, because that’s how the law is structured.

I say this and I’ve got people saying that I’m rejoicing in the death of a black kid… Sigh… Yeah, don’t tell all the black people I taught to shoot and certified to carry concealed weapons…  No, you freaking idiots, my FEELINGS are irrelevant, because law isn’t supposed to operate on feelings. It is supposed to operate on evidence.

So up next comes the legal question of whether the individual did anything which escalated, contributed to, or caused the violent encounter. Now the Reasonable People of the jury are deciding if this was Mutual Combat (when two people mutually decide to fight) that turned deadly. This is actually what most of the Zimmerman trial was about, and this is the point of the phone calls, and the timelines, and the witnesses, and everything else. It was to see if Zimmerman was partially legally at fault for the events, and if so, how much.

In this case, the jury looked at the events in question leading up to the shooting, and they couldn’t say Zimmerman was responsible beyond a Reasonable Doubt. (see, there’s that word Reasonable again).

Remember earlier when I mentioned law and tactics? They’re not the same. Could Zimmerman have done things differently? Certainly. But making bad tactical decisions isn’t necessarily illegal. The jury figured that regardless of what Zimmerman did, ultimately it was Martin that circled back around and committed the Forcible Felony. At that point it went up to the checklist above. Part of being a Reasonable Man is not being able to predict the future with 100% accuracy. Everybody makes assumptions, and sometimes they are incorrect, that doesn’t make it illegal. Jumping on somebody and braining them on the sidewalk is illegal.

I’ve had people demand how come Stand Your Ground didn’t protect Trayvon! (seriously, I’ve seen this like 50 times on Twitter. It is like everybody works off the same narrative talking points). SYG doesn’t apply in this case because apply the checklist of Ability, Opportunity, and Immediacy to Zimmerman. Somebody following you through a neighborhood doesn’t mean that you can go and beat the hell out of them. And if you attack somebody before they reasonably present a threat of Serious Bodily Harm, then it isn’t lawful self-defense, so SYG doesn’t apply.

Prosecution’s witness, Rachel Janteel, (Trayvon’s girlfriend) was on Piers Morgan and said that the reason Trayvon Martin attacked George Zimmerman was because he thought Zimmerman was a “gay rapist”. And also that Martin didn’t mean to kill Zimmerman, that was just a misunderstanding on Zimmerman’s part, and really Travyon just wanted to give him the “whoop ass” (her words, not mine) which was a cultural thing and how they took care of people like that… Despite MSNBC’s narrative to the contrary SYG doesn’t allow you to give the “whoop ass” to somebody just because you think they’re gay.

(On that note, gay rights community… Seriously?  I taught and certified a lot of gays and lesbians to carry guns, and the reason they usually gave me was so they could protect themselves from somebody giving them the “whoop ass” because of how they looked, and now I’m hearing crickets. Where’s the condemnation against this reasoning? Where’s the outrage?)

I’ve had people yell at me that there was only one side alive to tell their story… (again, another common talking point) Oh my gosh… That’s so incredibly dumb. That’s not how it works at all. If that was the case then there would never be any murder trials because obviously one side couldn’t testify! There’s ALWAYS more than one side. There’s evidence, there’s witnesses, there’s experts who reconstruct the details, and the prosecution had all of that to present, and the jury still had Reasonable Doubt.

Then I’ve got people crying about how “unjust” Reasonable Doubt is… You fools. You stupid, stupid fools. Put your emotion in check. What Reasonable Doubt really is the final check and balance against the state’s ability to throw your ass in prison forever with a flimsy case. You’re going to bitch and whine about the injustice, and how it is racist that more blacks are prosecuted and incarcerated, and your answer is to make it EASIER for the state to throw people in prison? Holy moly. You have no idea what you are wishing for.

That’s it. That’s how the self-defense laws work. Wrap your heads around the actual laws and calm the hell down.  Instead you’re begging stalwart defenders of civil rights like President Drone Strike and the AG who is cool with killing Mexicans to get rid of laws that protect YOU from the STATE. That’s way scarier than any one neighborhood watch guy with a gun.

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160 thoughts on “On Profiling and Stand Your Ground”

  1. Also, it should be asked, who are that those folk following the President around when he’s shopping? Why, they would be the Secret Service.

  2. Awesome! It’s horrifying how people want laws changed in such a way that nobody has any protection from injustice simply because they don’t like a verdict and they’re on an emotionalist rampage of spite.

    “Delicate, lilac scented feelings” is my favorite phrase of the century so far, too.

  3. It has to be quoted:

    William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

    Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

    Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

    A Man for All Seasons

    Thanks again, Larry, for your excellent capture on the issues.

  4. Very well written! Thanks very much for going into detail on justification for use of deadly force. For a great book on paying attention to surroundings and not ignoring the little voice telling you something’s wrong, Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” is very useful. (He also wrote a sequel for parents, “Protecting the Gift”, more focused on children.)

    Is Massad Ayoob’s “In the Gravest Extreme” still relevant, or have gun laws changed too much since 1980?

  5. Interestingly, in one post you not only summarized a lot of the materiel over at No Nonsense Self Defense (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/ – focuses mainly on how to recognize a situation, how to avoid a fight, and how not to provoke one by staring/etc… as well as an overview of street etiquette) as well as brushed against the topic covered in Eric Raymonds’ “Ethics From the Barrel of a Gun”

    Great post.

    1. That’s a great site. Mr. MacYoung has actually been on the bad side of things, and there’s no better source to learn from.

      On topic, Larry’s once again laid down The Last Word.. Too bad he’s trying to use logic and reason to deal with–for the most part–the willfully insane. 🙁

  6. SFF author/firearms instructor/accountant Larry Correia explains Stand Your Ground and Profiling for People Who Want To Be Alive Tomorrow.

  7. Loved reading this just then, and shared on FB as I have a large amount of contacts who fall into the mindless sheep who listen to too much MSNBC category.

  8. … my FEELINGS are irrelevant, because law isn’t supposed to operate on feelings.

    Not true in Barack Obama’s and Eric Holder’s America … coming soon to a state near you!

    Great explanation, Larry. I’ve sent it to my daughter to remind her of the importance of situational awareness.

  9. Laar,

    thanks for the explanation. As a non-American trying to understand the issues it was quite difficult. The new’s stories now indicate that they want to prosecute ‘Federally’. If someones found innicent how can they be prosecuted again?

    1. You find a different crime and prosecute them for that instead. In this case the DoJ is looking for a “civil rights violation” so they can federally prosecute Zimmerman. However, there’s just not any evidence that this was motivted by race, or that Zimmerman is a racist.

      1. The FBI researched his social media looking for evidence of racism and couldn’t find it. Zimmerman’s great grandfather was black.

      2. Indeed. And this is of course in direct violation of Mr. Zimmerman’s rights under the Fifth Amendments. Trying someone over and over until they can find a jury that will give the State the verdict it wants was one of those grievances that led to the American Revolution. Mock trials and kangaroo courts, “depriving us of the benefits of trial by jury,” etc. We wonder whether Obama, or Mr. Soros, who has his hand stuck up the Kenyan’s ass, has read much history, or knows about any of that boring old “dead white male” stuff.

