The Legalities of Shooting People

I’m writing this blog post because I’ve seen a lot of really ignorant comments from a lot of otherwise intelligent folks about some recent shootings. It is really easy to be swayed by knee jerk emotion, but luckily we live in America, where we have a justice system based on evidence and the rule of law. I’m not going to get into the Brown shooting too much because I wasn’t on the grand jury and haven’t read the evidence presented in that particular case, but I’m going to explain how use of force laws work so I don’t have to keep repeating myself.

This will vary state by state, but these are the fundamentals for most places in the US. There are some legal differences between police and regular folks shooting people, but basically the rules are similar. I’m not an attorney in your state, and this is not meant as legal advice for your state. Again, this isn’t meant as legal advice, rather as a primer to get people to not be so damned ignorant about the fundamentals of how the law works.

And the law usually does work.

I’m going to keep this simple. Before I became a novelist, I was a Utah Concealed Weapons instructor for many years. I’m condensing a few hours of lecture and discussion into one article.  Again, this will vary state by state.

First off we must understand some terms.

Lethal Force is exercising an action against someone which may potentially take their life. If you shoot somebody and they don’t die, you still exercised Lethal Force. If you shoot somebody in the leg or arm, legally that is still Lethal Force, and contrary to the movies, you can still die if get shot in the arm or the leg (but we train to shoot for center of mass, more on why later).

Serious Bodily Harm (often called Grievous Bodily Harm) is any injury that is potentially life altering or life threatening. Rape is serious bodily harm. A beating is serious bodily harm. Anything that may render you unconscious is serious bodily harm.

Reasonable Man – I will often refer to this. The question isn’t whether the shooter perceives themselves to be justified, but whether a “reasonable man” would perceive you to be justified. Contrary to popular opinion, you can’t just say “he was coming right at me!” and be justified in shooting somebody. The evidence will be examined and the question will be if you made the assumptions a reasonable man would make, and acted in a manner which seems reasonable based on that evidence. This is where the jury comes in, because they are a group of reasonable people who are going to look at your actions and your situation and make a call.  Basically, do your actions make sense to them? Would they believe similar things in the same situation?

To be legally justified in using lethal force against somebody you need to meet the following criteria.

  1. They have the Ability to cause you serious bodily harm.
  2. They have the Opportunity to cause you serious bodily harm.
  3. They are acting in a manner which suggests they are an Immediate Threat of serious bodily harm.

If your encounter fits these three criteria, then you are usually legally justified in using lethal force.

Let’s break each one down a bit.

Ability just means that they have the power to hurt you. A gun or a knife can obviously cause serious bodily harm. However, a person does not need a weapon to seriously hurt you. Any blow to the head sufficient to render you unconscious or cause internal bleeding is sufficient to kill you.

Opportunity means that they can reach you with their ability. A hundred yards away with a gun, they can still hit you, so they have the opportunity. A hundred yards away with a knife, pipe, or chain, and they aren’t a danger to you. However, thirty feet away with a contact weapon is easily within range to cause most people serious bodily harm before they are capable of using a firearm to neutralize the threat. I’ll talk more about distances later.

Immediacy (often called Jeopardy) means that they are acting in a manner that suggests they intend to cause serious bodily harm right now. Somebody can have the ability and opportunity, but if a reasonable person wouldn’t believe that they are acting like a threat, then they aren’t one.


Now let’s break this down in more depth.

Under Ability you will see self-defense experts refer to Disparity of Force, this is where there is such a physical disparity between two individuals that Ability is assumed. I’m 6’5, 300, and I’ve rendered people unconscious with my bare hands. If I’m unarmed, but I am attacking an average sized person, and they shoot me, then a reasonable person could assume that there was a disparity of force, and they were justified in shooting me. Usually when a man attacks a woman, or a fit strong young person attacks a frail old person, then disparity of force is assumed.

However, you don’t have to be bigger or stronger (it only helps convince the reasonable people you are justified). Regardless of size, if you knock someone down and are sitting on them and raining blows on their head, then you are demonstrating the ability to cause them serious bodily harm. A small woman could brain a big strong man over the head with a rock and proceed to beat them, thus demonstrating ability.

A person doesn’t need to even demonstrate that he’s got the ability, he just needs to act in a manner that would suggest to a reasonable person that he did. If you tell somebody, “Give me your purse or I’ll shoot you,” but you don’t show them your gun, a reasonable person would assume that you wouldn’t make that threat if you didn’t have the ability. You don’t need to wait to see the muzzle flash to confirm their gun is real. That’s suicidal.

On the distance someone can reasonably be a threat with just a contact weapon, you’d be surprised. It is easy to underestimate how much distance a human being can cover in a very short period of time. During my classes I used a series of role playing scenarios to demonstrate various issues and test the shoot/no shoot decision making process. While playing an aggressor I routinely covered in excess of twenty feet and caused serious bodily harm before most students could even draw their gun, let alone aim.

Gun people have all heard of the Tueller drill, which demonstrated that the average person could cover about 21 feet before the average police officer could draw and fire a shot (and as we’ll see later, one shot doesn’t often mean much, assuming it hits something vital). That’s average. Basically, without going into a whole lot of detail, the reasonable people are usually stunned to learn how much distance can be covered to provide opportunity.

The last one is the most complicated. Say a man with a gun has Ability and Opportunity, but if he is just minding his own business with the gun in the holster, slung, or being carried in a non-threatening manner then he’s not acting as an immediate threat. But if he is acting like he is going to use it or waving it around, now he is acting like an immediate threat.  Again, it all comes down to how a reasonable person would perceive it.

This is why it is silly when anti-gun people start ranting about how they’re justified in harming people who are openly carrying firearms on their person. Nope. #3, unless they’re acting in a manner that suggests they’re an immediate threat, then they’re fine. Otherwise it would be legally justifiable to shoot everybody like me that shops at the Xtra Large Casual Male outlet because of disparity of force. You can’t just have Ability or Opportunity, they must be acting in a manner which a reasonable person would take to be a threat.

You’ve got to have all three.

In most states these rules apply to yourself or a third person being the potential recipient of serious bodily harm, however I believe there are still some states where it is only for you, and not a bystander. Some states suck.

You’ll hear people talking (usually ignorantly) about Castle Doctrine or Duty to Retreat. Some states require you to try and flee before exercising Lethal Force, and it allows the prosecution to question your inability to flee. Some states require you to flee your own home. Most states don’t have that.

Not that escaping or avoiding isn’t a great idea if given the opportunity, but it sucks to have a prosecutor second guessing your running ability.


Violent encounters are a triangle. There are three aspects to every violent encounter, the legal side (the decisions that keep you out of jail), the tactical side (the decisions that keep you alive), and the moral side (the decisions that let you sleep at night). These don’t always all match up neatly. There are times when you can be totally legally justified but tactically stupid.

Say somebody breaks into your house. Before you’ve even seen them you can make some assumptions, they came into your house while you are home, they probably wouldn’t do that if they didn’t have the ability, now they’ve certainly got the opportunity, and their presence is an immediate threat. So you’re legally justified, however you still need to identify the target before firing to make sure that it is actually a threat, and not some mistaken identity shooting, your drunk teenager, or the neighbors autistic kid.

I worked primarily with regular folks, and a little with the police. Their triangle is different. There are situations where a permit holder might be legally justified in getting involved, but tactically they are probably going to get killed, so their best bet is to run away. In fact, in most scenarios avoidance is the best answer, and in the vast majority of real life violent encounters involving a permit holder, no shots are fired, because simply producing the gun is enough to deter the attacker.

One thing the permit holders I taught needed to get through their heads was that they weren’t cops. Their permit was simply a license to carry a concealed firearm in order to defend themselves from violence. Luckily the vast majority of permit holders get that.


Cops on the other hand are expected to respond to violent people and apprehend them. As a result police have what is known as the Use of Force Pyramid.  That means that they are to respond with the lowest amount of force necessary to stop any given situation. That is why they are expected to use tasers or pepper spray before they use physical force or guns. Their goal is to stop the situation, and they’ll try to respond with one level more force than the person they’re trying to stop. However, and this is a BIG damned however, just like the rules for regular people above, if they are in immediate danger of serious bodily harm, then they are justified in using lethal force.

Tasers and pepper spray are not magic. Most people’s understanding of these tools comes from TV and TV isn’t reality. Tasers don’t knock you unconscious. They stream electricity through your body which causes your muscles to lock up for a moment, and if the circuit ends (the tiny wires break or the barbs fall out) then you are back to normal and it is game on. (and I’m talking about air tasers, the little stun guns or “drive tasers” are useless toys. They feel like being pinched with a red hot pair of pliers, which sucks, but if you’re tough enough you can play tag with the damned things). Pepper spray hurts and makes it hard to see and breathe, but you can build up a resistance to it (ask anybody in prison) and it can also bounce back on the user. In reality these tools work sometimes and sometimes they don’t. You’ll note that when you see cops dealing with actual violent types and they use the less lethal tools, there is usually cop #2 standing there with a real gun in case Plan A doesn’t work.

Then there is going hands on, “pain compliance techniques” (arm bars, wrist locks, and wrestling until you say enough of this crap and let them put the cuffs on) but like anything in life that requires physical force one human being to another, these things are dangerous too, and bad things might happen. Bones break, arteries are cut off, people get hurt, sometimes they die.

But the cops are going to try to respond to their subject a level above what the subject is using, until they surrender or comply. Which means that if they think you are going to lethal force, they are going to go to lethal force, and the time it takes to switch gears is measured in fractions of a second.

When a cop shoots somebody, depending on the state, it now goes before whatever they use for Reasonable People.

If you try to wrestle away a cop’s gun, that demonstrates Ability, Opportunity, and Immediacy, because right after you get ahold of that firearm, the reasonable assumption is going to be that you’re intending to use it. If you fight a cop, and he thinks you’re going to lethal force, he’s going to repeatedly place bullets into your center of mass until you quit.

Everybody who carries a gun, whether they be police or not, are trained to shoot for the middle of the largest available target, which is normally the center of mass, and to do so repeatedly until the threat stops. Contrary to the movies, pistols aren’t death rays. A pistol bullet simply pokes a hole. Usually when somebody is stopped by being shot it is A. Psychological (as in holy crap! I’m shot! That hurt! I surrender), but if they keep going it is until B. Physiological (as in a drop in blood pressure sufficient for them to cease hostilities) If that hole poked is in a vital organ, then the attacker will stop faster. If it isn’t in a vital organ, they will stop slower. Pistols do not pick people up, nor do they throw people back. Pistol bullets are usually insufficiently powerful to break significant bones.

Shooting people who are actively trying to harm you while under pressure is actually very hard, which is why people often miss. This is why you aim for the biggest available target and continue shooting until they stop doing whatever it is that caused you to shoot them in the first place.

You’ll hear ignorant people say “why didn’t you just shoot them in the arm/leg?” That is foolishness. Legally and tactically, they’re both still lethal force. Only if they bleed to death in a minute because you severed their femoral artery, they’re not any less dead, only they had one more minute to continue trying to murder you. Basically limb hits are difficult to pull off with the added bonus of being terribly unreliable stoppers.


In a fatal shooting you’ll often hear someone say “there was only one side to the story told.” That is false.

In the aftermath of any shooting, whether it is police or the general public, there is going to be an investigation. There will be evidence gathered. There will be witnesses. There will be an autopsy. There is always multiple sides to any shooting, even if it is just the autopsy results.

Contrary to the media narrative, most police officers don’t want to shoot anyone, regardless of their skin color. Those of us who carry guns don’t want to shoot anybody. One big reason is that because after we had to make that awful shoot/no-shoot decision in a terrifying fraction of a second, then hundreds of people are going to spend thousands of man hours gathering evidence, then they are going to argue about our actions, analyze our every move, guess at our thoughts, and debate whether we were reasonable or not, all from the comfort of an air conditioned room, and if they get hungry, they’ll order pizza. When all is said and done, these people will have a million times longer to decide if what you did in those seconds was justified or not. No pressure.

Each state is different, but if there is any question as to the justification of the shooting, there is usually some form of grand jury, and if there is sufficient question or evidence of wrong doing, then the shooter will be indicted.

Now, an argument can be made as to how shootings—especially those committed by law enforcement officers who are expected to exercise a higher standard of care—should be investigated. However, no matter how the shooting is investigated, it should be done through our constitutional protections and our agreed upon legal system. No one should ever be convicted through the court of public opinion or the media.

In ten years of studying violent encounters and learning everything I could about every shooting I could, I never once found a newspaper article that got all the facts right. Usually they weren’t even close. In that same time period I offered free training in Use of Force to reporters or detractors, and never once had any of them take me up on it.

You may believe that grand juries are too soft on police involved shootings. That may be a valid argument. You may believe that prosecutors are too lenient on police officers because they both work for the government and there is an existing relationship between the prosecutors and the police. That may be a valid argument. Burning down Little Ceasers isn’t the answer.

There are stupid cops, and there are cops who make mistakes. As representatives of an extremely powerful state, they should be held to a higher standard. Just because somebody works for the government doesn’t make them infallible, and if they screw up and kill somebody for a stupid reason, they should have the book thrown at them, but damn if it doesn’t help to know what actually happened before you form up your angry lynch mob!

Violent encounters are complex, and the only thing they have in common is that they all suck. Going into any investigation with preconceived notions is foolish. Making decisions as to right or wrong before you’ve seen any of the evidence is asinine. If you are a nationally elected official, like say for example the President of the United States, who repeatedly feels the need to chime in on local crime issues before you know any facts, you are partly to blame for the resulting unrest, and should probably go have a Beer Summit.

