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Old May 19, 2013, 04:48 PM   #26
Nittespanker
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You guys wouldn't advocate shooting a purse snatcher would ya ? A guy running by and snatching a purse would most likely be running away before you could draw and shoot. I recall a thread where a guy was advocating that basic principle of defending his property and he got slammed for it.
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Old May 19, 2013, 04:51 PM   #27
Brian Pfleuger
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Shooting from inside a purse has nothing at all to do with purse snatchers.
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Old May 19, 2013, 05:04 PM   #28
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If you feel threatened and you pull your gun out and the person you feel threatened by does not stop approaching I would have no choice but to shoot.

I can't let a guy take my gun to be used against me. So don't draw your weapon if your not ready to use it.

I read a story that a police officer was justified in a shooting case for that very reason. He pulled his gun and the aggressor did not obey the command to stop. Cop shot and killed the unarmed suspect and the D.A. Did not prosecute.

Not to say you would have the same consideration as the cop.
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Old May 19, 2013, 06:29 PM   #29
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The purse snatcher reference was about the increased likelihood of losing a handgun, if the handgun is carried in an attractive, off-body target. Purse, camera bag, briefcase, etc - all are common targets for snatchers.

Much better to carry in a concealed holster, on the body.
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Old May 19, 2013, 08:27 PM   #30
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I think a person should be very careful about pulling a gun. Aside from that I had a incident happen to me, several years ago, where I finally got startled and swept my shirt back to draw, and that was all it took to get the perp finally moving.

I had been traveling with my wife and 2 kids all day, and stopped at a motel for the night. Unknowingly, I picked a bad part of town, and I should have been smarter, then the dumb white country boy I was, but the price was cheap and that should have been my first clue.

Anyway, we started unloading my old K5 Blazer and had the back all opened up, getting things out to carry in to the motel, when a man starts this car up and rolls up and stops about 30ft behind my Blazer. He starts talking and wants me to come over there, which I am not about to do. My wife gets the kids and herself on the other side of the Blazer, and she is getting nervous and is telling me not to go over there. In the mean time I am looking all around to see if someone else is trying to sneak up on us.

I am carrying a Lightweight Colt Commander in condition 3 with an extra mag in my back pocket, all under an open square tailed shirt. I guess my body language told him I was carrying, as I did have my hand on the open front of my shirt so I could sweep it back for a clear draw, because he then said "don't shoot me man" Meanwhile I had never seen either of his hands. We were basically at a standoff, when My wife sorta freaked out and screamed something to the effect "get the %$^& out of here" This startled me and I swept back my shirt tail to draw, at which point he shot the gas to his car, and jumped forward about 30ft, I stopped my draw, and I don't think he ever saw my gun, but he still had not given up, but had no doubt at that same time that I was armed and ready and willing to rock and roll if I needed to.

About that time he showed me a gold chain, and I told him I was not interested and he carefully drove off, watching me the whole time.

I do not think his true intentions were to sell me a gold chain, I think he was trying to get me close to his car, maybe with my money out for a grab or to get the drop on me. But he was only about a second from getting shot that night, that's for sure, and I believe he figured that out before he left.

Last edited by Blue Duck; May 19, 2013 at 08:41 PM.
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Old May 19, 2013, 10:26 PM   #31
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"The purse snatcher reference was about the increased likelihood of losing a handgun, if the handgun is carried in an attractive, off-body target. Purse, camera bag, briefcase, etc - all are common targets for snatchers.

Much better to carry in a concealed holster, on the body."

Yes. A million times, yes. Purses get lost, forgotten, grabbed, etc constantly. I am firmly of the opinion that it is socially irresponsible to purse carry.


As for ending a threat with presentation alone:

I have experienced a situation in which drawing was justified, but shooting would have landed me in prison. Without going into the whole thing, it involved a situation where a weapon was observed, movement was made toward the weapon, and the choices were A) present to dissuade or B) wait and see what happens. Ability and opportunity were clear, jeopardy/intent were uncertain (99% is not 100%).

While it is probably a general truth that you shouldn't draw if you aren't going to fire, general truths and universal truths are different things.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:39 AM   #32
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Hey Guys . . .

OP here,

This is why I originally asked the ORIGINAL question.

I and my wife are in our 60s.

We have lived in the same neighborhood for 36 years.

We have always loved to sit in our back yard late at night (2-3 a.m.; I am a night worker) and talk and watch the stars when I get home from work.

Over the last 5 years our neighborhood has been changing.

Never, ever, saw people walking up behind our house (townhouse with an alley) before then.

