Previous Post
Next Post

Mistakes good guys make

We all know deadly force is justified when faced with an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm. And yet armed self-defenders often make dumb mistakes in the heat of the moment that get them in trouble. While the laws in each of the fifty states vary (be sure to know yours), here are general suggestions to keep you out of trouble:

1.  Don’t chase/pursue/shoot at fleeing bad guys

Once the immediate threat to you and other innocents ceases and the bad guy(s) retreats, the justification to shoot disappears. Don’t make the mistakes of the guy in Florida who continued to shoot at fleeing bad guys, killing one. He’ll spend decades in prison for his trouble.

Furthermore, chasing bad guys can lead to a new confrontation in another location. Let fleeing bad guys flee unless they’re trying to move to better cover to continue the attack.

2.  Be aware of imminence

Bad guy incapacitated? Stop shooting! Don’t be the pharmacist in Oklahoma who shot an armed robber squirming on the floor (video below). The robber’s new, tattoo-ruining orifices rendered him relatively harmless.

Unfortunately, Mr. Pharmacist took time to reload his revolver and then shoot him one last time. With that final shot, our good guy turned murderer in the eyes of the law.

The same goes for the homeowner in Minnesota.  He shot two wounded burglars “with a good, clean finishing shot” to put them out of their misery after the initial volley of shots left them writhing on the ground.

3.  Beware the “My home is my castle” fallacy

Just because someone is in your house uninvited doesn’t mean you can punch their ticket. Ability, opportunity and jeopardy must all be present in the mind of a reasonable man.

Can you detain a burglar? Sure, but telling them to leave would be the smarter move. If they’ve got your TV, tell them to take the remote too and be on their way. There’s far too much downside to using deadly force on someone who doesn’t truly need shooting.

4.  Avoid defending property

In fact, a good rule of thumb is this: don’t do it. Yes, Illinois and some other states allow for the use of deadly force to prevent a burglary or forcible felony.

Illinois law, for instance, allows the use of deadly force against someone breaking into your car or shed. While your local prosecutor may decline to prosecute, the feds can charge you for violating that person’s civil rights.

Look up Tennessee v. Garner. Besides, do you really want to shoot someone’s kid over your Craftsman lawn mower?  Call the police, wait inside your home and let the cops take care of it.

Mistakes: Shooting someone over a lawn mower like this one.

That goes double for your neighbor’s house. Notice prowlers around your neighbor’s home while they’re on vacation? Call the police, not Mr. 12-Gauge.

An attorney friend of mine relates an additional tidbit that’s worth considering: “No state’s attorney is going to risk re-election for you.” That goes double if you shoot one of his constituents. A DA may move forward with a prosecution just to save face with the voters.

Bad guys exist. Those with true evil in their hearts, in fact. Denying the existence of evil has no survival value. Evil people won’t hesitate to hurt you for their own enjoyment or to take something of yours they want.

5. Keep the proper mindset

Avoid trouble, but if evil is forced upon you, never give up in a fight.

Thanks to Steve Davis, Esq., President of Guns Save Life for this look at mistakes good guys make too often. 

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. 1. sure.
    2. sure.
    3. If you break into my house while I’m home, I will assume you want to kill me and you will be met force. If I come home and interrupt you stealing my property, I’ll leave it to the cops.
    4. sure.
    5. sure.

  2. #6 Be Intimately Familiar with Everything You Carry: I’ve seen too many people at a range shoot a couple different guns then draw their carry price from a holster, aim, squeeze and nothing. The safety is on, there isn’t one in the chamber etc.

    Know what it is, how it works and how to employ it. Otherwise it’s a good luck charm.

    • Know what it is, how it works and how to employ it. Otherwise it’s a good luck charm.

      No, it’s just a club at best!

      • Keyword in my statement: “Everything”.

        How many people carry a knife as a defensive backup weapon? Lots. What percentage know how to actually employ that knife? I’d guess less than 15%.

        • My knife is a tool. I deploy it a dozen times a day easily. But I have realized I am the exception to the rule in most areas…

          The caption photo makes a case for why a revolver is a good carry piece! My TCP just isn’t that scary looking. Yeah sure, it has two more rounds if I actually need it, but it could also be mistaken for a toy…

        • You deploy your knife against people multiple times per day?

          Jesus, and I thought I used to live in rough neighborhoods. Is sentry elimination your day job or something?

        • Joel – I agree about the scary factor. That is one of the reasons I tend to carry my 642 instead of my P3AT. The P3AT looks too much like a toy. The revolver is clearly a gun, and still fits in my pocket.

        • By deploy I’m assuming he means in everyday situations for use as a tool, not in a defensive situation..

        • I’ve actually yet to deploy my gun in defense of my life, much less a knife. ( I hope I never do.) But if I needed to remove either from my pocket to defend my life or another’s, I won’t need to think about how to do it. My muscles have memorized the nessasary motions.

    • The range is the place to train…so he/she is doing exactly what you are asking, getting to know their firearm…

  3. This is the topics of gun ownership that seem to be pushed to the way side. It nice to see that moving pass the scenario of the “draw” and looking at what events happen that lead to the “draw”. More articles like this would be good for the community in the long run. Think before you shoot.

  4. One of the few good things about living in Illinois. Our self defense statutes provide both criminal and civil immunity.

    • Illinois also has a real good self defense in the home law. You are justified to shoot someone in your home to stop the crime of burglary. Unless you are stupid enough to leave your front door open for a wandering drunk if you light them up legally speaking you are good to go. I really gotta disagree with #3 on this one, if someone is UNLAWFULLY in my home through force I am not going to question why they are they, what they are doing, are they armed. If someone is in my home through force I am going to assume they are there to do me harm, if they won’t comply with the one verbal order they will get while my firearm is drawn on them OR retreat then I chose to live myself every time.

