The Boy Scouts of America have a motto “Be Prepared.” It is taught from Cub Scouts through Venturing and stresses the importance of being ready to deal with whatever will arise at a given moment. The news tells stories of young men on camping trips were able to effectively aid others because they were prepared. The same is true for your family. You must prepare your family for self-defense, with a firearm when necessary, and for the various possible outcomes.
It is simply not enough to go the local shooting range to practice with your firearm, obtain a concealed pistol license to be able to carry wherever your family is traveling, to purchase a retention holster or biometric safe for storage. If your family has decided that self defense includes being willing to actively defend your safety and lives in your home or while traveling, then you need to prepare for what will happen after the shooting.
Decide on procedures before a shooting
In my family, we held family councils to discuss emergency plans. It is known that my husband will never sit with his back to a door. His job is watch for signs of trouble, while mine is to keep others with us calm, so they can follow his commands during a crisis. We have discussed different strategies that clearly define everyone’s roles: who will call 911, what actions we will take, when we will decide exit strategies, and what we are willing to do if we find ourselves in a location that only has one exit. We stay up-to-date on strategies for emergency first aid. These family conversations have been held with our children and grandchildren, who are able to understand and not be frightened by the discussions. We remind family members that our goal is always to come home safely and not be vigilantes.
Decide on procedures for after a shooting
It is not enough for the individual who carries the firearm to plan for what to do after the shooting. The entire family must be prepared and trained on what to do. In our family, we have regular discussions on which attorney each of us prefers for criminal defense and what code word we will use so we can communicate to each other what has happened. Both of us are aware that any communications to or from a local enforcement facility including a jail telephone are recorded and will be used against the incarcerated party. We know that any telephone call from these lines are not for asking what happened. Our discussions have pre-determined what the other will need to do when the code is used and how, where to find personal notes from training, and where the policies for any insurance coverage are located. We have thoroughly evaluated and decided on our family’s strategy for speaking with media.
Take action now
You should not have to wait for a shooting to begin to prepare. Meet with an estate planning attorney and secure the proper paperwork to grant other family members the legal authority to act on your behalf. You do not want your family to be unable to act on your behalf because they do not have the authority to do so. Ensure that the designated family member can access the source of funds for bail, if granted, or attorney retainers.
Meet with prospective attorneys with your designated family member. Can you both communicate effectively with the desired attorney? Will the attorney speak with family or just the accused? How far will this attorney travel within the state? Do you have to pay those travel expenses? These are important questions to have answered before you are sitting behind bars.
Be financially prepared, if bail is not granted
In Michigan, a judge or magistrate does not have to grant bail if you are charged with murder or a violent felony. The judge is granted this discretion in Michigan’s Court Rules for Criminal Procedure. A violent felony is defined in the court rule as a felony with an element involving a violent act or threat of a violent act against any other person. (MCR 6.106).
If the judge denies bail, your family needs to be ready to survive without you and your financial support during the trial process. You can begin to prepare for that by taking the following actions.
The preparation that your family uses may not the be same as another person. There is no right or wrong way to prepare for what will happen after your or your loved one has pulled a firearm for defense and used it. But having discussions around what to do are just as critical as the physical and psychological training that you should take to prepare.
If your family member has been charged after a self-defense shooting, call Michigan Gun Law to schedule your appointment. Better yet, call us today to schedule an attorney meeting to see if we can accomplish your goals before you need us.