AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Herschel Smith · 19 Feb 2017 · 5 Comments

There are a lot of articles and discussion forum threads on barrel twist rate for AR-15s.  So why am I writing one?  Well, some of the information on the web is very wrong.  Additionally, this closes out comment threads we've had here touching on this topic, EMail exchanges I've had with readers, and personal conversations I've had with shooters and friends about this subject.  It's natural to put this down in case anyone else can benefit from the information.  Or you may not benefit at…… [read more]

Senate Confirms Jones To Head ATF

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

David Codrea:

The final 60 to 40 cloture count that brought the confirmation vote to the floor was enabled by the flipping of Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who changed her vote today to join five other Republicans, John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. That some of these ended up holding out against Jones on the confirmation vote does not alter the fact that their cloture vote enabled the confirmation.

David is correct.  Don’t let a ‘no’ vote on Jones fool you.  The cloture vote nonsense is a misdirect and tactical trick to get the Senate to a 50 vote majority rather than 60 or more votes to stop a filibuster.

I expected this from McCain and Graham, both of whom are enemies of America, but I had hope for Kelly Ayotte.  As it stands now, she has proven that this isn’t even about whether the ATF should exist, whether they deserve funding, or whether federal firearms laws are constitutional.  These are second order questions.

What Kelly Ayotte has said with her vote is that it’s acceptable to her to have a criminal at the head of the ATF, a man who helped organize and arrange the deception of the American public in Fast and Furious and the deaths of U.S. border patrol agents and Mexican authorities (we are still counting the affects) – all for the purpose of justifying more gun control on the American people.

Ayotte cannot undo this vote, she cannot go back.  She cannot turn this around, she cannot reverse history.  She has declared herself an enemy of gun owners everywhere, forever.  McCain and Graham were already there years ago.  Ayotte is in horrible company.

Bad Day At Allen Arms

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

So my second son Joseph is in town from Austin, Texas.  I took him and my daughter Devon to the shooting range at Allen Arms in Greenville, S.C. on Monday (we were in Greenville visiting other family).  I had previously purchased an M1 Carbine at Allen Arms, had free range passes and figured I would use them.  I could have gone to a new range near there named Sharpshooters, but chose instead to go back where I got the rifle.

As I thought about which of my guns to shoot, I decided to carry guns that used .38, .357 magnum, .45 and .30 Carbine.  I had left my ammunition in the truck because if you don’t purchase and use their ammunition they charge a fee.  As I walked towards the store I found myself wondering, “They won’t have .30 Carbine FMJ any more than Sharpshooters (who doesn’t charge an ammunition fee), Hyatt Gun Shop (Charlotte), Shooter’s Express (Belmont, N.C., who also doesn’t charge an ammunition fee), or Firepower (Matthews, N.C., who doesn’t charge an ammunition fee either).  Surely they won’t be so stupid as to charge me for shooting my own ammunition if they don’t have it to buy.”

I get in there and ask about .30 Carbine ammunition and they claim they have it.  They trot out .30 Carbine personal defense ammunition (you know, the $1.50 per round stuff).  I respond that I’ll use my own since no one in their right mind sends personal defense ammunition down range for target practice.

We shoot knowing that I will have an ammunition fee, and enjoyed the day, but come out to the ammunition fee times three, or $15 total.  I pay it, along with the other costs, but again I say to them that I just don’t understand why they would charge me an ammunition fee if they don’t sell range ammunition.

The guy behind the counter then began to get snarky with me and said they did have it.  I responded, “That’s like saying I want to shoot .45, and the only thing you sell is Gold Dot .45, and since I am unwilling to send Gold Dots down range you’re going to charge me an ammunition fee.”  He responded, “But that’s all we have.”  To which I pointed out that he made my point for me.  They didn’t have FMJ or MC ammunition, which is why I shot my own.  I went in prepared for an ammunition fee while they sell my spent brass (however silly I think such a rule is).  I wasn’t prepared for being told I had to send personal defense ammunition down range or be charged extra.

