The officer who only practices shooting in order to qualify for his mandatory range qualifications
The CCW permit holder who buys a gun and a box of ammo…fires a few shots at the range to qualify on his new gun and then puts the gun away feeling confident he can use it effectively to protect himself and his loved ones
The hunter who shoots once a year during hunting season.
Issues regarding the use of deadly force are guided by laws (courts) and our personal decisions.
As long as our decisions conform to the law there are few problems. If not, we will have big problems in the form of legal and civil liability.
Because RJR Training is not likely to be present when these decision are made, we will not be able to give “hard and fast” “shoot or don’t shoot” advice. However we will give you some guidelines to consider prior to that moment that may or may not occur.
No matter how high quality or caliber your gun is….
No matter how high you score on the RJR/CCW test
If you have not thoroughly considered under what set of circumstances you would present your handgun and discharge it into a lethal threat , you should put that handgun away in a gun safe until you have made that decision.
Without that pre-thought you will likely get killed or be involved in a shooting that was not justified .
NO! It is preparation. Preparing for something you hope will never occur…but being ready if it does.
Is it probable?
Statistically no . But if you are that one in ten thousand that is the exception to the statistic, you don’t really care about the others. You want to live… and you want your family to live and survive.
The point is that if you are not willing and able to confront the fact that today, might be the day…that someone by chance or design may attempt to take your life or the life of a loved one, then how do you expect to make the right decision regarding the use of deadly force?
If you can say yes to the previous statement, you have made the first and most important decision towards using a weapon to defend yourself & family or others. If not, please consider whether a CCW is right for you.
What is the difference between a law enforcement officer and a CCW holder?
Police officers are sworn to protect the public if they observe a violent crime in their presence. But a CCW holder may use deadly force to protect the life of another, if in fact their life was in danger. He is not required to do so. (Ethical Decision)
A police officer has many legal and societal protections that a CCW holder does not have if he or she is involved in a shooting. Especially if the family of the assailant feels they have suffered a loss and you might have something to give up. Of course that is providing that your shot was accurate enough to eliminate the assailant.
Can you think of a situation where you could ethically & legally shoot but may choose to hold fire?
What if you shoot a home invader that was dressed in a long top coat wielding a shotgun? After the police shows up you find out that he has been wanted by the police? How would you feel? You hear their excitement so you are also elated right?
In the same scenario you shoot him and after the police show up you find out it’s the kid from next door. How would you feel then?
Both are justified shootings and both are ethically still ok. But how are you going to feel?
End of Lesson 2 Moral & Ethical Considerations
You are justified in the necessary use of deadly force when there is “reasonable” fear of “immediate” or otherwise “unavoidable” danger of “death or serious bodily injury,” to the “innocent.”
All of these factors must be present in order to justifiably use deadly force. Lacking any one or more of these key factors will result in a questionable use of deadly force and you will face the criminal and civil consequences.
Serious Bodily Injury – Any injury that cripples; permanently disfigures, or could cause death within minutes, hours, days, or months. Cuts, broken bones, and internal injuries to the vital organs and brain are considered bodily injury.
Temporary cosmetic injuries such as black eyes, swollen lips, abrasions, surface bruises are not considered serious bodily injury.
Innocent : Free from guilt or fault. Harmless in effect or intention. You or the person(s) you are defending must be free of fault, instigation or escalation to the immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury. You cannot start or condone a fight, then use deadly force and claim self defense.
Example: A woman is fighting off a man by a car in the parking lot. He has a tire iron in his hand. What do you do?
You know when your assailant has the Ability, Opportunity , and Intent
Ability : Your assailant possesses the physical power to kill, cripple, or permanently disfigure through the use of physical strength, unarmed fighting skills, blunt weapons, edges weapons, or firearms.
Opportunity : Your assailant is capable of immediately inflicting injury by striking you at arms length with bare hands, conversational distances with blunt or edged weapons, or any range with a firearm.
Intent : Your assailant is acting or speaking in a manner, that any reasonable and sensible person would assume indicates your assailant’s intention to kill, cripple, or permanently disfigure you.
It must appear to witnesses on the scene and you must believe that your assailant has the intent, the opportunity, and the ability to immediately inflict serious injury or kill you if you do not use deadly force to prevent it.
A man by the name of Mike Waidelich designed a study which measured the amount of time the “average” man can present his weapon from the holster or the “Ready” position and fire a single shot to the center of mass of a humanoid target and compared it to the distance a man armed with a contact weapon could run and inflict a fatal wound.
The time is 1.5 second. In that 1.5 seconds, the “average” man can travel 21 feet. Therefore, when facing an opponent armed with a contact weapon, 7 to 10 yards away, with nothing intervening between you and the weapon, you are in immediate danger death or serious bodily injury. Dennis Tueller later wrote an article on Mike Waidelich’s study which appear in SWAT magazine, 1983 and the study become known as the Tueller Drill.
