When Is It OK To Violate The Four Rules?

Four Rules Firearms Safety

By A. Reeder

The question came up after reviewing several shooting episodes posted on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter (also some news station videos). In a number of shooting situations, the “good guy” was dealing with bystanders in range and proximity to the “bad guy”. We all know about several incidents where police generated collateral casualties during armed confrontations. This isn’t about cop-bashing, but about attacks, crowds and The Four Rules.

For this exercise, consider that breaking one of The Four Rules means failure to follow all four. In the matter at hand, specifically Rule #3 (which is actually tightly related to Rule #2).

TTAG Content Contest Remington R1 ZORE X Core

Scenario 1: Mall scene. Crowded common passageway. Crowd begins to wildly disperse, while some consolidate at a single location twenty feet ahead. You approach, and find one person on the ground being threatened by another person on top who is holding a knife to the throat of the person on the ground, who is already showing blood running down the face.

You are now ten feet away. The crowd around the people on the floor is loose, but not moving away. With people everywhere, do you draw and shoot? Even though you can see there are bystanders behind your intended target? Do you spend time trying to get closer? Do you shoot, even though Rule Number 4 cannot be maintained?

Scenario 2: Crowded venue. Public concert in multi-tier arena. Gunfire breaks out thirty feet away. Mad gunman, or terrorist. People runing all directions, some behind the shooter. Do you take the shot, or wait until there are no bystanders beyond the intended target?

We could create a zillion scenarios posing a challenge to Rule Number 4, but the question remains: is it ever advisable to shoot if you cannot be sure of what is behind your target?

What’s in your scenario packet?

comments

  1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    For the single victim scenario, I wouldn’t intervene with a firearm.

    For the spree killer/terrorist/Leftist, I’d look for cover and an angle. People are getting shot. You could be next. If you’re good enough, it won’t matter . If you’re not that good, you’re probably screwed.

    The hero in the OR took a knee to reduce the innocents. He didn’t have to shoot because the murderer went into a stairwekk and killed himself.

    1. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

      I have a slightly different version to Mr. R. Bears response:

      Scenario #1
      Facts: 20′ is just a little more than a 2004 full-size sedan; which is approx 18′ bumper-to-bumper and 1′ foot short of 7\yards. This is something I live and practice for regularly. That said, should I experience ‘scenario #1’ at the specified distance, with the threat stationary (ahead), and not directed towards me and the folks I am charged with caring for; I’m turning around and walking/running in the exact opposite direction.

      In scenario #1, I’ll gladly take the label of Pu$$y and not have to be detained, weapon impounded, and face possible legal fees. Those two on the ground could very well have done the same.

      In regard to Scenario #2: (crowded venue)
      I’m seeking seriously thick and hard cover, creating as much distance as I can between the threat and the immediate group I am charged to care for.

      There is far too-much potential for mistaken identity and/or to be considered an accomplice to the initial credible threat.

      However, if said threat (scenario #2) has focused her/his weapon in my direction, and is close enough for there to be ‘no mistake’ that I or my immediate group was the next target/victim, there is no more retreating; all necessary projectile(s) will be transmitted.

      For me/us, the ‘key’ = is the perp facing me. If the perp not facing me and the projectile(s) I/we transmit hits the perp anywhere for ballistics to interpret the entry point to be a non-defensive wound (perp retreating\shot in the back) <– that sort of thing, there will be too-much time, explaining, investigating and rounding up of witness accounts — that would need to be completed, before enough corroborating testimony/evidence would be gathered to secure my release from detention, and/or exoneration of potential criminal charges; and then there is always the victims supposed relatives and their civil filings.

      I'm really not trying to be in/on the news or youtube for that matter. Steer clear, avoid any/all smoke or dust. If you hear furniture moving or thunder, walk/run in the opposite direction.

  2. avatar CZJay says:

    It’s highly scenario dependent.

    In scenario #2 it would make sense to stop the spree killer as soon as possible even if someone innocent dies carrying out that task because many more people would die if you do nothing. Training will help reduce the risk you mess up.

