PS for critique take II (Edit added)

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JCFindley
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PS for critique take II (Edit added)

Postby JCFindley » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:07 pm

PS take two.....

The new PS is in response to the following critique......

"Stylistically, the tone is far too colloquial. More importantly, reading this does not give me any idea of why you want to go to law school/practice law. A PS need not directly address an unstated "why law?" question, but I also shouldn't remain entirely in the dark about how your life experiences have led you to this point after reading your PS."

I tried to work on the colloquial style (Elegant word to describe a an informal writing style, isn't it?) I also tried to show my interest in practicing law within a single story.

Did I accomplish that much? Does the story give a glimpse of my personality beyond the resume? Is that glimpse a little too scary to use in a PS?

Thank yall again

JC
_______________________________________________________________________________

<edit below>
Last edited by JCFindley on Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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CorkBoard
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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby CorkBoard » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:08 pm

JCFindley wrote:It was 2:30 AM, and we were still a few hours away from my mother’s home in Florida. We needed gas and a cup off coffee, so we exited I-65 on the south side of Montgomery Alabama. I chose to stop at a well lit modern convenience store with a Subway Sandwich Shop inside. As my wife and I picked up some snacks and coffee inside, I noticed two men watching us from the side of the building through the glass walls. They would look away whenever I looked towards them.

I taught a personal self defense course for members of the military and their families. While I taught physical self defense moves, the main theme of the class was avoiding potential danger. Being aware of your surroundings, spotting potential danger and avoiding is always aare always better options than relying on any other defensive skill set. These men caught my attention and I was well aware of the potential danger they posed. What is making these people suspicious? This is VERY unclear.

They weren’t doing anything illegal and calling the police to come walk me to my car wasn’t a real option. My plan was to leave the store putting myself between my wife and the suspicious men. I hoped we could be in the car and moving before the two could approach us close enough to pull out weapons without being seen by others at the store. I also opened my pocket knife and held it discretely in a position I have shown aircrews to use many times in the close quarters counter terrorist class I taught.

I told my wife about the two men and my plan to get to the car safely and we walked out the door. As soon as we exited the store the two men started walking quickly towards us. The man in front shouted out asking, “Hey, can you break a twenty?” I was suspicious before but now alarm bells were glaring inside me. I looked at the lead man closing the distance on me and told him I had no cash and to break his twenty in the store. He increased his pace towards me now replying that he wanted to show me something. I told him assertively to leave us alone and not come any closer.

They continued towards me at an even faster pace and it was obvious we would not be able to get into the car and leave before the two reached us. The closer of the two was within five feet of me now with the second man right behind him. The leader was about six and a half feet tall, thin and had the worn look of an active meth addict. The man in the front reached into the waistband of his pants and snarled for me to stop that he had to talk to me.

I did not know exactly what these two men wanted but at this point I was sure of their intention and willingness to put our lives at risk to get the object of their desire. I pivoted towards the lead aggressor closing the distance between us even more. I took a balanced stance with my legs while moving my left hand into a position to jam his wrist against his waste preventing him leveling a weapon against me or my wife. I briefly flashed my knife as I moved it into a position to neutralize the threat if it continued. In a guttural voice I said “Back off!”

I do not believe a weapon should ever be used to try and scare someone. If you are not willing to seriously hurt or kill someone in your own defense then you should not even have a weapon. I have no desire to hurt anyone but will in the defense of myself or my family. When the lead man saw the knife I already had it in a position to neutralize him before he could pull his hand from his waistband. His eyes widened and his left hand went up palm out in a submissive gesture. The lead man turned ninety degrees to his right and walked rapidly off as he cussed me over his shoulder. The second man turned and ran in the direction he had originally come from.

To my relief, the situation was resolved without the use of violence. I have gone through that incident many times since that night and cannot think of anything I would do differently today. Still I wonder what would have become of me had the men’s disposition not changed and I had felt compelled to use deadly force. Would I have been charged? If charged, had I done enough to prove that I was in fear for my life and prove self defense? Thankfully, these are but theoretical questions for me.


I did not read the first draft, so these are my thoughts on this one...

Um...where is this going? It's a cool story, but I have no idea what it says about you besides the fact that you were a personal defense teacher. I think you need to tie it all into some larger conclusion (whatever that may be). I just really don't know what you are trying to say.

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby JCFindley » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:57 pm

Thank you Cork....

The first take was a completely different story.

I am working this for one specifically for Fordham using this guidance in an interview with the Associate Dean of Admissions.

"Tell us a story! What are you passionate about? Whatever excites you… Write us a poem! Fordham appreciates creativity, but don’t be weird. "

I have read this on here, and it makes sense; Make the PS positive and sell yourself: strengths, leadership ability, qualitative skills, teamwork, hard worker...

The issue I am having is telling a simple story that would cover all of those without sounding contrived. My resume should do a good job with many of these as well.

Since my desire and "quest" to get to law school covers thirty years I have no epiphany moment to talk about. The one I application I have already sent out has a PS that reads more like a CV than a story and is honestly somewhat repetitive when looking at that and my resume.

