Self-Defense Tip: Wait!

Tom Gresham’s new YouTube series—First Person Defender—is usually bang-on when it comes to defensive gun use tips and techniques. In this convenience store simunition simulation, not so much. When the deal finally goes down (5:15), the shooter immediately goes for her gun and pays the [pain] penalty. It’s a completely understandable reaction; Michelle’s in protective clothing with more cameras focused on her than a no-Israeli-supermodel-link-here.The scenario developed within seconds and the shooter crowded her cover and concealment-less space, triggering the fight part of her fight, flight or freeze response. And so Michelle was debriefed and instructed not go for her gun unless it’s a good idea to do so. Hang on. What’s this? The second time out the scenario (12:00) goes wrong again. Not to put too fine a point on it . . .

Why did Michelle shoot the robber in the back? Didn’t the instructor tell her to get out of Dodge if and when the getting’s good?

When the bad guy’s gun was focused on the clerk Michelle should have left, hidden or at least found cover (a problem with running a sim in a semi-sterile environment). Shooting a bad guy when the gun’s faced away from her, when his attention is on the clerk? That was a HUGE no-no.

OK, maybe not a HUGE no-no. Anytime you emerge from a gunfight alive is a win. Only . . . was this a gun fight? It looks like a robbery to me.

If the bad guy had escalated the situation, if he’d beaten the clerk or threatened to shoot, well then. If he’d fired off a shot, sure. If he started herding people into a back room, fine. But in this case he may have just taken the money and left. Which would have been the best possible outcome for all involved.

Also, Michelle seemed awfully relaxed after she shot the bad guy. She immediately tries (struggles) to reholster her gun. What about finding cover to allow for the possibility of bad guy number two or three or four? And I’m still not feeling off-body purse carry, given the difficulty of extracting a weapon and the possibility of losing control of the gun (i.e. losing it).

The most important lesson an armed self-defender should I glean from this sim: wait! When the adrenalin’s flowing in the real world, you have a lot more time than you think you have to weigh your options. Which is just as well. The situation is way more confusing than it is under controlled conditions. There’s a famous example (somewhere) where the bad guy and the good guy swap places: bad guy behind the counter robbing the ’til, good guy facing him with a gun. Know they enemy? Fo’ shizzle.

Things are not always what they seem, and shooting the wrong guy—or not enough guys—-can ruin your whole day. Equally, waiting is not freezing. It’s giving yourself the chance—usually a split second—to avoid making a mistake that could cost you your life and/or your livelihood.

comments

  1. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    RF can you please sit down and reevaluate the whole neutered male approach to TTAG. Your reference to the none spermodel link belies even your dissatisfaction I suspect. I honestly am finding things getting just a bit corporate.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      Maybe Im misunderstanding your point, if so then I appologize.

      But neutered male? I love a beautiful woman as much as the next guy but self defense, shooting sports and patriotism is not male exclusive. I am not offended by RF’s links to models nor am I the politicaly correct type but I think it is vital that we make sure all guests are comfortable.

      When I was still living in Connecticut the bad atitudes of all the staff at a major gun store were enough to keep me turned off from guns. Why should we be the same? In todays political environment we must encourage diversity amongst people of the gun because we need all of the allies we can get.

      1. avatar ensitue says:

        In Memphis
        CT? Why am I not surprised?
        Here’s a news flash; Utopia does not exist, “comfort” is not mentioned in the Bill Of Rights. Your free to be a whiney little kid, but with freedom comes responsibility so learn how to own your words and the response they elicit.

        1. avatar In Memphis says:

          I believe in integrity my friend. I wouldnt change who I am for anyone. But if I owned a business, no matter what the product is, I wouldnt be a fool and potentialy drive away customers. Unless I didnt want their business. Maybe I am just a kid but I care about other people and if thats wrong then so be it.

    2. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      It’s a business decision, and I think it’s a good one considering how widely read this site has become. I would also point out that as you seem to already be online, you can just open up a new tab and find women to appreciate at another site.

      Seriously, this is a gun site, not a men’s club that likes guns.