    Shooting in scenario #1 could kill the hostage and innocent people in the line of fire. One of the innocent people you shoot dead could be a child and the hostage could have already lived a long life. The best thing you could do is train for closing the distance and contact shots, so you can stop the killer without harming anyone else and save the hostage. If you can’t save the hostage because of the restrictive circumstances, you shouldn’t be blamed for the death of the hostage; that is the fault of the murderer not the person who didn’t want to kill innocent people.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      CZJay is EXACTLY on point.

      The entire point of firearms and self-defense is preserving as much innocent life as possible.

      If pulling the trigger on your firearm would result in even more deaths than if you refrained from pulling the trigger, then do NOT pull the trigger. If failing to pull the trigger on your firearm would result in more deaths than if you did pull the trigger, then PULL the trigger.

      When an attacker is attacking a single person in a crowded situation: close the distance and take out the attacker with a contact shot. If the the victim does not survive, that sucks and is the way it has to be. When a spree killer/terrorist is attempting to kill as many people as possible, put rounds on the attacker to save lives at the earliest available opportunity. If some bystanders die in the crossfire and far more survive than would have otherwise, that sucks and is the way it has to be.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Yep, in scenario #2 there is no violation of any of the 4 rules. It’s not a violation of #4 because you are well aware of your ta rget and the possibility of collateral damage and not a violation of #2 because you are willing to accept collateral damage to stop the far more pernicious threat of a spree killer.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Governor Le Petomane for the win!

          Thank you for expressing the concept in so few and easily understandable words.

          A Good Samaritan who unintentionally shoots a few bystanders in the process of stopping a spree killer/terrorist in a crowd is a FAR LESS pernicious threat than the spree killer/terrorist.

          And it is utterly impossible to ensure zero collateral damage AND minimize casualties while resisting a spree killer/terrorist in the middle of a crowd.

  3. avatar AguyWithAGun says:

    Scenario 1….if you aren’t the police or someone else who can commit a crime and not face any punishment I would Very carefully get away from the disturbance. I am not interested in going to jail for 1 minute and giving my savings to an attorney for a couple idiots in the mall.

    Scenario 2…it is much tougher to justify standing down if someone or some people are shooting people shouting allah akbar or clearly being “crazed gunmen”. But if you can’t safely hit the attackers (which you probably can’t) I wouldn’t ignore rule 4.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      AguyWithAGun,

      But if you can’t safely hit the attackers (which you probably can’t) I wouldn’t ignore rule 4.

      Keep in mind that shots on bystanders are random hits and rarely fatal. Two recent attacks prove that point. (One of the recent attacks was a shootout between two opposing gang members in a crowded nightclub in Arkansas. Those two attackers managed to hit something like 26 bystanders and ALL of them survived.)

      If we are talking about a few random hits on a few bystanders versus allowing a spree killer/terrorist to put carefully aimed kill shots on a crowd, light up that spree killer/terrorist and let the chips fall where they may.

  4. avatar whitey says:

    Scenario 1: maybe a shot in the floor to disperse the crowd and get the attention of the attacker away from his victim. If then possible, take a safe shot, I am not going to prison for a stranger.

    Scenario 2: take cover and assess escape routes if possible, not shooting indiscriminately into a crowd of innocent people.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      Shot to the floor will ricochet (it’s a mall, not a living room). A warning shot is just about always a really bad idea.

    2. avatar That Deaf SOB says:

      A shot in the floor will likely cause shrapnel and concrete spall to lacerate your own legs, or ricochet off and hit a bystander. In some places, it may even penetrate through the floor and strike an innocent on a lower level. If it’s a floor that a round can penetrate then you’re violating #4.

      In both scenarios, my weapon stays holstered and out of sight until I can use it. I will not fire on a target if a miss can hit someone else, but I will fire if I’m confident of hitting the target center mass. The chance that one of my rounds might not expand (Federal HST or Hydra-Shok Deep, depending on my carry weapon that day) is low enough that I’d be willing to risk a through-and-through injuring someone directly behind the target.

