Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Shoot Anyone Who Isn’t Threatening Your Life

 

There’s no such thing as a “clean shoot.” Mistakes are made. Information gets lost. Accounts vary. Lucky for you, most prosecutors, DAs and juries apply the “reasonable person” standard to any defensive gun use. If any of these three groups finds that a reasonable person would have fired a gun in self-defense when you did, you skate. I know: what does THAT mean? What it doesn’t mean is illustrated by the case of Donald Rattanavong [via couriernews.suntimes.com]:

Donald Rattanavong saw three or four teenagers apparently trying to break into his car, parked outside his home. Rattanavong came out of the home with a small-caliber pistol and fired more than one shot, one of which hit 18-year-old Gulllermo Pineda in the head, killing him.

And there you have it: a perfect example of  “defensive” gun use where a reasonable person will have your you-know-whats for breakfast. The thieves posed no immediate threat to Mr. Rattanavong’s life or the life of his loved ones. He had no business coming out of his house and shooting them. Or should I say at them . . .

[Carpentersville attorney Tim] Mahoney noted that because the charges against Rattanavong are involuntary manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm, rather than murder or voluntary manslaughter, the prosecutors probably assume he was only trying to fire warning shots, not intentionally trying to hit Pineda with a bullet.

See how that works? Mahoney’s working the negligent discharge angle. That’s because his client’s behavior violates the basic guiding principle of armed self-defense: don’t shoot another human being unless you or your loved ones are in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm.

“The rule of thumb is that you can only use force likely to cause bodily harm if you believe that a person is about to commit a forcible felony on you,” said John Paul Carroll of Naperville. Carroll has seen such incidents from both sides of the street, since he was a homicide detective with the Chicago Police Department before he became an attorney specializing in criminal defense.

Almost. As the rabbi points out [see below for his most excellent video on the subject], “about to commit a forcible felony” doesn’t fully satisfy the gold standard in self-defense shootings. Ideally, legally, the bad guy or guys should be in the process of causing death or bodily harm.

Put another way, imminence must be imminent. You’re not just facing the possibility that you’re about to get your head stoved-in, your skin split open by an edged weapon or your center mass perforated by lead. Bad s4it is going down as you fire.

To have a shot at qualifying for a free pass, most state laws specify that a self-defense shooting must illuminate three basic “green lights”: ability, opportunity and jeopardy. Last things first . . .

Jeopardy

No you don’t have to shoot someone in the form of a question. The jeopardy prerequisite is described above. You are in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily harm. It’s not about to happen. It’s happening.

[A quick reminder: STFU. Don’t say ANYTHING to the police after a self-defense shooting. Let your lawyer do the talking. If you’re in too much shock to shut your trap, use this mantra: my life was in danger, my life was in danger, my life was in danger.]

Ability

For a self-defense shooting to be ruled justifiable, the bad guy or bad guys must have had the ability to f you up. If you’re a strapping young man with martial arts training, good luck convincing the Powers That Be that you shot a teenage kid without a weapon because he was about to take your life. If you’re an 87-year-old law-abiding lady, the presumption of innocence is yours.

Yup, it’s a calculation. In general, the more serious the threat, the easier it will be to justify pulling the trigger. At one end of the scale: a single weedy teen devoid of weaponry. At the other end: tooled-up members of The Hell’s Angels.

The story above is vague on the number of thieves preying on Mr. Rattanavong’s possessions: “three or four.” There’s a big difference; every thug counts. Every weapon counts. Every move they make, every breathalyzer you take, counts. All the circumstances surrounding the shooting count.

How much they count depends on the prosecutor’s subjective judgement and then, hopefully not, the jury’s. All of whom apply the “reasonable person” standard to the whole misegos.

Opportunity

You’re only “allowed” to counter a threat with lethal force if the bad guy has a realistic chance of doing you in. If a thug with a knife threatens you from across two lanes of traffic, you can’t shoot him—until he crosses the street and gets close enough to gut you like a fish.

If he’s aiming a gun at you from over there, different story. If the bad guy’s driving a car at you, it’s another story again. How close? How fast? If the bad guy brandishes a gun from inside a nearby car—and nothing else—that doesn’t count as opportunity. Unless it does.

“If someone pulls a knife on you, it’s okay to come back at them with a gun,” Carroll said, “But if they’re 18 feet away from you with that knife and you shoot them, you might be in trouble. Were you really in imminent danger?”