      1. avatar WRH says:

        I fail to see the harm in a link to a clothed (albeit, immodestly) woman on this site. If you don’t want to see it, don’t click on it.

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          If you DO want to see it, open up google (or more like bing) and figure it out. It offends people, it annoys others, and it distracts from the point of the site. The fact that you need to get a half-staff on every website you visit doesn’t mean everyone else does.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    If the bad guy had escalated the situation, if he’d beaten the clerk or threatened to shoot, well then.

    State laws may differ, but the mere pointing of a weapon at someone is, in most jurisdictions, a major felony and will subject the doer to up to 25 years in the Graybar Hotel, depending on the circumstances.

    On top of that, if a BG is pointing a lethal weapon at someone and says “gimme the money or I’ll shoot,” that’s more than enough to give rise to a reasonable fear of imminent death or grievous bodily injury, entitling the threatened person to punch the BG’s ticket. If the threatened person has the legal right to shoot, then in most jurisdictions a third-party defender will have the same right.

    The question as to whether the defender should have taken the shot with an innocent person (the teller) in the line of fire is a good one. It’s the kind of judgment call that I wouldn’t like to make.

    I guess that if I was in a very safe position, I wouldn’t take the shot. But if I was exposed, I’d have to figure that I’d be next and I’d shoot the bastard in the back. More than once.

    1. avatar Hasdrubal says:

      I’m always glad when I can agree with you, Ralph. Where I work, I would definitely consider taking the shot, and I would write it as self defense/defense of others if I responded to a call like that.

      Check your local laws, of course, but in WA you should be fine.

    2. avatar C says:

      Recently, a former cop in east Tennessee knocked over a pharmacy and killed the crew after he got what he came for. I say aerate the f**ker while the gettin’s good.

    3. avatar MacBeth51 says:

      I would go so far as to say that to point a gun at someone is a threat to shoot

      1. avatar C says:

        I think that’s the position the law usually takes as well.

    4. avatar DickG says:

      My daddy taught me to never point a firearm at anything I didn’t intend to kill. So I have to assume that the robber’s daddy taught him the same.
      .
      Shoot the F***er the first chance you get.
      .
      As an aside:
      In Western Panama a couple of years ago, a retired U.S. Army cop woke up to an armed intruder in his house. He exited his bedroom to find the intruder holding his 9 year old son.
      .
      He was faced with a split second decision. Will I ever see my son alive again if I let this guy take him (most kidnappings in Panama end with a dead hostage)? He took the shot, drilled the guy in the head with a 9mm. Every one of us, faced with a similar situation has to make the same difficult decision.
      .
      What would your decision have been?
      .
      Are you sure?
      .

    5. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      At the place I’ve trained, we’ve done more than one scenario where there was more than one bad guy. We do this because it sometimes goes down this way. The student in this video has now shown twice that she thinks having a gun means that it is the solution every time. If I had been running this scenario, I would have had another gunman in the store who would have shot her after she dropped the first guy. It would have been a good lesson.

      Just because you have a hammer, not everything in the world is a nail. Sometimes the gun should not appear. You do good when you can, but in the end, your first and only duty is to come home safe to your family. If you can intervene without putting your own life at undue risk, then by all means do it, but I am not likely to leave my kids orphans and my wife a widow because I had delusions of being Joe Supercop.

    6. avatar Alan Rose says:

      In my mind (IANAL) if you produce a fiream in a crime, you have gambled with your right to life. I have zero complaint with the GG perforating the BG in this scenario and would gladly be the holdout on the jury that tried to convict.

      The personal question is, is the BG a threat to ME? Can I GTHO successfully or will I take one in the back while evac’ing? The moral question is, am I willing to go through the aftermath of a shooting to protect someone else?

  3. avatar Joseph says:

    Although probably not the best solution, depending on where you live, in Texas shooting a robber in the back is perfectly legal. It is also legal to shoot them in the back if they are running from the scene if you feel like they will be a continuing threat to you or others.. Look it up, YMMV.