  5. avatar Jon in CO says:

    If we can absolutely say that the floored person in #1 is going to die, I potentially intervene, but maybe not with gun.

    #2, I think at the very least a shot should be taken, to at least bring the attention of the shooter(s) to me and not other innocents. If I could hit him, I would, but doing nothing is not going to change the outcome.

  6. avatar doesky2 says:

    If either of those cases occured in a predominate Leftist locale I’d just mosey on out of the scene because they didn’t want me carrying in the first place. Fvck em.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Maybe in scenario #1 that would be a fantastic idea, but I think in scenario #2 you should stop the terrorist regardless of where the event occurs.

      If some fascist has taken your right to self preservation away from you, we can tell them (as we continue eating our freedom fries) to call the police to save them. However, a terrorist attack should be stopped by your gun because fascists will use that terror attack as an excuse to remove more liberties, but if you stop it with an “illegal” gun and save dozens of people…

      It’s so silly that America has gone down the drain so much that people are willing to be raped, kidnapped or killed instead of having a functional 2nd amendment. It’s definitely no longer the land of the free and home of the brave. People don’t even want guns in their independence day parade.

      “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” –John Adams

    2. avatar MeRp says:

      How do you determine if a given locale is “predominantly Leftist”? Would you consider all of a blue state like California, Oregon, Washington, or New York “predominantly Leftist”? Does that mean if you were in upstate New York, or Eastern Washington, Oregon, or California (all quite conservative places) you would just figure “tough luck to those gits for living in a state dominated by its Metropolitan areas”?

      Honestly, unless you are somewhere where you are carrying illegally, the argument doesn’t hold up well.

  7. avatar CZJay says:

    In this scenario I wouldn’t have shot at the attacker with the knife until I could move to a safe line of fire. It doesn’t matter if I get stabbed to death because there was 5 people I could have also killed and one of those innocent people was a little girl. I rather give my life to save those 5 innocent people and to give that little girl a chance at growing up and having her own kids.

    I define a hero as a person doing something that wasn’t their duty, at the expense of their wellbeing or life, with no expectations of compensation or acknowledgement. A person who gets paid to risk their wellbeing and life is simply earning their pay.

  8. avatar RCC says:

    I have been in scenario 1.

    Literally drove into it on way home from work at midnight. Initially thought car stopped on wrong side of road was a crash.

    The good guy ( taxi driver, off duty not in uniform) had got knife off his two attackers. Shooting someone just because they had a knife and were winning would have been murder in that case. A few quick questions determined who was good guy.

    Spent hours filling out statements for police then in court. They went to jail.

    1. avatar CJ Minnesota says:

      For #1 this was my exact thought. There is no way to know who the bad guy is here, this could be the initial victim getting the upper hand and defending their life. If there is interaction, then it has to be one of data collection prior to action. Likely in the form of a verbal command for both participants to stop.

  9. avatar Michael says:

    My grandfather taught me to hunt…get close as you can…then get closer…show no mercy…one shot, one HIT, vanish…

    1. avatar Jack says:

      Did you go back for the meat?

      1. avatar Michael says:

        Did’t have to go “back”, it was right there in front of us…and the liver was great even though we never thought to bring fava beans along on a deer hunt. 30

  10. avatar BlakeW83 says:

    The answer for both, it depends. Really the only good answer, but still scenarios I’ve thought about and struggled with.

    Scenario 1: do you know the guy with the knife is the aggressor, or did he disarm the other person who attacked him? At 10 ft I’d feel confident taking the shot if in fact the situation is what it looked like at face value. The real question is can you take an effective shot that doesn’t allow the attacker to continue on or cause him to cut the individuals throat unintentionally after being injured. You’re also more than likely taking an oblique shot minimizing the risk of striking the victim or bystander if there’s a pass through using defensive ammunition. Ten foot away at a target 3-4 feet off the ground.

    I hate this answer, but possibly the presence of the gun could defuse the situation as well.

    Scenario 2:
    Depends on the range of the shot, and the weapon the attacker has. Taking a handgun versus a rifle is a difficult fight. You’ll also have people running between you and the attacker further complicating the shot. I’d like to say use the chaos to your advantage, don’t draw attention and get closer to get the best shot you can.

