A really good thread and topic for discussion. I dont think there is one of us who didnt go through this process. I felt perfectly fine without carrying until I started watching the news and paying attention. I also started getting older and less capable of rolling around on the ground. The criminal started changing their tactics by bringing more than one person to the scenario. I could probably live with myself if something happened to me but if something happened to my spouse and I wasnt in a position to stop it, I dont know. No longer is the sanctity of the home off limits. Criminals dont think twice about taking your car, your possessions, or your life. They will hurt you for the pure sport of it. People seem meaner and less caring as a general rule. You cant even stop and assist anyone who may be broke down on the side of the road without taking your life into your own hands. After my house was broken into, I made the decision that I was done. Walking into my own home and finding my back door kicked in made me feel very uneasy and vulnerable as I was unarmed. What if he was still there? I woke up and took charge instead of giving in to the paranoia. I bought a loud, large dog, installed a monitored alarm system, and got my concealed carry permit. I dont open my front door to strangers any longer nor do I allow anyone inside to "use the bathroom". I would much rather my dog or the alarm scare someone away. If they dont pay attention to either of those, I can assume their intentions are not honorable. My weapon is a tool, like the dog and the alarm, to be used only as a last resort but I will not be a victim nor will I allow my spouse and family to become one either as long as I am there.
Well in a perfect world, the only time you would use deadly force would be in a situation were it was neccessary to any reasonable person and you would not end up having to spend anytime in a station house, jail or courtroom, unless perhaps testifying against the bad guy, should he live.
Originally Posted by Roman
I don't think I would let the fear of prosecution prevent me from being able to defend my life if I need to. The OP needs to train his mind to make the right decisions about using deadly force. That's why some of the scenarios posted here are usefull in my opinion. If you practice assessing situations in advance, hopefully if you ever need to make such a decision you can make it quuickly enough and do it right without overstepping what the legal system in your area considers proper response.
Remember we need to train our bodies and our minds to be prepared.
30 years huh? That's 10 more than my sanity would allow. Good for you! I, too, find myself in your predicament, aging, agility a thing of the past, and worried that I'll do the right thing at the right time, and obviously so.
I can identify with your feelings on this, in the legal aspects. No matter what the law says, if involved in a shooting, one never knows what the thoughts and intent of the prosecutor, judge, and jury will be. While Florida laws lean heavily in favor of the individual defending himself, anyone can be charged, anyone can be sued, and the outcome is never guarenteed.
As for more training? I think you probably know how to handle a firearm by now. A good course in the legalities of defending yourself may be in order, or a good sit-down with a lawyer friend may set things straight in your mind--one way or the other.
Well, just tad shy of 30 years and yes, I do know how to handle a firearm, although I don't anyway claim to be a fantastic marksman. It's really not hard to get the expert badge on the rifle range. I'm sure you've been all through that. Point is that I'm not going to go off half cocked, no pun intended, and shoot someone because I don't like the way they look. That being said, I think I can assess a situation and determine if my life or my wife's life is being threatened and take the appropriate action. In reading so much on this subject in this forum and others, it's the interaction with the authorities that I fear after the fact which causes me more concern. Certainly, no one wants to take a human life. I know I don't. What I'm getting from my investigation on this subject is that you just about need to be a criminal defense attorney or have one on retainer and give nothing but your name, rank and serial number to the authorities even IF you are in the right. We've had cases in this area where the GG get prosecuted and the BG, or his family, walk off with a large settlement from the city when it was a plain and simple case of justifiable action. So these are some of the thoughts running around in my aging brain. Kinda seems like a lose-lose situation. At a very bare minimum I will seek classes on the legality on various situations and get feedback from local LEOs. I am appreciating everyones input.
I would actually recommend against talking to your local LEOs, unless you specifically know the individuals, and know that they have a good understanding of the laws that they are enforcing: as with any profession, there are those who are more professional...and those who sadly are less so. Be sure you know the quality of the information/opinions you're given. I mean this as no disrespect for any LEOs out there: rather, I'm simply calling it like it is. There can be ignorant doctors just as well as ignorant police officers. Just be sure you know the quality of the advice coming to you.
