Lethal force means killing


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Cosmoline
July 17, 2003, 05:37 PM
I've seen this error repeated many times on many gun boards, and even in magazines. The contention is that one should avoid using firearms that are "too" lethal for personal defense. This might include shotguns, rifles, big handguns and the like. The reasoning is that in a trial, you would be grilled for trying to kill someone with your firearm rather than "stop" them.

THIS IS BUNK. Make no mistake, if you take up lethal force and use it to defend yourself, you had better not be surprised if you kill the person. Lethal means lethal. A .22 handgun is lethal force, as is a .500 Nitro Express.

The business about "shoot to stop, not to kill" seems to have emerged from certain gun writers with no legal training. They were probably confusing the lethality of force with the proper use of lethal force. You must cease using lethal force the moment there is no longer an imminent deadly threat. So in this sense, you must "shoot to stop," or rather you must stop shooting the second you no longer need to kill or be killed.

For example, if you start shooting a BG who has a knife, and he tosses the knife, you must stop shooting. Ditto with the BG who drops his gun, or even the one who turns to run away.

The bottom line--there is NOTHING wrong with picking a tool for defense with the best chance of killing in one shot. If you dont' think you really need to kill, DO NOT USE DEADLY FORCE. Don't try to avoid the issue by using force you wrongfully feel to be "not quite as deadly."

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Hkmp5sd
July 17, 2003, 05:49 PM
Lethal Force is that amount of force that can kill, but doesn't actually have to. There is nothing wrong with the concept of "shoot to stop". The logic being, you shoot until there is no longer a threat. If the BG happens to die as a result, too bad. If he doesn't die, then he's very lucky.

"Shoot to Stop" is essentially the politically correct form of "Shoot to Kill".

No matter what you call it, if you were not justified in the use of deadly force, you are in deep poopoo.

PATH
July 17, 2003, 06:30 PM
Necessary Force is the issue I believe. Deadly Physical Force may be responded to in kind. The use thereof varies from state to state. If someone throws a punch at you it would be inappropriate to respond with a head shot.

Deadly force may be used against others using such force against you or others. Some states allow its use in defense of property. Always check the law in your locale. The bottom line is that your life comes first! Always!

El Tejon
July 17, 2003, 07:00 PM
No, lethal force does not mean "killing."

spacemanspiff
July 17, 2003, 07:53 PM
theres a different mindset that responsible gun-owners have, one that insists our efforts are solely to ensure the safety of ourselves or other innocents.
it is not about killing a BG, or even being a hero. it is about being human, and doing what it takes to survive. the 'shoot to kill' mentality is most often associated with anti's who are ignorant of a guns designs, and will hastily make remarks like "if i carried a gun, i'd shoot anyone who got in my way, therefore everyone will act the same way so thats justification for why all guns should be banned".
our 'shoot to live' mentality is because none of us have a desire to take another persons life. thats why we refer to our firearms as 'our last line of defense', that occassionally have to be used as the first means, depending upon the circumstances.

El Tejon
July 17, 2003, 08:00 PM
space, projection is a problem of the antis but can also be problem in the gun culture.

Ours is the culture of life; theirs is the culture of death. We must take care to ensure this distinction.:)

Standing Wolf
July 17, 2003, 08:08 PM
our 'shoot to live' mentality is because none of us have a desire to take another persons life.

"Shoot to live" says it very well!

sanchezero
July 17, 2003, 08:36 PM
I think about this topic alot, both in respect to firearms and HTH.

I believe there is often a semantic problem that can carry over into a performance problem. Typically, when people speak of HTH training they call it self-defense training. While this is all well and good, I noticed in my own training that this defensive mindset was a contributing factor in my lack of ability to close the gap and to hit hard.

It took a good deal of concentrated effort on my part to retrain myself to be aggressive in the fight.

Self-defense is the action you take before the fight - being aware, leaving iffy situations, absorbing verbal abuse and the like. But once the fight is on, it's just fighting, pure and simple and it needs to be handled with as much brutality, power and aggression as you can muster.

I feel the same way about shooting.