    Either way, intervention can reduce the damage to everyone there even at risk of hitting an innocent. If events transpire like they often do the presence of armed resistance usually changes the attacker’s dynamic.

    I’d like to say I’d intervene, but you never know how you’ll react until you’re in those shoes.

    1. avatar Todinator says:

      “do you know the guy with the knife is the aggressor, or did he disarm the other person who attacked him?”

      They showed us this scenario in the carry permit class. If you weren’t there from the beginning, then you don’t know. This actually happened, and the victim, who disarmed the agrressor, was shot by someone.

  11. avatar jwm says:

    Unless the person you’re shooting at is in a lane at the indoor target range how can you ever be 100% sure of the background in an urban environment?

    Absolute adherence to any set of rules will lead to situations of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    Safety protocols, even for firearms, have to have some flex in them.

  12. avatar WCC says:

    Has anyone else noticed the tendency in modern writing to propose a thesis…?

    If the above sentence frustrates you, then you know what I’m talking about. Though it has been made prolific in the blogosphere, with the temptation of the writer to write to an audience of immediate commentators, I don’t think it was born there. I think it was born in the lazy post-modern theory that life is beset by many “difficult” questions the answers to which “we can’t possibly know.” The post-modern journalist, once armed with this excuse, finds it a ready tool with which to sound profound while doing no intellectual work. He “asks the tough questions,” because that’s what journalists do, now. Far be it from a journalist to answer a question. Who can really know the truth anyway? “It’s all relative.” We recognize that attitude to be not just intellectual laziness but intellectual cowardice. Asking a question risks nothing. Answering it, proposing a theory in the public Forum, placing it in the crucible of criticism, is where the strength is found.

    This is not to attack A. Reeder, except perhaps to say I expect better of our side. Posting this question to the masses without any attempt at an answer is not a valuable contribution. Any formal argumentation study would consider it equivalent to writing the introductory paragraph of an essay and then turning that into the teacher and claiming to have finished the assignment. Furthermore, it smacks dangerously of that same cowardice we together decry and mock in our opposition. The questions float all around us. No one is unaware of the limitations of dogmatic rules. The debate about their applicability and usefulness is as old as human society. If you want to hone your Trivium, your principal weapons, you must at least attempt to answer your question. Ideally, you should make an attempt at a generic solution. (To explain what I mean by a generic solution, using as an example this article: It would be a beginning to propose–At least propose!–answers to each of your specific scenarios. But as you rightly point out, scenarios are infinitely variable. You rightly flirt with the notion that a generic logical framework for answering this question in any given scenario would be the best answer.)

    This is the internet. We’re all anonymous here. Here, of all places, one should have the courage at least to try, and let the public have a go at one’s theory. The worst-case scenario is that your theory, your proposed answer, is torn apart, and in the process you learn something and strengthen your mind.

    Here. I’ll give it a go, and you can hatchet my proposed theory. I don’t mind. I just ask that next time, you take your turn…

    The gun safety rules are an implementation of risk management. In formal ORM they would be called Controls (as in step 4 of the five-step ORM model). They are offered to control against the greatest risks in a way that is practical, i.e. has utility for most people in most circumstances. Your NATOPS or similar flight manual invariably begins with a preface to the effect that the procedures within are not the final answer to all situations, and the sound judgement of the pilot will still be required. In shooting as in aviation, likewise. The Four Rules are sufficient and excellent controls in most circumstances, especially given reasonable interpretation. (e.g., Yes, I am willing to shoot my floor as a price of carrying a gun, given no other choice, which is why I’m willing to point my gun at it; otherwise all carry would be impossible.) They are also directive enough to be highly utilitarian for new shooters. They tell you not just what to do (Rule 1) but how to do it (or at least, one way to do it; Rules 2-4), which is why I prefer them to a more universal but less directive ruleset like that used by Rob Pincus, for example. He argues against rules that he must constantly break. I argue that rules which are truly universal, like his, are so vague and generic as to be not informative. The Cooper rules, the Four, for me strike the right middle ground as controls which are as universal as you can get (superior thus to the old NRA rules, or anything else referencing keeping the gun unloaded or keeping the safety on) while still being directive to a new shooter.

