Our man at Active Self Protection reckons non-law enforcement officials (LEOs) can learn from this police encounter. He wants us to recognize the distinctions between can, should and must shoot in a defensive gun use. Yes, well, he misses the most important distinction viewers can, should and must draw from this video: you’re not a cop.

You, the non-LEO, are under no obligation to confront bad guys, contain bad guys or disarm or disable bad guys. Your number one job? Survive. Protect innocent life if possible. Your number one strategy? GTFO. Leave.

If you’re walking-up to a guy who suddenly pulls a rifle from his truck in a [presumably] offensive manner, you need to get behind cover or concealment FAST. Draw your gun as you move away. If you can safely leave the scene and call the police, what a good idea! Do it.

What if the bad guy stops and you’re holding him at gunpoint? Tell him to STOP as you continue to back away. If an armed-in-any-way bad guy’s within striking distance (see: Tueller drill), if he takes one step towards you, he’s posing an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm. You are within your legal rights to use lethal force. Do it.

By the same token, if you have to physically attack someone, say, there are innocents that you can’t abandon or you’re in a confined space, you need to attack with complete and total aggression.

One punch? To quote Will Smith, oh hell no. Lots of punches. Elbow strikes. Kicks. Eye gouges. You’re not trying to take anyone into custody or avoid charges of police brutality. You’re fighting for your life. The best way to make it impossible for your attacker to kill you: hit him with overwhelming, unrelenting force. And then GTFO.

What if you’re holding a gun in your hand fighting a perp on the ground? You need to get up and away from your opponent — with your gun — ASAP. Put the gun down as you grapple? Are you kidding? Use it as a club? Yes! Either that or it may be time to Zimmerman him.

This incident ended well for the cop. You’re not a cop. Don’t do what he did.

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57 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: You’re Not a Cop

    • I’m not so sure that was a skirt, and it was someone very stupid. You don’t creep up behind a cop during an altercation and try to take something from him, especially not a weapon! I think he was on something, and I think the other “suicide by cop” guy was also either drunk or on something from the way he lost his grip on the weapon.

      So maybe it was a good thing that the cop didn’t shoot that retard, because the cop may have killed someone who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time plus only a threat to himself.

  1. I was with you right up until “it may be time to Zimmerman him.” That was pretty cringe-inducing. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but in my mind, that’s really making light of the fact that *you are taking someone’s life.* We’re all grown-ups here. We can use direct, blunt language. You’re not trying to kill the perpetrator. You’re trying to stop them.

    • For those familiar with the facts of The People vs. George Zimmerman, the word could become synonymous for a legally justified defensive gun use. Because it was.

      Unfortunately, George Zimmerman is industrial grade douche bag, so it could be a confusing term.

      • Zimmerman is 100% the cause of the conflict. The only reason he got off was because the only other witness was killed.

        • So you admit that you were not a witness, and that the only witness’ story differs from yours, but you are sure of your version of the events? Okey dokey artichokey.

        • Do you understand that you’ve just admitted that you have no basis for claiming that Zimmerman was 100% the cause?

          Are you familiar with what trayvon’s girlfriend admitted in an interview after the trial? When she admitted to telling trayvon over the phone, just before the incident, that he wasn’t a man if he didn’t beat down Zimmerman. Also that the reason for trayvon doing so was they thought Zimmerman was being “creepy”and they speculated he might be pedophile. In other words, by the time physical violence was being at least justified between trayvon and jeantelle (?), zim had not engaged in ANY direct contact, either physically or verbally.

  2. This is a great post right up until…

    > Either that or it may be time to Zimmerman him.

    Completely needless and imho disgusting.

    • I’ll go as far as to chide him to quit trying to make “Zimmerman him” happen. It’s not going to happen.

      Beyond that? Meh. Who gives a rat’s rear end about some druggie thug like Trayvon Martin? He got what his own foolish decisions led to. If someone wants to make fun of that for their own amusement or as a cautionary tale, that’s fine. There’s nothing inviolable in that incident.

      • It could totally happen, but needs work. Drop the second and third syllables so it flows better, for starters. For example:

        “Time to Zimm that muthafucka, homie.”

        • Or, to describe a situation where evrything has gone to hell and you are getting the snot beat out of you, leading to the realization that your prior restraint up to that point was a really bad idea and you have to (finally) take decisive defensive action – Zimm him!

