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Old August 16, 2013, 02:42 PM   #76
pax
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Originally Posted by daddypro
I still have to believe that in the vast majority of self defense cases, the justification would be overwhelming. After all we are pulling our firearm to stop the imminent threat of death or grave bodily injury. Seems that this is overkill.
Not overkill at all. Even a solid self-defense shooting can go south in the aftermath, whether from political pressure, or from mistakes the shooter makes immediately after the most frightening incident in his life, or from lost evidence, or from some other cause. And once it has gone south, literally everything is on the table -- including your previous words.

Here's one example that came from an ACLDN article about the Larry Hickey case in AZ a few years back:

Quote:

Alarmingly, out of context advice from instructors to “always cheat; always win,” and the axiom that one should treat every one else in a polite manner while simultaneously having a plan to kill them painted an inaccurate picture about Hickey’s outlook on life. Nicolini harvested these quotes from the training notes and handouts, and made much hay with them, especially during his closing arguments in which he described Hickey in highly inflammatory terms.

The prosecutor told the jury not to consider the case from Hickey’s viewpoint, from “what was going on in his paranoid mind,”

... "But I think Larry Hickey has an additional motivation in this case, he wants to be vindicated, he wants somebody to say, yes, Larry, you exercised your Second Amendment rights to defend yourself and your family like a good American. And you know something else? The same reason why four of his gun instructors have come in here to testify, the people who taught him to use guns, and when to use guns and taught him that aggressive mindset... they want to be vindicated, too."
That's some scary stuff for those of us who teach. We know that the things we teach can be held against our students if we get it wrong. For any ethical instructor, that should provide a very strong urge to keep your own training and understanding very current. It should discourage you from getting sloppy or lazy with your use of the language. It should drive you to study harder, learn more, dig deeper. And it should inspire you to be brutally honest with your adult students, trusting them to complete the mindset-building process appropriately after you have taught them what you can.

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Old August 16, 2013, 02:49 PM   #77
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Appearances count, even when they shouldn't.
I'd argue that far more than "appearance" is at stake here. The language we use affects our own thinking as well as the perceptions of others. If you use language like "go animal," "put the predator down," "have a plan to kill everyone," etc., your own mindset will be very different from one that starts from "use whatever force is necessary to stop the threat." If your mindset leads you to use force in excess of what's needed to stop a threat -- you may have survived the encounter, but your chances of surviving the legal process that follows will be much lower.
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Old August 16, 2013, 07:03 PM   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daddyo
...I still have to believe that in the vast majority of self defense cases, the justification would be overwhelming. After all we are pulling our firearm to stop the imminent threat of death or grave bodily injury. Seems that this is overkill.
Perhaps, but you have no way of knowing what your situation will be. Consider, just by way of example, theses cases:
  • This couple, arrested in early April and finally exonerated under Missouri's Castle Doctrine in early June. And no doubt after incurring expenses for bail and a lawyer, as well as a couple of month's anxiety, before being cleared.

  • Larry Hickey (already mentioned by pax), in gun friendly Arizona: He was arrested, spent 71 days in jail, went through two different trials ending in hung juries, was forced to move from his house, etc., before the DA decided it was a good shoot and dismissed the charges.

  • Mark Abshire in Oklahoma: Despite defending himself against multiple attackers on his own lawn in a fairly gun-friendly state with a "Stand Your Ground" law, he was arrested, went to jail, charged, lost his job and his house, and spent two and a half years in the legal meat-grinder before finally being acquitted.

  • Harold Fish, also in gun friendly Arizona: He was still convicted and sent to prison. He won his appeal, his conviction was overturned, and a new trial was ordered. The DA chose to dismiss the charges rather than retry Mr. Fish.

  • Gerald Ung: He was attacked by several men, and the attack was captured on video. He was nonetheless charged and brought to trial. He was ultimately acquitted.

  • Some good folks in clear jeopardy and with no way to preserve their lives except by the use of lethal force against other humans. Yet that happened under circumstances in which their justification for the use of lethal force was not immediately clear. While each was finally exonerated, it came at great emotional and financial cost. And perhaps there but for the grace of God will go one of us.