      • Technically, only if “entry to the home is made in a violent or riotous manner” if I remember my statute correctly. In any case, I can’t imagine a situation where I wouldn’t be covered by statute if I confront a burglar in my home provided I don’t light him up on sight.

        • I think you’re right. Especially if the entry takes place at night ( a majority of cases) the presumption that the intruder wishes to harm you or your family is not untoward. In my state, unauthorized entry when owners are present is not classified as “burglary’ but as “home invasion,” and it you drop a skunk inside the house, it’s highly unlikely you’ll suffer any inconvenience beyond a conversation with police officers. That said, I agree with those here who praise this kind of article and urge that more of the same be posted are right. A gun is the LAST resort, the VERY LAST resort, and owners need to be reminded of that often.

      • Pretty sure you are missing the point, Ivar. If you wake up in the middle of the night to some dirtbag stealing your VCR, rather than jumping immediately to body piercing with extreme prejudice, try yelling at them to get the frell out. If they haul ass for the nearest exit, let them go. The threat is ended and you don’t have to justify shit to the cops, patch/spackle any holes, or try to clean blood and viscera off the upholstery. It’s win-win all around. If they don’t run, THEN you proceed to the heavy metal intervention.

        It’s the same mindset you would bring to someone trying to kick in your front door. You don’t respond by shooting through the door. You tell them to GTFO and call the cops. If they don’t leave, the instant they get the door open you light them up in the doorway. But you give them the chance to leave while they aren’t (yet) posing an immediate threat of bodily harm/death. Because dealing with the aftermath of an encounter where you DON’T shoot is infinitely better than the version where you do.

        • Ian Wolfe,

          “If you wake up in the middle of the night to some dirtbag stealing your VCR …”

          If someone still has a VCR, he/she should pay the criminal for taking that think away.

      • I have to agree on #3, “just give them your stuff” is a really destructive attitude. For you kids out there, I (and the rest of America) were taught for 40 years to just let a hijacker have the airplane. Then came 9/11. Suddenly it became clear that passengers should have stomped hijackers to death, every time. Someone comes into my house for whatever felonious reason, I’ll call the cops immediately after I have perforated him a bit.

      • That attitude works well only if you have deaf neighbors, plenty of space in your back yard, and are handy with a shovel.

    • “One of the few good things about living in Illinois. Our self defense statutes provide both criminal and civil immunity.”

      Supposedly that is the case in Florida, but it can still cost you mega-bucks if the judge is anti-liberty and hates you because you dared to defend yourself. The case may EVENTUALLY get dropped AFTER you have had to spend $50-90K on lawyer fees to defend yourself against the scum’s family and an ambulance chaser who takes their case on contingency hoping that you will settle out of court instead of going bankrupt. And even though the law allows you to recover your lawyer fees from the family members taking you to court; good luck with that when the family is sucking off of the govt teat.
      Lawyer insurance is not a bad investment if you carry, considering that the above scenario has already played out a few times…..

      • Given the statute, I’d file to recover my costs against the attorney filing the suit and their firm. Given the way the statute is written, anybody who files in Illinois is going to have a hard time defending their legal position given precedent and black letter law.

  5. “…with a good, clean finishing shot” “…and Smith was heard referring to the teens as ‘vermin.'”

    I know there’s really nothing funny about this, but having been the victim of a burglary I couldn’t help but laugh when I first read that story. Sorry to say it’s still sort of funny to me even now.

  6. That is a horrible picture, if you are going to take a staged photo like that don’t use obvious snap caps. Make up some dummy rounds with real bullets.

  7. While you are at it, don’t do business with any bank that has armed guard’s. And don’t the police if people are stealing your property. After all, if you aren’t willing to protect your property, you shouldn’t expect anyone else to do the same.

    “Give them what they want and hope they go away” is nothing more than begging for your life. Bullies, thugs, rapists, and murderers don’t stop taking what they want out of kindness. You, and I mean YOU, have to make them stop.

    • Taylor, I think you have gone off the deep end.

      Bank guards are there to deter armed robbery. Armed robbery is a violent crime as much as it’s a property crime. The guards are there to protect the lives of employees and customers. The cash is insured.

      As for calling the cops, yes, I expect them to do what they can to protect and/or recover my property. That’s what they get PAID FOR!

      • Bank guards are there only for violent armed robbery? So if someone just walks in, and calmly starts taking cash out of the till, the guards just let them? After all, the article suggests doing the exact same thing if someone walks on to your property and starts taking your things.
        The law and courts are clear, the police have no duty to protect you or your property. And why would you ask them if you aren’t willing to even attempt it yourself?

        As far as the cash being insured, maybe you should look up how the FDIC actually pays out. Everyone thinks they just hand you your up to $250k back right away. Nope, you get it when they can afford it, piece by piece, eventually.

        Again, give a thug what he wants, and he takes everything he wants. He always wants more.

        • Having been an armed “bank guard” in the past (aka “Bank Protection Officer”), I can verify that, according to policy, I was only there to “deter” a robbery. I was not allowed to stand inside the bank, only outside at the front door. I could only enter the bank if there was no usable back door I could enter (for a restroom or lunch break). This was to prevent a gun fight inside the bank where customers may get caught in the cross fire. I was allowed to shoot in self defense of my life, and defend the life of others, but I could not pursue or detain a robbery suspect. So if the robbery suspect passed a note, and didn’t make the robbery obvious, chances are I wouldn’t know there was a robbery until it did became obvious, or I was told by a customer or bank employee. And, of course, my response was determined by the threat level. And if there was no threat to life, then my job was to gather as much intel as possible (physical description, auto description, etc). Additionally, I was not allowed to get involved in normal security issues; such as parking, homeless squatters, irate customers, etc. I only bring that up because many customers became angry and verbally abusive towards me because I wouldn’t tell the panhandler to get lost, or have a car towed because they were illegally parked in a handicap spot, or double parked, or what not. No amount of explaining would make them happy. In other words, everybody thinks they know your job better than you do…but I digress.