You can’t complain about the bias in our justice system against some groups, and how the state unfairly prosecutes some more than others, and then immediately demand doing away with the burden of proof, so the state can more freely prosecute. Blacks are prosecuted more and sentenced more harshly, so your solution is to remove more of the restraints on the state’s prosecutorial powers, and you think that’ll make things better? You want people to be prosecuted based on feelings rather than evidence, and you think that’ll help? The burden of proof exists as a protection for the people from the state. We have a system for a reason. Angry mob rule based on an emotional fact-free version of events isn’t the answer.

So my request is this, at least learn how stuff works before forming a super strong opinion on it.

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325 thoughts on “The Legalities of Shooting People”

  1. I’ve participated in Tueller drills before. We used Simunitions and had three rounds. Our backs were turned to the supposed threat, we had to turn and draw our weapon and fire or not, depending on if the person was a threat or not.

    When it was my turn, the person was a threat. I managed to draw my weapon. One round hit the attacker in the low abdomen, the second round hit him in the wrist as it was crossing his body and I don’t know what happened to the third round.

    What I remember from doing it is that all of my attention was on the attacker. It was draw the weapon, and bang, bang, bang as fast as I could an then stepping out of the way so he wouldn’t slam into me.

    Twenty one feet is nothing.

    We also ran the drill laying on our backs, trying to get up. Unless you are inhumanely fast, you probably won’t be getting up.

    1. Yep, I don’t know how many students I killed over the years with my rubber knife. 🙂 And I always saved that scenario for the guy in class who was determined to carry chamber empty.

      1. Learning knife defenses in Krav Maga, I would rather face someone with a gun than a knife.

        And why in the hell would anyone ever carry chamber empty? Those extra couple of seconds to rack a round in is your life.

        1. Naivete basically. They’re scared of the gun and need to get over the psychological hump. Best thing for those folks is introduce them to an actual good holster.

      2. I admit I was nervous about carrying my P238 cocked & locked, so I carried it empty for a couple of weeks until I convinced myself the safety wasn’t going to click off when I sat down. Now it’s always got one in the chamber.

    2. At one of Ayoobs LFI courses, I was on the other side of that drill.

      I was prone in the jesus position on the ground, and the person “covering” me was standing 21 feet away from me.

      I took me 2.3 seconds to push myself off the ground, and charge and tackle him.

      You’re damned straight 7 yards is nothing. If you let a determined man with a knife get that close, he is going to seriously screw you up or kill you.

  2. Thank you so much for a clear discussion of the issues involved.

    I am a little surprised, though, that none of the journalists took you up on the Use of Force training. I know few j-school graduates would ever want to touch an icky, nasty gun themselves, but you’d think they’d be sufficiently curious to want to know something about the subject on which they’re reporting.

    1. Why? They already know EVERYTHING. What could they possibly learn from hands on training with subject matter experts? They went to journalism school! 🙂

      1. …and since they are so all-knowing, they were likely afraid they’d cut off a limb with a lightsaber.

        Oh wait, wrong Force training.

    2. I *routinely* email local reporters when they screw up basically everything possible about firearms (An “assault pistol”, really?And it uses ‘cop killer bullets’?) and offer to take them to the range – at my expense, and I’ll provide the weapons and ammo.
      Larry’s totally right – I’ve never gotten so much as even a response, much less an acceptance.

      1. “Assault pistol”. Is that the pistol with the folding shoulder thingy? I’ve heard those eat babies. Shameful what this country is coming to.

      2. Reminds me of a magazine article a few years back that tried to resurrect the Great Militia Menace of the ’90s. It stated that militias were armed with handguns and “even more powerful weapons”.

        We need a facepalm smilie.

  3. They actually have a bunch of the evidence online, so you can look at it if you want. From what I looked at, their decision not to indict sure seems like the right one to me.

    I saw one tweet where someone was like, “We only wanted a trial. A trial!” As if all they wanted was the chance for the evidence to be seen and justice to be done. First, that’s kind of what happened. Second, I’m totally sure the angry mob would have been pacified if he’d been found innocent via trial.

    Also, it irritates me how they keep calling Brown a “teenager” or, worse, a “child”. Any reasonable person would look at that guy and call him a large man. A young man, yes, but 18 is a man in our country and most others. And considering the way he robbed and bullied a smaller man (shopowner) right before the incident, and the physical force that testimony shows he was displaying against the cop, the ignorance and denial that it takes to call him a child is just staggering.

    1. Brown was very close to me in size. Keep in mind when I go places the SJWs need fainting couches and safe zones. 🙂

      1. being of the large and fuzzy size myself I cant help but notice the lack of outrage when one of us gets the automatic suspicion of evil intent and other various and sundry mopery by the faint of heart and wee of confidence . We need to form a protest group with a alphabet soup acronym, stage marches, and loot the local steak houses. Because outrage and stuff

      2. I am also about Larry’s size, 6’5 300 pounds and I routinely scare the living crap out of people just by existing. I can’t count the number of times someone has opened a door or turned around and literally jumped and or shrieked when they saw me.

      3. 6’4 and 275 lbs. I get the same reaction. You’d think a gorilla/moose had snuck up on them the way people jump.
        That’s just sizest!

    2. That should come as no surprise (the intentional downplaying of Brown’s size). Just think about the first pictures used in the Martin/Zimmerman case. 12 year old, cherubic black child in a football jersey versus hulking, sullen, obviously adult man in a prison-orange shirt.

      Not to mention calling one by his first name and the other by his last. Yeah, no effort to shape public opinion in advance of the facts *there*.

      1. On Monday the local fish wrapper’s cover picture showed what must be a junior high school picture of Brown. He looked all of twelve years old.

    3. My favorite response to that choice of language is to suggest that those journalists might just as convincingly claimed that Bull Connor was a young boy out walking his dogs when a mob came out of nowhere and set upon him.

    4. A trial like this cannot find people innocent they can only rule guilty or not guilty, this is an important distinction.

      1. The crowd that was whining for “just a trial” is the same group that came out of the gate in August demanding “justice”. In the words of Inego Montoya; “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” To wit, according to Mirriam Webster:

        noun ˈjəs-təs

        : the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals

        In their usage, “fairly judge” never entered in to it. Before they’d heard any evidence (beyond witness testimony that was later changed when the forensics proved the statements to be lies) they’d come to the belief that the cop was guilty and Michael Brown was a victim, because the cop was white and Michael Brown was black. The word they meant to use was “revenge” not “justice”. I’m opposed to lynch mobs whether the hangee is black or white. But at the very least, have the honesty with yourself and those you’re trying to convince, to call your revenge lust what it is.

        I’m not trying to deny that racism (in both directions) exists. Of course it does, and I applaud any and all efforts to combat racism. But this shooting wasn’t racism, and countering it with racism of your own isn’t helping.

    5. That seems to have become the problem: the family of the deceased aren’t satisfied with a trial. They want “Justice” which means they want the verdict to exonerate their felon dindu family member and show mean old policeman as racisssist, regardless of the facts. If the shooting is deemed justifiable, well that’s not justice. Maybe they want rough justice.

  4. In addition, the wearing of a police uniform does not convey a +10 on ranged weapons. Small police departments may not have the funds or facilities for training and practice, and as I am sure Larry can confirm, practice is *vital*. (Yes, in some cases I was getting the same training as a police officer who *coff* needed it more than I did.)

    1. Police firearms training varies GREATLY.

      In order of actual good shooting ability it goes:
      1. The small number of cops who are gun nuts who shoot like gun nuts and also get taxpayer funded ammo.
      2. Gun nuts.
      3. Cops.


      1. Ability varies pretty widely in the military too. With a few exceptions (Torpedomen, and a few people who get sent to a school for it) most submariner’s firearms training consists of memorizing the Navy’s rules of deadly force and basic firearms safety. At the other end of the spectrum are the people whose rate involves the use of a gun (Seals and SWCC for example).

        1. It varies pretty widely between the services too. The Air Force has probably the worst tail-to-tooth ratio, where the vast majority of service members essentially work at IBM with a stricter dress code. The Navy comes next, then the Army. At the other end of the spectrum is the Marine Corps, where every Marine is a rifleman (every Marine, whether cook or scout-sniper, qualifies to some fairly high standards of rifle marksmanship), and every officer goes to platoon leader school (even the pilots). Those not familiar with this were shocked after the Washington Navy Yard shooting, the rest of us cynically wondered why it didn’t happen sooner. There seems to be some sporadic response to such base shootings, with individual bases allowing legal gun owners who work there to bring their own guns on base with them (secured, unloaded). Alas, I don’t live next to such a base, but my wife works at one, and thankfully can bring her concealed carry weapon on base with her. For the record, I’m former Air Force.

        2. As a 13F is support of an Infantry Company, in Germany (78-82) I fired my personal weapon once in 4 yrs for qualification.

          SFC (Ret)
          COV (Ret)
          KSCA (Ret)

      2. Sean’s got a point…just because you’re military (former or active) doesn’t necessarily grant access to firearms or training. I put in 6 years, most of that in submarines, myself. The first time I handled a firearm was a .22 1911 in boot, to qualify. Coincidentally, this was the first time I’d handled a handgun (S.Baptist, Air Force upbringing). It was also the LAST time I handled a firearm of any type while in the military. It wasn’t until I had been out for some time that I discovered the joys of shooting.

      3. @blotogg — Your comment reminds me of the joke about how the different services responds to the order “Secure that building!”

        The marine destroys the building.
        The soldier sweeps the building for hostiles, then defends it.
        The seaman makes sure the exterior doors are locked.
        The airman takes out a 5-year lease on it.

    2. NYPD has the nickname “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” The anti-gun culture there goes way back. If you’ve ever heard of a New York reload, its from when cops here were not only forbidden automatics but speed leaders for their revolvers. This was after gangbangers were using Mac-10s. The cops’ response was to carry extra pistols.

      I think the most epic NY reload on filmis from Boondock Saints, when the old man tracks down the brothers. The aftermath leaves the cops convinced a whole squad of hitmen must’ve been there.

      1. The mandatory 11+ pound triggers on all three of the approved NYPD pistols (the SIG Sauer P226 DAO, Smith & Wesson Model 5946 DAO, and Glock 19 with the “New York Trigger”) certainly hasn’t helped their accuracy. The reasoning is apparently that if your department has a problem with negligent discharges, then making the trigger harder to pull will solve that problem better than actually training to use those evil guns properly in the first place.

      2. The New York Reload has a bit more story behind it.

        First, when it came about, semiauto were general considered far less reliable – “Six For Sure!” vs. “jammamatic”.

        Second, speed loaders were uncommon, and generally considered “gamer gear” (to use the current term). But, even with speed loaders, most people who don’t regularly practice using their speed loaders can draw a second gun faster.

        Third, and this is crucial – regulations concerning “backup guns” were much less stringent than the rules for the primary duty weapon, in mst large departments across the nation. Including NYPD. But the “backup”, to be considered a backup, was supposed to be used only when the primary duty gun was out of action (jammed, dropped, out of reach in a struggle, or *out of ammo*). Plenty of stories (some certainly apocryphal, but others reasonably well attested to) of officers who carried a Model 10 or Chief’s Special, but whose “backup” was a .357 Magnum or 1911.

  5. Slightly (but not really) off-topic:

    Now, from what I saw of the released evidence, Brown died at 153 feet from the fender of the police car after being hit 6(ish) times, and Wilson fired 10 times. Am I mistaken in thinking that means that Wilson is a pretty damn good shot?

    1. No idea from that. How far did he move after getting shot? We’ve had guys take .44s through the chest and do hundred yard dashes before falling over.

      1. Since I don’t want to have to dig through a few thousand pages of grand jury volumes, here’s an easy (and surprisingly unbiased) link:–or-know-better-now-the-ferguson-grand-jurys-work-is-over-9881046.html

        So, Brown’s body was 153 feet from the car, and the majority of the witnesses say he was moving/facing towards Wilson. Assuming that Wilson had started to move away from the car, that’s still a huge distance to hit 7/12 shots in that kind of adrenaline-induced state, right?

        Assuming all of these facts are correct.

      2. iirc, the shot that finally did Brown in was a shot to the head that is believed to have instantly killed him. Though my understanding is that he is also believed to have finally started to fall down (after five shots) due to the angle of entry of the head shot.

      1. The statements Bob McCulloch made. Although, apparently, there’s no clear indication of how far apart Brown and Wilson were, though Brown appears to have moved 20-25 feet minimum based on blood spatter while being shot.

      2. What I read was some of the actual evidence and testimony. Only some of it, mind. It indicated that the officer had to shoot him to get him to stop beating him up in his car (he said Brown tried to take the gun from him and actually got his hand around it with the gun pointed at the officer). Then Brown ran away, the officer tried to call him to stop, then Brown did stop, then turned and charged at the officer. One of the witnesses likened this charge to football. Hence why the officer shot him a bunch more times. The autopsy results clearly showed that all of the entrance wounds were from the front, none from the back.

        When discussing the facts, I would find the actual court documents more reliable than statements to the press or a newspaper’s interpretation of the facts, personally.

      3. I think social media has made this case bigger than riots in past decades. The angry mobs formed online, not just in person. And I think the media is just fueling the fire on this, too. I don’t know, just times are a bit different now than they were the last time something like this happened, I think. The news isn’t really even news anymore, and I don’t think it has been for a while. It’s entertainment, and I think now it’s showing that it’s also an instigator. Not that I’m saying this is the media’s fault, but I think they’ve made it a bigger deal than it would have been 20 years ago.

      4. From what I keep seeing of the news I am pretty sure they all get a fail on any true journalism classes. True journalism as I understand it is supposed to be completely unbiased and give the facts of what happened.
        So I kind of have to agree with Shawna on the state of news reporting. I’ve been saying for a little while now that it actually seems like the news crews are trying to start a new civil war just so they can get better ratings.

    2. Wilson chased him down the street. I don’t think we know how close he was when he turned around and charged. I don’t have the patience to dig through all the evidence docs.