  10. Agree 100% with the post, but I want to add one thing.

    There is an issue with “black and male” being one of those things that sets off people’s gut reaction.

    I think some of that is what you talked about with the clothing… but baggy pants and a hoodie isn’t the equivalent of a swastika. It’s the equivalent of a T-shirt and jeans in a lot of neighborhoods. Yeah, the gangstas wear them because they’re from those neighborhoods, and yes they even originated some of the fashion. But any more it’s really just that ganstas dress that way because most people dress that way. In the same way that someone wearing a suit and tie doesn’t inherently mean he’s going to sell you on a bad mortgage.

    I don’t know how to fix that. It’s a class thing, too – just watching how my suburban friends react to “rednecks” and “hillbillies” teaches me that.

    You get into a bayesian inference problem, the same false positive rate issues you have looking for terrorists. Yes, most of the people committing crime look a certain way.. but how many of the people who look that way commit crime? Your chances of being victimized go up, but by how much?

    I think the calculation has to include the social damage of everyone you meet being afraid of you. When it’s just you, because you’re a scary looking mother****er, I think it’s easier to internalize. (As a 6’2″ guy with a shaved head, I can sympathize). When it’s you and all your friends and your kid brother, I can definitely see how it becomes much more of a thing, and a feeling that people just don’t want you around.

    Of course none of that justifies the bullshit being peddled on this issue, but I think it is a real concern. Obviously a lot of black people do, too. Individuals can start dressing above their class to escape it, but should they have to?

    1. On dress code choices: “Individuals can start dressing above their class to escape it, but should they have to?” Nope, don’t have to, but if a wise person sees the dress as an issue, maybe they would CHOOSE to dress differently. I can legally wear a hockey mask in public if I choose. Should I be surprised if people get squirmy around me? After Columbine, would an intelligent young person wear a long black trenchcoat to school and then be surprised to be questioned by the principal? We make judgements about people all the time based on dress. In most jobs you don’t wear your most comfortable old jeans adn tee shirt to work every day, but rather an outfit or uniform that reinforces the public’s perception of competence and appropriateness to the situation. If you were meeting the heart surgeon about to do your bypass and he came into your hospital room in torn jeans, flip-flops, and a stained tee shirt, would you feel a bit concerned? If a simple choice of dress changes others perception for you for the better, why not make it?

    2. I grew up in “One of those neighborhoods”, and have the scars to prove it. I have that gut reaction to anyone using that clothing, no matter what skin color.
      When you dress in a certain way, you associate yourself with the cultural and economic groups that do that. Anyone who wears baggy pants and a hoodie is associating themselves with gangs and dealers. I don’t care if it is a common way to dress where they come from, its still a choice, and its a choice that indicates other choices.
      Black and Male has nothing to do with how they dress. And the fact that you assume it does, really does make you racist.

      1. Christ, half of the white boys in my school dressed like that. Most of them weren’t thugs, either, they just listened to too much gangster rap and thought it made them look cool.

        Don’t mean to say that all black men dress a certain way, or that people have to dress a certain way because they came from a neighborhood.

      2. Mike: And those white boys dressing up like gangsters are the white boys that are most likely to try to harm you.

        They are adopting a violent culture.

      3. As a matter of fact, I am MORE likely to be untrusting of white teenagers dressed in baggy pants, hoodies, etc., because it marks them as having made a conscious choice to adopt parts of a violent, predatory culture UNLIKELY TO BE THEIR OWN. Means they are more likely to have adopted the violent and predatory parts along with the fashion than someone who grew up in the neighborhoods where “everyone dresses that way”.

        Of course, someone walking around in starched fatigues who isn’t a cop or a serviceman in uniform ALSO trips my distrust triggers — again, because they have self-identified with a particular societal group that I have logical reasons to be exceptionally suspicious of.

        On the other hand, a black teenager in jeans that fit, shoes that DON’T cost the same as everything else he’s wearing added together, a neat sweatshirt or shirt, and a jacket that isn’t overly bulky or long for the weather barely rates a second glance from me. Because he ISN’T visibly identifying with a culture of violence and predation.

    3. Yes, in a perfect world, St. Martin de Porres could wear baggy jeans and a hoodie and no one would think ill of him. In this world, if I see a bunch of guys with shaved or cropped hair, leather jackets, dark jeans and an attitude coming towards me, I’m getting the H-ll out of the way (Germany). Ditto a bunch of guys in hoodies and baggy jeans and an attitude (‘States),in both cases because of the culture they’ve chosen to associate with.

      I’m 5’ 1″, female, and limp a little sometimes. You bet your bippies I learned to profile early and often.

    4. My brother has a saying that he applies to a lot of his patients: “If you don’t like the stereotype, don’t look or act like the stereotype.”

      1. This can be hazardous, because the stereotype is in the mind of the observer, and you have no way to know how broad the criteria are for it to be applied. For example, a lot of snooty New England “elites” assume that anyone with a Southern drawl is an idiot. I think your brother’s advice has some wisdom to it, but you have to be careful about how it’s applied.

    5. If a person is going to choose to dress in a way that people associate with gangs and drugs, they can’t get all surprised and indignant when people, you know, associate them with gangs and drugs. If they don’t want to be identified (profiled) with that sort of people, then they should pull their damn pants up (or buy pants that actually fit, there’s a notion) and straighten their hat. It’s not that hard.

      Clothing and attitude are visual cues that humans use to assess threat. If a person is going to dress in a way that other humans associate with thuggish antisocial behavior, well, that’s their problem, not the problem of the person doing the profiling. The person doing the profiling is just trying to protect themselves. And they are perfectly within their rights to do so.

      In a perfect world, clothing wouldn’t matter and we’d all sing Kumbaya together. This world is far from perfect, and people need to stop whining about how people perceive them when they’re CHOOSING to exude “thug.”

    6. From the testimony, it wasn’t how he was dressed, but the circumstances (evening, rainy night), behavior (appearing to case homes), and history (multiple break-ins, including an occupied-home invasion).

      The whole “hoodie” thing is a smokescreen, a distraction to over up the behavior.

    7. Mike, you say this: “Yes, most of the people committing crime look a certain way.. but how many of the people who look that way commit crime?”

      The answer of course depends on where you are, but say it’s something small like 1%. This means that if I avoid walking past people who look that ‘certain way’ on the street at night this way 100% of the time, I avoid 100% of the chances that I might be mugged/raped/assaulted. I’d rather hurt someone’s feelings by avoiding them when they’re completely innocent, than hurt my physical body in some manner by misjudging and running into that 1% who do intend me harm.

