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InTheCountry
May 24, 2011, 11:28 AM
Im wondering what it takes for people to use deadly force. Example. Suppose your kid sneaks out in the middle of the night to go hangout with some friends. Hes sneaking back in the house and knocks over a lamp. You wake up and wonder whats going on. Do you ask questions like who is it? Or maybe someone actually does break in and you can see its nobody you know do you automatically send a warning shot, or tell them to leave? Basically how do you go about doing this.

leadcounsel
May 24, 2011, 11:30 AM
If you can't tell your teenage son from a real intruder, you've got big problems.

Situational awareness is your friend.

Pilot
May 24, 2011, 11:34 AM
1. Get a dog.

2. Take a firearms training course with a competent instructor that knows YOUR state's laws and can teach proper decision making and judgment.

InTheCountry
May 24, 2011, 11:37 AM
Thats not the point, I was thinking more along the lines of what do you do before you shoot, as in asking questions or whatever, if you had a big son 6 foot 200 plus pounds and didnt know he had snuck out and its pitch black, id be a little scared.

But I know someone living in the mountains who had a son who sleptwalked, and his dad thought he was an intrueder and shot him.( Long stroy made short )

44 AMP
May 24, 2011, 12:00 PM
Asking questions is the first step to gaining knowledge.

Using deadly force is a complex subject, with both a moral and legal component. The legal question is easiest to answer, as the laws are written, and there for all to see. Depending on your location, the laws vary considerably. And what the law defines is the conditions where you are justified in using deadly force, meaning that you would not be found legally liable, not that you would be morally correct.

The law allows the use of deadly force in certain situations. It does not require it, only provides circumstances where it is justified. Study your specific state (and local) laws carefully, as a first step.

Learn, and live by, the rules for safe gun handling. All of them, especially the one that says "know your target and what is behind it."

Morally (and legally most places), absent a clear, immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury to yourself (or family member) you are not justified shooting someone. And you are rarely justified shooting at them.

Warning shots are serious. And they are a double edged sword. Remember that you are responsible for every round you fire. That warning shot goes somewhere, and you are legally responsible for whatever it hits. Also, some jurisdictions have legal restrictions about warning shots. In general, in todays society they are a very poor idea. If you wind up in court, (either civil or criminal) due to shooting, having fired a "warning shot" can be seen as proof that you were not convinced that the use of deadly force was necessary and your only option.

Using deadly force in self defense is a very complicated and convoluted issue. Many books and discussion forums are dedicated to it.

One thing I am sure of, firing a shot in the dark, only because you hear a noise at night is a very, very bad idea.

In general, you are allowed to use deadly force to protect your life, but not your property. And this is very, very dependent on the specifics of the situation.

Asking what you did, the way you did tells us that you are just beginning to explore this area, and you need to do a lot of research on the subject before relying on a gun for personal defense. Doing anything else is a virtual guarantee of tragedy.

There are many resources available for information, please educate yourself to both the legal and moral issues involved, before a situation arises where you might make a disasterously wrong decision.

MLeake
May 24, 2011, 12:01 PM
Generally speaking, it's never a good idea to engage unidentified targets.

Even if one lives by oneself, there have been cases of people getting drunk, and going to the wrong house sheerly by mistake.

Sometimes people don't even have to be drunk, or at the wrong house. Sometimes, they can even be at the right place, sober, with a key, and things go awry.

I can recall one time a friend and I set off his family's security alarm. We had been expected to spend the night at another friend's place, but long story short, the other friend's mother's cat got bitten by a rattlesnake and died, and he thought it would be best if my buddy and I left because she was so upset.

So my buddy and I went back to my buddy's family's place, after taking our other friend home from the emergency vet trip...

My buddy had a key to his own house, of course, but what we didn't realize was that, not expecting anybody to come home that night, his older sister had put the Dutch lock on the door.... As soon as my buddy had undone the dead-bolt and doorknob locks, and turned the knob, the alarm system started its preliminary beep. Of course, the Dutch lock was just a bar on a pivot, and the key could not unlock it... My buddy scrambled to a window with a known bad lock, hoping to get inside and disarm the alarm, but he wasn't fast enough. Lights, siren, emergency transmission to the security company...

His mother was not impressed. She also didn't buy the story about the cat, and we could not get her to call our friend's mother to find out it was actually a true story.

But she didn't shoot my buddy as he came in through the window, so that was nice.

Technosavant
May 24, 2011, 12:08 PM
My thoughts on the subject:

1) Know the people who live with you. If they are the sort to sneak out and return unannounced, factor it in to the decision.

