View Full Version : walking the thin line

January 20, 2006, 02:51 AM
so what qualifies as a good shoot? I guess it may very from state to st. and certainly one story is better than two. but if one were to spend to much time accessing a potentionly dangerous situation they could find themselves deceased. in general how does the law interpret a iminate threat, and how does the shooter justify it in coming to that conclusion?

Blackwater OPS
January 20, 2006, 04:34 AM
Its not a thin line, its pretty clear- was your life or another persons life in serious danger. Thats the ONLY reason for a good shoot, if you cannot convince the court thats why you shot, expect to be in jail.

January 20, 2006, 10:38 AM
Legally, use of deadly force is defined (almost all state's laws read something like: "deadly force may be used if the individual's life is in imminent danger or fears he is in danger of great bodily harm"), but what consitutes "imminent danger" and "great bodily harm" is not usually specified.

There is a valid and sound reason for this. Each situation is different, so it has to be examined by looking at the totality of it's circumstances, at the time it happened.
This is to the shooter's legal advantage, as his interpretation of the situation are taken into account, not just his actions.

It's also a safeguard. Our society puts a high value on individual rights and human life. Consequently, it doesn't allow a legal laundry list that says; "if he does this, you can shoot him", period, full stop.

Also be aware of the phrase "Great Bodily Harm". GBH is a phrase deliberately left vague, and HIGHLY subject to legal interpretation. If this is your reason for using deadly force, you have to be able to articulate that you were unquestionably, no kidding, absolutely sure you were in FEAR of GBH, and what you thought that GBH was. For example, a guy holding a bat threating to kill you from half a block away won't fly, a guy standing over you with a bat raised over his head saying the same thing probably will.

By the way, when reading law (and I highly recommend anyone carrying a weapon for self defense read and know his states's use of force statuates), be particularly mindful of the words "may" and "shall". "May" indicates there is an option, while "shall" is an absolute.

As in "Only the force needed to stop the threat SHALL be used", and "all other reasonable options SHALL be exercised: This is or a similar a sentence is found in most all Self Defense statutes, and is universally recognized to mean once you knock your attacker down, you can't kick him a few times to play catch up, so to speak. It also means if you can retreat, you had better try it first. This applies to not just physical use of force, but deadly force self defense situations, as well.

I had an assault case in court last week, That may help you understand these legal use of force issues. The defendant was causing problems at a drinking party. He had started a fight and struck two people before a group bodily pushed him out the door into the hallway kicking, screaming, and punching. One of this group was a woman 4 months pregnant. The defendant was throwing punches into the group as he was pushed out the door, and he blasted the woman full in the face,

His attorney's defense was that the woman helped push him out the door, so his actions were in self defense, and that he was actually trying to hit a male behind her, but accidentally hit her instead.

Verdict: guilty. The judge said from the bench, the defendant had no self defense foundation, as he could simply have walked out the door so throwing punches when he was pushed out went beyond the scope of self defense. As to hitting the woman rather than the intended target, the Judge said tough luck. He rules the defendant was throwing deliberate punches intending to hit someone behind the victim, and that didn't intend it to be her was irrelevant.

I presume you're question is in regard to civilian CW carry/use of force, so I'll add this. In the relatively short time I've been visiting this forum, I've read a number of folks statements about protecting innocent life, trying to stop armed robberies, etc. This may be well intended or it may be amateur bravado brought on by the weight of that bellygun on the hip, but I find it a little unsettling.

A CW permit is not a mandate to take on the role of unsworn LEO, legally speaking. If you read your state's laws, I can practically guarantee you it specifies only SELF defense, which means yourself, your family (and others with you at the time), and your property, not the public at large. This is done deliberately, so as not allow the CW permit to be interpreted as a license to act as an unsworn and untrained LEO.

This got a little long, but I felt your question was serious and deserved a serious answer. Hope it helps...

January 20, 2006, 10:58 AM
thanks for the replies, this is certainly a bridge I never hope to cross. sorry this thread should have been posted on the general discussionforum :o

January 20, 2006, 11:41 AM
In defense of life only: yours or a loved one's.

January 22, 2006, 02:22 AM
in Oregon saving someones life that you do not know from a immanent threat is justifiable. well of course immanent is open to interpretation.