      For that matter, if I’m walking alone in the evening and I see anyone unfamiliar on the street, I give them a reasonably wide berth just because its common sense. I’m alone, and I’d rather avoid a confrontation than have to figure out if I can win one. And I’m not a small woman, coming in over 5’9″ and still being reasonably fit from my Army days. But I still wouldn’t want to find out if I could best someone who’s smaller than me when it’s easier to lock the car door or cross the street, or even give someone a few extra feet of space as I pass them. It’s not profiling, it’s common sense, at least from my perspective.

      Going back to the President’s comment about women clutching their purses in the elevator– I do that when anyone gets into an elevator with me. Less because I’m afraid someone’s going to snatch it, and more to keep it from banging into someone on accident. I’d always been taught it was polite to keep your possessions under control instead of letting them brush up against or bang into other people. Silly me.

      1. It is a large percentage of those that chose to look like thugs that are thugs. Just consider thug Trayvon. He both looked like a thug and acted like one.

    1. That case keeps being distorted over and over. Scott claims fear for his life because a 17yo half his sized ‘charged’ him in a ‘duty to retreat’ state.

      No one has said that the kid was shot IN THE BACK; the bullet exited through his neck went into a neighbor’s house. Then he was shot a second time, the bullet entering through his hand and then into his chest, and the ballistics showed that was as he was falling when he was shot the second time. He shot him IN THE BACK with the barrel at least six feet away; the eye witness said he was in an extended arm stance, so add that for distance as well.

      The kid was not a hardened criminal and completely non-aggressive. They were being idiots and were opening unlocked car doors to steal cigarettes (while drunk).

      He was holding them at gun point; therefore he was the aggressor by law.

      How do you shoot someone in self-defense IN THE BACK? And yes, he was acquitted using self-defense.

      Interview w/ family who tell some very hard to find facts from the case (2012): http://www.blogtalkradio.com/cdnews/2012/05/14/kira-davis-the-dark-side
      I wonder what they would say now if they followed the facts of the z/m trial.

  11. “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

    So 35 years ago you were a drug-using thug wannabe who would double back to commit aggravated battery, a felony in all 50 States, on a “creepy ass cracker” for the “crime” of checking you out because he thought you were acting suspiciously?

    You know what? I believe you.

    Okay, I really don’t, but only because I don’t think Barack Obama 35 years ago had the stones to go face to face with anybody any more than he has them now.

  12. Just wanted to say looking forward to Swords coming out right when I get out of MCT/MOS! Hope your summer was good buddy!

  13. Larry,
    My current book, F is for Failure – How the President and Congress is Failing Mainstreet America, will be out in the fall. I need your permission to quote a few things from your blog.
    Yay! for you making sense. My take is the president and his ilk are positioning themselves for a bundle of new money to flood their pockets ‘to help race relations in America.’ The other reason is the diversion from the real news i.e. economy, middle east, etc.
    Thank you,
    Dan Tamblo

  14. Larry, I reckon this is a typo?

    “I was a hundred times more physically intimidating that President Lady Pa[n]ts on his best day.”

    Thank you for posting this. I am sharing, sharing, sharing out to teh interwebz!


      1. Larry’s books, ESPECIALLY the Monster Hunter Series, are FULL of little jokes, in-references, and such. I **LITERALLY** was ROFLMAO’ing the first time I read Monster Hunter International. . .

      2. Owen’s announcement to his boss in chapter 1 of MHI that he had violated the corporate policy on firearms was rather amusing.

    1. Good golly, Tex, get on that! They’re hilarious as well as riveting and even stressful (lotsa action). So set aside some time.

  15. “If you dress and act in a manner that equates with a culture well known for its violent tendencies, well yeah, people are going to be suspicious of you. Duh.”

    This. So much this. As John in PA, Toad, and others have pointed out, how you dress is a choice. I’d add that that includes tattoos. (Now, I know plenty of perfectly wonderful guys with tattoos — the AAA guy who came out to help with my semi-flat just yesterday had ink even under his hair — and it’s too bad that thug asshats have given them such a bad rep, but that’s reality). Big guys can’t help being big, and dark guys can’t help being dark, but how a man presents himself goes a long way to how I’m going to assess his attitude and intentions. Sasha Roiz is 6’4″. I see Sean Renard coming toward me in the parking lot scenario above, I’m going to keep an eye on him. I see Sam Adama all blinged out and pants-on-the-ground, I’m going to find something to do on the other side of my car. Preferably something that requires a crowbar.

    Now the case has been made that that’s just normal dress in some neighborhoods. Fair enough. But in the other 87% of neighborhoods, it’s not. Martin’s pot-headed sow gf can gabble about ‘new school’ all she likes, but outside her ‘hood, ‘old school’ still reigns supreme, and ghetto thug is ghetto thug.

    1. If you are going for a look that says “I’m a total badass thug who doesn’t give a shit about nothing and I’ll kick your ass” you can’t really get butt hurt when people believe you.

  16. So up next comes the legal question of whether the individual did anything which escalated, contributed to, or caused the violent encounter. Now the Reasonable People of the jury are deciding if this was Mutual Combat (when two people mutually decide to fight) that turned deadly. This is actually what most of the Zimmerman trial was about, and this is the point of the phone calls, and the timelines, and the witnesses, and everything else. It was to see if Zimmerman was partially legally at fault for the events, and if so, how much.

    According to my reading of the law in Florida and my understanding of the facts, even if this was a mutual combat, it’s still a justifiable shoot because Zimmerman had no reasonable means of escape.

    776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
    (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
    (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
    (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant

    Based on the facts as both sides presented them at trial, the only fact that matters is whether or not Zimmerman, at the time of the shooting felt he was in danger of death or serious bodily injury. It doesn’t matter who started the fight because Trayvon ended up on the ground beating the stuffing out of Zimmerman severely enough to break bones and placing him in danger of either death or serious bodily injury. Martin was not unarmed, either. He had his fists and a sidewalk.

    Has Martin jumped on Zimmerman and pummeled his head on the grass, that still can cause traumatic brain injury, which is kind of a serious thing.

    1. That’s right. If two guys are in a fist fight one can’t decide to shoot the other. It’s only when one uses deadly force against the other the a shooting in self defense is justified.

      So if Zimmerman and Martin were in a fist fight without deadly force, then Zimmerman couldn’t shoot in self defense. However, if Trayvon knocked Zimmerman down, pinned him to the ground and was wailing away at his head and bashing it into the concrete sidewalk then Zimmerman is justified in shooting in self defense.

  17. Come on, Larry. . . .President Choom-meister would have been too stoned to get actively involved in a fight, unless it was over Twinkies or Cheetos. . . .

    1. Though he might harrass the Hispanic cleaning ladies when he’s coming down (as he admitted to in his own book).

    2. He still might’ve been party to some ‘Kill Haole’ day festivities. Plus, if we grant him any credit for any measure of leadership, he might well have organized such.

