Category Archives: deadly force

Armed Citizen® – July 2018 Analysis – Part III

Posts Part I and Part II broke out the circumstances and tasks of the incidents of this month’s (July 2018) Armed Citizen® column. Today let’s discuss the implications of the circumstances and tasks for those who own firearms for personal protection.

The most common task (all six incidents) accomplished was:

  • Retrieve the firearm from storage.

There were no incidents this month in which the firearm was carried on the person’s body. This is a subjective call on the part of editors as to which of the plethora of Defensive Gun Uses to include in a monthly column. However, only 6 percent of the adult population has a license or permit to carry a weapon outside the home, according to John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center.  It’s also commonly acknowledged that among those who have a license or permit to carry, actually carrying on the person is sporadic, at best. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the majority, perhaps vast majority, of Defensive Gun Uses do not occur in public places.

One implication of this fact is that a certain amount of emphasis should be placed on retrieving a firearm from its actual storage location, be it home or vehicle, and then putting it into operation. This is especially true if the firearm is kept in some sort of safe, whether it is large or small. If an autoloader is stored with the chamber empty, the need to be able to place the weapon into a fully fireable condition is also implied. Avoiding Negligent Discharges in the process is desirable.

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Armed Citizen® Tasks – July 2018

JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

Yesterday’s post broke out the circumstances of the incidents of this month’s Armed Citizen® column. Today’s post breaks out the tasks involved.

Task Analyses

Tucson

Women have been buying an increasing number of firearms in recent years, and that trend is starting to make itself felt against those who try to commit criminal acts. In Arizona, for example, a shopper was getting ready to get into her car and drive home. While she was attempting to close the door of her vehicle, a man armed with a hatchet approached her vehicle, demanded that she hand over her keys and get out of the car. The woman drew a sidearm and told the man to back off. Instead, the assailant raised the hatchet. The shopper proceeded to shoot him, holding him at gunpoint until the police and medics arrived. The suspect was hospitalized, and charges were to be filed later. (Tucson News, Tucson, Ariz., 4/14/18)

Tasks accomplished by Citizen

  • Retrieve from car (handgun)
  • Challenge from ready
  • Engage from ready (handgun)
  • Shoot with handgun
  • Hold at gunpoint until police arrive

Circumstances

Location of Incident

  • In or around Vehicle

Citizen action

  • Challenge criminal
  • Shot(s) fired
  • Held at gunpoint

Result to Criminal

  • Criminal wounded
  • Captured

Gun Type

  • Handgun

Firearm Location

  • In Vehicle

Number of Shots fired

  • 1

Number of adversaries

  • 1 adversary

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Analyzing the Armed Citizen® – July 2018

JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

Looking at circumstances and tasks involved in the Monthly Armed Citizen® column of the NRA Official Journals provides us with some food for thought about personal protection. The incidents are summarized in the column for copyright reasons. I have provided links to the original stories for further study.

We can look at the incidents from two perspectives; circumstances and the tasks involved for the defender. This post will categorize the circumstances for each incident. Tomorrow will analyze the tasks involved.

Circumstances Analyses

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Reasonableness and Stopping the threat

“While [Appellant’s] belief may have been real to him, it was not reasonable and therefore the use of force used by [Appellant] was not justified.”

That distinction is lost on many people, to their legal peril. Just because someone thinks they’re in danger of serious bodily injury or death doesn’t mean the court is going to accept that state of mind. State of mind has to be reasonable. “In fear for my life,” a subjective test, has become something of a mantra but in the absence of other objective factors, it may be unreasonable.

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The Woman’s Gun Pamphlet

The Woman’s Gun Pamphlet came up in conversation during The Mingle yesterday. Since the original source is no more, I’m republishing this post for interested parties.

tacticalprofessor

Through an oblique reference, I recently found a link to The Woman’s Gun Pamphlet.Edit: The link and the server appear to be gone. A PDF of the Pamphlet is available at the edit of this post.

WGP picture

It’s a very interesting publication that was written and published by a colloquium of radical feminists in 1975. The intent was to provide information about both guns themselves and about personal protection attitudes to women of that era who knew nothing about guns or personal protection. As such, I consider it an historically significant document. There’s quite a bit of political rhetoric in it but also a goodly amount of information. Even dry practice is touched on. Some morsels of dry wit are quite entertaining.

toc edit

Especially interesting to me is that it was written from the perspective of self-taught women of the time with some input from men and by doing primary…

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The OODA Loop and Negative Outcomes – Part I

Proverbs 26:17 English Standard Version (ESV)

Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.

In rejecting the Lansdale man’s appeal, a judge wrote Storms thinks he is ‘some type of hero that injects himself into certain situations.’

Our Decisions usually determine our Outcomes as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Many, if not most, of our decisions are made ahead of time. When we make the same decision repeatedly over time, that is obviously the case. If we have made bad decisions ahead of time, the likelihood we WON’T select that decision from our list of options is minuscule.