      1. He probably chased him because at that point he was a criminal who was trying to get away. Because it’s kind of a cop’s job to stop that from happening.

      2. And that’s another problem with the whole idea of just “shooting them in the leg”, you’re expected to treat someone who only moments before was trying to kill you, and expecting the shock and/or pain of getting shot to subdue them. So really, the whole notion is a less effective, more dangerous way of pain compliance, something that an officer can accomplish with less risky, (although as noted not infallible, ) tools.

      3. He was a WOUNDED criminal trying to get away. I think that’s two imperatives for Law Enforcement. 1) to render aid and 2) to control the criminal.


        3) FINISH HIM!

  6. The shooting that most people are talking about today is that of Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; I’m assuming that’s what prompted this blog post. Your advice to people regarding the law on use of deadly force seems sound. And there are certainly people making any number of ignorant statements about the subject over the past few days.

    But the problem Ferguson is a total breakdown of trust. Based on what I’ve seen and read, both from traditional and non-traditional sources, neither the police, the prosecutors, the local politicians, or the news media are in any way trustworthy. And as a result you’ve got a large mass of people there who see the police as simply the largest and best armed gang in the city.

    This is a classic rule of law breakdown. And it starts at the top—with an entire political class from President down to Prosecutors who think they are above the rule of law. Our country seems to reward lawbreakers among the elites with wealth and power. If I were a young black person in Ferguson, I’d be wondering why bother following the law. It is to their immense credit that the vast majority of the protesters and citizens there are relatively peaceful, and still seem to be willing to work within the political process.

    But the protesters might do well to need to take advice from the Huey P. Newton Gun Club here in Dallas, and organize some black open carry marches and rallies. Show the politicians that they are not unarmed serfs.

    1. What breakdown of law? There’s the genius, devotion to evidence, legality, the U.S. Constitution, and equal protection from the literary science fiction and fantasy community:

      Veronica Schanoes @schanoes · 5h 5 hours ago @CBPotts WTF? If he’d been brought up right…a racist cop wouldn’t have shot him? How does that work, exactly?

      Veronica Schanoes @schanoes · 5h 5 hours ago @elonjames @LLikesThings Well, God fucking forbid anybody suggest that white people’s fee-fees aren’t the central issue EVER.

      Veronica Schanoes @schanoes · 5h 5 hours ago @CBPotts I can’t even with this. Darren Wilson is a murderer. A white supremacist nation-state shields him. Brown’s parents? Blameless.

      Veronica Schanoes @schanoes · 5h 5 hours ago @ChesyaBurke @tinytempest Bec. the idea of someone seeking some relief from this horror show of white supremacy is the real problem? Christ.

      Veronica Schanoes @schanoes · 10h 10 hours ago @sparksjls @Karnythia Things I just don’t give a flying fuck about. It hasn’t been hard enough for that killer.

      1. Veronica Schanoes @schanoes · 5h 5 hours ago @CBPotts WTF? If he’d been brought up right…a racist cop wouldn’t have shot him? How does that work, exactly?

        You know, even if Darren Wilson was racist (and I don’t have any reason to assume that he was) unless he was also a psychopathic stone-cold killer (“I think I’m gonna shoot me a black boy today, hur-hur-hur, let’s pick one at random — that one’s big …”), being brought up right would still have meant that Michael Brown was very unlikely to have been shot. He wouldn’t have gotten high, robbed a store, or been walking down the middle of the street when Wilson encountered him — and he wouldn’t have tried to resist arrest and attack Wilson.

      2. I’m not sure what fact that some people in the literary science fiction and fantasy community (I’ve never heard of “Veronica Schanoes, so she must be very literary) are being idiots on twitter has to do with my point? Are you saying that she’s an example? Or that I agree with her?

      3. I’m amused by how consistently SJWs use the term “fee-fees” when referring to my rights as a citizen. That’s no surprise coming from a cult that considers me in privilege debt.

        Also, aside from their blatant racism, they seem to have a problem making apt comparisons:

        “Steven Gould retweeted Mikki Kendall @Karnythia · Nov 24
        Ohio an open carry state, yet twice this year Black people carrrying toys have been shot while white people carrying guns are safe.”

        I’m not a gun law expert but I’m pretty sure open carry doesn’t mean waving a gun around.

      4. “Steven Gould retweeted Mikki Kendall @Karnythia · Nov 24
        Ohio an open carry state, yet twice this year Black people carrrying toys have been shot while white people carrying guns are safe.”

        “I’m not a gun law expert but I’m pretty sure open carry doesn’t mean waving a gun around.”

        Not completely sure which particular instances of people getting shot happened in Ohio, and I don’t got out and actively get the details when I do hear about it, but even “waving a gun around” isn’t necessarily the case. Kids running around at night with realistic toys getting shot are why there are laws that *require* toy guns be bright orange or have a bright orange tip on the barrel. (I don’t know that this is followed with toy guns that are clearly toys or is the case in all states.) It’s hardly new, however, that there are tragic accidents involving toys.

        We used to have an air-soft arsenal and believe me, there was never a thought of, “Oh, I’m really super white so I totally don’t have to worry about someone thinking this gun is real and overacting.” And we *did* have neighbors (who happened to be black) call the cops.

        The thing is… when it comes to race… that the complete nincompoops who have fainting vapours and call the cops in a panicked emotional fit when they see a gun, do so in a hysteric panicked emotional fits when they see a gun held by a black man in the toy section of a store… AND… they post suggestions that their anti-gun buddies should call the cops when they see someone open-carry.

        It’s not carry advocates who pee their pants and call the cops when they see a toy held by a black person. It’s the sorts who feel “unsafe” when someone has a gun printed on a shirt.

      5. @Mischa – come on now. You know that the feminists will ignore Brown’s sexist ‘pussy’ comment because he’s not a ‘White Hispanic’ like Larry is. It’s one of those things they never wanna admit: that it’s TOTES okay with them that ‘minorities’ are ‘allowed’ to be ‘sexist’ … if they have the proper non-white ahnenpass and goose-step march the way that is approved!

      6. “You’re too much of a pussy to shoot me …” Those are hilarious last words, and part of the reason I think Michael Brown was severely stupid. You do not want to give someone holding a gun on you, who you have already given good reason to shoot you, more reason to shoot you. Especially when it did nothing to improve his tactical situation.

      7. Brown was high at the time. The toxicology report shows what was almost certainly marijuana in his system. Ergo, it wasn’t necessarily stupidity talking at the time (though it might have been that too). Instead, he was under the influence.

      8. Pot impairs risk assessment. This is entirely consistent with the rest of the mess.

        I’d also suggest that there is a wider issue of pot consumers. They think they are fine, so they won’t hear about anyone under the influence of pot not being fine. They are afraid to allow the rest of us to think ‘Brown and Martin had the stuff in their system. We could assume they took some unnecessary risks and got themselves killed while waiting for the investigation to clarify matters.’ So far as they can control things, they won’t let it be discussed.

        Obama appears to have been genuinely distressed over Brown and Martin. Could his own heavy consumption of pot play a role?

      9. Weed doesn’t work like that. Even if you’re fairly blitzed, if something fairly traumatic happens you snap straight pretty quickly. It’s a delicate buzz and doesn’t impair you like alcohol. I’ve never seen anyone staggering around on weed or not knowing where they were.

        1. James May….I beg to differ with you about the “delicate high” and “doesn’t impair you like alcohol”. Back in the seventies I was a regular pot smoker, and the “delicate high” depended entirely on how many joints you smoked. At a guys house one time, there were a bunch of guys there and the joints were being passed around. When I left, I had an extremely difficult time of simply finding my car, and when I finally did, I couldn’t remember how to get to my apartment and was only vaguely aware of what part of town I was in. I was only there to purchase a baggie of pot, and forgot that little item when I left. I eventually found my way home, so don’t prattle about “delicate highs” because you can’t tell from casual observation of someone how high they are. Before and after that, the only time I ever got that stoned was when I was at home to begin with and didn’t need to go anywhere except to bed.

      10. I have known guys on weed that were totally blitzed out of their heads. While they did know where they were, they also kept asking the same question every five-ten minutes for more than an hour.
        I assume they could walk straight as they had gotten to class under their own power.

    2. Breakdown of trust? If the government in Ferguson is corrupt, then the people of Ferguson need to run for office and change things. Not form mobs and riot.

      1. I guess your right. Why run for office when you can just make a stupid tweet and burn down someone’s lively-hood. Something like twenty commercial buildings were burnt down and they still get called peaceful protests.

      2. I think it’s important to remember that the terms “Riot” has largely come to mean “Any protest the Media don’t approve of”. The Kent State “Protests” involved millions of dollars of property damage, including an attempt to burn down a building. I haven’t seen specific charges of looting against Kent State participants, but it’s hard to see a moral difference between deliberate property damage and theft.

        I must say, though, that I’d be a lot happier with the original shooting if the cops in the area had refrained from doing stupid crap like ignoring a court order to not harass reporters.


      3. I highly recommend reading Cedar’s post on this, and Dr. Pournelle’s. I’ll link Cedar’s as she links to Dr. Pournelle’s.

        Civilizing Barbarians is especially eyebrow-raising, in Spockian “Fascinating” manner, especially after I’d read how the LA Times had actively worked against the enforcement of law in a certain area, despite citizens requesting for the intervention. It made me wonder, ‘Why do they WANT that place to be a festering shithole of crime?’

      4. cspschofield, you might be right about the police making mistakes, but it is hard to blame them considering the situation. Reporters are basically doing everything in their power to cause trouble and are just as responsible for the situation as Mike Brown.

      5. “Do they want that place to be a festering shithole of crime?”

        Short answer, Shadowdancer: Yes. If nothing else, it’s easier to keep their pet proles in their place that way, voting for the “right” people in hopes that they’ll “fix” things.

        And it’s a model they’ve replicated all over the nation.

        Dr. Pournelle is dead right about what the purpose of the schools should be. The problem is, the leftists who dominate our ruling class don’t want civilized and free-thinking citizens, they want groups of impoverished savages penned up on reservations, dependent on government largesse for their daily survival…and played off against one another in pursuit of political power.

        Look, Leftists HATE Western Civilization and the American cultural melting pot with a white-hot passion. We see it every day in how the SJWs constantly run down, debase and trash the art, history, culture and traditions that made us what we are.

        And they just LOVE themselves aborigines and savages of all stripes, because they seem to think Primitive Man is somehow “nobler” or “purer” than his civilized counterpart. Excepting their own noble selves, of course, who care so much about the poor and downtrodden that they want to make even more of them to care for.

        And if anybody wants to leave their reservation, well, they can always provoke a different batch of savages to terrify them and put them back in their place. (I suspect the people organizing the nationwide Ferguson riots – I think “Obama riots” are a better description – have done so to intimidate the middle class.)

        Or, failing that, they can always break out whatever the modern equivalent of smallpox-infested blankets are….

      6. @Wes. S:

        You said Look, Leftists HATE Western Civilization and the American cultural melting pot with a white-hot passion. We see it every day in how the SJWs constantly run down, debase and trash the art, history, culture and traditions that made us what we are.

        And they just LOVE themselves aborigines and savages of all stripes, because they seem to think Primitive Man is somehow “nobler” or “purer” than his civilized counterpart. Excepting their own noble selves, of course, who care so much about the poor and downtrodden that they want to make even more of them to care for.

        This stood out to me. That explains quite a bit why Clamps is very desperate to paint me as a self-hating racist over on Julie Frost’s LJ (as well as paint Larry as a close-minded jerkass who bans people just coz.)

        I firmly believe that the race mentality is a hobble for the spirit and the mind. The color of your skin or your ethnicity does not determine what you can achieve. I think it’s one’s skills, will, talent, willingness to learn and work hard, and be adaptive that determines that, along with a willingness to accept one’s limitations, physical or otherwise, with grace. But in order for those things to be given the freedom to grow, local cultures and mindsets must allow for the acceptance of such self determination.

        Dr. Pournelle is dead right about what the purpose of the schools should be. The problem is, the leftists who dominate our ruling class don’t want civilized and free-thinking citizens, they want groups of impoverished savages penned up on reservations, dependent on government largesse for their daily survival…and played off against one another in pursuit of political power.

        Yes. This is why they don’t want any of us to be critical of ‘other cultures’, conflating it, wrongly, with race, and racism. They conflate the criticism of culture to criticism of racial groups, which is a trick they use to shut down any attempt to encourage improvement or growth of those cultures to independence and self determination.

        Clamps tries to paint me as racist because I am critical of cultures that actively shame attempts to break out of the mental cage that those cultures have put themselves in. Ghetto culture, for example – regardless of being black or Hispanic- actively decries and goes against people who try educating themselves to work for a better future for themselves. They have terms for it – ‘Uncle Tomming’ or “oreo’ or ‘acting white’, which is greatly illustrative of how they hobble themselves with the rejection of what is actually available to all – especially in the West – by deriding it as ‘white privilege.’ It is the ghetto culture that derides education

        Examined, this makes no sense, but that’s entirely why the Left operates entirely on Feels~!!!!!!!!! Not logic and reason.

      7. Clamps is a feces-flinging monkey. Which actually makes him the perfect metaphor for the Left: Trashing beauty they can’t possibly understand, because they’ve devolved past the point of being able to appreciate it.

        And the same might as well be true of the Jemisins, Damiens and Scalzis of the world as well, even if they haven’t quite gone all the way down that path yet…

    3. I am not trying to imply anything about Ferguson, and its area and demographics. I am trying to imply something about cultures. Some people in this country can’t participate in an open-carry march, because they aren’t supposed to have a firearm in their possession, according to the law. I don’t necessarily think that an “open-carry march” would fit in well with thug life…..
      Just a thought!

