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CONFLUENCE OF FOOLS: THE DREJKA CASE — 61 Comments

    • Manslaughter was the right verdict he did not have to kill the man he should have told the store owner about the women in the handicapped parking space no need to play police he was not fearing for his life he wanted to play olice

  1. Get a good lawyer who understands lethal force!!! Not just the guy in the ad section of the newspaper!!! BTW.. I took LFI-1 about 30 years go!

  2. Andrew’s analysis is as always, enlightening, educational, and clearly stated. The person who counts themselves as their own first responder and stands ready to use deadly force must head the lessons therein. The most important lesson, which requires no understanding of the law or any self defense skills is, don’t allow your ego and self importance to get in the way of good judgement. Learn to avoid situations that are likely to lead to confrontations, and if you find yourself amid monkey-like behavior, turn away in spite of how you may think it lowers your manhood rating.

  3. As our host noted, all involved in this appalling fiasco were idiots, but Idiot # 2, the handicapped parking space avenger, should never have forced the issue. But because he’s an idiot he may not even realize that now. Unfortunately, there probably are plenty of armed idiots who will unconditionally support what Idiot #2 did.

  4. Question for Mas (and maybe Mr. Branca):

    Seeing as the State’s “use-of-force expert” misconstrued the Tueller Drill, to the point that:
    1. The “21-foot rule” is not a “rule”.
    2. The “21-foot rule” ONLY applies for law enforcement and LEO training.
    3. The “21-foot rule” requires the defender’s pistol to be holstered in a LEO-approved retention holster.
    4. The “21-foot rule” ONLY applies to attacks using edged weapons (in direct contradiction to Dennis Tueller’s printed article, which the “expert” cited by name).

    The question is, how wrong does the “expert” have to be before he’s guilty of perjury?

    I mean, he cited the article, so he knows it exists. Moreover, he claimed familiarity with the concept.

    Based on his testimony (transcript at Mr. Branca’s article linked above), either he hasn’t read it and is not familiar with the concept (in which case citing it was a LIE), or he’s deliberately misstating it (which would be a LIE).

    The question again: How demonstrably and deliberately wrong does he have to be before he’s guilty of perjury?

    And a follow-up question: If the “expert” – arguably the State’s key witness – demonstrably and deliberately lied on the stand, does that not qualify the defendant for a new trial? Or does his defense team’s inability or unwillingness to challenge it during the trial stand forever?

    • You are correct it is not a rule, it is a demonstration of action versus reaction. No it does not apply ONLY to law enforcement, since it demonstrates human reaction/response time. No it doesn’t apply only to police holsters. The draw time is individual to the person drawing the gun. Some people can draw very quickly from a level 3 holster, while some will draw from an open top holster. A draw from concealment would probably take longer than most cops out of their holsters. Additional research by Force Science and others, based on response time, the possibility of missing, and the time it takes for bullets to take effect indicates that 30 feet is a safer distance when dealing with someone with a contact weapon

      • Duane: I know all that, of course.

        The point I was getting at is, in the Drejka case, the State’s “use-of-force” expert should know all that, too. He cited Dennis Tueller’s article, by name, so he’s clearly claiming familiarity with the concept.

        But his testimony misrepresented and misquoted the article and its practical findings so badly as to be an outright lie.

        Yes, the “21-foot rule” may not be a rule, per se (“rules of thumb” notwithstanding), but it is a guideline backed up by science. The State’s expert didn’t necessarily lie on this point, but the misrepresentation cuts that awfully close.

        However, nowhere does Tueller claim the defender’s weapon must be holstered. He does make an inference that [emphasis added], “How long does it take for you to draw your handgun and place two center hits on aman-size target at seven yards?” No holster is mentioned – only the “draw” – but the State’s expert misstated the point by adding context that wasn’t in the article. In the real world, we call that a lie.

        Nowhere does Dennis Tueller claim that the “21-foot rule” applies ONLY to edged weapons (which was the State expert’s testimony – they emphasized that point repeatedly, pardon the pun). In fact, Tueller himself wrote in that article that the exercise applies to ALL contact weapons, or even unarmed assailants. The State’s expert directly lied about that.

        Nowhere does Tueller claim the drill ONLY applies to law enforcement (which the State’s expert also testified to, repeatedly). The article never uses the terms “police” or “law enforcement”. Not once. It is clearly written to apply to all armed citizens. The State’s expert directly lied about that, too.

        You and I know this, and if the State’s “use-of-force” expert is really an expert, so does he.

        So either he lied about the article or he lied about his “expert” credentials (obviously, since any of us laypersons reading this blog understand the concept better). Either way, he’s guilty of perjury. The question is, how bad does that perjury have to be before he’s called out and sanctioned for it, and can it be bad enough to grant Mr. Drejka a mistrial?

  5. The analysis by Andrew Branca was excellent. The video was also instructive. Michael Drejka made several critical errors in this incident. My thoughts are as follows:

    1) By starting the dispute, by acting as the unofficial “Parking Lot” police, Michael Drejka lost the “mantle of innocence” that is so important to proving that a self-defense shooting was clean. Clearly, the jury took this into account.