    Therefore, I teach a new shooter the Four, and then when they’ve started demonstrating some habitual adherence to muzzle and finger discipline, I teach them my fifth: If you must break one of the Four, apply deliberate or time-critical ORM to that situation. Or, in layman’s terms, if you must break one of the Four, manage risk. Identify and assess hazards, make a risk decision, implement some new control, and supervise the results. Do this while bearing in mind the principles of ORM, among them not to accept unnecessary risk and always to weigh risk against reward, benefit against potential cost. The controls taken to prepare for force on force sim-round training with otherwise real guns provide one excellent example of deliberate risk management in a situation where the Four must be broken. In any of your self-defense and defense-of-other scenarios, a time critical assessment must be made, though some deliberate and in-depth work can be done ahead of time. What is the legal cost of a liability shot (a miss or a pass-through)? What it’s moral cost, if I put a bullet in some four-year-old’s brain? What benefit do I stand to accrue by engaging? What controls can I implement right now, by maneuvering to change the scenario? What controls can I implement before the scenario arises, through training and weapon selection for my most likely scenario set?

    Given the infinity of scenarios, we acknowledge that the question can never be answered exhaustively. But I propose that by seeing the rules for what they are, one approach to risk management within this problem set, and by looking to Risk Management as a formal system which produced the Four, we can find there the underlying, systematic way (objective and logic-based) to solve any given hypothetical scenario optimally. (Note that Optimal in Real Life may not mean Perfect.) With a bit of practice, that same system in its time-critical form gives us the best means to bridge the gap from imagined hypotheticals to the actual scenario before us on that Really Bad Day.

    Think of the Four rules then as the fish you have been given. ORM is how you catch fish. The Four will keep you alive until you learn to fish. Once you’ve learned to fish, use that skill to fish out the correct answer to the situations you will face or are facing, when the original Four will not get you through.

    As a bonus example, the military generally eschews our Rule 4. The cost of hesitating is higher than the cost of dropping a bystander or even your brother because either was near or on line with the target. They control that risk by teaching proper maneuver (on the grand and small scale) rather than by teaching any individual fighter to spend time on line-of-fire analysis once a valid target has presented itself.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Perhaps you dislike a form of “the Socratic method”? The elemental level of that method is….asking a question, not conducting a lecture. From college days long gone, I would take the question(s), and begin to pose other questions, extending the mental exercise. It is different from engaging in instruction, I think.

    2. avatar Kyle says:

      They paying you by the letter?

  13. avatar Anner says:

    Ever pocket carry and sit down? Where’s that muzzle pointed? I do it all the time, and it’s influenced the specific action types of handguns I pocket carry. Mostly NAA mini revolvers or DA revolvers

    Or, good grief almighty, appendix carry? Hell to the no.

  14. avatar Kevin says:

    I’ve always been a little uneasy with the wording of rule #2:

    “2. Never point a gun at anything you aren’t willing to destroy.”

    When I am at home, I am not willing to destroy the ceiling or the floor. But if the gun is out, it’s typically pointing at one or the other. Similarly, the acts of drawing and holstering both result in a brief instant of the gun pointing at things I’m not willing to destroy.

    Perhaps an alternate way to say it would be like this:

    “2. Always point a gun in the safest direction possible.”

    I realize that’s not 100% perfect either, but it’s the best I can come up with.

  15. avatar SteveO says:

    For all scenarios: 6.5 Creedmore. Just don’t ever violate the 6.5 Creedmore rule. That offense is even worse than dividing by zero.