He said “Well, that’s the store’s policy.”  I pointed out to him that they are going to have to deal with issues like that if they want to compete with Sharpshooter’s, after which he got really testy and I figured that it made no sense to continue the idiotic conversation.

Needless to say, this was all very off-putting for Joseph, who made comparisons of Allen Arms with Red’s in Austin, Texas.  So be it.  There’s a new range starting up in Simpsonville, S.C., and Sharpshooter’s has surely taken customers away from Allen Arms.  The old guard will learn to compete or they will go out of business.  Either way, I hope Allen Arms enjoys my $15.  It’s the last of my money they will see.  They lost a valuable customer on Monday.

Rifle Wielding Soldiers Develop Breasts

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

The Guardian:

The rhythmic impact of a rifle wielded by a military man can puff up his chest. This sometimes leads to worry, or worse. Though soldiers might appreciate a good pair of breasts, what would happen if they themselves grew a pair? Or if they grew just one?

Some men do experience this affront. A study called Gynecomastia in German Soldiers: Etiology and Pathology, published last year in the journal GMS Interdisciplinary Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, analysed the plight of 211 male German soldiers who suffered from, or at least exhibited, one or two enlarged breasts. The ailment has a medical name: gynecomastia.

The study’s authors, Prof Björn Dirk Krapohl, Dr Dietrich Doll, and four colleagues at Bundeswehrkrankenhaus, the German Armed Forces Hospital in Berlin, played detective. They set out “to investigate the increased incidence of left-sided gynecomastia in members of the German Ministry of Defense Guard Battalion who perform ceremonial duties in Berlin … A possible explanation is the mechanical impact of the carbine against the left side of the body during the drills that these soldiers regularly perform as part of their ceremonial duties”.

The doctors compared those patients with other enlarge-breasted men who had not spent years frequently and intensively slapping rifles into their left breast.

They noticed a stark difference.

Seventy-five percent of the gynecomastiacal Guard Battalion chest-slappers had an enlarged left – only the left, not the right – breast.

I resisted titling this post titty-titty bang bang as suggested in the comments to this article because it’s not mine.  But I have to say that this is the stupidest article ever to come out of The Guardian, and doctors in Germany surely have better things to do.

They studied the “German Ministry of Defense Guard Battalion who perform ceremonial duties in Berlin.”  Honestly – after hundreds of thousands of Marines and Soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan discharging their rifles as much as they did and still have no breasts, and the best they could do is come up with 200 Germans who shoot carbines at ceremonies.

Good grief.

Use Of Firearms For Self Defense Important Crime Deterrent

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

CNS News:

“Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,”says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The $10 million study was commissioned by President Barack Obama as part of 23 executive orders he signed in January.

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” the CDC study, entitled “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” states.

The report, which notes that “ violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past five years,” also pointed out that “some firearm violence results in death, but most does not.” In fact, the CDC report said, most incidents involving the discharge of firearms do not result in a fatality.

Well, of course.  But the key here is that I don’t need this study to tell me that if I have a firearm while being accosted I stand a better chance of survival.  Neither do my readers.  What’s interesting here is that the very group of “experts” upon whom Obama was relying to tell the public that firearms are a public health concern are supplying him with inconvenient information.

Look for the Obama administration to summarily ignore this study because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

Does Nullification Matter?

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Politico:

Infuriated by what they see as the long arm of Washington reaching into their business, states are increasingly telling the feds: Keep out!

Bills that would negate a variety of federal laws have popped up this year in the vast majority of states — with the amount of anti-federal legislation sharply on the rise during the Obama administration, according to experts.

The nullification trend in recent years has largely focused on three areas: gun control, health care and national standards for driver’s licenses. It has touched off fierce fights within the states and between the states and the feds, as well as raising questions and court battles over whether any of the activity is legal.