I would recommend that you join your local/regional legal concealed-carry community. Many individuals in such communities have a profound understanding of your area's laws - as well as a good feel for the prevailing attitudes (and practices) of your local enforcement communities (if they haven't already made themselves known to such communities, that is). Additionally, they can often recommend a local/area attorney would may be able to not only provide you with counsel when/if you ever had to defend yourself (by any means), but may also be willing to sit down with you -right now- to discuss some of your concerns. Sure, the latter may not be free, but I'd wager that it would help settle your mind more than the same dollar amount spent on the couch of a psychiatrist. :smile: These local communities should also be able to point you in the way of a CCW/CHL class which places more focus on discussing the legalities and are more up-to-date on the legal issues in your area.
I joined Ohioans for Concealed Carry several months in-advance of seeking my Ohio-CHL (CCW) - explicitly to learn about the legalities and other concerns of legal concealed-carry in my state and local area.
By now, you've undoubtedly found the various citations/references that's appeared on virtually every gun-community online, a self-defense shooting involving a fellow OFCC member, adf. His case is one where everything's, so-far, gone right (well, I'll take that back, he was assaulted by two thugs, and had to use his firearm in self-defense - that's certainly less-than-an-entirely-good-day, but you get my drift :wink: :smile:): he was treated with-respect by local law-enforcement, and in so far as any of us can figure it, how the scenario and its aftermath played out - combined with his specific actions during the event - under Ohio laws, should shield him from any type of prosecution.
Again, sir, I do not want this post of mine - nor the others I've written in this thread - to somehow be read as to encourage you to carry or to push you towards that conclusion. I won't deny that I wish you would :smile:, but I understand how profound this decision is, and I respect you, as an individual, to make that choice. Rather, please read my reply here as a simple response to your questions/concerns stated above, in your #49 follow-up.
The only thing I can really add to this are not my words, but that of Winston Churchill. A man should not ever need a gun, but if he needs one, he needs it very badly. If I may sir, in my youth I have learned much on the job, but I do not claim to have contributed anywhere near the level of service you have. Thank you on behalf of a grateful nation. If you would take advice from a young man like me it is this. If there has never been a time where you doubted your need to carry, please lock your guns up and sell them as soon as possible. A sane and normal person will doubt their actions, their reasonings, and their thoughts at least once during their time. I know numerous times I have had the "do I really need this damn gun" thought in my head. You doubting yourself is normal, and a part of your CC journey. It is only without doubt that you need to worry. Keep carrying, hopefully the time will never come when you need that pistol.
Don't be discouraged!
Originally Posted by dwpmusic
Regarding the first area I put in bold type, you might find these links helpful.
The Three Most Common Post-Shooting Errors
From a thread in this forum 6 key ways your lawyer should 'advocate' for you after a shooting
Again from this forum Dealing with the aftermath of a defensive shooting
Here is a link to the video of Ayoob Advice After a Real Shooting
Regarding the second area from your post I put in bold type regarding the good guys getting prosecuted and the bad guys getting set free. I wouldn't read too much into that. Do you have all the fact in those specific cases, or have you become "jaded" with inaccurate news or internet reports. I would bet if you sought out the real reason the supposed "good guy" got gigged, you'd find that the true facts of the case often is not reflected in what is being reported or bantered about, and in fact the good guy made some serious mistakes.
I hope you find these links helpful. Good luck.
ConcealedG30 said it all. In addition to everything my fellow forum member said, an important consideration should also be the area you live and its "firearm mentality/atmosphere". Here in SC, if you are a bad guy looking for trouble, you will find it, it will be deadly to you, and the prosecutor will thank your adversary for saving the community monies for your trial. If nothing else, your awareness of your responsibilities and the presumption of imminent danger of death or great bodily injury to you or others had better be 100%--if you cannot prescribe to that idea, do not CC, and, as ConcealedG30 said--there are cowboys out there.
Come to NY and I'll show you my six pack even with the occasional jelly doughnut.
Originally Posted by AKsrule
To the OP. I can appreciate your concerns. Either carry with the mindset that you will use it if you need it or don't carry. If you carry and hesitate at the wrong moment, it could be a bad situation. Think about it and do what works for you.
Very long reply
Thank you for your service.
Thank you for giving serious thought to whether or not you should even bother carrying a weapon. As many have said, you are exactly the type of person that should carry.
In our state (Iowa) when you go through the Carry Course, most every instructor will tell you "You can be legally and morally right, and yet civilly liable." And, "Every cartridge you fire is a potential lawsuit."
Makes it seem a risky proposition to say the least. And, you seem to agree. No one can make this decision for you, though I did like the suggestion that you should continue renewing your permit, even if you decide not to carry.
