Arizona Case Highlights Pitfalls Of Self-Defense

Defending yourself with your firearm can be traumatic enough. Even pulling out a gun is a terrifying moment, but pulling the trigger? That’s something else entirely. The moment you pull that trigger and take a human life, even if completely justified, your life changes forever.

Now, imagine you’re dealing with that trauma, then have to deal with a prosecutor who wants to see you in prison because you defended your own life.

For an Arizona man, that’s been the reality since 2015.

Almost three years ago, Steven Jones, an 18-year-old freshman at the Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, and his two friends, were attacked by a drunken mob of fraternity members. One fraternity member ran up to Jones and sucker punched him. Jones friends were down on the ground defending themselves. The fraternity members chased him. Jones ran to his car and retrieved a legally owned and transported Glock pistol. One drunk fraternity member came at him and he fired, killing that member and wounding two others.

According to evidence presented at the first trial, there is little dispute about those facts. The main contention is whether Steven Jones was justified in shooting.

The incident happened on 18 October, 2015. It was characterized as a school shooting by the media and the University. Jones was charged with first degree murder.

Steven Jones cooperated with authorities from the beginning.  Police video from the scene shows that. The video was initially withheld from the jury because it was “prejudicial.” All of Jones’ attackers were legally intoxicated with alcohol. Most of them had traces of marijuana in their blood. Jones had neither. After the jury was allowed to see a partial transcript of the police video, the trial ended in a hung jury and mistrial.

The rest of the original post is a fairly concise detailing of what happened to Jones and is still happening to him, and it illustrates the potential pitfalls of defending yourself with a firearm.

The moment you do, you potentially open yourself up to this kind of thing.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t defend yourself. I’m an adherent of the idea that it’s better to be tried by twelve than carried by six. However, this is the side of the coin that not many of us devote much attention to. People like Masaad Ayoob spend a good bit of time talking about the aftermath of a shooting, but I know plenty who blow it off.

Hell, I used to. I expected Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws to cover me. I don’t anymore.

Steven Jones apparently, based on the facts as I understand them, defended himself from a potentially life-threatening attack. It certainly sounds like he had every reason to be in fear of his life, and almost three years later, he’s facing a second trial on murder charges despite that.

I don’t blame the police, though. I blame the prosecutor. While they may introduce a case as “The People versus” in court, far too often it’s really about them and their careers. Jones is dealing with this because a prosecutor wants to make him deal with it.

At the risk of sounding like a commercial, you need to get yourself some self-defense insurance. Either the NRA’s Carry Guard (which I have) or someone else’s. Any legal proceeding is expensive as hell, so you need all the protection you can get.