Now, before you take umbrage, understand that the decision to take violent action must be the absolute last resort for this very reason. Stopping a fight for one's life will often necessitate the taking of another's or at least the bringing of one right to the threshhold of death's door. It is for this reason that I've never understood those people that go out looking for a brawl.

Navy joe
July 17, 2003, 10:18 PM
Shoot to kill when neccesary I guess is my take. I still think that a lot of the shoot to stop the threat advocates are avoiding thinking about killing another in some way. My psyche doesn't need to be spoon fed.

Lethal force. Force which the user knows or should know will cause death or serious bodily harm if employed.

I kinda figure that means killing.

I see no problem with your original idea of selecting enough gun for the task. There really isn't such a thing as too lethal. I'm sure if the situation involved a legal self defense shooting you would be no more in the wrong for using a .300Win mag than you would a .38Spl. Where the problem starts is if you can be portrayed somehow as malicious, like say keeping a SPAS-12 behind the door loaded with flechette. If an attorney can portray you as bloodthirsty he will. The difference is between wanting to kill and being willing to kill. I surely don't want to, hope I never do, but I'm perfectly willing. That would be my story to the jury too. If I get penalized for honesty, so be it.

SRYnidan
July 17, 2003, 10:53 PM
Shoot to stop is not the same as shoot to kill, ask Gernhart Geotz(sp). The concept of shooting to stop means we will shoot in the most effective manner possible until our adversary stops doing what it was that required us to shoot in the first place. If they die as a result of this we must realize that they chose to start the engagement.

Shooting to kill prepares one mentally to keep shooting until we know or believe that our adversary is dead. This frequently results in shoots being fired when both moral and legal necessity have been exceeded.

NapAttack
July 17, 2003, 10:55 PM
I believe the distinction here falls into the same category as when I was taking and teaching Yoshukai. Yoshukai is a full-contact traditional Japanese hard-style of karate. It is extremely aggressive. However, we still considered it a defensive art. We described it as the defense of breaking the other person's bones before they break yours. We were taught to strike hard, fast and with as much force as possible, the idea being to stop the fight, if at all possible, with that first strike. If the fight continued beyond that first strike then there was the possibility you could get injured.

Shoot to kill leaves some interpretation as to who started the aggression. Shoot to stop makes it plain and clear that your attacker started the fight. No possibility that you did.

Were it necessary to explain this to a jury I would use the same explanation, I used a weapon sufficient to be sure that I could stop the aggression with one shot if at all possible. If there were a nonlethal force that could do this as effectively as a firearm I would use it. But it's been proven that nonlethal methods are not as effective as a firearm. I have no interest, no desire to kill but I must stop the aggressive actions and a firearm of sufficient power is the most effective way to do so.

MeekandMild
July 17, 2003, 11:14 PM
I recall some years ago I was on a murder jury in Alabama. The DA brought forth the legal precidents then in effect which said that if a person used a gun OR KNIFE against another to kill them without being in fear of their life and without having retreated yada yada yada they were guilty of murder.

I am not at all a fan of the false concept of 'duty to retreat', but I was impressed by the idea that in Alabama a knife was considered as 'bad' as a gun.

Blackhawk
July 18, 2003, 12:32 AM
Minor quibble with your examples, Cosmoline:For example, if you start shooting a BG who has a knife, and he tosses the knife, you must stop shooting. Ditto with the BG who drops his gun, or even the one who turns to run away.They suggest mandatory equivalence of force. BG dropping his gun doesn't mean he's no longer a lethal threat to you. Maybe it jammed and he's going to take yours away from you to use on you. Maybe he dropped his knife to get his gun.

The test is whether or not you're STILL in fear for your life after the BG takes some action. Your justification for shooting in the first place isn't whether the BG has a gun or a chunk of soap carved to look like a gun with black shoe polish on it. It's that you were in fear for your life based on a reasonable assessment of the instantaneous situation you perceived.