  • And note also that two of those cases arose in States with a Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law in effect at the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daddyo
It absolutely horrible that we live in a Country that using an adjective to describe the mental preparation needed to properly defend yourself from a violent attacker, could get you in trouble....
It has absolutely nothing to do with the country we live in. It is universal. Words have both objective and subjective meanings in every language spoken by humans in every country inhabited by humans.

The words you use, as well as the way you dress, act and otherwise present yourself to the world have social consequences everywhere. There is no place on earth in which your words, your manner of speech, your actions, etc., will not cause people to form opinions about your credibility, your motives, your character, your values, etc.
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Old August 18, 2013, 06:38 AM   #79
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That's some scary stuff for those of us who teach. We know that the things we teach can be held against our students if we get it wrong. For any ethical instructor, that should provide a very strong urge to keep your own training and understanding very current. It should discourage you from getting sloppy or lazy with your use of the language. It should drive you to study harder, learn more, dig deeper. And it should inspire you to be brutally honest with your adult students, trusting them to complete the mindset-building process appropriately after you have taught them what you can.

pax
I'm going to avoid inappropriate adjectives in the future but I still think that this issue is blown way out of proportion. It's being taken to the extreme IMO.

Just as a good defense attorney can explain the true intent behind "going animal", a good prosecutor can explain in the true meaning behind "cornered cat". After all a cornered cat is among the most vicious and violent animals alive.

I just don't understand how I can teach and explain the issue of going animal or its more appropriate form "cornered cat" without exposing myself, being an instructor. Then it will be said that I've been trained on how to avoid saying the wrong things.

Just like what happened to GZ. He was trained on what to say and what not to say. etc.

I believe that if you guys defend yourselves against the wrong person or under the list of possibilities provided earlier, that these posts here, where you guys are saying to avoid buzz words that make you look violent, make you look like liars. Perhaps the rest of your testimony shouldn't be believed because we know you say what makes you look less guilty.

Tough situation all the way around.
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Old August 18, 2013, 07:07 AM   #80
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daddyo I've read all of your posts on this thread and the responses. You insist that "going animal" or something similar is a proper way of describing the mindset that is required to stop a violent attack. You then suggest that not using this sort of language puts someone at risk of looking dishonest to a jury of peers. The problem, in my opinion with this premise is that as thinking humans we have the ability to reason, and respond accordingly. Yes, that response may require swift and decisive violence, but that is measured response to the threat. Using language that suggests a predisposition towards violence is provocative and unnecessary in my view.
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Old August 18, 2013, 09:57 AM   #81
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Instinctual, extreme violence is an absolute fact of life, on virtually all levels.
Those lacking the extreme violent survival instinct are surely doomed to extinction if tested.

The words used to describe this natural violence by humanity has become problematic.

Political correctness has dictated we verbally deny the violent nature of self defense and candy coat it with softer words chosen to avoid the perception of our true nature. Pandering to this less than honest verbal mindset only reinforces the likelyhood that we will become targets of prosecution when our reactions no longer match the Fuzzy Wuzzy words that political correctness has forced upon us.

I know there's little we can do about it but, it's a shame that a person has to navagate a minefield of words in the pursuit of lawful survival.
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Old August 18, 2013, 10:18 AM   #82
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Quote:
Posted by daddyo: Just as a good defense attorney can explain the true intent behind "going animal", a good prosecutor can explain in the true meaning behind "cornered cat". After all a cornered cat is among the most vicious and violent animals alive.
Second part first. The term "cornered cat" implies defense--nothing more. The concept is inherent in the word "cornered."

I'm not at all sure what you have in mind when you you speak of a defense attorney being able to "explain" the "true intent behind 'going animal'." Are you suggesting that he or she might say, in closing argument, "my client did not mean for that to be interpreted as it may sound to many of you"?

Think about it. Does the "animal" that a juror will have in mind employ only that force that is immediately required for self preservation, and no more? That's the key to justification in self defense.