In at least 37 states, legislation has been introduced that in some way would gut federal gun regulations, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The bills were signed into law this spring in two states, Kansas and Alaska, and in two others lawmakers hope to override gubernatorial vetoes. Twenty states since 2010 have passed laws that either opt out of or challenge mandatory parts of Obamacare, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. And half the states have approved measures aimed knocking back the Real ID Act of 2005, which dictates Washington’s requirements for issuing driver’s licenses.

There is more:

With the help of a few Democrats, Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature appears to be positioned to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a high-profile bill that seeks to nullify federal gun-control laws in the state and make criminals out of federal agents who attempt to enforce them.

Several of Nixon’s fellow Democrats confirmed to The Associated Press that they would vote to override his veto when lawmakers convene in September, even while agreeing with the governor that the bill couldn’t survive a court challenge. Many of them noted that in some parts of Missouri, a “no” vote on gun legislation could be career ending.

“We love our guns and we love hunting. It’s not worth the fight for me to vote against it,” said Rep. T.J. McKenna, D-Festus. But, he added, “the bill is completely unconstitutional, so the courts are going to have to throw it out.”

Ands that’s the issue, isn’t it?  This lawmaker reverts to what so many do when faced with an upcoming fight.  He refers to what the federal courts might decide.  Here’s a hint for the legislator.  A totalitarian federal court will always decide that totalitarianism is acceptable, federalism is dead, and the states must simply do what they have been told to do.  Referring to the federal courts is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.

The states would have been far better off had they never began this trend if they aren’t serious about it.  The first volleys have been sent and there is a battle on the horizon.  For nullification laws to make any difference whatsoever, the states must be willing to ignore the federal courts.  They must be willing to impeach judges, imprison federal agents who enforce federal laws, and enforce punitive action against any agent of the federal government who crosses state lines to hassle citizens of the state for any reason pertaining to rules and regulations that the federal government wants to enforce.

And here’s a word about Obamacare.  It’s already being implemented – don’t believe the hype about delays.  Doctors are already spending all night doing charting for the patients they have seen all day, completing Obamacare paperwork.  And nonparticipation in the Obamacare exchanges doesn’t mean that the financial burden for it won’t fall to a state.  The penalties, charges, and other revenue-collecting aspects of Obamacare obtain regardless of opting out of Obamacare – notwithstanding something like imprisonment of IRS agents who attempt to collect such penalties.

Nullification laws have the teeth that states give them, neither one bit more nor one bit less.  But since the first volley has been sent, the states must decide.  The battle ensues as we speak.  If they run and hide, the states were never more than just a little yap-yap dog, all bark and no bite.  This isn’t so theoretrical after all.  One mustn’t turn it into an ethereal, theoretical conversation about what the federal courts might do.  Conversations along these lines indicates that the battle has been already lost.  They may as well bow down and lick Eric Holder’s jackboots.

No Compromise On Gun Rights

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

David Codrea:

State Senate Minority Leader and gubernatorial hopeful John McKinney can expect no help from the Connecticut Citizens Defense League due to his anti-gun legislative actions, CCDL President Scott Wilson announced in a press release today from Groton.

“Senator McKinney was instrumental in implementing a historic gun control law with zero consideration for the constitutional rights of law abiding gun owners,” the head of the state’s largest grass roots gun rights group explained. “With his deliberate act of siding with gun control supporters, there will be no support from CCDL for his run.”

“[O]ther elected officials who went along with the Senate leader and voted in favor of the gun control law could expect the same from the organization,” the release pledged … If he still wins the primary or there is no primary, we will not vote for him in the election.

Good for them.  This may seem like a counterproductive scorched earth policy to some, but it’s precisely this objection that got us where we are today.

Conservative and libertarian voters have gone along to get along and voted for the best thing out there for decades under the assumption that less evil is better than more evil.

But over the course of these past decades we have seen our leaders equivocate, modulate, prevaricate, and adjust, adapt and modify their views to suit the Washington elite.  As long as the inside-the-beltway talking heads are happy and our leaders stay in power, the only thing that changes is that we see less respect for our rights and liberties as time passes.