Note: it’s best to hire a lawyer familiar with the Tueller Drill, which proves that a perp with a knife can cover 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. Still, Carroll’s asking the right question: would a reasonable person believe that the bad guy could have killed or hurt you?

This is where armed self-defense gets into murky waters. Some states [still] apply the opportunity standard to the shooter. Did you have the opportunity NOT to shoot the bad guy or guys? Could you have done something to avoid the threat?

The rise of the so-called Castle Doctrine—removing the legal requirement to retreat in the face of a lethal threat—is a welcome effort to tip the scales of justice towards a self-defense shooter. But really, you should be thinking this way. A successful escape beats a successful defensive gun use every day and twice on Sundays.

By the same token, some states allow you to use your gun on people attempting to steal your property. That doesn’t make it a good idea.

“If it’s just property at stake, let it go,” Carroll advises. “I don’t care if your car cost $200,000. It’s not worth taking a human life and the law doesn’t think so, either. Don’t shoot. Call 911.”

Your legal rights, moral standards and practical self-defense requirements may coincide, and they may not. Check your state’s laws, run various “what if?” scenarios though your mind and get some force-on-force training.

Meanwhile, remember: the best way to meet the “reasonable person” armed self-defense standard is to act like a reasonable person.

[Click here to buy The Responsible Use of Lethal Force DVD from Armed Self-Defense.]

comments

  1. avatar DevsAdvocate says:

    “If it’s just property at stake, let it go,” Carroll advises. “I don’t care if your car cost $200,000. It’s not worth taking a human life and the law doesn’t think so, either. Don’t shoot. Call 911.”

    Disagree, killing someone for trying to steal your property serves many useful purposes to society:

    1. Sets an example. Stealing property will no longer end with a slap on the wrist and a few years (probably months) in jail, and will deter thieves (or escalate the situation).

    2. Saves the taxpayer some money in locating, arresting, convicting, and housing the perp.

    In short: my $7000 car that I need to go to work with and earn my living is worth more to me than any slimeball criminal.

    1. avatar Magoo says:

      Sure, why do we need a legal system with you serving as judge, jury, and executioner.

      It’s funny. Just yesterday, Brad was swearing on a stack of Bibles that people like you don’t exist.

      1. avatar AntiCitizenOne says:

        There is a very clear difference between self defense/defense of property, and vigilantism.

        Vigilantism is defined as extrajudicial killing for a perceived wrong.

        The most prominent example are the Latin American death squads who ACTIVELY hunted PURPORTED enemies.

        Here you are reacting to a pretty clear felony.

        If you wanted it your way, perhaps there should be no guards posted at banks, or in stores, or in shopping malls. Because obviously, these guards are nothing but “vigilantes” according to you. The banks and stores can obviously replace the merchandise and money that was taken from them.

        That permit is best used to defend you and yours, because only YOU have the best information on what to defend. You know when you are attacked, you know when your loved ones are attacked, and you know when you’re being burglarized. Your training should have already given you information on what is a threat and what isn’t. You come across a strange group or a couple of strangers and you do not know their story. So don’t do anything.

        1. avatar Magoo says:

          AntiCitizenOne says: “There is a very clear difference between self defense/defense of property, and vigilantism.

          Vigilantism is defined as extrajudicial killing for a perceived wrong.”

          Vigilantism is exactly what Devsadvocate is describing. Read his post.

        2. avatar DevsAdvocate says:

          Killing scumbags who are stealing ones’ property has never been considered vigilantism. It’s simply good practice. Not to mention: those folks wouldn’t be dead if they didn’t try to steal your stuff. I never actively sought them out, and I never wanted to kill them, but they came at me and mine and got what they deserved.

          What batman does (tracking down criminals who never attacked or stole his property) is vigilantism. He’s actively pursuing people and meting out justice.

      2. avatar DevsAdvocate says:

        Meh. The second someone revokes their contract to civilized society (by trying to break into my car), they are no longer entitled to a civilized response. Shame on you for defending those who willingly turn their back on society, and framing me the villain for the their trouble.

        They break into my property, I kill them, and I’m the criminal? Ha!