Quote:
Posted by Microgunner: Political correctness has dictated we verbally deny the violent nature of self defense and candy coat it with softer words chosen to avoid the perception of our true nature. Pandering to this less than honest verbal mindset only reenforces the likelyhood that we will become targets of prosecution when our reactions no longer match the Fuzzy Wuzzy words that political correctness has forced upon us.
Check the timelines in your history books.

The term "political correctness" speaks to a relatively recent concept. But the need for the triers of fact to weigh every indication of a possibly criminal state of mind after one person has injured or killed another is as old as human jurisprudence itself.

Last edited by OldMarksman; August 18, 2013 at 10:36 AM.
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Old August 18, 2013, 10:42 AM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMarksman
Check the timelines in your history books.

The term "political correctness" speaks to a relatively recent one. But the need for the triers of fact to weigh every indication of a possibly criminal state of mind is as old as human jurisprudence itself.
The splitting of hairs.
"political correctness " is indeed a recent term but can and is applied to events throughout recorded history due to the evolutionary nature of language.

The "triers of fact" have, to a large extent, been conditioned by political correctness to denial of the extreme human survival instinct.
Jurors in a shooting case, for the most part, will not be pro gun or anti gun as the defense and prosecution dismiss potential jurors biased againt their case. These jurors are sometimes easily swayed by words descibing the true nature of survival, but make no mistake, allow one of these triers of fact who are shocked by the discriptive words of survival be atacked with force and they will change, instantly. All of their civility will disappear and they will rip the jugular vien from their attacker with their teeth if necessary in order to survive.

Politically correct words are only for those sitting comfortably in an air conditioned room discussing civility.
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Old August 18, 2013, 10:50 AM   #84
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Microgunner said,
Quote:
Politically correct words are only for those sitting comfortably in an air conditioned room discussing civility.
So are you or daddyo typing your inputs to TFL while under actual or threatened physical assault?

Or are you sitting comfortably in an air conditioned room, using your input/output device of choice?

My point being, daddyo's original choice of language was not an excited utterance, made while his adrenaline was still through the roof following an attack on him.

The corollary point being, we have the luxury to think about what we will say, and the potential ramifications of what we say, while participating in the forum.

I think a lot of folks here know that I don't care for PC language when discussing truly political issues, to the chagrin of certain mods. However, when discussing issues that could be raised in potential criminal trials, I use (and recommend the use of) more judicious wording.
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Old August 18, 2013, 10:53 AM   #85
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On a different note, I have found that while physical conditioning and training matter, when it comes to martial endeavors attitude often means more.

Look up Aesop's fable of The Hound and the Hare.
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Old August 18, 2013, 10:59 AM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
So are you or daddyo typing your inputs to TFL while under actual or threatened physical assault?

Or are you sitting comfortably in an air conditioned room, using your input/output device of choice?
We are discussing the defensive mindset during an attack which is indeed animalistic if survival is truely the goal.

Candy coating the truth of the matter is indeed a necessity in today's world but, it isn't honest, just smart. What a shame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
My point being, daddyo's original choice of language was not an excited utterance, made while his adrenaline was still through the roof following an attack on him.
It's a descriptive term stating where you need be be mentally in a life and death circumstance, not where you are othertimes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
Aesop's fable
Aesop's Fables? Are you kidding me?
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:07 AM   #87
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No, I'm not kidding you.

The hound was running for his dinner, while the hare was running for his life. Attitude vs athleticism.

Meanwhile, you seem to think there must be some conflict between intelligence and honesty. Quite honestly, that is stupid.

You use the force you need to achieve the effect you require, IE avoidance of bodily harm by stopping the threat. That may well be immediate, overwhelming force.

That sounds quite a bit different in tone from "go animal, and kill."

If you can only express yourself well through superlative, hyperbole, and charged language, that doesn't make you honest - it just implies that you have a limited vocabulary.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:12 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
Meanwhile, you seem to think there must be some conflict between intelligence and honesty. Quite honestly, that is stupid.
The argument of someone who is failing to prove his point "stupid".