    2) While being shoved to the ground by a younger, intoxicated attacker is clearly justification, as Andrew noted, for drawing a firearm and threatening to use lethal force, it is hard to see a clear trigger event here to justify actually firing. As Jeff Cooper always noted, there needs to be a clear trigger, in your mind, to justify escalating from Condition Orange to Condition Red. Mas calls this the “Active Dynamic”. What was the active dynamic event here? No one, including the guy who pulled the trigger, seems to be able to articulate one.

    3) This guy clearly failed to follow the 5-point guideline suggested by Mas to his students. Did he articulate an active dynamic? Did he specify that he would sign the complaint? Did he point out the evidence and witnesses? Finally, after getting the bare essentials of his case across to the police, did he ask for legal representation and then shut his mouth? Some of this might have been done but, as I understand it, he did not ask for a lawyer. Instead, he developed “diarrhea of the mouth” and gave extensive interviews to the police plus doing a “George Zimmerman” and re-enacted the event on video tape!

    I think he would have been better off if he had just followed the 5-point plan and, especially, if he could have articulated a reasonable “active dynamic” to justify pulling the trigger.

    His multiple mistakes caught up with him. Now, he is convicted of manslaughter and will serve years in prison. I won’t second guess the jury on this one. I think that, maybe, they got it right.

  6. Notice how quickly this incident went from a greedy taking of a privileged parking space, to angry words, to physical violence, to the use of a gun, ending in an unnatural death. Like a forest fire being started by a cigarette being tossed out a car window, or like WWI getting started by Gavrilo Princip assassinating three people. He killed Archduke Ferdinand, Sophie and her unborn baby. One thing lead to another and millions died in that four-year war.

    If Idiot #2 had called the police after being pushed to the ground, he could have sued Idiot #3 and made some money.

    Anti-gunners will use this as an example of how a fistfight can turn into a gun fight if a firearm is present. As people have wisely noted, de-escalation is the answer.

  7. Once #2 presented his weapon and #3 backed away, the immediate threat was over. Being pissed and embarassed with your ass on the ground is not an excuse to pull the trigger anyway.

  8. Drejka the Parking Lot Defender should be our poster-child case for why all gun carriers MUST:
    1. – get trained in the law of self-defense;
    2. – get self-defense legal defense insurance; whatever they can afford;
    3. – spread the word that those who ignore the wisdom of 1 & 2 do a great disservice to the cause of liberalization of carry laws.

    Each time a Drejka type case is lost the MSM celebrates another victory for gun control. We don’t need this. Never mind the thousands of law abiding citizens who use guns to successfully defend themselves lawfully. These cases are never mentioned prominently in the press; only the Drejka-type cases. Which of our friends, relatives and acquaintances wants to be the next Drejka?

    What does it cost you to read a book? To watch LawOfSelfDefense.com’s DVD courses? Admittedly, it does cost money to attend MAG-20 and MAG-40; but the entertainment value is definitely there if you can afford it. Get whatever you can afford; and if its just a book, read it twice; read it three times.

    None of us can afford the cost of an effective self-defense trial. So, it’s just the sort of person who won’t get training who won’t buy self-defense legal defense insurance. He believes it will never happen to him; but, . . . if that’s what he believes, then why does he carry a gun? There is something incongruent in this thinking. Carry a gun because it could happen to anyone; don’t buy insurance because it could never happen to me.

    So, this sort is going to hire the guy who wrote his will and closed his home purchase to defend him in a self-defense trial. We can see where that is going. If a lawyer hasn’t made it his business to defend clients claiming self-defense than I don’t want him learning when my future behind bars is at stake. People who have had little-to-no experience purchasing legal services don’t understand this.

    Cases like this one make me tempted to think that we all would be much better off if states were Shall-Issue only upon completing a course in the law of self-defense and only while maintaining a self-defense insurance policy in force. (I’m not quite there yet; but I’m inching closer.)

    • > why all gun carriers MUST:

      Really? It’s my Constitutional right to carry a gun. Hedging that about with mandatory training, insurance, etc. violates the “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” part.

      So, no, I don’t think so.

    • Yes, I’ll agree even though it seems like infringement. In the real world of may having to use a gun for protection. It’s much better to have and many resources in order to better protect yourself and family. Especially, with media involvement.

  9. Glad to see Mas bring this explanation to light. After watching this on the news I was still confused.n

  10. Mas, IDK how many times I’ve read your counsel to not go out looking for trouble, particularly if you are armed or even are a CCW holder but not carrying your firearm at a given time. Heck, tomorrow I’m taking my other half to the county fair, and will be leaving mine locked up at home, for several reasons. As to this case, the shooting could IMO have been headed off in several ways, beginning with “Idiot 1” simply obeying the law and refraining from parking in the handicapped space which there is no indication she was entitled to use. Because she did what she did, “Idiot 2” seems to have to gone out of his way to accost her, without having any legal standing to do so. Both 1 & 2 are in the wrong, but that doesn’t stop hot headed “Idiot 3” from leaving the store to attack 2, with a great deal of force, and ending up dead for doing so. Why didn’t either 2 or 3 simply call the police, who are trained to handle these things and do a very good job of it? I witnessed something similar the other day in the parking lot at Target, and the preceding is exactly what was done-the event didn’t even make the local news. Also, I always carry an intermediate force option, ie pepper spray, or have it in the car next to me. If 2 had done this, he could have simply used it to keep 3 back, in which case the chances are excellent the matter would have ended with a police report. Instead, my bet is the court will come down hard on 2, and that his next parking space will be a cell, far removed from any parking lots.

