WHAT'S IN YOUR PUBLIC PROFILE?
I must confess that I hang out on Facebook. I post, I read the posts of others, and I sometimes comment on some of those posts or use Emoticons in order to evidence my support, disfavor, surprise, or sympathy in response to something that was written. What I will not do is post or indicate support for anything that the media, a District Attorney, a Grand Jury, or a jury of my peers might use, whether taken out of context or not, against me in the event that I am ever forced to use force against another in order to protect myself or a family member or friend from suffering serious bodily injury or death.
I have strong feelings about what is happening in America right now, most especially when it comes to personal crimes and property crimes. As a matter of fact, not only is it not unlawful for me to feel that way, but I also have the First Amendment right to say so. I can pretty much comment on anything I want to without fear of prosecution (other than certain exceptions such as fraud, speech that incites imminent lawless action, obscenity, etc.). I can share those comments through private emails and texts, and if I want to reach potentially thousands or perhaps millions, I can also post them on a much grander scale.
There is only one problem. Those same comments can be used against me by a prosecutor in a court of law in order to weaken my claims of acting in self-defense. Did any of my statements indicate a dislike for another group of people? Did I belittle them or in any way indicate that I think that I am better than them? Have I suggested anything that might indicate that they should be harmed for what they are doing, or that I am pleased that they were injured or killed as a result? Do I use statements like “play stupid games, win stupid prizes?” Have I ever written a statement that reads something like: “If that dude does that to me, the next thing he is going to see is a bright flash!” It is my opinion that anything that a prosecutor could use in an attempt to convince a jury that I harbored a deep-seated desire to harm another person and secretly hoped that someday the circumstances would allow me to legally act upon that desire may make it far more difficult for my attorney to defend me even if I had done everything perfect and truly had no other options than to use force or deadly force to save my life.
One negative for many concealed carriers may be that this advice is too late. Statements of the nature described above are already floating out there, some of which are very likely recoverable by persons with advanced IT skills. I am one of those persons who believes that what was done is done, and there is no reason to fret about it now. If anything, it can be used as an impetus to stop putting similar statements in writing, making an even greater effort to avoid situations in which we might be forced to defend ourselves, taking action as soon as possible in order to avoid or disengage from a potential encounter with others who might turn out to be a threat, and if forced to physically defend ourselves against the actions of others to do so in a manner that a reasonable District Attorney would decline to file charges or take the matter before a Grand Jury.
As a matter of fact, that sounds like good advice for all Concealed Carriers.
Steve Moses has been a defensive firearms trainer for over 26 years and is a licensed Texas Personal Protection Officer with 7 years of experience performing as shift lead on a church security detail for a D/FW area metro-church. Steve is a co-owner and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. Moses is a retired deputy constable and spent over 10 years on a multi-precinct Special Response Team. He owns multiple instructor certifications, including Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor and Defensive Shotgun Instructor, Red Zone Knife Defense Instructor and Adaptive Striking Foundations Instructor, Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Sight Instructor, and State of Texas Personal Protection Officer Instructor. Steve holds a BJJ Brown Belt in Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He is a content contributor for CCW Safe and writes weekly articles on various subjects of interest to concealed carriers. Moses shoots competitively and holds an IDPA Expert rating. Steve is an annual presenter at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.