Why is it a bad idea to shoot someone who is threatening you in the leg? Simple: it just doesn’t work. It’s also morally wrong, and at Active Self Protection we want our self-defense to be both effective AND moral!
Original video of the ineffective leg shot, with details: https://get-asp.com/ygy3
What does this crazy attack teach us about defending ourselves with a firearm?
- 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 ) I don’t think that this was a deadly threat, and so a firearm wasn’t a proportional response.
- In almost all instances and jurisdictions you cannot use deadly physical force to defend property. (Texas is the rare exception to this, but recognize that TPC 9.42 has some significant limitations) Even in cases where you COULD use deadly physical force to defend property, it’s worth considering whether it is WISE to use deadly physical force because of the risk to yourself and to any bystanders that could come because you choose to continue to engage the criminal(s). That doesn’t usually apply to occupied buildings and cars because of the inherent value of the people inside of them, and the defense of property does vary considerably from state to state as to what’s acceptable. Please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction to be sure that you understand the laws of your area!
- Sometimes the danger that you must protect yourself and your family from isn’t evil, but is rather deranged. People who aren’t in their right faculties can be a real danger to your family, even if they are not inherently evil. You need the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from evil AND from non-evil threats that pop up!
- A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice as self-defenders.
- An important part of spiritual fitness is knowing what you are willing and able to fight for. As bearers of the image of God, humans are uniquely valuable and it is always acceptable to protect human life, whether your own or someone else’s. Property is something else entirely, and while in some states it is legal in some instances to protect property with deadly force it is not acceptable ethically for self-defenders to use deadly force to protect stuff. If a robber threatens your person to take your possessions, then by all means stop them from harming you and end the threat to your life. But if they are not a threat to life or limb, don’t become a perpetrator yourself by using deadly force without proper justification.
- Our goal as self-defenders is to stop the threat. We are not vigilantes and we are not out to kill, we seek to stop the threat against us. Shooting to wound will not stop the threat reliably, and neither will shooting an attacker in an extremity. The only reliably means to stop an aggressor who means us death or grievous bodily harm is to put shots in the center of their available mass to cause nervous system collapse or bleeding out. (exsanguination is the technical term)
- If you can use your car to escape, that’s normally your best bet. If you CAN’T use your car to escape for whatever reason (you’re blocked in, it’s dead, etc.) then it becomes a mobile coffin where you can’t really move, and you can’t freely maneuver to engage threats all around you. In that case, do what you can to get away from the coffin. Use the car as cover or concealment if you can, but don’t stay in the car if it’s not going to be moving.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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