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Old January 12, 2009, 01:05 PM   #1
Redneck_Riot
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CCW kept me from becoming a victim

Hey all I just wanted to share my personal story that happened to me a few years back and maybe learn a thing or two on whether my actions were justifiable and tacticaly sound.


I was fueling my truck late at night around 2:00 AM in downtown Tacoma Washington as I turned my back to swipe my card, I noticed a small group of folks gathered on the corner which was approximately 75 -100 feet accross the street from me. It made me nervous the way they were looking toward me and just as I was about to dismiss my suspicions that this was just an over-reaction on my part, two of the guys started walking toward me they were loud and one of them hollared "hey let me get a dollar man" I was immediately alarmed and placed my hand to my side directly above my holster and stated in a clear calm voice that I did not have any cash on me.

This did not detur them, and as they closed the distance to my location within 25 feet I made the choice to place my hand on my pistol and tell them that I did not have any money and to please allow me to finish pumping my gas. I immediately afterward realized with a strong gut feeling that they were indeed a threat and at that moment I drew my 45 and stated that if they came any closer that I would not hesitate to defend myself. As I was preparing to raise my pistol the 2 men stopped and of them shouted a few obsenities at me and told his buddy to just leave it be, "lets go man forget this fool" but instead the man resisted and started walking toward me, at that point he was within 10 feet I took aim and told him that I would fire. He called me a few names and turned around and departed .

This incident took place in a matter of approximately 30 seconds and I was nervous but confident in my choice to make presentation and escelate my actions. I believe that had I not been armed I would have become a victim.

neither of the men had a weapon that was visible and both were near 6 foot tall , average 200 lbs.

immediately after I drove off I called 911 and made a report of the incident

the follow up officer told me that there had been a rash of assault robberies in the surrounding area in question. I gave him a description of the 2 men but it was frustrating to me that I could not produce identifying features of the two would be asailants besides the obvious.

I told the officer that I did make presentation with my weapon and it luckily de-esculated the situation, I am to this day bothered by the thought that if I had been forced to fire my pistol in my percieved defense, would I have been justified by law in doing so? the fact that neither of the men had a weapon in my mind places serious doubt in my case of self defense, not to mention the anti-gun liberal tone in my area known as Seattle.

The officer would not advise me as to what I should have done, just told me to contact an attorney and ask for advice from them. Why is it that it is perfectly legal to obtain a concealed weapon permit, but the legal use of deadly force is not clearly outlined the same day it is issued?

in WA use of force is defined as reasonable, but my government will not clearly define the word "reasonable" it seems to me that I am in a catch 22 senario heres a permit to carry a gun, but you are on your own if you ever have to use it, but be assured that we will be there to arrest you when you do.

any helpful insights would be appreciated. I have made the choice to continue concealed carry but would be more comfortable if someone would inform me of the proper use.

I have since carried everywhere I go and feel more aware of my surroundings.

I also practice drawing and firing from a distance of 10-15 feet alot more routinely

my one concern that keeps playing in my head is what I would have done if either or both would have rushed me before I was able to produce my weapon.

what can I practice that will simulate this stress I was under to prepare me in the future ?

Thanks
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Old January 12, 2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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Once you introduce a firearm into a situation, whether or not you are the one who has introduced said firearm, a deadly weapon is present and it is a life or death situation.

If someone approaches you after you've drawn on them then they are doing so to disarm you and use your weapon against you. Act accordingly.

Just keep in mind there's an appeal process for a manslaughter conviction. No such process exists for being dead...

If you catch my drift.

Personally you did better than I would have. At 10 feet I'm pretty sure someone would have had holes in them.
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Old January 12, 2009, 01:16 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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The law does not require the BG to be armed. In fact, there is no mention of whether the aggressor is armed or not. It comes down to:

Ability
Opportunity
Reasonable Fear


You're pumping gas and two large guys approach asking for money and get belligerent and continue to approach when asked to leave (reasonable fear). You're outnumbered (ability, reasonable fear), your alone in the middle of the night and still outnumbered (opportunity, reasonable fear), their words and actions indicate intent (reasonable fear).

