Down - but not out
This is a discussion on Down - but not out within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Quite often we discuss the point at which if shooting defensively we should or have to, cease fire. ''Enough is enough'' deal.
One mention is ...
November 18th, 2006 11:46 PM
VIP Member (Retired Staff)
Down - but not out
Quite often we discuss the point at which if shooting defensively we should or have to, cease fire. ''Enough is enough'' deal.
One mention is often re the BG being down on the ground - and how juries might view repeated shooting by us after that is accomplished.
My thinking is - whether the BG is down or I am down - this could be simply due to a temporary result of a hit to - say - upper thigh. Forget for a moment what dire results may occur from blood loss but - ''just being down'' may not wash with regard to being out of the game.
The de facto assessment in any situation, would seem to me to be the ability of someone to still fire, whether upright or on the ground and if I was faced with a guy still trying to shoot, it'll not be me that stops shooting! He could be curled into a fetal ball but if his gun is still threatening me - then I have to continue my shooting.
Trouble is - what if no witnesses - or at least - none close enough at hand to really judge. All someone might see from a distance is one standing guy - shooting down at another on the ground. Hmmm - sounds bad huh!
For us in extremis - no choice - we want to survive and win but - the sequele? That could be a different matter, as the LE ballistics guys write their reports stating that shots x, y and z - entered the perp' from a high angle!!
All this and more makes me ever less than hungry to ever have to use my piece but use it I will if the need arises - but what follows, is another matter entirely.
Chris - P95
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November 19th, 2006 12:16 AM
Interesting point... We are taught that since the purpose of lethal force is stopping the threat, so as long as a threat is present, either standing or on the ground, lethal force continues to be appropriate.
I saw a suspect in the 1980's in Alexandria, VA, get shot once through and through with a SWAT sniper's round, fire a shotgun point blank to the face of one officer before he hit the ground, rack the shotgun and fire another round into another officer's knee on his way to the ground. Meanwhile, other officers opened fire with their 9mm Glocks, hitting him 19 more times, and he was still trying to rack another round into the shotgun (after being shot 20 times). Officers still had to stand on his hand and wrench the shotgun from his grip.
Shoot until the threat is no longer presented.
When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
From the essay "TRIBES" by Bill Whittle
November 19th, 2006 12:31 AM
Wow! A great question/scenario. This is one more reason that your gun is your LAST choice. As soon as you pull that puppy out, the whole situation changes.
If I had to shoot - IMHO I think that I would try to shoot long enough to get out of the situation. For example, if I squeezed off two rounds missing entirely but it made the BG lose balance, fall down, take cover, etc., then I would try to get to cover and leave the situation. I wouldn't stay around trying to "neutralize" nothing. The next thing my trigger finger would be doing is dialing 911 while my other hand would be used to clean out my pants.
Now if I hit him/her and he/she was still trying to shoot at me, then what can you do? You have to do what you have to do. As long as you explain what you did and why you did it, I don't think people should have a problem.
I would let the police handle any neutralization, etc.
This is just my 2 pennies.
Who knows though, until you are in the heat of the moment?
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of the ultimate CC gun!
November 19th, 2006 01:10 AM
I think this one really depends on how the BG on the ground is armed. If he's got a gun in his hand and is still able to use it, I think I'd have to continue to shoot, even if he's down. On the other hand, if he's armed with a contact weapon (knife, baseball bat, fists) shooting him when he's down would be very hard to justify, even if I think that his being on the ground is a temporary condition. I'm going to use the time that he's on the ground as opportunity to increase the distance, maybe look around to see if he's got any friends or do a tac reload. If he gets up and starts coming towards me again, that's the time to resume fire.
November 19th, 2006 10:03 AM
Originally Posted by Blackeagle
I talk about this same issue in the context of empty-hand self-defense. I tell my students that I personally prefer to always leave my oponent on the ground. One reason is that this gives me a second to assess the situation. If he looks like he's "down for the count" I won't shoot/strike/stab him again. If it looks like he's going to try to get back up (or if he still has a weapon), I'm going to make sure he doesn't get back up.
Another reason is that if I decide it's best to leave the area immediately, I'll have an extra couple of seconds of head-start before he gets up. For example, if there are multiple attackers, putting him down and running like hell is probably smarter than sticking around to see what he's going to do next.
Putting the BG down (literally) does not guarentee that the fight is over but as I said, it might give you a little "breathing room" to determine whether he needs any more attention or not.
"Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina
If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.
November 19th, 2006 11:31 AM
This is why loud commands are so crucial. They can direct the BG to stop, disarm, get into a specific position to await the police. Perhaps just as importantly, the "right" words" can firmly establish you as the GG.
