Dealing with the aftermath of a defensive shooting

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Thread: Dealing with the aftermath of a defensive shooting

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    Dealing with the aftermath of a defensive shooting

    Millions or words are written on gun forums about handguns, permits, holsters, ballistics, knives, magazines, tactics, etc and setting all of that aside for a moment consider this short scenario and question.

    You are alone, it's dark with a few streetlights, it's late, and you're walking to your car in a public parking lot downtown. Some BG pops up from behind a car as you pass, pulls a knife on you and attempts to take your briefcase; there is a struggle, you shoot him and he staggers a few feet away and drops to the pavement. The sound of the gunfire is bouncing off the nearby buildings and your ears are ringing like mad, you can feel your heart begin pounding in your chest. You see the BG move a little, and maybe heard him groan slightly then he apparently stops, blood is apparent near his chest and begins to pool on the concrete. Your arm hurts, it's bleeding some, though you don't remember getting hurt.

    You'd like to sit down though a million things are going through your mind right now, but you can't really focus enough to wait for any answers? You can't believe this just happened ! Did I actually see a knife? Are there any witnesses? Is there another BG? Why did he do this? Should I leave? Should I run for help? Should I call 911? How bad am I injured? I don't know how many times I shot? What do I do with my gun? Should I try to give the BG first-aid? etc etc

    You gather your wits and call 911 from your cell phone, you stay on the phone with the 911 operator who is talking more than you are able to comprehend. You do hear her say she is sending units to the scene. A few minutes later, a couple of patrol cars show up together at the parking lot, suddenly you've got plenty of bright white lights in your eyes, and someone is yelling commands to you. Though you aren't resisting, you find yourself over-powered, handcuffed, frisked and suddenly sitting in the back of a patrol car. A few glances out the window shows an ever-increasing amount of leo's, emergency vehicles, EMS, coroner, etc etc. You find yourself on the receiving end of a lot of not-so-nice questions.


    Alright I attempted to paint a mental picture here to set the stage in your mind, the details of the above scenario aren't very pertinent. Considering all of this, my question here is rhetorical:

    How well will you handle the mental challenges of the aftermath immediately following a defensive shooting, and have you given this any serious thought?

    Granted, you may not have an answer, and even if you do it may not be accurate. Would you begin hyper-ventilating, would you pass out, would you develop chest pains, would you vomit, would you begin to shake, would you be calm, would you rejoice that you avoided serious injury, would you be happy there is one less BG out there? Would you want to call your family?

    Males in general (myself included) aren't real comfortable talking about emotions and that's one reason I bring this up. As a citizen you are essentially alone and no DC members present on the scene to give you encouraging words of support. No chaplains on the scene to console you either. You are initially looked upon as a murderer.

    You know the police aren't going to roll up to a scene like that, get out and say to you, "nice shootin' there mister, watcha carrying, and could I please see your permit?" In actuality you just took someone's life, and your life has just changed also. The impact on you may be profound.

    Remember the guy at the Subway in Florida, he was a former Marine and a couple of BG's was leading him to the back and he shot both? He disappeared for whatever reason. I would have liked to have witnessed his interview, or at least heard his side of the story. How about the guy and his wife who were cleaning an apartment and two BG's came in to rob them, the GG faked chest pains and shot both of them, he did a video interview that I'm sure most of you have seen. He was pretty somber IIRC.

    FWIW this post is just food for thought and something to consider. I'm sure some authors have written about this, though you don't see much about it. Personally it's not something I've been fretting about or have some related phobia over. I think I could reconcile it with myself that the BG engaged me, I feared for my life, I hate it happened but he gave me no other choice. YMMV
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    Member Array seawolf1956's Avatar
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    I think Massad Ayoob, Chris Bird, and other well known authors have covered the subject about as well as anyone can, particularly Ayoob's In The Gravest Extreme.

    While I've never experienced anything remotely close to what you've hypothesized, I believe it would be a "life altering" emotional experience at the very least. And that doesn't even begin to address the legal aftermath.

    Yep, I've thought about it. Anyone who carries a lethal weapon for self-defense had better think about it beforehand --- after the fact is too late.

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    DrJ
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    I'm sure it would be horrible to go through such a situation, but I honestly think I would be more scared about is what "almost" happened to my wife and kids - they "almost" lost their husband and father. My Dad passed away last year (natural causes), and after seeing what my Mom and his adult children went through, no BG is going to make my family go through that without one ******* fight. Yeah, I'm sure it would be incredibly traumatic, but as long as I get to go home at the end of it all, I think I could justify in my mind that I just did what I had to do.

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    Hopefully none of us will never have to find out, and are never in this type of situation.

    I don't tend to be a high strung person, but after a situation like this, I don't know what I would be like. I would like to think that I would have my wits about myself, and would be able to answer the minimal questions asked by the LEO's in order to get the point across that I was in fear of my life, the guy laying on the ground posed a serious threat to my life and I did what I had to do to stop the threat.

