By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
For those who haven’t seen it yet, Michael Drejka was convicted of manslaughter for the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton. Drejka, according to the Orlando Sentinel, has not been sentenced yet, but will be sentenced in October.
However, given the manslaughter conviction plus the accessory charge of using a firearm in the commission of a crime, it could effectively be a death sentence. Drejka is 49 years old, and faces up to 30 years in prison.
It is wholly an instance of “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”
For those that haven’t heard of the incident, it went something like this:
Michael Drejka drove to a convenience store near his residence in Clearwater, Fla., in July of 2018. One Britany Jacobs was parked in the handicapped parking space, with her children in the car as McGlockton, her boyfriend, was grabbing some snacks or what have you inside the store. Drejka went over to chide Jacobs for parking in the handicapped space, and the argument got heated.
McGlockton pushed Drejka down. Drejka, who has a concealed carry permit, drew his handgun and shot McGlockton, who ran into the store and collapsed. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
What Drejka claimed was that McGlockton was advancing on him, and could be about to start beating him. Video taken from the parking lot showed that McGlockton was actually backing away as he had likely become aware of the gun.
Drejka took several seconds between drawing the gun and firing.
The jury didn’t buy a self-defense argument, as McGlockton was backing away. The jury also didn’t consider Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law as a defense either, as Drejka instigated the conflict since he deliberately went over to Jacob’s car to tell her off for parking in the handicapped spot.
It was also discovered during the trial that Drejka has a history of road rage incidents, as well as arguing with people – and even threatening them – over parking in handicapped spaces.
This has several inherent lessons for the rest of us.
You don’t go picking fights over crap that really doesn’t matter. Is parking in handicapped spaces no big deal? Well, it’s not good to be sure, but to get into a screaming match over it?
For one, that’s being an idiot. For two, starting arguments with people is opening Pandora’s box. You might just get a disagreement. You might get something like “I know it was wrong, I’m sorry, but I just something something something.” Or the person you chide for parking too close or whatever might erupt. They might pull a knife or a gun of their own.
An easy way to not worry about that sort of thing is to not go around acting as if you’re the world’s crossing guard.
Another lesson is that if you live in a “stand your ground” state, you better know that law or court case (some state’s self-defense laws are partially dependent upon precedent; I live in Washington state, which has something like a stand-your-ground protection on that basis) and know it well. Understand the nuances.
Obviously, no one can really speak for Drejka, but it’s possible that believed that since he was physically attacked, he had a legal basis for shooting. The thing is, though, that Florida’s SYG law includes a clause denying protection for a person who instigates the conflict, which Drejka clearly did.
Granted, Drejka is in the minority; most people who lawfully conceal and carry don’t do stuff like this. Let’s do what we can to keep it that way.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.