        • Cliff: “…leading to the realization that your prior restraint…”

          Prior restraint, my ass. Zimmerman was a Neighborhood Watch person. His job was to observe, and, if needed, call the police. Which he did.
          Then, “prior restraint” went out the window. He, with a gun (AFAIK, not what NW people are supposed to be carrying), got out of his car (against the 911 operators instructions), and began stalking Martin. For no good reason at all. And not even very well at all. He got ambushed (proof he wasn’t stalking very well).
          Absolutely, Martin made fatal mistakes. But Zimmerman showed us what NOT to do. And his “prior restraint” was non-existent.
          From the time Zimmerman decided to carry on NW, to the circus after the trial, that whole situation was a cluster fuuk, and should be a teaching experience for anyone who thinks he’s a badass.

        • Big Bill Trayvon had been solicited for gay sex before (this was in FL) and thought Zim was a john. He wanted to “beat his f@&&@t ass” for being a “creepy ass cracker.” Zimmerman did not defy dispatch, that is a myth perpetuated through decpetive editing on the part of NBC. The actual evidence shows clearly that he was set upon from behind, in an area where he could not have pursued Martin toward his home, which his girlfriend testified he returned to before circling back to provoke the confrontation. It is literally the fake news that gave birth to the fake outrage that is black lives matter, led to the burning of cities and the deaths of good cops, and you repeat it like gospel.

        • Zimmerman admitted he was told to stay in his car.
          Neighborhood Watch discourages their watchers from carrying guns, which is what I said.
          Zimmerman went looking for trouble, and he found it. That’s not just rhetoric, it’s a fact.
          While the shooting may have been justified, the whole thing could have been avoided if Zimmerman had done as instructed.
          Was Martin a “bad guy”? I really don’t know. In cases like this, ANY dirt on either party is inevitably blown out of proportion. But the fact remains that Zimmerman did what he was told not to do, went beyond the recommendations of Neighborhood Watch, looked for trouble (what other reason did he have to follow Martin? To let the police know where he waqs? That’s not his job, and he was specifically told not to do so, and he admitted that.), and found it.
          These are facts.

    • Glorious liberty from Vermont through Maine! Beautiful country up there. Problem is you can’t get there without driving through New York or Canada.

  3. Just reiterating the ‘gtfo’ part… I see people talk about rendering medical aid for the bad guy to make yourself seem better for a potential jury, etc- hell no. In almost ANY situation where I, acting as a private citizen, need to use deadly force I am getting the heck out of dodge the moment that force works to incapacitate the aggressor. If it was dangerous enough to shoot before it’s dangerous enough to get away from now… which was the whole point of shooting. The guy may be down but not out or there may be unfriendlies around the corner.

    A cop has to remain at the scene, secure the suspectweapons and provide medical aid (hopefully while backup is coming because he has a radio). A private citizen doesn’t. Call the police from somewhere safe.

    • So true. Take a few moments to make sure the area (and you) are secure. Secure any evidence that will assist in confirming your defensive shoot. Dial 911, when its safe to do so.

    • Yes, well, what do you do about the bad guy’s weapon, quite possibly a firearm, that you have left behind? You most certainly cannot pick it up and take it with you and I can’t see the logic of leaving it on the ground near the body for the unpredictable period between the time he drops it and the time law-enforcement eventually arrives on scene.

      Just a suggestion, but perhaps it may be wise to retreat to a safe distance to call police while maintaining visual of the scene? Also, while it may be legal to leave the scene, with all the surveilence cameras and smart phones out there these days it is a good possibility that you will get a visit from some LEOs in the near future at any rate, or have your mug smiling from the evening news shows all over town. Might it be better as a legal defense to stay near the scene, protect it from being tampered with by friends of the perp or just someone who wants his gun, and make yourself known to the LEOs when they arrive?

      Unless you’re wounded in the fight or the police can find a round he discharged in your direction during the confrontation it seems that ensuring his weapon is there when the police arrive is a really good plan.

      Suggestions?

  4. “….Zimmerman him….”
    Lol I thought it was funny, but I have never been PC….
    I guess I am more of a heathen than I thought.

    It was obviously an attempt at some humor, whether misplaced it not….lots of dark humor that people love, offends someone.

    I would love to use “stop! Or I will Zimmerman you” but I am not Hispanic and I don’t want to be accused of cultural appropriation….

    Is that offensive? If it was..sorry…I will shut up and finish blazing saddles.

    • If you’re standard-issue white guy, the SJW rules say that you have no culture whatsoever (other than oppressing other people through your very existence). Therefore, literally everything you do is either oppression or appropriation — which means you might as well go ahead and do whatever the hell you want, since you’re going to get deplorabled no matter what.

  5. TTAG and ASP are basically entertainment. I enjoy much of what they offer…For free. Yes, the Zimmerman comment was worse than a fart in church disrespectful.