      • Hahaha. Cops in NZ have a 10% burglary solution rate. They are finally now putting more money into hiring more cops, but only after doubling politicians’ own salaries over the past eight years. Public safety be damned.

  8. I live far enough out in the sticks that any botched robbery or home invasion is going to turn into a missing person case pretty quick, civil rights be damned

  9. All of this is also covered by the the reason I have a firearm in the first place; to protect my family.
    1. Who protects them if I run down the street after a bad guy?
    2. Do I really want my 7 year old son to see me finish off a bad guy ?
    3. Difficult to determine motive or threat in the middle of the night. However, it is my family, not the house I am defending.
    4. Of course. Unless a bad guy is stealing the lawn mower AND pointing a weapon.
    5. Absolutely. Shoot until I’m out, throw it at them and pick up something else. They get my kids only after they pry my weapon out of my dead hand.

    • Completely agree, take my stuff I got insurance, dido for my car. Insult me or mine it’s okay, we will get over it pose a threat to my family and I will move heaven and earth to stop you.

  10. Not much said about adrenaline and its effects on how folks react.

    I would have a hard time convicting someone of murder who shot someone who broke into their home while they were there…regardless how many times they were shot.

    Same goes for a woman assaulted violently.

    And you can let them steal your lawnmower and it is guaranteed this will embolden them to come back again and maybe look inside the house … with you or your loved ones there.

    Not saying you should immediately shoot them, but how often do the cops catch someone who took something? Rarely.

    We had a lady happen on two hoodlums in her garage (they thought nobody was home), so they stabbed her with a screwdriver (found weapon) 30 times.

    Easy to say what CAN happen because of dumbass politico DAs. Much harder to tell someone how they should react while they are in the encounter. I try to put myself in the victims shoes and see if what they did was reasonable under those circumstances.

    • YOU, sir, aren’t going to be on the jury of your peers judging you.

      You might be unfortunate enough to have a jury pool of Moms Demand Action types. Or others who look down upon gun owners for fill in the blank reason.

      It’s not what’s “reasonable” to you. It’s what’s reasonable to the liberal Democrat down the street.

      Agree about the effects of adrenaline interfering with clear-thinking though.

      • All he needs is one clear thinking conservative on the jury. Depends where you live, but I like those odds.

      • Obviously yi can’t be on my own jury but I have been on a jury.
        If you are one of those people that always tries to get out of jury duty, you may well reap what you have sown.
        And it IS what reasonable to me in any confrontation. I will take my chances after the fact if I live.
        I can only make my case if I’m alive. These arguements about coulda/shoulda are academic at best.
        Innocent until proven guilty is an ideal that is on lif support in modern times.

    • Maybe I’m projecting here, if someone is in your house in the middle of the night for whatever nefarious reasons and doesn’t leave after seeing the business end of a pistol or 12 guage, then they have proven themselves to be a threat. My understanding is what ” a reasonable person would believe in that situation.” Wouldn’t that justify the use of force? If they dont leave wouldn’t that imply that they mean to do you harm?

    • “ is guaranteed this will embolden them to return..”…I was wondering when someone would eventually state this obvious truth…

      • Not necassarily. Crook breaks in, is confronted by armed homeowner, runs away. What are the odds he tries to break in again where he knows the occupant is armed? It’s highly probable he selects a different target where the risk of assuming room temperature is greatly diminshed. It’s also just as likely he freaks and complies with your orders to lie on the ground till the popo arrives.

  11. Watch the press conference the man who saved a AZ cop’s life gave. He saved a man’s life and killed a would be cop killer, but is having a tough time. You can see it in his face and hear in his voice how difficult it is for a good man(woman) to take another’s life. Even someone deserving of it.

    • And sometimes you can kill a couple dozen people, be happy you did and disappointed you didn’t kill more. Ask me how I know.

        • Sometimes, and those were the best of times. Well, the best of times involved a Mk19 and a motorcycle carrying HME and blasting caps. That was a pleasant surprise. Well, I mean, not for them, the pleasant part, not the surprise. Absolutely positive it was a surprise for them.

    • It came out later he’s an ex-con who did his time for non violent crime and was given back his right to carry. Life is funny sometimes.

  12. Two things:

    The case in Minnesota had all the earmarkings of a trap, from covering the floors with tarps to not calling the police immediately. It wasn’t simply overexuberance: it was premeditation.

    As for pursuing a bad guy, I would always protect myself at all times. Once I was attacked by three teens and I pulled my EDC knife on them. While they were momentarily surprised by an armed victim, I ran to safety.

    Obviously in a case of 3 assailants, you never want to assume dominance, but even if I was armed with a gun, I would still go to a safe place.

    • I agree. That entry was vastly oversimplified. For starters, the guy moved his car down the street and hid in his basement with two loaded guns, food, and water. He recorded himself talking about how he was cleaning up degenerate filth, and was taunting the gravely wounded and thoroughly incapacitated girl before executing her. Also, small but very significant and telling nitpick; he didn’t execute both of them; he boy died pretty much instantly, and the girl was the one that definitively made it murder.

  13. #3 – in Florida and Arizona, if someone breaks into your home, the assumption is they are there for nefarious reasons, not dropping off free Girl Scout cookies, and are legitimate targets of lethal force.

