Well, that's exactly my point.
I have a hard time seeing what it is that justifies a given action at one locale but not that same action at another locale.
The law enforcement community, judges, attorneys and legislatures seem so hell-bent on claiming that ONLY law enforcement has the right, power or authority to defend people in town, and yet it's clear (particularly with precedents) that law enforcement has no such duty and frankly cannot possibly arrive in time in the vast majority of situations, let alone a clear-cut situation where you're on your own at your remote cabin.
In simple point of fact, the people have not relinquished any rights or authority, in town. They've merely delegated much of the task to a trained group (LEO's).
Seems to me there's an iron-clad argument for equal protection under the law and right to bear arms, in there, that could withstand any and all arguments.
The people who make decisions about who to prosecute and when, sometimes think they know better than the citizens what should have been done.
Thankfully, I have seen many police officers go to bat for defendants in that position, to the point where the officers have talked the DA out of proceeding against a particular guy or if they must proceed, make it a small fine or something. I am amazed at this. And the DAs listen because they know that the cop on the beat knows a lot more about the streets than they will ever know.
But the problem lies in some ADAs, not all, subsituting their judgments for ours, and some, not all, jurors thinking that no one should have done anything at all to defend themselves.
Not to get off topic but very very briefly, this is why I am completely unconvinced that anyone can ever COUNT on a jury to do the right thing. They might do the right thing but planning on it? There is no way.
It is scary to be in the hands of people who are second guessing you in these incidents and they have control over whether you go to court or stay home.
It's almost like you have to convince people of your own constitutional right to bear arms and convince them that self-defense was okay and all these givens, that they think are mere privileges. That is what is annoying about these real life things on a daily basis. The defendant is put in a position of having to justify things that should be justified already in people's minds.
And they say that the goverment has the burden of proof. It is more than that. YOU have the burden of proving yourself as having done the right thing. And this is topsy turvy and not the law, but this is the way it is, although no one will admit to this.
So I agree with you, that when someone is on the receiving end of a severe beating, the perpetrator should be checking out of life real soon, and I agree with that completely. Just mentioning the realities of the system we live and work in.
A few posters nailed the issue that I posed in this scenario. I don't believe that the response that you could live with is necessarily a response that a DA would allow, but a jury might understand. That's a huge crapshoot that I doubt anyone would want to take, especially on behalf of a stranger. If it was for family, that's a completely different story only in that you're even more sure of your own actions. There is still a very disturbing examination to follow, when our legal system passes judgment.
It's sad that we have to question whether doing what is morally correct is legally justifiable. Doing what is legal does not necessarily mean you are doing what is right. I wonder just how, or even if we can get our legal system's compass back on track.
I'd love to see how lawyers and cops debate this hypothetical scenario, from an "after the fact" point of view.
Both. Compare the situations, options, actions. Do the differences make any difference in whether any action is justified? If so, where is the threshold?
Originally Posted by dcb188
Or, despite the urban / rural, emergency time response, etc. differences, are the scenarios fundamentally identical? Would the same action be justified in both scenarios?
Would the rural scenario have a legal system with a different outlook than the urban scenario's legal system?
That would involve going over it again, I guess. But the overriding rule is whether you are doing what you ought to be doing in trying to save someone's life, considering bystanders and residents etc and their safety just as much. There are so many variables that you could debate this all day.
I would have to be asked specific questions.
The countryside scenario seems very different in that there is no one around to get hurt besides the victim and the perpetrator and even then it depends upon exactly what is being done to whom, as I said earlier re the son is being assaulted but is giving back as good as he gets, so for you to drop the assailant is using more force than necessary.
How much force can and should you use right now based on what you see and hear right this minute?
Is the victim in really bad danger or not?
This could go on forever. If you have a certain scenario that is different but it is tough to cover all bases.
The general rule is to know what is going on down there, who is the agressor and who is the victim, what is happening to the victim, how can you stop it without your bullet bouncing off the payment into some house and killing someone? On and on and on.
The rural JURY would probably have a wayyyy different outlook.
The problem with the city scenario is the potential for hurting others, and this is a heavy consideration and after the fact you would never hear the end of it.
The old man you saved would be out of the picture and it would be you and your firing into a city street.
And it really depends on who you want to hear these opinions from. There is a very very small minority that seems to maintain that scenarios are worthless. Most know that is impossible to discuss anything without some kind of scenario, true-life or not. And some will tell you to take all opinions with a grain of salt, but this sidesteps the fact that the poster asked for opinions in the first place.