2) As said, firing on an unidentified target is asking for trouble. If you keep a gun for those bumps in the night, it is VERY wise to keep a flashlight nearby so you can ID those things that went bump.

3) Make sure those who live with you know that you plan to respond to strange noises with the ability to repel boarders. Any attempt to sneak in may be met with an armed response and therefore it would be best to call before trying to enter the home.

4) You don't always want to clear your house yourself. Whatever happened to calling 911 and loudly informing the suspected intruder that their presence has been noticed and now would be a great time to leave? A sneaking in teenager could then inform you in return that he/she wasn't actually burglarizing your home.


You can ALWAYS come up with some kind of hypothetical example and set the boundaries of the example outside of the realm of the reasonable. If you are concerned about people entering your home, then discuss that with those who live with you. Have a calm and reasoned discussion some evening over the dinner table. Make sure everybody is on the same page- both you and them.

natman
May 24, 2011, 12:09 PM
At what point do you pull the trigger?
Im wondering what it takes for people to use deadly force. Example. Suppose your kid sneaks out in the middle of the night to go hangout with some friends. Hes sneaking back in the house and knocks over a lamp. You wake up and wonder whats going on. Do you ask questions like who is it? Or maybe someone actually does break in and you can see its nobody you know do you automatically send a warning shot, or tell them to leave? Basically how do you go about doing this.

This sort of scenario is exactly why a SD gun has to have a light or allow you to carry a light. You need to identify your target before you think about shooting at it.

Warning shots are a bad idea. That bullet is going to go somewhere and you're responsible for it. You have no business firing unless the lethal force threshold has been reached, and if it has you need to make your shots count.

JerryM
May 24, 2011, 12:18 PM
Some year ago when my son was at home and still in college he came home late and knocked over a candle stand. He immediately YELLED, "Dad it's me!".
That would not seem to be very hard to teach a kid.

Regards,
Jerry

youngunz4life
May 24, 2011, 12:20 PM
depends on the situation, but you have to be ready to pull the trigger. if you have time for doubts, there's a chance it might be a bad idea

MLeake
May 24, 2011, 01:05 PM
JerryM, what happens if he's actively trying to let you sleep, doesn't think he's made noise, but still manages to wake you up - and doesn't know you are up and investigating the noise he didn't realize he made?

Or do you train him to always announce his presence?

And if he's been out drinking or with a girl, will he really do that?

440SAW
May 24, 2011, 02:40 PM
The time to draw a gun is when you intend to shoot it. The time to pull the trigger is when you are faced with an actual lethal threat. (The first course of action is to get a good distance between you and the BG.) Inbetween those two points is the longest time you will ever live and the only reason to pull is to save the lives within your home or wherever you may be threatened.
EG:Would it have been justified to pull the trigger on those folks that beat the fan of the opposing team in LA? ONLY if they did not stop/leave when confronted.
If that person has a piece threatening (coming at or pointed at) you: warn to drop, watch and don't be in line of sight. If this proves a lethal threat: pull.
If they are leaving let them go; with or without your "stuff".
If you hear them coming, warn them in any way but shooting; they are coming anyway and you may as well see how serious they are, before you are in their presence.
In summary, last resort; this is not target practice. And, don't get emotionally involved in it at all if possible.
OH Yes, you don't have to kill to stop; but you must disable. Do some research to learn how these play out in practice.

Mello2u
May 24, 2011, 02:46 PM
InTheCountry

At what point do you pull the trigger?
Im wondering what it takes for people to use deadly force. Example. Suppose your kid sneaks out in the middle of the night to go hangout with some friends. Hes sneaking back in the house and knocks over a lamp. You wake up and wonder whats going on. Do you ask questions like who is it? Or maybe someone actually does break in and you can see its nobody you know do you automatically send a warning shot, or tell them to leave? Basically how do you go about doing this.

If you merely suspect that someone is in your home, and you can safely announce you are armed and order them to leave; I see that as a good way to resolve the issue. Ordering or allowing an intruder to leave may not be emotionally satisfying, might anger you and seem unjust; but it may be the safest thing to do. To subdue an intruder who might be armed could expose you to being shot; being shot at or actually shot should be avoided.

Automatic warning shot . . .NO! There may be some circumstance where a warning shot is to your advantage, but I can't think of one right off hand. Generally, no to warning shots.

You must absolutely identify your target before firing. This puts you at a disadvantage from a bad guy in your house, who likely does not care if he shoots anything that moves in your home.

Consider that it is much safer to barricade yourself in your bedroom and call the police to come rescue you; than to try to clear your home of an armed intruder. I have tried to do house clearings in training dozens of times and always screw up in some way. I have come to the conclusion that one person can not clear a house without exposing themselves at some point to enemy fire for some length of time.

markj
May 24, 2011, 02:57 PM
what do you do before you shoot

Click the safety off.