  18. a) my gay friends are furious and vocal — but then they are mostly libertarians or “right wingers” like the rest of my other friends, so… different.
    b) I’ve been known to cross the street to avoid my older son. At thirteen. You see, I was doing the scan ahead thing, and instead of seeing my son (whom I didn’t expect at that time) I saw “scary big dude, in leather jacket and stubble” — I don’t stare or focus on details, just shape assessment — and started to cross the street, which is when he called out “moooom!” in his still-little-boy voice. As a side note, not wanting people to assume he’s a thug is why he usually wears shirt and tie. It’s the face he was born with, and the build G-d gave him. And yes, he’s much stronger than I.
    c) Yesterday, during a walk in an urban area, I realized steps behind us had kept at the same distance, whether we accelerated or slowed down (Robert and I) for about three blocks. Quick look over shoulder showed me big, shady looking dude. I realized I’d forgotten my knife at home (that never happens, but I was feeling odd) and wasn’t sure if Robert was armed or not. So… I looked at him, he looked at me. I realized we were both creeped out at the “follower.” We were in a low traffic street and about to come through a place where there’s NO ONE on Sundays (Businesses. Closed) So we took the next high traffic cross street and walked the rest of the way to our car up a busy street, with people and traffic. We were not followed. Were we ever in danger? Who knows? I prefer not to find out. Maybe the guy was just absently matching our step. But given the number of druggies and crazies in that area… better safe than sorry. (And while I doubt he could overpower Robert, he could grab me and use me as an hostage.)

    Excellent article. And Larry, if I didn’t know you, I’d totally cross the street to avoid you, just like with older son. 😉

  19. I bought my first handgun at 21 and read In The Gravest Extreme that same year. That was 22 years ago. Many of Ayoob’s writings followed and I accredit his lessons with teaching me how to get out of what could easily have escalated into a lethal force encounter once without the lunatic biker ever knowing how close the nerdy college kid / pizza driver came to killing him as he threatened to pull me through a car window and beat me in the street. His writings told me to leave my ego behind when carrying a gun so I groveled for forgiveness (he was clearly in the wrong) rather than escalate the situation verbally which would have resulted in my putting a 10mm round through him. Likewise I was aware and prepared when cornered in my car in the projects on a delivery and my carjacking/kidnapping assailant had no doubts what would happen if he continued to try to gain enterance to my passenger door after his buddy blocked me in my spot with their car (MO at the time was to take you and the car to an ATM then at the minimum beat the crap out of you).

    Like you the ongoing ignorance of the law in this case and moronic statements made have infuriated me.

    I also wonder how many people Obama committed felony assaults against 35 years ago.

  20. Obama, and every other president, is the employee of the American citizens. He isn’t our leader or the leader of the “free world”. He is just a man hired to carry out the will of the Congress. It is time we knocked the office of the president down several notches and put it back where it belongs.

    1. There is a difference between ‘is’ and ‘should be’, but I agree with you on general principle. If you have a way to change the culture to bring that about, I am (sincerely) all ears.

  21. Ive spoken extensively with some of my black friends here in Shreveport and they said Trayvon was dressed like a punk and a gangsta wanna be and thats how kids in the “hood” wearing hoodys and baggy pants are looked at by most blacks. They said to a person that he was shot in self defense and dont blame Zimmerman. All young blacks dont dress like in Hoodys and baggy pants.

  22. Larry; really love your Grimnoir Chronicle books. Had no idea about your politics based on the books (so far), which is a compliment. You spend very little time discussing why you would not have done what Zimmerman did, but don’t explain (here at least) what or why? What would you have done differently? Also, you seem like a pretty tough guy — I imagine you think that Zimmerman’s an enormous pussy. A rather large dude confronting and then getting the shit kicked out of him by a skinny 17 year old.

    1. No, I don’t think Zimmerman is a pussy. I’m not going to judge anybody getting their ass kicked. I’ve known men half my size who could absolutely end me in a fight. (if John Shirley is reading this, guys like him with knives are one of the reasons that I carry a gun, and he probably weighs as much as one of my legs)

      I got my butt kicked in a wrestling match once by a guy who weighed 180 while I weighed 270 (later found out he’d been a state champion) and I had a 165 pound Taiwanese kick boxer drop me with a single kick to my inner thigh that left me unable to stand for a couple of minutes, and that was just in good fun. Size is only one part of the equation, though it is a very big part, don’t get me wrong, because physics are a merciless thing. But human beings don’t have hit points, they’ve got blood pressure and a bunch of soft, easily disrupted organs. Getting hit in the head, especially when you’re not expecting it can take you right out of a fight. You don’t “walk off” traumatic brain injury, regardless of how tough you think you are.

      Plus I think Trayvon was actually several inches taller and an athlete, wheras Zimmerman was of typical American desk jockey build. And don’t underestimate the element of surprise. At the point of contact Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle and got jumped. Having been sucker punched, it is one hell of physical equilizer.

      As far as what I would have done different?Totally and completely irrelevant, because I wasn’t there, and as I used to tell my students, beware of any instructor that sits in front of a class and tells them what he would have done better in some violent encounter or other, because he is probably full of shit and primarily interested in puffing up his ego. 🙂

      1. One of my instructors in Krav Maga is about my height but probably weighs around 160 or so, I’m pushing 300. Lanky, skinny dude. He’s used me as the dummy before when demonstrating something. He is not someone I would want to get on the bad side of. Besides hitting hard, the dude is scary fast.

        Thanks to Krav, the lesson of not judging someone by their size has literally been beaten into me.

        1. I used to train with a guy who had the nickname The Doberman. I outweighed him by 60 pounds. Unless I got lucky, he’d beat the living hell out of me every time, and I was fairly decent. I mean it was just a dismantling.

      2. I had a 165 pound Taiwanese kick boxer drop me with a single kick to my inner thigh that left me unable to stand for a couple of minutes

        I would say that was probably one of those nerves that run from the hip through the leg. When a nerve gets damaged, the signal connection gets cut up by noise, mimicking paralysis of the spine, depending on severity of the nerve dmg. Nerve targets can be accessed by pin point strikes like a needle, but generally large brute force will work as well if it is in the general vicinity of the target. Something like for every inch the strike is off target, double the force is required.

        My instructors told me to get a healthy dose of anatomy in order to provide visual aid in finding and accessing targets. In that respect, it’s similar to how martial art masters in China often were also healers. The two powers of creation and destruction feed synergistically into the other. For the same reason that doctors know exactly how and what to poison people with, even though that wasn’t their goal in training. The best killers also have quite a bit of medical knowledge and skills.

    2. See, I’ve said it before. Where other Baen authors bludgeon you with politics across the back of the head, LC (particularly in Grimnoir) is slipping it into your drink while your back is turned.

    3. Josh,
      The Zimmerman being a big dude and Martin being a skinny little child business is another piece of misinformation fed to the news media by the Trayvonistas, and repeatedly regurgitated uncritically by said news media. Zimmerman was 5′ 7″ and a little over 200 lbs (giving a body mass index, or BMI of 31.9, which is clinically obese). Martin was at least 71 inches (length of body at autopsy, if you believe anything Dr. Bao reports), and in life over six feet tall, judging from the convenience store video, where the clerk was 5′ 10″” and Martin is clearly much taller than him. Martin weighted 158 lbs at autopsy, giving a BMI of 22 (if he was 5′ 11″”, or 20.3 if he was 6′ 2″ which I believe is the height of father Tracy Martin).