Your state law controls. You can use that force necessary to repel the attacker, and you can come to the "defense of others" too, not just defend yourself. But it is not cut and dry in all cases. The principle stays the same but the exact scenario varies and you cannot say that in all cases, this or that prevails or applies.
Real statutes are black and white, with interpretation. But applying those statutes to specific fact situations is where it gets very situation-specific.
In every court trial, there is a very specific situation only, not other hypotheticals. Not what we would like to see but what happened. And these are detailed scenarios that actually happened. Otherwise, blanket pronouncements about the law are tough to give.
In the "mountain top" scenario, I think there would be a good chance one could elicit a standing ovation from any jury if one's daughter was being attacked at 100 yds. distant and one placed the crosshairs of a scoped .30-06 rifle on the groin of the attacker and delivered a 3,000 fps bullet precisely to stop the attack.
Originally Posted by retsupt99
Exactly what I was thinking
Without the script, ya just never know, who the players are
By hollering the police are on there way, the BG should stop and flee.
Or if he is a COP he would look up and say, yes do call the COPS I am one.
Now, after hollering and the BG keep on rocking, and does not respond, I would still do nothing, but stay on the line with 911.
But if we change your script just a little to say the elderly GG is a friend or relative of mine. Then Iíd advise 911 that the BG wonít stop, so Iím taking action to save the life of the GG, and they best advise the coronerís office to bring a shovel, and body bag. :ahhhhh:
call 911, and mention a gun. they tend to speed up...at 100 yards, maybe their was one. becoming an urban sniper is not an option. yelling down there may or may not be effective, but that is really the only option after calling 911.
OK, here's a question then to clarify some comments:
With these GIVEN facts:
You witness from the beginning an incident in a parking lot in an urban area that has marginal law enforcement support.
You know who the good guy is;
You know who the bad guy is;
(You are absolutely clear about the identities of the two men, their characters and predator/victim status.)
The bad guy is beating the ... out of the good guy;
The good guy is in immediate danger of significant if not fatal injury from this beating;
You are 15' away with a clear view of the both men;
You have called 9-1-1 and been put on hold;
You are legally armed with a handgun that is loaded and ready to fire;
You have the advantage of the bad guy not being aware of your presence;
You shout to the bad guy to stop, and the warning is not heeded;
There is no law enforcement in the area capable of arriving before the good guy has suffered permanent injury or death...
What would you do?
Now take the above scenario and alter ONLY these items:
You witness from your 3rd floor apartment's open window the incident in the parking lot;
The distance is now 100 yards;
The weather is bright and clear, with no wind;
You are physically unable to close that distance for whatever reason;
Your weapon is now your ready-to-fire hunting rifle;
The distance is well within your skill level for a 10-ring shot...
Would you do anything different from the first scenario? If so, what and why?
Now take #2 and move it out into the woods where there is no cell phone coverage.
Would you do anything different from the other scenarios? If so, what and why?
#1. This might sound odd but dropping things out the window to smash against the sidewalk creates more of a disturbance than the subject is already causing and may startle him into taking off.
Warning shot. Round into nearby parked car.
Must not use more than force necessary to come to "defense of others",have to treat it as if victim is you.
Makes a difference if V is taking a beating or in danger of losing his life.
#2. Rifle becomes the only option now, aside from creation of a neighborhood disturbance where you are dropping a small TV to the sidewalk below, making a lot of noise. Perpetrators do not like a lot of noise nearby that they brought on themselves. A lot of them panic when they realize it is not just them and V. Ten people hollering out the window often has effect of making subject run away. He knows police must be on way by now.
#3---no home phone either? Have to make sure that the force you will use is the force necessary to repel attacker. Warning shot first? Close hit next?
These things are easy to Monday morning quarterback and a lot of us would do the very thing we advise NOT to do, so let's keep that in mind too.
One of the crucial things is how bad the V is getting beaten. It sounds academic but it is not. You are stepping in to defend someone other than yourself.
You use the force necessary to stop the attack and no more. If you have force with you that by nature exceeds that, then you have to tone it down to a warning shot or nearby shot or then leg etc in my judgement.
We sometimes think we can just kill an assailant just because he is an assailant. Sometimes we are justified and sometimes we are not. It is not as if in all cases it is okay to kill your assailant. That is a myth.
