The Cornered Cat
Face It

Yesterday, I sent you over to Rory Miller’s blog to learn a little more about how to explain what happened after a defensive use of force. That leads us straight into today’s subject, because if you’re like most people, the idea of dealing with the legal system after a shooting probably makes you more than a little nervous. How can you explain what you knew, what you saw, what you did? How can you effectively tell your story to the legal system?

If questions like that bother you, I can’t think of a better place to start setting your fears to rest than at the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. The ACLDN offers excellent information in the form of a regular online newsletter (free even to non-members). The set of DVDs that come with membership provide solid education from well-known experts in the field on a wide range of topics: basic concepts of justified use of force, reading body language and pre-assault indicators, using lower levels of force, physical and physiological reactions to extreme danger, how to deal with law enforcement officers after a shooting, and more.

In addition to the terrific flood of information that comes with membership, ACLDN also provides expert advice and financial resources to help its members weather the aftermath of a shooting. Those financial resources are not insignificant — $10k immediately up front for lawyer fees, with  significantly more available if the case proceeds — but they pale in comparison to the value of having experienced experts in your corner and on your team.

Whether or not you decide to join ACLDN, don’t go through the rest of your life feeling vaguely worried about how you might deal with the aftermath of a self-defense incident. If you carry a gun, you owe it to yourself to learn what to do if you ever need to use it.

Although studying what can happen to you legally after you defend yourself from a criminal might seem scary at first, it’s far scarier to be unprepared and blindsided by unexpected aftereffects. So instead of quietly stuffing your fears down into your guts where they’ll rot and give you ulcers in your sleep, pull them out and examine them with your eyes wide open! Then reach down, pull up your socks, and make plans based on a realistic understanding of how the legal system really works. You’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: ACLDN founder Marty Hayes, and his wife Gila Hayes, have been close friends and mentors to me for more than 14 years. I occasionally earn a paycheck from them as an instructor at their school, the Firearms Academy of Seattle. In addition to this, ACLDN advisory board member Massad Ayoob has also been a strong mentor and friend of mine for many years, and so has advisory board member Tom Givens. I know these guys personally and trust them implicitly, and that’s where my bias is.

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