“Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins [above] said it’s unclear why a 64-year-old Southfield man entered the police station today, shooting an officer before he was shot dead,” freep.com reported. “Hawkins said his officers followed protocol when the man tried first to shoot at an officer behind protective glass at the station lobby, then fired on other responding officers, shooting one in the shoulder. That officer, a 50-year-old sergeant with 25 years as a Southfield police officer, was taken with the suspect to Providence Hospital.” Did you catch that? Here’s the key detail again . . .
Other officers responded [to the failed murder attempt] including the sergeant. They demanded the man drop his gun, and instead, Hawkins said, the man fired upon the responding officers, shooting the sergeant in the shoulder. The officers were wearing protective gear, said Hawkins.
Yup, the cops were following standard operating procedure . . .
“We always try to resolve these incidents non-violently if we can,” said Hawkins. “However, the use of force was unavoidable in this circumstance.”
Ya think? The question is when was it unavoidable? I reckon the moment the man [later identified as Harold J. Collins] tried to shoot the cop behind the desk and didn’t drop his gun is the moment he needed a direct application of lethal force.
Legally speaking, you can only shoot another human being when your or other innocent life or limb is in credible, imminent danger; and imminence is imminent. In other words, you can shoot someone when they are in the actual act of trying to maim, kidnap or kill you or other innocents.
One thought that bedevils many armed self-defenders: will I be too late? Another: will I be too early? Who knows? One thing is for sure: decisiveness can be decisive. Whether or not you shoot, quickly making a conscious choice offers you a far better chances of survival than being overcome by events.
As President Lyndon Johnson said, a bad decision is better than no decision.
The best way to avoid analysis paralysis: decide now that if you or yours are in life-threatening danger you will shoot. Again, I do not ascribe to the philosophy that once your gun clears leather you’re committed to firing your weapon. But I am committed to commitment.
When you have to shoot, shoot quickly, effectively and efficiently. As far as second-guessing your ability to correctly discern the necessity of deploying lethal force, don’t worry overmuch. Worst case, well, shit happens. Either way, you’ll be alive to deal. As always, good luck with that.