If you go read the news stories, this clerk said he was in fear for his life when he shot this teen robber. But fear must be reasonable and have objective evidence to back it up, and this video provides a lot of lessons on moral and legal self-defense for firearms carriers!
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News stories on this robber, the clerk, and the incident the charges stem from abound. https://get-asp.com/fdc8 and https://get-asp.com/qnt9 and https://get-asp.com/juip give the details. https://get-asp.com/ohxx is an interview with the teen robber’s dad, which is sad but at least the father recognizes the son’s bad decisions that led him there.
What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against a robber?
- Transitional spaces are places where we MUST be more careful of potential attack. A transitional space is any location that (1) allows attackers to prey on potential victims with an element of surprise and (2) provides ready escape for the attackers. The stupid teens used the cover of the door and the transitional space to launch their robbery from obscurity, which made the clerk react quickly and before he could process the information.
- One of the five pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “proportionality,” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ). Proportionality requires that the response is proportional to the threat, and escalating conflict is not allowed legally or morally. When we fail the test of proportionality by escalating conflict, we lose our innocence in the eyes of the law and put ourselves at risk of spending significant time in prison. Proportionality is also why I carry a pepper spray, because non-lethal threats require non-lethal responses. (I carry this one: http://amzn.to/1kxJ3v8 ) To use deadly force there must be objective evidence of a deadly threat, and in this incident, the clerk can’t objectively say that the teen has the ability to do him deadly harm without a force multiplier on him. Therefore he fails the test of proportionality.
- One of the pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “reasonableness.” In every defensive incident we ask whether the actions of the defender were reasonable from an objective standpoint. Would an objective, reasonable person do what you did in the moment? A good test of whether your actions are reasonable is whether you did them to stop the threat or to punish someone (Charles Humes calls it “The Punisher Test”: https://get-asp.com/nybt it’s a good comparison) The reasonableness standard can feel vague, but think of it this way: would a sane, sober, good, moral person do what you did in the moment? Would Ned Flanders from “The Simpsons” do what you did? Would a reasonable person, in the situation you were in and knowing what you know, do what you did in the moment? The challenge here is that the clerk is charged because the DA believes he acted unreasonably, and now it’ll be up to the jury to decide if they agree. However, from an objective standard, shooting an unarmed person stealing a bong from your smoke shop is not reasonable.
- One of the most significant paradigms of using deadly force is called the may-should-must paradigm. “May” asks whether your force is lawful (and, if LEO, within policy). “Should” asks whether the rewards outweigh the risks of not acting or of unintended consequences. “Must” asks whether this is the only course of action that can affect the necessary outcome. Knowing how to apply this paradigm in deadly force encounters, in the moment, is an important responsibility for self-defenders! Here, none of them are met, but CERTAINLY the “must” isn’t met and therefore you have to restrain yourself.
- Please consider the cost of using your firearm to defend your property. Sure, you might be out an insurance deductible on your car (say, $500 or $1000) if someone steals it with no one inside, but if you shoot someone who doesn’t present an objective deadly threat to you and yours, it can cost you FAR more. Decent criminal defense attorneys charge $400 an hour for their services; the ones I trust charge $600 or more and require 10 hours of fees up front as a retainer. Pre-trial work can cost $10-20,000 in dealing with the prosecutor and the media. If the case actually goes to trial, it can cost $100,000 or more to work through. That’s not worth doing for property that can be replaced. So be smart about using your firearm in self-defense. (and consider getting some kind of legal protection for use of force…I compare them at get-asp.com/protcomp so check that out) This clerk may well do years in prison.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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Music in the outro used with permission from Bensound at www.bensound.com