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Old March 2, 2010, 05:36 AM   #1
SiNNiK
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Something that has bugged me.

Here's something that happened to me a while back, and I've only brought it up one time on another forum, but I'd like to know what TFL thinks, so I'll ask here too.

A couple of years ago some punks shot out the windows of the house we were renting as I was sitting under them (some quarter circle windows mounted high on the house).

As the glass began to fall, I had no idea what was happening. Working nights, I was off that Thursday night and I usually stay up on my nights off to keep on my schedule.

So I'm there, in my underwear on the couch playing Forza at 12:30a.m., one of the 30+ lap races, last lap, completely engrossed in the game. Last lap, last turn, with a car two car lengths behind me and closing, so now you get an idea of the situation up till the flying glass.

We had decorative bottles up in the quarter circle windows and the punks were trying to shoot the bottles (high and to the right) and I watched as holes appeared in the glass, big ones, and I could hear air like "pe-thew! pe-thew! pe-thew!" and as soon as I registered that I was under fire, my brain said "silenced firearm" and then things are kinda blurry.

I ended up coming out of the house after about 10 seconds after the shooting stopped, right when the idiots drove back by the house and this time popped my left back door window on my car that was parked in the street.

Bat in hand, (I didn't own any firearms at the time) I chased them for a good 20 or 30 yards down the street while they'd speed up and get to another car parked on the street, slow down, pop the window with the gun and speed up to the next car.

I couldn't catch up to them, so I came back for my car. Had to go inside to get my keys since they weren't in the shorts that I had grabbed and they got away. By then, cops were everywhere and I decided it was just best to go home and not get pulled over with a bat on the passenger seat.

According to the police, who we called immediately after, they had shot up three sub-divisions, mostly car windows. Turned out to be a BB gun, since I found three bb's while vacumming up the glass in the living room.

I know I did alot of stupid things in reaction, but I know in my heart that had I had a firearm that night I would have shot them right at the point they popped my car window, I was still under the impression that they were firing a real gun at my house and family, and at that particular moment I was within 30 or 35 feet of them.

My question is, when they popped my window, if I had returned fire and killed one or more of them, how much trouble would have I been in?

Last edited by SiNNiK; March 2, 2010 at 08:48 AM.
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Old March 2, 2010, 06:01 AM   #2
Ben Towe
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While you could've reasonably said you were in fear of your life I've always been under the impression that firing into a vehicle in a gray area at best. What if one of those idiots had had their 8 year old brother in their or something. Things you gotta think about. My $0.02.
Edit: also giving chase and re-engaging is a big no-no. That would get you way up that famous creek.
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Last edited by Ben Towe; March 2, 2010 at 06:11 AM. Reason: Another thought
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Old March 2, 2010, 06:06 AM   #3
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Although I believe you would have been totally justified under the circumstance you describe... I doubt the police, or prosicutors would see it that way. You'd most probably have to defend yourself in court. But thats just my opinion.


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Old March 2, 2010, 06:15 AM   #4
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I would not want to be on that jury.

Windows shot with a BB gun and you killed someone for that? I think you could have been in very deep...
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Old March 2, 2010, 07:15 AM   #5
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Bad reaction, and it woulda been a bad shoot.

Bad reaction - you went outside your house with a ball bat to chase several perps ARMED WITH A FIRE ARM. That's terminal stupid.

If you had shot - could you prove their shots, aimed upwards at bottles and at a car window, made you be "in fear of your life"? I hope you have a good lawyer - you'll need him.

Better reaction: bunker down away from the shots and dial 911. If you have a gun, hold it against possible home invasion.

Don't jump out of the boat and chase the sharks.
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Old March 2, 2010, 07:27 AM   #6
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When police shoot someone pointing a BB gun at them, they always allow that the cop is justified in shooting. A citizen has the same right to self defence. Someone shooting at my house would recieve return fire as quickly as I could accomodate them and rightfully so.

The official reaction to an event such as this is probably not consistent, depending on where you live and the general attitude of prosecutors. Some enforce the Constitution, some do not.
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Old March 2, 2010, 07:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Don't jump out of the boat and chase the sharks.
Explained so that a 3 yr old can understand. Great analogy.
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Old March 2, 2010, 08:46 AM   #8
SiNNiK
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Quote:
Ben Towe

What if one of those idiots had had their 8 year old brother in their or something.
Yeah, I've mulled that over a hundred times. Really glad that it all worked out the way it did, nobody hurt.