You are left with few choices.

Quote:
what can I practice that will simulate this stress I was under to prepare me in the future ?
Go to bad neighborhoods alot. (no, please don't, I'm kidding)
Get some force on force training. It's expensive but worthwhile, so I'm told.
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Old January 12, 2009, 01:31 PM   #4
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you coulda pulled the filler hose out of the tank and hosed them down with gas, that might of turned them off.



and I could also be totally wrong.

as they say you left alive so you must have done something right.
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Old January 12, 2009, 01:32 PM   #5
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You acted with considerable restraint. Probably more than I would have had.

At 15' I would have had one dead in my sights with a warning, "StopCome any closer and I will shoot you!" My prior warnings wouldn't have been as polite, either.

At 10' I'd probably dropped the hammer. It only takes a second for a man to cover 15' (one mini-van for reverence).

The only good gunfight is one where no shots are fired.
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Old January 12, 2009, 01:38 PM   #6
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Glad you made it out of the situation unharmed and without having to shoot anyone. I think you handled it as well as anyone could have. Good job on being aware too.

My advice is to not get gas in the bad parts of town, especially in the middle of the night. The best way to avoid conflict is to not be there in the first place. Had they been armed, it would have still been 2 to 1. Since you had not started pumping gas yet, you could have hit cancel and left immediately. I guess it was impossible to tell what was going to happen at that point.

The other thing I would offer is being more aggressive. I would have said something to the effect... "I said back the $#%@ up before I cap your @$$." or "Take one more step and it will be your last!". These guys understand agression and being more aggressive means you are a greater threat to them. I'm willing to bet they were testing your resolve when they continued appoaching after you drew your gun. By pointing it at them, you proved you were ready and willing to defend yourself.

One last thing to be aware of is making sure you weren't flanked. If those guys were distracting you and someone came up from behind, you would have had some serious problems. A friend of mine got whacked over the head and then beaten up pretty badly recently. Some people stopped to ask him for directions right after he got out of his car (at home) and someone hit him from behind. Its easy to get tunnel focus in these types of situations.

As for the legality issue, I'm not sure what Washington State law is. In Florida, there is no duty to retreat, even in public places. You did have the opportunity to get in your car and leave though. As for the two guys being a credible threat, I think disparat force could be easily argued. You could also claim that they appeared to be hiding a weapon.

All in all, you did just fine. You also did the right thing by calling the police. In the future, just fill up your tank anytime you get below a quarter tank to avoid these situations.
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Old January 12, 2009, 01:41 PM   #7
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Read this book

RednockRiot, read this book if you have not already. It is by Dave Workman of D&D Gunleather. Its specifically about WA state gun rights and responsibilities. He goes into a good discussion about use of force, requirements, etc.

Washington State Gun Rights And Responsibilities by Dave Workman


The cost of this book is minimal, and well worth it.
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Old January 12, 2009, 01:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
The other thing I would offer is being more aggressive. I would have said something to the effect... "I said back the $#%@ up before I cap your @$$." or "Take one more step and it will be your last!".
Profanity or slang could work against you in court. Practice a "command voice".

My CWP instructor is a retired 25 year veteran of a local police force. While demonstrating proper response in a situation, he drew his weapon, pointed it at the imaginary BG and said, "Stop or I will shoot." I found myself looking for a chair to get under! Total dominance and control in his voice. I couldn't imagine disobeying him.
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Old January 12, 2009, 02:02 PM   #9
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Profanity or slang could work against you in court. Practice a "command voice".