  4. avatar Fred says:

    Whenever I watch these kinds of situational trainings I think the same thing: a defensive gun situation is like a woman’s wishes, you can never get it perfect, that’s not even an option, you just have to get out alive while doing the least damage.

  5. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    Not sure I agree with the assumption that “just a robbery” isn’t sufficient cause to think someone’s life is in danger. The perp pulls a gun and the assumption should be a “do what I say, give me the money, OR….” with the “OR” presumed to be “I’ll ventilate you” whether stated or not. Maybe ‘we’ should refrain from telling someone what they should or shouldn’t do in this situation. It strikes me as a personal decision based on several factors. What ‘we’ should do is to give the ups/downs of each scenario. If we run away from every situation, aren’t we emboldening the perps?
    Note: I fully realize that having never been faced with such a situation, I don’t know how I’ll react. I may run away screaming like a little girl for all I know.

    1. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

      I’ll have to agree with the esteemed Soccerchainsaw regarding advice.
      There are so many variables involved to say, one way or the other, what
      is the best choice. The dozens of both knowable and unknowable facts
      and multiple inputs are too many to have a best choice. Even if the only
      purpose you have is to survive the encounter, doing nothing could get
      you just as dead. Are you carrying only for your own protection, and to
      Hell with everyone else? Or are you also carrying with the possibility
      that one day, you may be required to act to defend a total stranger?
      You’ll just have to choose which memory you would prefer to live with?
      Shoot the criminal with a gun, and maybe everyone on the side of good
      lives, or do nothing(save yourself), the clerk gets shot and dies, and you
      spend the rest of your life living with the memory that you could have
      prevented it but didn’t, because you waited, thinking that was the best
      choice. I think I would rather die trying to save someone else, than live
      on with the knowledge that someone else died from my not even trying.
      Training can only show a few possible options, in semi-sterile, controlled
      environments. You have to fill in the blanks as to when, or if, it applies.
      If you have qualms about shooting a bad guy in the back, see “El Diablo.”

      Anthony Edwards: “You shot him in the back!”

      Louis Gossett Jr.: His back was to me.

    2. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      In our Force on Force training, we did a version of the convenience store shooting. In our scenario, the student starts with his back to the store, getting coffee or something. He then hears a guy yelling at a another person, turns and sees a guy with his back to him shooting a guy on the floor. The natural urge is to pull your firearm and prepare to engage the shooter. The shooter turns around rapidly, gun in hand and suddenly you see the badge of an undercover officer. In almost every case, the student drilled the rapidly turning person before the sight of the badge registered.

      Unbeknownst to the student, the cop shot the guy on the floor as he tried to bring his gun up. In that scenario, you’d be going to jail for killing a cop.

      The point of the exercise was that things are not always as they seem and you need to take care before employing lethal force.

      This is the subtle difference between what a citizen and what a cop can do. A citizen is only allowed to employ equal force – ie: you can only use lethal force when threatened with lethal force. A cop can use “necessary” force which means they, in their capacity of police officer enforcing the law, can go beyond what is legal for citizens.

      1. avatar codifier says:

        “This is the subtle difference between what a citizen and what a cop can do. A citizen is only allowed to employ equal force – ie: you can only use lethal force when threatened with lethal force. A cop can use “necessary” force which means they, in their capacity of police officer enforcing the law, can go beyond what is legal for citizens.”

        That is not necessarily true. While I have not read every States’ laws I have read quite a few whenever I travel and almost every one I read does not state anything about ‘equal’ force. Virtually every single one uses the term necessary force or a derivation of those two words. If a person feels their life is in danger or they have reason to believe they will suffer grievous harm they may use any force necessary to end the threat. Traditionally this has been subject to the credible threat rule meaning that the threat is close enough to actually harm you, and has the means to do so. Kicking someone while they’re on the ground can constitute lethal force. And every State’s law I read also gives some sort of allowance to use necessary force on someone else’s behalf i.e. the clerk.

