Bad Tactics, Bad Journalism

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by Kleanbore, Aug 10, 2022.

  1. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    We "shoot to stop". We do not shoot to kill.

    Had the store owner reached for a firearm when the thief jumped the counter, and if he had fired hitting the thief in the bask of the side as he reached toward the merchandise above him, we be faced with the usual questions:
    • Was producing a weapon justified by the sudden and tumultuous jumping of the counter?
    • Would a reasonable person be able to make and execute a "no shoot" decision before realizing that the thief was turned away from him to steal "stuff"?
    Those questions would enter into a charging decision and, if it went to trial, discussed before a jury. Expert witnesses on both sides would speak of and demonstrate speeds, distances, and reaction times.

    Reasonable people might decide wither way. The state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a self defense claim was not supported--BUT they would have to prove that only one of the underlying requirements (there are four in Nevada) for a legal defense of self defense was not met.

    Based on the trials and appellate rulings we have seen, I would not bet either way.

    Now, suppose that the thief, having been shot, started running around the corner to escape. Suppose the store owner fired at him repeatedly as he ran.

    Different story. We've seen that one often enough, and it's usually a slam dunk for the prosecution and th eplaintiff--not always, but usually.

    That's pretty much what I see here as the store owner continued to hold and to jab, jab, and jab.

    Three things come to mind:
    1. The persons who were the bad guy and the good do not necessarily continue in those roles as events unfold.
    2. People who may need to threaten or use deadly force should be know the relevant laws.
    3. Those who rely on bladed weapons for defense should become skilled in using them effectively and lawfully, without using excessive force.
     
  2. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    The difficulties in these cases is that people have seconds, and sometimes fractions of a second to make decisions where after the fact we have all the time we want to review the decisions made. I can see both sides in this case and would have a hard time deciding it.
     
  3. DeepSouth
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    DeepSouth Random Guy

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    It seems to me this is the question that will really matter, well it’s a simplistic version of the question that matters. Something more like: “Does refusing to leave, stealing, and then jumping over a counter where the worker is constitute a threat of great bodily harm?”

    And the answer is an opinion, maybe a legal opinion to some, but it’s definitely not clear cut. That can be seen in the varying responses to the video, both here and through out the different internet sources.

    I don’t feel very sorry for the criminal. It’s been said, play stupid games and you will win stupid prizes. That said, watching the video you (well… I ) don’t really get the impression that the guy doing the stabbing was really in much fear. So he may win a stupid prize to, and I want feel overly bad for him either.
     
  4. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    The answer to that would enter into a justification for the use of deadly force.

    In this case, if the use of deadly force had been justified, the next question would be "was excessive force employed?"
     
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  5. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    It shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone that journalists often don't understand the issues that they write about.

    The comments posted after these stories also tell us a great deal about what another group thinks: readers. AKA the general population. AKA the jury pool.
     
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  6. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    That assumes a jury will go for a strict following of a set of instructions. All 12 of them would have to agree (if Nevada uses 12 jurors). Juries are not spread sheets, so I'm betting a good defense lawyer can play reasonable doubt of the fear of attack when the crook vaulted to justify force. Was the force excessive - that is another question? Look for trials as precedents - Goetz is the classic - his shooting of the 4 young men and the debatable comment that here is another shot for you (not clear whether he actual said it) may seem unreasonable force but in a city wracked by subway crime, they came to belief that his perception of threat was enough and his use of force on all four was reasonable.

    OJ walked with pretty good evidence against him. I opine the clerk will not serve any time for this. Whether juries follow strictly on complicated instructions is interesting. Some do, some don't - most don't understand them from the research.
     
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  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    OK, what would have been the correct response by the storekeeper?
    Legally defensible, tactically sound.

    Not in court, in the store, right now.
     
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  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Well, let them take what they want and if they decide to burn the rest, exit the building….
     
  9. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    The issue with that is analyzing the vault - is it clear in the moment it happens that it is a precursor to an attack or just grabbing some Mounds bars? The clerk seems to be behind counters, so unless you expect him to vault over them, he is trapped with the criminal.

    He could have backed off from the guy vaulting but that puts him at a disadvantage. He risks the thief moving to attack him. He has to decide this in the milliseconds as the thief vaults.

    As far as too many stabs - look at the action - it is a continuous fight until the clerk stops. That shows that he did appreciate a pause in the action. He did not continue stabbing, if I see this correctly, when the guy is down. Not like the pharmacist who returned to kill his thief.