My CWP instructor is a retired 25 year veteran of a local police force. While demonstrating proper response in a situation, he drew his weapon, pointed it at the imaginary BG and said, "Stop or I will shoot." I found myself looking for a chair to get under! Total dominance and control in his voice. I couldn't imagine disobeying him.
Good point. The idea is dominance. If that can be achieved without profanity, great. The problem is thugs tend to understand it better with some unsavory words.
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Old January 12, 2009, 02:28 PM   #10
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These sorts of situation make me consider pepper spray for the weak hand. Standing there with both gives you a lot of options. 99% of everybody will decide they have better things to do after they ingest a little cayenne, if not, you've still got the bullets. Pulling the trigger is awfully final.
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Old January 12, 2009, 02:31 PM   #11
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stephen426:
Quote:
My advice is to not get gas in the bad parts of town, especially in the middle of the night. The best way to avoid conflict is to not be there in the first place. Had they been armed, it would have still been 2 to 1. Since you had not started pumping gas yet, you could have hit cancel and left immediately. I guess it was impossible to tell what was going to happen at that point.
The problem with people is we ignore our basic instincts. I'm sure his first instinct was this is a bad situation and based on that feeling normal animals would leave the situation. We, for whatever reason, try to believe people are inherently good. In reality there is no telling what a random stranger can be classified as. That being said, I would stay out of Tacoma at 2:00 period. If you live there, stay home.
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Old January 12, 2009, 03:09 PM   #12
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I think you did great, I would have done the same thing probably. Some people would argue on whether you were at threat and whether it was the right thing to do at that point.

I was at another forum, and when I mentioned that I thought that it was ok (I still think so) for a someone to draw the weapon to scare someone off (like you did) without shooting anyone. Every one in the forum was arguing w/ me and telling me that if you draw that means you are in the life and death situation and in that case you have to shoot. Basically they were saying that you can't just draw to scare some one off, you only draw when you have to fire. I don't agree.

I left that forum 'cause of that.
The truth is what is not a threat to one person it could be to another.
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Old January 12, 2009, 03:28 PM   #13
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Any helpful insights would be appreciated. I have made the choice to continue concealed carry but would be more comfortable if someone would inform me of the proper use...

...What can I practice that will simulate this stress I was under to prepare me in the future ?
Mr Riot:

First of all, let me say I think you did everything right. You didn't become a victim and nobody got shot.

But the questions remain, and I have the definitive answer for you if you are still in the area.

Click on the link below and sign up for the course "Personal Protection and the Use of Force". It is taught at The Marksman Range in Puyallup by a couple of very experienced LEOs. The course is designed to specifically answer the questions you have about the legal and practical use of force in WA State.

It also includes a session on the F.A.T.S. (video training simulator) that includes "after-incident" de-briefing (i.e., "What did you see? What did you do? Why did you do it? Would you do it differently?"). That alone is worth the price of admission ($99).

It is undoubtedly the best money I have ever spent in the furtherence of my self-defence capabilities. Seriously.

http://www.themarksman.net/personal_protection.php
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Old January 12, 2009, 03:33 PM   #14
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use of force

Just a tibbit from another post. Use of force is used in light of what the situation is.

They got way too close to you - 10 feet and you have about just over a second to react. Remember at 21 feet - it takes a guy about 2.1 seconds to get to you. In that time if you are not ready you can't even draw that fast. For you, you had your hand on your gun and ready.

I would say you did just fine and showed constraint. You're not going to get legal advice from a cop. They are not attorneys and they're not the one prosecuting you.

Just a note: most "CCW gear" emcompasses a gun, knive of some kind and a flashlight pretty much. At the point they were walking towards you from across the street besides giving the verbal commands you could of flashed a flashlight in their eyes.

Your using non-lethal force and your getting your point across not to mess with you. This also blinds them and disorients them - put the focus on not being able to see than messing with you.

If you don't have a good flashlight consider investing in a good CCW flashlight. Look for something 60+ lumens (not candlepower).