        Naturally all of that will largely depend on the circumstances and if you have a good attorney, but generally speaking a cop doesn’t have “more” right to fire a weapon at someone; they do so in the exact same reasons a citizen does. Police draw and use their sidearms when they believe there is a lethal threat to themselves or to other citizens. They don’t get magical powers granting them to shoot people whenever they feel the need; cops routinely get fired and even prosecuted for doing so. The only exception to my knowledge is some States allow a peace officer to discharge their weapon at a felon fleeing custody.

  6. avatar Andrew says:

    Robert!

    Come on – I am genuinely shocked that a dude pulling out a gun at a convenience store wouldn’t qualify in your mind as as a viable situation for using deadly force to end a situation post f-ing haste.

    The mere brandishing of a gun by a robber has shown that said robber has considered the use of deadly force to accomplish their ultimate goal – git’ dat money, yo.

    Speculating as to whether or not they’ll use it Russian roulette.

    How many times have you seen surveillance video where perpetrators of robberies shoot the clerks without warning “just because”?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Again, if the bad guy shoots the clerk and I’m still on scene, there will be no hesitation. But until he does, or displays actual violence/physical aggression, I’m hanging fire.

      Note: I know action beats reaction. The bad guy can turn and point a gun at me and pull the trigger before I could simply pull the trigger (assuming I’ve already got him in my sights). That’s why my first goal is concealment.

      Also, I spend an awful lot of time with my daughter. I do not want to be a bullet magnet with her in the vicinity. I’ve got to get her out of the line of fire first, say by pushing her away (she’s been prepped for that possibility). That takes time.

      Anyway, more complete reply below.

  7. avatar Skyler says:

    So why are you carrying a gun? If stopping someone who is threatening someone else with a gun isn’t a reason, then I wonder what kind of priorities you have. Is everything only about you? Wouldn’t you appreciate if someone took out a bad guy threatening you?

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      My CCW instructor is a deputy, in our class he told us a story from his district where a person carrying came across an assault in an alley. A man was stabbing a woman, he interviend and shot the man dead. The investigation revealed that the woman was an ex con and initiated the assault, the man stabbing her was defending himself. Both the woman and the “savior” went to jail.

      In Tennessee we have the right to defend the lives of others. Dont make it sound so easy though, you better have all the facts before you pull the trigger. Especialy in a situation youre not a part of.

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        In a well-known example in the mid-west, an LEO came across some roughly-dressed men shooting it out with a group of men in business suits. He helped the suits shoot their attackers. The suits turned out to be mobsters whom the roughly-dressed feds were attempting to arrest.

        Nonetheless, in the scenario it was obvious that the robber was a robber.

      2. avatar David says:

        In Memphis, your example is of someone coming across a violent altercation already in progress with no knowledge of what precipitated the altercation. Kind of like the police responding to a call. Roping Down gives a similar example but then says the woman in the video was there from the beginning. If one is fully aware of the event then it is easy to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys and take action. If I’m confronted with a situation like this my plan is to protect my loved ones and make sure they can escape the danger zone and then respond to the bad guy appropriately. If unable to get my loved ones to a safe place I will confront the bad guy head on and take his attention away from my loved ones and anyone else in the area. There are worse things than death and I would have a hard time living with myself after leaving the scene of a robbery to protect myself without rendering aid to those at the scene. Especially, if the robber then murdered the clerk or anyone else present. YMMV.

      3. avatar codifier says:

        I am going to have to call that situation exactly what it is: a story. Unless I see credible proof otherwise I really find it hard to believe that a jury would convict a person who was attempting to stop a stabbing when they had no credible reason to believe the person getting stabbed “deserved it.” In my opinion either there was a lot more to that situation than (s)he was sharing, or it sounds like a boogey-man story used to cool down some of the delusions of grandeur people get when they take a CCW class.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      I carry to protect me and mine. You carry to protect you and yours. If you’re carrying to protect me, then I am very suspicious of your mental state.

      Read this article by David Kenik (our own rabbi). Then tell me about priorities.

      http://www.armedresponsetraining.com/articles/Heroic_consequences.pdf

      1. avatar Skyler says:

        Ralph, of course you need to know who the victim is. In a convenience store as depicted, this isn’t so hard.

