This post is not for the discussion of Guyger’s innocence or guilt, but on a very specific turning point in the trial. Let’s keep it there.
From Massad Ayoob’s:
Watching the defendant’s cross-examination last week, I cringed when I saw what I knew would be a turning point in the trial. One source quoted the brief exchange that seems to have hurt Guyger’s case the worst:
“’When you aimed and pulled the trigger at Mr. Jean, shooting him in center mass exactly where you are trained, you intended to kill Mr. Jean,’ (prosecutor) Hermus said. ‘I did,’ Guyger said.”
Under Texas law, a finding of intent to kill is essential to a murder verdict. In a self-defense shooting, our purpose is to shoot to STOP, that is, to stop the opponent from killing or crippling us. “Shoot to stop,” as I’ve preached for decades, is not a figure of speech from the lexicon of political correctness; “shoot to kill” versus “shoot to stop” goes to the heart of state of mind. State of mind, in turn, is what makes or breaks a self-defense plea.
This is a cautionary tale. Sometimes what comes out of our mouths is not a true reflection of what we are but the result of cultural programming and I believe this is one of this times.
In Aldous Huxley’s book A Brave New World, there is behavioral tool called Hynopeadia which is teaching by repeating a slogan or a principle over and over in your sleep.
Foster patted the Assistant Predestinator on the shoulder. “Every one belongs to every one else, after all.”
“One hundred repetitions three nights a week for four years,” thought Bernard Marx, who was a specialist on hypnopædia. “Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!”
How many times in our lives have we heard the term “shoot to kill” in our lifetimes? It has been tens of thousands of repetitions accepted without complain because they came attached to a work of fiction in a book, TV show or a movie. And no, we are not asleep, but our brain is in a passive state simply taking in the message that somebody else is putting out in words without truly processing it. Those words are now ingrained in our psyche and its repetition or affirmation come out in a pavlovian response even when they are the farthest thing from the truth.
If we have used a firearm in self-defense and the outcome is the death of the attacker, you will be under enormous amount of stress and same thing being the defendant on a murder case. What we say matters and we have to be very careful with it and not allow automatic responses sending us to jail.
I leave you with two guidelines. One we have covered before more than once.
Massad Ayoob’s Five-Point Checklist
1. Tell responding officers “I’m the victim; he is the perpetrator.”
2. Tell responding officers, “I will sign a complaint.”
3. Point out pertinent evidence.
4. Point out any witnesses who saw what happened.
5. If there is any hint that you are a suspect, say “Officer, you will have my full cooperation after I have counsel here.
And the second, I once again abuse Greg Ellifritz and send you over his article : What Do I Say After a Shooting?
The crux of the issue is that our brains don’t work very well when we are under extreme amounts of stress. When the adrenaline is coursing through your system, it’s extremely difficult to calm down enough to allow for rational thought and clear recall. No matter how cool and collected you may feel, you’ll likely make a mistake when answering police questions immediately after a shooting.
Never forget that we never stop training and that training is not only comprised about how precisely you can deliver a bullet downrange but it includes a wide variety of subjects, any of which can end your lifestyle as you know it if you are unaware of them.