MitchellCT, thanks for the great post!
This is a discussion on PA maintains "duty to retreat" within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Here...I don't know if this got posted here or not, but read: "Why "clean shoots" sometimes aren't" By me... Most people, when asked to visualize ...
Here...I don't know if this got posted here or not, but read:
"Why "clean shoots" sometimes aren't"
Most people, when asked to visualize a situation in which they would have to use force, imagine a very "clear cut" situation.
An armed robbery, assault, or home invasion. Something like that...
However, these incidents are relatively clear cut.
I'm not minimizing the seriousness of the situation and the need to be aware for pitfalls and perils the aftermath brings such as what happens if your assailant was turning and your perfect center chest shot happens to impact between his shoulder blades...but, barring that, and obvious problems such as long, rambling, confused statements which leave the situation so confused to the point the police now feel they have to charge you with a crime (Harold Fish...) or "You don't look so bad, here's another" (Mr. Goetz...) these situations tend to be, more likely than not, well understood by the police and the courts.
Someone attacked you without provocation.
You used force to defend yourself.
The force is articulated and, if the explanation of the force used is sufficient per the situation, the matter is closed in the eyes of the criminal court.
If not, you go to trial and do the court dance, which, as Massad Ayoob says when he quotes John D. McDonald by saying "Trial law is the last true blood sport,".
Real life; however, has a way of seeping into people experiences, and things are not always so simple.
The incident itself may be clear cut; however, the incident will not be the only thing looked at in a use of force situation in which someone is killed or severely injured.
These 4 (there are more…) factors are more than sufficient to muddle almost any situation involving the use of force:
Custody issues related to kids
If one is present, it can drastically complicate a situation - if 2 or more are present, you have just entered the ancient Chinese curse - May you live in interesting times..."
These are factors which people deal with on a daily basis that may precipitate a use of force situation...however, most people are still stuck in the paradigm of preparing for a mugging in a dark parking lot all the while ignoring the possible pressure cookers in your daily life which can explode and cause a mess - not to mention injury.
Money. You owe someone money. Someone owes you money...maybe you just are broke, being foreclosed on and it's making you short tempered...regardless, understand it's effect on the relationships and interactions you have with people.
Maybe you need some help. Maybe you need a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to eliminate your debt (call me...). Maybe you need a (new) job.
Whatever the "bling$$" issue is, when it comes to 'bang" it can put a whole new spin on the case, and can be a factor which makes a self defense incident look a lot like manslaughter.
Sex. You know where this leads. (I mean other than spanking, bite marks and scratches you are proud of, smoking, cuddling, public displays of affection which make everyone around you uncomfortable and eventually to some really great photos you promise to never share …marriage, divorce and child support payments…)
If it wasn't for people doing stupid stuff to get some, or after having got some, the criminal docket would be a boring place and I wouldn't have money to go to...OK, not mentioning that establishment…moving on…
Where were we...oh, yes...as a practical aspect, if you are in a relationship with someone who is, or has, assaulted you, or were previously in a relationship with this person, or are fighting a new significant other of your former partner...congratulations.
You have just stepped on a land mine called "domestic violence". This particular land mine is especially fun, because not only do most states take a more careful look at the incident, some place it on it's own docket with prosecutors assigned to deal with "people like you" who act against people they are or have been in a relationship with…and they don’t like people who do that kind of thing…
If you are having trouble in a relationship that is troubled...get counseling, and if that doesn't help get the F… out.
Do not be afraid to call the police to report harassment, and if need be, consult with an attorney to discuss how to best proceed with restraining orders and orders of protection.
This is an area were you need to document, document...and then document some more.
If the SHTF you better have your paperwork in order to (have counsel) show the police the history of what has been ongoing in order to establish the reasonableness and appropriateness of your actions.
Family...we all love them...even if we can't stand them. Mother in laws...brother in laws....sisters (I've got one, anyone want another?). I can't tell you how to deal with your family. Hell, I can barely deal with mine (really, does anyone want another sister? I’ll throw in cash…not much…but some…) but if anything does happen between you and a family member, guess which docket you are on – that’s right. Domestic Violence, and the attendant docket that is just full of people who society just doesn’t cotton to anymore.