        But if you have situational awareness, then you should act if you reasonably can. We have no obligation to do so, but I hope someone protects my mom if she is in need, and I hope someone protects me if I’m in need.

        1. avatar Skyler says:

          Also, I’m in the Marines. I know many people who repeatedly put themselves in danger, and not all of us just get our kicks that way (though some do). I’m not trying to sound lofty, but the reason is because it’s worth it to defend our homes. Perhaps that is better in theory than in practice sometimes, but there you have it.

          To keep the streets here safe, people must be willing to do the right thing. Sometimes that is dangerous. So be it. The deterrent to bad guys, knowing that there are people willing to fight back makes it worth it in my book.

          I don’t know if this is true, but I once read about some Norse societies that considered it a crime if you were able to fight back against a highwayman (mugger) but didn’t. You were considered liable for the next victims’ suffering. I like that way of thinking and believe it should be revived.

      2. avatar Haupt says:

        Thanks for that article, Ralph.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          @Haupt, you’re welcome. I think it should be required reading for anyone who carries a gun. I’m an NRA instructor and I give the cite to everyone I train.

          David Kenik is a famous instructor, but he outdid himself with that article.

      3. avatar Cliff H says:

        I was a medic in the Army, and an EMT1. Probably Nick can chime in here since that was a long time ago and he has more recent data.

        As a trained medic and EMT it was presumed, legally, that if I came upon any person needing medical attention I would be bound to provide help and at a standard higher than that of your random passer-by. This applied whether I was on duty or going about my personal business.

        At what point will some legal eagle decide it is possible and appropriate to sue an individual licensed and trained to carry a weapon in public who decided not to intervene and as a result someone was injured or killed? Interesting that it has not happened yet.

        1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

          Don’t hold your breath on that one. EMT is a nationally recognized certification that is only granted after many hours of a proscribed course of hands on and classroom learning. There is nothing like that in the firearms world, nor will there ever likely be as the 50 states will never harmonize their gun laws in any meaningful way.

          Furthermore, the anti-gun crowd would be dead set against any such legal precedent for obvious reasons.

          Finally, there has already been a SCOTUS case in which it was determined that police are not required to risk their lives to protect a citizen. If cops don’t have a legal requirement, no way you are ever going to see one for regular citizens.

  8. avatar ensitue says:

    There are so many ‘experts’ that instead of teaching skills, teach PC thought control it is as if MSNBC were producing the vid.

  9. avatar imrambi says:

    Pause the video at 12:32. That looks like a gun in the perps hand. So you have an armed robbery in progress and the immimant threat of great bodily harm or death. How is that not legal to defend you or the third person?

  10. avatar Andy says:

    The robber had a weapon pointed at the clerk,could have taken out the clerk,clerk’s life already in jeopardy,when you ccw,you also take it upon yourself as a responsible human being to protect not only your loved ones ,yourself,but also others that are at risk.We sometimes don’t have the ability to know what could have transpired,because we can’t read another person’s mind,but due to the fact that the woman was a witness and possibly an obstacle to the robbers flight from the location the woman was also a target,the only thing I would have done before shooting the robber would have been to draw my weapon advise the robber to drop their weapon or I would fire,if the robber made an overt act I would have followed through with my warning.After following through with my warning I would have scanned the surrounding area for more attackers,then I would have called 91,and advised of the situation and that I would be the one with the weapon trained on a subject on the floor.Of course anyone can “Monday Morning”quarterback all they want,just what I would do and have the mindset to do if a situation happens to me.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Too often you hear about the angst suffered by poice or others following “the taking of a human life!” Sorry, if the guy’s asking for it I think he’s forfeited his life and I probably won’t lose any sleep over his demise.

      On the other hand, if I cower to protect my own self, or run for the hills and leave everyone else behind, I will then feel angst and lose a great deal of sleep if that perp that I could have taken down shoots someone after I left. The death of that innocent is on me.

      These scenarios make me tired. They always seem to be about how to protect yourself from going to jail, not how to protect yourself and others from criminals. Where are our priorities? At what point do we stand up and declare that the gun is not just to protect our lives, but that we also have a responsibilty to our community?