        1. avatar pt111guy says:

          During my CHL course here in Houston, the LEO instructor brought up that car theft question, Do you really want to shoot him? So, your training kicks in and you make a headshot. Now there is brain matter all over the inside of your car. You were involved in a shooting. Your car will be impounded…for months. Even if you’re are no-billed good luck with cleaning and deodorizing your precious property. Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t the smart thing to do.

        2. avatar Magoo says:

          What if the guy is drunk and mistakenly thinks it’s his car?

          What if you are drunk and mistakenly think it’s your car?

          What if it’s just some kids who think they are playing a practical joke on a friend?

        3. avatar DevsAdvocate says:

          Ahh, the good ol’ poor drunk excuse. Drinking responsibly is his responsibility. Not mine.

          I usually don’t drink and carry a gun (that’s irresponsible).

          People shouldn’t play pranks on or vandalize others’ property.

          Either case starts with a verbal warning. If they turn their backs and run away, fine. If they ignore you and continue their crime, then it’s fair game.

        4. avatar Rob Crawford says:

          Think of it as evolution in action.

          A drunk shouldn’t be trying to get into a car, anyway.

        5. avatar Darren says:

          The reason to not kill someone stealing your stuff is that that there is nothing you own worth the cost of the civil lawsuit to follow, much less any potential criminal prosecution.

          Of course it’s your property and you are entitled to its use and enjoyment. Of course a criminal is wrong to deny you the right to enjoy and use your property.

          What you need to consider is whether you want to put the fate of the rest of your stuff and your future earnings into the hands of a jury. And before you tell me you will trust a jury of your peers, consider that the jury might be comprised of the peers of the deceased.

          While you are correct in some regards, you are foolish in others and I hope for your sake this remains a theoretical exercise. If you judge the situation wrongly, you may end up a felon with no gun rights and a cellmate. If you judge correctly, you’ll still be the guy who killed somebody else over replaceable stuff — and if you’re silly enough to say what you wrote here on camera you are much more likely to be charged, branded a racist or worse in the press, and somewhat more likely to meet the friends of the person you killed. They will not be trying to steal your stuff, they will be trying to kill you.

          For my part, it had better be a life at stake. I will not pull a trigger for less, I have insurance for less than life and limb.

    2. avatar Vigilantis says:

      If someone steals a car, they should have to make it up to the person they stole it from, with interest. However, if they’re just taking it out of an abandoned parking lot at night, and not taking the keys from someone through the threat of deadly force, then they don’t deserve to die over it.

      You on the other hand, are threatening to kill people over an object that is not even particularly valuable. If the stupid car is so important, get full coverage insurance and LoJack. Frankly, the person who ought to be locked up for the protection of society at large is you.

      1. avatar fanfare ends says:

        ” However, if they’re just taking it out of an abandoned parking lot at night, and not taking the keys from someone through the threat of deadly force, then they don’t deserve to die over it.”

        How about if they then use the car they stole in another felony where (God forbid…), they then kill someone’s children?

        The older I get the more I understand Jeffrey Snyder’s terrific essay (presumably from the book of the same title) “A Nation of Cowards:

        The advice not to resist a criminal assault
        and simply hand over the goods is founded on the notion that one’s life is of incalculable value, and that no amount of property is worth it. Put aside, for a moment, the outrageousness of the suggestion
        that a criminal who proffers lethal violence should be treated as if he has instituted a new social contract: “I will not hurt or kill you if you give me what I want.” For years, feminists have labored to
        educate people that rape is not about sex, but about domination, degradation, and control. Evidently, someone needs to inform the law enforcement establishment and the media that kidnapping, robbery,
        carjacking, and assault are not about property.

        Crime is not only a complete disavowal of the social contract, but also a commandeering of the victim’s person and liberty. If the individual’s dignity lies in the fact that he is a moral agent engaging
        in actions of his own will, in free exchange with others, then crime always violates the victim’s dignity.

        It is, in fact, an act of enslavement. Your wallet, your purse, or your car may not be worth your life, but your dignity is; and if it is not worth fighting for, it can hardly be said to exist.

  2. avatar Sean says:

    How much is the property you’re defending worth?

    How much are you going to be paying in legal costs to defend yourself in court?

    Lost time? Wages? Possibly record?

    What can you personally afford?

    1. avatar DevsAdvocate says:

      If a jury decides to convict a guy for gunning down some car thieves, something is very wrong with this world.