    I encourage all these folks to continue creating content and learning from their mistakes. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the thought-provoking articles…For free.

  6. Zimmerman him…

    So you mean let the guy I’m successfully beating get the advantage while i reholster my gun, let him get on top of me, pound my head into concrete, THEN shoot him?

    Uh…

    Shooting someone on the ground when you’re on top, have the advantage, and there’s no imminent threat isn’t called zimmerman’ing.

    It’s called execution. Or cold-blooded murder. Your choice.

    • Oh, for the love of Pete about the “Zimmerman” comment:

      Mr. Farago was referring to self-defense in which the defender initially defends him/herself with fists and then ends up pinned to the ground with the attacker in the process of beating the defender to death … at that point the defender’s only option to survive is to draw and shoot the attacker’s torso at contact range.

      There is nothing immoral or politically incorrect about using deadly force only as a last resort to save your life from an attacker.

    • Just for the record, as though it should be necessary after all this time – George Zimmerman had every right to be where he was and do what he did, that is, follow a suspicious person in his neighborhood and report that activity to the police. He had broken off contact at the time Martin decided to attack him, a cowardly attack on a person posing no threat to him and who had his back turned.

      At no time during the entire incident did Zimmerman draw or brandish his weapon until he was already on the ground and in danger of losing consciousness. As a last resort to stop this potentially deadly attack Zimmerman drew his weapon and fired ONE shot, to stop the threat.

      To repeat an oft-used phrase here – your are entitled to your own opinion, you are NOT entitle to make up your own facts.

  7. A lot of cops would have granted the dude’s wish. Kudos to this LEO for the way he handled it. I suspect they are more out in the country.

    • It is an interesting video on many levels and also points out that the LEO is sometimes confronted with situations that the average person could walk or run away from but the LEO cannot.

      We do not know who the man was, why he was doing what he was doing, what led up to the confrontation, or if the LEO had any prior contact with him or knew him or the situation. We can see that the man was not entirely serious about his threat in that he NEVER actually pointed his rifle in a threatening manner at either of the responding officers. We do not know why the man thought “death by cop” was a good or necessary idea. I suspect (pure speculation) that he was putting on a show for the benefit of the female who came into the video towards the end. Stupid, on so many levels. While you can’t fix stupid, especially if it winds up with you getting shot to death, the stupid that comes with trying desperately to impress some girl who is otherwise unimpressed by you will go away of its own over time if you just let it alone. Have a drink. Listen to some sad songs. Find some buddies and cry on their shoulders. Then move the fvck on.

    • Its good for the cop that he didnt have to shoot him because he avoids all that post shooting stuff cops have to go through. Its good for the jerk because…well, he ain’t dead. Not good for the community though. After they pay for his incarceration and “rehabilitation”, he’ll be back out amongst them committing violent acts. So the big winner here is the perp. Sad reality.

  8. The cop should be fired for pointing his weapon at the citizen. At no time did the citizen pose any threat to the government employee. If a government employee is exercising his privilege to be armed, then a citizen should exercise his right to be armed.

    Disarm cops, not citizens.

      • He is probably a Soros paid troll whose assignment is to pose the gun nut of the left’s imagination. I saw him sounding like a Klansman on PJmedia. Only a plant could sound that sterotypically racist.

  9. “Either that or it may be time to Zimmerman him.”

    Yup. Dan Zimmerman would blue-pencil that bad guy beyond all recognition. 😉

  10. After watching the video a few times, all I can say is that this was truly exceptional work all the way around by this officer. Notice I didn’t say “police work”, I just said work. Because weather you are a cop or not, from the moment the man stepped out of the vehicle with a rifle, this was a great series of actions.

    The officer deescalated, backing up, making it clear that he did NOT want to shoot the man, all while maintaining the weapon on the clearly disturbed man and maintaining his own safety. Then, when it was time, he aggressed rapidly, making a fast decision and committing fully to his action. He continued to be aggressive, but non lethal, throughout the encounter.

    But why non-lethal? For the same reason why you should not respond with lethal force whenever you don’t feel like it is necessary. I’m going to trust you, or an officer, to carry a firearm and to use it responsibly until and unless you prove you aren’t responsible. That means I’m trusting your judgment. Your judgment to fire, your judgment not to fire. If he would have fired, I would have been good with it. Just about any reasonable DA would have as well. Every criteria was met for lethal force, except one. The officer didn’t feel like he had to kill the man. So he didn’t. And the results show he was right. He responded with a lot of physical, non-lethal force. Good for him, and I wish more people in general were like him.