The class I took had some good pointers on when to shoot. It really depends on the laws you live under. Some states are a bit more lenient in this regard. Some have a retreat law means you have to be cornered wit hno other alternative other than shooting, and even then....


Maybe call your lawyer and ask him? befoer pulling the trigger. No that may not be good he may need some income and tell you go ahead....

leadcounsel
May 24, 2011, 03:36 PM
If I heard a crash in my home, I'd barricade the door, call 911 and take defensive measures, letting my senses (hearing, vision, etc.) work to pick up cues and clues as to what's going on.

If I had other family members in the home, I would check on them. I think you could pretty quickly and easily identify friend vs. foe in your home at any hour. If you MUST move through your house (generally considered a mistake), do a lot of standing still and listening with your gun at the ready. You'll learn a lot from just being silent to determine friend vs. foe.

Glenn Dee
May 24, 2011, 03:49 PM
What do you do before you pull the trigger?

you say "OH S#!^"

Ringolevio
May 24, 2011, 04:12 PM
Here's an old story that you might find relevant:

A Quaker (a practicing member of the Society of Friends, known for their pacifism) was awakened by noises in his home. He grabbed his shotgun and confronted the burglar who had broken in and was in the act of gathering up valuables.

Pointing the shotgun at the burglar, the Quaker declared, "Friend, I would do thee no harm in the world; but thou art standing where I am about to shoot!

Nitesites
May 24, 2011, 04:43 PM
Just my opinion...

We, as responsible firearms owners have the ultimate responsibility to ensure any and every defensive shooting is a "good" one. Make yourself ready and stay where you are if safe to do so. Announce out loud your intentions..."I am dialing 911 and armed! Leave immediately!". Even at the expense of losing some perceptible advantages. In the end, you may save a life in lieu of possibly taking one.

JerryM
May 24, 2011, 05:01 PM
Hi MLeake,
[JerryM, what happens if he's actively trying to let you sleep, doesn't think he's made noise, but still manages to wake you up - and doesn't know you are up and investigating the noise he didn't realize he made?
Or do you train him to always announce his presence?
And if he's been out drinking or with a girl, will he really do that?]

He was intending to not disturb us. He was in his mid 20s and if he did drink he never came home showing it when we were up. He was not wanting to turn on a light.
But after that he turned on a light and did not knock anything over.
He did not have to announce his presence.

I was/am willing to take a larger chance of getting shot to make sure I don’t shoot my child.

He is not living in our city now so there is no problem.
BUT don’t shoot your child no matter what kind of arrangements you have to make.

Regards,
Jerry

Mr. James
May 24, 2011, 09:44 PM
We, as responsible firearms owners have the ultimate responsibility to ensure any and every defensive shooting is a "good" one. Make yourself ready and stay where you are if safe to do so. Announce out loud your intentions..."I am dialing 911 and armed! Leave immediately!". Even at the expense of losing some perceptible advantages. In the end, you may save a life in lieu of possibly taking one.

Bingo.

thump_rrr
May 24, 2011, 10:09 PM
1.All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
2.Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
3.Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target.
This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
4.Identify your target, and what is behind it.
Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

Point being that you must be able to identify your target.
Once your target is identified as a threat then you must put your sight on it before even putting your finger on the trigger.

A good bright dependable flashlight should be with you at all times.

Buzzcook
May 24, 2011, 10:09 PM
At what point do you pull the trigger?

When you think it is the only way to protect your life or the lives of others.

orionengnr
May 24, 2011, 10:13 PM
1. Get a dog.

2. Take a firearms training course with a competent instructor that knows YOUR state's laws and can teach proper decision making and judgment.
Bingo.
I have no teenage children. Anyone in my house after dark is uninvited, and my dogs will notify me immediately of their presence.

That is not to say I will indiscriminately "pull the trigger" as the OP asks...but if the need should arise, I will have far fewer concerns than some apparently do...

Jeff F
May 24, 2011, 10:16 PM
At what point do you pull the trigger?

Pretty much as soon as my front sight comes on target. If I unholster I've already made the decision to shoot. I do not believe in threating with or brandishing a firearm. About the only time I would have one in my hand is if I was checking out a bump in the night in my house or on my property and then it would probably be a shotgun.

danez71
May 24, 2011, 10:32 PM
If you can't tell your teenage son from a real intruder, you've got big problems.

Situational awareness is your friend.


You may want to actually have a child before you make such statements.