    Would I be able to cope with the aftermath, I think so. If the guy needed some lead in his diet at my hand I don't think I would have a problem living with myself afterwards. Maybe I am wrong but, if I am, I will deal with it then. I won't loose sleep over something that might happen now, since for the monent I have made up my mind that I would not have a problem pulling the trigger on someone that gave me no other choice.

    The way I look at it, if your not sure about whether you can take a life if need be, or if you can live with yourself afterwards, you probably should not be carrying a gun in the first place. Your liable to get yourself into more serious trouble if you have second thoughts when the time comes.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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    If something does ever happen, and I certainly hope it doesn't, I know enough to keep my mouth shut.I have also drilled this into my wife's thought process, and she thoroughly understands that concept.

    I may limit it to "I thought I was going to die, and I shot to stop the threat of certain death." (That much will be clearly obvious.)
    I'll will be more than happy to answer any and all questions with my attorney present. I would probably also ask to go to a hospital to have a doctor monitor my condition.

    I want to give the adrenaline a chance to settle down...that rush is quite overwhelming.

    Watching these two vids (presented before) will help drive home the idea of keeping one's mouth closed.

    "Don't Talk to the Police" by Professor James Duane

    "Don't Talk to the Police" by Officer George Bruch

    Lots of videos are added to many of these threads, but the two above are well worth watching by anyone who CC's a firearm and is interested in preparing for a safer future.

    Stay armed... ...stay safe!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkheat View Post
    Millions or words are written on gun forums about handguns, permits, holsters, ballistics, knives, magazines, tactics, etc and setting all of that aside for a moment consider this short scenario and question.

    You are alone, it's dark with a few streetlights, it's late, and you're walking to your car in a public parking lot downtown. Some BG pops up from behind a car as you pass, pulls a knife on you and attempts to take your briefcase; there is a struggle, you shoot him and he staggers a few feet away and drops to the pavement. The sound of the gunfire is bouncing off the nearby buildings and your ears are ringing like mad, you can feel your heart begin pounding in your chest. You see the BG move a little, and maybe heard him groan slightly then he apparently stops, blood is apparent near his chest and begins to pool on the concrete. Your arm hurts, it's bleeding some, though you don't remember getting hurt.

    You'd like to sit down though a million things are going through your mind right now, but you can't really focus enough to wait for any answers? You can't believe this just happened ! Did I actually see a knife? Are there any witnesses? Is there another BG? Why did he do this? Should I leave? Should I run for help? Should I call 911? How bad am I injured? I don't know how many times I shot? What do I do with my gun? Should I try to give the BG first-aid? etc etc

    You gather your wits and call 911 from your cell phone, you stay on the phone with the 911 operator who is talking more than you are able to comprehend. You do hear her say she is sending units to the scene. A few minutes later, a couple of patrol cars show up together at the parking lot, suddenly you've got plenty of bright white lights in your eyes, and someone is yelling commands to you. Though you aren't resisting, you find yourself over-powered, handcuffed, frisked and suddenly sitting in the back of a patrol car. A few glances out the window shows an ever-increasing amount of leo's, emergency vehicles, EMS, coroner, etc etc. You find yourself on the receiving end of a lot of not-so-nice questions.


    Alright I attempted to paint a mental picture here to set the stage in your mind, the details of the above scenario aren't very pertinent. Considering all of this, my question here is rhetorical:

    How well will you handle the mental challenges of the aftermath immediately following a defensive shooting, and have you given this any serious thought?

    Granted, you may not have an answer, and even if you do it may not be accurate. Would you begin hyper-ventilating, would you pass out, would you develop chest pains, would you vomit, would you begin to shake, would you be calm, would you rejoice that you avoided serious injury, would you be happy there is one less BG out there? Would you want to call your family?

    Males in general (myself included) aren't real comfortable talking about emotions and that's one reason I bring this up. As a citizen you are essentially alone and no DC members present on the scene to give you encouraging words of support. No chaplains on the scene to console you either. You are initially looked upon as a murderer.

    You know the police aren't going to roll up to a scene like that, get out and say to you, "nice shootin' there mister, watcha carrying, and could I please see your permit?" In actuality you just took someone's life, and your life has just changed also. The impact on you may be profound.

    Remember the guy at the Subway in Florida, he was a former Marine and a couple of BG's was leading him to the back and he shot both? He disappeared for whatever reason. I would have liked to have witnessed his interview, or at least heard his side of the story. How about the guy and his wife who were cleaning an apartment and two BG's came in to rob them, the GG faked chest pains and shot both of them, he did a video interview that I'm sure most of you have seen. He was pretty somber IIRC.

    FWIW this post is just food for thought and something to consider. I'm sure some authors have written about this, though you don't see much about it. Personally it's not something I've been fretting about or have some related phobia over. I think I could reconcile it with myself that the BG engaged me, I feared for my life, I hate it happened but he gave me no other choice. YMMV
    Mr. ppk,

    Much "food for thought" and many things to consider if one has not already done so.