      Now BMI is not a perfect measure of obesity in people like strength athletes or body builders, but for most people it is a good estimate of fatness. Zimmerman was clearly not an accomplished athlete or fighter, per testimony of Adam Pollock who ran the gym Zimmerman belonged to. Based on these data, Zimmerman was a pretty ordinary schlubby American. People make a big thing of how poor Trayvon was skinny and emaciated with a BMI of 20.3 to 22. Screw that bullshit. BMI 20-25 is NORMAL range, while >= 25 is overweight and >=30 is obese. Just because this is a nation of fat people (about 70% overweight or obese) does not magically make Martin some skinny waif. Recent photographs from his phone (not the peripubsecent hoody pictures taken years ago) show Martin to be a lean, muscular guy.

      Also Zimmerman did not confront Martin. Zimmerman lost sight of Martin (who had plenty of time and opportunity to get safely home away from the creepy-ass cracker) and was headed back to his truck. Martin is the one who doubled back to confront Zimmerman, sucker punched him in the face, then went to town with the sidewalk as a backstop after knocking Zimmerman over.

  23. Thanks for the response — I understand that, legally, it doesn’t matter and is irrelevant to the question of whether Zimmerman should have walked, but you stated above (in response to a belligerent Facebooker) that you would not have done what Zimmerman did. Just wondering why? Because, to me, if you’re going to be the guy who gets out of the car to confront the suspicious guy in the neighborhood, you should probably feel pretty confident in your ability to kick some ass — would seem to be a necessity in that line of work. My assumption is that he had the gun equivalent of “beer muscles”.

    Also, forgot to mention that Martin was apparently stoned (or at least had it in his system, so he could have been completely sober and smoked 28 days earlier). In any event, from what I recall of some happy fun days in college, I would not have been able to beat up a 107 year old grandma when I was baked, let alone a large adult male.

    Anyone approach you about turning your Grimnoir Chronicle books will be made into movies or tv series? I think they’d be perfect for that, although daunting.

    1. I’m going to say what I **THINK** Larry will say, as his tactical advice has ALWAYS turned out to be sound.

      Larry (and most of the other members of the Nation) would have kept much better situational awareness than Zimmerman seems to have done. We would never have been surprised by Trayvon appearing out of nowhere. . .

      No surprise, no getting jumped, and very likely no shooting. . .

      1. I’m going to go with “he wouldn’t have exited the vehicle”. Being in a vehicle gives you an enormous advantage over an attacker on foot, mostly because you can simply floor it and get the fuck out of dodge. It also packs far more energy than even the largest handgun cartridge.

        Zimmerman made a mistake when he got out of the car, but it was neither illegal for him to follow someone, nor was it an offense worthy of being attacked over.

    2. [quote] Because, to me, if you’re going to be the guy who gets out of the car to confront the suspicious guy in the neighborhood,[/quote]

      Where did you see any testimony to the effect that Zimmerman was going to confront him, rather than keep an eye on where he went?

        1. Your link is not to anything in the trial itself, but a statement by police in a deposition. Much of this statement was refuted at trial. Specifically, that Martin jumped out of the bushes and confronted Zimmerman and then threw the first punch.

      1. Scott and they were wrong. They were proven wrong by evidence. They were proven wrong by Trayvon Martin’s girlfriend in the trial.

      2. Joseph,
        the question from Mike in Kosovo was “Where did you see any testimony to the effect that Zimmerman was going to confront him, rather than keep an eye on where he went?”
        I provided the answer. I did not say it was fact, just that there was testimony to that effect.

      3. Scott — that “Affadavit” was conclusively PROVEN FALSE in court.

        Hell, Alan Dershowitz is calling for criminal prosecutions of the PROSECUTION TEAM, based in large part on that document.

        It was also NOT a piece of testimony or evidence in this case. It was the way in which the prosecution by-passed the normal grand jury requirement.

    3. The thing that Zimmerman did wrong was take his eyes off of Trayvon. He turned his back when walking back to his car and this allowed Trayvon to sneak up on him from behind and attack him by surprise.

    4. Most of what I think he should have done differently is in the reply to the police walkthrough video here. http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/what-actually-happened-with-zimmerman-and-tray/

      The drug Tray was on most likely consisted of cold medicine + skittles + tea. As such, it would have a different metabolic effect than being stoned on marijuana.

      Zimmerman followed the instructions of the 911 operator like a good Democrat. Obeying Authority. However, if I was in his shoes, I might have wanted a bit more training before operating on those instructions. If I wanted to operate on such instructions, I would have told them to hold while I went up and talked to the youth in question. My interview of him, would be much more beneficial to my security than talking to some 911 operator. If I didn’t want to interview him, like Zimmerman didn’t want to talk to the hoodie walking in the rain, then I wouldn’t have followed the 911 operator’s “instructions” either. I would have followed my own judgment. Taking a snap shot or a video, would be more useful if police ever came to investigate and asked me what I was doing. Here’s a video of what I was doing and who I was looking at as I was dong it.

      Unlike other people, I didn’t call Zimmerman stupid or say he made a bad decision. What I do is use other people’s actions as a learning scenario and offer them help, if they wish it. Beyond that, other people’s lives as their own to improve or waste as they see fit. Which is why certain factions in America are acquiring more power in the form of manpower: they control many lives.

  24. If profiling is, as our president and attorney-general lecture us, always wrong, ought we assume they would have no problem if a few dozen white men wearing white robes and hoods, emblazoned with symbols of militant Christianity and carrying axe handles, walked down their street? Obama nor Holder wouldn’t tell the Secret Service to look at those guys?

      1. Scott, you do know what the 1st Amendment is don’t you? I don’t agree with neo-Nazis or any white power groups just as I don’t agree with black power groups but they have a right to say whatever the hell they want.

      2. Scott, you seem to have misunderstood my question. I asked nothing about whether “certain extremist groups would be allowed to walk down the street.”

        My question was whether Barry & Eric would lock their car doors at the appearance of such a group. The Secret Service is merely a protective detail in such circumstances; they should have no say in who is allowed to walk down the street.

        The question, fundamentally, was about the probable hypocrisy of our Lecturers-in-Chief, not the first Amendment.

      3. Scott — HUGE diffference between a scheduled march and rally that follows the same rules as any other group (including the Kiwanas) would use to do the same thing, and a group of Klansmen or Neo-Nazis in full lynch costume heading down the street. Especially if that neighborhood had a recent rash of felonies committed by guys in those same outfits. . .

    1. Obama and Holder and Janet Scissorhands have no problem profiling veterans, the Tea Party, anybody on the right, anybody against abortion, anybody who doesn’t like having their mail read, and anybody who doesn’t like getting a proctological exam by the TSA as potential extremist terrorist threats.

