Tuesday, July 12, 2011

After Shooting Someone In Self-Defense


After The Shooting
"...there are some things that you need to remember..."
by Larry Correia
As self-defense oriented people, we tend to think about the actual encounter a lot, and seldom, if ever, about what we should do in the aftermath. If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a violent encounter, there are some things that you need to remember to maximize your chances of a successful outcome.

Call for help immediately. Even if you produced the gun and your assailant retreated with no shots fired, call the police. If there is somebody out there worth pulling a gun on, then the cops need to know about it. They may have just gone around the corner to pick an easier victim.

As soon as it is safe for you to do so, call 911. Always ask for an ambulance. If somebody has been shot, whether injured or even if you are a hundred percent sure that they are dead, I still want you to ask for medical attention. First off, killing people sucks, so if I've got an injured assailant, I don't want him to die, I just wanted to make him leave me alone. Second, if you don't ask for medical attention, then there is a good chance that fact will be brought up during any potential trial. Basically it is just another tool of a prosecutor trying to portray the permit holder as a blood-thirsty vigilante.

If humanly possible, have your weapon secured before the police arrive, at least in your holster, but definitely not in your hand. The responding officers do not know you, and the information they got from dispatch was probably sketchy at best. The last thing you want to do is survive a violent encounter only to get shot by the cops because they think you're the bad guy.

If you are ever in a situation where you still have the gun in your hands, and the police arrive, they are going to order you to drop the gun. Comply with their instructions because otherwise they may think you are the threat and very well may shoot you. Do not start talking or trying to explain what is going on. Don't be offended because they are treating you like the bad guy. This is not the time to get indignant. This is the time to keep from getting shot.

If you have medical training, and you have just shot and injured an attacker, you may be tempted to administer first aid. Keep in mind, however, that a minute ago this person was trying to hurt you bad enough that they were worth shooting. That threat may still be a threat. Your primary advantage is the fact that you have a firearm. If you then put yourself close enough to administer treatment, you are giving up that advantage. He may not be as incapacitated as you thought, and when he wakes up and sees the person who just shot him within arm's length, you have a real good chance of getting your head twisted off your shoulders. He may have a folding knife that you won't know about until it cuts your kidney in half.

Keep in mind that when the police shoot somebody, the paramedics do not rush in and give immediate aid. The police always secure the individual before the paramedics move in. That is for everyone's safety. If you have been through first responder training, keep in mind one of the very first examples that was given to your class. If you come across a car accident, and the car is on fire, you do not have to climb into the burning car to try and help, because now you are just one more injured person to treat. You never want to endanger yourself to administer aid.

Never tamper with the crime scene. You may have heard the old myth, usually given by an imbecile that does not understand self-defense law, "if you shoot the guy on the porch, drag him in the living room." Bad idea. Do not ever do that. Once you shoot someone, wherever it happened is now a crime scene. If you tamper with the evidence, the authorities will figure it out, and this will now create doubt in the minds of the reasonable people looking at your case. If you felt the need to tamper with the scene, they will believe that you are trying to hide something. The only thing you may do is to make the area physically safe for yourself, but other than that, leave it alone.

On that same note, do not flee the scene. Your personal safety comes first, so if you need to get away to keep from being injured, that is one thing, but make sure that you then call the police as quickly as possible. If you flee the scene of a shooting, that once again raises the specter of guilt with the authorities, and that will color their investigation accordingly.

The responding officers are going to question you. I want you to give a brief statement, and then shut up, accent on brief, with little or no details. As in, "Officer, he attacked me, I was in fear for my life, so I shot him." That is it. Do not start to babble to the police. Do not try to explain everything at the time. They will continue to question you. At that point you will politely tell them that you are not going to answer any more questions until you have your attorney present.

When you shoot somebody, unless you have ice water in your veins, you will be going through various stress reactions. Some of you may be in shock, others will be distraught that they just took a life, others may be enraged that some bad guy just threatened their children, but whatever your reaction, you will not be in a calm state of mind. It is a medical fact that adrenalin affects our higher brain functions. You will tend to forget details, some of which may be very important, or even worse, your brain will fill in the forgotten blanks with facts that will later be shown to be incorrect.

Wait until you have an attorney present before you make your complete statement. This gives you the time to compose yourself and calm down. Also, the Bill of Rights gives us the right to legal counsel. Take advantage of it. A good attorney will keep you from saying anything stupid that will be used against you in court later.

Now some of you may not like this. You may have the mistaken belief that it is the bad guys that need the defense attorneys, not us good guys. Unfortunately that is not how it works in real life. We work in an adversarial system, and anything you say during a statement, can and will be used against you in a court of law.

These are just a few basic tips to keep in mind. Your primary consideration in a violent encounter is to first survive the attack, but doing these things may help you survive the aftermath.


-Larry Correia is an author, firearms instructor, and one of the owners of Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns in Draper, Utah. FBMG is a gun store, specializing in self-defense needs, training, and full-line smithing. Their online store is at www.fbmginc.com The author can be reached at larry@fbmginc.com

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