  11. avatar ChuckN says:

    “You shot that man in the back!”
    “Well, his back was to me.” – Van Leek – El Diablo

  12. avatar Robert Farago says:

    Let me be very clear . . .

    Survival is priority number one. If you’re dead you’re no good to anyone (except maybe the prosecutor). You have to do whatever it takes to survive . . . to survive. So if a convenience store customer shoots a robber in the back and the good guy survives, well, good for them! It’s certainly true that the good guy would be able to defend that action to the police and a court of law. What with being alive to do so and all.

    But there are a whole lot of reasons NOT to shoot the bad guy in the back.

    First and foremost, because you may not have to. If you DON’T shoot the bad guy AND you survive you won’t be arrested or prosecuted or have to live with the trauma of having shot another human being.

    Secondly, you won’t have risked shooting the wrong person by mistake, which would also suck. Remember: it’s entirely possible to miss a target even at bad breath distance, and those bullets take a while to slow down.

    Thirdly, shooting at someone is possibly the best way to encourage someone to shoot at you. Again, what if you miss? What if they don’t? What if they do—and shoot someone else?

    Gunfights. Who needs ’em? There’s no getting around it: engaging the bad guy increases your odds of physical, emotional, legal and financial disaster while decreasing your odds of going home.

    As for the moral obligation to protect innocent life, meh. I’m the most important innocent life in my world. OK, my kids are. And I’m no good to them dead. And I have no desire to squander a large chunk of their inheritance defending myself against jail time.

    Equally, innocent bystanders had/have the same opportunity to arm themselves against bad guys as I did/do. Why should I put my life on the line to protect people who aren’t willing to protect themselves? I’m not a cop. I’m a father.

    Of course, I reserve the “right” to screw it all up (i.e. act instinctively) where the rubber meets the road. And I would never presume to make these judgements for others. But armed self-defenders would do well to consider the advantages of restraint carefully now, while they can.

    1. avatar C says:

      We’ll just have to agree to disagree on whether she was justified in shooting. Lets go back to your original point, on which i think we all agree. If you’re gonna draw, don’t do so until you’ve a clear opportunity to get the drop on the perp.

    2. avatar DickG says:

      Well, let’s take another scenario:
      .
      You’re in the mall. Gunshots ring out and you turn to your left to see a man 20 feet away, with his back to you, firing a semi-auto firearm at random shoppers.
      .
      You draw your weapon and:
      a. Shoot the f***er! NOW!
      b. Yell at him to drop the weapon.
      c. Yell at him to drop the weapon, and wait for him to turn the weapon toward you
      before you shoot the F***er!
      d. Take cover, call 911, wait until he has to reload, then tackle him

      1. avatar Robert Farago says:

        Different situation. Probably shoot straight away. Don’t know though. Might seek cover first or as I shoot. Certainly push the kid away.

        1. avatar DickG says:

          Point is that one probably NEVER knows in advance what he’ll do in an “instant decision, life or death” situation. Too much adrenaline, too much narrowed vision, and the brain just doesn’t function the same as in a “study and evaluate” situation.
          .

    3. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Another thought.
      You said your kids are the most important thing and I feel the same. I’m no good to my wife & child dead. But, what kind of world are we leaving the kids if we don’t help create an environment toxic to criminal activity? Big picture thinking…

      1. avatar Robert Farago says:

        I help create that environment through the work I do here, by carrying a firearm wherever it is legal to do so and avoiding those places where it isn’t.

  13. avatar Arod529 says:

    She had the right to shoot him in all cases. Period. If anyone lives in state where law says otherwise, perhaps you should look into moving to an as of now, still free state.

    Whether or not she does shoot, is up to her. She has to live with the consequences of either choice, both of which could result in a negative outcome.

    Imho, though, by choosing to carry, she has the responsibility to defend those around her. By choosing to carry, we choose to be the first responders; we are volunteering as public servants.

    Lets talk about how both she and the test (first) failed.