      1. Joseph,
        Yes, I do know what the First Amendment is. My response was to RES who asked, basically, if certain extremist groups would be allowed to walk down the street. My response: yes, their rights would be protected, too.

  25. Also, as it turns out, Trayvon was a thug. If you reviewed his texting history, he was continually getting kicked out of school for fighting, seeking weed and using, talking aggressively (and perhaps being aggressive, see fighting above) etc. etc. Most of that was excluded from the criminal trial but will most definitely come in for the inevitable civil trial. Every person with whom he fought will be called to testify. His mother will be brought in to explain why she kicked him out of the house and made him go live at his father’s house, and we’ll get a much better picture of 17 year old reprobate Trayvon than of angelic 14-year Trayvon which the prosecution was trying to push (and which, it seems, a lot of people have swallowed hook, line and sinker).

    1. I’m not 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure Florida’s self defense statutes prevent Martin’s family from suing Zimmerman in the event of an acquittal. It was part of that SYG package (and probably part of the real reason that idiot politicians are attacking SYG laws; that and the fact that SYG laws give them less power over us peons).

      Besides, Martin’s family already got a pound of flesh from the HOA (who didn’t even wait for the trial begin before capitulating).

      1. By the way, Larry, what’s the deal with your time stamps? They’re showing as seven hours ahead of what my actual time is, and since I’m Pacific time, that’s six hours ahead of you. Google tells me that’s the time zone for the Azores. You got family there or something? 😉

    2. He was also suspended for having burglary tools and stolen jewelry. Interesting how the media used a photoshopped picture of him at age 12.

  26. There were only two people who really knew what happened; one of them is dead, the other was the defendant. But if I were to guess, it would go like this:

    Two people came together in joint idiocy. One was wannabe law enforcement who charged ahead when wisdom (and a police dispatcher) said to stand by and wait. Another was a teen–and teenagers tend towards unthinking, stupid acts–who decided on confrontation when getting the hell out of Dodge would have been the wisest choice. And since neither person wanted to win the Clear Thinking Award and stand down, it escalated.

    Tragic, I think, but not criminal.

    I question, though, how much Stand Your Ground really factored into this. Was Zimmerman really thinking “hey, I’m legally allowed to stand my ground!”? I can’t imagine that the situation allowed such lucidity; in fact, I wonder if there was a bit in the back of his brain wondering “is this really happening?” And if it was true that Martin was on top of him whaling away when the shooting occurred, than SYG was irrelevant: Zimmerman *couldn’t* have backed off.

    My question is, what part Zimmerman’s possession of a gun made this all come to be? I don’t mean gun possession in general, but THIS MAN’S possession of a gun. Perhaps it gave him a false confidence, so that he went into a situation he was clearly unqualified to handle without resorting to firearms.

    1. “There were only two people who really knew what happened; one of them is dead, the other was the defendant.” -I addressed that in the essay. That’s sort of how every murder trial works, so isn’t special.

      “But if I were to guess, it would go like this” -And that’s all that follows. One guess after another. Luckily our justice system isn’t based on mind reading, it is based on evidence. 🙂

      “Tragic, I think, but not criminal.” -The jury agreed.

      “My question is, what part Zimmerman’s possession of a gun made this all come to be? I don’t mean gun possession in general, but THIS MAN’S possession of a gun. Perhaps it gave him a false confidence, so that he went into a situation he was clearly unqualified to handle without resorting to firearms.” – The main word in that paragraph is PERHAPS and perhaps is legally irrelevant. Perhaps he thought Trayvon was possessed by the devil? Perhaps he thought Trayvon was a vampire? Perhaps he was just an asshole? Or perhaps this is actually a fairly straight forward self defense shooting like happens in America every day? And all the perhaps don’t matter a bit unless there is evidence.

      1. Larry,
        I’m not sure why you responded as you did.

        In the first paragraph (“there were only two people…”) since I basically agreed with you, why make note of it? Though it’s not really true in EVERY murder trial; there are plenty of witnesses to James Eagan Holmes’s or Jared Lee Loughner’s or Nidal Malik Hasan actions, aren’t there? Not that the witnesses knew what was going on in the perpetrators’ heads, but as far as establishing guilt.

        Why make note that our justice system isn’t based on mind reading? I rather specifically made the point that this was nothing more than my opinion. Though it wasn’t one guess after another: expert testimony agreed that, based on bullet trajectory and gun powder residue supported the assertion that Martin was on top of Zimmerman when the gun was fired, thus the question as to whether SYG was an issue or not.

        Pointing out that the jury agreed… well, front-page news, wasn’t it?

        As to the last paragraph… the response was at best specious. Whether or not he thought that Trayvon was possessed, or a vampire, or just an asshole, Zimmerman’s choice to follow him was probably boosted by his confidence in being armed.

      2. Since it’s apparently telepathy night here at Casa Correia, I’ll chip in with some of my own.

        I think Scott is right about the uncontrovertible facts in this case, but my opinion is the reality bothers him. That it could be entirely the dead guy’s fault offends his sense of order and balance, so he’s scratching around desperately trying to redistribute some of the blame, since the Truth Must Always Be Somewhere In The Middle. There’s probably also an element of clinging to the shreds of the media’s Gun-Happy Rambo Cop Wannabe meme, since he doesn’t want to admit being cozened by a pile of lies and unsubstantiated bushwah.

        Note that since I agreed with him and also stated that the rest is my opinion, nobody is allowed to argue with me about it. So there.

      3. And yes, carrying a firearm means you are not subject to the same quivering fear that the rabbit people live with daily.

        But ignoring that nagging doubt in your mind is still bad tactics, as Zimmerman found out.

      4. If you examine the evidence in this case you would know the following:

        1) Zimmerman was outside his care following Trayvon in response to queries by the police operator.

        2) When the operator said we don’t need to follow Zimmerman said OK and then started discussing where he was going to meet the police. He told the operator to have them call him when they arrived.

        3) Zimmerman’s statement was that he was walking back to his car which is consistent with his conversation.

        4) Zimmerman says that Trayvon snuck up on him from behind and attacked him. Punching him in the nose, knocking him down, pinning him to the ground and beating on his head. This is consistent with Zimmerman’s injuries, the testimony of the eye witness John Good, the grass stains and water on Zimmerman’s back and back of his pants, and on Trayvon’s knees.

        5) The lead investigating officer testified that Zimmerman’s statement was supported by the evidence in every significant respect. He also testified that he told Zimmerman that there was a video of this incident and Zimmerman responded “Thank God!”.

        That is why Zimmerman wasn’t charged by the Sanford PD and prosecutors. It is also why Corey submitted a fraudulent Affidavit of Probable Cause to the judge who had to approve Zimmerman being charged.

        In fact Zimmerman was only charged so Obama and the progressives could use this incident to stir up black hatred and motivate them to support him in 2012.