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
You use the force you need to achieve the effect you require, IE avoidance of bodily harm by stopping the threat. That may well be immediate, overwhelming force.
Those are the words I've practiced and would use. This is 2913, heck, I'm not STUPID. Just not as honest as a free person should be.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:20 AM   #89
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Posted by Microgunner: "political correctness " is indeed a recent term but can and is applied to events throughout recorded history due to the evolutionary nature of language.
And it is entirely irrelevant.

When one human has harmed anther and the triers of fact must piece together how and why, and whether the act was excusable, one of the questions they must address is whether the one who is on trial was predisposed to violence. If there are indications that the answer to that question is yes, his claims of having acted only due to immediate necessity, and of having used no more force than had been reasonably required, will be suspect.

That has everything to do with mens rea, and nothing whatsoever to do with "political correctness."

Quote:
Candy coating the truth of the matter is indeed a necessity in today's world but, it isn't honest, just smart. What a shame.
It is not a shame to try to distinguish criminal culpability from the excusable, necessary use of force.

A reasonable person may draw inferences about the state of mind of the actor from many things.

To say that is is imprudent for one to have been trained to "go animal" is by no means a function of political correctness. It simply speaks to the reality of how that person's actions and motives may well be assessed by reasonable men and women later.

Avoiding the use of threatening phrases, stupid bravado, comments implying a desire to destroy, and anything else that could portray one as a person of violent disposition, predisposed to the use of force to harm others, is not "candy coating the truth."

The truth is that the citizen is, and has for centuries been, required to avoid the use of force if at all possible, and if it is not possible, to use only the amount of force that is necessary to eliminate the immediate danger and to stop at that. The phrase "go animal" has entirely different connotations.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:21 AM   #90
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<Moderator hat on>

I'll probably jump back in as a participant later today, if I can find the time. Meanwhile, guys -- please don't take this conversation down to the personal level. I'd like it to still be here when I get back.

thanks!

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Old August 18, 2013, 11:26 AM   #91
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daddyo I've read all of your posts on this thread and the responses. You insist that "going animal" or something similar is a proper way of describing the mindset that is required to stop a violent attack. You then suggest that not using this sort of language puts someone at risk of looking dishonest to a jury of peers. The problem, in my opinion with this premise is that as thinking humans we have the ability to reason, and respond accordingly. Yes, that response may require swift and decisive violence, but that is measured response to the threat. Using language that suggests a predisposition towards violence is provocative and unnecessary in my view.
I'm engaging in a debate, nothing more. I'm simply saying that the same situation which would have me in trouble for suggesting that an animalistic mindset is desirable in dealing with a violent attacker, would have you in jeopardy of not being believed because you are schooled in the appropriate words to use to cloak your animalistic disposition. You guys are on the record for saying that it is unwise to use certain terms and which terms are better to keep you out of legal trouble. It would be easy for a determined prosectutor to spin this in a very bad light.

Thats why I feel like its to late for us. Make double dog sure that your shooting is justified because its not good either way IMO.

And I didn't insist that its the proper way. Its an easy way to get the point across to those who don't understand just how important it is to suspend your normal nice guy disposition in exchange for one capable of getting the job of self defense done against a violent encounter.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:37 AM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
The hound was running for his dinner, while the hare was running for his life. Attitude vs athleticism.
And what happens when the hound fails to catch the hare, day after day?
He grows weaker and weaker and dies a far more agonizing death than the hare. So the hound is running for his life too.
I wouldn't place much faith in fables if I were you.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:43 AM   #93
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You assume the hound can only eat if he catches hares.

The hound may get fed at home; he may beg for scraps; he may rummage through garbage.

Pax likes "cornered cat." Cornered rats are also known to fight effectively. But like Pax's cat, the rat inflicts damage with an eye toward escape, not killing.

Aesop's fables were written with adults in mind, not just kids.

Allegories can be on point and effective without invoking imagery you
may have to fight in court.

A lioness defending her cub is an effective metaphor, yet it doesn't carry the baggage that a tiger rending his prey would.

