Good or Bad to Shoot?

This is a discussion on Good or Bad to Shoot? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok, this should be a good discussion! I attended a CCW class and the instructor more than once stated what he would do if robbed. ...

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Thread: Good or Bad to Shoot?

  1. #1
    Member Array Mongoose's Avatar
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    Good or Bad to Shoot?

    Ok, this should be a good discussion!

    I attended a CCW class and the instructor more than once stated what he would do if robbed. He carries a few weapons on him to include a small Derringer in his front pocket.

    Here is the scenario: You are being robbed at gun point. You have your derringer in your hand which the BG can’t see. You just handed the BG YOUR wallet and he turns to leave. He has just turn his back to you and is taking his first step away. You quickly bring up your small one shot derringer and shoot him in the back of the head! One dead BG……

    The question now becomes (For me) is this a good kill? I just can’t get over the fact that the threat is no longer there. The BG was leaving and how do you justified this killing?

    Or is this a good kill because he DID point his weapon at you and robbed you. Just the FACT of having a weapon pointed at you gives you the right to shoot the guy in the back of the head. Even once he has decided to leave you alone and bullet hole free.


    What are your thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Member Array mslaughtertx's Avatar
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    I would say that I never believe there is a good kill. Though based on your question, I would say that I would let him go if it is no longer a threat and call the police. I would say that at that point I would not justify the shot as neutralizing the threat, I would justify it as reckless use of force. That is just my .02.

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    Shooting someone in the back while leaving/ fleeing isn't gonna fly in court. If your life is no longer in imminent danger how is it self defense?
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    Senior Member Array bluelineman's Avatar
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    Different states have different rules. Some say it's OK, some not. I probably would not shoot him in the back unless he shot me first. I would also not hand him my wallet. While reaching for what he thought was my wallet, I'd introduce him to 147 grains of a few Speer Gold Dots traveling around 1K feet/sec.

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    Bad kill. Legally, it would vary by state. But the threat is gone. You pretended to comply to get a better chance to kill him when he wasn't expecting it. That's a bad shoot, even here. If you pretended to grab your wallet and instead pulled a gun, that's a good shoot, in my opinion. I think of the situation that you describe as premeditated murder, whether the laws say so or not.

    If you've already handed over your wallet, I would say, get a good description and call the police. On the other hand, if he was walking away, I might pull my weapon and tell him to "Stop, put your hands on your head!" If he stops, that's a good day. If he starts to turn, well, 1 shot BG, and I will probably end up in cuffs.

    Bottom line, if I am going to resist a robbery, it will be at the beginning. I will not comply and then resist. And I will not comply unless I feel that I cannot resist with a reasonable chance of success.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    Me thinks the proper "phrase" might be "Stop the threat.." If he/she have turned, are they no longer a threat? If they are retreating, even with your wallet, I think you're gonna be fresh meat for a grand jury.

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    Member Array Mongoose's Avatar
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    Yes, I keep coming up with the word MURDER. I just find it hard to shoot someone in the back of the head if I am still 100% alive!

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    Member Array JJTGlock17's Avatar
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    I don't think I could ever justify shooting someone in the back or back of the head unless they still posed a threat to me or my family. In the situation given, I think even though it may be considered legal in some places, I think to shoot someone in the back after the threat is gone is completely immoral. That's my $.02

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    I keep reading bad shoot, murder, immoral, threat is over...

    Let's change the scenario to be everything in the original but the BG just put a bullet in you shoulder. Then he turns to leave and takes a step. Bad shoot now as the threat is over? Exactly what is the difference?

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    SD, good question, as usual, if that happens, then I failed miserably. If I think there is the slightest possibility of him shooting, then I am stepping to the side and drawing. If he got away with it and was walking away...well, that's tough. Sitting in front of the computer, I can say that what's done is done, and call an ambulance with my uninjured arm...but laying on the concrete bleeding...that might be a different call.
    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

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    How good is your lawyer?
    Can you convince 12 individuals that what was done was ok in their book?
    Would prison food agree with you for a decade or more?

