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Old July 16, 2018, 01:48 AM   #27
briandg
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Join Date: May 4, 2010
Posts: 5,252
Something else that people should consider. IF a person recklessly disregards the background, the fact that he is being fired at won't mean much if a bystander is shot. I've heard people talk about the need for using "suppressing fire" and needing three extra magazines just to keep the bad guy in his foxhole.

That condition brings another aspect to it. Even if you were completely legal when you shot at the bad guy and cleared of all charges regarding it, a shooter can and will be held accountable for reckless behavior that leads to injury. Randomly Dumping a magazine into the car, it doesn't matter who gets hurt, there is a strong probability that charges will be filed if a bystander gets hurt, whether in the car or out.

To put it simply, your actions against the guy with the gun are one thing. Accidentally hitting a bystander will be judged on its own merits, was it truly an accident that could have been avoided? will the DA, judge and jury decide that it was just a regrettable twist of fate, or was it something that should have been anticipated and prevented?

Someone who goes nuts and pulls out all the stops, believing that the only concern is stopping the bad guy is possibly going to cause some collateral damage. Every bullet that blasts through the window of the diner next door will merit another count of reckless endangerment, every person injured will be another count of some other charge, any death will be reckless or even maybe willful homicide or manslaughter.

Regardless of what the laws in your jurisdiction say about self defense shootings, regardless of any other considerations involved in defending yourself, injury to bystanders is not covered under those laws. The laws do not clear the use of deadly force against bystanders or give a person immunity for any unintended harm.

Now, there is a caveat that I want to say. If you happen to have a car full of gang bangers who catch you in a phone booth and misidentify you, and you cause "collateral damage" to the occupants/sidekicks, I guess that the DA would have a riddle on his hands. Are the people in the car accomplices to the attack or are they bystanders? maybe this is a better way of saying what I tried to say before.

I lay awake at night thinking about things like this. I constantly deconstruct events and consider how they fit into my personal life. It's almost 2 am and a lot of the last four hours has been devoted to thinking about this issue.

Last edited by briandg; July 16, 2018 at 04:45 AM.
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