  11. I have to say, when I saw the video the first time, I expected a conviction. Still haven’t changed my mind. A reasonable person can see a person backing away when you pull your weapon, and there’s no reason to shoot at that point. The Tueller drill is fine if you are deciding whether to pull your weapon, but it doesn’t take 1.5 seconds to fire a drawn weapon with someone backing away from you. If, during the time of the draw, the assailant is advancing, we have a different story. At that point, the disparity of force is in the hands of the guy on the ground. Sorry, seems like a slam dunk case to me, even if the defense was incompetent (Idiot #4?).

  12. The generic threshold is “fear of death or great bodily injury”. Getting pushed the ground doesn’t fit the criteria for lethal force – especially given the Pushee was not some feeble old woman. Had the Pusher continued to assault the Pushee, then lethal force may have been warranted, again if “fear of death or great bodily injury”.

    That threshold wasn’t met. The state should (and did) charge the Pushee accordingly.

    • Haven’t I seen news item after news item of people getting kicked, and ending up either dead or with brain damage? The perp was close enough to kick this guy in the head, and cause grave bodily harm or death. I’d like to see a Tueller Drill on whether the perp can land a kick before the gun goes off.

      One lesson I learned from Mas is to NEVER get into anything with anyone. Had this guy minded his own business, and ignored the parked car, he’d be home with his family.

  13. Mas,
    Thank you again for the link to such an insightful and well written analysis. I am often asked about this case in classes I teach and I will be posting this to my clients. Thank you!

  14. One additional comment. I looked over the material regarding the Tueller Drill. Frankly, I don’t see how a real expert could have made such misstatements of fact. My suspicious nature leads me to think that this was deliberate.

    The closest that Michael Drejka came to articulating an “Active Dynamic” justification for using lethal force was when he mentioned the “21-Foot Rule” (AKA Tueller Drill). This could have been taken as saying that, since his attacker was much less than 21 feet away, and since Drejka was down-on-the-ground and unable to flee, then the attacker had the opportunity to attack. This still falls a bit short of a true justification in my opinion. For example:

    1) Certainly people can be killed with personal weapons (fist, feet, etc.). The 2017 FBI crime statistics (most current year available) indicate that 696 people were murdered with personal weapons in that year. Please note that this is more then were murdered by rifles (Total of 403). This means that more people were killed with personal weapons then with assault rifles. A fact that you will never hear from the Anti-American Media because you can’t ban fists or feet! However, it would take an extremely strong or skilled person to kill someone with a single punch or kick. Usually, a lengthy beating is required for death. This is not true for firearms, knives or clubs which have a higher probability of being lethal with a single shot, stab or blow to the head.

    2) From the video tape, it is hard to be sure that there was a clear intent to continue the attack once the firearm was drawn.

    So, even with Michael Drejka’s statements about the “21-Foot Rule”, I don’t see the articulation of a clear active dynamic calling for the use of lethal force.

    Nevertheless, I believe that the Prosecution saw Michael Drejka’s statements about the “21-Foot Rule” as the “nearest thing” the Defense had to justifying self-defense. Therefore, (again, my opinion) they got their so-called Expert Witness to prostitute himself by offering inaccurate testimony in this area. This was done, and I think it was done deliberately, so as to secure a conviction. It was done to undercut whatever weak self-defense claim that the Defense could make.

    The fact, that the Defense stood dumbly by and let the Prosecution re-define Tueller’s work so that it could not help them, indicates that there were idiots on the Defense Team in additions to the idiots (listed by Mas above) who actually participated in this sorry incident.

    • TN_MAN: Frankly, I don’t see how a real expert could have made such misstatements of fact. My suspicious nature leads me to think that this was deliberate.

      My point exactly, above.

      A real expert wouldn’t have made such misstatements of fact. So either he’s not a real expert, or the misstatements were deliberate.

      Either he lied about his “expert” credentials, or he lied about the content of the article. He did both on the witness stand, under oath.

      Ergo, perjury.

  15. Mas – If you ever decide to write this one up for the Ayoob Files, may I suggest the following title:

    The Case of the Missing Justification: The Michael Drejka Story

    It would probably be more polite than:

    Herd of Idiots: The Michael Drejka Story

    🙂

    • I think this would make a first rate Ayoob File a year or so from now. Another possible title might be “The Mind Your Own Business Option: The Michael Drejka Case”.

  16. I like the title of your article. “Confluence of fools” the Drejka case.

    But keep one thing in mind, I would ask. Know and realize how subjective reality is.

    The sheriff of Pinellas County Gualtieri got one thing right, you can’t just go around shoving people to the ground. That’s either a misdemeanor battery or felony. subject to subjectivity.