We do what we have to do, though. The question becomes, Is what we are about to do something we have to do or just want to do. And are we saving someone's life or protecting them from harm which does not rise to the level of serious bodily injury or death.
There are still variables even within the very structured scenarios.
Again, I only answer because you asked. This last comment I have had to make lately and is for the few who do not like scenarios and tell you to disregard them. They are well aware of who they are :)
Bottom line? It always has to seem to others that you had no choice other than to do what you did. If you had other choices, you will probably be told that you should have used them first instead of resorting to killing the subject. This is the reality of the world we live in, not the way it should be. What other options were open to you at the time? You tell them. Then, fine, why didn't you use the other options you just told us you had???
Since you noted that all the means were present to kill, I wish to point out the overlooked: all the means were there to turn away and do nothing. These two extremes, and actions in between, are our choices. We choose to do what we hope to be right because we have to live with that choice. LE and the DA choose to do what the law books suggest, because that is what they feel safest doing. A jury may choose to follow either the letter or the spirit of the law, as the jurors also must live with their decisions. And, not to be forgotten, the media will take the story, splash blood all over it and vilify whomever will sell the most advertising.
i understand. I didn't say that the person could do nothing. I listed a lot of things they could do. The deciding factor is whether they had to do what they did. If they did have to do it, no problem, to defend life, yours or someone else's.
If they know they had other options, they will have to answer the question, well, how come you did not exercise any of them, if you had them?
So if you have no choice, and V is dying or about to be killed, that is the deciding factor(s).
Do you see how it looks to say I had other choices but I chose to kill the guy? All I am saying is to make sure you can honestly say you had no other choice in order to save someone's life.
You can always turn away and do nothing. Legally, no one has a duty to save anyone else's life, but once they begin to do it they have to follow it through in a non-negligent manner. This is civil law. You see a person drowning, you keep walking, you cannot be held liable. You have no duty to save.
The above scenario I thought it was assumed that the person in the window wanted to assist V. If he does, then he can, he just has to use force necessary to repel attack and no more. If he has other options and does not use them, he has to answer police and ADA questions just like I mentioned. And imagine how it sounds then:
Q. Did you have other options, Sir.
A. Uh, yes, I did.
Q. So you did not have to kill this victim.
A. Well, uh, no, not actually, I mean.
Q. Then why didn't you use the other options that you just now said you HAD.
And that is about it for those questions at that point. That is the real problem.
You can save someone's life but you have to be careful how you do it and factor in a few things and be real sure.
It is a myth that someone can just fire and kill someone else's assailant and that is the end of it, without weighing this and that.
It is not the law books. It comes from old English common law, where a lot of our criminal law comes from, and it basically says that we can defend ourselves and others, but not just any old which way we want. Use the force necessary to do it and no more. It isn't the asst da.s and judges, it is mostly common sense.
If you kill someone and have good reason for it, that is different than just saying you could have done other less lethal things but chose not to, for whatever reason.
The problem we see in the news is when people go way overboard without taking other steps or looking into what is going on. Someone steals a pocketbook from the seat of an open car. Blam! That type of thing, out of proportion to what is happening at the moment.
I would be leary of taking the shot with a HP rifle in a city anyway. Here is a shocker, DC (Counsel Dillinger) has it all wrong, if you use a rifle for home defense, Unless you are living in a really sturdy Brick House or happen to have armor on your outer wall, that round will rip through the BG you are shooting, bounce off the pavement and no telling where it will finally end up. Oh wait you can't have your rifle out in the first place it has to be dissassembled locked up under 4 seperate keys with the parts in 10 seperate locked cases and the ammo has to be held at least 2 houses away with someone else that has the only key. Or is that only in the Peoples Republic's of DC, Cali, and Chicago.
60% of my workday is telling people what they do not want to hear. So I am used to it :) They eventually understand that I did not write the criminal law statutes, that they were in force several hundred years ago, and I only deal with them in the courtroom situations.
The best alternative is not to come to anyone's aid, just go watch TV and close your window so the victim's screams are inaudible.....I thought the scenario stated that the shooter was a really really good shot, and he was saving someone's life.
Here is what happens on the forums from time to time. Someone asks a question. Someone tries to contribute to the answer. But then someone says "DC (Counsel Dillinger) has it all wrong." This is the type of thing where I guess it is disrespectful to resort to name-calling and even mildly derogatory comments, and all because a person disagrees with another person. How are you ever going to get thru life jumping on folks who see it differently than you do? That is the sub question of this topic :)