    1. avatar Matthew the Oilman says:

      Smartass

  16. avatar Kenneth says:

    ” Rule #3 (which is actually tightly related to Rule #2).”
    The best answer to the question posed here is to fully understand the four golden rules, and not just remember them. They are ALL tightly related. So interwoven, and so overlapping, as to actually be one. The overlap is the extra margin of safety that is such a great idea when handling a deadly weapon. Understanding just this one aspect of the four rules makes the entire question(which I see, hear, and read regularly) of: “which one of the four rules is the most important?”, totally moot. Fully understanding the four rules makes the answer, “All four”!
    So, this question directly: the fourth rule, remember, is to KNOW what is behind the target. Note that it is not: “never take a shot until you are certain of a hit”. Understanding the overlap means that this answers the question. The point is to THINK and be AWARE of what is around and behind your target. Once your sights are ON THE TARGET, your finger goes on the trigger, BUT before pulling it, think and make a judgment of whether you think the risk to things around and behind the target is worth the reward of taking out the threat. This, obviously, depends upon the level of threat versus the level of risk to others behind. A judgment call, totally situation dependent.
    So long as you are on a valid target before putting your finger on the trigger, you are in compliance with the four rules, no matter what is beyond. Then is when you make the decision whether to fire, or not. Sometimes, even squeezing a round an inch past a hostage’s head at a hundred meters might be the proper decision. It all depends upon the situation. Obviously, that shot would have to be a very high threat level with a very great reward. Like a single perp holding a hostage, and he has already killed many hostages, and shows every sign of killing many more, should he manage to survive.

  17. avatar Red in CO says:

    Scenario 1, I wouldn’t intervene. In scenario 2, I’d say ANY horizontal shot is gonna have a huge potential for collateral damage. Probably the only (relatively) safe course of engagement would be to get the attacker on the ground and then fire straight down. But getting to that point means closing to contact shot distances, always a risky endeavor

  18. avatar Juice says:

    I certainly expect the scope of “know your background” to shrink pretty fast, more often than not. And understanding that you have to bend or break the rules is probably less important than any number of other bad habits you may pick up by only being able to train on a square, public range. It’s hard to practice “get off the x” when you can only use your imagination.

  19. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Breaking #2 and #4 are pretty much unavoidable in the real world (outside of the square range.)

    The gun has to be pointing somewhere and I am not clairvoyant.

  20. avatar Joh says:

    Scenario 1: No shoot. It seems rather trite if you say it aloud, but due to no immediate risk to me or mine, I could not put other people at risk in the hope of saving one (presumed) innocent.
    Scenario 2: Shoot and be judged by 12 if something were to go awry. Stakes are higher both for me and for the other people in the crowd.

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      I agree…thanks for a concise answer. My eyes glaze over at a few of these dudes.

  21. avatar MiJim says:

    So neither of these situations provide a tangible basis, as neither is absolute.

    At the end of the day the only time that rule 4 gets violated is when my family or myself is threatened with great bodily harm or violence.

    For the sake of conversation though in situation 1 the person on the ground is pretty much screwed. If at 20 feet I can clearly see a knife to a mans throat and people are gathering around, I am heading the other way. The people gathering around point is concerning. Are they friendly or Foe?

    As for situation 2. First off the venue you mention, most law abiding citizens would be disarmed and FUBAR’d if that presented itself. Yet again though for conversation sake I would only unleash the lead hounds of hell if rounds were headed my way. If the rounds are headed left and I’m on the right side, my family and myself will exit stage right.

    Now by myself, without my family both situations may end up with a different result, but keeping my family safe is first and foremost, and always will. As it should if you ask me

    1. avatar MiJim says:

      After reading my initial comment I feel some additional statements are needed.

      I have the benefit of sitting here and reading the scenarios while not in danger. How any of us would act is a crapshoot. That is part of the reason we train. We try to train to lessen the shock to our system by adrenaline. You will never eliminate it completely. It learning to control it

  22. avatar Hannibal says:

    While there are infinite ways to tweak the scenarios the basic premise is important: real world situations in which you may have to use your gun will end with you violating rule 4 unless the bad guy helpfully stands a couple feet in front of a heavy wall or you close to contact-shot range… at which point you have given up most of the advantage that a gun affords you in a fight and might as well bash his head with it.