If, and I say, IF, we were sitting out there, and a group of young men walked up our alley and suddenly opened our gate and entered our yard, coming at us, I would pull my pocket pistol preparing to defend us.

We are over 60; neither of us can run. And I certainly am not Chuck Norris.

But I would hope that these punks would "scatter" if I stood up and yelled "HOLD" and presented and racked the slide.


If they kept coming, should I open fire?

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Old May 20, 2013, 02:13 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmocarsky
...If, and I say, IF, we were sitting out there, and a group of young men walked up our alley and suddenly opened our gate and entered our yard, coming at us, I would pull my pocket pistol preparing to defend us.

We are over 60; neither of us can run. And I certainly am not Chuck Norris.

But I would hope that these punks would "scatter" if I stood up and yelled "HOLD" and presented and racked the slide.


If they kept coming, should I open fire?...
First, there are in general no "cookbook" answers (if this then that) to these kinds of questions. It can depend on exactly what is happening and how it is happening.

Second, avoidance and prevention are always better than defense. So hardening your property is something to consider. Lights and motion detectors can be useful as would a lock on the gate. It there's a lock someone can't just wander in, and if someone would have to break in your legal position will be strengthened if you ultimately need to resort to force in what you believe is self defense.

Third, let's understand the basic reality of the use of force in self defense.
  1. Our society takes a dim view of the use of force and/or intentionally hurting or killing another human. In every State the use of force and/or intentionally hurting or killing another human is prima facie (on its face) a crime of one sort or another.

    1. However, for hundreds of years our law has recognized that there are some circumstances in which such an intentional act of violence against another human might be legally justified.

    2. Exactly what would be necessary to establish that violence against someone else was justified will depend on (1) the applicable law where the event takes place; and (2) exactly what happened and how it happened.

  2. The amount of force an actor my justifiably use in self defense will depend on the level of the threat.

    1. Under the laws of most States, lethal force may be justified when a reasonable person in like circumstance would conclude that a use of lethal force is necessary to prevent the otherwise unavoidable, imminent death or grave bodily injury to an innocent. And to establish that, the actor claiming justified use of lethal force would need to show that the person against whom the lethal force was used reasonably had --

      1. Ability, i. e., the power to deliver force sufficient to cause death or grave bodily harm;

      2. Opportunity, i. e., the assailant was capable of immediately deploying such force; and

      3. put an innocent in Jeopardy, i. e., the assailant was acting in such a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would conclude that he had the intent to kill or cripple.

    2. "Ability" doesn't necessarily require a weapon. Disparity of force, e. g., a large, young, strong person attacking a small, old, frail person, or force of numbers, could show "Ability."

    3. "Opportunity" could be established by showing proximity, lack of barriers or the like.

    4. "Jeopardy" (intent) could be inferred from overt acts (e. g., violent approach) and/or statements of intent.

    5. And unless the standard justifying the use of lethal force is met, use of some lesser level of violence might be legally justified to prevent a harmful or offensive, unconsented to contact by another person.

  3. If you have thus used violence against another person, your actions will be investigated as a crime, because on the surface that's what it is.

    1. Sometimes there will be sufficient evidence concerning what happened and how it happened readily apparent to the police for the police and/or prosecutor to quickly conclude that your actions were justified. If that's the case, you will be quickly exonerated of criminal responsibility, although in many States you might have to still deal with a civil suit.

    2. If the evidence is not clear, you may well be arrested and perhaps even charged with a criminal offense. If that happens you will need to affirmatively assert that you were defending yourself and put forth evidence that you at least prima facie satisfied the applicable standard justifying your act of violence.

    3. Of course, if your use of force against another human took place in or immediately around your home, as you postulate, your justification for your use of violence could be more readily apparent or easier to establish -- maybe.

      1. Again, it still depends on what happened and how it happened. For example, was the person you shot a stranger, an acquaintance, a friend, a business associate or relative? Did the person you shot forcibly break into your home or was he invited? Was the contact tumultuous from the beginning, or did things begin peaceably and turn violent, how and why?

      2. In the case of a stranger forcibly breaking into your home, your justification for the use of lethal force would probably be obvious. The laws of most States provide some useful protections for someone attacked in his home, which protections make it easier and a more certain matter for your acts to be found justified.

      3. It could however be another matter to establish your justification if you have to use force against someone you invited into your home in a social context which later turns violent.

  4. Good, general overviews of the topic can be found at UseofForce.us and in this booklet by Marty Hayes at the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network.

  5. Sometimes a defensive use of lethal force will have grave consequences for the defender, even when ultimately exonerated. For example --

    • This couple, arrested in early April and finally exonerated under Missouri's Castle Doctrine in early June. And no doubt after incurring expenses for bail and a lawyer, as well as a couple of month's anxiety, before being cleared.