    • Same in California. There is a presumption affecting the burden of proof that someone (other than a close family member/resident of the house) that the person breaking and entering intends harm to you and yours. In other words, it is presumed that the homeowner/resident was lawfully acting in self-defense, and the prosecutor has the burden or poving beyond a reasonable doubt that he/she was not. Needless to say, there are very few prosecutions of homeowners.

      • But civil suits by the perp and his/her relatives? Common in Commiefornia and they can really bankrupt you in the Sanctuary State.

    • In NC, if someone is smashing in your door or climbing thru your window, they are fair game; shoot thru the door or shoot ’em in the window, just let ’em lay there. It is presumed there are there to do you harm. Depending on the circumstances and/or number of perps involved, waiting until entry is gained may be too late. Keep in mind that the current rule of criminals is TO LEAVE NO WITNESSES.

  14. “Just because someone is in your house uninvited doesn’t mean you can punch their ticket.”

    In Kentucky you most certainly can. At least if you believe the state-issued manual I got in my CCDW class.

      • John, Tennessee v. Garner says that police use of deadly force on a fleeing suspect that does not appear to be dangerous is a violation of that suspect’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure. It has nothing to do with private citizens using deadly force. You have enough legal knowledge to know better than to imply that private citizens can infringe on someone’s Fourth Amendment rights.

      • ‘Tennessee v. Garner’ is a ruling on what GOVERNMENT officers cannot do (that being to use lethal force against a fleeing felon who does not pose an immediate serious threat if not captured promptly, thus justifying lethal force), and is NOT a ruling on what anyone not a government agent can or cannot do.
        Virtually all of the SCOTUS decisions regarding violations of rights of criminal defendants apply only to government agents. For example, all of the niceties of search and seizure and use of force (a form of ‘seizure’), and the other criminal rules (Mapp, Terry, Miranda, Hester, and so on) apply to government, and NOT to private citizens.
        What courts use to determine whether or not a private citizen’s actions were correct is based upon the ‘reasonable person’ doctrine, if there is no specific local, state, or Federal law applicable: What would be deemed reasonable for the vast number of all people put in the same exact circumstance would be held as ‘reasonable.’ For a private citizen, even though ‘Garner’ does not specifically apply, its standard would most likely be deemed by a court as being ‘reasonable;’ In fact, as a private citizen has only the right to defense of self or a third party, and not a sworn duty to apprehend fleeing felons at all, dispatching even an armed and dangerous felon who ‘might’ pose a later threat would be seen as ‘unreasonable.’
        Most states are very specific in law to explain when lethal force can and cannot be used by a private citizen; I expect that no state is going to legally allow one to pursue and execute any sort of fleeing felon.
        In any case, I wouldn’t recommend it.

  15. Make sure you know that it is a burglar. I used to be manager at large rural council where we ran the water, sewage, electricity and fire brigade among other things. Lots of night call outs.

    I’ve had a fire truck with crew parked behind me and I still had to convince person to let us in so we could get to fire in property behind theirs

  16. As it happens, weirdly…

    At 0630 this morning, I was sitting and reading the paper (yes, online), when I heard a’rustling at my door… like when someone is coming home. Only, I live alone.

    So, I listened for 2 seconds… then grabbed a Beretta. I went to the window, and WTF, somebody is indeed trying to open my door. So, I ready myself at the door, then yank it open. This disheveled dude was startled and horrified. I am probably within my rights to shoot him, so long as I am prepared to pony up for a good attorney… but he doesn’t look especially dangerous or criminalicious.

    So, I say, “What are you doing?” And he just stares at me. And so I say, “Man, you are going to get yourself killed doing that kind of thing in this neighborhood… go away and get some breakfast or something.” And he just continues to look shocked, and then he runs away.

    Speculation… perhaps he was drunk, or on drugs, or mentally incompetent… perhaps he is just at the wrong place (all the buildings and doors look alike where I live…), who knows….

    It didn’t seem useful to bother the police. Yeah, maybe I am “profiling” (or, reverse-profiling?), but it is my call to make. If I bothered the cops for every odd thing that happened around here, I might have to take 2 days off a week to be a perpetual court testifier….

    Also, I didn’t see keys or tools in his hands.

    Now, if I sleep in for a few more minutes, and this guy successfully makes it into the living room, it might’ve been the last decision of his life… not sure, because that didn’t happen. But if it did happen that way, then the odds of his premature departure from our world increase quite a bit. I would hope that I still pause to adequately assess, but sleepiness and sudden adrenalin is a thing….

    Also, I was quite pleased with myself about a small “tactical” detail: I hate (hate) the slide safety on the pistol, and yet I smoothly auto-flipped it like I spent too much annoying time practicing. Good job, me.

    Wasn’t as exciting as it sounds (and I am sure it doesn’t sound that exciting…), but in the context of all the above tips in the article, it was a relevant incident.

    # 6. You don’t always have to shoot just because you can. Or something like that…. We do a lot of “others” and “us-and-themming” with BGs, thugs, dirtbags, and this intractable criminal profile we’ve assembled in our heads… but they’re people, citizens, too. So, if you can, take a split second or two or three to be absolutely sure. “It” is a person, a life, and so you do not want to be wrong about taking it in what you might mistakenly assume is a defense of yours.

    So now I think, what if his intentions were awful & malevolent, and he got away? Since I cannot possibly know (unless he, say, unfortunately shows up on the evening news later…), it is hypothetical. Well then, I’d rather be wrong than make a grave mistake… along the lines of innocent until proven guilty.

    Be safe. Hmm, “castle,” ha yeah I wish….