  7. Thank you for the explanation, I was always curious about that.

    I have to do more research into the times, but it seems like every 20 years riots like this seem to happen.

  8. Thanks for the post Larry. For what it’s worth, what you’ve written jibes with what I’ve been taught here in New Mexico, in some cases word for word (Ability, Opportunity, Immediate Threat or Intent). I’ve bookmarked this essay in part to save me a lot of talking when the subject inevitably comes up again.

    Gotta go get ready for weekly Choir Practice with our instructor and group of shooters. We normally meet on Thursdays, but don’t want to compete with all the rabid holiday shoppers this week and so are shooting on Tuesday instead. And there’s a Sheriff’s Deputy in our group, so at least one LEO in the state is training regularly (he’s a damn good shot, too).

  9. I don’t see the part where it’s acceptable to loot and riot despite having no direct involvement in the situation or how said looting and rioting will improve anything. Just saying.

      1. I’m fairly sure that he doesn’t use figuratively the way we do. Because he doesn’t use the English language the way anyone with a working brain cell does.

        Y’know, with actual definitions, grammar structure, logic, sentence structure, and coherence… never mind proper use of punctuation…

      2. I expect a whole bunch of people the next few days will be puzzled as to why some guy they’ve never heard of is complaining about Larry Correia in their comments.

      3. @Christopher M Chupik

        I’ve had a few unfortunate glimpses into the festering disease he calls a mind over the course of his years of stalking me, and his mental furniture is quite sick and disgusting, and reveals quite a bit of what he considers acceptable to do to those he considers less than human. ‘Raped with a chainsaw’ is not a metaphor with him.

    1. BTW, Julie, his Twitter name is “Pure, Impure”, so if you start getting harrassed by someone with that name . . . well, you know.

      1. @Dr. Mauser – I see he’s gone and fled since I updated my sticky to prove that actually, he regularly visits my Deviantart and Livejournal BOTH, not just my LJ to see what ‘new things’ I add to my sticky post. I don’t cite the sticky on my Devart frontpage so there should be ‘no reason’ for Clamps to gaze at artwork he claims to find distasteful to him.

      2. Clamps, like Damien G Walter, is dumb enough to admit to wrongdoing online. That is weapons grade stupidity.

        1. Oh, at one point he drags you into it over something unrelated, which is typical of his derail when losing tactic. Which means he tries to change the subject every post.

      3. @Christopher Chupik You get an especial mention as someone crampsy pantsy says stalks him. Much Q_Qing and wailing and handwringing follow, including claims that he’s as innocent and as pure as the driven snow… aaaaaand at the bottom of the threads, he only goes ahead and proves me right. And seems to get upset about my proving him a liar with screenshotted evidence.

          1. I’m laughing a lot, actually. I’m loving that you got him to start making lots of stupid excuses, thereby exposing his lack of skill, even WITH a reference photo he claims to use. You know, the kind of whiny excuse that only real poseurs and pretenders do.

      4. …its amusing how a snide little weasel like “yama” thinks it can fool people into not seeing what it truly is.

        That kind of pest has been around since Usenet, probably earlier than that too.

      5. The funniest thing is, he constantly complains that other artists get attention for their fetishy artwork. And then he says that he doesn’t mind Nebezial/Shiniez’ work.

        Sunstone is ALL ABOUT fetishes, people, fetish community, and… two women who fall in love.

        Yeah, what was that about fetish stuff? I love how you guys oh so neatly expose his abject hypocrisy. *clapping!*

          1. I frankly love having the chance to throw off stuff like this: “Oh, and this reply is another non-sequitur. You wrote three lines about me. But the topic is why you suck. Please try to stay on topic. “

      6. I love how Mauser nails him for his one-sentence reply and Clamps responds with . . . a one-sentence reply!

      7. @Christopher Yeah, and it’s funny that he’s making himself even more of a massive hypocrite with every single demand he makes from everyone there – including the owner of the blog. It’s like an implicit threat of punishing people with his presence. “If you wanted to keep undesirables from reading posts, you’d make them private. ”

        In other words ‘nobody is allowed to make public posts if they don’t want me to ever harass them for their opinions because they shouldn’t make their ideas known.’

        I’m kinda tickled that he calls himself an undesirable. Hilarious!

        1. Heh, I missed that implication, but I did suggest that he’d be banned from the entire internet that way.

          The most fun is watching how hard he tries to squirm away if you DON’T follow his attempts at deflection and repeat your question. He just tried to introduce N.K. Jemison to the discussion. Denied.

          1. LOL.

            I pointed out that to make his art look good, he posts the whole thing with deviantart page and artist comments.

            He digs through my practice art, gets the image only link, and posts it there, so any viewer doesn’t see the artist commentary where I explictly state ‘this was a practice / study/ etc’ and the viewer is falsely lead to believe these are the best pieces I do. The thing he bitches about as mac and cheese? Is the first ever attempt I did at atmospheric landscape painting. I don’t PRETEND it’s awesome. I talk about how much I learned DOING it.

            So yeah, he likes to put things completely out of context in attempts to make me look bad. And him whining about my post is funnier and even more like a predator screaming “MY VICTIM WHO I SLANDER EVERYWHERE IS NOT LYING THERE AND TAKING IT THUS SHE IS STALKING ME AND DESERVES WHAT I DO!!!”

          2. Yeah. It’s hilarious how he’s now bitching about ‘ultrarealism’ and how ‘you’ are getting hung up on details… but bitches endlessly about the details on my art.

            And bitches about the first attempts as if it were the ONLY LANDSCAPE I EVER DID.

          3. Oooh, I shoulda used that.Ultrarealism and his complaint about your commission pic. Saving that for the next round.

            We’re gonna break LJ at this level of nesting soon.

          4. I dunno.

            I think we should probably stop discussing it over here though. Larry’s post is actually about a rather serious issue, and as much fun as it is butchering Clammy over his idiocy, this probably isn’t the place for a play-by-play.

      8. @Shadowdancer – I love how well you nailed him over there. He doesn’t try to deny that he did something creepy and inappropriate, he brags about it. And then whines that he got caught. In this case, purely by chance. I googled “Larry Correia” and “past week” and found him. I couldn’t believe it.

      9. It’s… impressive, kinda like watching someone trying to walk through a minefield and stepping on every single one like a Wile E Coyote cartoon.

        YAMA: Why do I spend so much time and effort stalking Shadowdancer? I’m glad you asked. (*pulls roll-down wall chart with picture of Rory as Drow*) You see, every part of the the Shadowdancer is delicious and edible, and each a different flavor. The head tastes like strawberries, the hair is cotton candy, the chest chocolate creme de leche, and the arms like lobster …

      10. Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick!
        Had nothing else going on so I waded thru that lake-o-filth. Respect, lil Drow, respect. You done landed a psycho.
        You know, this years long experience could just be fodder for a really good cyber crime novel. Just how much sweet revenge would a top NYT best seller be? On a total Brain floss side note; I caught the South Park 3 part Black Friday / GOT episodes. Reading Yama / Clamps obsession with male “junk” in art, I had that “weiner, weiner…weiner, weiner” parody of the GOT theme running thru my mind the entire time. EEEWWW!
        Your resilience in the face of “madness is a tar baby for punishment” does you credit, and I love a woman with backbone.

      11. @ Jordan179 and Dr. Mauser: O_O;;;;;;;;;; I am not a snac- *pauses as hubby points out I come in fun size, with a grin* … *grumble*

        @ David MacKinnon – Why thank you, kind sir, for such a compliment. *bow*

        The idea might work as a psychological horror – except I’m actually aware of how inept he is. I’ve seen the work done by people like him, who were actually competent over the years, and are much, much worse than Clamps. I realize I could have it worse. I’ve seen the wreckage they make of lives. Still, it’s a good idea, and I might be able to make use of it.

        I’ve been blessed with good friends and a hubby who ‘gets’ this – as well as a very good, very steadfast housemate and honorary family who’s also very tech savvy.

  10. If you want a summary of various state laws and a great primer on what to do BEFORE you shoot, this book is excellent:

    @correia45: Took awhile for my wife to accept carrying a round in the chamber. 95% of it was her confidence with the pistol. As her confidence went up, her reluctance went down.

    And yeah, she’s generally a better shot with her gun (Sig P226 in 9mm) than I am with mine (S&W M&P 9mm).

    My 15 year old daughter wants my M&P for her shooting practice. She’s a better shot too. 🙁

    Best not mess with my girls. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Isn’t half the point of the P226 design that it’s evens safer to have a round in the chamber?

      I have a related question. Is it a good idea to have a round in the chamber for a gun stored not on your person but with ready access in mind, like in a quick access safe with a push-button combination. It seems like in the event of a fire, it would be bad form to cook off a round into a fireman, If you have to use a few seconds to open the box, does one more hurt to work the slide.

  11. Nice job, man! I had been thinking of writing something like this for friends and relatives, and now you’ve saved me the effort (and done a better job than I would have anyway.)

  12. “In ten years of studying violent encounters and learning everything I could about every shooting I could, I never once found a newspaper article that got all the facts right.”

    In a lifetime of reading newspaper articles about any topic you have personal knowledge of or expertise in, you will never find a newspaper article that gets all the facts right. I’ve never been able to figure out why people complain about “news media bias”: journalists are lazy and clueless so they’re going to be wrong anyway, what difference is bias going to make?

    Second topic: isn’t aiming for the center of mass also just part of fundamental firearms safety? I’m thinking in terms of “Know your target and what is beyond.”

    1. The bias still comes into play for several reasons: First, people still tend to believe somewhat what they get from the news; second, even if the media isn’t getting their facts straight, they are still picking and choosing what stories to make their mistakes in (and to some extent, they are probably even choosing what mistakes to make); third, when it involves Republicans and conservatives, they do funny things (such as identify Senator Doofus (R) as a Republican, but ignore the party of Senator Evil in the exact same scandal); I’m sure there are other ways where this bias becomes annoying.

      (One specific way that comes to mind is the willingness to bring up debunked anti-gun studies over and over again, as if they are certified solid fact.)

      Perhaps the most annoying thing is that Republicans haven’t yet figured out how to neutralize this bias. A couple of people have the knack of doing so (Reagan comes to mind), but until it can become systematic, it’s going to be a thorn on the side of those to whom the media is biased against…

    2. On your second topic: yes, you are right: aiming for center of mass is practicing “Know your target and what is beyond”. 🙂

  13. Good one, Larry. One thing to remember is that for private citizens, ‘No Bill’ or ‘Not Guilty’ may just be the beginning. There may well be civil proceedings by the shootee’s family, which can drag on for years, and consume everything you’ve built up over a lifetime, not to mention your physical and mental health. “Every bullet has a lawyer attached”
    This doesn’t mean just submit, but by being aware ahead of time, you can be as clear-minded as possible if That Time ever comes.

  14. Great info! I learned a bit here, and I am thankful to you, OP. Also, I would like to point out, in general, that I am confident the grand jury in the Brown case could have gone either way, and there would have been just as much rioting. Celebration riots are pretty crazy, too!

  15. One of the many things that enrages me about the Ferguson situation are the agitators who swoop in, make a problem worse, then leave, never having to live with the consequences of the hatred they incited. And what really maddens me is that fact that these same people who do this are always the first to piously exclaim: “Violence never solved anything!”

      1. Niven wrote about it a while back. “The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club”. They used teleportation booths rather than cell phones, but the idea was the same.

      2. Ferguson’s stores have been devastated by the riots. Many of them won’t be opening their doors again. The fact that the locals either rioted or did nothing to resist the rioters (it’s an urban area, they’re armed, if they were resisting the rioters the hospital should have been crowded with dead and dying rioters shot from the surrounding homes and businesses) pretty much ensures that no sane financial institution will invest in businesses there for quite a while to come.

        The mostly rich riot tourists will happily go on to some other place to have their fun, or graduate college or grad school to take high-paying jobs. The locals, who were foolish enough not to grasp what was going to happen to them, are going to have to live in that neighborhood.

        Maybe the next bunch of left-wingers will go to Ferguson, note that it’s “under-served” by business, and blame “racism.”

        Happened in Jersey City and Newark. When I was a young man (1980’s) they still hadn’t recovered from the riots of 1968.

    1. People bitch about the KKK.

      The KKK is crippled in at least three ways:
      1. Since the Democratic Parties abandoned them, they haven’t much to offer in the way of deals.
      2. The KKK cannot compromise enough to form a coalition that could make up the shortage in numbers.
      3. The KKK stinks of losers, which is fatal in the American culture.

      The Obama administration and its private citizen colleagues have done substantially more to advance the cause of the KKK than the KKK has in the same amount of time. Obama et al, are much more effective than the KKK at the KKK’s purported specialty.

      It seems likely that eight years of the Obama administration will do more than forty years of KKK. I only refrain from a higher multiplier because longer periods of time make stable statements of an organization’s effectiveness problematic.

      Our legal systems depends on consensus.

      There are a number of alternatives that do not have the same needs.

      I am certain that those Americans who disagree with me, and I would find these more unpleasant.

      1. There’s also (4): If you took all the informants and undercover cops out of the KKK, it’d lose at least half of its dwindling membership.


        If the wheels come off and the Sharptons and Obamas get their apparent wish for a race war, I doubt you’ll see the KKK be any kind of a factor, anyway. OTOH, I’m thinking you’ll see a lot of payback being dished out by “lone wolves,” impromptu neighborhood militias, and – especially if the leftist fad for targeting the families of police officers takes hold, as has been threatened to the Ferguson officers – the rapid rise of American death squads.

        You might want to search out Matt Bracken’s essay “When the Music Stops” for a preview of coming attractions…

  16. Speaking of giving free gun classes to journalists and them never taking the opportunity. Do you know who would *love* it? Romance writers. (Consider that these are the people who take field trips to morgues.) It’s sort of a round-about way to get good information out to people, but I bet there *would* be takers, and that a lot of those would be people who never touched a gun before and would be of an anti-gun mindset, if one were to ask them about it.