    • Larry Hickey, in gun friendly Arizona: He was arrested, spent 71 days in jail, went through two different trials ending in hung juries, was forced to move from his house, etc., before the DA decided it was a good shoot and dismissed the charges.

    • Mark Abshire in Oklahoma: Despite defending himself against multiple attackers on his own lawn in a fairly gun-friendly state with a "Stand Your Ground" law, he was arrested, went to jail, charged, lost his job and his house, and spent two and a half years in the legal meat-grinder before finally being acquitted.

    • Harold Fish, also in gun friendly Arizona: He was still convicted and sent to prison. He won his appeal, his conviction was overturned, and a new trial was ordered. The DA chose to dismiss the charges rather than retry Mr. Fish.

    • Gerald Ung: He was attacked by several men, and the attack was captured on video. He was nonetheless charged and brought to trial. He was ultimately acquitted.

    • Some good folks in clear jeopardy and with no way to preserve their lives except by the use of lethal force against other humans. Yet that happened under circumstances in which their justification for the use of lethal force was not immediately clear. While each was finally exonerated, it came at great emotional and financial cost. And perhaps there but for the grace of God will go one of us.

    • And note also that two of those cases arose in States with a Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law in effect at the time.
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Last edited by Frank Ettin; May 20, 2013 at 02:19 AM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:02 AM   #34
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To the OP. I hope you never have to deal with that situation as even if we are in 100% of the clear with the law. There will always been monetary and civil headaches.

Best of luck and pray for a safe future.

Frank - Good post...just read all those stories.
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:55 PM   #35
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The rules of self defense authorize an innocent civilian use of a gun if / when under imminent deadly threat... or...do not shoot unless under lethal attack. The advantage is with the criminal.

If threatened by a perp (or perps) who have opened my gate and tresspassed into my fenced backyard, I do not draw my handgun, because I do not want to invoke a boatload of Murphy by brandishing, which btw is illegal here in Michigan.

First, I say 3 words in a loud firm voice : "STOP, GO BACK." If there is time I repeat the command. If they do not comply, I draw my CCW and fire. If my gun clears leather it goes boom.

I have cleared this procedure with my local PD and they are OK with it, I live in SE Michigan. Check with your local PD, they are there to help you.

Its ironic, but what I practise most is quick draw, for obvious reasons.

Time to move to a better neighborhood ?

Best to you.
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Old May 20, 2013, 07:45 PM   #36
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rmocarsky - keep the gate locked. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. The neighborhood youths could easily open the gate looking for valuables to steal and end up in a violent encounter with you.

As to presenting, they would probably scatter. Very few predators want to get shot.

If they don't, you have to make the determination whether or not you or your wife is at risk of death or serious bodily injury. You'll have to make that decision very quickly and live with the outcome ("We just went into the wrong gate looking for our friend and this crazy old man shot my boy!")
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Old May 21, 2013, 06:17 AM   #37
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Quote:
rmocarsky - keep the gate locked. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. The neighborhood youths could easily open the gate looking for valuables to steal and end up in a violent encounter with you.

As to presenting, they would probably scatter. Very few predators want to get shot.

If they don't, you have to make the determination whether or not you or your wife is at risk of death or serious bodily injury. You'll have to make that decision very quickly and live with the outcome ("We just went into the wrong gate looking for our friend and this crazy old man shot my boy!")
I see this excuse too many times even with evidence proving the party was committing a crime.
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Old May 21, 2013, 08:28 AM   #38
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Three times in my life I have had to show my gun to stop a threat. In all three instances the bad guys turned and left quickly. I did use it in the sense it stopped an attack even if I did not fire it.
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Old May 21, 2013, 11:24 AM   #39
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Quote:
Posted by Seaman: If threatened by a perp (or perps) who have opened my gate and tresspassed into my fenced backyard, I do not draw my handgun, because I do not want to invoke a boatload of Murphy by brandishing, which btw is illegal here in Michigan.
Good thinking.

Quote:
First, I say 3 words in a loud firm voice : "STOP, GO BACK." If there is time I repeat the command. If they do not comply, I draw my CCW and fire.
In your yard? Don't even think about it unless you have reason to believe that deadly force is immediately necessary to defend against someone who has the ability, opportunity, and intent to cause death or serious bodily harm. Someone else will judge whether your belief was reasonable.

Quote:
If my gun clears leather it goes boom.
You had better hope that a preponderance of the evidence will show in civil court not only that drawing had been necessary, but also that the use of deadly force had remained necessary after drawing.

