Full marks to Chad Morley for home carry. I can’t say it enough: when you need your gun to defend your life inside your home, you want it right then and there. On your person. If you’re not willing to hip holster at home, buy a small pistol and a pocket holster. As for Morley’s assertion that he awoke to find himself in a “do or die” situation, I’m not so sure. Seems to me he could have pulled a Snagglepuss, exited stage right and called the cops. Question: if he could have retreated, did Morley have a legal right to use his firearm against the perp? Not to go all Trayvon Martin on you, but Utah has one of them recently reviled stand your ground laws, and it goes a little something like this . . .
76-2-402. Force in defense of person — Forcible felony defined.
(1) (a) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that force or a threat of force is necessary to defend the person or a third person against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force.
(b) A person is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the person or a third person as a result of another person’s imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony . . .
(4) (a) For purposes of this section, a forcible felony includes aggravated assault, mayhem, aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, and aggravated kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, rape of a child, object rape, object rape of a child, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and aggravated sexual assault as defined in Title 76, Chapter 5, Offenses Against the Person, and arson, robbery, and burglary as defined in Title 76, Chapter 6, Offenses Against Property.
As I read it, Utah’s OK with Morley using lethal force to prevent a forcible felony, and burglary is a forcible felony. So, chocks away. Maybe.
Remember: all of these stand you ground laws are subject to real world interpretation by the police, the DA and (if needs be) a jury. There’s plenty of wiggle room for prosecution. If nothing else, you could drive a prison sentence through the words “reasonably believes.” As George Zimmerman seems destined to learn.
Setting aside Morley’s apparently non-existant duty to retreat, one wonders if he should have left his home (through another door) and called the cops from a safe location. That was, I’m afraid to say, the best option. As in the only gunfight you’re guaranteed to win is the one you don’t have.
From Morley’s account in the video above—a tale that should not have been shared with anyone but the police with a lawyer present—the bad guy wasn’t aware of the home owner being at home until Morley confronted him. So why confront the intruder? We sure learned why NOT to do it. An inch to the left and the bad guy would have left Morley for dead.
Alternatively, I’m sure Morley’s bloodstream was suffused adrenalin. Perhaps his fight or flight (or freeze) response was irrepressibly set for combat. Bad guy. Must go. Now. Quick digression . . .
Assuming Morley was holding a revolver, cocking the gun was bad craziness. Not only does going into single action mode dramatically increase the odds of an unintentional discharge, it opens the shooter up to the possibility of being charged with intent. At the very least, a cocked gun can lead to some uncomfortable questioning downtown or, worse, on the witness stand.
If Morley was carrying a semi-automatic pistol—and by “cocking” he meant racking the slide on an empty chamber to chamber a round—that’s also bad joss. The sound of a bullet ka-chunking into the chamber could have alerted the bad guy to Morley’s presence. If the perp had the element of surprise and Morley needed a bullet in extremis, he would have been SOL.
Keep one in the pipe people.
Anyway, the basic problem in all of these scenarios: hesitation. Hesitation kills.
Morley admits that he hesitated to act violently against his uninvited guest, which led to the struggle, which almost led to Morley’s demise. Perhaps one part of his mind was screaming FIGHT while the other part was screaming LEAVE.
The trick to avoiding this clash (i.e. the “shall I stay or shall I go” moment): commit. Force yourself to make a decision and implement it as quickly and completely as you can. Go all in or GTFO.
Some trainers use a key word like “FIGHT” or “ACTION” (a la Time Crisis) to create a subconscious connection between threat and some kind of response. Works for me—provided the armed self-defender practices NOT shooting after they hear/say the key word. ‘Cause shooting may not be the best course of action.
Make a decision. If it’s the wrong decision you may get a chance to change your mind. If it’s the right decision, speed, surprise and violence of action may give you a decisive strategic advantage. Even if that “violence” means running away as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve spoken with people who’ve killed people. They talk about that brief moment before they pull the trigger. They call it “hesitation.” It’s probably not. It’s probably their rational mind imprinting the moment of truth in their subconscious mind. Real hesitation is a kind of paralysis. Don’t let it happen to you.
Think, decide, act. And if not that, act.