Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Self-Defense Is Racist Now

This morning on the news round-up came a quick blurb about a "racially charged" case in Florida regarding the so-called "stand your ground" laws. The trial started this week for Michael Drejka who is being charged with manslaughter for lethally shooting Markeis McGlockton. The shooting happened as the result of a dispute over a handicapped parking spot.

From USA Today: Florida 'stand your ground' trial begins for deadly dispute over handicapped parking spot

The altercation began when Drejka reprimanded Brittany Jacobs, McGlockton's girlfriend, for parking in a handicapped spot without the proper permit outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida. She had stayed in the car with the couple's two youngest kids while McGlockton went in to the store with their then 5-year-old son, Markeis Jr.

McGlockton went outside and pushed Drejka, according to police. Surveillance video shows Drejka then pulling out a gun and shooting McGlockton, who died in front of his eldest child.

There is also a shocking twist to the case!

Though there's no direct evidence that Drejka shot McGlockton because he was black, Lave said race will play an important role in how jurors view this case.

"We know through lots of studies that there’s a lot of implicit and explicit bias against black people, bias that they're dangerous," Lave said. "Whatever people are saying, the fact of the matter is that if you had a white woman who shoved him away and the white guy killed her, that case would have a very different look to it."

There is no evidence it was racially motivated but race will still play "an important role". Well that is a shocking and unforeseen twist!

The other statement is just ludicrous. The assailant McGlockton looks to be significantly larger than Drejka and is 20 years younger. And obviously in almost every circumstance a woman attacking a man is different from a larger, younger man blindsiding a smaller, older man. There are some hefty hippos among the ladies but in general they are less physically imposing and less of a threat. Then there is the very politically incorrect but nevertheless factually accurate point that as it turns out, black men are more dangerous, relatively speaking. Black men, especially black men of the age of Markeis McGlockton, are the single most dangerous category in the country and by a wide margin. Saying that out loud makes people twitchy but that doesn't make it less true. Just because black men are more likely than any other racially group to commit violent crime doesn't give you a pass for shooting them but Lave's comment is inaccurate.

You might also point out that in Lave's hypothetical white woman attacking a white man case, you would never hear about it because there was no chance of a cash settlement to attract the race buzzards civil rights activists. Professor Lave wouldn't care about a white woman being killed by a white man. Furthermore I doubt very much that if a large white man knocked down a much older black man and the black man shot him that she would give a crap. Hell, if it were two black men she wouldn't care. When there is a chance to get your name in the news? Then they all show up.

This is a problematic case strictly from a "stand your ground" view. Based on the grainy video, it looks like the guy was already attacked and that the assailant was not acting in a subsequently threatening manner. It sort of looks like he was turning away, perhaps to get in his car and take off since he just assaulted someone. I am pretty certain I wouldn't have shot McGlockton in that situation. Perhaps a rational person would have pulled their gun but not shot but even then pulling your gun is a precursor to lethal action and should be done with extreme reluctance.

On the other hand, the guy gets completely blindsided and thrown to the ground. That in itself is potentially deadly, if he had fallen in a way where he hit his head it could have been fatal. Also, anyone who has played football probably knows that when you get hit like that it is disorienting. I remember getting steamrolled in football and being kind of out of it for a while. So you get violently knocked to the ground and in a split second pull your gun and shoot at someone who just violently attacked you and was looming over you. It is a matter of the timing, he pulled his gun after he was attacked and his attacker seemed to be withdrawing. That is the impression I get while sitting at my desk, drinking coffee, watching and rewatching a grainy video. Like police shooting videos, it is one thing to sit back comfortably and scrutinize a video, it is quite another for it to happen to you real-time. Would I have shot in that situation? I don't think so and most responsible firearms owners would agree, but again I am not laid out in a parking lot from being violently attacked moments earlier.

According to the USCCA, Florida's law regarding "stand your ground" is as follows:

Florida is a Castle Doctrine state. Under Florida law, there is no duty to retreat if you are attacked in any place you have a lawful right to be. Instead, you may stand your ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others. 

So the question for the jury will be whether or not a reasonable person would feel threatened enough to use lethal self-defense. In general, you not only have a presumption of innocence in general but the burden is on the state to prove you did not act in self-defense in cases like this one specifically.