As Frank Ettin put it, "One should not pull a gun unless under the circumstances the immediate use of the gun would be justified. But if upon presenting the gun the threat ends, e. g., the assailant turns and flees or immediately surrenders, one would not be justified in shooting."

Quote:
I have cleared this procedure with my local PD and they are OK with it, I live in SE Michigan. Check with your local PD, they are there to help you.
Never rely on a verbal comment from a policeman for a legal opinion. Consult a criminal trial attorney who is knowledgeable of the use of force laws.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:15 PM   #40
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Lott talks to himself. By email.

Holding someone at gunpoint is a skill, just like hitting the target. It is not a matter of simply pointing a weapon and raising your voice.

Like skydiving, if you don't have the skill, you are well advised not to try it.

Finally, holding someone at gunpoint is a dead end. It is, at best, a temporary solution.

"Freeze! Get your hands up!"

[bad guy freezes, and raises his hands.]

Now what? Now you have a bad guy at gunpoint, and that's where you'll stay until your arm gets tired or the situation changes.

Yes, cops do this every day. But cops have been trained to do it, cops are never acting alone and cops have a definite goal in mind as well as a standard plan for achieving that goal. They want the bad guy cuffed and in the back of a patrol car, and they are all working on the same plan with the same goal in mind.

Most civilians don't have a goal that will end the situation, and therefore have no plan. And most important of all, most civilians don't have the skill to hold someone at gunpoint.

If you draw, open fire. Otherwise, don't draw.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:31 PM   #41
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A lot of people are forgetting that the attacker usually has the drop on us and clears the distance to be in our faces before we can even think of drawing. :/
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:34 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer Six
...If you draw, open fire. Otherwise, don't draw.
Absolutely terrible advice and not legally supportable. The reasons have all been stated at length.

If you draw and the assailant breaks off and flees, your use of lethal force would not be justified; and you have become a criminal. If he surrenders, you have a problem you'll need to deal with; but if you shoot him, you'll have a much bigger and more personal problem that will last a number of years.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:35 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer Six
If you draw, open fire. Otherwise, don't draw.
Bad advice. If the threat retreats, and you still open fire, that could be a very expensive mistake.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:37 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constantine
A lot of people are forgetting that the attacker usually has the drop on us and clears the distance to be in our faces before we can even think of drawing.
Not in the scenario posited by the OP. So your comment is irrelevant.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:38 PM   #45
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Quote:
If you draw, open fire. Otherwise, don't draw.

I thought you were a firearms instructor?

Ettin and McGee said it. I don't recommend that either. To anyone.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:39 PM   #46
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Quote:
Not in the scenario posited by the OP. So your comment is irrelevant.
It's relevant in most scenarios that a citizens will encounter if they were to encounter. Bad guys always have the drop on us. There is no arguing that.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:41 PM   #47
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Quote:
But I would hope that these punks would "scatter" if I stood up and yelled "HOLD" and presented and racked the slide.
Racking the slide indicates that you either have an empty chamber (bad idea) or that you're shucking a perfectly useful cartridge onto the deck (equally bad idea).

Since you are on YOUR property, you are under no obligation to keep your firearm concealed from your uninvited guests, but at the same time, you're not permitted to point it at them and threaten them (this is called brandishing and is a big boy crime).

My suggestion would be to secure that gate such that it cannot be opened without breaching a lock (or a very tall climb), as well as post prominent No Trespassing signs such that it is impossible to enter your property without seeing at least one. And I'd recommend you have your firearm and a cell phone with you when you are enjoying the evening's stars. If someone attempts to breach your gate, you should have time to enter your house, secure it, and call 911 from the better security of your household. No reason to confront the uninvited guests unless and until their actions make it unavoidable.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:44 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constantine
...Bad guys always have the drop on us. There is no arguing that.
They might have the initiative in that they choose the time and place and begin that act; but they aren't always holding a gun on the erstwhile victim. So your statement is not true.

Now, stay on topic.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:46 PM   #49
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Quote:
They might have the initiative in that they choose the time and place and begin that act; but they aren't always holding a gun on the erstwhile victim. So your statement is not true.
Agree to disagree. I think that's just an opinion versus opinion. I'll stick to mine.

OP should learn basic fight skills as well. It's not all about the gun either.


I also second the notion to fortify the fence/gate.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:56 PM   #50
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constantine
...OP should learn basic fight skills as well. It's not all about the gun either...
You're really not paying attention, nor are you being helpful.

Some people will not be able to do much with basic fighting skills -- due to age, disabilities, health problems, etc. And in this thread the OP wrote, in post 32:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmocarsky
...We are over 60; neither of us can run. And I certainly am not Chuck Norris...
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