    How the test failed… Miserably…:

    The guy playing the armed robber new exactly who had the gun, how she was carrying, and where she would be. It was not the participants choice on how to carry. The robber should have been as clueless as the participant.

    How she failed:

    She was willingly carrying in an unfamiliar location, she reacted aggressively while the focus was directly on her (logic and history dictate she most likely would not have been shot if she complied), and she fumbled to draw the firearm.

    If she had drawn smoothly and efficiently, she probably could have shot the robber first, though likely still shot herself. If she had complied, waited for the robber to be distracted, and then acted, she would have been fine.

    Lets talk about how both she and the test (second) failed: purse carry… I rest my case.

  14. avatar tdiinva says:

    Wyatt Earp was asked about gunfighting. He didn’t think the honorable head-to-head duel was a smart idea. He preferred to shoot them in the back if the opportunity presented itself.

    I think the lady did the smart thing in the second scenario. She waited to see how the situation was going to develop and when the bad guy’s gun came out she took Marshall Earp’s advice and shot him in the back. Good for her.

    Now, this kind of training can teach general TTPs However, like all training the flaw is found in knowledge of the scenario. In real life you won’t know that the bad guy is coming. It is far more important to learn how to spot the trouble before the trouble spots you than it is to learn the proper TTPs in the vacuum of a contrived exercise scenario.

  15. avatar Jay Miller says:

    It gives me chills when I hear LEOs say, “My first duty is to get home safely.” or something similar. No, that is not your duty or your job. Your job is to enforce the law, which usually includes protection of life and property. This attitude is a major contributor to a lot of bad things happening in LE now, reducing the warm fuzzies that most LEOs deserve but fewer get each and every day.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Uh, no. Sorry bud, there’s nothing in the job description that says a cop has to value his own life less than that of others, or die to stop a crime. Nothing in there about jumping in front of bullets, for example. LEOs risk their lives, and live with the risk inherent to the job, but are not mandated and certainly are not paid to be suicidal. If you expect more than that, I suggest you put on a uniform and take the watch. Otherwise, keep calm and carry on.

      And I mean carry on: police carry guns primarily to protect themselves, particularly since the supreme court decided they cannot use them except when there is IMMINENT threat of deadly force by a suspect.

  16. avatar Hannibal says:

    I may be biased by my training and legal protections from the position I’m in, but if someone is pointing a gun at someone else, their life is not the issue to me. I’m not going to spend time thinking “gee, maybe he just wants to rob the cash register!” or “Hmm, maybe he’s just about to turn his life around!”

    That kind of thinking gets the wrong people killed. Now, in terms of worrying about hitting a bystander or opening yourself up to threats, that’s another story and a valid concern. But none of this “let’s try and find the solution where the robber gets what he wants and no one gets hurt” bs.

  17. avatar middleagedmama says:

    Here’s a question – was that snubbie in a holster in that purse? A holster wasn’t mentioned just the fact that it was an expensive designer purse. If the purse wasn’t a conceal carry purse with a built-in holster, then that snubbie should’ve been in a holster as we all know that you don’t just toss a handgun in your purse with pens, change, lipsticks, etc floating around waiting to snag the trigger leading to a ND. That needs to be clear for the benefit of anyone watching the video. And, if it was in a holster, how did she access the trigger while the gun was in the purse?

  18. avatar David Sims says:

    I agree with Ralph here: “State laws may differ, but the mere pointing of a weapon at someone is, in most jurisdictions, a major felony and will subject the doer to up to 25 years in the Graybar Hotel, depending on the circumstances. On top of that, if a BG is pointing a lethal weapon at someone and says “gimme the money or I’ll shoot,” that’s more than enough to give rise to a reasonable fear of imminent death or grievous bodily injury, entitling the threatened person to punch the BG’s ticket. If the threatened person has the legal right to shoot, then in most jurisdictions a third-party defender will have the same right.”

    There is one other thing, as well. There is no idea more obscene that that decent people should be expected to give ground or right-of-way to vile predators. Good should roar so that evil trembles, not the other way around.

