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Old October 16, 2006, 03:33 PM   #1
threegun
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Protecting innocent bystanders from your defensive fire

I was reading a post in another thread in which an exchange took place that surprised me and got me thinking at the same time. Below is the exchange.

Quote:
posted by Axion.........In my opinion the main reason why you should use hollow points is not increases effectiveness (yes that's nice) but decreased risk of over penetration and hitting a bystander. If one shot doesn't do the job you can always shoot more, but if one shot over penetrates and hits an innocent person you can never take that back.
This was followed by this

Quote:
posted by Stage2........Fair enough, though I don't know that over penetration is so much an issue with .45. Even if it is, if there is a situation where I need to/am justified in pulling my weapon and killing someone, I'm not going to be thinking about anything other than stopping the threat, and if justified there isn't a jury in the land thats going to convict me for any bystanders hit.
Initially I was shocked by the sheer dis concern Stage exhibited for his fellow innocent citizens then I asked myself, am I any better. If faced with a deadly threat about to kill me would I return fire despite the risk to bystanders? For me the answer is yes also. I would and do make every effort to reduce the threat as much as possible however I would shoot a direct deadly threat.

My question is would you shoot a direct threat to your life if a miss might injure or kill a bystander?
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Old October 16, 2006, 03:36 PM   #2
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In Texas you as a CHL holder are responsible for where those rounds go even in self defense of defense of another or yourself. The object of self defense is to preserve life and health. The best thing would to be objective about you shooting skills when in a situation with bystanders.

As far as the hollowpoint issue we saw that used in a case in Arizona as a minus in his defense in his particular situation.
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Old October 16, 2006, 03:55 PM   #3
AmesJainchill
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Quote:
As far as the hollowpoint issue we saw that used in a case in Arizona as a minus in his defense in his particular situation.
Does this mean using hollowpoints was a mark for or against the shooter? Your wording is a little confusing.
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Old October 16, 2006, 03:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
My question is would you shoot a direct threat to your life if a miss might injure or kill a bystander?
When you say it like that, the textbook answer is no of course not. I think the key phrase is direct threat to your life, in which case the answer would have to be yes. 'might' injure a bystander? Thats all rounds fired in society, isn't it? You gotta do what you gotta do. Front sight front sight front sight.
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Old October 16, 2006, 04:04 PM   #5
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Overpenetration is a moot point !! Worry about the misses !!! It's a whole lot easier to defend a round that overpenetrated than to defend a miss.
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Old October 16, 2006, 04:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
It's a whole lot easier to defend a round that overpenetrated than to defend a miss.
Who wants to defend either? If I kill an innocent, I just killed an innocent.

Will do everything reasonably in my power to avoid that.

Certainly not going to shrug and say, "Well, I could defend that in court, so the hell with the innocent life I just snuffed out..."

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Old October 16, 2006, 04:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Certainly not going to shrug and say, "Well, I could defend that in court, so the hell with the innocent life I just snuffed out..."
I agree totally. However if you shoot aren't you potentially putting your life over innocents? I kinda started feeling hypocritical for blasting Stage2 yet knowing that I would fire to save myself at the risk of those innocents. Perhaps a coating of sugar helps point out that our intention is to do all possible to avoid injuring innocents.
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Old October 16, 2006, 04:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Who wants to defend either? If I kill an innocent, I just killed an innocent.

Will do everything reasonably in my power to avoid that.

Certainly not going to shrug and say, "Well, I could defend that in court, so the hell with the innocent life I just snuffed out..."
I totally agree.

Quote:
posted by Stage2........Fair enough, though I don't know that over penetration is so much an issue with .45. Even if it is, if there is a situation where I need to/am justified in pulling my weapon and killing someone, I'm not going to be thinking about anything other than stopping the threat, and if justified there isn't a jury in the land thats going to convict me for any bystanders hit.
This poster needs to really look at what he wrote. A jury will more than likely convict him if any bystanders are hit or killed. Especially since he's from CA.
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Old October 16, 2006, 04:54 PM   #9
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I am wondering if you were faced with a spontaneous deadly threat - would you even notice what is behind it, or would you be so focused on the BG trying to kill you? Don't really see someone stopping to evaluate the background when there is deadly danger right there in front of you.

Now if one was intervening from a bit further out, then what is behind the threat should become more...focusable.

I do see anyone shooting being held responsible
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Old October 16, 2006, 07:44 PM   #10
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Thank you, Shield, . . . well said.

Add also the decision matrix: if I shoot, . . . I "might" or "may" or "could" possibly harm an innocent person by an errant round or by an overpenetrating round.

But, . . . if I don't shoot, . . . I'm gonna die, . . . bg is going to take my life.

It is a done deal, . . . I am about to shoot, . . . or I am about to die.

Do what you will, folks, . . . there is a real good chance that I am going to shoot the bg, . . . and we'll go from there.

May God bless,
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Old October 16, 2006, 08:20 PM   #11
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Has anyone considered this from the bystandard's point of view? You're trying to justify defending yourself, but where does your right to defend yourself start to infringe on this bystandard's right to live? I'm sure the family of your bystandard victim won't just drop charges against you cause you were defending yourself...

