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Old November 22, 2020, 10:21 PM   #1
Mike38
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Legal Self Defense?

I wasn't going to mention this on any social media, but it's been bothering me for a month now, and I can't help myself. It didn't happen to me, thankfully, so I guess it's ok to talk about.

I work a part time seasonal gig as a "Haunt Actor". You know, one of those people that dress in $1000 costumes and scare customers in a Haunted House setting. Weird, I know, but I enjoy it, and the money is good. Anyhow, this scenario happened about 50 feet from me. I didn't see much, couldn't hear anything, but could tell less than pleasant words were being spoken.

A bit about Haunt Actors. We get verbally and physically abused. It's part of the game. Rules are the customer doesn't touch you, and you don't touch the customer. But that doesn't always happen. I've been punched in the face more than once. One time I got hit so hard I saw stars, and by a woman no less. But I could tell it wasn't intentional. When you scare some people, the "Fight or Flight" system kicks in. They didn't mean to hit you, it was just a natural human thing. Haunt Actors know this. We don't like it, but we know it happens.

Now, on to the story.

A customer, reeking of alcohol and possibly on drugs, was causing problems in the wait line and inside the haunt. Word of this spreads quick from actor to actor as a heads up, keep an eye on this person. It happens every night. We were told to keep an eye on him, if he got too far out of line, call security and have him removed.

About half way through this guy decided he wanted a selfie picture with one of the actors. Cameras are not allowed in the haunt. Clearly stated in the rules. The actor, a kid about 16 years old said no, and went about his business. The drunk / drugged customer put the kid in a head lock and took a picture anyhow. This got to management quick. A manager met him about three quarters of the way through and told him he had to leave. The drunk guy said no. Manager repeated himself. Drunk guy pulled out a 5 inch fixed blade hunting knife, pointed it at the manager, and asked what are you going to do about it. The manager backed off and let the drunk continue. They didn't even follow him to his car to make sure he left, nor did they call the police.

I fear, if I was that manager, I would have drawn and fired onto the customer. If someone points a hunting knife at me in a threatening manner with threatening words along with it, I would consider that my well being and my life were in jeopardy, I would have feared for my life. I believe I would have shot him.

But, would it be a legal self defense action? That is my question. At the very least I think natural instincts would have caused me to present my pistol. If the guy would have lunged towards me, I would shoot. This is in Illinois by the way. Your thoughts?
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Old November 22, 2020, 11:51 PM   #2
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike38
A customer, reeking of alcohol and possibly on drugs, was causing problems in the wait line and inside the haunt. Word of this spreads quick from actor to actor as a heads up, keep an eye on this person. It happens every night. We were told to keep an eye on him, if he got too far out of line, call security and have him removed.

About half way through this guy decided he wanted a selfie picture with one of the actors. Cameras are not allowed in the haunt. Clearly stated in the rules. The actor, a kid about 16 years old said no, and went about his business. The drunk / drugged customer put the kid in a head lock and took a picture anyhow. This got to management quick. A manager met him about three quarters of the way through and told him he had to leave. The drunk guy said no. Manager repeated himself. Drunk guy pulled out a 5 inch fixed blade hunting knife, pointed it at the manager, and asked what are you going to do about it. The manager backed off and let the drunk continue. They didn't even follow him to his car to make sure he left, nor did they call the police.

I fear, if I was that manager, I would have drawn and fired onto the customer. If someone points a hunting knife at me in a threatening manner with threatening words along with it, I would consider that my well being and my life were in jeopardy, I would have feared for my life. I believe I would have shot him.

But, would it be a legal self defense action? That is my question. At the very least I think natural instincts would have caused me to present my pistol. If the guy would have lunged towards me, I would shoot. This is in Illinois by the way. Your thoughts?
I am not a lawyer and I am not familiar with Illinois laws on self-defense. That said, I'm pretty certain that a 5-inch hunting knife is a deadly weapon in Illinois, just as it is in my home state. In my state, if I am threatened with deadly force, I am legally allowed to respond with deadly force.
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Old November 23, 2020, 02:14 AM   #3
raimius
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In general, if a person is presenting a credible threat of causing you death or grievous bodily injury, you are legally allowed to defend yourself with force, including lethal force. Some places require you to attempt to flee, if reasonably possible.

A drunk threatening you with a large knife, from conversation distance easily meets the criteria of a credible threat and would put a reasonable person in fear of their life.

Here is the relevant law, from what I can tell: https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilc...SeqEnd=9700000
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Old November 23, 2020, 02:26 AM   #4
Pond, James Pond
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I have to ask. If threat of personal injury already exists from people overreacting, why was someone intoxicated by one means or another even allowed into the premises?

Most places reserve the right to refuse to serve people who are in a drunk or disorderly state.

Security/police should have been brought into the equation way earlier, IMO.
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Old November 23, 2020, 03:55 AM   #5
Tom Servo
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But, would it be a legal self defense action?
The answer depends on many factors, including state law, the whim of the DA, and who can sell their story to a jury.

Although some of us are lawyers, none of us are your lawyer. It's fortunate that this didn't come to violence, but if it did, it would be a matter to be discussed directly with an attorney.
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