      In America, property rights are the most important rights we have, and not being able to defend them devalues all our other rights.

      1. avatar Chaz says:

        My training included watching a video presentation by an attorney specializing in gun related law. He noted that “it doesn’t have to make sense, it’s just the law.”

        However, in MO the castle doctrine kicks in should you happen to be in e.g. a car that is attacked.

  3. avatar Tony says:

    Property crimes are the least prosecuted because the police don’t put the effort into finding the criminal. Why? Because of attitudes like Magoo’s. It’s just property and you can replace it or the insurance will pay for it. Thus there are seldom any serious consequences for commiting these sort of crimes. This thinking is similar to the broken window theory of economic stimulation, it is completely false. People should have the ability and leeway to defend their property.

  4. avatar Xenokilla says:

    “Donald Rattanavong saw three or four teenagers apparently trying to break into his car,”
    Clearly these were not decent car theives or they would have been long gone before he even noticed, not knowing the exact facts of the case my best guess is they were just seeing if the doors were unlocked and if there was anything easy to steal, as people are known to do. I think there was no reason for Donald to shoot anyone, his life was not in danger in anyway shape or form. He should have stayed in side and called 911. Yes, when 3 or 4 teenagers are breaking down your door you dial .357 and take care of things because your life is in direct danger, but when your inside your house safe, and some kids are messing with your car? Forget about it.

    1. avatar Fed up says:

      Forget about it? Wow. Why didn’t I think of that? That solves everything now doesn’t it? Let’s let all cower like dogs and hey…let’s let all the thieves out of prison while we’re at it too. The stuff they stole wasn’t worth anything either was it? Grow a spine you moron. You obviously have never had YOUR truck stolen and watched the guy drive away in it as you ran for your life to try to stop him, luckily gotten it back 9 hrs. later and then had three more attempts to steal it again..or have you? Here’s my answer to all of you on here. I just installed a totally hidden motion sensor that aims right at my truck about a half hour ago. No lights to scare them, no alarm, nothing…dead silence. the only thing that makes any noise is a radio in my bedroom that comes on and plays the most annoying station I can find. When it goes off, I gonna sneak out to the fence (which is approx. five feet from my truck), and catch him in the act. NOW…. does anyone have a finish to this story?

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    Not shooting someone for a crime against my property is not the same thing as giving them permission to steal my stuff. If I saw someone trying to break into my car, I would challenge them while I dial 911. If they escalate, I would meet force with force. But unless force is used against me, I’m not going to shoot anyone over a car. There is no death penalty for crimes against property, and street justice is no justice at all.

    1. avatar mike says:

      If you are going to wait for the crook to escalate the situation, you are probably going to die. He can get off multiple shots before you even realize that an escalation took place.

  6. avatar Magoo says:

    Tony says: “Property crimes are the least prosecuted because the police don’t put the effort into finding the criminal. Why? Because of attitudes like Magoo’s. It’s just property and you can replace it or the insurance will pay for it.”

    I’m sure you couldn’t describe my views on property rights in exchange for a trip to Tahiti. And if I had a nickel for every time one of you lovable blowhards told me what I supposedly think, I could go myself.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “I could go myself”

      I think you left out a four letter word right after “go.”

    2. avatar Rob Crawford says:

      People telling you what you think?!

      Pot. Kettle.

    3. avatar Bob says:

      Magoo,
      You are such a hypocrite. YOU can’t accurately describe ANYONE ELSE’S viewpoint on much of anything on this blog EITHER, other than with that generalized BS that YOU spout on a regular basis concerning gun owners.

      Jeez, your blowhard BS just keeps getting harder and harder to ignore. It’s hard to imagine someone is that anal who isn’t really play-acting such non-sense for some perverted self-aggrandizing purpose.

      1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

        Typical Magoo:

        “I am a lifelong gun enthusiast and I advocate sensible gun regulations. I believe my general views are shared by the majority of gun owners. I believe you guys represent the intransigent extremists on the issue.”

        It’s ok for Magoo to tell everyone else what their motivations are, but no one is supposed to do it to him.

        Guess again, old man.

    4. avatar peter says:

      There was a time I felt sorry for people like you. You tend to get bullied by the people on this site.

      Then it occurred to me:

      What on earth did you think would happen?
      If you come to a gun rights blog to criticize gun rights, you’re gonna have a bad time.