Lessons learned. After action review is something that is common now. Your basically doing now. Seeing what happened, what you did and what you can do in the future to better yourself.
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Old January 12, 2009, 03:34 PM   #15
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I'm not a cop or a lawyer, nor do I have my CCW (yet), and Ive never had to even draw down on someone. However, I have gone through a few different Use of Force classes and such, and I'm a civilian contracted Security Forces member for the USAF, so Ill take a few minutes to share my thoughts.

Going back to what I learned in North Carolina (as the PPSB Certified Instructors teach the Use of Force aspect of their classes), in order to have a justified shooting, you have to ask yourself 4 questions, and have the correct answer to them. The questions with the correct answer are as follows:

1. Was I or someone else in an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death?
-YES

2. Would a person of ordinary firmness agree with my actions?
-YES

3. Was the amount of force used excessive?
-NO

4. Was I the aggressor or instigator who provoked the conflict?
-NO

The 1st one is a matter of your opinion. He never brandished a weapon, which would be a main concern I would have. However, there were more of them than you, and that right there is a good reason for someone to fear for their life. The 2nd one...well I guess read some of these posts in this thread and youll get your answer. The 3rd one you wouldnt know until after the shooting has ended. Just because you have 10 rounds in your magazine doesnt mean you can use all 10 rounds. The 4th one might worry me as well. You have to be able to justify your reasons for drawing down on the suspect. In a way, by brandishing a weapon and pointing it at him, you have escalated the conflict, which makes him the victim, not you. Can you really justify pulling a weapon out because a man approached you asking you if you had a dollar? Im sure it was more than that, and he may have wished death upon you, but a jury isnt so easy to convince. Think about that for a minute, and then ask yourself if you could really justify your actions. He didnt have a weapon (that you knew of) so how can you really prove to a jury of 12 (especially if you get some anti-gun nuts on there) that you were not the aggressor?


Lets look at this from another aspect of Use of Force training from a completely different entity...
At my current job (for the Air Force) we are taught that in order for a shooting to be justified, the suspect has to show three things:
1. Motive
2. Opportunity
3. Capability

The first one, motive...can you prove he had motive to cause you serious bodily harm or death? Well, I think yes, if what you say is true. He was with a large group of guys, and they were approaching you asking about money, and he did not back off when you advised him you did not have any. Sounds like he had motive to rob you. Good luck proving it once again, but thats what it sounds like to me. Opportunity: Well, he was getting a little too close to you. I would say that 15 feet away gives someone PLENTY of opportunity to harm if you they so desire. I think youre good there. Its not like you shot him from 100 feet away when he had nothing but a baseball bat in his hand. The last one...capability: This goes back to the fact that he had no apparent weapon. Unless you were a 5'2" woman, 100lbs soaking wet, and he was a 6'5" 350lbs man, proving that he had the capability to cause you serious bodily harm or death would be mighty hard knowing that he didnt have a weapon. The only thing that might save you in that aspect is the fact that there were more of them than there were of you. You were seriously outnumbered, and if they wanted to, they could have beat you to death.

FWIW, thats my opinion based on what training Ive had, albeit very small compared to what Police Officers go through. Take it for what it is, and I think you did just fine. The important thing is that no one got hurt, and you got to go home to your family.

Last edited by GLP Standard; January 12, 2009 at 03:40 PM.
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Old January 12, 2009, 03:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
...if you draw that means you are in the life and death situation and in that case you have to shoot...
George:

As you realized, that statement is utter nonsense.

The truth is that if you draw a firearm, that means you are in a life-or-death situation and must be WILLING and ABLE to shoot - IF NECESSARY.

Most often (according to studies by Kleck, et al), it is NOT necessary to discharge your weapon to end the threat. Once the threat is ended, you MUST NOT shoot.

BIG difference.
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Old January 12, 2009, 03:42 PM   #17
George PT-111
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Yes Bob, thats how I feel too. Willing doesn't mean you have to. The argument was that, I would rather scare the BG off, rather be waiting for the last minute and shoot.
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Old January 12, 2009, 07:07 PM   #18
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Being outnumbered puts you in an immediate disadvantage and can trump the "intent" and "motive" bit of "motive+means+intent" .
Never forget the cardinal rules of ratonalizing your actions after the fact to the authorities...if you waive your right to remain silent..