A guy turning around and walking away with his hands out of sight could be a much greater threat than you realize because you might tend to relax just a hair. Don't shoot, but keep him covered in case he tries to do a wheel and fire on you.

brownie0486
July 18, 2003, 10:31 AM
"Shoot to kill"= premeditation, predisposition to kill mindset

"Shoot to stop"=defensive reaction to a perceived lethal threat.


One is against the law, the other is not.

Brownie

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 11:56 AM
So for those of you who favor using lethal force to "stop" rather than to kill, why don't you advocate shooting for the legs or arms? You see my point, if you are going to use lethal force, it should ONLY be if your life or the life of another is ABOUT TO BE ENDED (from your reasonable perception, typically). Thus, you had better use a firearm with enough power to guarantee the person who is about to kill will not be able to. This means killing them, unless you've built a Star Trek stun phaser or something. So you had better shoot them in the heart/lungs area or the head. If you don't need to kill in order to save your life or the life of another, they you have no business using lethal force. See my point? The question is court is not going to be your "mindset," but rather whether the killing was justified. This turns on whether you or another were faced with imminent deadly harm. In other words, did you have to kill in order to avoid being killed or to save another?

The danger is, a lot of guys who train people for concealed carry and self defense emphasize that it's taboo to think about how to kill your foe. This is BRAVO SIERRA. When the body is lying there cold, it really makes no difference what your mindset was. The only thing that matters is whether or not your life or the life of another was about to be ended by the now dead fellow. In fact, if you think you may need to kill or be killed, you had better pay attention to how to kill, and you had better be prepared to do it.

I mean, the natural conclusion of the confused "shoot to stop" notion is either aiming for legs or shooting wildly so you can say you really didn't mean to hit them. This makes no sense at all.

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 12:02 PM
No, Brownie. You are allowed to aim at the heart, fire, and kill. It's called self defense. You are even allowed to train for years to prepare to do it. The only question is whether or not you had to do it to save your life or another's. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF USING LETHAL FORCE IN SELF DEFENSE! If you are not prepared to kill, then get some pepper spray.

Thus, if some buck naked loon is approaching you and you want to "stop" him, you better think twice and three times before you plug him full of holes. It's like the old saying. DO NOT FIRE UNLESS YOU PLAN ON DESTROYING THE THING YOU'RE AIMING AT. Bullets don't "stop" they KILL.

grampster
July 18, 2003, 12:18 PM
Brownie is wrong! Cosmoline is right! IF you shoot, it should be to kill. If they are dead, they are stopped. If they stop and are not dead, then lethal force must also stop. The point is that you DON"T shoot unless it is absolutely necessary. Trying to "stop" an aggressor may actually be successful because HE killed YOU. The assault stopped when YOU died.

grampster

CZ-100
July 18, 2003, 12:33 PM
So I guess when I grab my Trusty Axe for home defense... I should only Gently tap the BG in the forehead, instead of Driving it Home...

NOPE
IM Swinging for the bleachers! :what:

Oleg Volk
July 18, 2003, 12:36 PM
Police textbooks use the term "incapacitation". As in "the attack will stop when the attacker can't function".

Stopping effectively is coincidental with killing in some cases. A perp hit with a 12ga might live but probably won't keep on attacking.

Killing is sometimes coincidental with stopping...but a poisoned bullet would kill over time without stopping the threat fast enough.

"Shoot to kill" has a bad reputation as it sounds like delivering finishing shots out of malice. In some instances (suicide bombers not using dead-man switches), finishing shots are necessary as the threat doesn't stop with partial physical incapacitation. It all depends on the specific circumstances.

pax
July 18, 2003, 12:49 PM
You folks are all making really good points, arguing against a straw man.

Yes, it is absolutely true that you should aim Center Of Mass (COM), and if that doesn't work, the brain case. It is also absolutely true that the expected outcome, when you use deadly force, is that someone becomes dead. It is also true that if you are not prepared to actively and actually kill another human being, you have no business carrying a gun or drawing it.

That said.

"Shoot to stop" is not addressing point-of-aim. It is addressing the moral, ethical, and legal obligation of a civilized human who is attacked. It answers the questions Why may I shoot? When may I shoot? When must I stop shooting?

