“No one is going to be digging my bullets out of anyone’s back.” – John Farnam

This week a news story from 2017 was being recycled over social media, spurring a whole new round of outrage and irresponsible commentary. Of course, few can be bothered to look at the dates of stories they re-post, but I digress…


In 2016 21-year-old Jakeel Mason was involved in a physical altercation with 30-year-old Min Sik Kim, owner of Kim’s Pacific Quick Stop in Spanaway, WA. Kim said he suspected Mason of shoplifting cigarettes, so he drew his gun and pointed it at Mason who then attacked him, knocking him to the ground. The fight occurred inside the store around 9:40pm, Kim claiming Mason tried to take his gun during scuffle.

Surveillance video isn’t something I’ve been able to locate (yet), but police indicate the video contradicts Min’s story. They stated Min was the one who initiated the fight, punching Jakeel multiple times causing him to take flight. Min then shot a fleeing Mason twice in the back, killing him.

There is some conjecture as to whether Mason was shot in the doorway of the store, or while running down the sidewalk. The video will eventually bring that to light, but, either way it wasn’t good.

[Click HERE for original story]

In an unrelated incident just a month before, Kim’s wife had been wounded in an exchange of gunfire with different armed robber in the same store. She was still unable to work and was not present during this event. It has no bearing on the Mason shooting, regardless of what many claim.

[Click HERE for the original story on the wife’s gunfight]


Min was sentenced in June of 2017 to 8-years in prison. All things considered, that’s actually a light sentence for killing a non-threat by shooting them in the back as they ran away.


I quote two defensive law experts in every class I teach, Mas Ayoob and Andrew Branca, when asked the question “when may I shoot someone in self-defense?”

Mas sums it up in one sentence: When there is immediate & otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent.

Andrew approaches it through the 5 Elements of Self Defense, which are:

1- Innocence
2- Proportionality
3- Avoidance
4- Imminence
5- Reasonableness

What’s the difference between the two? Ayoob is coming at it from the mind of the defender in the moment, i.e. “Should I be pressing my trigger right now?”

Andrew is approaching it from the mind of the prosecutor, i.e. “Was the person claiming self-defense justified in pressing the trigger?”

Applied to this case:

Pertinent details: Min confronted mason, struck him multiple times, brandished a handgun, then with Mason running away and posing no articulable threat to anyone, shot him in the back.

Ayoob’s Rule Applied

Ayoob’s response contains 5 points that must be met to justify the use of lethal force: Immediate, Unavoidable, Danger, Death/Grave Bodily Harm, Innocence


– Was there a danger of death to Min or others by Mason? No.
– Was there a danger of grave bodily harm to Min or others by Mason? No.
– With an answer of ‘no’ to both of those we can strike immediate and otherwise unavoidable off the list, as well.
– Could we suggest Min “started” the fight by producing a weapon and pointing it at Mason when there was no lethal force probability justifying it? Perhaps. How about by punching Mason first? That would be a yes.

Min is lacking at least 4 of the 5, probably all 5, in his claim of self-defense.

Branca’s 5 Elements Applied

– Was Min innocent? Not if he started the fight. Not if he punched him first.
– Was Min’s response proportional? Shooting a fleeing suspect in the back who posed zero threat – no.
– Could he have avoided the confrontation in the first place? No question about it. He exacerbated it with physical contact and brandishing. But, more to the point, was disengaged (fully avoided) from Mason at the time of the shots. There was NO contact to be avoided since Mason was in the midst of full avoidance himself the moment he was shot. The shooting occurred post-event.
– Was there an imminent threat to Min, or others, which required a lethal force response? No.
– Were Min’s actions reasonable under to totality of the circumstances. No.

Min is lacking at least 4 of the 5, probably all 5, in his claim of self-defense.

Andrew points out, as a generality, that the 5 elements he lists exist in the self-defense law of all 50 states. Prosecutors will require all 5 to be met in order to justify your claim of self-defense. If even one is lacking, expect to be prosecuted.

This case was a slam dunk for the prosecutor.

Yes, there was a public outcry, and yes many sympathized with Min. However, it was such a blatant no shoot situation that the prosecutor would have been derelict had they not moved forward with a trial.

Social Media

I am far from the only person who has concluded social media is the DEVIL. But, as with all technological advances, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle once its out.

So, rather than list all the ignorant legal opinions and self-incriminating posts I’ve read from 1000’s of internet “experts” regarding this event, I’m simply going to give you my friendly advice:


Every word, every joke, every meme. When you reply to a post on the Min case with “I would have shot him ,too!”, you have openly admitted to premeditated murder. And it’s cast in indefensible concrete when you do so while replying to Andrew Branca who is advising against it in the very same thread! (Yes, I see that happen regularly.)

We need to know the law, and we need to be proactive in our defense long before we physically have to.

People are building their own jail cells one Facebook brick at a time, and it’s pure dumb luck that they have not been involved in a defensive shooting…yet.

Don’t be one of them.

“Be the adult in the room.” – Andrew Branca