State of Mind Shootings

This is a discussion on State of Mind Shootings within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; After viewing the public restroom thread I thought I would post a scenario on what is often referred to a "state of mind" shootings. They ...

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Thread: State of Mind Shootings

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    State of Mind Shootings

    After viewing the public restroom thread I thought I would post a scenario on what is often referred to a "state of mind" shootings. They can be justified shootings.

    They can vary from the common SD situations, in that they may rely more on the totality of the circumstances than if a weapon is presented or seen, and seemed to be a good subject discussion.

    To properly set the stage, you live in a place where defense of others under aparent threat of life or GBI is justified. Okay, here we go.

    You hear a comotion outside your house and go outside to see what is going on. You just got home and are still wearing your edc concealed weapon. You observe one of the next door neighbor's children, about ten years old, staggering on the front lawn of his house. You run over to him and observe what appears to be a gunshot wound in his stomach area. He says, "My dad shot me." He then falls to the ground.

    You observe the father on the front porch about twenty feet away. He is dressed in levis and a tee shirt and has no visible weapon. He yells, "That's one of my cheating wife's kids. I'm going to go in and shoot another one and throw him out." He turns to go back in the house. He is too far away for you to reach him befor he reenters the house and locks the door.

    Would you shoot him in the back? Why or why not? Would you consider it a justified shooting?

    While laws vary in different locations, lets confine the discussion to what is put forth in the scenario to keep it manageable.

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array Treo's Avatar
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    Would you shoot him in the back?

    I'm not sure. I don't like my neighbor's kids all that much

    Seriously, I would have dropped him before he finished the sentence

    Why or why not?


    1. I heard the comotion which I will assume means I heard the shot.

    2. I have the visible evidence of a kid W/ a GSW right in front of me.

    3. Dad has stated that he intends to shoot another kid.


    Would you consider it a justified shooting?

    To me the totality of circumstances causes me to reasonably believe that if I don't act someone is going to die.

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    You hear a comotion outside your house and go outside to see what is going on.
    This is as far as I go in this scenario. I don't go outside my house to investigate commotions. I'm in a busy neighborhood, lots of kids all around, and there are commotions all the time which are kids playing.

    If I believe it is more than kids playing, i.e. something bad happening, I'll call the local police and let them do their job.

    I'm not denigrating your thread--it's good to think these things through ahead of time--but I'm not going outside to investigate anything even if it's happening in my yard. We have an entire force of police who desire to do things like investigate potential issues in the neighborhood, and I pay my fair share of taxes which go to their salaries. I'll be happy to let them deal with the situation.

    For me to get involved in anything similar, it'll have to have a different set if initial parameters.

    I'll be inside reading DefensiveCarry.

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Fair enough, I think we can modify it so you can participate.

    You are in your driveway about to get in your car when you see the boy stagger on the lawn and say, "My dad shot me." It continues from there.

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    A bunch of ifs apply. 1) It is real and not a movie being filmed; 2) you have enough info to know it is real; 3) you are willing to risk your future for the neighbor's wife.

    I suppose if you actually knew this family, knew (at least in casual conversation) the wife and kid, knew for a fact the kid had just been shot, then it would be justified protection of a third party from an imminent threat.

    If you get any of it wrong, you are toast.

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    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Fair enough, I think we can modify it so you can participate.

    You are in your driveway about to get in your car when you see the boy stagger on the lawn and say, "My dad shot me." It continues from there.
    That is a scenario which I could be caught up in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Would you shoot him in the back?
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Why or why not?
    Could it be a prank? I'd hate to gamble my freedom and my family's financial security on a decision that required me to fully ascertain what was going on in only a second or two.

    However, if it's actually happening, there is no way the police can arrive in time to stop the next kid being shot, if that is in fact what is happening.

    I'm loathe to interject myself in a domestic situation because I know how bad they can go, even for someone trying to help. But when kids are involved, it can change things.

    Another option might be to follow the guy inside (again, I understand the risks of getting involved in a domestic) because I don't take it as a given the guy will lock the door behind him. But that opens up a whole nuther can of worms.

    So... do nothing, and possibly watch another kid die?

    Or throw caution to the wind, drop the dude, or enter his house hot on his trails ready to drop him in a second?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guantes View Post
    Would you consider it a justified shooting?
    I think a jury of my peers would consider it a justified shooting given the totality of the situation, but that's a crap shoot given the type of people that would be selected for the jury (I'm guessing most gun owners would be dismissed, if possible, by the opposing lawyer.)

    So, my final answers:

    Drop him immediately? No, because of uncertainty about the situation, and the great ramifications to my family if I fire and it was the wrong decision.