Anyway, thanks for the critique and advice it is greatly appreciated.

JC

(Oh, anytime two men are just hanging out and watching you it is a very suspicious situation. I will try and do a better job explaining that or talk about how following that "weird feeling" you get about someone can save you life.)

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby Breezin » Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:21 pm

.
Last edited by Breezin on Thu May 10, 2012 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby JCFindley » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:31 pm

Breezin wrote:
JCFindley wrote:PS take two.....


According to wiki.answers.com , I would've been privileged to use self-defense only if I satisfied all of the following elements:

(1) Actual belief regarding use of physical force by other person. When the guys came at me, especially when they quickened their pace toward me, I was sure that they wanted to attack me. I actually believed they were going to use physical force on me.

(2) Reasonableness of that belief. The reasonableness of my belief regarding the guys' use of physical force would've turned on what a reasonable person in the same circumstances as I was in would believe. See Id. at /whatisreasonableness. Generally, a reasonable person is one with normal intelligence, perception, knowledge, and common experience of the community. Id. Although I do not know exactly how a reasonable person in Montgomery, Alabama behaves (because I'm from FL), I think I could've shown that I reasonably believed they were about to use physical force on me because the guys were racing toward me and because the one guy reached into his waistband to grab something that looked like a weapon. That the guys looked like meth addicts probably would've also helped me show that I reasonably believed they were about to use physical force, since it's easier to infer that drug addicts are desperate and willing to hurt people (I think). I'm not sure if I would've been allowed to make this kind of argument in court, or even if this would be persuasive. In any case, my belief probably would've been reasonable.

(3) Actual belief regarding degree of force necessary. The degree of force necessary was deadly force, in my belief. "I believe that if you are not willing to seriously hurt or kill someone in your own defense then you should not even have a weapon." Thus, after brandishing the knife, I would've killed or at the very least seriously hurt the guys. I actually believed this was necessary.

(4) Reasonableness of that belief. A person's belief that deadly force is necessary is reasonable only if the person was being threatened with serious physical harm or deadly force. Here, my belief that deadly force was necessary may have been unreasonable since the guys did not threaten me with a weapon. While it is true that the one guy reached into his pocket, it was I in fact who brandished the weapon and threatened to use deadly force. Just because he reached into his pocket, that does not necessarily mean he was going to hurt me or my family, much less use deadly force against us. Importantly, the reasonable person does not share my background in self-defense and may not be as paranoid (or realistic) as I am when confronted by strangers. Therefore, my case would've died on the reasonableness of my belief in the degree of force necessary.


INSERT: Thankfully, these are but theoretical questions for me.



Thank you breezin.

If you are suggesting putting in the possible legal defenses and ramifications the PS would exceed the double spaced two page limit.

Back to the drawing board for me.......

JC

FWIW, I would not have used deadly force unless he had actually pulled a weapon or moved to physically attack.

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby CorkBoard » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:44 pm

JCFindley wrote:Thank you Cork....

The first take was a completely different story.

I am working this for one specifically for Fordham using this guidance in an interview with the Associate Dean of Admissions.

"Tell us a story! What are you passionate about? Whatever excites you… Write us a poem! Fordham appreciates creativity, but don’t be weird. "

I have read this on here, and it makes sense; Make the PS positive and sell yourself: strengths, leadership ability, qualitative skills, teamwork, hard worker...

The issue I am having is telling a simple story that would cover all of those without sounding contrived. My resume should do a good job with many of these as well.

Since my desire and "quest" to get to law school covers thirty years I have no epiphany moment to talk about. The one I application I have already sent out has a PS that reads more like a CV than a story and is honestly somewhat repetitive when looking at that and my resume.

Anyway, thanks for the critique and advice it is greatly appreciated.

JC

(Oh, anytime two men are just hanging out and watching you it is a very suspicious situation. I will try and do a better job explaining that or talk about how following that "weird feeling" you get about someone can save you life.)



I think that what they meant by "tell us a story" is that the story has to convey more about you than "X happened, I did this, and this, and I also did this". To be honest with you, this isn't compelling, and while it's sort of interesting, I am totally lost as to what the point of it is.

I think that you need to really evaluate what you are trying to write about before you waste any more time writing. Sure, writing a few rough drafts is great, but don't write so many that you're burnt out. I find that sometimes when I'm not trying to think about what I want to write about is when I get the best ideas. Do whatever you can to meditate and reflect. I figured out what I was going to write about really randomly and it took me a while.

Good luck. If you need further help, PM me.

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby Breezin » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:57 pm

.
Last edited by Breezin on Thu May 10, 2012 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby JCFindley » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:45 pm

Thank yall....

I will reevaluate what my point is on these some more but do have to get it done soon to make this cycle's window. (Yes, I am late for quite a few reasons and that will hurt...) I may wait a cycle or I may not depending on where I get accepted. Fordham is a reach school because of the late application regardless of my LSAT score which I get this week. (Wild guess between 160 on the low end or 170 on the high depending several things including which logic game section actually counted.)