    But he missed something. You can’t go around accosting people,looking for trouble, finding it, And then doing what you been itching to do all along which is to stand your ground and kill someone.

    You excluded in your Confluence of fools, the verbose opinions of other people’s subjectivity. In this case 2 lives are over,over a f****** parking space.

    Fools, it’s over mind your own f****** business.

    In the immortal words of a fool, “can’t we just all get along”

  17. No doubt that a better equipped attorney would have pointed out the fear of death or great bodily harm. This was the case against stand your ground that was a political gift to the detractors of the law. No way this man was going to be exonerated.

    • “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) didn’t apply in this case, and AFAIK wasn’t even mentioned. It was a straight-up self-defense claim.

      Having been pushed to the ground, and with the assailant still within the “Danger Zone” (only 8-10 feet away and easily capable of continuing the attack), there was no way for Drejka to retreat “in complete safety”.

      Even states without a SYG statute only require retreat if it can be performed “in complete safety”.

      Absent a completely safe avenue of retreat, SYG does not come into play.

      I understand that inconvenient fact means nothing to the media circus (who complained about SYG in the Zimmerman case, when Zimmerman was prostrate on the ground with his assailant straddling and pummeling him – try safely retreating under THOSE circumstances!), but it’s a fact nonetheless.

  18. I am curious about various possible communication, including threats, from the three subjects.

  19. Let me throw an issue out there for discussion. I would be interested in hearing other people’s views.

    This case has a number of similarities to the George Zimmerman / Martin shooting that made nationwide news some years ago. For example:

    1) Both incidents occurred in Florida and were subject to Florida Law.
    2) In both incidents, the person claiming self-defense had problems maintaining the “mantle of innocence”. Zimmerman got “out of the car”. Drejka acted like the Parking-Lot Police.
    3) In both cases the media used the incident to push part of their Anti-gun agenda. Specifically, the media used both cases to attack Florida’s Stand-your-ground statute despite the fact that it did not really apply to either shooting. George Zimmerman was pinned on his back and could not retreat. Drejka was shoved off his feet and could not retreat.
    4) Both men did extensive interviews with the police. They both made re-enactment videos.
    5) In both cases, the initial decision was to not prosecute. Nevertheless, both were brought to trial once the media pressure was applied.

    So, was this Drejka shooting a chance for the media and the Left to have a “Do Over” of the Zimmerman / Martin Case? Did they learn from the mistakes made during the prosecution of Zimmerman (which blew up in their faces)?

    This time, they (and the prosecution) played a sharper game.

    1) They did not whip up racial hatred to the extent they did in the Zimmerman case. They were more “low key” this time.
    2) The prosecution did not “over-charge” this time like in the Zimmerman case. Instead of an “over the top” charge of murder, they went for a more-reasonable manslaughter charge.
    3) The prosecution was simply better this time. It was the Defense that was making the mistakes in this case.

    So, neither the Florida Prosecutor nor the left-wing media wanted another humiliating defeat. This time, the media wanted to get in an effective blow against Stand-Your-Ground. The fact that this was more of a standard defense shooting, and not a specific Stand-your-ground case, is beside the point. The media never lets the facts get in the way of the narrative. It like what Joe Biden recently said: Truth over Facts!

    Is this why the so-called expert prostituted himself regarding Tueller’s Work? The Prosecutor HAD TO HAVE a conviction in this case with the media attention upon him. Failure was not an option! So, if his expert was willing to (falsely) undercut Tueller’s work for the Defense, then the Prosecutor gave him the “Green Light” and they would do as much as they could before the Defense derailed them. As it turned out, the Defense stood dumbly by and let them get away with it.

    This Prosecutor was not going to end up with egg-on-his-face the way it happened to Zimmerman’s Prosecutor. Therefore, in my opinion, he pulled out “all the stops” to get a conviction.

    What do you all think about it?

    • I think you are on target. And, the bull’s eye from your analysis is to have the best self-defense lawyer, research team and expert witnesses that money can buy. Also, don’t make any avoidable errors in the incident itself; don’t say things to the police that will undermine your case before you have a good self-defense lawyer present.

      So, the take-away seems to be this:
      1. If you think you know all you need to know about self-defense then go ahead, make the MSM’s and Prosecutor’s day!
      2. If you don’t think you need the best defense money can buy then go ahead and trust your fate to 12 of your victim’s peers who were not clever enough to get out of jury duty.
      3. If you think you know what will contribute to your case and what you shouldn’t say to the police then go ahead and shoot your mouth off without a good self defense lawyer present.
      All these things are your God-given Bill-of-Rights guaranteed prerogatives. As is your unenumerated right to do whatever you want for – or against – the cause of liberalized gun carry.

      It’s the poster-child of the “Myyyyyyy Riiiiiiiights!” movement.

      The rest of us will have to double-down to offset the concerted efforts of those who think along these lines.

      Gun controllers and prosecutors are not stupid. THEY learn from the mistakes of others. Those in the PotG community are more stubborn.
      My hat off to you for your analysis.

