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Old June 9, 2013, 06:36 PM   #1
kgpcr
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Can i shoot is a stupid question!!

I don't see where one has to be a Philadelphia attorney in order to figure out all the laws. All one need ask is "do I have to shoot?" NOT Can I shoot? Can I shoot is a silly question for Keyboard Commando's and chest thumpers. Just my .02. If you have to shoot to protect your life you shoot. Its really quite simple
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Old June 9, 2013, 06:49 PM   #2
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There's a lot of truth in that statement. Too many people seem to be searching for all the ways that they can find that would legally allow them to shoot someone--that's really not the proper mindset.

It's worthwhile to know the law, but if you're in a situation and find yourself actually mulling the law over in your mind and trying to determine if the justification to shoot exists, it's a slam dunk that it doesn't. If your only thought is that you are going to die if you don't shoot then it's quite likely that the shooting will be justified.
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Old June 9, 2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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Absolutes are rarely the best answer. I've heard multiple people ask if it is legal to defend a third party from a lethal attack. I know of no place in the US that it is strictly forbidden to protect others from lethal attacks by stopping the attacker with lethal force. (If you do, please enlighten me.)

I do see and agree with your comments in some ways though. We shouldn't look for ways to use lethal force, however as responsible people, we should know the legal limits, how and why they developed the way they did. For example, if I was woken up by my door being kicked in, then someone charged me in my bedroom, I'd feel reasonably justified in the assumption that I was under attack. In a state with strong Castle Doctrine laws, it would be a fairly clear cut legal shoot. Now, if I walked into my place at 11PM and found a guy holding my TV staring at me with a deer-in-the-headlights look, I wouldn't feel justified in opening fire, but depending on where you live you may end up in prison or not, depending on the exact laws and case histories in your area (and what happens in the 10 seconds after you walk in!)
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Old June 9, 2013, 08:07 PM   #4
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If I or my family member is I danger of loosing life or limb I will shoot and worry about the laws later. I will do everything possible to not shoot but if I have to then its game on.
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Old June 9, 2013, 08:15 PM   #5
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All one need ask is "do I have to shoot?" NOT Can I shoot?
If I had a dime for every time I've had that conversation...

"Well, can I shoot if they're standing in the doorway of my house? What if they're in the foyer? Wait, what if they've got one foot in my house but they're yelling?"

Some folks need to spend a lot more time training, and a lot less time looking for reasons to shoot someone.
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Old June 9, 2013, 10:53 PM   #6
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"Can I shoot" should never be the question.
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Old June 9, 2013, 11:18 PM   #7
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"Can I Shoot" (another human) is an internal question that one should deal with long before the opportunity comes up. "Is it ok for me to shoot if...[blah blah]". It's never "OK". There is no judicial, criminal or civil penalty or punishment that can compare to the internal struggle you carry with you for the rest of your life, once you've shot someone. You will not be "OK" even if not charged; even if not found guilty.

I believe the primary focus of CCW or any kind of self defense ownership should be "I now have a much higher level of power to change my world FOR THE WORSE in a split second - How can I avoid getting into a situation where I'll have to do that".

There's only one thing in the universe worse than being forced to kill someone. That's being killed yourself. NEITHER is an "OK" choice. Both are horrible.


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Old June 10, 2013, 03:40 AM   #8
1911Alaska
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I can see why some people don't like talking about this but I think its a good question to clarify. I would only shoot if I felt like my life was being threatened. If somebody wanted to fight me I wouldn't shoot them until I felt like my life was in danger (getting kicked in the head, choked, mounted). Getting beat up sucks but its isn't an excuse to shoot someone. However if two or more people tried to fight me at once then I think I would be more willing to pull my gun becuase at that point self defense is much harder and almost impossible. If someone came at me with a weapon (knife, pipe, etc) then I would pull my gun.

I really hope and pray that I am never in a situation like this though.
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Old June 10, 2013, 11:57 AM   #9
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If somebody wanted to fight me I wouldn't shoot them until I felt like my life was in danger (getting kicked in the head, choked, mounted).
By this time, you may no longer have access to or the ability to use your firearm to protect yourself.

Fact is, if you're armed and your adversary has gotten within arms' reach, you've already probably lost.
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Old June 10, 2013, 12:16 PM   #10
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I went to a short home defense seminar with Rob Pincus in May, and one of the points that he made is that someone in a HD situation shouldn't be looking for authorization to shoot. That person should be looking for a reason not to shoot. IOW, it shouldn't be "can I shoot?," but rather "do I have to shoot?" I say this only to point out that the OP is not alone in thinking that way.