The fact that it was a Subway Restaurant/ gas station was meant to show it was one of those newer nicer places but really isn't necessary to the story.

I will try and revamp this one and do a few more. I like writing and used to write for several magazines back in the day. At the very least I will have a few more blog entries for my art site. (I hate blogging almost as much as I loved writing flight safety articles......)

Thanks again,

JC

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby CorkBoard » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:03 am

JCFindley wrote:Thank yall....

I will reevaluate what my point is on these some more but do have to get it done soon to make this cycle's window. (Yes, I am late for quite a few reasons and that will hurt...) I may wait a cycle or I may not depending on where I get accepted. Fordham is a reach school because of the late application regardless of my LSAT score which I get this week. (Wild guess between 160 on the low end or 170 on the high depending several things including which logic game section actually counted.)

The fact that it was a Subway Restaurant/ gas station was meant to show it was one of those newer nicer places but really isn't necessary to the story.

I will try and revamp this one and do a few more. I like writing and used to write for several magazines back in the day. At the very least I will have a few more blog entries for my art site. (I hate blogging almost as much as I loved writing flight safety articles......)

Thanks again,

JC

IMO (and you don't have to take it) it's too late to submit right now, especially if you don't have a PS down and ready to go. I'd wait til the next cycle.

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Re: PS for critique take II

Postby JCFindley » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:42 am

CorkBoard wrote:
JCFindley wrote:Thank yall....



JC

IMO (and you don't have to take it) it's too late to submit right now, especially if you don't have a PS down and ready to go. I'd wait til the next cycle.


You are right but my figuring is I have nothing to lose except the app fee. If I get in on the Hail Mary pass, great. If I don't, then I can sit out a year or look at the options I have and see if any are acceptable or sign up for that truck driving school down the street......

JC

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Re: PS for critique take II (Edit added)

Postby JCFindley » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:33 pm

Does this go far enough in tying it in to a desire to go to law school?

The changes beyond minor edits are in the last two paragraphs. Is it enough to make a point?


It was 2:30 AM and we were still a few hours away from my mother’s home in Florida. We needed gas and a cup off coffee so we exited I-65 on the south side of Montgomery Alabama. I chose to stop at a well lit modern convenience store that appeared safe. As my wife and I picked up some snacks and coffee inside I noticed two men watching us from the side of the building through the glass walls. They would look away whenever I looked towards them.

I taught a personal self defense course for members of the military and their families. While I taught physical self defense moves, the main theme of the class was avoiding potential danger. Being aware of your surroundings, spotting potential danger and avoiding it is a better option than relying on any other defensive skill set. The way these men were watching us caught my attention and raised my suspicions.

They weren’t doing anything illegal and calling the police to come walk me to my car wasn’t a real option. My plan was to leave the store putting myself between my wife and the suspicious men. I hoped we could be in the car and moving before the two could approach us close enough to pull out weapons without being seen by others at the store. I also opened my pocket knife and held it discretely in a position I have shown aircrews to use many times in the close quarters counter terrorist class I taught.

I told my wife about the two men and my plan to get to the car safely and we walked out the door. As soon as we exited the store the two men started walking quickly towards us. The man in front shouted out asking, “Hey, can you break a twenty?” I was suspicious before but now alarm bells were glaring inside me; normal people do not approach strangers to break a twenty at 2:30 AM. I looked at the lead man closing the distance on me and told him I had no cash and to break his twenty in the store. He increased his pace towards me now replying that he wanted to show me something. I told him assertively to leave us alone and not come any closer.

They continued towards me at an even faster pace and it was obvious we would not be able to get into the car and leave before the two reached us. The closer of the two was within five feet of me now with the second man right behind him. The leader was about six and a half feet tall, thin and had the worn look of an active meth addict. The man in the front reached into the waistband of his pants and snarled for me to stop that he had to talk to me. The men had made no direct verbal threat to me but their actions and demeanor spoke volumes about their intent.

I pivoted towards the lead aggressor closing the distance between us even more. I took a balanced stance with my legs while moving my left hand into a position to jam his wrist against his waste preventing him leveling a weapon against me or my wife. I briefly flashed my knife as I moved it into a position to neutralize the threat if it continued. In a guttural voice I said “Back off!”

When the lead man saw the knife I already had it in a position to neutralize him before he could pull his hand from his waistband. His eyes widened and his left hand went up palm out in a submissive gesture. The lead man turned ninety degrees to his right and walked rapidly off as he cussed me over his shoulder. The second man turned and ran in the direction he had originally come from.

To my relief, the situation was resolved without the use of violence. I have gone through that incident many times since that night and cannot think of anything I would do differently today. Still I wonder what would have become of me had the men’s disposition not changed and I had felt compelled to use deadly force. Would I have been charged? If charged, had I done enough to prove that I was in fear for my life and prove self defense? Would the average American sitting on a jury understand the actual danger of the situation even though no verbal threats were made?

Thankfully, these are but theoretical questions for me now but the event has left me with a lasting interest in criminal law and the desire to pursue it as a career.




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