    • So, was this Drejka shooting a chance for the media and the Left to have a “Do Over” of the Zimmerman / Martin Case? Did they learn from the mistakes made during the prosecution of Zimmerman (which blew up in their faces)?

      Yes and yes. On the first, it’s obvious; they’ve been chewing that bone for, what, six years now?

      On the second, they have learned. As MarkPA pointed out, they didn’t overcharge Mr. Drejka with Murder 2; they went with Manslaughter (which they might have been able to pin on Zimmerman if they played their cards better).

      They also cheated by bringing out an “expert” willing to lie and misrepresent self-defense doctrine and common sense.

      This time, they (and the prosecution) played a sharper game.

      Yes, they did (see last line). But the defense also failed, miserably. Zimmerman had a crack team of defense attorneys who pulled out all the stops (I still remember the video of Mark O’Mara reenacting Trayvon’s “ground and pound” on the foam dummy, in court, before the jury).

      Drejka … well … didn’t. Their “expert” tripped up didn’t do well refuting the State’s lying “expert”. The attorneys also didn’t question the State’s narrative of use-of-force doctrine.

      Overall, one clarification I’m going to offer, in addition to just having excellent attorneys, is to have excellent attorneys skilled and knowledgeable about armed self-defense law, not just any criminal defense attorney.

      Most criminal defense attorneys – especially (but not limited to) public defenders – are accustomed to representing guilty clients. They will do very well … at getting you a decent plea bargain. If you are willing to go to jail and lose your rights on a ‘C’ Felony instead of an ‘A’ Felony (e.g. 5 years instead of 25), that’s your guy.

      What you need is someone with experience representing innocent clients and willing to call in real experts. They’re harder to find and MUCH more expensive, but worth it.

  20. TN_Man (2012 last night) – “However, it would take an extremely strong or skilled person to kill someone with a single punch or kick.” Not necessarily – many people have been killed by ‘(un)lucky’ punches. This is especially true if the victim of such a punch is using anticoagulant blood thinners, which can exacerbate bleeding from a sub-dural hematoma. Such a punch can also be life threatening to someone who has had some sort of neck or cervical spine surgery and whose neck is held together by internal ‘nuts, bolts, screws and rods’. Note that a violent push to the ground can also cause such possibly fatal injury when a person falls and hits their head on the pavement or hard ground.

    I’d also add that someone who has just violently shoved someone shows Ability and Jeopardy, and standing within just a few feet of the downed victim of that violent shove indicates the person still has the Opportunity to do further harm in a very short period of time. IMO, just standing there, even after appearing to take a step back, and remaining squared up to the person lying on the ground, might be interpreted by a reasonable person as being about to attack again.

    • @ Tom in NC – Good Point! I will amend my original Statement to read:

      “it would take an extremely strong or skilled person to kill a health adult human with a single punch or kick.”

      • Justification for defensive deadly force isn’t based just on being killed. Being at risk for “seriously bodily injury” is also justification, particularly when it renders the defender unable to defend against further assault.

        It’s not that difficult to knock someone unconscious with a single punch. And when they’re down, they’re then utterly defenseless.

        The very first time a Texas CHL holder fired a gun in self defense (in 1996, soon after the first licenses were issued), there was a similar age/size discrepancy. The difference is that the defender did nothing to provoke the attack, other than write down the license plate of the truck that had just clipped his mirror. The attacker was punching him; he was losing consciousness, and suffered permanent vision loss. The defender grabbed his pistol, fired one shot, and the attacker retreated collapsed, and died.

        The defender was no-billed by the grand jury. You can look up the details by searching for Gordon Hale and Kenny Tavai.

      • @ KBCraig – You are correct. The general standard is death or serious bodily injury (or words to that effect such as “grave bodily harm”).

        I must have made my point badly since both you and Tom in NC seem to be misunderstanding me. I am not saying that “a punch or a kick is nothing and that you should just take it like a man”. I am saying that personal weapons such as fists and feet have a lower probability of causing “death or grave bodily harm” then purpose-designed weapons such as firearms and knives. The jeopardy factor is lower but I don’t mean to imply that there is no jeopardy at all. I am simply saying that the deadliness of the utilized weapon is one of the factors that must be taken into account in considering the “Totality of the Circumstances” around a claimed self-defense shooting.

        As for the Hale / Tavai case, the circumstances were considerably different. As I understand it, from the accounts that I read, Gordon Hale was trapped in the cab of his truck. Tavai had pinned one arm and was beating him through the window with REPEATED blows. Hale had no chance to escape or fight back in any manner except to resort to his pistol. In a case like this, it is easy to understand why the Grand Jury “No Billed” him.

    • The difficulty here is in the nature of the subjectivity.

      If the thug who assaults you is displaying a per-se weapon (e.g., a knife) then the judge will instruct the jury that the self-defending defendant had an OBJECTIVE basis to apprehend a jeopardy of life or limb.

      If the thug who has already battered you once is NOT displaying a per-se weapon then the judge will instruct the jury that it is their duty to decide the fact – or absence of fact – that the self-defending defendant had a SUBJECTIVE yet REASONAB LE basis to apprehend a jeopardy of life or limb.