This slow roasting process has just about killed the ideological foundations of our republic such that thinking men and women have been replaced by corrupt, ignorant and self-serving politicians who would sell the souls of their mothers as long as it suited their purposes.

So compromise hasn’t done conservatives and libertarians any favors.  It has harmed the cause of freedom.  Gun owners in Connecticut are saying the same thing I’ve said concerning politicians like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan (who will never get my support because of their support of universal background checks), Marco Rubio (who will never get my support because of his sellout on immigration), and any of a host of ignominious political animals in Washington and at the state level.

Finally, the voters in Connecticut know what we all do instinctively.  It’s better when you don’t fill in the gaps for the failures of our leaders.  In the end, it’s better when people feel the consequences of their actions – there is no surer teacher than consequences.

Besides, I am no advocate of national action to undo the results of totalitarianism in Colorado, New York or Connecticut.  While I appreciate that there are some in Colorado, for example, who want the courts to overturn their obscene gun laws, in the end they are not the court’s problem.  The obscenities started on the state and local level, and they must be dealt with at the genesis of the problem.  Totalitarians must be dealt with face to face.

The problems belong to Connecticut, and gun owners are trying to see that they are addressed there.  I wish them success.  May God be with them.

Read it all at Examiner.

Ms. Magazine Does Guns – Final Installment

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Prior: Ms. Magazine Does Guns

The Daily Beast has what we can only hope to be the final installment of Heidi Yewman’s month with a gun.  I’ll quote extensively from her article because we learn some very important things about Heidi.

Ms. Magazine ran my initial post on the experience on June 12. More than 2,000 commenters responded to that article—most of them angry gun-rights advocates saying how stupid I was; one even suggested that I put the gun in my mouth. Most of them missed the point entirely: the experiment was designed to show how easy it is to obtain a gun without being required to know how to use it.

In a nutshell she tells us just how and why she did what she did.  Her presuppositions are summarized for us, and it gets even clearer as the article continues.

I knew going into my 30-day experiment of living with a gun that I was putting my family and myself at risk.

Only two days into my experiment I went to breakfast with my two kids and some friends. After eating and shopping, my gun with me the entire time, I was anxious to get home to enjoy the warm weather. I put my purse on the counter and then spent the next hour out on the back deck. Walking into the kitchen to refresh our drinks, I noticed my purse with the 9mm Glock still inside it. I’d forgotten to lock it up! Panic set in as I realized my teen son was playing videogames just 10 feet away. What if he’d decided to get the socks I’d bought him from my purse while I was out on the deck? Thoughts raced through my mind and I pondered how I’d just straddled the fine line between being a responsible gun owner and an irresponsible idiot whose 15-year-old just accidentally shot himself or someone else with my gun.

A gun in a home is 43 times more likely to be used to kill a family member than kill someone in self-defense. With over 200 million guns in our country, most in our homes, it’s no wonder that over 19,000 people in America die from suicide and accidental death by a gun every year. So I decided to keep the gun in a locked safe when I was home. But that didn’t seem to soften my worry and overall anxiousness.

Heidi just knew beyond all doubt that she would put her family at risk by even having a gun, and her actions became a self-fulfilling prophesy by admittedly being stupid.  Of course, this is the perfect pretext for citing all of her data on gun deaths.

I’ve said before that you could blindfold me at the doorway to my home and I could lay my hands on every weapon in my home and tell you whether each one has a round chambered.  If you cannot do that, you should reconsider whether you have a gun.  Additionally, if you decide to carry, openly or concealed, you should engage in self training for that responsibility before doing so.

The self training can seem a little overboard at first, but you must master the mechanics, whereabouts, condition, operation and location of your weapons, and become somewhat obsessive over their proper care, including trigger and muzzle control.  This obsession doesn’t have to go on forever once you have engrained those choices and behaviors as habits.  If Heidi had done this her actions would have led to a completely different experience.