    A good defense lawyer and experts with the video will time this and beat the 'retreat' theme.
     
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  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Interesting, is there case law where people who were not taught how to properly cut others, have been convicted of an otherwise justifiable defense?
     
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  11. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    I've been in class from a Janich related instructor and gone through such targeting. Also in a defensively oriented knife class from Insights. There is no guarantee that the targeting will not lead to a lethal bleed out. I doubt, sorry Kleanbore, that not using an approved target will fly as a prosecution attack.

    It reeks of shoot them in the leg or the shoulder and that doctrine is of course debated. I doubt there is case law defined acceptable knife targeting.
     
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  12. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Since everyone here wants to throw out an opinion, I'll throw mine out. I don't have a problem with how that clerk handled the situation. None. He was forced to react to something he didn't cause. He tried to be cooperative and allow those idiots to steal from him first, and it looks like they mistook his kindness for weakness. When his area behind the counter was violated and he found himself trapped back there, it looks to me like he had enough. I've been in scrapes and scraps of all kinds, and turning someone into a trapped animal can make that person act WAY out of character- as I have been assaulted during raids by people who were unarmed noncombatants, but when they felt "trapped" by the assaulting unit, they went crazy and suffered consequences. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes- like the dummy who thought it would be cute to slap Mike Tyson in the back of the head. With my personal experiences and skill set, I MAY not have poked that robber up with a knife, or worse- I would like to think I would have administered a beatdown with a very heavy hand. But I wasn't there and my opinion doesn't matter anyway, and for anything to happen he will first need to be charged, and then the burden to find him guilty will be on the court. So I'll be here wishing him luck.
     
  13. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

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    What I see in the video, is the guy who vaults the counter doesn't turn to face the clerk. He goes straight for the merchandise (note his hands going to the box). When the clerk stabs the thief, he stabs him from the side when both the thief's hands are up in the boxes, not towards the clerk.
    It is not self defense, in my opinion.
     
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  14. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    What we are seeing in society at the moment is a discussion about what is considered to be "reasonable" in the light of a perceived increase in crime. Changes in what is legally "reasonable" occur all the time.

    An example: pre-covid, if I walked into a bank wearing a N-95 mask and carrying an empty shopping bag, it would have been reasonable for bank employees to believe that I might be there to rob the place. During covid, it would have been completely unreasonable to come to that conclusion based on the same observations.

    Now, in this case, the dolts were wearing ski masks and a hoodie in Las Vegas when they sauntered into the vape shop. I used to live in Las Vegas. This attack happened in the heat of the summer. By Las Vegas community standards, it was completely reasonable for the owner to conclude that they were planning to commit an illegal act. No doubt about it.

    But the core question in this case centers on whether it was reasonable for the shop owner to believe that by jumping over the counter the robber in the hoodie signaled an intent to attack the owner in a way that would result in severe bodily injury or death. AND, whether a prosecutor believes that he can prove in court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the owner's conclusions, and the actions that grew out of it, were not reasonable. @GEM 's posts above reflect this.

    I don't know whether the owner's conclusion was or wasn't reasonable today, in his community. Nor do I think its clear what a prosecutor today, in his community will decide to do with the case.

    But I do know that it is unwise to assume that self-defense law does not change as society's views of what is reasonable evolve. Sometimes, we focus here so closely on black-letter and case law that we neglect to help people understand the key, but squishy, element that is reasonableness.
     
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  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Repeat, to all posters who think he was not in lawyer defined danger to life and limb, what SHOULD the storekeeper have done?
     
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  16. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

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    Call the police because thieves have stolen his merchandise. One snatched stuff and ran, the other was about to do the same thing.
     
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  17. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    In hindsight and watching a tape it is obvious to some that the vault was Mounds bars. Was it obvious when the vault was initiated and the guy landed? Are you supposed to wait to see? Yes, the clerk could have fled around the side. He chose to act on the perceived threat and not wait for the orientation, which folks of course think in hindsight is telling.

    How is the clerk to know that bad guy will not act against him? The thief's defenders are so sure he is harmless.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Stay on his side of the register instead of running around the counter corner and over to the hood(ie) grabbing property off the wall and engaging him.

     
  19. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    Let's see if he is charged, if charged then convicted. Then the theories of the law vs. the practical evaluation by the government and the public in the terms of jury will be resolved. If the clerk is not charged, a Go Fund Me for the thief would be appropriate?
     