The Second amendment gives us the right to bear arms. For many, that alone is reason enough to do so. In fact, this whole issue is one of platitudes:
"I'd rather be judged by 12..."
"It's a right, use it or lose it"
"When seconds count, help is only minutes away."
"From my cold, dead hands"
And so on. The anti gun crowd has just as many pithy one liners, though, since theirs is not my take on the situation, none come to mind.
In most cases, there is truth in all of the platitudes, on both sides. And both sides can offer supporting statistics. But as someone pointed out once, "There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, darned lies, and statistics." And even the antis who have truly studied the statistical studies have come to the conclusion that neither side has a statistically convincing argument. I'll buy that.
That said, when I went through the same considerations you are going thru, I came upon this from the National Safety Council : Most likely ways to die chart (2007)
As you will see, down at number 9 on the list is "death by firearms assault." At odds of 1 in 306.
I did some further study. The odds of having a house fire are 1 in about 314 near as I can tell from statistical tables. Not a deadly house fire mind you, but a reportable (responded to by firemen) house fire.
I'm a reasonably prudent man. I have a fire extinguisher in my home near the kitchen. Just in case. Of course, I had a fire extinguisher in my house in 1997, when my house blew up and was completely destroyed. Lotta good that one did me, huh? (no one was hurt or at home when it occurred, and that's a different story anyway).
But, the point is: if I had had a small kitchen fire while I was there, I could have done something about it, and possibly prevented a major house fire from occurring. I have had training in the use of fire extinguishers through my employment. So, I am confident of 2 things. I could put out a small fire correctly and effectively, and I would know when I should give up and get out.
I look at my sidearm the same way. It's a sort of a level of "proactive insurance." It gives me a fighting chance. It does not guarantee that I will prevail, even with my training in its use. But it does give me a fighting chance.
I, like you (apparently), have given this a lot of thought. I know that; should I ever have to fire my weapon to defend my life (or that of my loved ones), it will have been "cut and dried." In the event that through some quirk in the justice system I end up losing everything I own, and my freedom to boot, I will know in my mind and in my heart that I did the right thing. An that because of that, I will still be alive (or my loved ones will be). And I have decided that that is enough.
And, if you think about it some more, and read all the articles in the news about crimes, and all the articles about self defense with a firearm; you will probably find, as I did, that the cases where the victim (defending themselves) loses in court, are really very rare, and if you look into those cases further, there will be some question as to whether it truly was self defense.
The legal ramifications are there, make no mistake... But I find the odds of having them work against me even longer than the odds of being attacked in the first place.
Again, thank you for your service, and your patience (in reading this). I am certain you will come to the correct decision for you and yours.
Thank you oakchs. I am continuing to read and continuing to learn.
This thread has lots of good info for the OP. I'm not going to re type the same advice all over again so suffice it to say that I hope you decide to carry a firearm.
In the meantime, I'd like to point out some other options. You can carry a non/less lethal means of defense without going about completely undefended. OC spray or a collapsible baton come to mind. OC spray is the better of the two in my opinion. Even if (when :yup: ) you do decide to carry a firearm, it's still a good idea to keep some OC spray handy. Not every SD situation in life requires a gun and having some other means of defense available might be all you need to escape a bad situation.
One last thing. Situational awareness and practicing good prevention is the biggest key to avoiding becoming a victim. Your brain is you best weapon. If you perceive something odd and that little voice in your head is shouting at you then listen to it! Many, many victims who are interviewed after an assault knew there was something fishy going and and ignored their intuition. Many blame "not wanting to be a wimp" or "I'm just being paranoid" as their justification for not fleeing when they had the chance. Just remember that there is no shame in leaving BEFORE the need to shoot arrives. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
The reason my wife decided to carry was due to all the kidnappings and things of that sort that happen. You just never know , I have a CJ degree and I don't know how many times I read a case file and thought.....man if that girl would have just had a gun she wouldn't have been _________. It's a personal decision for you but keep in mind there are plenty of resources out there to educate. Being comfortable with a firearm will ease a lot of the fears. Like stated above carrying is not for everyone.....but I sure would hate to think one of my family members might have had a better chance if only they would have had means.
It comes down to weather or not you want to survive . Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.
I'm happy to know that you are giving this the thought that it deserves. I've had the opportunity for years to get my CC and only recently decided to go for it. I debated it and came to the same conclusion as others here. I encourage you to think it through further. Lots of good advice here.