If you are shooting to kill, you are shooting for the sole purpose of killing another human being, you begin shooting when you are provoked enough to kill them, and you stop shooting when the other person is dead.

If you are shooting to stop, your point of aim is exactly the same as if you are shooting to kill. You have admitted to yourself that the person dying is a very likely (even desirable) outcome. But you are shooting for the sole purpose of stopping a deadly force attack, you begin shooting when there is an immediate, otherwise unavoidable risk of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent (OR, in other words, when the elements of Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy are all present), and you stop shooting immediately when those elements are no longer present even if the perpetrator is still alive.

You may be tempted to believe that this is all a matter of semantics, word games, legal mumbo-jumbo. Believe that if you wish. But if you kill a man who is not (or who is no longer) a deadly threat to you, expect to pay the legal, emotional, and moral consequences of your folly.

pax

How many a dispute could have been deflated into a single paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms? -- Aristotle

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 12:57 PM
Subjective intent or purpose is irrelevant when the question is self defense. Here's a good way to understand the issue.

Hypo one: The BG comes into Bob's house late at night by kicking down the door. BG has a shotgun and sees Bob on the stairs. BG starts to raise shotgun to shoulder, and Bob shoots him in the head with his levergun. In this case, Bob was intending only to stop the aggression.

Hypo two: Same facts as above, but Bob was intending that his .30-30 bullet blow the BG's face through the back of his head.

Same legal results in either case.

David Park
July 18, 2003, 12:59 PM
Also, remember that something like 80% of people shot with a handgun survive. Does that mean that handguns are not powerful enough for self-defense, because they are not a reliable "killer"? No, it just means that killing is not necessarily coincidental with stopping the threat, as Oleg said.

When faced with an attacker armed with a knife, a pelvis shot is a great stopper, because there's a good chance of hitting and breaking bones which will greatly limit the attacker's mobility. However, it's probably not lethal unless you happen to hit a major artery. On the other hand, a shot to the heart, while probably lethal, still gives the attacker a few seconds (or minutes) of mobility during which he can still run over and stab you.

When I say "shoot to stop" instead of "shoot to kill," it does not imply that I don't want the attacker to die, or that I won't use the most effective (most lethal) tool available. It simply means that I don't care whether the attacker dies or not, as long as he stops being a threat to me and other innocents.

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 01:03 PM
Pax,

As I said in the initial post, of COURSE you must stop shooting when there is no longer justification to use deadly force. What I object to is the MISUSE of this concept to claim that it's dangerous to intend to kill when you pull the trigger. Indeed, the law will presume you intended to kill if you shoot and kill somebody. The only question is whether or not the killing was justified.

pax
July 18, 2003, 01:06 PM
Sure, Cosmo, sometimes it won't make any difference at all. But sometimes it will.

Hypo number one: The BG comes into Bob's house late at night by kicking down the door. BG has a shotgun and sees Bob on the stairs. BG starts to raise shotgun to shoulder, and sees that Bob also has a gun. BG drops his weapon, yells "Don't shoot!" while raising his hands in the air. Bob keeps the gun aimed right at him while directing him to turn around, lower himself to the ground, and prone out while waiting the arrival of the police.

Hypo two: Same facts as above, but Bob blew the BG away when the BG surrendered, because Bob's intent in getting out his own weapon was to kill the intruder rather than to simply stop him.

Slight difference.

pax

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 01:12 PM
Park--You're a much better shot than I am! I've heard of shooting a brown bear's shoulder with a shotgun slug to break it. But I've never heard anyone say you should use a bullet to break the pelvis of someone coming at you with a knife! If all you want to do is break a bone, use one of those heavy Irish fighting sticks.

In fact, it seems to me that a bullet is far from an ideal tool for non-lethal breaking of bones. Indeed, shooting someone where deadly force isn't quite justified because you subjectively thought that it would only break a bone is probably going to land you in prison. If deadly force is needed, but you don't think your life is in grave enough danger for a heart or head shot, I would suggest that deadly force may not actually be needed and what's really justified is non-lethal force or keeping them covered and waiting.