      Without the bright-line of a per-se weapon, when faced with an apprehension of fists-or-feet, it is highly subjective as to whether this was apt to be a mere “educational beat-down” vs. a reasonable basis to apprehend a life-or-limb jeopardy. In this latter case, the jury can – and will – do whatever it decides. The best REALISTIC outcome is that they “hang” and you face the prospect of a second trial.

      Now, the prosecutor knows that you have exhausted your financial resources and can’t mount as effective a defense as you did at your first trial. (You have a RIGHT – a RIGHT I SAY – to carry a gun without incurring the unConstitutional expense of self-defense legal defense insurance.) So, the Prosecutor’s odds of victory in a second – or third – trial improve.

      I see no great way out of this dilemma. I see the arguments for pepper-spray; however, carrying pepper-spray as well as a gun starts to move in the direction of KISS. Cops wear a heavy belt of heavy equipment because they have a 4’th amendment to use reasonable force in seizing a suspect. They get lots of training. They have a high probability of facing a wide variety of circumstances every week, if not daily. Does Jack/Jill Sixpack have nothing better to do in their lives than to carry MULTIPLE self-defense kit items and train to use them tactically? I don’t think it’s a slam-dunk decision. I think it’s reasonable for Jack to decide to only carry a gun and Jill to only carry pepper-spray; or, vice-versa. And, then, train one’s tactics according to that KISS strategy.

  21. Reynold Cruz Castillo (2103 last night) – “And then doing what you been itching to do all along which is to stand your ground and kill someone.” From your sentence, I don’t think that ‘stand your ground’ means what you think it means. SYG only removes the duty to retreat (avoidance) from the justification of self defense. A person invoking SYG still must be innocent (not be the instigator of the conflict, the threat must still be imminent, the response must be proportional and reasonable (both subjectively and objectively). One thing SYG laws do not do, but which anti-self defense people constantly mis-characterize them as doing, is provide special immunities and justifications for use of deadly force in self defense.

  22. Gentleman, all of this analysis and explanations are nice. But this article and subsequent articles are ignoring the most important, and in my opinion, the really only important factor in this discussion. Yes all three have some level of culpability. I am not a race card guy, but this is clearly about race, percipitated by the legacy of Treyvon Martin and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Exactly what was predidcted to happen, happened. A white male, emboldened by the results of the Treyvon Martin case and subsequent Stand Your Ground law, put himself in a confrontational situation with an African American believing that the State of Florida had endowed him the right as a “law abiding” white man to enforce the law on suspect African Americans. In short, Treyvon Martin case and Stand Your Ground gave him the right to play officer, then shoot his way out of it if the blacks didn’t respect his authority as a law abiding citizen. It is important to note that this same defendant threatened to shoot another African American just a few weeks earlier. As said previously, I am absolutely not a race card player, I am of the opinion that that card may be played too often, distracting from the real issues. No discussion of this tragedy can truly be productive if i does not acknowledge the role that race played.

    • @ Anthony – Thanks to the mis-characterizations and propaganda of the Media, some people do seem to think that “Stand Your Ground (SYG)” is a Code Phrase for allowing a White Man to shoot any African American who dares to challenge him. Shoot him, kill him and then not be punished for it. From your comment, I fear that you have bought into some of that yourself.

      Legally, this is not what the Florida SYG statute does at all. All it does is remove the duty to retreat if one is in a place where they have a right to be. In some States, the law requires an individual to retreat, if they can do so with safety, before deploying lethal force in self-defense. In some locations, even a home-owner, inside his own residence, must retreat and abandon his home to criminal invaders rather than resorting to self-defense if such a retreat can be safely done.

      The Florida SYG statute simply removes the duty to retreat if you are standing in a place where you have a right to be. In other words, you can resort to self-defense even if a viable option to retreat is available.

      In both this case and the earlier Zimmerman / Martin case, the media tried to put the SYG statute on trial along with the defendant. However, this is pure propaganda because SYG does not apply to either case. Zimmerman was down on his back when he pulled the trigger. This man, Drejka, had also been shoved down to the ground. In both cases, the men were off their feet and retreat was simply not a viable option. Therefore, despite whatever B.S. the media is saying, SYG DOES NOT APPLY TO EITHER OF THESE CASES!

      If this guy, Drejka, did do what you said. If he looked at the results of the Zimmerman / Martin trial and said to himself “Great, I can shoot down any black guy that messes with me, on the spot, and the law will let me go afterwards”, then he just got a reality-check. He was convicted and he is going to go to the “Big House” for a lot of years. Maybe for the rest of his life.

      I hope that he was not dumb enough to believe that kind of thing. However, you never know. Especially with the media putting out B.S. about SYG Laws ever chance they get. Sadly, there are a lot of people that are still dumb enough to believe the Media despite their history of constant lying and narrative building.

    • Considering that you came out mis-characterizing the legitimate self-defense shooting of Trayvon Martin, who was at the time assaulting Zimmerman by pounding his head into concrete, your opinion on the racial aspects of this case are pure crap. It’s pretty disingenuous to state you are ‘not a race card guy’ then whip out your deck.