    And they do write, and they do reach a large audience.

      1. I didn’t misspell morgue, did I? No, seriously. Romance writers often write romance mystery or romance police-procedural, etc. What do you do when your hero is a cop or your heroine is solving a murder but you don’t actually know anything about police work or what happens to corpses? The most fun research field trips are doing things like traveling to Scotland, of course!, but I’ve also heard of morgue trips and info-things with the police. And lots of romance books have people in them who shoot guns for whatever reason. Present this as a writing research to the local RWA chapter, and I know there would be takers who’d be interested in just really basic experience for description even just what a pistol feels like to hold, and what does the “kick” feel like.

        1. Ahhh, that makes more sense. Okay, that makes a lot more sense. I’ll cheerfully admit that the romances I tend to read really fall into the ‘falls for a rich guy’ uberfantasies, because it lets me chuck reality out the window for an hour or so. (Plus the author whose work I like focuses more on the characters as people than the business aspect of the whole thing.)

          There have been a couple I picked up where the love interest is a doctor, just for a change of pace, and I keep wanting to strangle the protagonists. Then there was this one that came as part of a bundle, where the heroine was a drifty ‘I’d rather do art with the aborigines, but my grandfather decreed I would inherit his billionaire’s empire’ and somehow magically she’s capable of running a multifocus corporation… I think Rhys found my spluttering more amusing than the idiotic portrayal of Australians in the book. (It also took flying lessons, and a three point shot into the bin of my hospital room.)

      2. My high school library had a bunch of romances (back when there was a kiss at the very end) and I really wish I had any way of finding them back because, mindbogglingly, this little school in Minnesota had a couple of dozen “Outback” romances set in Australia. There was always some chick exiled there from Sydney and it was so remote they had to fly and she’d fall in love with the owner of the next spread over or the bush pilot or something. 🙂 I loved those books. I probably love Australia because of them.

        1. The more sensibly plot romances set in the Outback have the woman or the man falling in love with the life out there as well as the person. Not an unrealistic thing, as it does happen at times. A twist on the ‘city girl/bloke falls for country lass/laddie.’

    1. True. If a romance writer is writing suspense, she/he often has studied guns. But they don’t seem to know a lot about gun laws (a lot of intentional shoulder and leg hits and warning shots rather than kill shots). One romance author — Pamela Clare — has a decent gun collection and regularly goes shooting. Her son is a competitive shooter. She leans left and is a “women’s advocate”, but there she is talking about guns like they’re no big thing. I saw one of her readers mention to her in a Facebook thread that she (the reader) had always been very anti-gun (was from a gun ban country) and following Clare had opened her mind.

      So educating romance authors on guns and gun laws (and therefore educating their readers) would likely be a very big bonus for the gun rights community as well as for the often over-emotional discussions following a shooting.

    2. Many moons ago I had the dubious pleasure of being dragged to a RWA (Romance Writers of America) by my mother to help a friend of hers who had some questions on fugitive recovery (at the time I was working part time for a couple of bail bond outfits in western Washington) After the initial trepidation as well as garbing a pal of mine who was a acting chief in a small town as well as being the dive team captain for the local sheriffs office we went. The very nice pair of professionals who were headlining this thing were absolutely wonderful to talk with and were fully engaged polite not only to my partner and I but with each other, asking well thought out questions despite the both of em being diametrically opposed ideologically from each other. Jude and Debbie were what you want in a class IMHOP. If you ever get a request to help out a romance writer take it. Much better than (most) game developers, fanfic writers and your average convention goer

      *results may vary

  17. y’know, it’s funny, I don’t remember any riots when OJ Simpson was found Not Guilty in the Brown-Goldman Murders (and that wasn’t even remotely self-defense).

  18. One point that you might have been a bit light on was the “moral” leg of the triangle (understandable as it is not one that can really be trained on). Working for a small town agency (dispatcher, not cop), I’ve known three cops who have been involved in “good shootings” (all fatal). None of them stayed in law enforcement for more than a year following their incidents. No blame was attributed to them by their agency, general society or any pressure groups. Their departures were all due to psychological reasons. None were new, all had a decade or two of experience. FYI.

  19. As always, Mr. Correia, a clear and helpful explanation of things we could all stand to know more about. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  20. The facts presented are useful. Still… the bigger issue here is how the police lost the trust of the people they’re supposedly serving.

    When they showed up with MRAPs and displayed extremely poor muzzle discipline – or flat out pointed – with military weapons at the protestors, that was a hint that these cops weren’t interested in listening.

    When they arrested journalists – going so far that a federal court had an order issued prohibiting them from interfering with the press, which they ignored less than an hour later – that was a flat-out admission that these cops also didn’t want anyone else hearing about what was going on.

    When they established a godsdamned *no-fly zone*, purely for the sake of controlling media access, the cops lost all credibility and stopped barely a hair short of cartoonish supervillainy.

    When the officer involved got 3 months of deliberation from a grand jury – a system usually noted for processing hundreds of cases in a couple of hours – and further, got a free pass from a system noted to hand down indictments in such a large proportion of cases that the remainder is statistically insignificant… well, that just follows the pattern. And now we’re in Lex Luthor “above the law” territory. Tell me that if this had been anyone but a cop, the guy would have avoided a trial. Go on, I could use the laugh.

    Breaking stuff may not be a solution, but it gets attention. What else do you suggest? Politics costs money, and a community like Ferguson doesn’t have much to start with. Hell, even the cops that police the place generally live in more affluent suburbs far away, much less the political class and bureaucrats governing it.

    Like I said, a good post on the facts, but the conclusion – and especially some of the comments – assume the cops to be better than they have repeatedly shown.

    1. “Still… the bigger issue here is how the police lost the trust of the people they’re supposedly serving”

      The police didn’t lose the people’s trust, the people were manipulated into distrust ing the police. Because victims are easier to control.

      “When they showed up with MRAPs and displayed extremely poor muzzle discipline – or flat out pointed – with military weapons at the protestors, that was a hint that these cops weren’t interested in listening.”

      1) It isn’t the job of riot police to listen. They’re there to restore order. If the people have something to say, rather than throwing a temper tantrum, they can say it to their elected representatives.

      2) It’s a riot, police cars are usually attacked and can’t carry many officers. Say what you will about MRAPS, but they’re good at moving a tactically useful number of people around in safety. They’re also rather intimidating (more on that later).

      3) It’s not poor muzzle discipline, it’s that pyramid of force Mr. Correia was talking about. The armored vehicle, the body armor, the phalanx formation and the pointed guns are all designed to get the mob thinking “this isn’t fun anymore, I should go home.”

      “When they arrested journalists – going so far that a federal court had an order issued prohibiting them from interfering with the press, which they ignored less than an hour later ”

      You mean well before the cop’s on the street could possibly have heard about the court order?

      There’s more idiocy of yours to address, but you aren’t worth it. Suffice it to say that you are a moron of the first water, and you should find someone with a crowbar to help you remove your head from your fundament.

      1. Your argument would have been better without the ad hominem at the end there.

        Trust – the behaviour of the police in Ferguson has been an issue since before this incident. This was the boiling point. This isn’t nearly the first time that prosecutor has had to defend a member of their force from a similar issue.

        1) It’s the job of the police to keep the peace. They showed up in heavy gear before any misbehaviour started, escalating the situation possibly because of the ghost of Trayvon Martin, but most likely because they wanted to play soldier. Escalating to this level is not keeping the peace. See: the state cops, who managed to do just fine without armoured vehicles.

        2) It didn’t start out as a riot, it started as a protest. Then the protestors got answered with an army. Escalation. Guess that “not fun anymore” tactic backfired a little… predictably enough.

        3) So what you’re saying is, pointing firearms at a crowd is just fine to scare them? We’ll just ignore that little “don’t point at anything you don’t want to shoot” rule… or is it okay that the cops were demonstrating desire to shoot into crowds? No, these tools were just poorly trained and undisciplined.

        Yeah, the timing on the next arrest was a bit dodgy, but what in the hell were these cops doing intimidating the press in the first place? To a level that required a damn court order? And despite the court order, it didn’t stop there. More journos were arrested. This is a department operating with zero expectation that they will be called on their behaviour. That’s the problem. They are acting free of consequences.

        1. Your failure to understand ad hominem merely confirms my assessment of your intelligence. Here’s a hint, there’s a difference between insult and ad hominem.

          So now you’re a bloody mind reader? Ferguson wasn’t a protest, it was an angry mob – one that was being incited. It might not have been violent, but that’s like saying a cup of superheated water isn’t boiling. If you don’t take precautions against steam, you’re going to get burned.

          Yes, pointing a gun at someone to scare them is perfectly legitimate, how do you think the overwhelming number of defensive firearms uses end? Goblin sees gun and decides somewhere else is a healthier place to be. It doesn’t contradict not pointing at what you don’t intend to shoot because the intention is to shoot if the target continues to be a threat.

          What were the cop’s doing arresting press? Following orders most likely intended to get the situation under control. The press have been fanning this situation from the get-go.

      2. I appreciate your counter-points; having said that, when it comes to riot control, I’ve seen a good case being made (by the Salt Lake Chief of Police, of all people) that police dressed in uniforms, rather than riot gear, can prevent riots from happening in the first place. For what it’s worth, he used the technique to good effect with the OWS crowd, when requiring them to leave; also, for what it’s worth, he said it’s more dangerous.

        I can understand what that police chief is saying, but at the same time, with what has happened in Furgeson (even the initial riots), I can understand why they would bring in the riot gear. It’s difficult to have sympathy for rioters, and feel stressed out over police militiarization, when businesses have already been vandalized and looted.

        I’m still convinced that police militiarization is a bad thing, and thus would advocate the disbanding of SWAT teams; considering that the initial shooting of Brown didn’t involve a SWAT team, however (and evidence is pretty clear that this was even a self-defense shooting), and considering that the riot gear was brought out in response to riots, it’s difficult to see how Furgeson ought to be the poster city of why we shouldn’t have militiarized police…

      3. Have to disagree on disbanding SWAT teams – to an extent.

        I think really big cities (as in, big enough that there isn’t even one per state) should have them. But smaller cities and/or municipalities probably should not. If they need one all of a sudden, then they should be able to contact another city that does have one and “borrow” it.

        The teams serve a purpose. But at the same time, I think they’re too wide-spread right now.

        1. It’s not just that SWAT teams are too widespread, it’s that they are too widely used. SWAT teams to make citations? arrest on misdemeanor warrants? No. There need to be tighter rules on when they are used.

    2. The Grand Jury didn’t spend 3 months on the case. They only met one day a week, and dealt with other cases, so it was less than 12 days. Probably 8 or even fewer, because of the time to gather information to present to them.

      And, yeah, had this been anyone else they likely would have avoided trial. I know of a case in Ohio where a guy was in his car and a thug decided to reach into the car to start punching him. Thug got two or three rounds in the torso, at least one of them a hollow point. The prosecutor didn’t even take the shooting to the grand jury, but the thug faced assault and battery charges.

      1. Anecdote != data. Does make a lot more sense that they only met once a week, but the point is that the average case gets a couple of minutes of consideration. Because it’s one of their own, this case gets special attention. And a grand jury isn’t a place to come to a verdict – it isn’t even an adversarial hearing, which is why so many indictments go through. The prosecutor decides what to present and how – which is where the cop gets a major advantage – and the outcome is meant to be “is there a reasonable chance, if this went to trial, that the person could be found guilty”. Declaring that there’s no chance at the indictment just bypasses the entire trial.

      2. Leit, on November 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm said:
        “Anecdote != data”

        So someone answered your challenge and you just keep toss out a flippant dismissal and keep going? Or do you not remember things you say less than 5 hours before? Here lets step into the way back machine to refresh your memory:
        Leit, on November 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm said:
        “Tell me that if this had been anyone but a cop, the guy would have avoided a trial.”

        Rob Crawford, on November 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm said:
        I know of a case in Ohio where a guy was in his car and a thug decided to reach into the car to start punching him. Thug got two or three rounds in the torso, at least one of them a hollow point. The prosecutor didn’t even take the shooting to the grand jury

    3. Your argument is pretty much textbook conformation bias. You’ve started with the belief that the cops are wrong, and that whites are systematically oppressing blacks, and you’ve cherry-picked data to prove your point while ignoring or simply dismissing anything that might stand in your way. If you’re a true believer then I won’t attempt to sway you from your belief. As Ayn Rand observed; “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.”

      For those still interested in reason, the vehicles used earlier this year by Missouri law enforcement were Lenco BearCats, not MRAP’s. Designed for police use, they were intended for instances just like this, to intimidate and disperse mobs and rioters. Horses work too, but they literally eat money (I know, we own one), and can’t remain on station for multiple shift changes. Mr. Ed is an effective anti-personnel weapon with a cute face, but cute or not a kick to someone’s chest is crushing ribs, unlike a BearCat, which just sits there no matter how much you taunt it. The “militarization” of American police forces got a lot of play this summer, leading me to believe that the activists had this argument ready to go and were just waiting for an opportunity. Of course, the argument never gained traction, because aside from imagery and histrionics to stir up the ignorant, the activists didn’t have anything. When serving a no-knock warrant on a crack den, or discouraging mobs, these things are great. When all was said and done though, the cops in Ferguson didn’t run anybody over, or storm anybody’s house, or mow down protesters with automatic fire from “assault weapons”, and so all the activists had was that this stuff made them upset. Too fucking bad. When you encounter a reality that conflicts with your beliefs, you’re much more likely to resolve the cognitive dissonance by addressing your (ignorant) beliefs than you are by bending reality to match them. “Militarization” of the police is the result of bad guys bringing insurgency levels of firepower to their crimes (Google “North Hollywood Shootout” and tell me cops don’t need rifles or armored vehicles). To summarize, I refer you to Andrew Carnegie, who said; “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

      As to “what they do”, cops aren’t looting, shooting and burning, criminals are. Hand-waving that as beside the point completely ignores reality. If that’s the only technique that preserves your beliefs, you’re destined for a life of disappointment. What I’m seeing is denial on a community-wide scale, using your technique. For those saying that the problem is outside agitators, I disagree. Most of the arrests in Ferguson were locals. Agitators aren’t helping, but using them as scapegoats to give the locals a pass is disingenuous. What’s happening is summarized well in one of my favorite lines from “Meet the Robinsons” by Bowler Hat Guy; “Hmm, let’s see… take responsibility for my own life or blame you? Dingdingdingdingding! Blame you wins hands down!”