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 01:14 PM
Pax--

In your hypos, what Bob THINKS does not matter. It's his actions that count, and whether those actions were justified. I think we're arguing about different issues.

pax
July 18, 2003, 01:20 PM
As I said in the initial post, of COURSE you must stop shooting when there is no longer justification to use deadly force. What I object to is the MISUSE of this concept to claim that it's dangerous to intend to kill when you pull the trigger. Indeed, the law will presume you intended to kill if you shoot and kill somebody. The only question is whether or not the killing was justified.

:D :D :D

Cosmo, we aren't actually on different pages, you know.

My complaint was that you were arguing against a straw man. EG, I was saying that you were arguing against the MISUSE of the concept, not against the proper use of it.

Carry on.

pax

No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others. -- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

brownie0486
July 18, 2003, 01:42 PM
Okay boys and girls, here we go:

I shot to stop him from killing/maming me. Mindset

I shot to kill him before he killed me. Mindset

Here's the difference to the jury as instructed by the DA on what to consider.

The defendant was angry that the perp would try to harm him, and in his own words he wanted to kill him for doing so. It is against the law to kill another except in self defense, but in this case, we have Mr. defendants own admission he was upset at being attacked and wanted to kill this man, which he did and for which he should pay.

Other side of the coin: The defendant was in fear for his life and he shot the perp in order to stop the perps actions which resulted in his death.

Either instances involve mindset of the defendant at the time the shot/s were fired. If you don;t think mindset has a determining factor in a self defense scenario when you are on trial, go watch a capital murder case in superior court sometime.

The courts ALWAYS look at the mindset of people charged with a crime. Was it inadvertent? Perhaps we reduce the charge to negligent homicide. Was it vengence and anger on the part of the defendant? perhaps second degree murder.

Was it premeditated? Lets see, I see here where Cosmo has been on the boards stating his mindset is shoot to kill if he ever has to defend himself, so we can make now make a case relative his mindset before any incident [ whether justified or not ]and that folks is premediated which will be murder in the first degree.

What you say and your subsequent established mindset by your own words is taken into consideration when you are possibly facing charges. Anyone who doesn;t think so had better wake up.

Wrong? , say it again folks, it's a mantra you all need to remember.

[ Mindset, mindset, mindset ] which dictated your actions when you actually were confronted with a scenario which you had previously thought out relative self defense.

Lets see, how about this: The cops arrive, one shooter says, he came at me with a knife and I was so upset that he would attempt this I killed him.

Another shooter says, he came at me with a knife and I shot him so he would stop his aggression towards me.

One connotates intent to kill, the other connotates a justified self defense scenario.

One gets charged by his words[ whether he gets convicted or not later after spending 30-50K on defense ], the other shows remourse that his defense of his person which caused a death, as that was not his intent [ to kill ].

Intent ladies and gentlemen WILL be taken into consideration by the cops, the DA and the courts.

Repeat the mantra until you understand that it isn't JUST whether your actions were justified but also your mindset at the time.

Everybody got it now?

Brownie

David Park
July 18, 2003, 02:06 PM
Park--You're a much better shot than I am! Really? You've been talking about head and heart shots. The pelvis is a bigger target, basically the same as COM but lower. It also allows you to aim low, so the BG doesn't suddenly duck and "disappear" below your sights. That's what Mas Ayoob taught me, FWIW.

If all you want to do is break a bone, use one of those heavy Irish fighting sticks. But if I'm close enough to hit him with my shillelagh (I'm part-Irish :) ), he's also close enough to stab me. I'd rather step back and shoot him.

Indeed, shooting someone where deadly force isn't quite justified because you subjectively thought that it would only break a bone is probably going to land you in prison. I never said that. Of course I would never shoot unless faced with an immediate and otherwise unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to an innocent (I've got that memorized :D ). The point is, I'm not shooting him in the pelvis because I don't want to kill him. I don't buy into that "shoot to wound" nonsense. I'm shooting to stop him, and if he dies in the process, tough. My intent was not to kill, but my intent was not to avoid killing either.