  7. avatar Jeff says:

    Great article.

    I have a CHL and have taken the course in 2 states – FL and TX.

    While it’s pretty clear when it’s “absolutely” ok to use lethal force (e.g. assailant in your house, pointing a gun at you, etc), both classes (and people in general) seem to have had some difficulty explaining when it’s not ok to shoot. In other words, if we view this as a continuum with one end being “ok to shoot, no jury would find you guilty” and the other end being “not ok to shoot – any jury would find you guilty” – where *exactly* is the cutoff?

    This article does a great job defining that line and putting things in perspective.

    The way I see it – if I kill someone, whether I’m right or wrong, my life probably just got a whole lot worse. In either case, I have to deal with the messy legal system, likely job loss, likely monetary loss, unwanted media attention, etc. If I’m wrong, I’m going to prison or worse. If I’m right, I’m alive, but may lose everything proving it – in criminal, and possibly civil court.

  8. avatar Rudy says:

    Resume: be victim. Preferably dead. No hassles, issues or worries.
    No links on Terry Pratchett, please.

  9. avatar rick wagner says:

    just a note about this “Magoo” I read the article and some of the responses, but I Did Not read any post by “Magoo” as soon as i saw his name i skipped his post. Come on people ignore this person, his only purpose is to raise your blood pressure. Why would any anti-gun person bother to read TTAG except to jack with you.

    1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

      “Why would any anti-gun person bother to read TTAG except to jack with you.”

      Because they are underhung insecure troglodytes with advanced cases of internet muscles, and confronting gun-rights advocates online is the only venue they can manage without peeing their diapers?

      1. avatar Magoo says:

        If you could take issue with anything I’ve actually said, I’m sure you would.

        1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

          I have done so, and will continue to do so.

          I hope you like having your own hypocrisy shoved in your face. It’s what you’re going to get.

    2. avatar William says:

      Serious +100 on this

      Come on folks, if we ignore him, I think he’ll look for another place to bait pro-2Aers. He knows he’s not making friends. He knows that he is barely tolerated. There has to be something in it for him to post here. Now, I’m sure he might take offense to me trying to figure out what he thinks – but I think the positive for him is making us mad and getting our blood pressure up. He wants us mad and worked up.

      Just skip his posts. Act like they are not there. Then after a time, check them out. Maybe he will mellow. Maybe he will look for other pastures. At any rate, I don’t think anything he says is worth any grief on our part.

  10. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    You beat me to it Ralph(as usual) and Rick and gunnut are right on target.

  11. avatar Blake says:

    If you don’t value your property, you don’t value your life.

    We have a finite amount of hours on Earth. Someone stealing your property is stealing the portion of your life it took to earn the money for purchase of said property.

    Now, do I think the theft of a pack of gum is worth someones life? At my income level, no, it’s not.

    I need my car to get back and forth to work, groceries, etc. What about the possibility of being left without a car and an emergency comes up?

    Insurance or not, it’s a hassle. And, if the car is older, probably don’t have full coverage on the car, or, the car isn’t insured up to replacement value.

    So, not only has the thief stolen a chunk of your life, the thief is stealing the portion of your life you’ll spend replacing the car that was stolen.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      In a perfect world, I agree – your property should be defended.

      I think RF’s point was – if your time/money/property are all valuable, then use some common sense when protecting them – because the system will chew you up and spit you out if you are not on firm LEGAL grounds, not MORAL grounds. Yes – the hassles are endless, but sitting in jail awaiting trial because you can’t make bond, losing your home, job, family, and everything else you worked hard for is no picnic either. What you do manage to keep, goes to your lawyer – win or lose the trial, your life is in shambles. Better to file that insurance claim on a car, than take the shot and screw the rest of your life up.

      I don’t mean to advertise a product, but I recently joined the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Fund in which they provided 5 DVD’s with experts and lawyers on how to handle shooting incidents – they also discuss all of the ramifications you are likely to encounter in the system, well worth the price if you are CCW/CHL just to learn what to do/say during and after the incident.

      1. avatar Blake says:

        Either way, the thief steals a chunk of your life. If you shoot the thief, you’re in a heap of trouble. If you don’t shoot the thief and you’ve got just liability on your car (a majority of people have cars that are paid for and only have basic insurance coverage) you have to buy a replacement car, again, costing money that you may need elsewhere.