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    Member Array braindonor's Avatar
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    It is assumed, I guess, that it is a robbery at gunpoint. It is a bad shoot when the guy turns away.

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    Senior Member Array Rossman's Avatar
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    threat gone your gone

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    Lots of scenarios...back turned does not mean that the threat is over. Many BG are known to have taken a 'parting shot'...
    I will consider any possible threat worthy of the proper and complete 'ending'... Having the BG's back to me is not necessarily the end...common sense (in a split second) will prevail here!
    "I feared for my life, and I shot to stop the threat!"..."I'll be glad to make a more complete statement when my lawer...blah, blah, blah..."

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoose View Post
    scenario: ... You just handed the BG YOUR wallet and he turns to leave. You quickly bring up your small one shot derringer and shoot him in the back of the head! One dead BG……

    The question now becomes (For me) is this a good kill?
    The distinction comes between this dividing line: what constitutes punishment, versus defense. A jury will likely see it that way, at least many of the jury members. Count on being asked the tough question: was your life in danger when you acted?

    I just can’t get over the fact that the threat is no longer there.
    Likely, the jury won't be able to get over that fact, either.

    Or is this a good kill ...
    There are no good kills, as already pointed out.

    Just the FACT of having a weapon pointed at you gives you the right to shoot the guy in the back of the head.
    You always have the right to defend yourself. Your community (society) always has the right to determine if the line has been crossed between defense and aggression, in which the "victim" has turned into a wolf.

    Even once he has decided to leave you alone and bullet hole free.
    Can't possibly know this is the BG's intention. Can't possibly know you're not about to be eliminated as a witness, which is becoming more frequent as the years go by, sadly.

    If a BG decides to threaten my life and then allow me the space to draw my weapon in defense of myself, then that's exactly what I'm going to do. Bank on it. It's one thing I train for. Why? As suggested, a back turned does NOT mean the threat is over.

    I hope I'll be moving toward cover, if available. If the BG is still within threat distance (ie, in my view and capable of harming me), I would absolutely loudly demand he "DROP THE WEAPON!!! DON'T MOVE!!! DO IT NOW!!!" This is as much for the benefit of witnesses as to ensure the BG's immediate manifest intentions. A smart BG would simply keep walking, calmly and assuredly, 'cause I think I would have a hard time firing on a "fleeing" person. However, that defensive posture (cover, armed, prepared) should allow a defense against the BG turning on me as he leaves, which is a far sight better than hoping the pixie dust and prayer book have lost none of their potency. Still, all this is mere hopeful thinking. No telling how it's actually going to play out, as the next move is squarely out of our hands. But, frankly, since there's no telling, I would just as soon be armed when crossing that bridge. But that's just me.

    In such a situation, you're going to fire at the back of the head of a "fleeing" (at least, exiting) BG? Then, you're going to have much to explain. "Sticky" questions, if you know what I mean.

    Preferable by far, IMO, is to have solid ground to stand on, when you state that you were reasonably and justifiably fearing loss of your life as the BG turned and made to attack you again, after already having proven he had the will and ability to do so. The latter is far simpler to justify. Remember, usually the laws are written that it's not merely your fear, but it's fear of imminent injury/death using the "reasonable man" standard.

    Now, all situations are different. If the BG is actively shooting, then proclaiming your presence and demanding he disarm is likely going to do one thing only: give him time to point the muzzle at you. Bad juju. In such a scenario, as occurred at the church in Colorado Springs a few weeks back, shooting first is almost assuredly the best option, all around. But, if the BG is leaving and shows zero signs of using that lethal weapon, then at best defending yourself against the potential (likely) subsequent use of it is about the most you can safely do while absolutely being able to justify those actions. Beyond that, it will depend very much on the timing and facts of the situation as to whether you'll get strung by the toenails.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; February 28th, 2008 at 10:29 AM. Reason: spelling
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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