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Old November 20, 2014, 12:30 AM   #1
ZVP
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Ready!

I've read that Hickock drew his revolver already ready to shoot and even kill an opponent. That second or so it takes to decide to shoot was NOT with 'Ol Wild Bill! He was comitted before his trained muscles and nerves strted movement! There was NO other thought in mind.
It sounds easy but really stop and ask yourself "am I THAT ready?" Most likely the honest answer is NO!
I know that I have to come to some way of thinking Wild Bill had.
I'm an average guy with average worries of what will happen to me if I shoot? Shedding those worries off is the main detriment to shooting like Wild Bill! He didn't worry as the shot was already fired in his mind.
The Bad guys have it, they don't care and are coming up firing at you. No regrets, no thoughts of what'll happen to them or their families future, just firing as fast as possible at you! There is no safety vest or protection for you, just commitment of purpose on YOUR part!
I know this will take a lot of pratice and I'm working on it, I gotta live through this thing!
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Old November 20, 2014, 01:32 AM   #2
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On one of Wild Bill's most famous shoot outs, he got in a gun fight at fairly long range for a pistol, and from what I remember reading, just took his time, deliberately aiming and firing while being shot at, and killed his adversary with a single shot to the heart at, seems like it was something like 75yds or so. That was a rare occurrence.

However, I would think that most gun fights are won by whoever makes up there mind first to kill the other at the close ranges involved, and backs it up with accurate enough and fast enough shooting for the day, all while not getting killed in the process. Sounds simple doesn't it.
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Old November 20, 2014, 03:11 AM   #3
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I gotta live through this thing!
What is 'This thing' you gotta live through ?
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Old November 20, 2014, 08:18 AM   #4
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It takes nerves of steel to aim a gun while under fire.
IMHO this was the secret not speed of hand and steel.
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Old November 20, 2014, 10:44 AM   #5
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Madmo44mag got it right !
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Old November 20, 2014, 11:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Posted by ZVP: I've read that Hickock drew his revolver already ready to shoot and even kill an opponent.
I'm afraid I do not understand what that is intended to mean.

Quote:
I'm an average guy with average worries of what will happen to me if I shoot?
Well, yeah, but you really shouldn't be drawing your firearm at all before having come to terms with that concern.

Quote:
Shedding those worries off is the main detriment to shooting like Wild Bill!
That's not the way I see it. I attribute that detriment to a lower level of skill, and to not being sufficiently aware of the existence of an impending threat.

Quote:
I know this will take a lot of pratice and I'm working on it, I gotta live through this thing!
I'm not sure what that means either.

The best way to keep on living uninjured by a violent criminal act is to avoid, de-escalate, and/or escape.
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Old November 20, 2014, 11:20 AM   #7
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Hickok also shot his deputy and the mental anguish associated with this effectively ended his law enforcement days.
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Old November 20, 2014, 11:20 AM   #8
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In the process of developing your mindset, you need to consider that both the legal system and social mores have changed considerably since Hickock's day.
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Old November 20, 2014, 11:34 AM   #9
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That was his most famous shoot out, but there was another one that portrays him probably better.
It took place inside a saloon against multiple opponents.
He was wounded in one hand/arm and continued until victorious with the other one.
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Old November 20, 2014, 11:42 AM   #10
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZVP
I've read that Hickock drew his revolver already ready to shoot and even kill an opponent. That second or so it takes to decide to shoot was NOT with 'Ol Wild Bill! He was comitted before his trained muscles and nerves strted movement! There was NO other thought in mind....
As Mathew Quigley said, "This ain't Dodge City. And you ain't Bill Hickok."

We're [mostly] private citizens in the 21st Century United States interested in defending ourselves and our families from criminal threats. And we need to understand not only how to protect ourselves and families from the physical consequences of unlawful, criminal violence. We need to also understand how to protect ourselves and our families from the potentially devastating consequences in the aftermath of our possibly unlawful misuse of force.

We need to understand when we would not be legally justified in intentionally hurting or killing another human, and when the law would excuse our intentional act of extreme violence. We need to understand such matters well enough to be able to assess a rapidly unfolding situation and make a decision in an instant. And we must be mentally prepared to act on our decision immediately and skillfully.

That's a tall order, but in the 21st Century United States that is our challenge.

So let's take a look at the basic legal reality of the use of force in self defense.
  1. Our society takes a dim view of the use of force and/or intentionally hurting or killing another human. In every State the use of force and/or intentionally hurting or killing another human is prima facie (on its face) a crime of one sort or another.

    1. However, for hundreds of years our law has recognized that there are some circumstances in which such an intentional act of violence against another human might be legally justified.