        I’m saying the law is seriously screwed up. Someone on the low end of the wage scale who cannot afford to have his or her car stolen also cannot afford to defend their property.

      2. avatar Blake says:

        Btw, Tim, my original post is designed to change the way people look and think about personal property.

        I think a lot of people are too quick to dismiss theft with the “It’s only an object, not worth someone’s life,” while forgetting just how much of their own life it cost to acquire.

        1. avatar Tim says:

          I have read Jeffrey Snyder’s “Nation of Cowards” and agree completely – and the system does need to change, but until then…

  12. avatar Travis Leibold says:

    Wow. I find myself wandering over to magoos corner on this one. The law is the law whether you like it or not. Without it, we might as well be living in some 3rd world $hit hole where the people in the lower castes have few if any real rights.

    Our forefathers came here to get away from Lords who were entitled to kill anyone caught poaching on their land.

    Where is the threshold? Every time the price of steel hits about $200 a ton, the scrappers start lurking around my scrap iron pile like effing vultures. Sometimes I even catch them with it in their hands. Do they piss me off? Hell yes! Do I pull my gun and kill or threaten to kill them? NO. Am I prepared to do what is necessary to protect myself and my family if things escalate? Definitly.

    Call the Cops! Let them shoot/tase/tackle em. If you do not belive they will respond soon enough to prevent the crime (if you live in my neighborhood for instance), and the risk is worth it to you, then challenge the thieves from a position of advantage. They’ll probably scatter. If any of them make an aggressive move or pull a weapon, then do what you have to do.

    Excellent Post btw. This is the stuff we all need to be discussing for the good of our culture.

  13. avatar Magoo says:

    Bob says:
    “Magoo,
    You are such a hypocrite. YOU can’t accurately describe ANYONE ELSE’S viewpoint on much of anything on this blog EITHER, other than with that generalized BS that YOU spout on a regular basis concerning gun owners.”

    Really? There are people in this discussion advocating for the summary execution for alleged thieves. What part of that did I get wrong?

    1. avatar Raph84 says:

      Magoo,

      We are not talking about alleged thieves we are talking about those caught in the act of thievery and or other felonious property crimes. The conversations may have originated based on one individual case, but it has moved to the hypothetical where we personally witness the attempted felony.

  14. avatar Andy says:

    I agree with DevsAdvocate.

    If the example given had occurred in Texas, there wouldn’t be anything to write about, as Texas recognizes personal property as being an extension of your castle. Deadly force used to protect ones personal property in Texas is legal by law.

    As it should be.

    You morons must stop defending scum sucking bottom feeding criminals. If you want to steal from someone, it had better be worth risking your life.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Well, I thought we were having an intelligent debate on the “line” of self-defense and the appropriateness of its use. Not one person has “defended” the criminal for theft. To call us morons shows some real lack of self-awareness on your part.

  15. avatar Jason says:

    Ahh property rights. What about the fact that the Fed is busy taking away your property rights every day with their printing presses. Quantitative Easing, Ha – it’s printing money. It’s just ironic that someone would kill over their 7k car property while their property is being systematically stolen right under their nose. It takes a lot of guns to solve that problem though.

  16. avatar Andy Frechtling says:

    The other Andy above is sort of correct, but Texas law on defense of property is a little bit more complicated. Texas has a very well thought out position, spelled out in statutory law, on this issue.

    The excerpt below can be found at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/InternetForms/Forms/CHL-16.pdf

    Other states would do well to adopt similar laws. In the case being discussed here, since the thieves were not presenting a “death or serious injury” threat to the shooter, his use of force fails the 3 (B) test.

    PC §9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE’S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person is
    justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible,
    movable property:
    (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
    (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
    (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary,robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
    (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
    (3) he reasonably believes that:
    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover
    the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial
    risk of death or serious bodily injury.