The point I'm trying to make is that sometimes the "kill" shot and the "stop" shot are different. Often they are the same, head shots for example, and the distinction doesn't matter. But a heart shot is not a reliable stopper, even though it's usually lethal. One of the BGs in the FBI Miami shootout was hit in the heart and went on to kill several good guys before he was finally stopped.

Consider a woman attacked by a rapist:

Hypo 1: She shoots to stop and aims for his groin area to prevent him from reaching her with his knife. He goes down, she runs away and calls the cops. Good for her.

Hypo 2: She shoots him in the groin so he'll never be able to rape someone again. He goes down, but this rapist had a gun instead of a knife, and he shoots her. Bad tactics because she was thinking about punishing the rapist, not stopping him.

Do you see the difference in mindset?

Sean Smith
July 18, 2003, 02:44 PM
The point of the COM shot is that the odds of scoring any hit in something vital is supposedly higher. Because gunfights aren't characterized by precise marksmanship, though that is of course the goal. If you pull a shot down with a hip shot, you either hit an extremity or miss completely. Pull a COM shot down, and you could hit the pelvis OR (if you are real lucky) the spine. Pull up, and you hit the neck or head, which gives a good chance of major blood vessel, airway OR spinal damage. Pull left or right, and you score a not-great-but-better-than-nothing arm hit. Hit somewhere COM and you could take out the heart, lungs, spine, and/or major blood vessels.

It isn't that any one thing you could hit with a COM shot is that "great", so much as that your odds of hitting ANYTHING that will do some good are higher. A hip shot strikes me, anatomically speaking, as pretty worthless unless you luck out and actually break the entire pelvis in two, which is highly unlikely...

The only rapid, reliable stop is a central nervous system hit... brain or spine. Everything else can be too slow, but unfortunately CNS hits are really, really hard in real life.

David Park
July 18, 2003, 02:56 PM
Sean, I've been using the pelvis shot as an example, since it's a case where "stop" and "kill" are not necessarily the same. I still train on COM/center-chest shots.

I agree that incapacitating shots are hard, and arguably "kill" shots are even harder (within the parameters of self defense). If I shoot and miss, but the attacker turns and runs, I'm happy even though there's no dead BG at my feet.

We're all on the same page here, just looking at the subject from different angles.

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 03:38 PM
No, shooting to kill in defense of life is not first degree murder. That's the whole point of a defense of self provision in the penal code.

Here's an example of a defense of self provision:

AS 11.81.335. Justification: Use of Deadly Force in Defense of Self.

(a) Except as provided in (b) of this section, a person may use deadly force upon another person when and to the extent

(1) the use of nondeadly force is justified under AS 11.81.330 ; and

(2) the person reasonably believes the use of deadly force is necessary for self defense against death, serious physical injury, kidnapping, sexual assault in the first degree, sexual assault in the second degree, or robbery in any degree.

(b) A person may not use deadly force under this section if the person knows that, with complete personal safety and with complete safety as to others, the person can avoid the necessity of using deadly force by retreating, except there is no duty to retreat if the person is

(1) on premises which the person owns or leases and the person is not the initial aggressor; or

(2) a peace officer acting within the scope and authority of the officer's employment or a person assisting a peace officer under AS 11.81.380.

----

That's it. Nothing about the "mindset." You could have a mindset not to kill, but if you do kill you'd better be ready to defend your actions under a provision like this. The question is whether or not deadly force is justified. If it is, then you'd better know how to use it and you'd better not claim to be surprised if you actually kill the guy.

ALSO: Look to your own state's provisions. Most states are quite as trigger happy as mine, and wouldn't let you burn down folks to prevent robbery! :D

David Park
July 18, 2003, 05:04 PM
"What we've got here is failure to communicate." :o

Hkmp5sd
July 18, 2003, 05:29 PM
When a person is doing something that requires your immediate intervention to prevent the death or serious injury of yourself or others, you are (in most states), authorized to use deadly force to prevent that person from accomplishing that act.