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  20. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    We don't know what the second person was going to do, and neither did the clerk. I'm not saying his actions were right or wrong, only that the intentions of the second person are unknowable. That being said I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for this criminal.
     
  21. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Of course not. Where the defender's bullets or knife strike has no legal significance, and it is not something that can be reasonably managed.

    There is a lot of case law on the subject of excessive force, however. Most centers on whether the defender continues to use deadly force after a reasonable person should have realized that it was no longer necessary--whether he continued to shoot, bash someone's head, or slash after the threat had ceased.

    That does not mean that six rapid shots at a charging assailant would be excessive if it is determined after the fact that four would likely had sufficed, though plaintiffs may try that ploy.
    These cases usually revolve around a pause in the shooting, or multiple stabs to an assailant who is no longer attacking.

    The latter is what I see here, and while reasonable people who have seen the same video disagree, to me, the thing speaks for itself.

    The purpose of learning and practicing where and how to cut with a knife is to improve the effectiveness of the defensive act. Simply stabbing someone is not a very good way to effect a timely physical stop. It may also be conducive to the use of excessive force.

    Andrew Branca has said that he can see no way under the law that the store owner's actions would meet the requirements of the law for a legal defense of self defense. But he hastens to add that the dA or jury may not wish to punish Mr. Nguyen for this.
     
  22. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Folks, some posts have disappeared. Ours is not discuss what we personally think should happen to thieves.
     
  23. luzyfuerza

    luzyfuerza Member

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    The store owner (he's not just a paid-by-the-hour clerk) SHOULD have considered this kind of situation when he decided to open his store.

    1) I had to laugh when I saw him say that when he first looked at these two that they looked like ordinary customers. Isn't one of the rules of stupid not to do things with stupid people? Perhaps he could have considered opening a store that caters to a somewhat different clientele.

    2) But, given his clientele, why did he decide to put the register where he did? Why not locate it at the opposite rear corner? Where he could have quickly retreated to the back room and shut a sturdy door when confronted by an ambivalent threat?

    3) Also given his clientele, should he have installed more effective barriers to the kind of action that "hoodie" chose to take? For example, keep real merchandise in the back, with only empty boxes on the shelves? Its not like cell phone stores haven't perfected this approach already.

    4) The store owner should also have considered the defensive tools that he had at hand. Having a knife is clearly one option. But using it requires closing to contact distance with a threat. Did he consider stand-off tools like OC spray? Or a firearm? These distance tools would allow him to maintain his distance if he can, while still being ready to respond to a threat. He should also have gotten training in the use of the tools he selected.

    5) He should have become familiar with self-defense law. At least with the rudiments.


    Now, this owner is in his early 20s, and I'm not going to bust his chops. Actually, I laud him for taking the initiative to start his own business at such an age. He also demonstrated lots of initiative in responding to "hoodie's" threat. And I recognize that understanding that you need to think these kinds of things through beforehand is something that generally only comes with experience.

    But, @Jim Watson , you asked, and these are five things that I think he SHOULD have done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2022
  24. GEM

    GEM Moderator Emeritus

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    Branca makes my point, the actual legal action is when the jury speaks. He can say that this point or that is the way it should be. However, the courtroom is not a mathematical proof where the points are conclusive. It is an interpretation of the jury based on the competing evaluation of the principles and evidence presented by the competing attorneys along with playing for the jury's evaluation of whether the abstract principles are applicable to the situation and whether they should be. Juries are well known for deciding the perhaps technical case fails a greater societal purpose.

    The outcome is what counts and I'm saying a competent defense lawyer can use doubt about nuances of the law, despite what Internet lawyers are convinced of, nuances of perception of threat and a societal view of the just desserts for a thief for a defense win.

    The law is not absolute as some seem to think. Look at the split decisions of the Supreme Court - lawyers trained at the best supposed schools of the nation but who come to diametrical opposed view to the Constitution - based on their personal beliefs, and then looking for precedents.

    Goetz's lawyer played all these cards in his defense and won the SD charges.
     
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  25. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    The act of jumping over the counter doesn't, correct, but that isn't the totality of the situation. The owner expressed a real and justifiable belief that his life was in danger as a result of this sudden, unexpected action that puts the bad guy in closer proximity to the owner during the commission of a crime.

    Yes, if the owner reasonably believes it.

    Especially if he thinks the store owner had reason to fear for his life.
     
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