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Old May 24, 2011, 11:28 AM   #1
InTheCountry
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 11:30 AM   #2
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If you can't tell your teenage son from a real intruder, you've got big problems.

Situational awareness is your friend.
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Old May 24, 2011, 11:34 AM   #3
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 11:37 AM   #4
InTheCountry
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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 )
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:00 PM   #5
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:01 PM   #6
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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.

Last edited by MLeake; May 24, 2011 at 12:08 PM.
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:08 PM   #7
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:09 PM   #8
natman
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Quote:
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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:18 PM   #9
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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
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:20 PM   #10
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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
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Old May 24, 2011, 01:05 PM   #11
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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?
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Old May 24, 2011, 02:40 PM   #12
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 02:46 PM   #13
Mello2u
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Quote:
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.
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Last edited by Mello2u; May 25, 2011 at 08:36 PM.
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Old May 24, 2011, 02:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
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....
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Old May 24, 2011, 03:36 PM   #15
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 03:49 PM   #16
Glenn Dee
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What you do before you pull the trigger.

What do you do before you pull the trigger?

you say "OH S#!^"
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Old May 24, 2011, 04:12 PM   #17
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The Quaker and the Burglar

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!
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Old May 24, 2011, 04:43 PM   #18
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 05:01 PM   #19
JerryM
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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
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Old May 24, 2011, 09:44 PM   #20
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 10:09 PM   #21
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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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 10:09 PM   #22
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Quote:
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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 10:13 PM   #23
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Quote:
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...
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Old May 24, 2011, 10:16 PM   #24
Jeff F
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Quote:
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.
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Old May 24, 2011, 10:32 PM   #25
danez71
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Quote:
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.
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