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From: bbx!bbxrbk! (Russ Kepler)
Subject: Re: Hand-loads for defense (was Re: Occasional Dud in Glock 20)

The admonition "Are you sure that you want to post this?" is *very*
true in this instance - I'm not sure that I want to post this.  But
it's germane to this thread, and might well settle a few points.

I'll also preface this with the statement that not all of this applies
in all jurisdictions in the USA, but that you might want to consider
it in some decisions that you have to make.

If you should happen to have to fire in self defense it's likely that
you will go to court.  "Going to court" isn't a simple matter of
showing up at a trial and making a statement, allowing a few folks to
mull it over and waiting for a thumbs up (or down) - it's a whole hell
of a lot more involved.

Believe me - I just spent better than 2 million dollars in a civil
action.  It wasn't all my money, but better than 20% of it was, and
that hurts.

Believe it or not we (the defendants) were and are completely innocent
of any of the charges in the complaint.  But innocence doesn't come
into play in the beginning...

There's the interrogatory phase.  That's where they get to list a
couple thousand questions that you have to answer.  many of them are
answered (in our case, anyway) with stock phrases, but you're still
paying a lawyer for his/her time in answering and checking, and clerk
time, and court filing fees.  If you're good you can get out of this
for only a few thousand dollars.

Then there's deposition time.  This is when you get to sit in a room
and be asked idiotic questions by a lawyer that doesn't want to ask
the real questions but instead feel his way around.  The real questions
aren't asked unless he knows what the answers will be, or until he has
enough vague stuff he can claim to be an answer so you'll have to
refute it later in court when he misrepresents thing just a little
bit.  Again, if you're lucky you'll only have a few days of this and
get off for just a few thousand dollars - maybe 10 or so if it gets a
bit long.

So you then get to sit through all of the depositions of everyone else
being deposed - your wife, daughter, father, mother (only the last 2
in my case).  They'll name *everyone* that they can in the attempt to
wear you down and cost you into a settlement.  Screw 'em - if you're
good and you learned enough in the first couple passes you can get
away with a paralegal and yourself.  Cost: a few thousand dollars.

Then they name all their whores - oops: expert witnesses.  They charge
them hundreds of dollars an hour so be sure to depose them for a good
long while.  Be sure to ask the *real* important questions: where they
went to kindergarten, etc.  This can be fun, but you'll likely have to
go to where the witness is, and you still have to pay your legal fees
and reporter fees, etc.  Cost: several thousand dollars.

So - you've spent a few tens of thousands of dollars and are ready to
go to court?  Not!  It's time for "summary judgement motions".  This
is where both sides twist the facts (let's be real) and legal cites
(which you've paid lexis $$$$ for the pleasure of printing and
reading) and petition the court to toss away the complaint, or at
least part of it.

Assuming that the complaint survives, you'll get the fun of reading
motion, counter motion, etc. until your head spins.  And, at this
point, you've not assumed the costs of a trial.  The trial would be
cheap relative to the costs incurred so far in the litigation.

You *don't* want to get into any position where someone can color your
actions badly - anything that you can do *now* to make your actions
look better WILL SAVE YOUR ASS LATER.  I can't say it any better than
that.  That means that dressing up in camo and running around the
neighborhood might not go over well in a fully justified shooting.
That means using factory ammo that a major police department uses - it
might have sent up 5% less than the best in Marshall's stats, but you
can always point to the police and make noises.  That means not to
use as a self defense weapon a 12 guage loaded with Blammo Ammo's
fave load, or with a "black rifle".

I might understand, but you've got to explain all this to a jury of
"your peers".  And you know where they come from...

So, in summary, you don't want to win the fight at trial, you don't
want it to get that far.  The fewer "things" that they have to look at
the less likely it is that you'll get into litigation, and the cheaper
it will be to you.

(Oh, yeah, my litigation.  Bitter?  Yep.  You bet.  Think of the toys
I'll miss buying.  They asked for a settlement 2 days before trial was
scheduled to start.)
.signature: not found.  Create?

[MODERATOR:  As one of those technical whores, albeit in a different area,
I found this posting from Russ compelling, accurate and not just a little
bit understated.  So maybe it isn't *squarely* inside of our charter, but
it sure is what you'd have to deal with even in a fairly clean shoot in
some areas, and I think that makes it of interest to us here in r.g.  His
observation about "jury of peers" is particularly understated.  You're
pretty unlikely to see anyone on the jury who appreciates firearms like we
do.   Finally, I note that the offer of settlement he mentions is a ritual
typically performed just about then so that they can report to the judge
that it was offered (usually the *amount* suggested cannot be cited, just
that it was done in the interests of saving court time, etc).  ]

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