      Zimmerman had a bloodied nose and multiple contusions to his head consistent with someone bashing his head against the sidewalk. According to the autopsy, Trayvon Martin had two ‘wounds’ – a l inch small abrasion on the left fourth finger and a fatal gunshot wound, the path of which is consistent with the testimony of Zimmerman as to his position on his back under Martin who was bashing Zimmerman’s head into the sidewalk.

      Further – Zimmerman is not ‘white’ – he is mixed race, including black and Hispanic.

      But don’t let the fact occlude your talking points.

      • @Craig: “White Hispanic” is a way to pin the shooting of a black teenager on white people.

        Even if no white people were there.

        Because according to the media every Bad Thing is always the fault of white people. Always.

  23. Idiot 3 was backing away from Idiot 2 a little when he got shot
    I think that Idiot 2 was NOT justified.

  24. “Nonetheless, it appears from the video that the man who was killed was no more than a step away from kicking the downed man in the head at the moment the single, fatal shot was fired.”

    You clearly didn’t pay attention to the video. Even a cursory Google search shows the frame when the shot was fired and not only is McGlockton several steps away but he is even turned away from drejka.

    • YOU need to watch it again, Kwazii. At the moment of the shot, McGlockton’s position was such that one step forward would have put him in kicking reach of Drejka’s head.

      • Mas – That is the crux of the matter, isn’t it?

        The “shod foot” may be considered to be lethal force and McGlockton, even after stepping back, was still close enough to leap forward and deliver a kick aimed at Drejka’s head. If McGlockton had been shot in the act of delivering such a kick, the “active dynamic” or justification for self-defense would have been satisfied.

        But the fact is that no kick seems to be forthcoming at the time the shot was delivered. Add this to the fact that Drejka started the dispute by acting like the “Parking Lot” police (thereby losing the “mantle of innocence” in this incident), and I can see why the jury convicted on manslaughter.

        Granting that the kicking opportunity existed, but was the intent there? Some say that the previous shove shows intent but I am not sure. It could be argued that McGlockton has “made his point” by shoving Drejka to the ground and that the attack was over. If it was over, then Drejka shooting him was retaliation rather than legitimate self-defense. I think that the jury looked it over and came up with the following equation to derive their verdict:

        Questionable intent + no mantle of innocence = Manslaughter Conviction

  25. When you carry a weapon you hold the lives of people in your hand. By strapping on that pistol you are taking on the responsibility that comes with taking a life. Like driving a car, it is one of the greatest responsibilities a person will voluntarily take on. One should study and train relentlessly so that the body can react in a situation with sound judgement.

    The problem is far too many CCW classes do not properly prepare a person for the reality of the use of deadly force. Too many people go away with a less than acceptable understanding of the laws, and unfortunately, a far too high level of television tactics. They become a danger to everyone.

    I was not there when this incident happened. It does appear that Drejka was the initial aggressor when he verbally reprimanded the woman for what he believed to be illegal parking. It escalated and someone lost their life over it. Someone died because someone parked a car eight feet in the wrong place. There was no reasonable fear that death or serious bodily harm could have come from the woman parking where she did so Drejka, being armed, should have minded his own business and simply left the situation alone. The worst possible thing that could have happened is that a person actually needing that spot would have to had to park in a place less convenient.

    In the Catholic faith we have what is called the “near occasion of sin”, which is putting yourself in a situation that can likely cause you to sin. That is exactly what Drejka did. He put himself in a situation that should have been avoided like the plague. Drejka took the life of someone and changed the lives of many in a situation he should have never stepped into in the first place. He sure is guilty of something. Of what and what punishment is fitting, that is up to the court system to decide.

    Moral of the story, if you are going to strap on a gun and take on the responsibility of life and death you better know and understand the whens, hows, and whys better than you know your children’s names.

  26. It’s really unfortunate. Someone was killed for no good reason at all. This is typical of people who are unguided by moral principles. We need to be aware that we must watch out for situations like this. It’s just better to disengage.

    That is all.

  27. To a non-lawyer, it would seem the new felon would have substantial cause to allege that his attorney was incompetent. Use of force law is a specialist practice, you don’t want someone who’s major practice is traffic law, divorces and plea bargains. Better yet, mind your own business and don’t pick arguments.

    Skipping Tueller, IIRC, The Force Science Institute published a summary of a study that indicated that at 10 feet, the attacker can reach you in about 3/10 a second. That’s barely sufficient time to realize you’re being attacked. Would seem to have been more on point, but only if known.

    As to how the “expert” could testify as he did: the Tueller study did happen to be about edged weapons. However, as noted, it would also apply to any contact weapon and something like a baseball bat would actually reduce the time. Those questions weren’t asked. Also, “experts” have been known to coach their clients on what questions to ask to get the results they want. Mas has a more pungent name for that type of “expert”.

    • WRM: “the Tueller study did happen to be about edged weapons.” And it was also about impact weapons from the start.

      The first sentence of Tueller’s article, “How Close is Too Close?”, states “The “good guy” with the gun against the “bad guy” with the knife (or machete, axe, club, tire-iron, etc.)”, and the lead picture accompanying the first part of the article shows an officer being attacked with what appears to be a club or baseball bat.

