Look Up...

As early as I can remember, I've been taught to "look up". I can remember listening to my grandfather explain something (probably about woodworking or gardening or scouting) and him say, mid-sentence, "look up". It was his way of connecting, and making sure my brain was engaged in what he was taking the time to tell me - he wanted his words to mean something to me. Clearly, this "look up" tack (that's sailing parlance, another thing I learned from him although we never went sailing, maybe when we went over knots . . .) made a difference, as he since passed on, and I am now raising my own children.

In high school, I remember my mom asking if I was "ok". I answered in the affirmative. She said she was asking because a teacher called her to tell her he was concerned something was troubling me because I walked to his class "looking down". I remembered again to "look up".

To be clear, they did not mean "look straight up into the sky arching your neck into a very uncomfortable curve you can't sustain for very long". They meant, and I mean, to look forward, level with the ground, and the world around. To look out - say for that car making a left turn at the light 100' ahead of you through your path of travel. I mean to "be aware".

In the context of self-defense, this is the same tack taken by potential prey - the Zebra with his head in the grass gets eaten while his heard (who had their heads up) skips gleefully away to the next watering hole. The other image I have in my head is that of someone walking out to the parking lot at night from the grocery store all the while looking down at his/her smartphone!? To "look up" is to be situationally aware. Situationally aware means you are connected to all of your senses, and engaged in real-time processing and analysis of what information (in any form, through any sense) is coming to you. It means that you can see "it coming" and can be prepared to defend, if necessary.

Where self-defense is concerned, I believe the best defense begins by "looking up". "Looking up" is the outward manifestation of an inward sense of self-worth, or sense of our worth to those we protect. It creates an image of a hard target, and so I believe, it is the first line of self-defense/defense of others. Self-defense analysis will also necessarily look at what force was used and to what extent. Being able to determine use of force in your case will let me effectively defend your self-defense decision.

If you've had to defend yourself or others, Arizona has laws on the books that offer more room to breath in the self-defense context than some other states. ARS 13-401 et seq. comprises the codified "justification" statutes - these are some of the legal rules Arizona applies in "self-defense" situations. Theses statutes also operate to control the limits of "use of force" whether it is non-deadly or deadly. Known in the legal community as "justification" statutes, these laws provide the framework for mounting a successful self-defense defense (yes, I meant to type defense twice...)

This is not school-yard stuff. Just because X happened, does not automatically mean you get to do Y. You'll need an attorney to walk out the specifics of your self-defense case, and analyze what your criminal and/or civil exposure is, or might be. In fact, you might already be facing criminal charges for what you feel is a legitimate self-defense act! So having an attorney who understands self-defense law, and one who can effectively argue it to the State and the Judge, is essential.

Don't wait (hesitation is another problem for the Zebra . . .), give me a call at (928) 277-0545, or use the "contact" form, we'll set an appointment, and take a look at your situation. With me as your attorney, I'll make sure to clear the corners, and check our six... and always "look up".