    2. Exactly what would be necessary to establish that violence against someone else was justified will depend on (1) the applicable law where the event takes place; and (2) exactly what happened and how it happened, which will have to be judged on the basis of evidence gathered after the fact.

    3. Someone who initiated a conflict will almost never be able to legally justify an act of violence against another.

  2. The amount of force an actor may justifiably use in self defense will depend on the level of the threat.

    1. Under the laws of most States, lethal force may be justified when a reasonable person in like circumstance would conclude that a use of lethal force is necessary to prevent the otherwise unavoidable, imminent death or grave bodily injury to an innocent. And to establish that, the actor claiming justified use of lethal force would need to show that the person against whom the lethal force was used reasonably had --

      1. Ability, i. e., the power to deliver force sufficient to cause death or grave bodily harm;

      2. Opportunity, i. e., the assailant was capable of immediately deploying such force; and

      3. put an innocent in Jeopardy, i. e., the assailant was acting in such a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would conclude that he had the intent to kill or cripple.

    2. "Ability" doesn't necessarily require a weapon. Disparity of force, e. g., a large, young, strong person attacking a small, old, frail person, or force of numbers, could show "Ability."

    3. "Opportunity" could be established by showing proximity, lack of barriers or the like.

    4. "Jeopardy" (intent) could be inferred from overt acts (e. g., violent approach) and/or statements of intent.

    5. And unless the standard justifying the use of lethal force is met, use of some lesser level of violence might be legally justified to prevent a harmful or offensive, unconsented to contact by another person.

  3. If you have thus used violence against another person, your actions will be investigated as a crime, because on the surface that's what it is.

    1. Sometimes there will be sufficient evidence concerning what happened and how it happened readily apparent to the police for the police and/or prosecutor to quickly conclude that your actions were justified. If that's the case, you will be quickly exonerated of criminal responsibility, although in many States you might have to still deal with a civil suit.

    2. If the evidence is not clear, you may well be arrested and perhaps even charged with a criminal offense. If that happens you will need to affirmatively assert that you were defending yourself and put forth evidence that you at least prima facie satisfied the applicable standard justifying your act of violence.

    3. Of course, if your use of force against another human took place in or immediately around your home, your justification for your use of violence could be more readily apparent or easier to establish -- maybe.

      1. Again, it still depends on what happened and how it happened. For example, was the person you shot a stranger, an acquaintance, a friend, a business associate or relative? Did the person you shot forcibly break into your home or was he invited? Was the contact tumultuous from the beginning, or did things begin peaceably and turn violent, how and why?

      2. In the case of a stranger forcibly breaking into your home, your justification for the use of lethal force would probably be obvious. The laws of most States provide some useful protections for someone attacked in his home, which protections make it easier and a more certain matter for your acts to be found justified.

      3. It could however be another matter to establish your justification if you have to use force against someone you invited into your home in a social context which later turns violent.

      4. It could also be another matter if you left the safety of your house to confront someone on your property.

  4. Good, general overviews of the topic can be found at UseofForce.us and in this booklet by Marty Hayes at the Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network.

  5. Sometimes a defensive use of lethal force will have grave consequences for the defender, even when ultimately exonerated. For example --

    • This couple, arrested in early April and finally exonerated under Missouri's Castle Doctrine in early June. And no doubt after incurring expenses for bail and a lawyer, as well as a couple of month's anxiety, before being cleared.

    • Larry Hickey, in gun friendly Arizona: He was arrested, spent 71 days in jail, went through two different trials ending in hung juries, was forced to move from his house, etc., before the DA decided it was a good shoot and dismissed the charges.

    • Mark Abshire in Oklahoma: Despite defending himself against multiple attackers on his own lawn in a fairly gun-friendly state with a "Stand Your Ground" law, he was arrested, went to jail, charged, lost his job and his house, and spent two and a half years in the legal meat-grinder before finally being acquitted.

    • Harold Fish, also in gun friendly Arizona: He was still convicted and sent to prison. He won his appeal, his conviction was overturned, and a new trial was ordered. The DA chose to dismiss the charges rather than retry Mr. Fish.

    • Gerald Ung: He was attacked by several men, and the attack was captured on video. He was nonetheless charged and brought to trial. He was ultimately acquitted.

    • Some good folks in clear jeopardy and with no way to preserve their lives except by the use of lethal force against other humans. Yet that happened under circumstances in which their justification for the use of lethal force was not immediately clear. While each was finally exonerated, it came at great emotional and financial cost. And perhaps there but for the grace of God will go one of us.