This case is getting widespread coverage because it ticks all the right boxes for the media. It involves a legal concealed carry firearms owner who is middle aged and white. The deceased is black and as many, many of the news reports take great pains to point out, he was "unarmed", as if an "unarmed" person is inherently not dangerous. The shooter allegedly made racially inflammatory statements at one point in the past. Best of all, the shooting itself is pretty questionable. The media in general hates the idea of lawfully armed citizens prepared to defend themselves rather than waiting for 15-30 minutes for the cops to show up after the fact so they love to play up the "racism" angle and slander gun owners all at once.

Maybe this Drejka guy is "racist". I don't know and since the definition of that term has been perverted to mean just about anyone, it is hard to prove. I do know that being "racist" isn't against the law. Maybe he is an asshole, like George Zimmerman, but again that is not against the law. The question to be determined here is whether or not it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense. The local police declined to prosecute him initially but the prosecutor decided to go ahead with charges. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is quoted as saying:

Drejka “felt after being slammed to the ground, the next thing was he was going to be further attacked by McGlockton,” Gualtieri said in July. He has been sheriff since 2011 and also has a law degree.

That will be the crux of his defense, that in the moment he honestly thought he was going to be attacked further. The State Attorney Bernie McCabe, for whatever motivation, thinks differently and believes he can win a conviction. I have my doubts.

It is of course incumbent upon legal gun owners and those choosing to legally carry to be very responsible with that lethal force. Whether or not Michael Drejka acted responsibly and legally is for a jury to decide. It also is probably not worth getting into a shouting match with someone over them parking illegally in a handicapped spot. It is against the law and it is rude but the world is full of stuff like that.

The media and the government can be counted on to seek out examples like this one where there is some question of the justification for the shooting to focus on legally armed people defending themselves, instead of on the regular and frequent examples where people were clearly justified in using lethal force. Most people who carry for protection do so for completely legitimate reasons and are very responsible. There are over 2 million licensed individuals in Florida with a concealed carry permit and circumstances like this one or George Zimmerman are very rare, suggesting that the concealed carry population is actually far less likely to misuse a gun than the general population of Florida. That won't stop the media from pushing their narrative that concealed carrying citizens are dangerous or that white men are out looking for an excuse to gun down innocent black men.


  1. I saw that video when it was freshly out. The person who initiated force was McGlockton. He initiated force far out of proportion to verbal comments. There is no way that the middle aged man could have won a physical altercation absent weapons, and the middle aged man had no reason to think that the altercation was in any way over.

    This seems simple. Strip it of race, and look at the actions. Simple.

    1. Strip it of race and the trial never happens. This smacks of a DA looking to virtue signal to the voters because he has aspirations for higher office. Any even semi-competent defense attorney should have no problem making this case.

  2. >It also is probably not worth getting into a shouting match with someone over them parking illegally in a handicapped spot.

    If we lived in better times, you wouldn't have people parking illegally in a handicapped spot.

    >It is against the law and it is rude but the world is full of stuff like that.

    It shouldn't be. It doesn't have to be. Soon, I don't think it will be.

    1. We don't live in those times and we won't again until some serious hard work and struggle leads us out on the other side.

  3. I barely agree that Drejka should have been found not guilty. But in my view the not guilty, guilty percentages are 50.0000001% not guilty and 49.9999999% guilty.

    I watched way too much Court TV about this (sans the panel of experts), such as the opening statements, Drejka’s complete interview at the police station, some witness statements, prosecution closing, small amount of defense closing and verdict.

    Drejka repeatedly pressed his luck by playing the unasked handicapped parking spot cop for someone else’s property, and his luck ran out. He also shot McGlockton with a Glock 40 caliber in the side, and the bullet went through one lung, the heart, and the other lung before lodging in the armpit on the other side of McGlockton.

    I wanted to sympathize for Drejka and I couldn’t after what I saw. Unfortunately this situation is not as simple as it looks. But I didn’t see any evidence of obvious retreat by McGlockton. What I saw was re-evaluation about how to follow-up on the attack with the gun drawn. I believe that McGlockton would have continued to attack if the gun had not been drawn. Since this happened at life speed and not slow motion, Drejka fired instead of pausing for 1/2 a second to 1 second and due to the angle and the power of the weapon killed McGlockton. That’s what happened.

  4. We shouldn't even have to deal with shit like this...When civilized people have to deal with uncivilized people everyday pretty soon everyone becomes uncivilized... Perfect example is how friendly people are when it's a mostly white Community compared to where white people are the minority...