Experience is also your friend. ;)

Skans
May 25, 2011, 07:23 AM
That's a hard question for me to answer, since I've never had to use deadly force against anyone. Inside of my house, its very easy for me to tell if someone is family or foe since my kid's bedroom is right next to ours. A quick peek lets me know that situation - no problems there.

There have only been a handful of times where I've found it necessary to have my weapon in my hand ready to shoot, if necessary:

1. Caught in a flash riot in St. Petersburg, FL 1988 4th of July.
2. Camping in the desert in New Mexico - Coyotes sounded real close to my tent.
3. Gangster-looking guy looked like he was getting ready to break into my car just as I was approaching my car in a Home Depot parking lot at night. Had my gun ready, turns out the guy was just "relieving" himself by my car. Annoying to me, but nothing worth escalating the situation over.

bigbaby
May 25, 2011, 02:00 PM
I'm with Glenn D; I would definitely say "oh s..." Seriously that question is dependent on variables, so how can I say when, generally speaking. Situational awareness, that is the key. Know your environment, know your peoples and know what they usually do and when. If you are unsure, then you must wait untill you are sure; behind some kind of barrier if at all possible. Your house is not a 'hot zone' so you have to show reasonable restraint.

Glenn E. Meyer
May 25, 2011, 04:22 PM
At the NTI, we went through a sophisticated and complex live fire house. There were good and bad simulated persons. I recall one of the participants coming out and saying: "Glenn, I shot my son".

Oops.

armsmaster270
May 25, 2011, 08:30 PM
I keep a very bright Streamlight flashlight with my handgun. I identify then shoot or don't shoot depending on what I see.

Noreaster
May 25, 2011, 09:24 PM
When you really need to us it, there won't be a question at all. That being said action beats reaction. I've participated in training where a seated subject with a handgun in his lap has an officer on his left side with his gun out and pointed at him, (simulated MV stop.) The seated subject can more often then not grab the gun, point it at the officer, and pull the trigger before the officer can react. I've also seen another training scenario (simmunitions) where a car chase ends in a driveway, the suspect gets out with a pistol to his head and says he is going to kill himself. He walks toward the officers who are behind the doors of their cruisers. The subject closes the distance and pushes the officers off of cover and then engages the officers and always hits one, sometimes both before the officers can react.

Use cover, verbal commands, and a strong flashlight to give yourself time, sight, and safety to gauge the situation.

dannyb
May 26, 2011, 07:26 AM
I think what most people are saying is:

Plan, train, practice. If your only SD action is to have a firearm handy for things that wake you up, you've set up a landmine. It may never be stepped on and never go off, or it can take the innocent with it. I don't mean a physical landmine but a situational one. Put simply, a gun without a plan is a tragedy waiting to happen.

1) How will you be alerted, dog? alarm? bump in the night?

2) What will you do? If something wakes you up, do you just go back to sleep or practice (I pay attention to our dog when he barks in the night - even when I know it's a false alarm. I go through the drill, it's how I worked out what I'll do if it ever is the real thing). I'll check things out, and will fort up if I perceive a real threat.

3) OK, you've got a light, how's your hearing? If you shoot, what will happen to it? I put on amplified ear muffs - easier and quicker than putting in hearing aids, preserves my hearing if I have to actually fire.

4) Does everyone else living with you know what you're going to do?

5) Have somebody who knows what they're doing check out your plan.

ChrisJ715
May 26, 2011, 08:49 AM
I pray that none of us will ever have to, but if we do, I pray that we do it as soon as we have to.

pbford
May 27, 2011, 06:41 AM
My answer to the OP is: You'll just know.

Like another poster said, Train for it. Practice for it and above all THINK about it before you have to decide for real. There is no second chance because one way or another someone is going to get hurt. Make sure you know who or what you are pointing a firearm at. The first rule I was taught as a kid was NEVER point a gun at something that you do not intend to kill. Never, EVER fire a "warning" shot for two reasons, 1. It is a waste of ammo that you may need later. 2. It WILL go somewhere and hit something that you probably don't want to put holes in.

Having been in this situation 20 some years ago, what I should have done was fire when the "gentleman" in question took the first step after I told him I was armed and to leave. Instead I waited until he started to raise what was in his right hand. Yes, I had a light, knew he didn't belong in my home and knew he was holding something long in his hand next to his leg. The end result was an expired intruder and having 16 #4 shot picked out of my legs that ricocheted off the slab. That was my favorite Blackhawk and it was sold a few weeks later. It saved my life and my wife's but I had used it to take a life and I couldn't shoot it anymore. That is the worst part of using deadly force, YOU have to live with that decision. MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT ONE!!! I now own another .41 just like it and hope everyday that I don't have to use it to defend myself or my family. I know I can, I just don't want to have to make that decision again.