For example, take two alternatives to the same scenario, in which a BG is still armed but is down: (a) BG continues to threaten, is shot again by GG with no apparent warning; or (b) GG commands BG to stay down, commands everyone keep away from BG since he's still armed, and THEN the BG begins to threaten again ... Frankly, if witnesses are around, I'd much prefer to have them in-the-know and on my side. 'Cause, when it comes down to the aftermath, my voice will be only one of many. I'll be alive, sure, but I might well be dragged toenails first over hot coals to prison if I cannot establish in the minds of witnesses that I was (a) absolutely not a BG and was (b) absolutely not "attacking" an "unarmed" person for no apparent reason. It's the only way I know of to short-circuit that blindness that witnesses will have. And even that's not a sure thing.
Remaining within contact distances of the fool also isn't necessary. If I've dropped a BG and cannot be positive he's unarmed, I'd prefer cover every time, particularly for awaiting arrival of the cavalry. Ensuring he's unarmed is impossible without a body search, actually, hence the only real situation where I'd be certain is if he were to stop breathing and expired. Hence, cover and distance would be elements I'd want on my side, at least until it was truly over.
Of course, all of that is a luxury and a preference. If the time exists and I'm clear-headed enough to do it that way, that's the preference. Still, if it comes to it and the BG continues to threaten, he's getting stopped by whatever means are required.
Last edited by ccw9mm; November 19th, 2006 at 09:20 PM.
Reason: can't spell to save my life
November 19th, 2006 12:05 PM
I've never been under fire, but I have been trapped in a burning building, where I had to fight panic and try to do what was necessary to stay alive. I think that several members have stated it right when they said, you will do what you have to do and worry about the legal aspects later. In fact, if you have time to say and do all the right things to help your case in court, maybe your situation is not as grim as you think it is. My guess is you will shoot until YOU are convinced the threat is gone. Your training will help you do it right.
It is what it is - not what you think it should be. Deal with it!
November 19th, 2006 05:00 PM
+1 to ccw9mm..
Originally Posted by ccw9mm
you said it to a tee.... wow what a great thread.. poses some great questions and great answers. Thanks
"May God have mercy on my enemies, because I won't."
General George Patton
November 19th, 2006 05:48 PM
I've also thought about this (as I'm sure most have) in the context of a bad guy who is running away but is still a threat. For example someone who is moving away from you while shooting (or aiming a gun) at you. Bang the bad guy gets shot two or three times in the back and you don't have a scratch on you. Might not look good to some.
I think that another thing to consider in a case like this is your initial statement through your lawyer. It will likely be on record that you said you had to shoot the BG in the back BEFORE the crime lab has had a chance to write a report about the scene. I believe a good match with your story to the crime lab report is vital in defending yourself if it should come to that. You don't really want a lot of inconsistencies if you know what I mean. Just my .02
November 19th, 2006 07:34 PM
If He Is Still Moving, And Has A Weapon...
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November 20th, 2006 01:04 AM
True to K.I.S.S, I keep going until the threat is no longer.
November 21st, 2006 01:01 AM
It may, regrettably, come down to having to take the stand in court and explain, "Look, when I first fired, I was justified, because he was making a true threat against my life and attempting to carry it out. After I shot him once, yes, he did go down to the ground, but I still have a very real concern that he still had the ability to do harm to me (i.e. his gun was still in his hand, and it appeared to still be pointing at me)."
Unfortunately, sometimes you won't have the luxury of your self defense looking very clear-cut.
November 21st, 2006 01:53 AM
I don't consider it much of an issue as long as the first shot was justified. There have been cases where the BG was shot in the back and the shooting was considered righteous. Of course, this is all predicated on the idea that he is still a threat. Walking up to a clearly surrendered BG and performing the Mozambique Drill on him would and should get you thrown in the clink.
November 21st, 2006 02:21 AM
FATS systems are great training tools for these types of situations. I have trained in around 50 different FATS scenarios. I have one scenarion that really stands out in my mind. It was a basic underground parking lot and the BG stepped out from behind a pole and started shooting. My hits were clean but he kept fighting all the way down.
His last shot was from his knees while falling forward. The muzzle blast is still clear in my minds eye. My last shot was to the top of his head right after his last shot as he fell forward. That ended the simulation.
The FATS operator went back and should me my hits, my times, and how many shots he got off at me. On the last shot he showed me my hit to the top of the head, less than a tenth of a second after the BG's last shot.
The operator made the comment "I'd hate to have to explain that one."
The bottom line is that he was still shooting at me, the decision to keep fighting was already made before the trigger was pulled. There was no way to stop that decision....the decision process was already in motion, the act simply can not be stopped at that point.
There are documented cases of officers shooting at perps, because the fight was legitimately still on. In the split second in between the decision to keep fighting and actually pulling the trigger the perp turned their back. There is scientific proof of this phenomenon and has been proven and up held in numerous cases.
Last edited by Sweatnbullets; November 21st, 2006 at 11:59 PM.
November 21st, 2006 03:31 AM
This is where you need a good lawyer and a good expert witness (someone like Massad Ayoob) to explain these things to a jury. Unfortunately neither of these comes cheap.
Originally Posted by Sweatnbullets