What is it about these, ‘what if’ scenarios that always strikes me as so odd? I’m reminded of those, ‘situational ethics’ schemes from the hippie era of the late 60’s and 70’s. (What crap that all turned out to be!) If a law enforcement official is confronted by an actor with a weapon; and that perpetrator closes to within 21 feet of him, the officer is justified to draw his weapon and fire – period! Statistically speaking, (even if the incident does get past the grand jury) once the case gets to court, there isn’t a jury on the planet that’s going to convict that officer.
Now, take that same officer out-of-uniform and, all of a sudden, a whole new set of legal standards suddenly applies: ‘the obligation to withdraw’, ‘the necessity to seek a line of retreat’, ‘the castle doctrine’, etc. Inside the United States there’s clearly one set of weapon’s use regulations for law enforcement, and another entirely different set of weapon’s sue laws for civilians. (Even the term, ‘civilian’ is used derisively by many in the legal community.)
Anyone who is naïve enough to think that handing over the money is going to save himself from being injured or worse is, well, simply not paying attention to the news. Many times these guys will murder you just for the shear love of killing. (Ethnicity may, also, enter into the psychological equation.) Anytime you’re threatened by an armed BG you’ve got a potentially lethal problem staring you right in the face; and you need to seriously consider the use of deadly force in exactly the same way that every law enforcement official is trained to respond!
I don’ t want to kill anyone, either; and I, also, don’t think that someone should die for $50.00 of the corporation’s money; however, if my own physical well-being is being threatened by someone who’s demonstrating a willingness to end my life or cause me serious bodily harm, well then, what happens next is going to happen fast; and it’s going to have a lot to do with how close the BG gets to me with that weapon. Sure, I’ll give warning if I’m able; but, ‘talking’ is not going to be tops on my list of things I need to do right now!
This said, you couldn’t get me to work in any convenience store for any amount of money; I’ve already been in a gun shop when a group of gang bangers came into the store. Even with numerous armed individuals on both sides of the counter, that’s about as thrilling as I would, ever, care to see things. When I found out that my own sister-in-law had taken a cashier’s position at a local convenience store I went to see her, and convinced her to immediately quit. At first she was hesitant; but she finally agreed to do as I asked. Several months later when the place was robbed at gunpoint, she couldn’t thank me enough. (and, neither could my wife!)
Several things are for certain: If you anticipate, ever, having the need to defend yourself, at the very least, you should be intimately familiar with the weapons' use laws of the local you’re operating in. (Many of us are licensed to carry in numerous different states; so, yes, it IS necessary to be familiar with the laws in each state that you move through.)
Remember that, especially in places like a convenience store, everything you do will be on camera; so act accordingly. More than this we have just entered an age of real-time cell phone video and photographs; and the modern world has never been more transparent than it is right now. It is, probably, a good idea to practice the same, ‘mental visualizations’ about your typical daily responses as you do for weapons’ drills and defense scenarios at the range.
Regardless, there is one hard fast rule that every civilian who carries a weapon should keep foremost in mind : After using a weapon, SHUT UP and let your lawyer do all the talking. Every form of modern attack entails two distinct events for which you need to be ready to defend yourself: First there is the actual physical attack, itself; and, then, there is the legal inquiry that follows and from which charges against you may result. One of the most poignant and bitter lessons of my own life is the realization that there is the real world of the street on the outside, and the contrived socio-political world that exists inside the modern courtroom. With no exceptions that I’m able to think of, the less you have to say at the scene of a shooting, or immediately afterward, the better your chances are going to be to effectively defend yourself from the legal brouhaha that is sure to follow.
Personally, I have a simple rule that I like to follow: Before I would be willing to shoot another person - for any reason - I would ask myself the distinct question, ‘Is this problem REALLY worth the minimum of $10,000.00 that the first bullet I fire is sure to cost me?’