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The Medina, North Dakota Shootout

Thirty-five years ago today, on February 13, 1983, a violent gunbattle took place in Medina, North Dakota. Although less well known than the Miami Massacre in 1986, it was every bit as bloody and violent. Something it had in common with the Miami Massacre was preparation for conflict and the decisiveness of long guns at pistol ranges.

On one side was a task force of US Marshals and local law enforcement officers. On the other side were members of a local Posse Comitatus group. Casualties were high on both sides. Four months later, a second related encounter, hundreds of miles away, brought more loss of life.

The Prelude

Gordon Kahl was a Midwestern farmer and Federal tax resister. He was a member of a loosely knit organization called the Posse Comitatus. The Posse recognizes no authority above the county level and held many hateful beliefs. He had been imprisoned for Federal tax evasion but had been released on probation. However, he failed to report to his Probation Officer and a Federal warrant for his arrest was issued.

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Lessons from an Armed Robbery

Barry Fixler, former Marine and Viet Nam veteran, owns a jewelry store in New York State. On Valentine’s Day 2005, a couple of criminals decided to relieve him of his merchandise. It didn’t turn out the way they planned. We are fortunate that much of the incident was captured on video. There are numerous lessons we can draw from the incident. Let me preface all my commentary by saying that I greatly admire Mr. Fixler’s courage and how he handled the situation.

Bottom Line Up Front: Good Guy 1, Bad Guys 0; that’s clearly a commendable victory.

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Why think ahead and why practice?

Today’s news contains an article with several lessons in it for the Armed Private Citizen.

Police: Man outside Walmart shot [his gun] in self-defense

The lessons cut across an array of topics relevant to Personal Protection. Let’s use the CAN/MAY/SHOULD/MUST paradigm as a basis for the discussion.

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Scientific Theory v. Legal Theory

The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. [Scientific theory] refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.

For example, the theory of plate tectonics is a scientific theory. There is ample evidence, which is indisputable, that the surface of the Earth is divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales.

Scientific theory is much different than legal theory but those who casually study personal protection often confuse the two. “Legal theory refers to the principle under which a litigant proceeds, or on which a litigant bases its claims or defenses in a case.” Legal theory is much closer to being a hypothesis, in the scientific sense. In some ways, legal theories are not even hypotheses but are, in fact, merely speculation by an attorney.

We ignore this distinction at our peril. A recent court decision in Pennsylvania provides good examples of why. Among those with a casual knowledge of personal protection concepts, the phrase ‘disparity of force’ is parroted as an almost ironclad defense if a much larger person has been shot. However, ‘disparity of force’ is merely a legal theory that one’s defense attorney can raise at trial. While the defense might be bolstered in this effort by expert witnesses, the shooter cannot take it for granted this theory will have any effect on the outcome.

australianparrots-cropSimilarly, the concept of ‘shoot him to the ground’ is often blathered on about. This idea is rooted in the notion that ‘if the first shot was justified, the rest won’t matter.’ As can be seen in the Pennsylvania case, courts may find this idea unconvincing.

The Kimball case in Maine gives another example of how these two often regurgitated legal theories failed to sway either the jury or the court. “Kimball’s attorneys argue Cole made a mistake by not instructing the jury that it could find that Kimball had been adequately provoked by Kelley, who was 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, after being repeatedly struck as he retreated away from Kelley.” The Maine Supreme Judicial Court found this argument unconvincing and rejected it. Merrill Kimball, 74 years old, will spend the rest of his life in prison, an unpleasant prospect. The fact he fired three shots rather than just one was raised at trial by the judge.

There are other legal theories I periodically hear that, while they sound good, similarly cannot be counted on to prevail in a courtroom. We need to be cautious about using potential legal theories an attorney could raise in our defense when formulating the doctrine we will use for our decision-making.

The law is not logical and does not necessarily ‘make sense’ to the uneducated. We are best served by being knowledgeable, rather than speculating, about what it is or assuming what we think it should be. The one assumption we can make is that nearly everything we read on the Internet about the law is wrong.

chinese whispers

For those who carry weapons of any kind, including personal weapons (hands, feet, etc. as the FBI defines them), obtaining some real legal training is well worthwhile. Law Of Self Defense, Massad Ayoob Group, the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, and other organizations provide information, not speculation, about what we can and cannot do in our defense and the defense of our loved ones. The cost is about equal to one hour of a criminal defense attorney’s time; that’s a good tradeoff.

Note: I am not a lawyer and by no means am I giving legal advice. I am merely pointing out fallacies in thinking that I often observe.

Fair disclaimer: I have taken training from Law Of Self Defense, Massad Ayoob Group, and am a local affiliate trainer for the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network.