      1. Your argument is pretty much textbook conformation bias. You’ve started with the belief that the cops are wrong, and that whites are systematically oppressing blacks, and you’ve cherry-picked data to prove your point while ignoring or simply dismissing anything that might stand in your way.

        My Facebook feed was full of conservatives who were unhappy about the behavior of the police in Ferguson and the treatment of reporters in the days following the first round of riots, and have been increasingly distressed about police behavior in general, be it racially motivated or not. Jerry Pournelle has commented about this a fair bit in the last year.

        There are three separate issues here, and I think there is a tendency to conflate some of them:

        1. Did Wilson use deadly force appropriately?

        2. Did the Ferguson police respond appropriately to non-violent protesters?

        3. Is burning the town down a remotely appropriate response to the perceived misdeeds of a cop?

        I don’t have a great deal of difficulty believing that the citizens of Ferguson are right to be suspicious of police, but the shooting has catalyzed anger that doesn’t really have anything to do with the case. The protesters really aren’t interested in the facts of this particular case. They are angry at the police at want Wilson to suffer for it. It’s irrelevant whether or not the grand jury was presented with sufficient evidence to justify indictment.

        Likewise, even if the protesters were right about the indictment, I fail to see how looting the businesses that serve their neighborhood is going to help. Also some of the news reports I’ve seen suggest that quite a some of the clowns tearing the place up aren’t actually protesters in the sense that the word is usually used.

        1. I’m not on Facebook, and so can’t speak for what other conservatives express there regarding their disappointment over LEO’s in Ferguson.

          I myself would like to have seen earlier release of forensic evidence and Officer Wilson’s testimony to counter the bullshit coming out of the mouths of witnesses who bounced from camera to camera with the encouragement of a MSM eager to fan the flames instead of investigate the facts (somewhat surprisingly, al-Jazeera led that charge, continuing to toss lit matches long after the other outlets had packed up). But that’s a very good way to poison a jury pool, and a really crappy way to run an investigation. As to the “no-fly” zone, that was not handled with the transparency that it could have been, but for that you’ve got to talk to the FAA, so good luck with that. A more arbitrarily bureaucratic, authoritarian and vindictive organization I’ve yet to find, and that’s from someone with fourteen years in the Air Force. In the defense of the FAA and the police, the area is fairly close to the commercial airport, and news helicopters have been known to have “radio problems” while chasing footage. In any event, the media on the ground were (and are) free to go ahead and inflame/stage the protestors for the best footage, as well as trip over each other every time a protestor strikes a dramatic pose (while taping the looters and shooters with as long a lens as they have handy). I’m not advocating restricting the press, but I am pointing out the hypocrisy of a press that is there to sell an opinion (often with various levels of instigation on the part of said press) instead of investigating and reporting facts without bias or active participation.

          I’m also distressed to the degree to which Political Correctness has been allowed to creep in to the Law Enforcement decision-making process. I understand the need for de-escalation (certainly better than the average protester, rioter or looter), but there comes a point where de-escalation becomes encouragement and enabling, and we’ve long since crossed that line. It’s gotten so stupid that after the grand jury announcement the police presence was dialed back (presumably in an effort to avoid the criticisms over the summer of “police state” and “militarized police”), and the looters and rioters were left to run roughshod. The next day everyone bitched “where were the cops!?!”, so effectively they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t. There’s a pre-assembled epithet to condemn them with either way (either they’re authoritarian or callous). The proper answer would be to do a sweep and round up every last thug and lead them all away to the local high school stadium for processing, cutting loose the innocent protesters caught in the sweep while incarcerating the thugs. That’s not going to happen though, because the decision-makers don’t want to take the short-term heat that would bring. The long-term answer is to engage the community and hold them accountable for the community’s shortcomings, but with a media enabling a blame-game of “my shit don’t stink”, good luck with that, too.

          Again, I know racism (in both directions) exists, and it needs to be opposed. But this shooting wasn’t racist. To the believers that closed their minds to the facts as soon as they heard “white cop shoots black man”, I realize that nothing I’m going to say will have any effect on their beliefs, and more than I’ll affect the beliefs of a white supremacist who says “it’s a good start”. The best I can do is point out the way things went down as well as I can determine, with as little bias as possible, and count on those in the middle still open to reason to take the time to invoke it.

      2. I have no interest in the black vs. white debate. But yes, when a police force responds to gatherings – gatherings, not riots, the heavy gear was out before anyone cast the first stone – then it looks pretty damned suspicious. And when every move the police make is to try and limit exposure, I tend to assume that, yes, they’re in the wrong.

        A no-fly zone, for Odin’s sake. That’s pretty much inexcusable, right there.

        For the record, the situation did actually calm down for a while – when the state patrol took over, and they didn’t seem to need any heavy gear. Then the usual suspects took over again, and suddenly everything went straight back to hell. So the state cops seem to know what they’re doing, and seem to be able to develop a rapport with the protestors – but the local guys are only interested in playing soldier and seeing the media and the community they’re meant to serve as the enemy.

        The problem isn’t all cops. The problem is institutional rot, as exemplified by *these* cops and their pet prosecutor.

        1. As to the heavy equipment, what were they doing with it? Were they shooting protesters? Were they running them down with their “tanks”? No. They were there providing a presence that said “If you get out of line in large numbers, we have the means to escalate more than you can.” That’s exactly how you keep the peace. When you don’t do that, you have looting and arson. I’m not quite sure how you can look at the empirical results and not come to that conclusion.

          1. The empirical results being further rioting.

            Look, I come here to get my jollies watching Larry eviscerate SJWs, journos who don’t know jack about guns, etc. This comment section was looking a little one-sided, but I’ve said my piece and I’m not here for attention or to start flamewars with the good folks of the Monster Hunter Nation.

            Thanks for being polite, but I’ll be shutting up now. Yeah, I couldn’t resist a parting shot, but feel free to ignore it if that’ll keep the peace.

      3. When a city gets 70% of its income from fines over petty things, the police are very much looting. And earning the distrust of the population.

    4. If there’s some sort of institutionalized racism in the Ferguson police, it’s passing strangte that the best — nay, only — poster boy the race-baiters could come up with is a thug like Michael Brown. Seriously. They’ve nailed their flags to the mast of a hopped-up felon the size of a refrigerator who was trying to murder the guy who shot him. It’s not like the colored community doesn’t have a voice — the media are clearly on its side, and black klucker demagogues like Jackson and Sharpton have international pulpits. Where are the actual innocent victims of this alleged bigotry.

    5. Welcome to the underworld. Cops have been doing Normandy Invasions of low-level drug dealers for ages. It’s more fun than hiding two blocks away and arresting the guy in his car as he goes somewhere. That’s because time is of the essence when dealing with dangerous weed dealers who may deal more weed at any second.

      The uncertainty of going into a house where anything may happen is apparently some sort of adrenalin addiction, like choking yourself for fun. Plus low-level torture by way of garbage bags put over your head while thick paperback books are slammed into your head adds to jolly stories later told over a far more addictive but superior drug delivery system of a beer at narc hangouts.

        1. No, I’m suggesting that your post was speculation, perhaps based on personal hangups that I’d rather not have elaborated. If you’re a narc (or perp) who’s witnessed said behavior, do tell.

    6. Breaking stuff may not be a solution, but it gets attention. What else do you suggest?

      I suggest that when rioters “break stuff,” we

      (1) Arrest the rioters, load on the charges, and send them to prison for years. As we do it, mock them “You thought you were going to have some fun wrecking the town. Well, that was pretty much it for your life, fools.”

      (2) Announce that, because of the riots, we will specifically avoid doing whatever they demanded in the name of “justice.”

      Problem solved.

      Oh, did you mean “What should they do?”

      Engage in lawful petitioning, electioneering and other forms of legitimate political activism. We live in a democratic society, so the claim that they have no other means of obtaining justice is specious.

      1. I thought that a very direct and exceptionally to-the-point thing that “they” ought to do, is begin a campaign of encouraging young black men to go into police work. “Take back our streets”… etc. It’s an opportunity for leadership to do some actual leading and to promote something that might actually help. The justice system comes down unfairly on black men? Take it over.

        (By most accounts, even taking into account legitimately higher black crime rates, law abiding black men are treated like criminals… why else try so hard to keep guns illegal in places like Chicago?)

  21. Nitpick: I think your use of the phrase “valid” argument above is technically incorrect. To say an argument is “valid” doesn’t mean the conclusion of an argument is true; it means the conclusion is logically implied by the premises. It’s possible to have invalid arguments that lead to correct conclusions or to have valid arguments that (due to incorrect premises) lead to incorrect conclusions.

    As I finished typing this, my toddler ran in, I complimented his new christmas shirt, and he corrected me to explain that he was wearing christmas *pajamas*. Apparently being a know-it-all runs in families… At least *he*’s still at the age where it’s cute…

  22. > I’ve rendered people unconscious with my bare hands

    > While playing an aggressor I routinely covered in excess of twenty
    > feet and caused serious bodily harm before

    Note to self, don’t take Larry’s self defense class; he runs up and beats you down to prove someone could run up and beat you down. 😉

  23. two (2) questions and a comment. Does Oprah Winfrey have the ability if her tv show can render you unconcious? Do they get cool soft drinks with the pizza? and… Burning down Little Ceasers may not be the answer but it’s a damn fine suggestion.

  24. Because the sub-thread had run out of “Reply”

    :Ascher Goodrich, on November 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm said:
    cspschofield, you might be right about the police making mistakes, but it is hard to blame them considering the situation. Reporters are basically doing everything in their power to cause trouble and are just as responsible for the situation as Mike Brown.”

    I can understand hassling reporters. It isn’t remotely legal, but I can understand it. What makes me conclude that the local cops are controlled by a secret cabal bent on their destruction is that they CONTINUED to harass reporters after being placed under a court order not to. Judges get hostile when you ignore them. And a hostile judge is a heck of a lot more dangerous than a Liberal Anti-Cop Reporter, One Each.

    1. “Secret Cabal”? Come on, that’s just melodramatic. Never apply malice to what can easily be attributed to incompetence. It even said in the article you linked that there was no designated chain of command. Two officers of equal rank from different jurisdictions were both equally in charge of the situation, and they both went radically different directions in handling the situation. That is the definition of a cluster-fuck and more the responsibility of the governor than the two officers in question.

      You are right that the situation should have been handled better, I just don’t believe the officers were given the necessary tools.

      1. The “Secret Cabal” remark is a reference to the humorous observation (I forget who made it. P.J. O’Rourke? Robert Frezza?)that a group’s future behavior can be predicted if you assume they are being directed by an inner cabal bent on their destruction. Yes, a little over the top. Still, defeating judicial order is peculiarly self-destructive behavior for people who live and work in The System. My understanding, which may be flawed, is that you are better off with the enmity of a Mayor than a Judge.

  25. As a former CO in TDCJ I can attest to the immunity building of forced exposure to pepper spray. I was point on CRT’s in Ad-Seg as well as working high security GP. I was able to enjoy the smell of Deep Punch spray while the new boots snotted all over the place. That stuff always smelled like fresh cut hay to me. The pepper compound in the fogger we used (like a mosquito fogger) never bothered me at all. After 15 years away,I doubt I’ve retained that perk.

  26. Very interesting post. I have a question. Is it possible for someone to be both reasonable and wrong? So could a reasonable person think that they are in life threatening danger and be wrong? I believe their have been cases where someone has knocked on a door late at night and the person in the house thinks they are trying to break in and kills the person. That is just one vague example. Sorry. I don’t have details. I would think that there have been a number of cases where something like this happens.

    I am a bit concerned about someone being allowed to have a mulligan and screw up.

    1. So could a reasonable person think that they are in life threatening danger and be wrong?

      Someone could be threatened with an unloaded firearm. You couldn’t very well prosecute someone who responded to such a threat with deadly force on the grounds that he wasn’t really in danger.

    2. The proverbial “kid with a toy” is another example. Part of the reasonable person test is taking in to consideration the situation at the time, and not armchair-quarterbacking it after the fact with information not available to the shooter. In the moment, the shooter doesn’t have the ability to call up the attacker’s medical and mental history, recent purchases or domestic trials and tribulations. It doesn’t excuse the shooter from deviating from the four rules of gun safety, however:
      1) The gun is always loaded
      2) Finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot
      3) Don’t point the muzzle at anything you’re not willing to destroy
      4) Identify your target, what’s behind it, in front of it and to the sides.

      For those not familiar with firearms, these rules aren’t just for the practice range. They’re even more applicable in actual self-defense shootings. A recent example is Oscar Petraeus’ swing-and-a-miss on #4. He went to jail for that, as I think he should have given the evidence in public circulation.

    3. “I am a bit concerned about someone being allowed to have a mulligan and screw up.”

