The Four Elements of Self Defense: Reasonable Fear
The Four Elements of Self-defense
As we continue with the four elements of Self Defense, the basis of these articles is to briefly explain each element, as we will be following these articles with actual case analysis and lessons learned from those cases. Don West, our National Trial Counsel, was co-counsel for Zimmerman, as you may well know. The first case that we will be geting into next week will be that case.
The basic requirement for any self-defense case is that the shooter must have a reasonable fear of imminent harm before he pulls the trigger. The thing about reasonable fear is that it is impossible to measure and impossible to prove. Where most shooters claiming self-defense get in trouble is when their fear turns to rage. Markus Hendrick Kaarma shot a teen he found pilfering from his garage; a jury found Kaarma guilty largely on testimony that suggested he had been waiting for the opportunity to “get” the person who had been breaking into his garage (he’s currently serving 70 years). We’ll look at the case of former professional MMA fighter and marine sniper Gerald Strebendt whose extensive training cast doubt on how afraid he was of an unarmed man he encountered after a traffic accident on a rainy night. And we’ll be following the Wesley Chapel, Florida movie theater shooting which involved a retired police captain shooting a man after an argument. A legal analyst following the case said, “the main argument that the state is going to make is, popcorn is not a deadly weapon.”
So, stay tuned as we go further into these cases for lessons learned and how they may be applicable if you are ever involved in a self defense use of force. Next week we will talk about Post-Shooting Actions and then get right into the Zimmerman case.
Shawn Vincent is a litigation consultant who helps select juries in self-defense cases, and he manages public interest of high-profile legal matters. If you have any questions for Shawn, or would like more articles like this, let us know below!