And for chasing them, with a bat, definitely one of the dumbest moves I've ever made, I was just seriously ****** off and lost my head. My kids were in the back room asleep, I didn't know that there was even a car outside, all I knew was there were three nickel sized holes appearing in the glass as I watched. Right over my head. Could have gotten glass in my eye because my dumbass didn't blink the whole time.

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Glenn Dee

You'd most probably have to defend yourself in court.
Kinda what I figured too. Thanks.

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youp

Windows shot with a BB gun and you killed someone for that?
I know, right? That'd be stupid. But it sure didn't look like bb sized holes. Big as nickels. Seemed like it was raining glass.

I mean when I was a kid I would pump up the bb gun one time and try to take out a bigger chunk of glass pane then my friends, knowing that the slower the bb the bigger the hole.

But none of that entered my head when I watched those holes pop up.

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Bad reaction, and it woulda been a bad shoot.
Thanks. I'll try to keep everything you said in mind.

I don't think I'll have to try to hard to remember to stay in the boat though. Makes so much sense, even us three year olds can understand it.

Quote:
PSP

When police shoot someone pointing a BB gun at them, they always allow that the cop is justified in shooting.
You know, I hadn't even thought about that. thanks PSP.

I appreciate everyone's honest opinions and criticisms.
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Old March 2, 2010, 09:28 AM   #9
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Sinnik: The 3 yr. old comment was not a cut down or was it meant to be one. It's actually a praise to CWP for such a simple and illustrative analogy that sheds light unto a complicated situation in simple terms.

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Old March 2, 2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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That is a classic line, CWP.

Kudos to SiNNiK for relating this story and accepting the criticisms in the spirit offered. One recent thread had a poster setting up his situation and then getting huffy and indignant when other members (correctly) let him have it.

Once upon a time, I probably would have given chase too. Now, I'd hunker down and call the cavalry.
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Old March 2, 2010, 10:21 AM   #11
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Some things always amaze me in threads like this.

Someone will always come on telling us that a firearm would have been an inappropriate level of force vs. the threat presented. Like you are supposed to know in the moment that it's a BB gun and not a silenced .22 or more.

Someone will always come on to tell us that BB guns and such are just no threat and certainly don't justify an armed response. Well, those folks can come stand in front of my Benjamin .22 air-rifle and we'll see what they think afterward.

If someone is shooting into your house, armed response is appropriate (though you will face a lot of hassle after the event is over).
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Old March 2, 2010, 11:02 AM   #12
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The jurisdiction I’m originally from, wisely, would not allow the use of deadly force to prevent property damage or theft. You could only use deadly force to protect yourself or the life of another. The question is when the windows in your home were being shot out were you in immediate fear for your life? The second part of that question is would any number of attorneys with days to think about a decision you made in seconds agree with you? As for shooting a fleeing suspect, only law enforcement, under very limited conditions, may do that.
As another poster stated, “ I would not want to be on that jury.”

As for a cop who shoots a suspect who pointed a B/B gun at him. If the officer believed his life was in immediate danger he does have the right to defend his life. Again attorneys will spend hours or days thinking about. I also believe that any private citizen would be accorded the same courtesy that any cop received. I do though believe that cop or not anyone who takes the life of another better get ready for years of ligation.
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Old March 2, 2010, 11:10 AM   #13
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First off, congratulations, you're alive. That BB gun could have just as easily been a true firearm.

Second, shame on you. You have perpetuated the myth that real men always use force instead of prudence and a cell phone.

Whether you knew it or not at that defining moment, you have now told the entire 'www' that you consider your life to be equal to a handful of broken glass.
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Old March 2, 2010, 11:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
The jurisdiction I’m originally from, wisely, would not allow the use of deadly force to prevent property damage or theft.
When someone is shooting into an occupied building it's not about "property damage or theft".