I don't mean to present that as anti-gun. I just believe personal training and awareness of the area should be up on the list of priorities. If your BG is inline with a school yard full of children, my efforts to evade would probably triple.

Just another question: If a CCW bystandard comes to be threatened by your defensive fire, what do you think he's going to do? He's more than likely to return the favor.
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Old October 16, 2006, 08:21 PM   #12
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Just to toss in a variable. If shots have already been fired, do you feel any different knowing that most sensible folks are going to beat feet?
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Old October 16, 2006, 09:16 PM   #13
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I don't mean to sound callous, but I believe if I were in a life or death self-defense situation - my slef-preservation instinct would kick in and I would do what it takes to defend myself and any innocent bystanders would be a secondary (if any) consideration. What consideration a bystander gets depends on the circumstances and my awareness of them.

This is one of those really tough issues that can't be answered definitively, but self-defense by nature of its definition is defending yourself and involves (to really shorten the definition) reasonable use of force. Innocent bystanders cannot lessen your right to defend yourself. However, the presence of innocent bystanders and their locational relationship to you and the BG may help determine the reasonableness of your actions. It depends so much on the circumstances of the situation.
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Old October 16, 2006, 09:52 PM   #14
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Let's go back to the basic premise:

A. A legal, concealed weapon carrier is faced with the ONLY time he/she can honestly, lawfully, . . . defend themselves: imminent death, serious bodily harm, rape, or other SERIOUS detriment to one's being.

B. The threat is not only grievous, . . . but imminent (or you cannot lawfully shoot in the first place), . . . and is within the distance where they are cabable of inflicting this harm.

Only some form of Kennedian/Pelosian/Kerriack nut job would smile, throw down their weapon, and proclaim to the deviant, . . . "Your lucky day, mister, there were a few misguided bystanders within the 3/4 mile arc range of my .45 ACP, . . . and since one of them could have been hit by one of my rounds, . . . just go ahead, . . . shoot me, rape me, stab me with your rusty knife, . . . or just grab my wallet, . . . whatever your poor wretched soul desires. Don't want anybody innocent to get hurt here, . . . unless of course it is me.":barf:

I stand as I said before, . . . there is a real good chance that the bg is going to get shot today, . . . I'm over 60, got a bit of a bad ticker, don't breathe as good as I would like to, . . . and I am not about to grapple with some young buck that wants to harm me to support his drug habit or his SO. I'll take the chance that the lead I hit him with, . . . will be just like super glue, . . . it'll stick right with him.

May God bless,
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Old October 17, 2006, 06:10 AM   #15
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Do you guys think that we have at minimum a responsibility to do all possible to prevent innocents injury? Like using ammo that won't over penetrate perhaps practice more so you are less likely to miss etc.
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Old October 17, 2006, 07:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
My question is would you shoot a direct threat to your life if a miss might injure or kill a bystander?
I would do whatever it takes to defend my life and the life of my family. Our right to live takes priority over the right to live of strangers in my decision process. Certainly I wouldn't want to hit a bystander, but if the choice is me or my family dead or some stranger dead... I know which outcome I would consider the lesser of two evils. Call me callous, but I have no delusions of sainthood and not all life is of equal value from my perspective.
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Old October 17, 2006, 07:53 AM   #17
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I think we have a MAJOR responsibility to protect innocents from ourselves - but I just can't see many taking one for the team (a team of strangers) because they may be in the line of a miss/overpentetration.

And thinking more...how many here train to draw and fire/engage as fast as possible, instead of draw, evaluate at low ready, decide if its clear, then engage?
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Old October 17, 2006, 09:13 AM   #18
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Quote:
And thinking more...how many here train to draw and fire/engage as fast as possible, instead of draw, evaluate at low ready, decide if its clear, then engage?
Read this article at Wikipedia about the Tyler Texas shootings. Wilson's first shot was probably well aimed, but imagine yourself in his circumstance after that. Trying to fire from behind cover (a truck) with an armed advancing assailant. How long are you going to poke your head out in order to make a good hit while someone is coming at you with a weapon of at least equivalent (or in this case, greater) power (and, in hindsight, a bullet resistant vest). It's one thing to _say_ you would do it, but realistically are you going to be able to resist pulling the trigger?

It's a good discussion, hopefully nobody here will ever have to find out...
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Old October 17, 2006, 11:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Does this mean using hollowpoints was a mark for or against the shooter? Your wording is a little confusing.
against the shooter(CCW Holder)/defendant since he was facing an unarmed assiliant.

In the Tyler case Im sure the shooter probably didnt have a big crowd around him so hitting a bystander may have been less of an issue at the time. However, a bullet resistant vest prevented the shooter from being wounded. I know in the military we practiced two to the chest and the third to the head.
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Old October 17, 2006, 12:35 PM   #20
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From a former FBI agent who taught us the legal aspects of CC and discharging your weapon in public:

YOU own ALL the bullets that you fire from the time they leave the barrel of your gun UNTIL they hit something and stop.