When dealing with family, stay sober. Yes, I know…drinking helps when you deal with them (or in some cases, allows you to understand them…), but it does impair judgment and can land you in trouble you might have been able to walk away from if you were sober.
If you are having an argument with a family member, don’t let it get out of hand. Ask them to leave if it’s your place, or leave theirs if you have to. Too many times tempers get heated, someone snaps and POOF. The DV docket.
Other than the emotional aspects of realizing you got into a stupid conflict with your brother in law over something neither of you really cared about, if you are convicted of a Domestic Violence crime, kiss your ability to own firearms goodbye.
As above, if you have issues with a family member that go beyond simple arguments and are afraid something may occur, don’t be afraid to get the issue documented with the authorities. If the first piece of information the police get is a 911 call after a serious incident were you used force, you get some new labels: “assailant” & “defendant”.
Custody issues related to kids. This usually involves drop-offs and pickups, and can be a really shitty time for everyone. Even former spouses who absolutely won’t speak to each other have to inevitably confront each other for these exchanges. They can be tense, emotional and one or both party might be spoiling for a confrontation about long standing issues which either have not been addressed, addressed improperly, or addressed very well by one sides attorney to the detriment of the other.
Throw in Mom’s new boy toy who’s heard “all about you” or Dad’s …perky, attractive “friend” who is not quite finished with college…and things can get ugly.
Aside from the issues of domestic violence that confrontations here raise, fighting in front of your kids may get Child Services involved, and you may become familiar with a new phrase you’d rather not be hearing, “Risk of injury to a minor”.
When dealing with custody issues such as pickups and drop-offs, consider using a public place with good security & surveillance systems. If you can, inform security that you and your spouse will be doing a custody switch and if they can possibly have a guard in the area.
Also, limit your time at the exchange. The less time on site, the less time you have exposed to any problems. Besides…the activity you have planned for tonight started 3 minutes ago and you have to get going…too bad, so sad…no fight tonight…bye.
If you think you might need restraining orders or things of that nature, then it’s time to talk to someone in your local courthouse’s family violence office or your own attorney.
Maybe handling the pickups and drop-offs on a ‘make it up as you go’ plan isn’t going to work. If needed, a court can impose police enforceable orders on both parties as to the location, time and manner these events are undertaken.
Nobody wants court or government interference if they can avoid it…but sometimes it’s better than the alternative of handling it yourself.
Too many people assume “A good shoot is going to be a good shoot” then get hit from an unexpected direction. Life isn’t simple. The aftermath of a use of force situation isn’t either.
If you have any of these issues ongoing, be aware of them, and if possible, clean them up to the best of your ability.
Yes, some of it may cost money, but it will be money well spent, giving you the peace of mind knowing that it’s taken care of…not to mention knowing that you’ve taken a step to insuring that if you do end up in a use of force situation, you have as many loose ends tied off as possible.
As a last note…Several times above I’ve mentioned calling the police and restraining orders. It’s very common that people who are interested in self protection view those ideas with great scorn and derision – and standing alone, those feelings aren’t unwarranted because pieces of paper by themselves don’t protect you.
However, the police and the courts, who will be adjudicating your situation after it happens, expect people to go through the procedures the law establishes for managing potentially violent situations.
Calls to 911, police reports and restraining orders. These steps, and others, are those society, through the legislature and courts, expect you to avail yourself of.
The use of force against another person is an extreme event, and considered a last resort. Merely because people feel that the steps that precede physical action as ineffective does not invalidate them, or make them any less necessary.
They are tools to be used as appropriate, either to give the authorities more ability to act such as in the case of having someone who is “merely trespassing” arrested for violating a restraining order (hopefully negating an incident ‘this time” by the arrest…), or for laying the groundwork to show why a use of force was the only reasonable action someone could take at a time in the future.
The difference between justified or unjustified can be hard to find in some instances, and the time to help clarify next year’s incident may be today.
MitchellCT, thanks for the great post!
Don't do things you don't want to explain to the Paramedics!
Stupidity should be painful.
Y'know, I suspect that most of it is just bravado, but there are an awful lot of DC.com posters who seem to be eager to find themselves in prison.
