Here at Concealed Nation, we cover a lot of self-defense news stories. Sometimes they involve concealed carriers and other times they just involve aware citizens willing to defend themselves, their families, and their property. Not every criminal involved in a self-defense shooting dies. A good number of them don’t.
More importantly, not every person involved in a self-defense shooting has ideal conditions to aim, fire, or move. So sometimes we end up with stories like this one where the robber got shot in the shin.
“He should have killed him.”
Brandon deletes a lot of those. Why? It’s not really what we’re going for when we cover the story. It doesn’t put any of us in a good light. We’re hoping to foster a discussion about – hopefully – how situational awareness, training, preparedness, knowing the law, and having the right equipment plays into a successful self-defense scenario.
What’s a successful self-defense scenario?
- You lived.
- Bad guy is down.
- Nobody else is hurt.
- You’re not in jail.
Notice we didn’t say ‘bad guy is dead’. There’s a reason for that. Self-defense can involve the use of deadly force. When you are facing an imminent threat, you have the justifiable and natural right to defend your life with whatever means are available to you. No one here at Concealed Nation will ever argue to the contrary of that.
Now that we have that covered, let’s go over the bit about “killing people”.
Where Deadly Force Ends And Society Begins
The idea behind killing people as a solution to a problem is as old as civilization itself. When you had an enemy, you could either make peace or kill him. History is literally a record of who killed who to get where.
And then we got to this grand invention called “civilized society”. In America, it really took root around the time the first continental railroad neared completion. Cowboys no longer could get into shoot-outs. Territories were soon made states. People had to settle their differences in a courtroom, not in the streets.
At least in theory. Practical history debates that but I digress…
In some people’s opinion, it all really started to go downhill after that — in terms of individual freedom of choice. So we collectively sacrificed the individual’s ability to determine ethical/moral relativity in exchange for community standards.
Summary: the legal authority to kill someone can only be determined by the state, not the individual.
Yes, yes, I know how wrong that sentence may sound to some.
On the upside, we got better sanitation, housing conditions, established better property rights and eventually had safer workplaces. And by proxy of the firearms we carry right now, guns got a whole bunch more efficient.
Amazing what we can accomplish when we’re not just constantly shooting each other over poker winnings or branded cattle.
The trade-off is we resolve our disputes through the court system. Are the courts fair and earnest? No. But they are a system of established, codified legal doctrine. The only people who may enforce that law are officers sworn to uphold it.
…Which means we – the people – are not agents of enforcement of that law.
There are agents that are sworn to uphold the laws of the land. They’re called law enforcement. Are they always right? No. But they’re the appointed, duly sworn agents that we pay handsomely with our tax dollars.
And when someone threatens your life, you – as the concealed carrier – have the lawful ability to carry a firearm on your person in a concealed manner so that you may use it to defend your life from hostile aggression. You are ALWAYS authorized to use whatever means are at your disposal – firearm, flame-thrower, hatchet. The authority of law concerning the legal disposition of where you may/may not carry your firearm is unfortunately determined by the federal and state legislature*.
*Not a fan of that? I’ll talk about constitutional carry in a different article, I promise.
State law changes from state-to-state, year-to-year. However, most states regard the use of lethal force as only applicable until the threat no longer substantiates itself as a threat.
So, if you shoot an opponent, you have to stop shooting him once he is no longer a threat. If you’re bludgeoning him with a wooden table leg, once he is no longer a threat – you have to stop*.
*You and your team of attorneys can argue with the prosecutor where that fine line is. It’s usually somewhere around the point of compliance, unconsciousness, or the attempt to flee.
Generally when the person is running from you or surrenders — deadly force is no longer authorized by law. When the person stops moving — deadly force is no longer authorized.
Next time you read a story about a concealed carrier critically injuring a criminal by gunfire, consider the peril that person would have put himself in if he continued to shoot after the threat was neutralized. The best we can ever truly hope for is just better judicious aiming.
Moreover, a statement such as “He should have killed him” doesn’t put us in the right light. That shows anger and aggression, instead of a feeling of “Damn, I’m glad that intended victim survived and was able to successfully defend his or herself.”