What can we learn from Florida?
At this point, we can only speculate about what happened in the Trayvon Martin shooting, which leads no where. We do not know the facts and none of us were there. Therefore I will stay away from the specifics and the specualtions. However, from a tactical point of view, it seems like we can learn a lot from this case.
For instance, having a gun does not make one invincible. I have not see Bill Cosby's direct quotes, but he mentioned that some people think a gun empowers them to do things they would not normally do. All of us that carry ought to think carefully about that concept. Too many times a gun makes us feel "tougher" and we act more aggressively. From a tactical standpoint, having a gun should not make us more aggressive. If we find ourselves going places and doing things that we would not do without a gun, perhaps we need to rethink our strategy. We should perhaps stay inside our car instead of getting out; we should perhaps stay inside our house instead of racing outside to investigate; perhaps we should stay hidden rather than reveal our position. Having a gun does not make us invincible.
Another thing we may need to think carefully about is our appearance and how we behave. Our appearance conveys a message to people. If we dress a certain way, it conveys a different message to different people. For instance, wearing a leather jacket and riding a Harley motorcylce can intimidate certain people and will put them on the defensive. Am I saying that no one should ever wear leather jackets and ride a Harely? Absolutely not! But I am saying that we need to be mindful of the way we dress and how we act - these affect how people PERCEIVE us. Sadly, perceptions can be very wrong. But as wrong as someone's perception may be, there perception affects how they will react to certain situations. As an example, when I see three or four young men hanging around a place, my perception is that they MIGHT be up to no good. In fact, they may just be waiting for a friend to join them as they go volunteer at an orphanage. But my perception is that a possible danger lurks nearby, and I become defensive. Should one of those young men approach me and ask for a contribution for their orphan work, I would be less likely to donate than if an elderly lady approached me and used the same exact words. As an example, when I was in college, I left the computer lab late one winter evening and put on my black jacket and my black gloves as I walked across the campus (around 10:00 pm). As I walked along, I noticed that I was going to intersect a young lady walking across campus alone. When she noticed me 25 yards away and walking fast (I was hurrying home), she almost dropped her books! Here I was, walking rapidly and wearing a black jacket and black gloves, and she PERCEIVED that I might be a danger. Rather than frighten her any more, I immediately stopped and tied my shoe; Ishe practically ran past the intersection point and hurried off into the night! We ought to be mindful of our appearance and our behavior.
Another lesson we might want to consider is our willingness to engage in confrontations. The first two issues come into play here. We do not know the other person and we do not know their perception of us. Our willingness to engage another person may intimidate them and put them on the defensive if their perception of us is negative. IF we chose to confront someone, we should carefully consider our approach and be wary of their response. Perhaps we would be better off not confronting someone over a parking spot or a driving infraction. I have seen videos of people getting cut off while driving; the individual who got cut off then follows the offender, waits until the driver exits his vehicle and leaves, and then damages the offender's car! This kind of behavior can get a person killed!
These are three lessons that I have learned from the Florida incident. Without discussing the Florida incident, what other lessons can we learn?