Paul

edit was to add a thought.

fightingbard
May 27, 2011, 12:34 PM
Hello.

I've never been in that situation, but I would probably "try and do" this:


-Wake my wife, give the other gun to her, open the bedroom door, and then shout. Very loudly...

-Who are you!
-(No answer)
-I have a gun, get the .... out of my house, or I will shoot you down!


I mean, you have to know who, and what type of situation you are facing. Tragedies do happen. I won't take that kind of risk.


All the best

dabo
May 28, 2011, 01:49 AM
I've done a few clearings of the house in the night, locked, loaded, safety off, finger just above the trigger. Felt pretty calm... But I've had so many dreams in which I froze or locked up in such a situation, even felt panic. I've gone through pulling the trigger many times in my mind and believe I'm prepaired for it in a known life/death situation. Hope I'll be ready...

FireForged
May 28, 2011, 06:37 PM
If you can't tell your teenage son from a real intruder, you've got big problems.

Situational awareness is your friend.

If a person has noticed that someone has entered a window and knocked over a lamp, they are situationally aware. Situational awareness isnt the ability to determine the true identity of a person on the other side of a wall.

Situational awareness is more of a reasonable attention to what is happening around you so that you can detect when a attack may be underway or that you may be the target of a attack.

Shane Tuttle
May 28, 2011, 09:59 PM
When ability, oppurtunity, and jeopardy all are in effect...

Dannyl
June 15, 2011, 12:40 PM
Hi,
Surely we all know the four basic safety rules.
Rule No 4 says : make sure of your target" in other words, make sure that your bullet is not aimed at someone else's target (at the range) or your teenage son who has knocked a lamp in the lounge.

This rule applies anytime any firearm is used, and if all people remembered it the amount of people killed or wounded by "friendly fire" (civilian and military) would be significantly lower.

and off course, know your state's laws; the fact that the subject is indeed an intruder does not always justify shooting.

Brgds,
Danny

paladin-34
June 15, 2011, 11:46 PM
My family has a safe word. It goes like this I say “Bismarck”, the response is “Doe”. Having said that how is it used.:

If I here an intruder, it could be one of the kids. Say they had a water leak and need the left handed monkey wrench. Dad has one, I have a key so I don’t need to wake him, I’ll just sneak in and grab it. Woke up by a sound, walk to the door, “Hello”. If no response, I would close the bedroom door turn the light on in the room and call the kids one at a time on the cell. and be loud about it. If the intruder is a kid they will come to the closed bedroom door. “Mom, dad is that you in there” or “what are you doing up”, I say “Bismarck”. They roll their eyes and say “Doe”. Unlock the door and laugh about what a alarmist dad is.

If nobody comes to the door by the time I finish with calling all the kids, the next call is 911. I’ll wait for the flashing lights at the curb and the voice at the door “this is officer xxxxxx”. “ your kids called and said we should say Doe before entering.”

Joe

JohnKSa
June 15, 2011, 11:59 PM
Pull the trigger when:

1. You reasonably believe that you are in immediate danger of suffering death or serious injury due to the actions of a criminal.

-AND-

2. You reasonably believe that nothing other than the immediate use of deadly force is likely to prevent death or serious injury.

I've emphasized "reasonably" because it's not enough to get freaked out and scared in the dark and start fantasizing and letting your mind run wild until you convince yourself that you are in danger. The standard is: reasonable belief.

Shooting at unidentified things in the dark merely because you think they could possibly be dangerous is negligent.

Biff Tannen
June 19, 2011, 04:10 AM
Two things I think are valuable to mention:
As for the "get a dog" advice you have gotten, please, make sure you are an animal lover and can give the dog a good home. Also factor in that the dog may have problems (physical and mental) which might prevent it from being an effective watchdog... In short, don't just get a dog for protection from home invaders. Rather, get a dog if youre an animal lover and can provide a good home for it. If you can also score a good watchdog, its a great bonus.
Also, you inquired about what merits a warning shot.
My advice is, the only time a warning shot is warranted is if the situation meets the following criteria:
1- you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure the BG is going to do you extreme bodily harm or kill you, AND
2- you want to give one last ditch effort to keep from shooting him, AND
3- you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure the discharged bullet will not harm a living person or animal, AND
4- you are absolutely, positively, 100% sure that giving a warning shot will not give the BG an opportunity to harm you!

Stay safe and God bless!

youngunz4life
June 19, 2011, 04:23 AM
agreed 100% on your entire post!

* number 2 as mentioned is at your discression + a good deed on your part - everything else is a must