    • Good call, just because you legally can doesn’t mean you morally should(and sometimes via versa)

  17. A L L

    F I N G

    F A I L E D

    L O G I C

    1 through 5 sounds like some DA or perp’s attorney trying to sell you a case and a half of bend-over-and-take-it for the bad-guy. Sounds like some more = pigs are selling you that the remainder of your enjoyable life is not worth a perp doing: 1) a practice run; 2) recon; 3) an unsuccessful attempt at murder (if they’re Fing with you, you should not be compelled BY ANY FING ASSHOLE OUT THERE, that the perp only intended a lesser offense); 4) that their retreat from your proximity IS ANYTHING LESS THAN A FALL BACK TO REPOSITION FOR A FOLLOW ON ATTACK (again FU if some Monday morning quarterback is going to attempt to sell you [AFTER THE FACT] on a Perp’s intention on a lesser offense).

    Here’s the only real advice:

    If you’re NOT a murderer, and someone makes you feel grave enough threat for you to use deadly force (whether or not it results in a death) then your work is not done, you gotta go kill all of stupid mf’s that weren’t there that’ll second guess your moves, then you gotta go after their families and property as they would attempt to do to you in court.

    Hold out, to whole the fing world that, once someone violates your personal peace, you will make the rest of the world sue for peace by/through their surrender. Put it on them. They might work harder at not constantly shitting out (and tolerating) the Fbags that they seem to plague earth with.

    • If your “peace” is gone, it’s gone. Don’t let the 9-5’ers on banker’s hours and every fing holiday running take the rest of what you got. They are working WITH the person / people who took your “peace”. F em all

  18. Anyone who breaks down my door is going to get shot unless she’s an Israeli supermodel, in which case she can have my TV.

      • Yup, I send em Ralph’s way when I’m done. “Done” means out of money and ice cream. Those girls get angry when they’re hungry.

    • Why? Because he’s telling you not to invite a legal shitstorm to come down on you?

      If you legally detain someone in your house and you’re going to have a lot less questions to answer and a lot less potential for criminal or civil liability than if you zap them. That’s the point.

      I didn’t even shoot the [last] motherfucker that broke into my place (full disclosure I have never shot anyone who broke in to my place but I’ve had breakin/home invasions happen more than once) and I had A LOT of questions to answer because some people across the street tried to manufacture a scenario where I was a racist committing a hate crime against a poor innocent black guy that I ran down using my dog and a handgun. As soon as they opened their mouths my night went from bad to worse because all of a sudden the police had an “Ah ha! So you’re one of those “I wish a motherfucker would” racist cockbags huh?”.

      • Not talking about detaining them strych0,
        Someone breaks into my home…they gonna be leaving in a meat wagon!

        I don’t reside in a liberal enclave! I’ll let my attorney handle things from there.

      • Man, where do you live strych9, Detroit ? I don’t know your financial / job situation but if you can manage it, MOVE.
        I used to live in a mixed race, working class neighborhood in Fort Worth and though it was mostly noise and dogs ( and roosters ) we did have some guy stab his cousin to death in the middle of our street in broad daylight. I used to block my back door with a 4×4 post ( perpindicular to the door and braced against a wall ? ).

        Anyway, try to stay safe.

        • I haven’t lived in Michigan since 2001 and then I lived in the U.P. (Ya der, eh!) and this took place in Ohio.

          The point remains: Shooting someone isn’t the end of the situation, it’s the beginning. You will be called on to explain your actions and you better be able to do a damn fine job of it. Even then you cannot account for the actions of others who may be witnesses, police, lawyers etc which may conspire against you.

          People, even “unbiased” witnesses sometimes just make shit up and now you have to explain yourself. In my case this guy was black and a bunch of black girls from my university were drinking on the porch across the street. I’m white. Guess who’s side the girls took even though they had no idea what was going on?

          Now, to be fair to them, they only saw the very tail end of what happened, still at least one of them flat out made shit up which made my situation a lot more difficult to deal with.

    • Yeah… really questioning the wisdom of this, “…and give them the remote” thing. I don’t own a teevee, but if I did, well… maybe shove the remote up their ass, if they want it that bad.

      I am a reasonable person (I think… hope so…). But, there is something about consciously violating somebody’s private space. As I commented above, a burglar *inside* your home space is a definite Defcon escalation that makes force more appropriate. Sure, you still have to assess and make a good decision, but a whole bunch of “benefits of the doubt” are null and void if you’re caught red-handed inside a home doing bad things. If you even smell dangerous, you probably just forfeited your life… and property/possessions has little to do with it at that point.

      People who enter– violate the sanctity of– others’ safe space don’t absolutely forfeit their human rights, but they certainly throw out almost all remaining sympathy and empathy one might have for their life. Teevee or no teevee, remote or no remote… and not many of us are going to give them a mulligan, especially by encouraging their reckless decision with additional prizes. Like, maybe a stupid kid/teen, you have them put down the goods and firmly explain that you did them a favor by allowing them to leave with their life. An obvious dangerous criminal? Come on… okay, you want to avoid the legal hassles, but then you are just foisting this asshole onto somebody else someday, and emboldening their “career choice.” Seems short-sighted and selfish.

      But, true enough, every situation is different. Hard to say, except on an ad hoc basis… I do know that the man that tried to enter my home this morning got lucky (and vastly expanded his “options”) by NOT making it inside any further.

      Be safe… especially with that remote.

      • “Come on… okay, you want to avoid the legal hassles, but then you are just foisting this asshole onto somebody else someday, and emboldening their “career choice.” “

        Legal hassles? Having your life ruined and going bankrupt is just a “hassle”? Possible serious criminal charges that you don’t deserve but now have to defend against, and could well be convicted of, are a “hassle”?