    2. Or perhaps you’re siding with the perpetrator and against the victim, whose preperation allowed him to survive a felonious and unprovoked assault.

      1. You believe that my saying that no crime was committed means I’m siding with Trayvon? Your logic is haywire.

      2. Scott – a crime WAS committed. Felony assault.

        Committed by Trayvon Martin — AS VERIFIED BY PROSECUTION WITNESSES.

        So yes, you are choosing to side with the AGGRESSIVE PREDATOR.

      3. Ah Scott, but you see I’m using YOUR standard. In the same way that YOU know what was on GZS’s mind, I know what’s on YOURS.

        Not to mention that you spend all your time talking about how GZ is somehow culpable for being assaulted by a streethood.

    3. Scott — given that you have FACTUALLY INCORRECT statements in your version of the events (factually incorrect, AS ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE PROSECUTION AND ITS OWN WITNESSES), even after factual correction has been offered, your opinion on this case is meaningless mouth farting.

      You not only weren’t THERE, but you are “obstinately ignorant” as to what facts ARE known, when those facts do not support your opinion.

    4. The facts are, as far as the jury determined according to evidence, Zimmerman had turned around to walk back to his car. At which point Trayvon Martin turned around with the intent to commit felony assault. Which he did. I doubt Zimmerman was feeling all that much false confidence when his head was being bashed into the pavement, he thought ‘this guy is going to kill or hospitalize me’ and responded accordingly. Any feeling of Rambo Wannabe Cop he may have had before is irrelevant, and your own personal belief.

      1. “Any feeling of Rambo Wannabe Cop he may have had before is irrelevant…”

        All right, everyone! Any feelings that Scott may have of inferiority to George Zimmerman is irrelevant to his continued attempt to read Zimmerman’s mind, so please ignore Scott’s feelings of inferiority!

      2. This is a different scott, sorry, was using his trope. As far as I can tell, Zimmerman had no issues with wannabe cop syndrome, he was just someone trying to help his neighborhood.

    5. Two people came together in joint idiocy. One was wannabe law enforcement who charged ahead when wisdom (and a police dispatcher) said to stand by and wait. Another was a teen–and teenagers tend towards unthinking, stupid acts–who decided on confrontation when getting the hell out of Dodge would have been the wisest choice. And since neither person wanted to win the Clear Thinking Award and stand down, it escalated.

      I’ll admit I bought the “wannabe” angle initially and mentally equated Zimmerman with aggressive mall ninjas and other assholes. But following Andrew Branca’s trial coverage on the blog Legal Insurrection was quite informative. Zimmerman previously was invited by the police to be a sort of citizen auxillary with an official car and the right to patrol around. He declined this wannabe’s wet dream. Also, he was NOT (for f*ck’s sake get it straight, people!) ordered by the non-emergency number (NEN) dispatcher to stand by, nor did he get out of his truck against advice. He was already out of the truck, and the statement “we don’t need you to do that” is a boilerplate piece of legal CYA the police/NEN use so that they are not held liable for whatever happens next. Plus the NEN dispatcher tacitly approved of his actions by asking follow on questions, not that it’s relevant.

      As to teenagers do dumb things, sure, most of us have been there. But felony assault is not a mere “dumb thing” and if you equate that with routine dumb things like drinking beer underage or stealing a “No Parking” sign then you either are a scary dangerous person or are being disingenuous. Zimmerman did not have the choice of standing down. Martin, who had height, reach, athleticism and surprise on his side, punched him in the nose and knocked him down.

      Zimmerman’s possession of a firearm saved his life. It is tragic that Martin’s life was ended, but Martin brought that on himself. As I’ve noted elsewhere, I do feel some sympathy for Trayvon Martin, but it’s the sort of sympathy I feel for an arsonist who gets trapped by the flames he himself set and burns to death.

      I don’t understand this apparent effort on your part to somehow spread the blame onto Zimmerman when Martin was the sole aggressor. Zimmerman made some decisions that in retrospect were suboptimal, but he was actually doing a civic minded thing that night, even if it turned out badly. If you want to find some greater lesson in this tragedy and farcical abuse of the justice system consider the following: the next time some black guy IS shot by some racist asshole for being black it will be much harder to get rational people to take it seriously because of the twisting of the facts in this case.

      1. Some people have asked me if I thought Martin “deserved” to die.

        Well, no, not any more than people who drive at high speed through mountain roads “deserve” to run off cliffs and die. But it happens and when it does “deserving” or not, they really only have themselves to blame.

        Trayvon Martin was on a path that had, as one of it’s predictable outcomes, either permanently ruining or ending his life. Maybe that road should have had more “warning signs” or maybe he would have ignored that as much as he ignored what warning signs were there (and I’m talking about his life in general, not just that night).

        On the “warning signs” issue, maybe if instead of just brushing it over, they had actually _charged_ him for the “found property” and given him a hint where that road was headed, maybe _that_ would have prevented that final, fatal, encounter.

        Or perhaps not. We can never really know.

        Just musing a bit.

  27. This comment is to thank you for your off topic Zimmerman article — relieved to hear a different side altogether as to how this could be explained. It’s clear you put a great deal of effort into your thoughts. It certainly provoked further conversation that I appreciated. Brigitte Grisanti

    1. I actually wrote this in about an hour after me and Nick Searcy got into a Twitter fight against some incredibly uninformed people. 🙂

      But… I did teach this stuff for a long time, so all I have to do is think back to that. So to be fair, I have put a lot of thought into the topic because it was my job.

  28. BTW, “The Swarthy Menace” is a running gag on Tom Kratman’s conference on Baen’s Bar. Naturally, with your description of yourself as “swarthy” I had to ping them over there. 😉

  29. Reblogged this on shaynroby and commented:
    Shayn Roby’s Take: Correia45 is right on the money. Barack Obama has taken the party of race baiting to a whole new level. He and Al “Not So” Sharp-ton are doing their best to engage the newest Democratic Party version of the Hegelian Dialectic.

  30. Outstanding post, Larry! I couldn’t agree more!
    Love your writing, and proud to see another Central Valley boy make good.

  31. THIS is why we have Stand Your Ground Laws:


    *Spoilers* for those who can’t watch the video (you really should watch it first; I am not a good story teller): Massad Ayoob relates the tale of a man named Jay Lewis, a federal employee with a clean criminal record living in West Des Moines, Iowa, who was attacked by two men last year. During the confrontation he shot one of his attackers and wounded him, after which both ran off.

    Lewis was subsequently charged with two counts of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and one count of going armed with intent by the DA. Held on a six figure bond which he was unable to meet, he lost his job, his apartment and all of his possessions; his apartment manager saw that he had been charged with a crime, nailed an eviction notice to his door that he never saw because he was still in jail, then threw all of his stuff out on the street, including a computer that contained a partially finished novel Lewis was working on, where it was stolen.

    The jury took 12 minutes to come to the conclusion that Jay Lewis acted in self defense.