-"I feared for my life"
-"I did what I did to neutralize/stop the threat"

My question to you is-once that you noticed the youths/yutes, could you have stopped pumping gas and left?
Once you perceive the possible threat- it's in your best interests to immediate consider them an actual threat and do what you can to remove yourself from the situation before it escalates into a more obvious situation. Trust our inner voice and act accordingly. When alone, paranoia becomes a survival mechanism rather than a hindrance to socializing...
Just my $.02.
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Old January 12, 2009, 07:44 PM   #19
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You went home, . . . safe, . . .

Mission accomplished.

May God bless,
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Old January 12, 2009, 08:14 PM   #20
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I have yet to be in a situation as described and I am happy that I have not. I think you did okay; however I think I would have given a few more warnings about having a gun before they got that close, but thats just me and I wasnt there, so who really knows.


Before I got my CCW I had a few incidents that pretty much pushed me into getting it, both of which happened in Homestead FL while on a delivery during the daylight hours.

1. I was preparing to deliver goods to a customer in an enclosed yard when a disheveled lady approached me asking for money. I calmly and politely told her that I dont carry any cash, which was true at that time. She scoffed and went off to bother one of my customer's customers.

2. Shortly after that first incident I was on my way out of Homestead, when another poor looking lady, jumped on the passenger side running board of my truck while I was stopped and asked for money. I shook my head and she left me alone.

After those incidents, I quickly scheduled a CCW class at the nearest gun range. Never had any incidents after this, so far. Scariest part for me, was realizing that I had parked all night outside that customer's property to sleep and potentially could have been robbed or assaulted.
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Old January 12, 2009, 08:37 PM   #21
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Quote:
These sorts of situation make me consider pepper spray for the weak hand.
You know, I used to think the same way...until I realized that pepper spray is only good at 5-10 feet, and if they are a true threat, that is waaaay too close.
Quote:
They got way too close to you - 10 feet and you have about just over a second to react. Remember at 21 feet - it takes a guy about 2.1 seconds to get to you.
No. Football players run a 4 second 40 yard. Ten yards (30 feet) = one second. Twenty-one feet would be well under one second. Not every attacker is a pro football player, but many/most are young and in decent shape. (Google or Wiki: Teuller Drill).
Then think again about pepper spray and 10 feet...

Do not underestimate your potential adversary.

Bottom line--you did just fine. If the fuel was already flowing, I might have thought about giving them a quick gasoline dousing (nozzle in left hand, .45 in right) probably better range and better "pattern" than the pepper spray, arguably more effective/intimidating, and only $1.50 per gallon. Might make identifying the suspect easier too... "Yes, officer, four young males, left in a black Explorer, two of them smell like gasoline; the inside of the vehicle, likewise. Hope none of them is a smoker..."

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Old January 12, 2009, 08:48 PM   #22
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"A superior gunman is best defined as one who uses his superior judgment in order to keep himself out of situations that would require the use of his superior skills."

I'd say you worked it out pretty well, no one got hurt. But your experience was pretty illustrative of the fact that modern street hoods often show no fear of firearms- they've often been shot, shot at, and threatened before, often many times, and they just aren't as afraid of a gun as a lot of people think they should be.

Try talking to the best criminal defense attorney you can find in your jurisdiction. I've found a good way to pick one, I think- call the local bail bondsmen and ask who they would use if they got in a jam. Set up an appointment with the suggested attorney, have a chat, ask your questions, and keep his or her card in your wallet for future reference. Most of the time, first consults are free. And it's worth an hour's charge to know what you need to know, IMHO, if you get billed for the time.

