In which I actually considered letting James Yeager kill meO
To the left is a bona fide dueling contract. If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t seen one before. But make no mistake, James Yeager is serious (or as serious as someone can be on Facebook). Amid all the faux legalese he threw in there is the meat of the matter: James Yeager will fight you if you call him a coward. He will fly you out to his home in Camden, Tennessee, and he will try to kill you. Because JAMES YEAGER.
I would LOVE to fill out this contract. And here’s why.
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: I’m a 110 lb, 5’3” 27 year old woman. I have very little experience with firearms. I am not now and have never been trained in combat. I do not own a gun or sword. I would hope the public (even the internet) would generally frown upon Jimmy using his superior training to take out his impotent internet rage on me, yes?
Second, is this contract illegal? Yes. Is dueling illegal? Yep. There has been a bit of waffling back and forth as to the meaning of the Tennessee state constitution, which states
“Any person who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, fight a duel, or knowingly be the bearer of a challenge to fight a duel, or send or accept a challenge for that purpose, or be an aider or abettor in fighting a duel, shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this State, and shall be punished otherwise, in such manner as the Legislature may prescribe.”
And no, the state constitution doesn’t go on to expressly create a punishment for those guilty of fighting/challenging/accepting such a challenge, but that's not necessary for this contract analysis. The spirit of the law is quite clearly “dueling is illegal.” Thus, because the subject matter of Jimbo’s contract is illegal, the contract itself is unenforceable (as are his attempts to limit the liability of himself and his company from any harm resulting from HIM TRYING TO KILL YOU). Further, because he has already issued a challenge to duel, he is already in violation of his state’s constitution.
And, contrary to popular belief, Tennessee isn’t going to sit back, sipping moonshine through the gap where their front teeth used to be, and let Uncle Jim get away with shooting someone for calling him a coward. If members of rival gangs make a contract to duel and one prevails, the clear result is that the winner gets to do time in prison for homicide or attempted homicide (depending on your definition of “winning”). Same deal with The Yeagermeister. To argue that the state is going to find itself in the harsh spotlight of internet scrutiny and do nothing about one of their residents shooting at an internet troll would be crazy. Especially a tactical law enforcement firearms trainer who has decided to respond to petty name-calling by murdering a civilian.
The only thing I will give James Yeagerbrah credit for is making himself VERY clear. Here are some gems from his profusion of daily Youtube comment ranting:
“I will kill anyone who grows a set off balls. I do not care if I go to jail.”
“I want you to sign a form saying you are entering into combat of your own free will so you don't try to sue me or have me put into jail. SIGN IT COWARD,” [sic]
You know, just in case the police didn’t already have motive or evidence or mens rea or a reason to hate him on sight or whatever. Props to the internet for a spectacular chronicling of this particular spectacle. Oddly, Yeagerfail followed up with a bizarre interview in which he struggles mightily with the word "antithesis" and defines a coward as “someone that does not face the obstacles in front of them.” I guess I agree, but facing the obstacle in front of you doesn’t necessarily require you to shoot it in the face from twenty paces. That’s called ego, and even cowards have plenty of that.
His contract stipulates that the duel will go forward under the rules of “Code Duello.” Here’s some information regarding the Code Duello from Wikipedia (I’m guessing he’s referring to the Southern US Code of Honor, since he didn’t specify if he meant the US one or the Irish one):
“In 1838 former governor of South Carolina John Lyde Wilson published The Code of Honor; or Rules for the Government of Principals and Seconds in Dueling. The author later stated that at the time of writing he had never seen the Irish code.
Generally similar in intent, the Code of Honor additionally provided for secrecy (in view of laws punishing Duelists and, sometimes Seconds) and enforcement (to propel the disinclined). It counseled self-command and deprecated public resentment, and recommended silence with everyone except the second who would henceforth bear the insulted party's honor.” [emphasis added]
So technically, having issued his challenge on social media following a Youtube challenge while acknowledging that all of this public hoopla has benefited him (“I made over $1,000 on YouTube yesterday thanks, in part, to people like you. Thanks!”), The Yeagerator has already violated the Southern US Code Duello which he hand-picked for this particular circus. Mainly secrecy. And if not secrecy, then really, any kind of tact at all.
[Not to get too technical, but if Jamison picked the Irish one, he’s going to have to travel. He states in his contract that he is the challenger, and under the Irish Code Duello, the challengED has the right to pick the duel location. (“The challenged chooses his ground; The challenger chooses his distance; the seconds fix the time and terms of firing.”)]
And as I mentioned previously, I don’t care enough to look into the source of Jammarammas’ egomaniacal angst and thus have no idea if he’s military, ex-military, ex-military contractor, or ex-law enforcement, but FYI, Article 114 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice likewise makes dueling by a member of the armed forces a military crime.
So JAMES YEAGER, I’d seriously take you up on your offer to fly me out to Camden, TN. But I won’t, and here’s why:
1.) I’m not going to call you a coward because to do so I’d have to assume things about you and me that I just don’t know.
But if actions speak louder than words, I’d say you’re unpatriotic. You’ve proven yourself willing to take your service, your training, your social contract with the United States, your reputation (not to mention the reputations of any law enforcement officers and personnel you trained) and throw it all away. You’d use the success and skills you’ve been afforded by your way of life in order to illegally do serious bodily harm to a civilian. That is NOT what a patriot does. That is NOT how a patriot conducts himself in his homeland, under the sovereignty of his government.
2.) You’re only paying airfare for one way. Sorry, I’m cheap (and poor). I can’t let you leave me in the lurch with Bubba the truck driver as my only way home, assuming you don’t kill or seriously maim me.
For more information (including videos, a readable contract and some hilarious comments), see