So strictly speaking from a legal standpoint: If you shoot a BG, miss and hit innocents - they can sue you for shooting them. If you shoot a BG and your bullets overpenetrate - and hit an innocent bystander - they can sue you.

Now lets talk practical matters: If the BG is shooting at you - you have 2 basic choices: Fight or Flee.

If you cannot Flee and need to return fire, then take an angle where the BGs backstop is clear. If you cannot do this, then either you chance it that he runs out of ammo before you get hit, or you take the hit. Its a simple as that. OR you shoot back - as accurately as you can hoping the innocents have used their heads and dropped prone.

In the end, bad stuff happens to good people. So I think the lesson here is you can do everything right, but still get sued. Its better than not being able to defend yourself. Its the risk we take.
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Old October 17, 2006, 03:53 PM   #21
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Waaayy back in the early 80's, I attended the OPOTC (?) in Columbus Ohio and this issue came up, can you shoot under these circumstances? The answer was..."In exigent circumstances, you can act without regard to your enviroment..." Of course this was in the context of police officers or security personnel.

Dunno if it still applies today. Probably does for LEO's. Probably not for civilians.
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Old October 19, 2006, 11:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Who wants to defend either? If I kill an innocent, I just killed an innocent.

Will do everything reasonably in my power to avoid that.

Certainly not going to shrug and say, "Well, I could defend that in court, so the hell with the innocent life I just snuffed out..."

pax
A good, expanding hollow point that penetrates 10-12" in ballistic gelatin has a moderate chance of exiting on a solid torso hit to an adult attacker. However, in the cases where it does exit the adult attacker, it is very much unlikely to deliver lethal amounts of energy to secondary targets downrange. Select an appropriate load and make sure all your shots hit the attacker in the torso.

You can think about how you might get a better shot angle (without innocents in the background), but in reality (other than diving to the ground) there probably won't be time.

I've seen two deer killed with one shot with bullets that penetrate 16" in gelatin.

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Old October 20, 2006, 12:59 AM   #23
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When an innocent bystander is hurt or killed by a bullet regardless of whether it penetrated to much or whizzed onward without contact until the person was hit is irrelvant in some ways. The fact remains a person was hurt or killed. This could be by callous action or unintentional. We are held to a higher standard because all human life is supposed to be sacred. Laws are set up under that premise. To do other wise shows callous disregard for human life. Negligence of some form, including manslaughter, or negligent homicide will be charged by district attorneys or civil lawsuit. This is standard operational procedure in all districts. One cannot say" Oops,Stuff happens" , and expect nothing to happen. We have to be aware at all times what is happening and will suffer consequences accordingly.Yes, unintentional variables enter in. One has the moral obligation to be educated and knowledgeable about all the factors and consequences(moral ones too) of our actions and the way our weapons impact everyday situations. This includes defense of ones self and others. For those who consider this inane or unimportant, God help you. There is also a difference between good and evil. More and more people are ignoring the important facts or variables and chose to not to care. It shows up alot in the posting in peoples attitudes and language or how the state things. Also by what they do not say. That is why I read everything I can find in book form on this subject. Mas Ayoob and others who are qualified to do so have written many books and publish info in annual as well as newstand magazines for those who care to know. Ayoobs books at Police Bookshelf,other authors at Paladin Press and Gun Digest series are just some of the possible sources for this. CCW training may touch on this in the states.Advanced Gunnery courses should. So folks, take a good hard look at yourself and prepare for what may come. Having held people at gunpoint over a dozen times or more can give one a epiphany.What if this guy makes me use deadly force and what are the consequences of not doing this right? What tactical considerations can I take to insure innocents aren't hurt? Good luck and stay safe.

Last edited by Qwiks draw; October 20, 2006 at 10:45 PM.
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Old October 20, 2006, 01:22 AM   #24
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While I agree that innocent bystanders dying is a serious issue not to be taken lightly. I think one aspect that should be considered in how things would play out after a worst case scenario is the felony murder rule. Part of the felony murder rules makes any participant in a felony criminally responsible for any deaths that occur during or in furtherance of that felony. I'm not sure if all states adhere to this doctrine but it you are firing at someone who is in the midst of committing a felony and an innocent bystander gets hit by one of your shots the criminal is responsible for that death. After all it is their actions that resulted directly in the situation. Think hard enough about most scenarios that would result in you firing on someone, you'll find most of them involve the bad guy committing a crime (most likely a felony).
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Old October 20, 2006, 06:00 AM   #25
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@ DTakas

Thanks, that actually clears up a question I had, that I was chewing over. It comes from one of those shows (could be World's Wildest Police Videos, or somethng similar). Basically, what happened was this: two men entered a store together. The first guy went to the counter and spoke to the clerk. The second guy was hanging around to the side, where the candy rack was. Next thing, the first guy pulled a weapon and there was a scuffle, over the counter. The clerk managed to get a gun from under the counter and he started shooting immediately. The guy who had been standing at the side, jumped over the counter (it's not clear whether he was trying to get cover or trying to disarm the clerk), but as he was vaulting this counter he caught a bullet from the clerk, who was firing at the first guy. This second guy died. The first guy escaped from the store but was later apprehended and was charged with the death of the second guy.
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