    It is what it is. Now, it’s a fallacy to take that knowledge and just start shooting in all situations because the rule is not workable in real life. It just means that it’s not a simple hard-and-fast rule. It’s probably going to create some very hard decisions that have to be taken under stress. Worse yet, shoot or not, those decisions will be second-guessed by armchair quarterbacks with all the time in the world to play the “what-if” game.

  23. avatar Rob says:

    This may be cold, callous, and uncouth: I won’t draw to save anyone’s life except for me and mine. Others had the same chance to get armed and trained. Why risk my kids growing up without a dad?
    Situations 1&2: escape and evade with me and mine, preferably without drawing any undue attention. Nike-fu over kung-fu.
    This answer doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s fine.

  24. avatar Ralph says:

    Hey, Scenario Boy, you forgot about the Kobayashi Maru.

    Look it up.

    This whole scenario bvllshit is a form of masturbation, an intellectual dry hump.

  25. avatar Kyle says:

    In the nano second i have to make the shoot/no shoot decision, I error on the side of saving the life threatened in the moment, not the hypothetical life taken by pass-through fire.

    Based on my level of skill, i take the shot, in both of the examples above.

  26. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    I carry to defend me and mine. I ‘m not shooting until I am threatened. That’s my rule number 5.

    Then, specifically to your question…. No on 1, yes on 2.

    For 1 I am not going to risk killing one to save one. For 2 The risk of killing one to save many is acceptable to me.

  27. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    I wouldn’t want to be in either situation. I am VERY aware that I am NOT a cop and that police have a ton of immunity on their side, legal and otherwise. I’m also very aware of negative consequences even in a justified shooting. That said, my response would be completely situational. Can I get my responsibilities safe and clear? If alone, am I clear on what is really happening- that the guy who “looks like” a bad guy actually is? Does the bad guy have friends close-by (is it a gang situation)? Can I approach quickly, unseen, in cover? Is my gun the best weapon? Would another weapon- a knife or something in the environment be better than a gun? Lots of questions and no easy answers.

    I’ve got to believe that most scenarios are more black/white, and less public. I’ve given thought to movie and church shootings (my church doesn’t allow cc, but I figure its easier to get forgiveness than permission). Perhaps the best thing is to give some thought to where you typically go and what you’d do in different situations. The fact is public situations are rare. Much more common are situations where the would be victim is isolated such as a robbery, kidnapping/rape, or spiraling domestic situation.

  28. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    Know your state laws.
    Kentucky has two standards for citizens concerning use of force. In self defense the shooter is held to a “reasonable person” standard. In defense of another, the shooter is held to “facts as they exist” standard.

  29. avatar jwtaylor says:

    The problem with The Four Rules is that everybody quotes them, but no one seems to have actually read the source material.
    They are not inviolate and they were never intended to be. Read Cooper’s actual writing, not someone’s lazy bastardization of it.

  30. avatar Ark says:

    Both scenarios: Depart the area without drawing or firing. Other people’s survival is not your problem. They had the chance to take steps to protect their own lives and neglected to do so.

  31. avatar Joe R. says:

    “Scenario 1” doesn’t start until you’re in the picture.

  32. avatar Bruce Clark says:

    Simply your duty is to retreat in all the examples unless retreat isn’t possible. I live in a “Stand your ground” state and I would plan to escape any armed encounter unless escape just isn’t possible. My duty is to protect myself, wife and kids only. Getting involved in someone elses problem is only going to get you injured or killed. Best bet is to get the hell out of there if possible. Who knows who else in those scenarios is armed? The hero to the rescue only works in movies.

  33. avatar Yugo Hugo says:

    So easy to analyze, criticize and scrutinize possible scenarios and offer solutions. I don’t think there is time at the time, of the event, to consider all possible solutions. Training and clear thinking is what will produce the best end results. To shoot or not to shoot! I have never been in any shooting situation and hope I never am, but I can only hope for a clear mind set and pray that I make the right decisions. Go to a a gun show and try your hand at shooting the bad guy at the NRA booth. I have recently and I learned a lot about my abilities to think clearly and this is just shooting images on a screen.

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