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Thread: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

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    Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    So I have a couple of ideas that were discussed today.

    There is an armed criminal in a 7/11 robbing the place. Numerous scenarios can play out, but legally the armed criminal can be shot by a bystanding civilian. What might be considered too far and over the line in terms of action by the civilian? Should the civilian be charged with anything?

    What about a breaking and entering in an occupied home? Is there are instance where a civilian at home should not shoot the intruder? Should it depend on the location of the criminal in the home? As in bedroom vs kitchen or garage? Or does it depend on what the criminal has with them? Or is the simple act of breaking into an occupied home enough cause to shoot on sight? Should the civilian be charged?

    In the instance of a mass shooter, if they are met with armed resistance by a civillian who shoots and kills, is that the wrong course of action of that civilian? Might there be cases where a civilian should not act on an active shooter? Is it wrong for the civilian to act in this situation?

    Would it be wrong for a civilian who is right outside of a "gun free zone" to upon hearing gun fire, go into the gun free zone armed...and shoot and kill a mass shooter? Should the civilian be charged the felony for violating the gun free zone policy?

    I know my answers. I am curious about others.


    Oh and here is an incident I am curious what yall might think about?

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/09/...me-with-ak-47/
    Last edited by stonewall50; 03-07-12 at 12:55 AM.
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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    Every state has slightly different answers to each of your questions, all based on common law we can trace back to the Magna Carta. There can be no real, reliable replies to your questions because in every case, the answers are way too fact-sensitive, state dependent, evolving, etc.

    If your question is more "what is moral" as opposed to "what is legal", this is my answer. I don't own a gun, never have, and never will. When I had a little one to protect, I arranged our lives so that I felt we were safe (however much of an illusion that may have been). And safe we were.

    I'm older now, I live alone in a nice, safe neighborhood without any recent violent crime, but I'm aware it can happen anywhere. If it does, it does. I am not carrying a gun, let alone shooting to kill. The odds are highly favorable I'll never be the victim of a violent crime, and if attacked hand to hand, I'd fight.

    But kill by use of a gun? Not this chick. I am just not wired for that. (Knife, mebbe...but gun, absolutely not.)

    I'll never kill another human, at least not with a gun, not even to save myself. I choose not to even consider living with that aftermath.


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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    It goes "too far" and is excessive when the force used exceeds that which would be reasonably necessary to protect the third party from harm. Also, it must reasonably appears that the third party is in eminent danger.

    The Long Island man was not justified in using his firearm. He overreacted, he was under a duty to retreat into his home, the police were already called and he incited the situation.

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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    Quote Originally Posted by stonewall50 View Post
    So I have a couple of ideas that were discussed today.

    There is an armed criminal in a 7/11 robbing the place. Numerous scenarios can play out, but legally the armed criminal can be shot by a bystanding civilian. What might be considered too far and over the line in terms of action by the civilian? Should the civilian be charged with anything?

    What about a breaking and entering in an occupied home? Is there are instance where a civilian at home should not shoot the intruder? Should it depend on the location of the criminal in the home? As in bedroom vs kitchen or garage? Or does it depend on what the criminal has with them? Or is the simple act of breaking into an occupied home enough cause to shoot on sight? Should the civilian be charged?

    In the instance of a mass shooter, if they are met with armed resistance by a civillian who shoots and kills, is that the wrong course of action of that civilian? Might there be cases where a civilian should not act on an active shooter? Is it wrong for the civilian to act in this situation?

    Would it be wrong for a civilian who is right outside of a "gun free zone" to upon hearing gun fire, go into the gun free zone armed...and shoot and kill a mass shooter? Should the civilian be charged the felony for violating the gun free zone policy?

    I know my answers. I am curious about others.


    Oh and here is an incident I am curious what yall might think about?

    Long Island Man Arrested For Defending Home With AK-47 CBS New York
    In the situations you describe, I would fire without hesitation, and the ground would never be in danger of getting shot. I think you have to make a conscious decision how far you will go in a given situation before ever getting into the situation. When the SHTF, hesitation means death.

    In the linked situation, that is a close call. I would probably retreat, but there would never be a doubt to the gang members that I was capable of pulling the trigger. A human can travel 20 feet in 1 second. Not much time to decide if you are doing the right thing.

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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinkie View Post
    Every state has slightly different answers to each of your questions, all based on common law we can trace back to the Magna Carta. There can be no real, reliable replies to your questions because in every case, the answers are way too fact-sensitive, state dependent, evolving, etc.

    If your question is more "what is moral" as opposed to "what is legal", this is my answer. I don't own a gun, never have, and never will. When I had a little one to protect, I arranged our lives so that I felt we were safe (however much of an illusion that may have been). And safe we were.