Words matter.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:50 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
Words matter.
They do indeed. Which is why I'd never use some of the words I've read to describe the defensive mindset, but I do understand how they can be demonstrably efffective.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:51 AM   #95
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Posted by daddyo: I'm simply saying that the same situation which would have me in trouble for suggesting that an animalistic mindset is desirable in dealing with a violent attacker, would have you in jeopardy of not being believed because you are schooled in the appropriate words to use to cloak your animalistic disposition.
I think you are missing the point.

If you have used deadly force, and if it seems to others that you did have an "animalistic mindset" or an "animalistic disposition", you are in a world of trouble, regardless of how that impression is given.

As a lawful defender, you are expected to avoid danger, and if you cannot, to use only that degree of force that is immediately necessary to defend against that danger.

To most of us, the term "animalistic mindset" implies a predisposition to do harm--serious harm.

It may prove necessary to harm someone in self defense--that is, to employ force that can reasonably be expected to cause death or grievous injury.

But in a defense of justification, any indication that the actor willfully caused any more harm than was necessary could well lead to criminal conviction.

It is important not only to watch what one says, posts, or otherwise communicates, but to train to act lawfully when and if it becomes necessary to employ physical force, whether deadly or not.

That's true whether one is defending with hands, a blade, a bludgeon, or a firearm.
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Old August 18, 2013, 11:53 AM   #96
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Microgunner, if you would never use them yourself, then why attack cautionary voices for being PC?
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Old August 18, 2013, 12:01 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by MLeake
Microgunner, if you would never use them yourself, then why attack cautionary voices for being PC?
Or support voices more honest than myself?
Because I'd like to see the wind start blowing in the other direction.
I think we've given in enough.
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Old August 18, 2013, 12:19 PM   #98
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Posted by Microgunner: I think we've given in enough.
I'm not aware of any real shift in the dynamics of murder trials and defenses of justifications over the years.

Yes, the realities of pursuit and capture and of the kinds of crimes classified as felonies have strongly limited the justification for shooting a fleeing felon.

But on the other hand, the centuries-old duty to retreat has been somewhat relaxed.

But when and where was it ever lawful for a citizen to use more force than was necessary for self defense?

There's really not a lot of difference between the pertinent legal principles that were in effect in Colonial Williamsburg and those extant in twent-first century Virginia.

The idea that we are now somehow constrained by having to avoid willfully causing excessive harm to someone else than were our ancestors is, I think, a figment of popular imagination.
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Old August 18, 2013, 12:39 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by OldMarksman
But when and where was it ever lawful for a citizen to use more force than was necessary for self defense?
I thought we were discussing the words used in description of the lethal force allowed by law, not excessive force.

It's acceptable to use an animalistic explosion of lethal force in lawful defense of life but it's unacceptable to describe it as such. What hipocrites we've become.

I know that's just the way it is, doesn't make it right though.
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Old August 18, 2013, 12:56 PM   #100
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Posted by Microgunner: I thought we were discussing the words used in description of the lethal force allowed by law, not excessive force.
Actually, we were discussing how the triers of fact may determine whether or not excessive force was used, and how indications of state of mind can enter into the picture.

Quote:
It's acceptable to use an animalistic explosion of lethal force in lawful defense of life...
That may be a contradiction of terms. Except in the very well understood context of a cornered cat or cornered rat, what most people would describe as an "animalistic explosion of lethal force" may well not constitute lawful self defense.

If someone runs at you with a contact weapon, you may have to shoot --and you stop shooting as soon as you can, once your safety is ensured. Someone comes at you with a broken bottle, and you defend with a blade; it's one thing to have to slice key tendons to disable the attacker, but quite another to start stabbing the vitals, which would likely not prove effective. Does either describe an "animalistic mindset"?

Quote:
...but it's unacceptable to describe it as such. What hipocrites we've become.
Describe what you want to describe clearly and accurately, and you won't have a problem.

Quote:
I know that's just the way it is, doesn't make it right though.
Can you suggest an improvement to the jury instructions?
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