Defensive Shooting

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.  The following is not in any way to be taken as legal advice.  It is merely my opinion.  If you’re stupid enough to need such a disclaimer, get the fuck off of my blog.

I’m sure everyone has seen this video by now:

All indications are that the old man will not be charged.  Several folks have hailed it as “how things should be done”.  To a point, I agree.  There is, however, an elephant in the room that nobody has mentioned.  I mean no disrespect, nor do I wish to Monday Morning Quarterback what Mr. Williams did.  He was in the right, and I applaud his actions.  No jury in any free state would ever convict him, even if charges were brought.  However, I would like to make a few observations and offer some cautionary advice, so as to perhaps lower the risk should one find themselves in a similar situation.

Had either of the thugs died, he would be under arrest.  Had he been a younger man, he would likely be under arrest.  Why?  Watch the video again.  He did everything right.  At first.  He waited until the primary asswipe turned around, then he drew and engaged.  After the first shot, the two hood rats were fighting each other to be the first one out the door.  Our hero pursued (no problem) and continued to fire (potential problem).

Once they were all assholes and elbows, the threat was over and the firing could have been stopped.  I’m sure the adrenaline was still pumping, and it is normal to want to give some payback to any piece of shit who would dare to point a gun at you for no other reason than to take your stuff.  Any backwards glance or raising of their gun should definitely be answered.  I didn’t see any of that in the video, but perhaps Mr. Williams did or thought he did while it was happening.  If so, he reacted appropriately.

I am reminded of a video training exercise that I had in law enforcement training back in the mid-1990’s.  My partner was being held at gunpoint in the typical human shield position.  I had drawn my sidearm, and was yelling at the bad guy to let him go.  All of the sudden, my partner makes a move that distanced him enough from the bad guy to give me what I felt was a clear shot.  In that instant, I started firing.  The instructor immediately paused the tape and asked me why I chose to shoot.

I believed that the gun was still in the possession of the bad guy, but not so firmly on my partner but what I could neutralize the bad guy before he could get a shot off.  The instructor told me to document it accordingly, and I’d be fine.  Then he continued the tape.  It turned out that my partner’s move had enabled him to disarm the bad guy.  I would have been equally right had I not fired.  My point is this.  You only have milliseconds to make the shoot/no shoot decision.  React to what you see, and what you believe.  Never change your story, even if you learn later that what you thought was going on doesn’t quite match reality.  Sometimes, there are multiple correct responses.

The correct mindset is critical.  Shoot to stop the threat, then stop and cover.  Period.  Any pain inflicted, and any goblins subsequently assuming room temperature are bonuses, but such can never the intent.  Even if you did catch the sonofabitch raping your daughter, or doing something similarly distasteful.

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2 Responses to Defensive Shooting

  1. Critter says:

    your general observation is correct, and any variation on the results would be a matter for the vagaries of state laws. know the laws of one’s state.

    • alaskan454 says:

      Most states (TX excluded) require that there be a significant threat of death or grievous bodily harm (language varies by state, but that is the general idea) before deadly force can be used. In this case, grandpa scared a couple thugs straight, at least temporarily, and nobody else is much the worse for wear. I call it a win all around.

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