  17. avatar Bob says:

    So we get detailed on reasonable person standard here in the U.S. The rest of the world is widely divided on that standard as well. In parts of europe, private citizens aren’t given the chance for gun ownership to defend themselves. They have to do the best they can and hope the unarmed police will help them in time. In other parts of the world, you would shoot and hopefully kill the criminal. Just leave the body by the curb and it will get picked up with the weekly garbage. What is reasonable for a reasonable person is apparently still a subject of much debate. Which way the jury will go may all depend on luck based on which variation of reasonable the majority of jurors are. In self-defense cases, I have actually seen the attourneys during jury selection ask if anyone is a member of the NRA or have certain ideas about self-defense or gun ownership. I have never seen an attourney ask if anyone on a potential jury feels no one should own and use a gun. The end result, you just never know what you are going to get with a jury.

  18. avatar 36IDRedleg says:

    More Guns = Less Crime.

    Consider the following scenario:

    Location: Texas (exception-Harris or Travis Counties)
    Time: Night time
    Situation: any property crime on your property.
    Result: DGU against perp = no charges filed or No Bill

    I happens almost every day.

    Food for thought.

  19. avatar Dave S says:

    The laws are usually quite clear on the use of deadly force.

    If you are in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury, you may use deadly force to stop the attack.

    Other then that, you are probably going to be charged with a crime.

    It would be useful if you waited until you were fired upon before returning fire.

    1. avatar Fed up says:

      Useful?? Getting shot at is USEFUL????? Yeah.. Let’s wait till they shoot and kill us first. That’s the perfect opportunity to KILL them back isn’t it? These people have balls of steel in my area. They have guns and are not afraid to use them whether YOU are armed or not. 95% of them have a serious meth addiction in this area and don’t give a crap anyway. Their gun is like an American Express card. Life means nothing to them. In the case of my truck that I posted above, He didn’t want my truck. He was trying to steal it so he could sell the wheels for drugs. I found that out from the guy that found it. He apparently knew the thief. The cops?? Pfff! THAT”S useless. They did nothing even after the guy ratted out the thief. Stealing a car around here is like stealing a candy bar from the local minimart. This is precisely why this blog is here in the first place. I’m not the only one that’s fed up. Not only with the punks around here that commit crimes on a daily basis, but with the sheriff’s department as well. I’m not advocating shooting people for no good reason but as stated above I think it’s time we started setting an example to those who disavow society. You steal…you accept your fate. Period.

  20. avatar mike says:

    your damn right shooting some one over property it does set an example one that should and needs to be set now days the law kills people every day for less the fact is if some one comes on your property and you tell them to leave and they do not then your life is in danger if some is hiding out on your property and you just happen to realize there there how is your life not in danger they have done raped you privacy the way i see it you car your home your property and every thing on it is YOUR LIFE any one who violates any of those things deserves no laws to protect them if any crook come on a persons private property then they have made a choice that says f**k you f**k you family f**k your life your privacy and every thing you have slaved to get they have openly violated all of it and any one should have the right stop it by any means if some one plans to come on or in your house car or property they have made a choice that openly says they do not care about your life or anything in it so why should we care about there life or any thing in it if some one is going to try to take any thing that you have people should not wait for them to take your life as well if they have no moral problems going that far no one should believe that there life is not in danger nor should they wait to find out then when a person puts a slug in there gut they try and say that they was not going to hurt that person bull sh*t they made a moral choice that said f**k you and every thing that is in your life when they took action against it they should have no laws to protect them after that choice is made it should not matter what happens to them after they have acted on that choice the law should be if you have made a choice to violate a persons way of life and well being then the violator has forfeit any and all laws that would other wise protect that person should they be killed or hurt over the moral less choice that the violator made we need to make it this way i am sick to my stomach watching these people take and take from good people who bust there asses week in and week out to lose what they have just to call the cops wait 2 hours to be told your screwed because they were not there to begin with lately if it dont involve drugs they dont do nothing they spend there time arresting on meth user then stupidly letting them go because they tell on another meth user that made the first mad and the circle continues while good people just get screwed i have these little meth rats in my town and i have seen the law let them by with so much sh*t it makes me sick they steal and rob hurt people make the whole town a bad place and they keep getting turned loose because the cops have not learned that drug addicts lie there are no big fish it is them there the ones making the crap there the ones selling it and there doing because the cops keep letting them go for one no drug addict should be allowed to be an informant because they are a drug addict there are a truck load around here and there the ones doing all the crime because like i said the law have not learned that drug addicts lie and this is sad and a horrid place to live because of it we need to change these laws so we can protect what we have and have worked for because the way i see it all that is persons life and if any of that is threatened then we have a right stop that threat by any means

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