Quote:
That BB gun could have just as easily been a true firearm.
There are many airguns that are easily the equal of "true firearms".
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Old March 2, 2010, 11:33 AM   #15
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ZeSpectre, thank you for pointing that out. Even a pellet gun can sever a tendon or damage a muscle group. Good catch. We should discuss rehab as a price, too.
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Old March 2, 2010, 12:43 PM   #16
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People have been killed with pellet guns. Just takes a hit in the right place.
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Old March 2, 2010, 01:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
I ended up coming out of the house after about 10 seconds after the shooting stopped, right when the idiots drove back by the house and this time popped my left back door window on my car that was parked in the street....

...I know in my heart that had I had a firearm that night I would have shot them right at the point they popped my car window, I was still under the impression that they were firing a real gun at my house and family, and at that particular moment I was within 30 or 35 feet of them. ...

My question is, when they popped my window, if I had returned fire and killed one or more of them, how much trouble would have I been in?
So--you were not in your car when they fired at it, and you would therefore have little or no basis for justifying the use of deadly force to defend yourself. You would therefore have to contend that you reasonably believed that deadly force was immediately necessary to prevent death or serious bodily harm to persons still inside your house. Others would have to decide both whether, based on what you knew at the time, a reasonable person would have believed that, and whether you actually believed it.

At issue would be (1) the basis for your belief that they were firing at the house and not at the car window, this after you had witnessed them firing at other car windows; and (2) whether shots fired at a house represented imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm (vs. a lesser risk) to the occupants. What a reasonable person might have believed regarding the latter might well hinge in part on your description of the noise made by the gun they were using, which would provide some indication of its capability to penetrate the walls of the house.

It is reasonable to believe that the fact that you had attempted to pursue the perps would be used against you.

Realistically, do you think you would have a very good chance at prevailing?
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Old March 2, 2010, 01:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
I was just seriously ****** off and lost my head.
I can dig that. I'm VERY Type A myself. However, when carrying a weapon, THAT'S the time to remain cool. I remember someone once telling me, "I don't know if I could get mad enough at someone to shoot them." I corrected them telling them that when you're mad is NOT the time to shoot. If you must consider shooting, it should be done rationally and "cold-bloodly" - no emotion.

Other posters have mentioned cops shooting vs private individuals shooting. That's non sequiter and not parallel. Cops and individuals operate under a different purpose and set of laws and restrictions. What applies to one may not apply to the other.

Some have mentioned a BB gun may be considered a deadly weapon. That's completely true. Almost anything may be construed as as deadly weapon, including bare fists and/or feet.

All in all, you done good. No one got hurt, and a FTF confrontation didn't happen. In my younger days, when I was responsible to one one else and had that youthful feeling of invincibility, I might have reacted as you did. Now, with a wife and child I'm responsible to/for, my reasoning/reaction is different. I would have gathered them to a safe room, grabbed my home defense weapon, and bunkered down while calling 911. SAFE is the operative word here. My family is safe. If any attempt had been made to enter my home, I would have defended by any means necessary to end the threat.
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Old March 2, 2010, 03:21 PM   #19
SiNNiK
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Quote:
Maromero

The 3 yr. old comment was not a cut down or was it meant to be one.
Yeah I know, just ribbin ya back a little. It was such a good analogy though.

Quote:
Mr. James

Kudos to SiNNiK
Thanks Mr. James. I'd like to say that I'd hunker down too, I just have to try harder next time. (Knock on wood)

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ZeSpectre

Like you are supposed to know in the moment that it's a BB gun and not a silenced .22 or more.
Exactly, except my brain was running with a 9mm for some reason.

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old bear

I do though believe that cop or not anyone who takes the life of another better get ready for years of ligation.
Yeah, here's hoping that never ever happens.

Quote:
The Tourist

Second, shame on you. You have perpetuated the myth that real men always use force instead of prudence and a cell phone.

Whether you knew it or not at that defining moment, you have now told the entire 'www' that you consider your life to be equal to a handful of broken glass.
Thanks for the congrats and sorry about leaving prudence and the cell in the house.

I have no excuse, but I do feel compelled to say that I was in the Infantry in the mid-80's and we trained for ambushes by practicing them.

Long range ambush? Cover and concealment is your best chance.

Close range ambush? Rushing them is your best chance. Run straight into them blasting away with whatever you have issued to you.

I'm not saying that's what I chose to do, it's just what ended up happening. I'm not entirely sure just how many decisions I made as opposed to my auto pilot doing things.