    I'm older now, I live alone in a nice, safe neighborhood without any recent violent crime, but I'm aware it can happen anywhere. If it does, it does. I am not carrying a gun, let alone shooting to kill. The odds are highly favorable I'll never be the victim of a violent crime, and if attacked hand to hand, I'd fight.

    But kill by use of a gun? Not this chick. I am just not wired for that. (Knife, mebbe...but gun, absolutely not.)

    I'll never kill another human, at least not with a gun, not even to save myself. I choose not to even consider living with that aftermath.

    I think you are right in understanding your own limits and acting accordingly. A person with a weapon who is insure is going to get themselves killed. Don't know about the knife, though, I would have a hard time with that one.

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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    Totally justified. Having deterrence is not enough, sometimes you must show that you are willing to employ it. They challenged him and he showed them he was willing to use it and did so without harming anyone. If they had actually proceeded to approach the house, I would say he would have been justified in using deadly force.

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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    For me in a public environment I think it comes down to imminent threat of death. You aren't taught to "shoot to maim", so you have to be prepared to cause fatal injury if you're going to aim your weapon at somebody.

    In the 7-11 scenario it may not even be necessary to shoot the robber, merely aiming your CC weapon at him could be enough to quell the threat. If the robber runs, let him go and call the cops. If you shoot him while he flees you'll be in a world of trouble in most states.

    In the mass shooter scenario I'm not sure you could negotiate with such a person. I think it would likely be self-defense in most states if you shot to kill in that scenario, given the profile of a mass shooter.

    As for my home? All bets are off as far as I'm concerned. If you unlawfully enter my house with the intent to steal, molest, destroy, or otherwise negatively affect my property then I will take all actions necessary to stop you in the act. In Texas, castle laws protect the homeowner in the event of a home invasion or intrusion, whether the robber has a weapon or not. I plan to use that law to my advantage if somebody is dumb enough to break into my home while I'm there.
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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    Finally got the article to load. I'm not sure I'd convict the man based on the information available. While it's pretty dumb to shoot at the ground, I don't think his actions constituted reckless endangerment.

    I lived in an area of high gang activity for quite sometime and I remember very clearly how good they were about following up on threats. In that situation I'd probably be thinking, "Even if they leave, they might come back. I can't leave my home and family unprotected..." A show of forceand willingness to use his weapon might (or might not) make the gang members hesitate to target him again.

    And hey...it got the cops to his home much faster.
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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    In your 7-11 scenerio, I think I would hope I would assess the threat before shooting the robber. If the robber was armed, if I saw a gun, I wouild shoot him until my gun was empty and reload.

    In my home, I would shoot until my gun was empty and reload. Of course, this is assuming I would have time to run into my bedroom, get the gun out of the box in my nightstand, find the little key that unlocks it, remove the little orange disc thingie that separates the firing pin from the bullets, load the gun, and fire-fire-fire-fire-fire-fire. If a home intruder takes that long to get to me in my house? He deserves to die.

    In a mass shooter situation, fire-fire-fire-fire-fire-fire. Reload.

    Many people think these questions are silly. I don't. I think it is helpful to rehearse scenerios in our minds -- though, without professional training, what we think we'd do and what we'd actually do are often very different.

    Edit: Oh. The link's scenerio. I would not have gone out on the porch. I think that was stupid. If he really thought they were going to invade his home, he could have announced his intent to shoot and fired off a round in his living room. That's actually when a shotgun comes in handy. Few people are going to advance when they hear that sooo distinctive click-click.

    I wonder what that technology is that pinpoints a gunshot...
    Last edited by MaggieD; 03-07-12 at 09:27 AM.
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    Re: Shooting To Stop the Crime: What is too Far?

    Quote Originally Posted by tessaesque View Post
    Finally got the article to load. I'm not sure I'd convict the man based on the information available. While it's pretty dumb to shoot at the ground, I don't think his actions constituted reckless endangerment.

    I lived in an area of high gang activity for quite sometime and I remember very clearly how good they were about following up on threats. In that situation I'd probably be thinking, "Even if they leave, they might come back. I can't leave my home and family unprotected..." A show of forceand willingness to use his weapon might (or might not) make the gang members hesitate to target him again.

    It really depends on where a person lives, New York law is different than Texas law as the Joe Horn incident illustrates. Joe Horn, living in Texas, shot and killed two men who while they were were attempting to rob a neighbor's house. He was exonerated of all charges even though records from the police dispatcher show that Horn was repeatedly asked to not to interfere with the burglary because the police were on their way to the scene.
    Last edited by Connery; 03-07-12 at 09:29 AM.

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