Randy Smith [above] arrived home after work to find three young men intent on stealing his stuff, one of whom was standing on his porch. Smith “brandished” his carry gun to keep all three bad guys at bay until the cops arrived. “I’ve been broke in once before,” Smith told wtok.com. “I’m just tired of people stealing. I work too hard for what I got and for somebody to just come in and steal it from me. Somebody who’s not working. Just out there looking for somebody to rip off and steal from.” Fair enough. And then . . .
“One of them kinda just act like he wanted to come around the car I fired in the air and told him to stop or the next one would be him.”
Well now, how do we feel about this?
On one hand, a warning shot is highly inadvisable, especially if you don’t live in rural Mississippi. It opens you up to charges of reckless endangerment (or some such thing). And it’s true: you don’t know where the bullet’s going to go. A warning shot also “proves” that you weren’t really in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm when you pulled your piece—if you were you would have shot your attacker(s). And strategically, it gives the bad guys an excuse/impetus to attack.
On the other hand, the warning shot worked. The three young men attempting to rob Mr. Smith’s residence remained in place until the cavalry arrived. Bonus! None of them was shot, which would have created a blizzard of paperwork and no end of trouble for Mr. Smith. The perps’ hearing may be a little damaged, as may be the case for Mr. Smith, but everything ended relatively peacefully.
My take: Mr. Smith should have instructed the boys to leave (in no uncertain terms) as he was contacting police and getting to/behind cover/concealment. If one or more of the criminals had made a threatening move towards Mr. Smith he would have been well within his rights to shoot the perp. (Even “better” (i.e. worse) if one of the bad guys had been holding a weapon.) Not a warning shot. Center mass.
I know that’s not the best case scenario (for the more genteel members of society). The best outcome is what actually happened. But the potential downside of a warning shot is too high. It’s an escalation of hostilities. And when you’ve got not one not two but three bad guys in play, the odds of a successful post-warning-shot attack are pretty damn high.
Anyway, as always, result. Note: to wtok: I don’t think Mr. Smith “happened to have his gun on him at the time.” And note to readers: there’s no such thing as a warning shot. You shot at the perp and missed. That is all.