But this isn’t much different than the freedom to purchase and climb ladders from which the fall will kill you, drive an automobile recklessly, or take medications in a dangerous manner.  Guns are no different, but as I observed in my earlier article on her, she spends no time on the danger she causes to others on the road, or conversely, the danger they cause to her and her family – all without proper training by the state.

How accessible should the gun be when I’m home? A few nights ago, my son came home late, forgot his key, and knocked on the door. My first thought was, “Should I go get the gun?” I didn’t know who was on the other side of the door, and I was scared to find out as adrenaline surged through my body. I’m glad I didn’t get the gun because when I opened the door, I would have been a nervous, untrained mom pointing a gun at my son. The wrong split-second decision on my side would have been deadly.

Since having the gun I’ve had two repairmen, a carpet cleaner, and a salesmen in my home. If the gun’s for self-protection, it’s not going to do any good in the safe, but it’s not really practical to have the gun pointing at them as they work. How else would I eliminate the element of surprise if I were attacked? Suspiciousness and fear of people is new to me, and I don’t like it. Living with a gun has not been easy. There’s more worry, more responsibility, and higher risk for everyone who is in my home, especially my family.

Why would anyone voluntarily point a gun at their son, or a carpet cleaner or salesman?  This is stupid, high risk behavior, not to mention illegal.  As for the possibility of an attack on your person, one can carry concealed or openly as I do.  That way it is readily accessible if you need it.

The urine smell was particularly strong in the grimy, dimly lit downtown parking garage’s stairwell. I was late for a meeting and barely noticed the large man enter behind me. When I got to the second floor I became nervous, and the Oprah episode where a man attacks a woman alone in a situation just like this played in my head. I thought about the 9mm in my purse as I clumsily continued down the stairs in my skirt and heels. He followed me. I looked back at him so he knew I knew he was there (like Oprah’s expert suggested.) I thought: “Should I pull the gun out? Should I point it at him?” I realized the gun wouldn’t do me any good because he was behind me. My heart racing, we finally got to the lobby door where the man simply passed by me. I’d grown paranoid. He wasn’t the bad guy I perceived him to be, and the gun did not make me safe.

No.  You should not unholster your weapon (that’s brandishing) or point it at him (that’s assault, which includes perceived threat), both of which are dumb, dangerous and illegal.

I played two tennis matches with the gun in my backpack next to the court, and I went to three parties in homes where children played just feet from the pile of guests’ jackets and purses, including mine with the gun inside.

Then you intentionally endangered those children and you didn’t have to.  You could have kept the firearm on your person.  You should have left it in a locked car or carried it in a holster designed for weapon retention.

I learned guns are heavy and hard to conceal. And a seatbelt goes over the gun on your hip when you drive, making me wonder what happens if I get in an accident—does the gun crush my hip or does the impact squeeze the trigger and shoot me in the leg?

No, having a car accident doesn’t make your gun go off.  Guns can in fact be annoying to carry, but they don’t have to be.  You could have chosen to get a small J-frame .22 WMR or .38 revolver and an ankle holster.

As I said before, the drama is exhausting and breathtaking.  But the thing that really worries me isn’t that she has a gun.  It’s that bimbos like this can purchase an SUV the size and weight of my Ford F150 and drive it down the road with screaming kids in the back whilst jabbering on the cell phone attached to her ear, after qualifying with a driving test that a monkey could be trained to take.  Makes you stop and ponder, no?  It’s one reason I drive so defensively on the road nowadays.

Well, you’ve heard enough.  Heidi went into the experiment choosing to endanger herself and others, be irresponsible, and conclude that we should all be controlled in the same way she needs to be.  It’s called by various names, e.g., reasoning in a circle, assuming the consequent, etc., and it’s perfectly innocent and benign as long as you don’t try to prove anything that way.  Heidi has proven nothing except her own predilections and predispositions.  What she says basically has no bearing on responsible gun owners.