      Why? The law doesn’t require that citizens (armed or not) be omniscient or have access to ex post facto knowledge, it just requires them to be reasonable and duly diligent. Human beings make mistakes. The law, in the ideal, checks to make sure if a mistake was made, and if so if the mistake was one that any reasonable fellow might make in the same circumstances- or was a display of negligence.

    4. “I believe their have been cases where someone has knocked on a door late at night and the person in the house thinks they are trying to break in and kills the person.”

      Oh, you mean Joe Biden? To be serious, if you shoot an innocent through a door it might be a challenge to demonstrate “opportunity” and “jeopardy.”

    5. This is a point (the idea that a “Reasonable Person” can make a mistake) that I think should be emphasized more, that isn’t: if you’re doing something that can be reasonably construed as putting someone else in danger of life and limb, then a Reasonable Person can use lethal force against you, and will be cleared afterward.

      It doesn’t matter if *you* know that the gun you have in your hand is just a toy, or that sword you’re waving around isn’t sharpened, or that realistic club you’re waving about is made out of foam; for that matter, it doesn’t matter if you’re just playing a practical joke, or you think it’s funny because you can scare the heck out of your neighbors: if you do something that causes a Reasonable Person to conclude you are putting other people in danger, and you get shot, then you had it coming.

      Recently in Utah, someone was shot while running around, brandishing a sword. In Ohio, a 12-year-old boy was shot while having a toy pistol, and popping out of bushes scaring people. In California, a teenager was shot while carrying a realistic-looking AK-47 BB gun. From what I understand of what I have heard in the news (for what it’s worth!), the first two were most likely justified, but the last one I have a question: was the boy carrying the gun in a threatening way? If not, then I have a hard time believing it was justified…

      I have heard people make the case that these are situations that the police could have handled better, which may or may not be true, but that’s a different standard than “Would a Reasonable Person have considered the situation reasonably dangerous?” which is the standard for self defense.

      If you don’t want to get shot in self defense, then you shouldn’t give people Reasonable Fear; even when carrying a deadly weapon, you generally do this by emphasizing point #3, that you aren’t an immediate threat to anyone!

  27. Someone mentioned Ayoob. He had a VERY good article in the March/April 2014 edition of American Handgunner about this very thing and about police investigations of shootings.

  28. Just about fifteen months ago a dear friend’s son was taken hostage in St Joseph, la. He was held hostage by a crazed man that left some strange literature behind. He was killed in a gun battle between police, F.B.I., and the gunman. He was forced to k meek for all those hours with his hands zip tied behind his back. The details never came out. The authorities said they would let us know what was going on first. Nothing went according to plans.
    Guess when we rioted? That is right…never. shit happens.

  29. I disagree with all of that. The law is wrong.

    If I determine that a dude needs to be shot, then I can shoot him, and nobody should be able to do anything about it.

    That’s a First Principle right of this republic.



    Unfortunately, even though they don’t analyze or even think about it, that’s the way inner-city black gangbangers operate, and that isn’t a spurious generalization. Chicago proves my assertion beyond any doubt, daily.

  30. Larry, I just linked this post to Chris Hayes at PMSNBC and other assorted mental midgets on Twitter. Some idiot asked him if “police are only trained to shoot to kill” because apparently you can also use a gun to discuss Minoan Mercantilism in the Aegean Sea too.

    Not sure how much good it will do. You can lead a lib to facts but you can’t make him think.

  31. So the way that protesters are blocking freeways is kind of funny to me. They believe so strongly in the inherent, widespread racism which they believe causes white people to shoot blacks for no good reason that they’re willing to stand in front of a whole bunch of fast-moving vehicles and put their lives on the line in the assumption that a bunch of white people (most drivers) won’t kill black people (most protestors) even though they have a reason (inadequate reason though impatience/road rage may be).

    1. If conservatives / NRA members / men were even remotely as portrayed in SJW folklore, there’d be a body count exceeding the firebombings in WWII.

      These people are lying to us, themselves, and each other.

    2. There is such a discrepancy in murders, just not what neurotic SJWs think. According to the FBI, in 2011, where the offender was known, the 13% black population managed to outstrip the 66% white population in murders 5,486 to 4,729. That was 52% of all murders in the U.S. That takes a certain amount of dedication above and beyond what hobbies usually call for.

      SJWs look at those numbers and see griffins flying around with KKK on their backs throwing fireballs at black people at pastoral bookfair picnics of peace and love. That is for a fact unjust.

    3. Remember that idiotic woman who placed her child on the train tracks during the OWS mass stupidity, saying she had faith in humanity (and that she felt the train would stop and not kill them?)

      I have faith in humanity too. But physics tends to be more implacable and unquestionable than feels.

      The thing that makes me smile about that one is that I’m someone usually dismissed for being religious, superstitious, conservative, etc… but I have more belief in science than the hipster with faith in humanity.

      1. There’s “science” with all its theories and guesswork and constantly shifting “facts”, and then there’s the basic laws of physics. They make fun of people who have more faith in an all-powerful God than in the former and yet profess more faith in a deeply-flawed humanity than they display in the latter.

  32. Great article Larry. That helped with my understanding of what happened. Being the subject of that kind of investigation is no fun. Even when *all* the facts support your actions.

    I can’t imagine any police officer, who knows in advance what he’s facing, actually wanting to go through that.

      1. But of course Doxxing is a BAD thing…. Although to be fair, they only published his street name. You’d have to go to the other story that showed a picture of his house to get the actual address. Fortunately the couple bugged out of their first home months ago.

          1. I understand that some enterprising soul has already turned the tables on them. Other than that, I haven’t heard anything more. Lucky for them, our side has a certain level of Morality to it.

      2. “Our side has a certain level of Morality to it.”

        And that’s why the bad behavior continues; they are relying on the fact that no matter how much they scream, clutch their pearls, and faint, nothing is REALLY going to happen as a result. It will take a couple of incidents where Sons of Liberty 2.0 actually give such as them a tar-and-feather facial with anonymously published pictures for the deterrent effect to take hold.

        Unfortunately, nothing less is likely to work. That’s why Mike Brown actually told Darren Wilson “You too much of a p*ssy to shoot me.” and then was briefly surprised to find out he was wrong, or Katrina survivors transplanted to Houston TX kept doing the same kind of crimes they got away with in Nawlins until they realized that Granny had a shotgun, would use it, and the TX legal system would probably be on her side when they kicked in her door and got shot.

  33. I’ve been thinking there is a parallel here to the SJW’s concept of offensive speech. If I understand the Scalzi/SJW position, it’s that your speech is offensive if someone, anyone, anywhere ever finds it offensive, even if you never intended offense. Going on the offense with offense…?

    I think there is a ‘reasonable person’ concept here. If a reasonable person would look at the situation and find it offensive then it’s offensive.

    Emphasis on reasonable.

  34. Thanks for the advice. Now I have a question: given the events in Ferguson, can I shoot somebody if they are holding, and about to throw, a Molotove cocktail to burn down my house / buisness?

    1. Any situation, apply the rules I listed above. Does that person indicate that they have the ability, opportunity, and are acting in a manner which a reasonable person would believe means they are an immediate danger of serious bodily harm?

      Now, using lethal force or the threat of lethal force to defend property, not people, varies wildly by state. So, somebody destroying/taking your property but in no way a physical threat to you is a different question than somebody who is destroying/taking your property through threat of violence.

    2. Are you in that building, or sitting on it? Then the use of a molotov is a deadly threat.

      This varies by state. In Oregon, anyone walking down the street, and not even being threatened, can legally use deadly force on an arsonist attacking an occupied building. Other states are different.

  35. I’ve spent the last couple days squabbling with keyboard commandos. Some of the better gems I’ve plucked from them include:
    “he shot 12 times at this poor, unarmed boy, it must have been malicious!!!” (I can’t decide whether to blame Hollywood or 45 fan boys for the expectation the one shot stop to work)
    “Leg shots worked in case X, (typically either some German shooting or the beheading that happened in Britain a few years ago, ) there’s no reason they couldn’t have worked here,” (the Fairchild shooting in ’94 ended when the airman responding delivered a head shot from his m9 at 70 yards, that doesn’t mean I want to build my sops around it,)
    Other than that, it seems to be mainly folks regurgitating the misinformation that was spreading initially such as him being shot in the back, dragged through the car window, (I’m still trying to wrap my head around how that’s supposed to work, ) etc.

    1. Dunno. Yes. The shooting was probably legal.

      But, the rioting is also understandable. Drug laws have been and always are a problem for poor people and minorities. Add in a hefty serving of the sort of police who have ‘a habit of picking up n-words on a dwb and giving them screen tests’. (My almost sorta in-law is a fairly racist police officer. That is his Friday afternoon. Or so he claims…). Back when the Irish were poor, it wasn’t so different.

      So, assuming a defacto lack of perceived legitimacy on the part of the minority population…well…trashing stores is still problematic in my book. Protest, preferably nonviolent, against the local government would be preferable. Flood the streets. Block roads. Overflow the local prisons. Heck, walk into jail en masse and force prison guards to decide between a massacre and releasing prisoners… But trashing local shops is just petty.

      Solving the problem? Well, I am a big fan of requiring cameras on policemen. Increases trust. And possibly neighborhood watches…

      Other than that, requiring policemen to live in their districts seems likely to help.

      And, marijuana at least should be legal.


      1. Laws are a problem for criminals. If you choose to portray that as poor people and minorities, that’s your business.

        The truth is the difference between how whites and blacks deal drugs is enormous, and the result is not due to racism but sheer stupidity.

        Assuming whites and blacks smoke weed at more or less equal rates (which I grant you), ask yourself why you never see whites dealing on the street. That is a vulnerability right there that leads to easily being targeted by police. You can’t deal to strangers and outside, end of story.

        Whites on the other hand deal out of their homes or make deliveries to a tightly knit group of people they know. Less money, more freedom. No one is sold to who is not vetted. I once saw a guy come to a home and say he was buying something for a friend. He was asked his friend’s last name. When he couldn’t answer he was booted out and reminded not to cop for strangers. Questioning like that is routine. Who are you? Who do you know? Do you know such and such? From where? Are they cool?

        On a rare occasion this was violated by white folks, I once stopped on the street and talked to a friend in front of an apt. building. There was a line coming out onto the street. I asked him what was up and he told me they were dealing inside. They couldn’t have possibly known all those people. I looked around and sure enough, some guys were in a station wagon in a parking lot across the street using a telephoto lens. I told my friend to go inside and tell his buddies to change their ways cuz they were about to get busted.

        He came outside; they’d laughed him off. A day later they were raided. Greedy.

        The way narcs bust you is by arresting someone for possession and then getting him to make a buy. It’s a lot easier to get someone to rat a stranger. A friend or acquaintance is more likely to shut up, if only because the dealer will know who ratted him, if not out of loyalty.

      2. I tend toward supporting drug legalization but I have never ever done so on the theory that poor people somehow lose their higher functions and can’t help but be stupid. I also wouldn’t describe trashing stores as “problematic”, I’d call it criminal. And dear freaking dog… force prison guards to decide between a massacre and releasing prisoners? That’s a good idea in your reality Erwin?

        Hey, whatever… I can stock up with some more ammo for that world, if it’s the one we’re going to have. Maybe actually buy a rifle.

      3. Heck, walk into jail en masse and force prison guards to decide between a massacre and releasing prisoners…

        That’s only a good idea if you have the kind of prison guards willing to massacre the trouble-makers, thus ensuring less trouble in the future. Otherwise, you’re going to see a lot of dangerous people released out onto the streets, causing more suffering for the minority communities.

        And possibly neighborhood watches…

        Oh, did you stick up for neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman when he got into trouble over shooting Trayvon Martin in self-defense, then?

      4. Quick thing, since apparently we’ve decided to go into the weeds of why all this fuss happened. It’s been fairly well-documented that the local governments, due to hollowed-out tax bases and an unwillingness by bureaucrats hired in fatter times to leave, decided to use the justice system as a revenue stream.
        Who is this most likely to work on? Poor people. What happens to be the color of the majority of the poor people in the area? Black.
        Drug laws, however, had nothing to do with it, and trashing stores isn’t just “problematic,” it’s counterproductive, illegal, and morally wrong. Furthermore, the Michael Brown shooting was the wrong hill to die on for these people.

  36. Good reading and I’ll post to Facebook. Enjoyed your history. Me a farm boy from Alabama that starting working as a civilian for DoD on chemical weapons locations so I spent a few years in Tooele.

    1. Urgh. Laggy.
      Anyways, …treatment nonviolently.

      For laws, I learned my respect for the law from law professors… Rule of law is important, yes. But, also remember that transporting margarine across state lines used to be a felony. And remember that a fair number of senator-style well-connected families made their money during prohibition.
      Most laws are opportunities, not problems.for criminals. I suspect that prisons and police departments benefit more from current policy than the public.

      At some point, if enough people are in prison, releasing felons makes sense. Or other acts of revolution. Looting local shops doesn’t help – it just damages the local economy and polarizes people. At the moment, my guess is that revolution would be an evil act. But, um, if you like massacres to suppress nonviolent dissent, please leave this country. Illegal acts are often, though not usually, good.

      And yah, overall, agreed that Brown isn’t the right martyr, seems more of a putz. But, current policy, particularly ‘random’ stops targeting black people, has created an environment with zero trust in the police. Imagine that you could count on your wife being randomly handcuffed while police searched her car every few years…

      I still favor mandatory always on cameras for the police. Heck, they help the officers too…awfully hard to come up with false allegations while being videotaped. Seriously, check out the studies.

      That said, I also favor putting every scrap of email and documentation of our government into a searchable database and having google make it easy to access, so i might be a little crazy. Phone calls too.


      1. Or….
        The insane lefties are STILL all butt hurt about the election whooping and really needed something to “Occupy” thier time.

  37. Excellent article! Very well written and thought-provoking. It does get down to the real problem and that is; the lesser the facts, the stronger the opinion.

