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Old July 16, 2006, 12:59 PM   #53
Join Date: September 18, 2005
Posts: 47
Learning from Sum1's experience

I'd like to comment on Sum1's account, because it touches on several common issues that are frequently discussed here.

The Original Article cited: "Don't shoot to protect your wallet. Only shoot to protect yourself." (Agreed); AND "Do not issue any warnings; (Disagree) you should not be shooting unless the situation is very grave". Agree.

Sum1_Special: "Last year I was mugged in a parking garage, I was carrying a 22 pistol. The robber had a knife, he was about 4-5 feet away and I reached for my wallet but pulled out the pistol from my back pocket, pointed it at him, and yelled. He ran. confrontation defused, no police, no problems."

The citation says "don't SHOOT to protect your wallet. Only shoot to protect yourself". I agree. What was Sum doing? He was in fear of his life and preparing to defend himself. It has nothing to do with robbery deterrence; theft of the wallet was merely the perp's immediate motive.

I think Sum's situation was this: He was not immediately under attack, but was been threatened with attack; he cannot know if the threat will be followed through, so must prepare for it. The 3 criteria for self defense are met: Means, Opportunity and Intent (intent at least implied - "if you don't give me the wallet, I'll use the knife").

Sum was fortunate in that he was not immediately attacked, was able to draw and turn the tables. He clearly exercised self-control, and drew WITH THE INTENT OF SHOOTING IF NECESSARY. When the perp ran, the 3 criteria no longer held, and Sum was able to secure his weapon.

I do not believe this is a case of brandishing (drawing to threaten), it is a case of drawing for self protection in the face of imminent danger. There may be issues of jurisdiction as to whether he should draw or just hand over the wallet and hope the perp goes away, but usually an imminent threat with a deadly weapon is considered adequate reason for an armed response". Note I said "armed response", not "shoot". If the perp presses the attack, shoot; if he retreats, don't. One can't know what the perp might do if you offer no resistance. If he attacks you on presentation of your weapon, he almost certainly had further plans for you after taking the wallet. So to my mind, drawing for a defensive purpose is fully justified in this situation. Shooting is not, unless an attack is pressed.

Having read many of these scenarios, I have come to the conclusion that "If you draw, you must shoot" is quite incorrect; it should be "If you draw you must be PREPARED to shoot. I have read that over 95% of draws are resolved without an attack, because the BG backs down on his (presumably) lethal threat. If you have the time and opportunity to give a warning/command, I think it is wise to do so, not only to emphasize your command of the situation, but to show you made every effort to avoid a shoot, in case it comes to that.

If you can't get the drop on the perp as Sum did, it's altogether another ball game.

I think there are many instances where it would be wise to draw, sometimes descreetly, in order to ensure that the perp does not get the advantage over you.

I don't endorse the article particularly: it is a good starting point for leaning the business, but not the end.

I believe this incident SHOULD be reported to the police; I can't see how Sum did anything wrong. In fact, Sum, congratulations for handling it well! Again, wisdom of reporting might depend on the jurisdiction and unrelated circumstances. General Rule: call before someone else tries to put you in the wrong.

Seeking Knowledge, Hoping for Wisdom

Last edited by cgraham; July 16, 2006 at 02:11 PM.
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