A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, June 08, 2009

Casual Conversation

"Xav, I heard there was a pharmacist up in Oklahoma that killed a kid who tried to rob him."

"Yeah, I heard about that........"

"Seems a lot of folks want to convict from what I hear. I can't believe the DA is prosecuting that. I mean two punks come in to rob the place, for crissakes. The guy was just defending himself," Doc said indignantly.

"Well, you know Doc, the pharmacist came back inside after he chased the other guy away. Then he shot the kid five more times."

"The punk got what was comin' to him. He deserved to die for what he did."

"I dunno Doc. I guess a jury will have to sort that one out."

Rightly or wrongly, what we say in casual conversation can come back to bite us if we are ever in a lethal encounter with a criminal. I don't like it. I don't think it should be that way, but I recognize it as a cold reality in the world in which we live.

It sometimes amazes me that people who are brilliant often fail to measure the statements they make. Doc got his CCW license about six months ago. He packs almost everywhere he goes now. He is no fool. He is no loose cannon, and no vigilante. Yet it is statements like those that could be used to crucify him in court if he is ever forced to defend himself.

The wise man carries a gun not with ill will, but with a determined will to survive. He does not carry a gun to kill. He carries a gun to live. Our words must reflect that. What we say in casual conversation months prior to a shooting can be used against us to destroy our character and integrity in the inevitable court proceedings that follow. Even more significant, our words can be used to establish mens rea in court.

I did not advise Doc against such statements. He knew better. Knowing there were other ears in the suite, I changed the subject and kept my opinions to myself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good advice. Many would be wise to heed it.I would like to think I do, but I will be more cognisant of such phrases.


8:48 PM  
Blogger Old NFO said...

Good points, and yes, we DO have to be careful what we say where, and when...

9:33 PM  
Anonymous HankH said...

Wise words indeed Xavier.


11:37 PM  
OpenID reflectoscope said...

I agree, this is something to think about carefully.


4:08 AM  
Blogger stbaguley said...

1st Amendment freedom at least still protects us from Orwell's "Thoughtcrime" as is NOT the case in Europe. I am not a "holocaust denier" but when I read that there are folks in prison there for speaking their minds on that subject I was sickened. (Regardless of how either stupid, uninformed or bigoted I might find such remarks.) Inconsiderate shooting off of your mouth can be nearly as dangerous as doing the same with your weapon. Your points are well taken. as with your exercise of the the 2nd, be sure of your audience and who might be behind it! Someone else can work up the other corollaries.

8:32 AM  
Blogger tom said...

Seems like I've said it a million times various places at this point:

Making a statement like that might get you in trouble down the road but the first thing I thought when I saw this case, and what I still think now, "What was the guy on the floor doing, as the autopsy determined the SECOND volley of shots was what Killed the 'teen'?"

Security Camera only tells one side of the story.

The second thing I thought is "God help this man if he talked to the police before retaining counsel."

Those are more important than a person's possible "attitude" towards criminals which wouldn't be admissible in court as it's hearsay. That would be way down the list of my worries if I was the person indicted in a case such as this.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Glen said...

I have read and enjoyed Xavier for years now, and learned through him and my trainer to pin my mouth shut. Sad but true in our modern world.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Gotta admit, the pharmacist's actions look a little cold blooded at first blush.

But, it all took place in 45 seconds, I suppose since running away is not required under the law, particularly in your own store, the pharmacist -- in a back brace from a recent operation -- should have risked his life somehow bending/squatting down to see is the perp was armed or not, and if so, disarming him in a non-lethal manner.

Imagine though, if the perp did have a gun and pulled it out and put 5 slugs in the pharmacist as he walked by, we'd all be wondering why the pharmacist died with a gun filled with cartridges.

Agreed, wise words, but you gotta strike a balance in life between your First Amendment right to free speech and your Second Amendment right to protect yourself. Neither should rule over the other.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Ed Harris said...

The late Harry J. Archer once admonished me, "NEVER say anything outside a SCIF, out on the street, or at a party that you would be unhappy reading on the front page of Pravda tomorrow [feel free to substitute which ever scandal sheet is appropriate for the time and context].

2:50 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hooah. Seems to me, the time to call the cops was immediately after returning to the store. That's what cops do, right? Get the shootee to the hospital?

6:14 PM  
Blogger Lawyer said...

This is a great post and excellent advice.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well he probably figured a private converstation between colleges[friends?}would never be repeated. Or show up on a on a web blog. This would be especially true if he knew you to be a fellow CCW. Idle chatter in the O.R. can easily be "forgotten" if ever it became an issue.
Not quite in the same league as declarative statments made to unknowns in public places.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thoughts Xavier - as usual. This is something I think of quite often when it comes to posting on a local gun forum I belong to. I see lots of members of our forum posting thoughts similar to your doc. And I think "Gee, here it is in black and white. God help you if you're ever involved in a shooting, because sure as anything lawyers will be trolling through your posts...."

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Jury Nullification said...

Hopefully, the pharmacist won't plead to anything, and will either have all charges dropped or else be acquitted of all charges by a jury. Legal and right aren't always the same thing.

9:35 AM  

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