Then...its plea bargaining and complaining in the hallway to your lawyer that you didn't do anything wrong.
I've had 1 self defense case where the guy did everything right, except have a permit for CT. Even then, the judge was human, and did the pretrial probation thing - "Get out, have a job or be looking for one, and if I don't see you back here for a year, this incident goes away..." on what should have been a 1 year manditory minimum.
I've also had another go wrong because someone let the other person see the gun too soon.He didn't draw it, but the other guy saw it before 'it was time' and called the police. Didn't matter if it was on the guy with the gun's property...
You don't get mistakes with firearms. You are either spot the ---- on, or you aren't.
If you are, you can kill a bunch 11 gang members like Lance Thomas (in San Fran...yes, loony, liberal San Fran!) and not get in trouble for it.
Or you can get nailed like Mr. Fish did in AZ. You know...pro gun, conservative, "He needed Killin, Yor Hona..." AZ.
Maybe I'm skeptical, but with the appalling ignorance I see in people carrying firearms about use of force laws on a regular basis, I think the "Prosecutor with an agenda" thing gets used as an excuse all too often.
Does it happen? Yes.
The same as real events that end up in the Penthouse Letters edition...assuming those are true events, they are rare instances that do not reflect the baseline.
If they did, everyone's bedroom would be complete only with peanut butter and a friendly german shepard, just like every self defense case would be a matter of the defender acting perfectly, then being prosecuted by a DA with an agenda.
It's an uncomfortable fact most people walking around with firearms carried legally do not have a clear enough understanding of self defense laws to be able to apply them in a situation as they need them, and that more people do not get prosecuted is by intervention from G0D.
It is cooler to spend $1,500 on a new pistol or rifle than it is to spend 1/3 of that on a class which will teach you how to shoot better, and when you can shoot.
It's not cool, and chick's don't dig book learning.
Besides...actually reading laws (or any reality based information) requires someone to put aisde 'what they already know' and accept that they may have to change their thinking to accept what is rather than what should be.
Shockingly, when you have read the laws of your state with an open mind and sought legitimate explinations of what they mean from reference books (law libraries are free and the clerks are exceptionally helpful for ordinary folk who want to do research...) it tends to clear things up rather well.
It's no more difficult than mastering a double action trigger pull .
It takes EFFORT to do it, and practice...but it isn't particularly difficult.
I live in PA and have been following this closely. He caved to pressure from some DA's who were concerned that some BG's could use the law to escape punishment. I can kind of see a situation where some gang banger claims his life was in jeopardy after a drug deal went bad and shot some other BG. I'm not sure how one would change the legislation to prevent this from happening. I'm sure it will be reintroduced next year and the incoming guv said he would sign it. However, the general consensus is that he is going to have a bunch of budget issues and other things on his plate so it won't be a top priority. Also, the current guv didn't sign it because he alleges that someone could get a carry license from Florida if the are rejected in PA. I'm not sure what that scenario would like. http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/ind...e_might_h.html
Ah, more misinformation, and "journalism". The whole Florida loophole flap is nonsense manufactured by Bryan Lentz to give himself something to rail against, and posture over. Too bad for him he lost his race anyway.
Nah, Rendell is anti to the core. He was going to veto HB 1926 anyway, no one had to pressure him.He caved to pressure from some DA's who were concerned that some BG's could use the law to escape punishment.
Even without a duty to retreat, I'd still want to make an attempt. I don't want to use deadly force unless I need to.
What irritates me, is that some fat guy who gets paid too much can sit in his comfy chair and tell me if what I did was "reasonable" or not.
I'm sure it'll be passed in the future.
I seem to have noticed a pattern in the thread......The retreater's are all from the North East quadrant of the country....HUMMMMMM
In Missouri someone breaking into an occupied residence is PRESUMED BY THE LAW to present an immanent danger of death or grievous bodily injury and it is the burden of the state by preponderance of the evidence to prove otherwise, and the law provides immunity from civil action. Missouri just extended castle doctrine to our property line as well, although I haven't had the time to research the actual limits of the law, but I do know the law states that when confronting a trespasser there is no duty to retreat.