As far as that goes, I also believe there was an element of wanting to take the fight away from my family, but I don't know if that's just mental justification for how I reacted.

Quote:
OldMarksman

At issue would be (1) the basis for your belief that they were firing at the house and not at the car window, this after you had witnessed them firing at other car windows
Thank you for taking the time to post your questions, those are thought provoking.

Just to clarify something, at the point that I would have returned fire I had no idea that they had been shooting out car windows. I came out after they put three holes in the window over my head, then saw them put a hole in my car window.

Just as soon as they did that my legs were running and I found myself chasing after them with my bat. At that point is when they were speeding up and slowing down to pop other car windows. That's when I first started thinking "bb gun".

They were slowly pulling away from me, so I watched to see which way they turned at the T intersection at the end of the street (right), then went and got my keys, ran to the car, and saw a bb sized hole in my rear driver's side window.

I was certain then, it was a bb gun, but still ****** off. I got in the car, shut the door, which made the back window fall out. By then I was so mad I think I teared up a little.

As for prevailing, I just don't know.

Quote:
CWPinSC

I can dig that. I'm VERY Type A myself. However, when carrying a weapon, THAT'S the time to remain cool.
Since this happened, I've obtained a 12 ga. pump, and a couple other firearms, including my CHL.

I don't want to come off as some kind of hot head, because I'm not. I have noticed though that I'm alot more accommodating than I normally am to other people when carrying.

I really better about all this, like getting it off my chest.

Thanks y'all.
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Old March 2, 2010, 03:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
you have now told the entire 'www' that you consider your life to be equal to a handful of broken glass.
No, more like they only considered THEIR LIVES to be worth risking for a little broken glass. I'm surprised you didn't recommend he go outside and patrol with a mirror-honed penknife.
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Old March 2, 2010, 04:03 PM   #21
The Tourist
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I have never advised anyone to fight if an exit was available. This guy went outside for no reason at all.

In fact, I consider your post making light of an attack, and you may in fact egg him on for the next time.

Last edited by JohnKSa; March 3, 2010 at 12:05 AM. Reason: Removed personal attack.
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Old March 2, 2010, 04:07 PM   #22
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The OP already admitted repeatedly that he was wrong for taking the action that he did by going outside and for following them and letting his anger overtake him, so I'm really not sure what the point is of continuing to call him names and say how stupid he was...unless you just can't resist a chance to criticize others.
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Old March 2, 2010, 04:22 PM   #23
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Fair enough, his actions were foolish. I'm glad he sees this now, and I hope he grows from this experience.

But I see no value in ever calling foolish behavior anything but what it is. We are burying far too many young people for nothing.
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Old March 2, 2010, 04:22 PM   #24
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i would have to agree with CWP on this subject the goal is to survive not to carry out revenge or onsite justice. the chase is the worst thing to do...at best u will get lead to a higher risk situation. and the choice of defence weapon was kinda lacking only beacuse of the range of the attacker's, had they been at arms lenth than a bat might have helped u otherwise u have to run through what u belive to b live fire to get to them, thats just a risk im not willing to take personally. if u take a extra risk during a deadly situation and get ur self killed who is left to protect your family untill the police arive?
the goal is to live and protect go 100% defence and stay close to your safty zone where u have the most security for the situation. A good head and calm reaction is allways your best defence. do whats best for your family not what emotion's and fear dictate. the Police have the job to chase the criminal's and the training to do so we simply have the right to defend our live's untill they can get onsite to do their job.
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Old March 2, 2010, 04:59 PM   #25
SiNNiK
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Quote:
Uncle Ben

The OP already admitted repeatedly that he was wrong for taking the action that he did by going outside and for following them and letting his anger overtake him, so I'm really not sure what the point is of continuing to call him names and say how stupid he was...unless you just can't resist a chance to criticize others.
Eloquent and gracious, thank you very much Uncle Ben.

Quote:
Puntmefar

if u take a extra risk during a deadly situation and get ur self killed who is left to protect your family untill the police arive?
Yeah, I've thought about that alot. Lot of things happened that I should have done differently and if there ever is a next time, maybe I can do a better job.

Thanks for sharing your point of view with me.
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