        When you make the decision to pull the trigger you are making a decision that can, and probably will, drastically alter more than one life. Yours is one of those lives.

        It comes down to a simple question: is risking getting your life ruined because the DA wants to be governor, worth smoking some guy over some stuff? YMMV but don’t come to me looking for sympathy when you’re on trial or being sued for everything you have because you hotted someone over a set of sockets a lawyer wants money or the DA wants political capital.

        Side note: Beware the guy who keeps a bottle of KY next to the remote.

        • The entire article was a written in regards to defending stuff??
          You need to lay off the pipe son!

        • Mr. Valdez:

          This entire sub-thread is about item #3 which states, in part, and I quote “If they’ve got your TV, tell them to take the remote too and be on their way. There’s far too much downside to using deadly force on someone who doesn’t truly need shooting.”

          So yes, we’re talking about a thief who’s engaged in stealing your stuff.

        • Re: strych9 response…

          Indeed. Generally, I agree with you. In fact, I said basically everything you said in my original post up above (re: the guy who tried to enter my home this morning… who presumably is still alive). I listed what you said regarding life as “#6,” different from your #6, but I even touched upon that, too (re: my stupid slide safety…).

          So, to clarify– my latter post (i.e., the one you are responding to, my 2nd one) is in the context of what I had already wrote. What I was trying to say is, I fully understand why someone would not go lightly and just say “take my remote, too!” and rather instead decide, based on the individual’s threat and demeanor, that answering with force is a better option. In the context of what I had said, I mean that we are assuming one is making a judgment call, factoring in the threat to oneself, and deciding that the particular individual intrusion warrants force.

          I don’t think there was anything wrong with your “letting go” the home invaders you spoke of… hell, we weren’t there– you were. It was your home and your call to make, and you handled it the best way for you & your family. But I also highly doubt I would’ve judged you had you decided force was appropriate… and I don’t necessarily think that people should be cowed or hesitant because of legal ramifications. If it’s right and you must, then make that call– you gotta live with it.

          Maybe I have a bit more faith in my fellow man than others. Possibly. A good, healthy majority of gun-people I know are sensible, practical, honest people who genuinely care for others. However….

          I know a few “I wish a MF would” fellas who might’ve responded differently to the man trying to enter my home this morning… especially because, and I consciously left this part out: I think just maybe he didn’t say anything because he didn’t speak English, and was more than likely a Mexican illegal… not sure, of course. But many illegals group-live around here, and he may have just went up to the wrong door in an unfamilar place. Who knows… but if so, he doesn’t deserve to die for that, even IF he had made it inside my home.

          Anyway, everything you said rebutting the quote from my post was quite reasonable. There is just a larger picture to my thoughts than that one quote, is all.

          Glad you didn’t get hurt during your break-:ins, regardless of the hassle that ensued… that stuff is stressful, I know. But the important thing is you lived to tell and learn.

          Be safe. Easy on the KY.

  19. As a civilian, I have already established what it would take for me to kill someone. A threat to my life, a threat to any of my family’s life, anything else is pretty much off the table. Break into my house while I’m home would be pushing it, attempting to take my vehicle while I am in it, or near it, or just attacking me, or mine, directly, the attacker might live. Remember, there is no guarantee you will prevail in any confrontation. The kill to survive switch must be full on, or full off, no dimmer switch. Keep your head out of your butt and the phone out of your ear.

  20. Every day remind yourself of this phrase; “I was shooting (or aiming) to stop the threat (danger). After you become the neighborhood hero, police, lawyers, reporters, district attorneys are going to ask/bait you to get you to say you shot to kill. Remember “I only aimed to stop the threat” and never, ever say otherwise if you want to stay out of prison. I was taught this working in a prison. Slip just once that you wanted to kill he who deserved it and YOU go to prison. Shoot only as needed to stop the danger and if the dirt bag dies, “well that’s on him officer, because I would certainly never want to kill someone.”

  21. For what it’s worth, the above referenced video was a case study in my CCW class. The perp wasn’t squirming, he was unconscious. Full KO. The initial shot was a skull graze, but not fatal. The shop keep didn’t put one more in him after reloading, he put five more in his gut. He executed the perp. The shop keep was ultimately convicted because the jury felt it unreasonable to claim “fear for my life” and “imminent threat” because the shop keep turned his back on the perp when he went to reload and when he chased the second perp outside. Another aggravating point was that the KO’d dude on the floor turned out to be unarmed. The other guy had the gun and he had already fled.

    So long story short: Bad decisions lead to bad outcomes, which if memory serves, turned out to be 15 years for the shop keep.

  22. I disagree with the part about telling the criminal to just take the TV and leave. Plenty of people have been raped, stabbed and shot by home invaders who were “only there for the stuff” if someone has forcibly entered your home while you are in it is being irrationally brazen and has no good intentions, you can’t presume they won’t hurt you, and trying to tell them to leave might destroy your element of surprise and give them enough time to pull out their heater and cap your ass.

    • I agree with you 100%. If the perp can just walk in and take your stuff, whats to prevent him from coming back in a few days to take everything you own, including the $1500 new replacement TV you just bought.
      Do you really want to miss all those old reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” (had to throw that in).
      If you act like a wimp, you will be perceived as weak, and not a viable threat!

  23. My understanding in Oregon is that if they used violence to get into my home while I am present, I can legitimately conclude that they mean me physical harm, and since they just demonstrated the ability to do serious harm then if they are within fourteen feet of me they are a threat to life and limb and I can shoot. If they are farther than fourteen feet, I have to warn them and order them to cease what they’re doing and either leave or surrender — but if they then advance, I can shoot.