    Follow him into the house? Bad decision for me personally, but I don't know what choice I'd make until I'm confronted with it. I'd call 911 if I didn't go inside or if I had time while going inside (doubtful), but they won't arrive in time to save the next child if madman is serious.

    The outcome is a crap shoot if I do get involved.

    No good answers.

    I would hate to feel partially responsible for the death of a child, but I'd also hate to contribute to my daughter being fatherless and my wife becoming a widow because I made the wrong decision.

    In most situations, I would not shoot or follow him inside. It would take a perfect storm of me believing I understood the situation clearly in order to inject myself into that situation.

    Gauntes, why didn't you accept my first answer? It was easier.

    No more changing parameters!

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    Distinguished Member Array Guardian's Avatar
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    Again, going on the scenario present!

    I would say after seeing one kid with a GSW wound and the father saying he's going after another, it's time to yell to the wife to call 911 if I haven't done so already and to try and persuade the father not to do any further harm by any means possible.
    "I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger" Mencius"

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    Member Array TangoMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grady View Post
    Could it be a prank? I'd hate to gamble my freedom and my family's financial security on a decision that required me to fully ascertain what was going on in only a second or two.
    You may have never seen a gun shot wound, and i have never seen one on a kid, but you would know if it was real.

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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    While there are many things to consider befor getting into a situation, I do not write trick scenarios, it is as stated. Take it as such.

    Grady,
    I felt that your contribution would be worth while and I think that I was correct.

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    If I had been outside, I would give aid to the wounded child. If I'm outside, then I am armed and have my cell phone. Therefore, the kid gets some 'one on one' from me, I watch for the father/shooters possible return, and I call 911...cops are trained for this sort of thing.
    I'm not shooting the neighbor without full knowledge of the situation.
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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    I agree with '99... I feel I must render aid to the wounded child... I'd call 911, and render the aid... If another GS is heard, and another child comes out (one way or another)... and I have a shot... Prolly ANY shot... without a hostage/wife in front of the neighbor/BG... I will take the shot.

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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    Well, I guess as a result of my LEO background, given the facts stated I'd drop him like a bad habit, call 911, and render aid for the child until LE or paramedics arrived!
    Hiram25
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    No shoot. That's my decision with the few seconds given. I don't shoot unless I'm sure. I'm really not even sure who else is standing near the dark doorway.
    With perfect information, truly interrupting a domestic slaughter in progress falls under the law as given.
    This is not a hard choice.
    Americans understood the right of self-preservation as permitting a citizen to repel force by force
    when the intervention of society... may be too late to prevent an injury.
    -Blackstone’s Commentaries 145–146, n. 42 (1803) in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)

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    VIP Member Array First Sgt's Avatar
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    Ability...Opportunity...Jeopardy

    Theoretically you must have the presence of ALL THREE to justify the use of deadly force. The determination would have to be made in just a few seconds.

    Ability - Can the BG kill or hurt me (or someone else)....Based on the facts presented, the kid appearing to have been gut shot, stating his dad did it, and the father stating he was going to shoot another one, would be sufficient to prove ABILITY in my opinion.

    Opportunity - could the BG use the gun on me (or another person) (again)? It has been stated by the BG that he would shoot another child, thereby implying that he DID shoot the first child and that the childs statement was fact.

    Jeopardy - the BG's actions or words give you a reasonable belief that he intends to do bodily harm to you (or someone else) by further use of a weapon.

    If my mind can comprehend all of the above in a split second, then based on my "state of mind" I would have to engage to protect other children. I would put my life afterwards in the hands of being judged by 12 and their determination that I did what any reasonable person, having the ability to do, would have done and that is defend the lives of the kids and/or other family members (i.e. wife).

    With everything going down in a couple of seconds, I can see how a person could either shoot, or call 911, render assistance to the downed kid, and wait for police. Really a tough situation!
    Sometimes in life you have to stand your ground. It's a hard lesson to learn and even most adults don't get it, but in the end only I can be responsible for my life. If faced with any type of adversity, only I can overcome it. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is a long fruitless wait.

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    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    If I saw the gs wound...and I have had enough training that at least I could confirm a serious wound (if not positively from a gs, combined with father's statement I feel it's justified)...and the father made such a statement I'd shoot if I was sure of my backstop. And then call 911 and start first aid on the kid.

    I wonder about checking inside the house for other wounded...but would probably stick with the kid. Depends on how far out the home is...rural? Urban? 'Burbs?...and on who else shows up to scene that could also assist.
    Fortune favors the bold.

    Freedom doesn't mean safe, it means free.

    The thing about "defense" is that it has practically nothing to do with guns. (As passed on by CCW9MM)

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