I always enjoy lunch with Doug. He’s a very intelligent and well-educated man, and the conversation is always interesting, and informative. Topics vary wildly from current events, to politics, to gun trivia and last year’s hunting season. Doug and I always have a lot to talk about, even if neither of us has much to say.Today at lunch, Doug talked about preparation for a trial. This particular trial, a criminal case, involved a gun collector. He worried that the number of guns that this man owns might alienate jurors, turning them against the client before the facts were heard. To test this theory, and others, Doug and another attorney ran mock trials in front of mock jurors and interviewed them afterwards. The outcome amazed me.
This particular gun collector, also an avid shooter, is what I refer to as a “training junky.” He has attended many shooting schools, including this one, and has binders full of certificates documenting his training. Jurors were completely comfortable with him because of his training. One juror explained after the mock trial that, “I don’t like guns. They scare me, and I don’t think anyone should be allowed to own them. But this man is so very well trained that I’m confident he’s safe with them.”
I was shocked. I’ve always known that proper training will help you to avoid needing a gun to protect yourself. I’ve always known that proper training will help you survive the worst case scenario if the avoidance training fails. I’ve always known that proper training will prepare you for the aftermath of a shooting situation, helping you deal with the police. But I never dreamed that training will improve your status in the eyes of a jury!
More than ever, I am convinced of the necessity of training well beyond the legal minimum. It increases your chances of never being involved in a shooting incident. It increases your chances of surviving a shooting incident. And it increases your chances of surviving the legal aftermath of a shooting incident. Train hard, and often. Document your training. There is much to be gained, and nothing to be lost!