We reported on the Renisha McBride slaying commonly referred to as the Detroit Porch Slaying a few months ago when the news hit the wire. On Thursday Theodore Wafer the homeowner who shot Renisha was found guilty of second-degree murder. He is now in custody and awaiting the final sentencing where he can server 25 to life.
To some this was a victory, to others a travesty. The mainstream media has spun this into a racial issue, a gun issue a self-defense issue and compared it to the Zimmerman trials. The fact is it was really none of the above.
Theodore Wafer was a man that made several mistakes that compounded into a disaster that ended the life of one woman and ruined his own.
The jury has passed their verdict and this article unlike so many out there is not designed to re-has the merits of his guilt or innocence, instead now that more information has come to light we will use this as a teaching moment in an effort to save our loyal readers the heartache that Theodore Wafer and Renisha McBride’s family is now suffering.
Lets look at some of the avoidable mistakes that resulted in his conviction.
- Mixing Alcohol and guns
Yes he was in his home and yes it was his right to drink legally in his home. However alcohol often leads to bad judgment. Had he been sober his decisions may have been different. Also he may have been less disoriented and afraid had he woken from just a sleep and not an impaired sleep.
- Opening the Door
It is very hard to prove a self-defense situation when you engage the perpetrator outside the home. While I am not giving advice here I have been instructed to not go out and investigate burglars in my shed or outside the home. Had Theodore not interacted with Renisha or at least not opened the door the situation would be viewed differently.
- Poor Trigger Discipline
Early accounts as well as his initial interaction with police show that Theodore claimed he did not know the gun was loaded and it accidentally went off. While this story changed during his trial claiming this fact early on did the damage. Which leads us to the next avoidable mistake.
- Talking to police without a lawyer
One thing repeated to me over and over during CPL training was, when the police come you say, “I want to cooperate as soon as I speak to my attorney”. Police gather evidence that is their job. They are not your friends and they are not going to help you out. After a shooting and especially if impaired by alcohol, the last thing you want to do is answer questions or make any statement without an attorney.
Monday morning quarterbacking is easy for us just like it was easy for the prosecutor and the jury. Remember that no matter the choices you make in self-defense there are those that are going to second guess and think you should have done it differently. They key to mitigating these “should haves” is to plan ahead, train and think your way through a situation.
We talk about preparedness and training on a regular basis because it is so important. The military, police, fireman, EMT’s, doctors and just about every other job that requires you to function under high stress follows a similar path to success.
- Develop a game plan
- Implement the game plan over and over not until you get it right but until you can’t get it wrong
- Repeat under stress
- Dissect performance
I am not a lawyer, I am not you and I am not Theodore Wafer but I can tell you that from the beginning the steps he took showed a scared and disoriented person. They showed a person who made one bad choice after another and that is likely due to a lack of preparation for such an event. While I am not going to layout what I would do in the situation I want you to go through the evidence, the stories and your training to figure out what you have done. Not in an effort to judge or condemn Theodore but in an effort to save you the heartache he is undoubtedly suffering.
With great power comes great responsibility. If the day comes you ever have to pull the trigger you will be glad you took the steps to plan, prepare and handle not only a threat but the aftermath as well.