While he may die in the process, what you are actually trying to do is, by your actions, is whatever is necessary to stop him from successfully completing that action. When the BG no longer has the ability to complete that action, deadly force is no longer justified. There are cases, especially in LE situations where they have the situation contained and time to consider alternatives, where they are justified in using deadly force and they are "shooting to stop", but they do not want to use a killing shot. An incapacitating shot (like hitting the elbow or knee) may be the best way to halt the BG's actions instead of a COM shot.

Regardless of what you call it, in a self defense situation, you are "shooting to stop" the badguy's actions. A byproduct of the use of deadly force is that the guy may die in the process, and in that instance, your "shoot to stop" also included "shoot to kill."

brownie0486
July 18, 2003, 06:53 PM
If you were heard saying that you were going to kill anyone who pulled a gun on you, that would be premeditation to your subsequent action [ the killing of another ].

A case could be made, it may not stick, but it may have to be defended.

Joe the drug dealer is overheard by several saying that if another gang member threatens him again he's going to kill him. The gang member pulls a gun on him a day later and Joe kills him. Based on witness statements, what degree of murder is he charged with?

Brownnie

Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 07:02 PM
If you were heard saying that you were going to kill anyone who pulled a gun on you, that would be premeditation to your subsequent action [ the killing of another ]."

Mmm. Not quite. If you were heard saying that you wanted to kill Joe Schmo and that you were going to wait until he took his Glock out to show it to you, THAT would certainly interest the DA. But simply saying that you would kill a generic someone if that someone is about to kill you or your family member is not "premeditation" at all. It's pretty reasonable, as the defense of self statutes make clear.

"Joe the drug dealer is overheard by several saying that if another gang member threatens him again he's going to kill him. The gang member pulls a gun on him a day later and Joe kills him. Based on witness statements, what degree of murder is he charged with?"

If the gang member placed Joe in imminent deadly peril, and Joe could not retreat, he would have a justification of self defense. The problem is, being a druggie the cops might not believe him. Saying you expect to kill particular people is never a very good idea. In duty-to-retreat states, the argument could be made that if you knew so-and-so was after you, you should have simply avoided the confrontation.

This has nothing to do with preparing to kill to defend your life in general terms.

brownie0486
July 18, 2003, 08:03 PM
"preparing to kill to defend"

I think one should not be preparing to kill for any reason.

"preparing"- isn't that some physical action brought forth by a thought process?

Hope you never have to tell the tale that for x number of years you have been preparing to kill to defend. The aftermath stance of another attacking and you killing him as you had prepared to do x number of years if you ever had to defend yourself will not set well.

A DA would have a field day with that attitude. I won't be ever heard speaking that I always practiced to kill someone if I had to defend my life.

Once again, don't ever think the DA's and juries are not going to look at your mindset at the time of the event. It doesn't have to be written into the law, it goes to a possible motive for the death, even if the action was valid.

YMMV of course.

Brownie

DrPsycho
July 19, 2003, 11:34 AM
I much prefer the term incapacitate. I forgot where I picked it up, but it sure carries alot less stigma/emotions than "lethal" or "kill".

MeekandMild
July 19, 2003, 04:56 PM
Just curious. How many of you boys and girls would finish your gunfight and immediately start CPR on the BG? :rolleyes:

brownie0486
July 19, 2003, 06:49 PM
State mandated first responder,

Yup, go over and help the man out and see if he can live to sue me.

Even if not mandated, I'd be prone to try to keep him from succumbing to his injuries, course that may just mean checking for a pulse and rehosltering.

Brownie

pax
July 19, 2003, 08:10 PM
Meek --

If I have to call 911 after shooting someone, my first words will be, "Please send an ambulance, someone has been shot."

If and only if it is safe to do so, I will render aid as necessary to everyone who is injured -- beginning with the innocents but including the BG(s) if caring for them is not contra-safety.

Of course, if my primary goal in shooting were simply to kill the perpetrator, I would not render aid and might even delay calling 911 to give the BG time to expire. But I'm not that kind of person. If I need to shoot, my purpose would be to stop an immediate and otherwise unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent -- not to kill.

pax

If I won't protect myself, what right do I have to expect another person to risk his or her life for mine? -- Sunni Maravillosa

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