You need to have your questions clearly answered, because you don't need to have to struggle with the 'can I/can't I' stuff when something is happening on the street, in your home or wherever. In other words, you don't need to have to worry about Problem Two (potential legal issues) when Problem One (an impending gunfight) is staring you in the face. You need to be able to focus on Problem One exclusively.

The best training I have had in legal issues and self defense so far was Skip Gochenour's two-hour lecture, the notes to which can be found at http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...2_StudyDay.htm . You're missing the details, the slides and a lot of other stuff, but the notes are very good and to the point.

I especially commend to you the ADEE model Skip puts forth. The AOJ (ability, opportunity, jeopardy) model is better suited to sworn LEOs who have the duty to confront a threat. As an armed citizen you have no such duty, and your better course of action is ADEE- avoid, de-escalate/disengage, escape and evade if possible.

In another study session, Skip put forward the following line of thinking:

YOU MAY BE WHATEVER YOU RESOLVE TO BE

YOU HAVE RESOLVED TO BE THE ULTIMATE MORAL ARBITER!

YOU HAVE TAKEN IT UPON YOURSELF TO BE ABLE TO LOOK AT A SET OF RAPIDLY EVOLVING FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES AND DECIDE THAT THEY MEAN SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE LETHAL FORCE USED ON THEM AND YOU NEED TO DO IT.

As a person who carries weapons about in society you have decided that you are a moral arbiter.

You are obliged to prepare yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and morally for the role as a moral arbiter.
You are obliged to train your body, mind and spirit for your role as moral arbiter.
Failure to accept and exercise these obligations is an exercise in immorality. It is a failure of discipline and self-control.
- http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...2_StudyDay.htm

No matter what the legal system ultimately says about your decision to employ deadly force in defense of yourself and others, it is that other word- MORAL- that keeps coming to the fore in my mind. Is that the right thing to do, right there, right then? Are there other options available to you that mean you don't have to shoot at someone right there, right then?

IMHO the important thing is to have all this mental jumble settled enough in your own mind in advance. You need to know what is right for you to do within your own moral code, and you should have a reasonable certainty that your actions are legally necessary under the prevailing circumstances as well. You need to be able to understand as you press the trigger and concentrate on the front sight all the reasons why that was the only option you had right then, right there. And you need to be able to clearly enunciate those reasons ten minutes later when the cops show up, two days later when the DA asks you why, and if necessary two months after that when you are in court.

But the biggest thing is to get all the Problem Two worries taken care of well in advance, so you don't have to dither over them while you are trying to sort out Problem One.

And don't forget to check your six, either...

Stay Safe,

lpl

Last edited by Lee Lapin; January 12, 2009 at 09:04 PM.
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Old January 13, 2009, 01:03 AM   #23
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Quote:
And you need to be able to clearly enunciate those reasons ten minutes later when the cops show up,
No, you tell the cops nothing except "I feared for my life, I want to cooperate and will when I have my lawyer." PERIOD.

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Old January 13, 2009, 01:52 PM   #24
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Disclaimer:: I am no lawyer and this is not legal advice...

IMO and speaking just for myself. My first impression is that if someone refuses to follow reasonable commands at gunpoint, they must have very bad intentions.
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Old January 13, 2009, 02:18 PM   #25
Brian Pfleuger
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Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
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Quote:
You know, I used to think the same way...until I realized that pepper spray is only good at 5-10 feet, and if they are a true threat, that is waaaay too close.
That's true but I there are at least two things about this particular situation:

1) They did approach within 10 feet. I think the goods brands of pepper spray claim 30 feet or more range. I don't know if that's truth in advertising or not.

2) In the absence of clear aggression and no obvious weapons, simply approaching within feet and yelling nasty things could make a SD shoot a hard sell. I'm not saying it would be wrong but it might be tough to not get charged. Continued warnings while they approach and a blast of pepper spray may make a difference in the "I did all I could to avoid shooting him" argument. Anything to make the case that you tried to do as much as possible to not shoot someone is good.
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