    • And note also that two of those cases arose in States with a Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law in effect at the time.
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Last edited by Frank Ettin; November 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM. Reason: correct typo
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Old November 20, 2014, 01:26 PM   #11
brokenolmarine
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Learn this line:

I didn't shoot to kill, I shot to live.
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Old November 20, 2014, 02:57 PM   #12
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I have often questioned the "nerves of steel" description of what is required in a life and death situation. I can think of 2 instances in my life that I could describe as life and death, one was a close-call vehicle accident that was narrowly avoided by my reactions and those of the other car. The second one was a dangerous situation that occured during a recreational activity [funny story now but under pain of divorce and genital mutilation I promised my wife I wouldn't speak of it]

Both instances required quick reaction with no time to analyze a situation and I distinctly remember the moments passing with clarity and a certain sureness in my actions (right, wrong or lucky). After the fact is a whole different story, I was a nervous wreck.

I am curious to know if this is in anyway similar to what it's like when you find yourself in an armed self-defense scenario.
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Old November 23, 2014, 01:50 PM   #13
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My worst encounter came in the military, . . . it followed the exact scenario I had figured it would, . . . if it occurred, . . .

I had a plan, . . . the plan worked, . . . I'm still alive, . . .

I really do not believe in pure "luck", . . . but rather put my trust in the Lord to orchestrate things to my best advantage.

Part of that is to be ready, able, proficient, learned, loaded, proper mind set, and a few other attributes that make following through much easier.

May God bless,
Dwight
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Old November 24, 2014, 11:29 AM   #14
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If you draw down on someone in a public place, it is generally advisable to only do so if you are ready to use lethal force to defend yourself or others. Depending on your location, some places require some high standards to legally threaten the use of deadly force (and pointing a loaded gun at someone certainly fits that definition!) I won't attempt to speak to all situations, but the idea of "if you draw a gun, be justified in using it" seems broadly applicable. (That said, if your drawing of said gun results in the bad guy stopping immediately, you are no longer justified to shoot them!)
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Old November 24, 2014, 12:19 PM   #15
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Posted by raimius:

Quote:
...the idea of "if you draw a gun, be justified in using it" seems broadly applicable. (That said, if your drawing of said gun results in the bad guy stopping immediately, you are no longer justified to shoot them!)
It is broadly applicable, but there are jurisdictions in which the threshold for justification is lower. Kansas (I think), Texas, and Washington State come to mind, and there may be others that have slipped my mind. Also, Arizona law provides for "defensive display" that may not necessarily include drawing.
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Old November 24, 2014, 12:21 PM   #16
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The will to use violence , its not a bad thing if for a good cause like protecting the inocent . Some have it and know when to use it some don't , some develope it when faced with the need to make that decision . Despite what some will say punching holes in papper will help . When stressed you tend to fall back on training .
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Old November 24, 2014, 01:46 PM   #17
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Raimius said: (That said, if your drawing of said gun results in the bad guy stopping immediately, you are no longer justified to shoot them!)

If it would make any difference, . . . I would say you were 1000% correct, . . . and I do totally agree with you.

I just don't see many cases where the perp could relay different intentions prior to a 1.4 second "sweep/draw/fire" motion.

I truly hope it never gets to that situation, . . .

May God bless,
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Old November 25, 2014, 04:02 AM   #18
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Indeed, it can be hard for the other party to react and you to process that before you are on target and squeezing the trigger. One would hope the jury/grand jury/DA/police would find your reaction and brain power under stress to be that of a "reasonable person."

I've seen people shoot plenty of "no shoot" targets under much less stress. Mistakes happen. We are not as aware as we would like. Reaction times are longer than we sometimes think.
I've definitely shot paper targets that had a badge at the waistline. (obscured from my vantage)
I've also flipped off the safety and had my finger on the trigger before registering that a paper target was a "no shoot." 4lbs of pressure away from sending a round into what would be a good guy's chest if it had been real...that was a bit humbling!

My takeaway is that you need to be as sure as humanly possible that you are shooting the right target and for the right reasons. The world is an uncertain and sometimes unpredictable place, so train right and use the best judgement you have!

Quote:
It is broadly applicable, but there are jurisdictions in which the threshold for justification is lower. Kansas (I think), Texas, and Washington State come to mind, and there may be others that have slipped my mind. Also, Arizona law provides for "defensive display" that may not necessarily include drawing.
Yes, there are places where there is a lesser standard for threatening the use of deadly force than using deadly force. Know the laws where you are.
Personally, if I'm not ready to kill someone, I don't want to point a gun at them. Drawing to a ready position isn't necessarily pointing at them. "Never muzzle anything you are not willing to destroy." (I realize that certain situations can be resolved by threatening force, and in some situations it may work and be justified morally and legally.)

Last edited by raimius; November 25, 2014 at 04:15 AM.
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