Personally, I'd rather be able to honestly say to a jury that "I shot him because I had no other options," than "I shot him because all of the legal requirements had been met."
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Old June 10, 2013, 12:56 PM   #11
Glenn E. Meyer
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Years ago - I tried to make the same point:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...shoot+somebody

At TFL, we've tried to keep the blood lust down a bit.

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Old June 10, 2013, 06:13 PM   #12
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false...

The topic is wrong IMO.
Prisons, psych wards & jails are filled with people who feel justified in their acts or those who feel they were smart/prudent.

As gun writer & tactics trainer Massad Ayoob(who testifys in real use of force trials) says often; "It's not the truth that's important, it's proving the truth in open court that's important."
The "hey, I'll do what I please" mindset won't fly in a criminal or civil trial.

I learned in the spring of 2012 that having the facts & being able to hold strong helped me prevail in a court action.
The smart move isn't to be flip, condescending or sarcastic. The smart move is to plan, keep good records & be fully ready to address any related issue that comes up.

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Old June 12, 2013, 05:14 PM   #13
gstone
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Can i shoot is a stupid question

I would only shoot if I felt like my life was being threatened. If somebody wanted to fight me I wouldn't shoot them until I felt like my life was in danger (getting kicked in the head, choked, mounted). Getting beat up sucks but its isn't an excuse to shoot someone.

"Getting kicked in the head" means you are already down and extremely venerable. You may be unconscious by that time. There have been verified reports of people being killed by one punch or hitting their head as they fall. I am 72 years old and in reasonable good shape but I AM NOT getting into a fist fight with someone. That's for school kids, MMA fighting or pro fighting. DO NOT allow someone to get so close where they can hit you with their fists. Back away and/or put something between you and them (car, dumpster, gas pump, etc.) If there are more than one and they try to flank you - draw you firearm and shoot if necessary to protect yourself from harm or death.
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Old June 13, 2013, 12:53 AM   #14
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Personally, I'd rather be able to honestly say to a jury that "I shot him because I had no other options," than "I shot him because all of the legal requirements had been met."
I would say many, many more people get to the second point than the first and then do not pull the trigger.

I would also say that even more people likely wanted to shoot other people for some reason in perceived defensive type situations but legally could not and therefore did not. The ones that did shoot ended up in court.
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:48 AM   #15
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Interesting topic.

I remember being in my CHL class (shortly after 9/11) & the class was pretty full at 50+ people. I looked around & saw all types of folks, some...let's just say sorta strange (maybe they were thinking the same about me). The questions being asked were a bit strange too. All the questions seem to start with: "Can I shoot the guy if...".

Sorry if I sound judgmental, but at least at the time, some of the questions got me thinking to myself: "This guy is going to be running around with a loaded gun?".

I don't have any good statistics to quote but I can only offer an opinion. Here in Texas, there are a large number of CHL's issued. But I believe that only a small portion carry full time (I do feel this percentage is growing though). Also if you spread the number of CC people around the odds of having one in every crowd or store is slim. The Texas joke showing a masked guy coming in to rob a store & everyone including grandma pulls out a 8" .44mag really is a joke. The deterrent is that the criminal just doesn't know & the easy prey is harder for him to find now.

I struggle myself trying to understand the law & keep asking myself the hard questions about deadly force. This is one of the reasons I joined this forum. There are so many related issues to effectively CC for the desired outcome. Drawing & firing is the most critical & hopefully it is the one best thought out by the carrier.

JIMHO...

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Old June 14, 2013, 11:01 AM   #16
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Sorry if I sound judgmental, but at least at the time, some of the questions got me thinking to myself: "This guy is going to be running around with a loaded gun?".
I would not worry too much about it. Less than 2% of all fatal shootings involve a CHL holder (when the status is known). Huge percentages of people who are murdered or murder other people are not even eligible to own guns so they would not be in your class.
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Old June 14, 2013, 11:53 AM   #17
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I would disagree with the quote from (attributed to) Massod Ayoob.*
ClydeFrog quoteth
Quote:
"It's not the truth that's important, it's proving the truth in open court that's important."
When it comes to reality and the verdict, the truth is often irrelevant in court, it's what either side can convince the judge/jury is reality.

Barney's axiom of jury service states "in any court, there are at least four sides to the story: The plantiff's, the defendant's, the verdict and the truth. Seldom do they concur and never are they precise."
Based on my limited jury service, I believe that is a more accurate of the state of American jurisprudence and probably globally.

