The six-day Legal Eagles seminar continued on Sunday with a powerful all-day presentation by attorney Mitch Vilos, author of “Self-Defense Laws of All Fifty States.” Mitch specializes in firearms law and has done a hundred or more such cases himself as trial lawyer, and has studied hundreds more such cases for research. He has discovered the epiphany almost every attorney experiences in the courtroom: law school teaches you the law, not trial tactics. The latter is something that is learned on the job, or in specialized in-service training known as CLE (continuing legal education).
Mitch is smart, he’s funny (in a good way), and he’s a voice of experience. He pointed out that the defenses-with-firearms which seem to cause the least trouble to the good person with the gun are those involving home defense, interdiction of mass murder, and fighting off armed robbers. The least defensible are those in which the defendant might be seen as “the initial aggressor,” or those in which the defendant was doing something illegal at the time of the incident.
Some of those epiphanies are counter-intuitive. Mitch, like veteran defense lawyer Jim Fleming who spoke the day before him, has found that cops make wonderfully favorable jurors in self-defense shooting cases. And that’s just the tiniest sample of the experiential wisdom for which the dozens of attendees are paying a well-spent $3,000 over the course of this six-day seminar. It wouldn’t be right for me to give it all away here.
Let me share another bit of Mitch Vilos’ wisdom. I am not exactly the world’s biggest fan of pastel pistolas. However, Mitch revealed that his current concealed carry pistol in his stomping grounds of Salt Lake City is a purple-color SIG-Sauer. Mitch, like others of us in this business, has seen more than one case where someone has claimed the defendant pulled a gun on him when he didn’t. Mitch likes the idea of being able to say to the investigating officer, “Ask the complainant what color the gun was that he says I pulled on him.” If the liar doesn’t say “purple,” Mitch has a strong reinforcement of the truth that the guy never saw a gun at all and is making up a story.
Damn…live and learn. That’s the first good reason I’ve come across for carrying a handgun of a non-traditional color. And learning, of course, is what I came for.
While terrorists slaughtered helpless unarmed citizens unable to fight back in Paris, armed Americans on the West Coast listened to trainer of instructors Marty Hayes, completing his lecture program begun the day before. Then, they heard from a series of survivors.
There was Bob, the jeweler who when a masked thug from Compton burst into his store screaming profane commands and waving a Glock .40 responded by drawing his own Kimber .45 and putting a 230 grain jacketed hollow point into the thug’s chest, fatally ending the encounter. Bob’s description of this incident, along with links to the security camera recording of the shootout, can be found at proarmspodcast.com. There was John, who used his skills in combatives to keep a fellow vet with PTSD from snatching John’s gun to commit suicide and end his despair. There was Sherry, who when she was 18 and unarmed endured along with a friend a nightmare ordeal at the hands of an armed rapist. Miraculously and courageously surviving that, she now walks the path of the armed citizen.
And, capping the day, there was George Zimmerman.
He went through his notorious incident in detail, clarifying many of the points that became confused in the media propaganda blitz that followed. I learned something I hadn’t been aware of until now.
If you read my take on Zimmerman’s trial (here in the blog archives beginning on the day of his acquittal, July 13, 2013 and running for a total of twenty segments), you saw how Benjamin Crump – the attorney for the family of the deceased Trayvon Martin – manipulated the media. I did not know at that time that when Crump won an earlier multi-million dollar lawsuit in the state of Florida, he had received assistance from then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama. In return, Zimmerman said, Crump had sent a very substantial donation to Obama’s campaign for President.
Hmm. And then came from President Obama: “If I had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon.”
Gosh, Mr. President…if Trayvon had wanted to date one of your daughters, and you had Secret Service check him out first, would you have allowed that date to take place?
The Legal Eagles conference on firearms law, hosted by JB and Glenda Herren, continues for four more days.
I just got home from Columbus, Ohio where I spent a day giving a sort of a “myth-busters” class on armed self-defense for Buckeye Firearms Association. We had 400 attendees, not counting a couple dozen more from BFA staff. The class only ran six hours, but we were able to pack in a lot of “reality check” info.
In October, we gave an intensive 20-hour MAG-20 classroom course over a two-day weekend West Des Moines for Iowa Gun Owners. That curriculum is a full “armed citizens rules of engagement” class. We had thirty-some people in attendance.
Earlier in October we did a full-blown 40-hour MAG-40 course that included all of the above plus a bunch of shooting at the ISRA (lllinois State Rifle Association) range and classroom facility in Bonfield, IL. Got about two dozen people through it, and about 12,000 bullets into ISRA’s well-crafted backstops. It was a combined effort between Midwest Training Group and ISRA.
My primary job is teaching the judicious and effective use of defensive weapons (http://massadayoobgroup.com). It’s always a pleasure to get the truth and the reality to more folks in the American heartland. I’m not saying this to drum up business; we’re already packed full on the 2016 schedule, and what remains on our 2015 calendar.
A respectful suggestion: talk to your state-level gun owners’ civil rights organizations about hosting training. On the local level, talk to your gun club, grange, or whatever about doing the same. You don’t necessarily need high-priced out of state talent; there are lots of NRA-certified firearms instructors, pro-gun attorneys who’ve done self-defense cases, and street-wise cops who would love to come in and share reality with you and others in your club and your community.
The more we spread the knowledge, the more we spread the hard-won truth, the better it is for all of us.
Does the other side really want “reasonable, common sense gun control”?
Remember Nancy Pelosi saying that if she could have, she would have said “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in,” or words to that effect? That intent still exists beneath the relatively transparent surface of the usually more disingenuous gun prohibitionist movement.
We offer as evidence, Professor Alan Dershowitz.
Now, “to give the devil his due,” I’ve had some good things to say about Professor Dershowitz in public, and I’m happy to repeat them here. I’ve heard lawyers criticize him for using his law students to do his research for cases he was getting paid for, and I defended him for that: he was giving those students priceless real-world on-the-job training in high profile cases, and reducing the legal research costs for the defendants in the bargain. His comments why the prosecution of George Zimmerman, and the manner thereof, constituted an outrage were outrage were in my opinion spot on, and I said so…in this space, and elsewhere.
However, there are some points where I profoundly and vehemently disagree with the professor. One of those was his assertion that police are taught to lie on the witness stand – to “testi-lie” – in the police academy. Having more time by far in police training than he has, I call BS on that.
And then, of course, there is Dershowitz’ radical position on “gun control.”
On the opposing side is an old friend of mine, Richard Feldman, Esq. Watch it yourself. Feel free to comment here as to who won the “reality check.”
The Hard Line | Alan Dershowitz and Richard Feldman discuss proposed gun-free zones