- Finger off trigger until you decide to shoot.
- Lethal force is always a last resort.
- Having a tool on you is better than having the latest super tool at home.
The list is quite lengthy and it’s hard to Letterman a Top Ten list from all the good one liners. But I’m sure watching your language would be somewhere near the bottom of the reject pile. But between 9-1-1 tapes and the ubiquitous cell phone videos, your words as well as your actions can come back to bite you.
George Zimmerman is on trial for shooting Trayvon Martin in Florida. Was it self-defense or vigilantism gone bad? No matter, it’s a circus and it deserves study.
The prosecutor started his case painting a verbal picture. It’s a good move. All good lawyers know court is theater and bad reviews can land you on death row.
He faces the jury and says “…F*****g punks...” He’s repeating what Zimmerman told the non-emergency police dispatcher. “These a@@holes always get away.” The prosecutor doesn’t claim Zimmerman used these same words to Martin prior to the shooting.
There will be someone on that jury and yours too (if it comes to that) who thinks the word a@@hole is the language of the uneducated, the uncouth and an indicator of a guilty mind and damned soul. That’s a lot of bad reviews for your lawyer to overcome. And even if he does explain it away, the impression remains.
Don’t use language you would not use to Mother Superior in church.
Hit your finger with a hammer? Cut yourself picking up broken glass? Slip and ruin a project you’ve invested a lot of time?
Okay fine. Call it a nasty name because it’s an inanimate object and not a person.
Why use that language anyway? It doesn’t do what you want it to. The police won’t think you’re hip, cool and one of them. The criminal won’t be impressed with your street smarts and are too cool to be messed with. Nor will they be shocked into compliance.
Call ‘em ‘Sir!’ if there’s time to call them anything.
“Sir! Drop the weapon!”
“Sir! Don’t move!”
“Sir! It won’t work!”
Change ‘guy’ for ‘a@@hole.’ The second statement sounds better that way. Go ahead say it out loud. “Those guys always get away.” When you’re asked later in calmer times who ‘those guys’ are, you can respond politely with ‘members of criminal gangs.’
Even Mother Superior would approve.
Update: Zimmerman v. Martin
An earwitness, who didn’t see anything until later, reports she heard “No!” No information on who said it, but since the prosecutor introduced this witness I think we can believe it isn’t helping Zimmerman’s case. I bet Zimmerman wishes she heard “Sir! Stop right there!’
Pre-planning plus practice prevents poor performance.