    Lewis, by the way, was black, and his attackers (whose apparent motivation appeared to be drunken road rage), were white. Lewis believes the cops got the wrong idea about who attacked who, based solely on his race (and being an ex-cop himself, Lewis probably has enough experience with cops to make that call).

    If a SYG law was on the books when Lewis defended himself, he never would have been victimized twice over: first by his attackers, and then by the state.

    1. Hmm…the time code must have been stripped out from link; the story starts at 12 minutes, 50 seconds.

  32. Don’t flatter yourself. Nobody has ever been physically intimidated by somebody wearing mom jeans. Now Vlad Putin on the other hand, he shows up, hide your wife, hide your kids.

    …hide your Super Bowl rings… 😀

  33. A GREAT read Sir, I comment you. As an aside, I do not think I have ever in my life seen as many utterly idiotic comments as I have seen in the aftermath of the TM/GZ case. It’s just maddening.

  34. My Dad and I disagree about quite a bit of things, the mere possession of firearms in the house is one of them. He opened up with how Zimmerman was a racist asshole who wanted to kill him a nigger.

    I replied with the conversation between Martin and his girlfriend, about how he had gotten into a fight with one guy, and was going to go back for a second round because the victim didn’t bleed enough. It ended with his girl begging him to stop getting into fights because one day he was going to find someone meaner.

    “Where did you get that load of crap?”

    “Travon Martin’s own Facebook page.”

    That pretty much stopped the discussion.

  35. Larry, can you please schedule a press conference at the White House and address the Nation…just read the atricle and walk out.

  36. In fact, I’m so big that I’m used to going around people in places like that, simply to avoid making them nervous.

    I do this too. It seems polite.

    (For those who don’t know me, Larry and I could easily be on the same team of post-apocalyptic Vikings. 6’5″, 275#, etc.)

    1. I remember from your CCW class, in the role playing portion how I was used to just physically overwhelming the students in order to provoke a confrontation… and that just didn’t work with you. 😀

  37. “First off, way to bring America together there, champ, sending the DoJ after a guy who got acquitted with your civil rights violations witch hunt.”

    Ah, here is the source of your confusion. It’s not the job of the president to bring people together. His job is to divide them. It’s called “Divide and rule.” Prez is doing exactly what he was hired (by the ruling class) to do. So, we shouldn’t be surprised when he does it.

    Also, about profiling, it’s the genius of the ruling class and its Ministry of Propaganda (the “mainstream” media) to give something that is natural and normal a shabby association. That again is their job.

  38. This is all blatant agitation. They will not be satisfied until blood is spilled in the streets.The useful idiots, as usual, have no clue about the real goal

      1. No it doesn’t. This isn’t 1965 where the majority of blacks are disaffected. Now they have nice suburban homes, good jobs etc.

      2. “Now they have nice suburban homes, good jobs etc.”

        That and they all know at least one Trayvon. They might not contradict the narrative in public, but there’s no way they’re going to waste their time protesting on behalf of a punk they recognize perfectly damn well as a ghetto thug.

  39. Definitely the best and most detailed summation of the facts on this debate I have seen to date. Watching from the sidelines in Canada (where Duty to Retreat is the rule) I have been making most of the same arguments in debate with a LOT of my more liberal countrymen. Thanks for a clear, concise overview that bears out my points!

  40. I have no idea whether you read comments on ten-month-old posts, but this is very well said, all of it. I particularly liked this part:

    “I used to explain to my classes that criminals were as good at their chosen career as the students were at theirs. Criminals are experts at picking out victims, and they prefer the suckers who aren’t paying attention. If you look like work, they’re probably going to pick somebody else to victimize. If you’re paying attention you’ve gone from ‘food’ to ‘work’ and if they wanted to work for a living they’d get a real job.”

    and expect to quote it extensively in the future (with attribution, of course).

    I’m curious about your take on Marissa Alexander’s failed SYG defence, if you have time to go into that. From the description at that link, it sounds as if Alexander’s behaviour after the shooting incident was what wrecked her defence, but it would be nice to know more about what defensive situations SYG applies to and which ones it doesn’t. (In the country where I live now, gun ownership is impractical, but I go back to the US a lot, where a trusted friend is holding onto my handgun and shotgun for me.)

    1. I’m curious about your take on Marissa Alexander’s failed SYG defence,

      There are several problems with her attempted use of “Stand Your Ground.”
      1) Stand Your Ground requires you be at a place you “Have a legal right to be.” She was not. While she had a restraining order against her estranged other, she was at his dwelling. She was not at her own place and the onus for violation of the restraining order is on her, not him.
      2) She left the scene, returning to her car to get the gun, then returned to the house to fire the “warning shot.” While SYG means you don’t have a duty to retreat, it does not mean that after one has, one can then return to the scene and engage ones assailant.
      3) “Warning shot”? One is responsible for each and every bullet fired. The fourth of Cooper’s rules: “Do not fire unless you are sure of your target, and what’s in front of it, and what’s behind it.” This was not a shot fired into the ground. It was not even a shot fired into the air. Did she have any idea where that bullet was going to go? This was a shot fired in the general direction of her opposite number in the altercation–with children present. Was this a “warning shot” or did she just miss? But the fact that she could fire a “warning shot” means that she wasn’t in immediate fear for her life. And SYG still requires one meet the requirements, including that one, for use of force in self defense. Lacking that, it’s not any kind of self defense but aggravated assault, a felony in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
      4) Marissa Alexander was offered a plea bargain. She rejected it. Thus, she ran right into Florida’s minimum sentencing rules for use of a firearm in commission of a felony. Now, one might argue against such laws. I do as they do not allow the courts to consider the totality of the circumstances. But that’s a separate issue from SYG. As we have seen, SYG is simply not a factor in this case.

      In short, Marissa Alexander screwed up by the numbers, from the moment she entered her estranged other’s house, through her decisions at the trial itself. The case does not actually involve SYG. The media and various pundits have tried to use it as an argument (in contrast with the Zimmerman case) as an argument against SYG. They’re wrong.

      1. Thanks very much for the explanation. “Being someplace where you have a legal right to be” makes sense — otherwise I suppose it’s not *your* ground — and I see how leaving the scene and returning violates both the letter and the spirit. The notion of a “warning shot” was beaten — or, well, beat-your-face-en — out of my entire BCT company, so that always seemed like a colossal blunder to me, but it’s also very helpful to know how that interacts with SYG.

        The plea bargain issue strikes me as a separate one too, and gets into issues of prosecutorial discretion and the utterly broken incentive system around how prosecutors get promoted, but US v. Auernheimer is a far better example of that. (TL,DR: prosecutor thinks he sees a slam-dunk hacking case, goes venue shopping to upgrade the charges to a felony, wins in district court, gets dickpunched by appellate court for dodgy venue tactics. Defendant’s buddy who pled out is still in prison, IIRC.)

        So, again, thanks for taking the time to write that out. I may not have the opportunity to use my firearms much anymore, but it’s still important to me to understand the legalities involved, and you’ve been very helpful.

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