  38. Can Larry or somebody tell me if this supposedly true story is justified legally:

    Guy is sleeping in car, seat reclined all the way, while attractive girlfriend is driving. Louts in car drive up in left lane and begin to harass woman with obscene words, calls for her to pull over so they can both pleasure her, etc. NO threatening actions with the car. They can’t see guy sleeping. Guy awakes, draws loaded gun, snaps seat upright, points gun at passenger seated lout. Passenger lout shits pants. Driver lout hit brakes and take first off ramp.

    Most potential crimes are prevented merely by showing you have a weapon but is this an illegal “banishment”?

    I can see if driver lout used his car in a threatening manner (intent, obviously) but does one need to wait for that to show them the consequences of that action?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    1. I suspect that the legality would vary based on the locale. I don’t know about “banishment”. I’m not familiar with that. But you might run afoul of local laws involving the transport of firearms in a moving vehicle.

    2. Without a threatening action, I don’t see any justification to draw a weapon.

      However, an argument could be made that pulling up next to a woman who seems to be alone being spoken to in such a way could be easily be seen as a threatening act.

      Were I in that situation, I’d probably just sit up and let my presence either diffuse or escalate the situation. If it’s escalation, there would be sufficient grounds in due course to draw a weapon.

      But I’m not a lawyer, I never played one on TV, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I could be horribly wrong.

    3. It depends very much on the state. Assuming that either the louts or someone in another car who saw the gun calls the cops, the guy could be charged with “brandishing”, disturbing the peace, etc. That assumes he’s got all the proper permits to even possess a firearm in that state. New Jersey and New York are well known for jailing out of state residents who even bring in a gun, let alone draw it as you describe.

    4. First off, that story sounds like the kind of fabricated BS that circulates in gun stores and in forums, that probably never actually happened.

      Second, it is Brandishing. That is a legal term that is going to vary from state to state, but usually means that you produced your firearm in order to cause fear or intimidation and NOT because you were legally justified because of a potential threat of serious bodily harm.

      If there is no threat of serious bodily harm, and you point a lethal weapon at somebody, and threaten them with lethal force, you are committing a crime.

      Showing somebody that you have a firearm in order to stop a potentially violent encounter is fine. Brandishing takes into account intent.

      1. Of course I meant “Brandishing.” Must learn to proofread what flying fingers wrought….

        “If there is no threat of serious bodily harm, and you point a lethal weapon at somebody, and threaten them with lethal force, you are committing a crime.”

        As concise and clear as one can get. Thanks, Larry.

        So, in an another oft-told tale, if my gal’s stalking nutcase ex shows up at our home and I walk out for a talk, Glock 45 strapped to my hip, just letting him know I have one, that is okay?

      2. If he’s walking out to talk to him on his own property, then my understanding is that any sort of carry laws don’t really apply. Right?

        As to the original question about the car, I’d ask this: if the exact same scenario happened and there really wasn’t a man in the car with the woman, and she was one one to produce the gun, would that be okay? Depending on whether the men in the other car were just being jerks or were acting like they really wanted to get her out of the car and alone (which would be up to the woman’s discretion), if she thought they posed a real potential threat to her, it seems like she’d be perfectly justified in showing them she had a weapon. The inclusion of a man in the scenario doesn’t really change anything. If the other men are threatening her in a way that makes her reasonably fear for her safety, it seems that showing the men she’s capable of defending herself–or that someone else is capable of defending her–would be warranted.

        I guess, speaking as a woman, I’m just wondering why the scenario is so convoluted, as if either the visible presence of a man or his absence would change any of the relevant points in this scenario.

        1. In theory it shouldn’t matter if he’s on his own property. However, I seem to recall a story or two in the news where someone carrying openly in their own yard had issues with law enforcement because they were openly carrying.

          IMHO, it’s often best to make sure you’re complying with state law, just to avoid the dipshit trying to claim you threatened his life by the gun’s mere presence. While him whining over something like that in Georgia (my home state) would get him laughed at, that’s not necessarily the case elsewhere.

          Again, just my opinion. However, I don’t think anyone ever got arrested for exercising too much caution when it came to stuff like this.

          1. The other thing you must consider is your local (city / county) laws, and especially the de facto law dictated by the local government’s instructions to law enforcement. There have been several famous instances before and after Heller of mayors / police chiefs / etc. basically saying they don’t care if there are state laws that allow you to have a weapon; they’ll have you arrested with force and you can sit in jail with your gun(s) confiscated until the court system says you weren’t breaking the law.

            In fact, we had some mayors here in Texas taking that attitude a few years ago (Houston, San Antonio, Austin) until the legislature basically passed a law saying “We meant what we said, and you can be held personally liable for acts like that.”

          2. Good point.

            I’m spoiled because I’m in Georgia, where the state decides gun laws, and more liberal cities like Atlanta can’t pass their own. Law enforcement just enforces the laws as written for the most part (though there are some hiccups on that. They’re human after all), but for the most part, it’s not too bad here.

            Other places are sheer hell when it comes to gun rights.

      3. In regards to your GF/stalker issue: there’s ‘legal’ and there’s ‘wise’. In my state, walking out onto the front lawn of a property you have every right to be on, while armed, is legal. BUT.. if this is a stalker situation, presenting yourself armed to a guy with a serious mental-stability issue might back him off-or it might be the last straw needed to send him over the top … and confrontations don’t always turn out with the good guy on top. Plus, the fact that you went out to meet him might be enough to allow a canny DA to persuade a jury on a Manslaughter charge. In this case, since he’s outside and you’re inside, the smart thing to do would be to call the police and let them handle him. Less legal risk, less personal risk too; and it makes a paper trail that supports you if (G-D forbid) he does end up trying to break in or some such and ends up room temperature .

        And if Stalkerguy mouths off to a couple of short-tempered harness bulls and you get to watch them ‘using compliance techniques’ on him… hey, bonus.

    5. Late to the party, but here is some FYI & further reading anyways:

      Pertinent to Ferguson is Rory Miller’s book “Force Decisions.”

      For your question implied in the story. I would ask you to read Marc MacYoung’s book “In the Name of Self-Defense.”

      But to get the full effect I would read three books first:

      “Facing Violence” by Rory Miller.

      “Scaling Force” by Rory Miller & Lawrence A. Kane.

      “ConCom: Conflict Communication A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication”
      by Rory Miller


  39. I said this over at Sarah’s, but I realized it was really relevant here:

    “I know in the fantasy scenario, we all want to have something pithy to say just before we shoot the guy. But no, save the words until AFTER you’ve taken care of business.”

    1. That’s what pissed me off in Expendables 2. The correct answer (and y’all who’ve seen it know the scene I’m talking about) is BLAM BLAM BLAM “Sheep.”

      1. Eric Garner might make a better martyr. My optimism about cameras is apparently misfounded.

        Albeit, after some reading, the grand jury decisions to not indict are apparently consistent with the law. The guiding principle is that you are not allowed to second guess split second decisions of a police officer. So, basically, once you put on the badge, all that stuff about reasonable men and use of force is out the window. If there is a reasonable doubt that you thought you were killing someone for good reasons or accidentally killed someone, there won’t be a murder charge.

        Or, to put it another way, you can knock on the door, wait until someone answers, shoot them through the door, and you’ll get off if you argue that you thought they were threatening.

        Cause, yknow, strangling a guy on national TV is surprisingly easy to get out of.

        I’m a bit more perturbed about the NYPD going and arresting both the camera guy and his family on possibly faked charges…

        Dunno. Larry the best hope. Can’t help thinking that a really high concealed carry percentage in these neighborhoods would help encourage less murderous behavior. Also, the workplace exemption for police needs to be.significantly toned down.


      2. Eric Garner would certainly make a better martyr than outright thugs like Brown or Martin, but he was still a grown man, a career petty criminal, and pretty damn big. He was also morbidly obese, which A) doesn’t help with the ‘optics’ one bit, and B) did contribute to his demise. (NB: I’m not saying he deserved to die because he was fat, but reality is reality).

        A far better martyr — even allowing for the usual media incompetence and distortion — is Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy shot to death by a white cop in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago. There’s video, so it doesn’t rely on the dubious testimony of a bunch of witnesses. And the cop who did the shooting, Timothy Loehmann, had been previously fired from another police department for incompetence and emotional instability.

      3. There’s low-level stupid and then there’s high-level stupid. Garner was a textbook case of the former. You don’t argue with cops, it’s a lousy idea.
        However, career petty criminal or no, it does seem weird to use five cops, three of whom bulked as large as him, to arrest a guy for selling untaxed cigarettes. Just drop a summons on him to appear in court and leave.

      4. However, career petty criminal or no, it does seem weird to use five cops, three of whom bulked as large as him, to arrest a guy for selling untaxed cigarettes. Just drop a summons on him to appear in court and leave.

        The case can certainly be made that the cops involved appeared to have gone overboard for some unprofessional reason (maybe ego/testosterone, maybe racism, etc.). However, the case can also be made that in their professional judgement, Garner needed to be taken into custody at that point, and that was the amount of manpower required to do it. Maybe the infraction wasn’t one they could just write a ticket for, maybe he had a history of ignoring such summonses, maybe some other factor that — not being police or there ourselves — we don’t know about. Most people are inclined to give cops the benefit of the doubt, and there’s plenty of margin for that in the Garner incident. As a martyr, Garner’s just not going to get much traction outside the ‘cops=gestapo’ and ‘whites=racist’ demographics.

        1. Once they’ve made the decision to arrest someone, they’re going to arrest him. If the individual resists, the cops aren’t going to say “Oh, well since you don’t want to be arrested, I guess we can just let this one slide. You have a nice day, sir.” It sets a *really* bad precedent. It’s the same kind of ridiculous as the line from A Few Good Men; “Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider.” Garner had a long rap sheet. I’m pretty sure he was familiar with the procedure. I suspect that he was tired of being busted for doing something that he thought he was entitled to do (sell bootleg cigarettes to get around NY’s sky-high sin taxes), regardless of what the law was. He was a big guy, and he was resisting arrest. Fault the cops for not administering first aid and CPR, but what I saw on the video tape was admirable restraint in trying to cuff a really big guy who was trying really hard to avoid being cuffed. No tasers, no pepper spray, no ASP’s, and no guns drawn. If anyone thinks the cops went overboard, I invite you to find a comparably sized non-compliant individual and attempt to cuff them, then come back and tell us how easy it was. Depending on the laws in your state, you’ll probably be guilty of assault and battery, and you’ll be bruised (and alone), but we’ll have a laugh at your expense, and perhaps you’ll learn a few things about what cops deal with every day.

          1. The bottom line remains that (a) the cops used force way out of proportion to the so-called offense Garner was committing, and (b) they had him immobilized, which fact implies an absolute moral duty to keep him alive. If they skate, then the next Garner has no choice except to shoot first.

  40. You’re spot on about the legalities, but you seem unaware that “the blue wall of silence” exists. I believe cops and prosecutors will pretty much always cover for each other, regardless of what really happened. Cameras are beginning to change this, but even when bad cops are caught red handed, their immunity and their monopoly on the right to prosecute nearly always protect them — so much so that it’s national news when a cop gets indicted, even though we all know that police jobs attract people who like to bully others like moths to a flame.

    Those immunities need to go away completely. Then we can start purging the system of officers who choose to be at war with the public, and make the system trustworthy again.

    1. Thanks for the lecture, but that has nothing to do with the topic of the essay I posted. I was talking nuts and bolts. I even mentioned the failures of the system and grand jury method, and how that was a different argument and not my current topic, so spare me. How about you go write an article about that topic on your well trafficked webpage, and I’ll come complain that you didn’t write enough about the nuts and bolts? Same difference.

  41. The police and prosecutors don’t like when you protect yourself and family members they would feather you be a victim. I speak from experience .

    1. Horse shit.

      That may be true in your particular case/jurisdiction, but in most of America the cops don’t enjoy regular folks getting murdered.

  42. I agree completely. Here in NV it is unlawful to use a weapon in a threatening manner. You may not fire a warning shot. You may not hold the weapon and say “stop or I’ll shoot” (and have the weapon yaked from your hand). IF you are in the “situation”… you pull that gun, you are REQUIRED to neutralize the threat.
    (so obviously, you better be damn sure of the situation and your response before you do).

  43. A few years ago I had a knee injury and was on crutches. I was at a meeting and I was asked if I would drop two of our customer’s representatives off at their hotel. The customer reps were two extremely good looking young women. Our corporate office is in a not so nice section of town, (think crack being sold in the Happy Meals at the Mickey D’s across the parking lot nice) When we came out there were four men sitting on a car, passing around a bottle in a paper bag. When they saw us, they got off the car and started towards us. It was me, on crutches, two women and about $20,000 worth of laptops, i-pads and cell phones. When they got about 30 yards away, I stopped , pulled my jacket aside, giving them a view of the Beretta 9 mm in my shoulder holster. They turned around, got in their car and left. The two women with me never even noticed. Things like this never make the news, because, nothing actually happened.

  44. The Tampa Bay Times did an extensive study of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. They found slightly more blacks who shot whites successfully used the defense than whites who shot blacks. Considering that it’s so-called black “leaders” who are pushing to have the law revoked, you have to wonder what their real agenda is.

  45. “Let’s be clear,” said Alfreda Coward, a black Fort Lauderdale lawyer whose clients are mostly black men. “This law was not designed for the protection of young black males, but it’s benefiting them in certain cases.”

  46. I won’t say that I’m old as dirt. OK yeah, I’m old as dirt. Our training officer used the old B & W FIB training films where you shoot at the images on a paper movie screen. In my humble opinion there’s no finer shoot/don’t shoot training and it paid well in a domestic quarrel a few months later where everyone went home alive and uninjured.

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