    I commend you on you ability to look at the "deeper picture" and in your ability to use the space between your ears for more than just a place to hang your ears.

    You sir are a scholar, and I hope to one day emulate you.

    Biker

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    Good post. Much to think about. I hope i never have to find out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    Mr. ppk,

    Much "food for thought" and many things to consider if one has not already done so.

    I commend you on you ability to look at the "deeper picture" and in your ability to use the space between your ears for more than just a place to hang your ears.

    You sir are a scholar, and I hope to one day emulate you.

    Biker
    Thank you for the compliment. I might add that I've noticed many posts from you stating essentially the same thing I wrote. I think you inspired me.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    Having some experience at this, I can break down what you need to do to this:

    1) Your first call is to 911, your second is to your attorney. If you carry a gun, carry an attorney's card as well, right behind that carry license. I can't stress that enough. Please don't wait until police begin questioning you to start having to look through the phone book for legal representation. Do some research, and find a good lawyer. I pay mine $50 per year to have a card with his personal cell phone on it, I can call anytime day or night and he will answer. In his words, it takes 2 seconds to settle the gunfight, but can take 20 years to life to settle the aftermath if you don't have good legal representation.

    2) Don't lie! If you lie, you are dead, pure and simple. That is where keeping your mouth shut helps a lot. Not saying anything is not lying. So don't get caught doing it. Again, this is where Lawyers really earn their pay.....

    3) Keep your mouth shut! Just like the videos, Massad Ayoob, Chris Bird and everybody else tells you! When it happens, you call 911 then your lawyer. Tell the police when they arrive that you have contacted your attorney and you wish to saying nothing else until he or she arrives. Then shut your trap.

    I can guarantee you that things go down pretty much like Ayoob and other experts say they do. Cops will try to ask you the same questions several different ways with several different people asking them, to try and trip you up and make an inconsistent statement. You are not smart enough to outsmart them, that is why you have the attorney. A homicide has been committed, and since you are the one standing there with the gun, you are the prime suspect and must justify your actions.

    Everyone carries insurance for their vehicles and themselves, having an attorney on retainer is not that much different in my view.
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    pax
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    3) Keep your mouth shut! Just like the videos, Massad Ayoob, Chris Bird and everybody else tells you! When it happens, you call 911 then your lawyer. Tell the police when they arrive that you have contacted your attorney and you wish to saying nothing else until he or she arrives. Then shut your trap.
    That is not Massad Ayoob's advice. Ayoob advises that good guys describe the "active dynamic" to responding officers, and offers a five-point checklist to follow after a shooting:

    1. That person attacked me.
    2. If he survives, I will sign the complaint.
    3. Point out witnesses.
    4. Point out evidence.
    5. "Officer, you know how serious this is, and I have nothing further to say at this time. You'll have my full cooperation after I've spoken with counsel." (Repeat final sentence as needed. Say nothing further.)


    Ayoob also emphasizes that you should NEVER answer any specific questions related to time, distance, size, duration, number of shots, or any other detail, as you simply won't know those things due to the nature of the adrenalin reaction. Describe the active dynamic -- what the other person was doing, what crime was he in the very act of committing, that caused you to defend yourself -- and make it clear you will cooperate in getting a prosecution for that crime, then point out witnesses who might walk away and evidence that might not otherwise be discovered in time, and shut up.

    This is not quite the same thing as calling 911 to report you want a lawyer. ;)

    pax
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    Ayoob interviewed the Marine from the Florida Subway incident in one of the recent gun magazines (I think it was Combat Handguns). He said it was an exclusive interview and that the Marine didn't like talking about it and didn't do any media requests. His name wasn't used in the article. It sounds like he did everything he could to avoid using his weapon. He gave the robbers his wallet and didn't use force until they had taken him and the employee to the back room. People don't usually come out of back rooms. Scary stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    If something does ever happen, and I certainly hope it doesn't, I know enough to keep my mouth shut.II may limit it to "I thought I was going to die, and I shot to stop the threat of certain death." (That much will be clearly obvious.)
    I'll will be more than happy to answer any and all questions with my attorney present. I would probably also ask to go to a hospital to have a doctor monitor my condition.

    Stay armed... ...stay safe!
    What he said. "I thought I was in mortal danger, and I shot to stop the threat to my life". And wait for your lawyer to arrive before saying anything else.
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    I hope none of us have to experience this.

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    This post reads like an Agatha Christie novel although it was enlightening. Short response: I never want to shoot someone but if I have to use my gun, it will be a last, though likely instant resort. In fact, I have since reconsidered my BUG and I've taken a more serious look at a laser guided Taser and/or a Kimber OC device.

    Currently, I have a multi-gun wardrobe and I will downgrade if and when the obama thing subsides. Ideally, I would have just one EDC gun, a Taser and the Kimber.
    Regards,
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    If anyone happens to be interested:

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    You will need to register, but the topic has been extensively discussed on GOTX previously.

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