    Of course that may depend on a jury if it gets that far, but if I decide to shoot in my own house I have no intention of letting the threat come back again some day, so I will shoot to end the threat terminally.

    Then, of course, make sure that whatever tool he used to break in is in his hand when the cops arrive. And I’ll be huddling in the corner with my service dog when they get there, which ought to show that I was truly F-ing scared.

    • I live in Oregon too. If a perp was in your home and maybe 18 feet away from you, whats preventing you from taking a couple of steps towards him, to get within legal shooting range? I haven’t heard of the 14′ law you spoke of. Can you tell me where that came from?

  24. 3. Beware the “My home is my castle” fallacy

    Feeling lucky? I dare you to test this one and see what happens.

  25. No argument, but some remarks on #1. There’s something deeply disturbing about allowing a perp – one who tried to kill me, rape my wife/daughter/me, or just take what is mine under threat of harm to me – allowing that perp to “walk away” because his plan failed this time, so he can try again on me or someone else tomorrow. There’s some obligation/duty to self and society to capture such a perp. You’ve gotten the upper hand and he gets to “call it off?” While you know if he had the upper hand he’d do his worst? This is not a level playing field.

    We need to somehow bring back “stop or I’ll shoot” and with a full set of teeth. As it is, only a total chump perp would stop. The current rules make being a criminal far too attractive.

    “You caught me, I’ll be leaving now” just doesn’t have the right ring to it.

  26. Late one night you are gathering up the trash to take out for the morning pickup. You left the garage door open because you are going to take the trash bin out to the curb.
    Your wife comes out of the shower to see a stranger standing in the bedroom and screams. You’re running towards the bedroom as an unknown is running from the bedroom, towards you.
    Fight or flight? Seriously? Is that really a question? This one isn’t. You home carry. Smart. You draw and double-tap center mass. The invader lunges forward as if going for a double leg takedown. You step back and squeeze off three more rounds following the movement of the target. You’ve educated yourself to know the limitations of the handgun stopping power. Where are your front sights? Who the fuck cares?
    The last shot enters the top of the target’s head. It’s a target now. Not a person. When you started shooting he became a non person. A threat. A target.
    You scan the room looking for accomplices. Call out to your wife to see if she is okay. Step around the object bleeding on the floor and go to the bedroom to check on the woman. You see her trembling, wet and naked holding an AR 15 at the low ready. She’s okay…better than okay. Your ears are ringing though. Hopefully a temporary condition.
    You call the police but you aren’t sure the threat is over. Was the man acting alone? Your neighbor calls while you are on the phone with 911. Then your cell phone rings. It’s your neighbor again. You toss the phone to your wife so she can tell the neighbor what happened. Your wife is told that a crowd has gathered outside your house. You look out there and think, “I’m safe now”.
    The cops finally show up and investigate the scene. What’s this shot to the top of the head? You have no injuries. Neither does your wife. Looks like a murder. Or does it?
    Turns out the crowd of people outside were attending a party at a home across the street. The dead man was there to. He had been drinking heavily and stepped outside to take a piss in the yard. He was so wasted that he slipped and fell and rolled down the hill into the street. Dizzy drunk and disoriented, he mistook your house for the party and let himself back in through the same door he exited, so he thought. Your house and the one across the street have the same floor plan.
    Will you be charged for manslaughter? Convicted? Should you be?
    Should the baseball stadium authorities be charged for the death of the drunk fan that fell to his death from the upper deck?
    Are these really questions?
    The answer to all of the above of course should be “NO”.

    • A couple of months ago I was invited by a friend to a party at someone’s house I had never been to before. I followed my phone’s navigator app to the house where the party was supposedly taking place. I went up to the door and rang the bell a couple of times. Since no one answered right away, I tried the door, figuring nobody could hear the doorbell with the party going on. As I stepped into the living room foyer, I had the feeling I was probably in the wrong house, since I couldn’t hear any party noise. It was then that the owner came out. He looked shocked to see me standing there. I asked him if he knew my friend and whether there was a party at this house. He seemed amused, and chuckled as he told me I had the wrong house. I excused myself, embarrassed by my mistake, and left. The correct house was the house next door.

      If this had happened in your house I would be dead now, because you “house carry.” (“smart!”) You can make up all that B.S. about your wife taking a shower with her AR-15 and me taking a dive at your legs later, for the cops’ benefit. The fact remains that you are going to kill someone if they come into your house by mistake.

      “Will you be charged for manslaughter? Convicted?” No. Should you be? “YES!”

      • You were actually so STUPID as to open an unknown door? And the homeowner was stupid for not having his door locked. Probably was a good thing it was early enough for lights to be on. An absolutely dumb ass move, bet you won’t do it again. If you do, blame yourself for the consequences.

        • Yeah. Some people leave their doors open when they give a party, so they don’t have to be answering the door all the time. Yeah. I fucked up and It was a stupid mistake. You’re right. I deserved to die. Gotcha.

          • Did not say you deserved to die, but that if you continue to do stupid stuff you might end up that way. Saw a biker pull a ‘wheelie’ at 85 mph on the interstate, got away with it; tried it again, died.

  27. A wounded bad guy is still a threat, potentially. But I do understand why they wouldn’t want you to be capping dudes in the head after they’ve been “neutralized”…

  28. What did this article teach me.
    -The government can’t protect you or your property and forbids you from doing so.

    -Its better to allow a rapist to get away if you can’t stop him in the act.

    -Someone who has taken your life’s savings can’t be shot at if he presents no threat to you.

    -If you harm someone more than you have to because you are protecting your family, property and life you will be punished. Criminals, not so much.

    Now my question is why does the government have stances like this?