Prior: Ms. Magazine Does Guns

Open Carry Case In Texas

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Hays Free Press:

Walking along Goforth Road in Buda last week, two young adults carrying rifles on their backs created quite a stir. But the aftermath may be even more controversial.

Part of a group call Open Carry Texas, which, on the internet, seems to be associated with Opencarry.org, the two young adults were trying to make a statement, videotaping their interaction with police and posting it on YouTube.

What statement? That, by law, they are allowed to openly carry long guns in Texas.

The video interaction between Buda police and the weapons-carriers included lessons for all involved.

Last week, Buda Police Officer Alex Fernandez, who arrived on scene at 5:27 p.m. to investigate a call for suspicious circumstances, found himself the target of a nationwide movement to test Texas’s open carry laws. The individuals, one male, one female, videotaped the interaction with the officer and a Hays County Constable who arrived as backup.

Buda Police Chief Bo Kidd confirmed that he received a call from a concerned citizen that there were two people walking along Goforth Road with long guns strapped to their back. In addition, a call was made to the Hays County Sheriff’s 911 center about the guns.

As the scene opened up, as shown on the video, Fernandez approached the individuals and initiated the conversation by asking for their identification.

“You got a driver’s license or ID?” he asked.

The male said, “Um, I choose not to present that to you, officer.”

Fernandez replied, “Just to let you know, you have every right to do that, you also have one thing – let me tell you right now, if you fail to identify to a police officer, you can also get arrested for that, OK? Do you have a DL or ID?”

The Sheriff went on to comment that:

“I understand what they are promoting (2nd Amendment/Right to Bear Arms), but I think most reasonable people would disagree with the manner in which they are going about this,” Kidd said.

Kidd said he thought the manner in which the confrontation took place would have worked better as an educational experience if the protesters had simply let his office know they were going to be walking around with long guns.

One commenter wrote:

“The cop says his reasoning for detaining them is ‘suspicious activity.’ Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979) ruled that suspicious activity does not satisfy the requirement to detain and demand ID. Instead the officer must suspect you of a specific crime, which he can articulate and substantiate with objective facts. The exercise of a right cannot be converted into reasonable suspicion of a crime.”

I don’t understand the notion that someone exercising a right must inform the local law enforcement.  Do street preachers tell the police that they’re going to be speaking?  Besides, the intent of this effort is to make it commonplace to carry long guns (and I would also observe that I have commented numerous times about the lack of open carry in Texas and South Carolina, saying that it is an artifact of Jim Crow laws).  It was, after all, commonplace to carry long guns in Colonial times.

As to whether the police had a right to demand identification, the officer was wrong and the commenter is right.  Texas has a stop and identify statute of sorts, but it’s very restrictive, and it must be a valid and defensible “Terry Stop” (i.e., where the person is suspected of having committed a crime) in order to constitutionally effect the detainment.

I think the police ought to get used to this happening and get their facts straight and protocol in order.  Open carry advocates have the law on their side, and this isn’t the last time this is going to happen.

What If Someone Goes Postal?

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Perspective from Illinois:

Chamber President Doug Whitley said most businesses currently have policies that prohibit guns at the workplace, including the parking lot. When the concealed-carry law was being debated, Chamber of Commerce members mostly were concerned about being able to control their parking lots, Whitley said. The law, which went into effect earlier this month, ended up having a provision that allows a permit-holder to keep a gun in his or her vehicle while at work, even if the vehicle is on a company lot.

“The problem is, you always have the risk that someone goes postal, and they go out to the car and have easy access to a weapon,” Whitley said. “Of course, the hunter wants to be able to take the gun to the plant, and leave work and go directly to the duck blind.”

So if someone “goes postal” (I think that’s a stupid phrase used by ignorant people), we can surmise that the Chamber of Commerce would rather innocent people perish at the hands of the shooter rather than have a weapon for self defense.

No wonder Chicago’s crime problem is so bad.

Noted Self Defense Expert Weighs In On Zimmerman

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Before we deal with the observations of a well-respected self defense expert on George Zimmerman and his case, allow me to make a few observations.

