Sanford, Florida, that is. Where now, according to Michael Miller of the Miami NewTimes, Armed Neo-Nazis are patrolling the neighborhood. Prepared for a violent Trayvon Martin backlash. Or, I think they put it, “race riot.” Ok. Crazy.
The neo-nazi story prompted me to write Walter Gilmour and get his response. He said a lot of things, most of which I won’t repeat here. But I do think he got to the nub of the issue. Here’s what he said:
At this time Alaska Law recognizes that a person does not have to retreat in their homes, or cars, if they feel that their life is in danger. Any one electing to use deadly force must be able to articulate three things.
- That they were faced with a deadly threat
- That the threat was imminent
- And if the threat was carried out, they would/could be killed or seriously injured
The key word for me is “electing.”
The question is, when you are faced with an imminent deadly threat that could get your ass killed — how much “electing” are you doing? I am taking “elect” in the sense of it being “to determine in favor of (a method, course of action, etc.).” In other words, conscious action. Conscious action that puts all three factors — deadly threat, imminent danger, injury or death — into consideration beforehand.
Unless you’re a trained professional, I doubt much of any of that happens in imminent danger situations. Because imminent danger is… imminent. One has to act fast, not think about it. It’s either be quick or be dead.
So how do you sort it out? Maybe that’s what law enforcement and the criminal justice system get to do. After the fact. They get to sort it out. Hmmm…