(this in no way condones purjury, just an aging guy's perspective on hearing some well crafted tales, told under oath, that were compelling yet untrue)
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Old June 14, 2013, 11:57 AM   #18
Frank Ettin
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Originally Posted by TXAZ
I would disagree with the quote from (attributed to) Massod Ayoob.*
ClydeFrog quoteth
Quote:
"It's not the truth that's important, it's proving the truth in open court that's important."
When it comes to reality and the verdict, the truth is often irrelevant in court, it's what either side can convince the judge/jury is reality.

Barney's axiom of jury service states "in any court, there are at least four sides to the story: The plantiff's, the defendant's, the verdict and the truth. Seldom do they concur and never are they precise."
Based on my limited jury service, I believe that is a more accurate of the state of American jurisprudence.
Perhaps based on your limited jury service.

However, based on my 30+ years of successfully practicing law, I know that you're incorrect.
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Old June 14, 2013, 01:01 PM   #19
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I don't see where one has to be a Philadelphia attorney in order to figure out all the laws. All one need ask is "do I have to shoot?" NOT Can I shoot? Can I shoot is a silly question for Keyboard Commando's and chest thumpers. Just my .02. If you have to shoot to protect your life you shoot. Its really quite simple
I tend to agree with your point.

I have been asked when I will shoot... my answer has always been "when I must". I don't really think about can I or should I. I will use a firearm to defend myself when I feel that my failure to do so will end my life or likely cripple me. So... its when I must.
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Old June 14, 2013, 04:28 PM   #20
TXAZ
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Good point FF
"tried by 12 vs. carried by 6" is someone's moniker here. If you really seriously feel your life is threatened, the risk/reward ratio gets pretty simple pretty quick.
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Old June 15, 2013, 09:37 PM   #21
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In teaching new students about defensive firearms use, it is extremely common for a barrage of "can I shoot if THIS happens" to start taking over the discussion. As an instructor, you must stop it to keep control of your class schedule and stay focused. I believe that people who have recently made a decision to take responsibility for their own protection, have done so because of fear of criminals. Fear induces hatred, and a desire to strike back against anyone that threatens personal safety. Its a natural reaction until they began to take into consideration of all the consequences for the action they feel so willing to take. After giving students a good dose of the legal, moral, psychological, and financial downside of being involved in shooting someone, along with the accountability for every round fired, I boil it down to this.
If the consequences of not taking lethal action are worse than those I have just described, and there is no other way out, then you have no choice.

I agree with the the original premise that "can I Shoot" is a stupid question, but it is a natural one until people get a grip on the gravity of what they are contemplating. I think this is also why many people take an "anti gun" stance, because they project their own mindset, that if they had a gun, they would shoot everyone that made them angry. They never think it through far enough to understand what we as "gun people" and those that take concealed carry seriously, consider, and study, and understand.
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Old June 15, 2013, 10:10 PM   #22
SF Mike
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Real good and interesting to see how many recognize the "how do I get to shoot somebody" thinking that seems to be in so many thoughts.

Refreshing, actually. There may be hope for humanity.
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Old June 15, 2013, 10:46 PM   #23
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Perhaps it would be very educational if, at one of those CCW classes that started to drift too much toward war stories about "can I shoot", if the cadre arranged for a mock shoot including the realistic follow-up. Cuff, stuff, bag the hands etc. There's no way to simulate ALL the stuff that would happen post shoot. But 15 minutes worth of simulation might be a lot of insight.

No simulation or lecture can give an accurate sense of what it's like to live the rest of your life knowing you've ended someone else's life. But we might be able to instill, at least to some people, the idea that actively trying to avoid having to shoot someone is the main goal. Not developing a catalog of when it's "ok to shoot".

It's never "OK".


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Old June 16, 2013, 01:30 AM   #24
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Unfortunately, things aren't always clear cut. The standard which must be met for the use of deadly force in self-defense in just about every U.S. jurisdiction is "reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm" with some variances in the exact wording. Now, while fear of death or serious bodily harm seems simple enough, it that word "reasonable" where things can get tricky because people often disagree about what is or is not reasonable.

For example, would it be reasonable to fear death or serious injury from a bare-handed beating? Would it be reasonable for a woman to fear death or serious injury from a sexual assault? Would you reasonably fear death or serious injury if someone threatened you while brandishing an object not normally considered a weapon such as a wooden plank or lug wrench? For that matter, how serious does the potential injury have to be for lethal force to be justified? Life-threatening? Permanently debilitating? Permanently disfiguring? Extremely painful?

Different people would probably answer all of those questions differently. The problem is that, while you may think that you had no choice, the police, district attorney, and jury may not see it that way and, at the end of the day, it's what they and not you thinks that really matters.
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Old June 16, 2013, 07:13 AM   #25
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Its a trick question. The answer to all of the above is YES,
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