When should I present my weapon and when should I shoot?
You should present your weapon when faced with an armed assailant or when an unarmed assailant(s) presents a disparity of force and you have a reasonable fear of immediate or otherwise unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury to the innocent .
If your assailant’s attack is not already in progress, you should present your weapon to the “Ready” position and shout “ Stop or I will shoot!” If your assailant continues to advance toward you, not only are you justified in shooting, you now must shoot to stop your assailant or your assailant will access your weapon and harm you and others around you.
If your assailant’s attack is in progress, you should present your weapon to the center of mass of your assailant and shoot to stop his attack. You are not shooting to kill, although in stopping your assailant’s attack with well placed shots to his torso, he may die.
It must also be understood that when the threat of serious injury or death ends, any further use of deadly force will be considered unnecessary. Having present your weapon to use deadly force against your attacker, if he either abandons his attack on y our or is rendered incapable of completing his attack, the right to use deadly force ends and any continued use of force cannot be justified as self-defense. You are shooting to stop the attack and once the attack is stopped, your shooting stops. At the point where the attack ends, excessive use of force begins.
Escalation of Force occurs when one, apparently unarmed individual in a confrontation with another, apparently unarmed individual produces a weapon and escalates the conflict and required force to end it.
You should not present your weapon unless your assailant has the Ability, Opportunity, and Intent to kill or inflict serious bodily injury.
A shouting match or fist fight where you are not in immediate and unavoidable danger of death or serious bodily injury, becomes a lethal confrontation if you present your weapon and now your opponent presents his.
You may be found to be guilty of escalating the force and thereby lose your innocence in the fault or cause of the lethal conflict.
Again, in order to justify the use of deadly force, you must show that is was necessary in that there was no alternative and that no lesser degree of force was likely to succeed.
If you can retreat was it necessary to use deadly force?
In some jurisdictions, retreat is required. In those jurisdictions, if you do not retreat until you can retreat no more, then you are not justified in using deadly force. In other jurisdictions retreat is not required.
“Hello 911…this is ______ I want to report that I just shot an assailant who attempted to kill me with (weapon) Please send the police and an ambulance . If he lives I want to press charges against him for attempted murder. I am at (exact location) and I am a (give detailed description) wearing (detailed description) and I am holding a (give description of firearm).
Some departments will not allow officers to leave you on the scene. You must be taken in. If so, wait on the statement. Invoke your right to remain silent.
If officer indicates he does not intend to charge you with a crime, feel free to give a brief statement.
If arrested, the district attorney has 48 hours to charge or release you.
If arrested, when allowed a call, call a friend, family member, or influential member of community and request they call police station to have you released. DO NOT make a statement until you have your attorney present.
If you had been in Condition White you would have not have had a clue.
In Condition Orange you have identified a specific potential threat. You possibly made an evasive maneuver to minimize your exposure and maximize your tactical advantage.
You haven not presented a weapon yet because the specific potential threat may turn out to be harmless. Just a set of coincidences or it may be a predator that upon seeing your actions has decided that your actions may be that of someone who would not be an attractive target of opportunity.
From Condition Orange, you are ready to defend yourself or your loved ones.
The couples approaching you from opposite directions again shift their direction and follow you as you quickly dart across the street. The female places her hand on her purse and keeps it there as they converge on your flanks. You plan to run to a brick building for cover, draw your weapon to ready and shout STOP!! If they don’t stop and the woman produces a weapon, you will shoot her first.
The person exiting the vehicle as you change direction in your approach to the car, motions to another vehicle and two more men exit a vehicle parked a few cars away. As you turn and head back to the shopping center, they pursue, but then give up the chase as other shoppers appear in the parking garage.
The late model Ford truck that has followed you through three consecutive right turns, rear ends you at the next stop light. The driver and passenger quickly exit their vehicle. One has a gun. You anticipated this problem and left plenty of distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. A quick left turn of the wheel to the right and you accelerate around the corner.
The delivery van driver pulls the van up to you and asks for directions. At a distance you give the directions but heard the rear doors open. Quickly gaining distance from the van you see two males with contact weapons quickly moving toward you. You draw your weapon and shoot the closest man to you. After all he has a knife.
How do you choose which assailant to take out first?
In Condition Red, your observations and evaluation of the specific potential threat, leaves no doubt in your mind that the threat is real and dangerous.
You have already attempted to avoid the threat when it first appeared to you. You have formulated a plan of defense and are now carrying it out, and have set a mental trigger that will tell you when to deliver your defensive response. Your mental trigger is a “line in the sand”. If the threat crosses the line your response is already determined. There is no hesitation, as your response is instantaneous.
Your awareness, anticipation, concentration, controlled decision making, and actions do not allow any room for fear in your mind.
You cannot think about fear or the possibility of being killed because your training has kicked in and your COMBAT MIND SET has told you that you have a job to do. A job that must be done right and right now.