      • My copy of the article is buried in my files upstairs. I happened to use it (~35 years ago)to justify a radical change our training on dealing with edged weapons and forgot the other parts. Thanks for the correction.

        However, it doesn’t change the fact that the defense attorney didn’t jump all over the fact that if the article applied to edged weapons, it would obviously apply to other hand held objects, not to mention the hands and feet themselves. Should have been easy for a properly prepped attorney to make a fool out of the prosecution witness.

      • @WR Moore: “Should have been easy for a properly prepped attorney to make a fool out of the prosecution witness.”

        Exactly my point above about retaining good attorneys experienced and knowledgeable about self-defense law.

        Never “settle” for the public defender; they are accustomed to representing guilty clients and will do a very good job of getting you a plea bargain for a lesser crime (possibly still a Felony).

        But you don’t want that. You want a solid “Not Guilty”. For that, you need someone who knows self-defense law and doctrine well enough to challenge the State’s narrative and experts when they screw up (or lie).

        They aren’t cheap, but then again, neither is your freedom.

  28. There is one more aspect of this shooting which has not yet been much discussed in these comments. As Andrew Branca noted:

    “Drejka’s past conduct involving claims that he had allegedly threatened strangers with shooting, under circumstances in which shooting would clearly have not been lawful, was also extremely damaging to his narrative of innocence. It created the impression (perhaps correctly) of a hothead who was quick to threaten to go to the gun when doing so was unlawful and unnecessary. State prosecutors presented at least two witnesses who testified to this effect, and the testimony was of a sort not readily subject to effective impeachment by the defense.”

    In other words, Drejka’s past conduct was used against him. It seems that this incident was not his first time acting in the role of the “Parking Lot Police”. Clearly, improper use of handicap parking spaces was something of a “Pet Peeve” of Mr. Drejka.

    The video showing that Drejka started the dispute, by ranting at McGlockton’s girlfriend, combined with the Prosecution’s introduction of the testimony of prior acts of such behavior, established a “Pattern of Behavior” for the jury to see. It really destroyed any “Mantle of Innocence” for Drejka and was, I believe, a significant factor in the jury reaching a guilt verdict.

    As I noted above, between the twisted expert testimony regarding Tueller’s work and the painting of Drejka as the instigator of all this trouble, the Prosecutor was really “pulling out all of the stops” to get a conviction in this case. Meanwhile, the Defense lawyer ends up looking like Forrest Gump for letting all this happen without objecting and fighting it tooth and claw.

    So, one important lesson to take away from this case is to be soft-spoken rather than a repeat instigator of trouble. If you walk around with a “chip on your shoulder”, people will remember it and it CAN come back to BITE you!

    It is like what the good book says:

    Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

  29. News reports allege that Drejka had a few prior cases of confrontation and escalation. Below is a link to an example. Notably, it states that Drejka’s permit could have been revoked if prior incidents had come to charges and convictions.

    https://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/Records-show-road-rage-gun-threats-in-stand-your-ground-shooter-s-past_170719109/

    Maybe I would be a bad juror. From the video, I think that Drejka really should have held his fire. And, from the news, the possibility that he was “looking for it” seems to have arisen.

    • @ Joel – Yes, the news story that you referenced is consistent with other reports and with Andrew Branca’s comments about the testimony that was brought out at trial.

      It is curious, isn’t it? Very often, when a career criminal is put on trial for his latest outrage, the jury is not told of his prior criminal history. We don’t want to prejudice the jury with the facts regarding the defendant’s previous crimes, do we?

      However, since Drejka did not have any real criminal record and since, in these previous disputes, no charges were ever filed, it was apparently “Fair Game” to bring in witnesses to paint him as being a trouble-maker. The Prosecutor went out-of-his-way to prejudice the jury against him!

      Perhaps Mas can explain this legal detail to me. Why is it, exactly, that career criminals get to hide their past bad acts but a person, such as Drejka here, with no criminal history is fair game?

      After all, these prior disputes were not directly related to the charges at trial. Why were these witnesses allowed to testify? Why wasn’t their testimony block by the Judge as being “irrelevant and immaterial”? Especially since it was so prejudicial to the defendant.

      Did the Defense attorney even object and try to block the testimony of these witnesses? Or did he just stand dumbly by as he did during the twisted Tueller testimony?

  30. I knew about Mcglockton’s drug usage. I recently read about Drejka being on prescribed meds. “The manslaughter suspect told investigators he had a prescription for the anti-anxiety drug Xanax which they found in his car, along with one for an anti-depressant, Effexor.” When used together possible side effects include “may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment,”

    So if he’s taking the meds, there are possible negative side effects; if he does not, the symptoms they are prescribed for become more acute.

    Perhaps the meds or lack of them are related to his issues and actions concerning the HC parking space. Someone taking anti-depressant & anti-anxiety meds should be carrying a gun or have access to one.

    • @joell: correction of last sentence: Someone taking anti-depressant & anti-anxiety meds should NOT be carrying a gun or have access to one.

      Reply

  31. People like Drejka is what makes life tougher for us honest gun owners, good call on what the jury did.