Friday, August 19, 2016

Black Lives Matter Encourages Justifiable Homicide of Black People - William A. Levinson

by William A. Levinson

People who really believe that black lives matter will not encourage behavior that will legally get black people shot or run over.

Black Lives Matters' response to the shooting of a black suspect who allegedly pointed a firearm at a police officer is a declaration of open season on black people who act on BLM's less responsible advice.

Let's start with the incident that prompted riots in Milwaukee:
During the chase, [Sylville] Smith pulled out a stolen pistol that was fully loaded with stolen ammunition, and Smith raised the pistol to the officer. The officer ordered Smith to drop the gun and shot when he did not comply.
The police officer's restraint was excessive to the point where he jeopardized his own life.  A demonstration at FrontSight showed unequivocally why he should have fired the instant Smith began to raise the weapon.  A student asked whether one should order a suspect to drop his weapon if the suspect has the weapon down at his side and has not yet aimed it.  An instructor made sure everybody was wearing hearing protection, drew his weapon, held it down at his side, and had somebody else order him to drop it.  The other person did not complete the word "drop" before the instructor fired a round into a target in front of the backstop.  That underscores how quickly somebody can kill you with a drawn gun.  Nobody has a legal or moral obligation to find out, possibly the hard way, whether the bad guy's skills are comparable to those of an experienced firearm instructor.

It turns out, by the way, that the police officer also is black, which means that black lives seem to matter only if they are not the lives of black people whom BLM calls pigs, as in "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon."  BLM has furthermore shown its true contempt for black lives by inciting situations in which far more black people will be justifiably killed.

When Words Equal a Deadly Threat: Disparity of Force

I cannot give legal advice, but the laws on armed self-defense are largely consistent from one state to another.  You can use deadly force on another person only when you believe reasonably, as defined by law, that the individual has menaced you with death or serious bodily injury.  You can never use deadly (or other) force due to mere suspicion, or to punish another person; the latter is the prerogative of the judicial system.

It is very easy to cross the line at which the law's hypothetical reasonable person believes his or her life to be in danger.  The aggressor needs to do exactly two simple things to step over this line to be legally shot dead, or put in the hospital, on the spot.  The first is to make a verbal or visual threat ("I'm going to kill you!," "Give me your wallet!," or menace another person with a deadly weapon), and the second is to display a credible means of putting that threat into effect.

As an example, the words "I'm going to kill you!" may constitute a crime such as menacing or a terroristic threat, but they do not justify a lethal response if the speaker has no credible way to put them into effect.  An unarmed suspect, or even one who brandishes a knife from across a wide street, cannot carry out his threat.  If he brandishes a gun as Sylville Smith apparently did, the threat and the means of carrying it out become one and the same, and the target of the aggression can open fire with no discussion or delay whatsoever.

The factor that could easily kill a lot of BLM people legally is what the law calls "disparity of force."  Police instructor Massad Ayoob provides an excellent description of this concept.  It means that the law assumes that a larger and stronger assailant does not need a weapon to kill or maim his intended victim, and the same assumption applies to multiple assailants.  A 120-pound woman could easily be well within her rights to shoot a 180-pound man who assaults and batters her with nothing but his hands.  A man might similarly be entitled to shoot two or more men who attack him with nothing but their hands.

Here are actual video and audio from the recent civil disturbances in Milwaukee.  The chants of "black power!" are sanctioned and protected by the First Amendment.  At about 0:39, however, a demonstrator says something about beating up every white person.  At about 0:52, somebody yells, "He white!  Beat his head."  That's a violent threat, and the presence of more than one potential aggressor adds disparity of force.  These are the two ingredients necessary for a justifiable homicide.

This doesn't mean that the white person in question should shoot if the mob lets him walk away, but the instant one begins to rush him, he could legally shoot that individual on the spot not only because of the reasonable prospect of support from other aggressors, but also because the attack's leader could disarm him and kill him with his own weapon.  Somebody who is so deranged as to charge a drawn gun clearly means death or serious harm to its owner, which is why a police officer shot Michael Brown for allegedly trying to disarm him.  That would be my decision as a juror if a prosecutor had the poor judgment to bring the case to trial, anyway.

"They beating up every white person" from these street thugs is meanwhile to any armed Caucasian what "they lynching every n-----" from a gang of Klansmen would be to any armed black person.  While it might not, depending on the distance between the thugs and the armed citizen in question, justify gunfire, it would certainly justify a Condition Red response such as drawing and arming a weapon.  Intelligent and responsible people don't put other people into Condition Red, because doing so is a good way to end up in the hospital or in the ground.

Fire Also Is a Deadly Weapon

In this video, Sylville Smith's sister counsels other black people to burn down not their own neighborhood, but the suburbs instead.  The legality of deadly force to protect only property from arson varies from state to state.  Don't mess with Texas if you're an arsonist, though, and even anti-Second Amendment New York State says a person "may use deadly physical force if he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission of arson."  When I took a gun safety class in New York some time ago, however, the instructor said the building had to be occupied to justify deadly force.  This was clearly because arson of an empty building threatens only property unless the fire spreads, while arson of an occupied one menaces human life and safety.  Even if the arsonist is not greeted with deadly force, however, he or she is still guilty of a serious felony that is good for a long prison sentence.

The takeaway is that any BLM people who act on this woman's incitement are asking to be greeted with handgun, shotgun, or rifle fire if they set occupied homes and businesses on fire.  A firebomb through a window, unlike a prowler who lurks around a building but cannot enter, is a clear and present danger to the occupants.

Run Over Anybody Who Tries to Pull You from Your Car

Olaf Ekberg reports, "Several videos show white drivers being stopped in the middle of the street and the 'protesters' attempting to pull them out of their vehicles."  Recall that a similar gang beating sent truck driver Reginald Denny to the hospital, so we again have a threat of death or serious bodily injury plus the means (disparity of force) to put it into effect.  In this case, the law-abiding defender does not need a firearm; he needs only his car's accelerator pedal.  Massad Ayoob advises in The Gravest Extreme:

"You are controlling a two-ton bludgeon.  Put your car in gear, shout a warning, beep the horn, and drive.  Start slowly unless the rocks are already flying through the windows.  If that is the case, move.  Don't try to deliberately run anyone down; that is, don't swerve out of the way to put your wheels to your assailants."

Somebody who is not blocking your path does not threaten your safety, so you are not legally justified in going out of your way to run him down.  If, however, a rock-throwing attacker insists on blocking your path to prevent your escape, Ayoob adds, "[G]o over the man in front of you."  This policy would have saved Reginald Denny from a beating, and it will save anybody else who finds himself or herself in a similar situation.

People who really believe that black lives matter will not encourage behavior that will legally get black people shot or run over.  It is also to be remembered that Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee have both endorsed this organization, and that is something voters need to consider carefully in November.

William A. Levinson is the author of several books on business management including content on organizational psychology, as well as manufacturing productivity and quality.


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