Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner (above right) is a hero. One hundred percent. She stepped up and took on an active shooter. She did her job, prevented loss of life and helped end the threat. (Four police officers engaged in the gun battle against SKS-wielding left-wing Fruit Loop James Hodgkinson. We don’t know which officer or officers delivered the fatal rounds.) Ms. Griner’s courage — taking on a rifle-wielding madman with her pistol — is an example to us all.
There’s always something to learn from any shooting incident reported in great detail. In this case, The Washington Post reports:
Congressmen said the Capitol Police officers emerged from the dugout, moving toward the gunfire. A woman walking her dog said she heard a female officer scream, “Drop your weapon,” before the gunman “shot her and she fell to the ground.”
I mention this not to criticize or second-guess Ms. Griner. Cops are trained to try to end violent situations peacefully (especially post-Ferguson). But you are not a cop, and you may someday find yourself in a situation where you’re ready to counter-attack a perp posing an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death to yourself and/or other innocent life.
If you know for sure that you’re looking at a bad guy, and that bad guy has a weapon at the ready, you may not want to issue a verbal warning before opening fire. Remember: action beats reaction. Depending on distance and weapon, a bad guy can turn and shoot/stab/club you in less time that it take you to recognize the coming attack and squeeze the trigger. True story.
Legally speaking, don’t forget the word “imminent.” The bad guy should be in the process of posing a grievous/lethal threat. Fleeing felon rule of not, if the bad guy isn’t posing an imminent threat — say he’s running out the door after a robbery — you’re on shaky legal ground if you shoot him. And a verbal threat repeated by witnesses is an excellent part of your justification for letting loose the ballistic dogs of war. Provided, of course, you’re alive to make it.