While we all hope to never have to make the decision to use deadly force to defend ourselves and our loved ones, it happens everyday somewhere and with an opposition party in the USA that incites and advocates violence, hate and criminality in the place of reasoned debate and an open mind, criminals may not always be that person kicking in your front door.
From road rage escalating to flag burning to destruction of public and private property to the assault on our history, the flash points can be anywhere and escalation is sometimes impossible to control.
The Christian approach of “turning the other cheek” can often result in that one getting struck as well or worse.
“How Did This Start?”
Always the first question, how did this start, how did it escalate so quickly, how did it come to this? This is also the map of the trail that is going to play out in your life going forward. Like the 5 steps of grief each must be examined under a microscope and defined ad nauseum before moving on to the next step.
The temptation to find self guilt in your actions will be real, no matter what endless keyboard warriors and armchair quarterbacks claim. Every soldier and every police officer goes through the same process, or lies about it.
And this is your most dangerous time, as you try and process what happened those tasked with determining what happened will not give you the time to process your actions. Memories go stale and get convoluted by time and distance from any event. And every word spoken in that first hour will haunt you forever, set the trail map mentioned above and map out where things will go from there. This is your most vulnerable period.
“MAKE IT STOP!”
When someone escalates a confrontation to the level of using deadly force every one who has faced this, including professionals like police officers and soldiers, has the same gut reaction – NOT to shoot to kill, but to shoot to make it stop. That they may be one and the same is situational. This is why your first reaction is to keep pulling the trigger until it doesn’t go “bang” anymore, why suspects in armed confrontations with police are often shot multiple times. It isn’t some macho thing, it is preservation of self and loved ones. It is subduing the threat.
I for one blame the mind-numbing desensitization of this on the media, from the old westerns of the post WWII period to the movies to TV news who refuse to show the reality. (Thank goodness Sam Peckinpah finally showed up.)
If you take nothing from this article other than to make your first statement as to what happened “I shot to make it stop!” as opposed to “I shot to kill” then I will have provided some value.
Remember, the Police Want to Go Home that Night too
To quote Hans Gruber from the first Die Hard Movie “Relax, police intervention was inevitable….” And it will be in your case should you be involved in any self-defense using firearms.
Understand that they are responding to an “active shooter situation” and are clueless as to who shot who or why when they arrive BUT will engage, with gunfire, anyone they see with a gun, so, if the threat has been neutralized by you, make sure to holster or put down your weapon before they kick in your door and keep your hands in clear sight. And answer from cover and then follow their demands. They will arrest you and handcuff you and take your weapon. So would you if you were in their role. They want the situation completely defused, the same “make it stop” mindset.
Do not, under any circumstances pass the weapon you used to anyone else, not a trusted family member, no one. It is now a crucial piece of evidence in your defense and you do not want it convoluted by others fingerprints, etc.
No matter how justified, no matter how many witnesses, get professional council immediately. Look into Texas Law Shield or USCCA now, before you need it. There are others, these are the two I have used, and still do. KNOW what they do and do not provide.
Know also that it only takes one prosecutor looking to make a name for him or her self and further a political career to make a justified shooting in self defense into a jumping off point for their gain, at your expense. And don’t lose site of the fact that criminals have families and they can hire lawyers too and they have a complicit media always willing to give them public voice.
Now is NOT the time to tell your side of events other than to state you were assaulted and you want your lawyer.
The ten (10) things NOT to do are:
- Call 911 in a Panic
- Leave the scene
- Move or tamper with evidence
- Have your gun in your hand
- Make a statement to police without your lawyer
- Fall for the “good cop/bad cop” routine
- Try your case on the spot with them
- Lecture them on “your rights”
- Fail to address them as either “sir or officer”
- Be surprised if you are treated as a criminal
In a society so over-burdened with laws by so many governing agencies you can be assured you have broken at least on law, if not several, in your act of self defense. For example most cities make it a crime to discharge a weapon within their limits, no matter the reason. The list could be long. Even if the city doesn’t have that law, the county may, or you may be withing a restricted distance to a school, government facility, and on and on.
Consider simply stating “My gun is laying over there, and that is the gun that I used to shoot my attacker in self defense because I feared for my life. I do not want to say anything else until I have had time to talk to my attorney. I want to cooperate with the investigation completely, but I’m very upset right now and I need to talk to my attorney first. I hope you understand.”
Believe me, if you can say the above in a clear controlled voice you are better than 90% of you fellow citizens who will be traumatized by the situation. Taking a life is a necessary evil sometimes, but it is never easy, and you will never be the same.
Better to be judged by 12 than carried by six, you will be judged. Try and not be your harshest critic and seeking professional counseling is not a sign of weakness.