  19. avatar TJ says:

    Criticizing her for shooting the armed robber in the back is wrong in my opinion. That armed robber put everyone’s life at risk in the store. She was completely justified to take him out in any manner she deemed fit. You said that if the robber escalated the situation any more then it would have been justified. This is completely wrong thinking. As soon as the robber put the gun in someones face, the highest level of escalation had occurred. There is no where else to escalate too except someone being shot and killed. She would have been completely justified taking your advice to run out through the door if she so choosed too. However to suggest that saving other peoples lives is a Huge No- No, because you didn’t run away, is the wrong advice to give to your readers.

  20. avatar Ardent says:

    The standard here is ‘reasonable fear of. . . ‘. If someone pointing a gun at another person for the purpose of intimidating them in to compliance with a robbery doesn’t make a ‘reasonable’ person fear imminent serious harm or death I have a misunderstanding of ‘reasonable’. Sure, some wrong thinking prosecutor could go for a piece of you in this situation but by the letter and spirit of the law this shooting is justifiable.

    Tactically speaking there is a lot to be said for knowing what the heck is going on before engaging (situational awareness isn’t just being on guard, its learning the situation before engaging). On the other hand, when it’s clear who the BG is and the qualifications for justifiable lethal force are met it’s time to decide. I’d call it both smart and cowardly to leave such a situation while armed. Even at that though the best way not to get shot by a BG with a gun (once said BG is in your space and presenting said gun) is to incapacitate the BG.

    If one can seriously miss 5 times across the room on a stationary target even under stress that person needs way, way more training and a lot more capacity. Seriously if a person’s weapon handling is that bad they are pretty much fooling themselves by carrying a gun. It’s like having a helicopter you don’t know how to fly; useless.

    Here we have a situation where we’re armed, an obvious bad actor (he’s pulling an armed robbery for gods sake) has created a situation in which it’s reasonable to fear both the clerk and yourself are in imminent danger of being killed and we have both opportunity and ability to end the threat. I really have to question both the character and wisdom of a person who advocates doing nothing at all.

    May be carrying serious pistols in serious calibers and years of training have molded my thinking a little but across the room with a man having his back to me I have absolutely no question that I can put him down before he can shoot me. The only question is whether it’s appropriate to do so and in the circumstance given I’d call killing the robber an imperative rather an option for strong moral and practical reasons, the former being protecting the clerk and the latter being that a dead BG will never get around to killing the witnesses (me). The thing is that if his gun is out and in hand then mine needs to be out and in hand. If I’m not going to shoot I’m only drawing unwanted attention by having a gun out but if I don’t draw it I can be killed with it still in the holster. Thus the BG has created a situation in which the only way I can ensure my own safety is to incapacitate him. That’s the entire OODA loop, BG threatens death by drawing his weapon during a robbery, I have to draw mine in response, my drawn gun makes me a bullet magnet, thus the only remaining option is to shoot him first.

    Thinking things through is always an imperative, but do it quickly, then act. Analytical paralysis kills.

  21. avatar Matt in FL says:

    A lot of people here are saying, “You can never predict how you’ll react in an instant, life-or-death situation.” But that’s the point of this training, and the mental exercise of this post. It’s to put people in those situations, so they can learn how they will react, and how to do it better or more appropriately. Armchair quarterbacking is great, but keep in mind that you’re only critiquing her actions in order to improve your own.

  22. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Oh, and as far as shooting the perp in the back, generally force in defense of another is based on being in their shoes. If they are justified in using force to stop an attack, then you are justified in using that same force. Therefore, if the clerk could have shot the guy, then she was justified as well, even if it was unsportingly in the back. I am not a lawyer.

    1. avatar DickG says:

      All’s fair in a street fight or a bar fight. Gunfights are similar. The object is to survive it. Where lethal force is to be employed or being employed, It doesn’t matter if the dude is spinning around with a broken beer bottle to gain momentum, Shoot the f***er! If you hit him in the back, tough luck for him. The alternative is to wait until he faces you full on with you looking up at him from the floor. You win, you live, He looses and goes to the hospital or morge or both!
      .
      Shooting an unarmed person in the back is another issue, entirely.
      .

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