    As far as putting down the gun, this was probably the right decision as well. ERMUGURD NO! Yes. He was now on top of an unarmed man, with another officer assisting him, and yet another officer backing him up. In the heat of the moment, those are the only things he could likely keep in his head, if even all that. He needed to put this guy out and roll him over. He had a gun in his hand. He didn’t want to shoot the man. He didn’t want to point a gun at anyone he didn’t want to shoot. So your options are, strike him with the weapon, re-holster, or put down the gun. Quick, you’ve got half a second to decide!
    Reholstering takes time, takes your eyes off the man on the ground, and points a gun at you, him, your partner, or all 3. Striking him with the gun is a great idea, unless you’ve never trained to do that, then it just seems weird and you are trying to figure out how to hit him without making the gun go off when you didn’t intend to. Trying new techniques in the middle of combat is very bad. Remember, you’ve got half a second to decide, and you’re struggling while you do it. So you do what anyone would do, should do, and that’s fall back on your own training and actual experience, and you slug the dude and then pick your gun back up. Exactly what happened. And? Result. Great, powerful, safe hit and then back to his weapon.
    I’m not sure he meant to put the gun down the second time, but even if he did, again, it’s hard to get a figure 4 in with a pistol in your hand. He safely re-holstered, watching the muzzle when it entered his holster, as soon as it was safe to do so.

    As far as running away because you are not a cop, that has both tactical, as well as simple philosophical disadvantages. On the philosophical, sure, run, but maybe you just left a problem for someone else, and maybe they can’t handle it as well as you. That’s totally your call, and I certainly won’t be the man that judges you on whatever that call is. Me, I’m staying and dealing with the problem in front of me.
    Tactically, note the officer did back away when the man came toward him. He created a distance, and then maintained that distance. There was no way, once that man got out of that truck, he was going to get to cover any faster than that without turning his back and running. And turning your back when an aggressive man has a rifle in his hands is a very very poor tactical choice. Often a fatal one.
    Your cover does not limit your opponent’s mobility. It only limits yours. Keep your eyes on your opponent at all times.

    • That was a handy analysis. I feel like I learned something. Let me ask you though… once you’ve rendered him incapacitated, would you leave the scene or at least seek distance or cover? I feel like a lot of the officer’s actions were the result of a law enforcement approach/training, not necessarily what private citizen Joe Blow might train for in the event he was attacked or needed to defend his life.

      • Yes, I would have stayed in that instance. But there is a massive tonnage of criteria in there. One, I’m a licensed emergency health care provider, so I may legally have to stay if I was no longer in danger. Two, if I, me, being a reasonable adult aware of my own training and experiences, no longer felt that I was being threatened, yes, I would have stayed. If he was restrained, disarmed, and I was still armed, I would have stayed. If I had two other friends there, as this guy did, I would have been more likely to stay than if I was alone.
        If, however, really any of those things was different, I would have un-assed the area the second he was down and I had control of his weapon.
        And none of that applies to anyone else.

      • Warren,

        “… once you’ve rendered him incapacitated, would you leave the scene or at least seek distance or cover?”

        Mr. Farago touched upon this in the article … you have no way of knowing if your attacker has friends who may be about to pounce on you in the next four seconds. For that reason sticking around could be a fatal mistake. Use your best judgement. If you decide to stay, you best be incredibly alert and scanning in all directions constantly … and be ready to immediately drop your firearm as police are pulling up and BEFORE they exit their vehicle.

  11. Apparently LEO didn’t notice the woman reaching for the rifle. Maybe she didn’t get the memo, don’t try to get a weapon back, it’s called evidence.

  12. I just want to applaud the officer for using great judgement and doing the right thing. Wish we had a ton more like him. #bluelivesmatter

  13. Two minor things about the ground fight:

    If you need to place the gun on the ground then slide it far enough away that this guy can’t grab it. Doesn’t seem to matter here but in general probably a good idea to get it out of arms reach whenever possible.

    Also, learn some basic ground fighting. If this BG had known even the very, very basics of ground fighting, like week three BJJ whitebelt level stuff, he would have shifted his left leg, trapped the officer’s right leg and postured up while pushing on the officer’s left armpit/shoulder. Boom! Full mount for the BG. Done when the officer shifted his weight and the strength of a small child would suffice to get this done.

    80% of physical confrontations will go to the ground, it’s wise to at least know something about how to fight, not wrestle, fight while on the ground.

  14. “…Zimmerman him”

    It’s non PC and some people find it funny – but does the use of the phrase really help anything?

    It’s important to be non-PC when there is a net gain in achieving a moral goal – such as being honest in a situation where honesty opposes PC and addressing the honesty is morally desirable. Being nonPC for the sake of being nonPC is just rude and silly.

    My 2 cents

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