I think that I would have done things differently than Zimmerman.  First of all, I try not to be out like that without my dog, who is an 82 pound Doberman named Heidi.  She is a significant degree of protection.  Second, if you own the light, you own the night.  I wouldn’t have been out without a good tactical light.  So I usually carry my Surefire light with me at night if I’m out, even if I’m walking my dog in the neighborhood.  Finally, my three e‘s are egress, evasion and escape.  If I had been there that fateful night and was close enough to have been jumped by someone, I would consider my tactics to have been faulty.

But in the end, it isn’t against the law to walk at night without a tactical light, without a dog, and without a plan for egress, evasion and escape.  And it’s also not against the law to carry a weapon, and I do that as well.  I said earlier that I think I would have done things differently than Mr. Zimmerman.  Suppose that I didn’t have a tactical light or an 82 pound Doberman.  And suppose further that I was responsible for my neighborhood watch, having seen my neighborhood ransacked by hoodlums, pilfered by gangsters and terrorized by criminals.  And suppose that there was no one else that night, knowing that the police are an irrelevant feature to the security of my neighborhood.  Unless we are in Zimmerman’s shoes in that exact situation, it’s easy to say what we would or wouldn’t have done, but much harder to have any confidence in our claims.

So with that setup, let’s turn to Massad Ayoob (via Say Uncle), who tells us here why he has been silent on the Zimmerman case.  Mr. Ayoob’s entire article is highly recommended, but some of his thoughts are repeated here.

If I’m your criminal attacker, you don’t have to wait for me to shoot you before you can shoot me to defend your life, and you don’t even need to wait until the gun is in my hand. If I announce my intent to murder you and reach for a gun, I’m bought and paid for right there.  And it doesn’t matter whether the gun I’m reaching for is in my holster, or yours. That’s why every year in America, when thugs try to grab a policeman’s gun and are shot, the shootings are ruled justifiable.

Even before Martin’s reach for Zimmerman’s still-holstered pistol, the circumstances that were proven to the satisfaction of the jury showed that Zimmerman was justified in shooting his attacker.  Remember when defense attorney Don West said in the defense’s opening statement that Martin was armed with the sidewalk?  That sounded ludicrous to lay people, and I would have phrased it differently myself, but professionals understood exactly what he was talking about.

The operative principle at law is called “disparity of force.” It means that while your opponent(s) may not be armed with a deadly weapon per se, their physical advantage over you is so great that if their ostensibly unarmed assault continues, you are likely to die or suffer grave bodily harm. That disparity of force may take the form of a much larger and stronger assailant, a male attacking a female, force of numbers, able-bodied attacking the handicapped, skilled fighter attacking the unskilled, or – in this case – position of disadvantage.

Position of disadvantage means that the opponent has full range and freedom of movement, and you don’t.  You’re seat-belted behind your steering wheel while he rains punches onto your skull through the open window…or you are down and helpless in a martial arts “mount” while your opponent pounds you at will.

Finally, we have the clearly proven element of Martin smashing Zimmerman’s head into the sidewalk. If I picked up a chunk of concrete or cement and tried to smash your skull with it, you would certainly realize that you were about to die or be horribly brain-damaged if you didn’t stop me. It would be what the statutes call “a deadly weapon, to wit a bludgeon.” There just isn’t a whole hell of a lot of difference between cement being smashed into head, and head being smashed into cement.

Clearly, Trayvon Martin possessed the power to kill or cripple Zimmerman. That is why, under law, Zimmerman was justified in defending himself with a per se deadly weapon.

Bob Owens has similar observations.  When Mr. Martin jumped Mr. Zimmerman and began to beat him, the night could have only ended with one of them dead or crippled and possibly permanently disabled.  The gun saved Zimmerman’s life, and that’s why he carried it.  It performed the function for which it was designed, and while all of us who carry weapons hope that we never have to put it to such use, if we are ever faced with that situation we have what we need to reverse that “disparity of force.”


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