    • You understand perfectly the Laws & the process as they exist in Canada. To answer your question, it seems logical to conclude either that the laws greatly FAVOR the criminal, or the Government itself is criminal, or both. Certainly the law-abiding Citizen is FAR down the list of priorities.

  29. SUPER long post: Bottom Line is: isn’t our property worth defending? And “laws can clear up some things and cause more questions too”

    So, this advice is very much the same that was given by the self-defense professionals who taught the course I attended. It was a short course that only lasted about 2 hours and was more of a “self-defense” talk at my library, with a Q&A after. I didn’t ask any questions at the time… My thoughts are that:

    A. Reading my local laws answers some questions and raises others. For instance what does it mean when it says “A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person, if the person reasonably believes that another person is: In the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, business property, or occupied vehicle, or federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is in the process of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility…..”

    What does “unlawfully and forcefully” mean? Unlawful isn’t good enough, forceful has to be included. I get that, but what is forceful? Kicking down a door? Okay. What about something less obvious? Is it forceful if they pick a lock? Open a closed door or window (that wasn’t locked)? I searched all through the criminal code to find the definition on that one, and I can’t. It’s not defined anywhere. “Deadly physical force” is defined as well as about 20 other terms, but not “Forcefully.” I can’t even determine if the force being applied forcefully is against a person or an object (such as a locked door).

    B. The questions that remain after attending a seminar or course and the inability to answer them or willingness to test them in court leaves me with no choice but to be handicapped in my defense of my home and family. And THAT is ridiculous. We shouldn’t have to question ourselves in situations that should be so obvious.

    C. My fear is that after a situation where someone steals my TV or any of my stuff and I let them go is that they will come back for more or send their friends for my free stuff, since I just let them walk out with it. Or maybe they go to my neighbor’s house next. The police are VERY bad at catching criminals, at least in my own experience.

    My friend’s car was broken into and they took 2 guns and some other stuff he had in there (he was parked at another friend’s house after a trip to a shooting range, it was around 8PM). Police never caught them. My own car was broken into in broad daylight, in the parking lot where I work (there are probably 100 other cars in the lot). They took my radio and seriously damaged my dashboard. My boss was looking out the window and noticed it happening. We both ran downstairs and they took off. The police DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO COME BY! They said they could take a statement on the phone, if I wanted. I asked that they please send an officer. He came, looked at the car, said “yep, that sucks.” Wrote down the plate number of the getaway car and descriptions of the guys. Said nope, they don’t need a detective or CSI type to come look for fingerprints or anything. He left.

    They never caught the guys. Said the car was a rental and the lady who rented it swears it was in her possession the whole time she had it. Two dudes never borrowed it as far as she knows. Who knows how many other people they’ve stolen from now, or how much more brave they got since then. So, if the police don’t catch them, and there are no fears that someone will shoot them, why would they ever stop stealing? I do not want to shoot or kill anyone EVER. I think it would the most horrible thing that could happen. But what else are we supposed to do in the end? We work hard for our things, why should we give them away and then pay huge insurance deductibles (mine for the car radio was $500) to get back what we already worked so hard to get.

    I would LOVE to engage in REAL discussion with any of you about your thoughts on any of this. Not that we’re going to solve it, or make anything better, but the exercise of thought may help us prepare ourselves for future decisions to be made.

    • You describe a situation I have thought about, recently, and come up with the idea of killing a car. You get out there and the guys are piling in a car to leave, shoot hell out of the car. Tires, engine, lights, blow it up. If you stop it, you get your stuff back. And as a bonus, let’s see that lady claim those holes were all there when she rented the car.

  30. My spiddy sense was tingling is not a defense in court. Castle Doctrine is not a license to kill anybody who is on your property or in your house. [ You do lock your doors? ] A broken door frame is physical evidence of the violent and dangerous home invasion.
    Stand Your Ground isn’t a commandment, it is a law that says you have to decide whether you are demonstrably threatened and whether the police/DA have to consider your story unless the evidence shows otherwise.
    My 70 year old spiddy sense tells me to leave before the SHTF. My 70 year old legs are not good for fleeing.

  31. I think the article gives pretty good advice, but I have mixed emotions about waiting on the police in my particular situation. I live in rural America. The nearest police station is about 18 miles away. The Sheriff department vehicles could be further away than that. That means that you could easily have a half an hour response time for the police to get to where I live.

  32. Of course this article is just provocative to get page views and responses but I’ll bite. My favorite line is: “Call the police, wait inside your home and let the cops take care of it.” That’s a good one. There is an “epidemic” of car break ins in my sprawling suburban area. Not saying jack asses breaking into cars in the middle of the night should be shot but shouldn’t they (local law enforcement whose salaries we pay) make an effort. This crap has been going on for a year and they have yet to make the first arrest. A pair of these jokers got bored breaking into cars and broke into the local stop and rob after hours. What’s next? The local bank. Let the cops take care of it. That’s a real thigh slapper.

  33. I agree with most of what is said in this article. However, number three I am a little hesitant on. If someone is willing to break in to my house, with a car parked out front and a light on inside (which I always do when I am home, even if I am sleeping) then I am going to assume that if they are willing to get caught, they probably are carrying some sort of weapon. I don’t think you should aim to kill by any means, but I am not simply going to tell them to leave. I might shout it from another room, but once I see them, I am definitely going to take a shot to hurt them. I do not want to be that person who is afraid to shoot first and ends up getting shot, or worse someone in my family does.

  34. I hear a lot of people make assumptions as to what you and cannot do in self defense. You have to read your local state and city laws to know if you have a castle doctrine and what is defined as self defense in your municipality. Do not assume what the law allows you to do.

    • The law will be the last thing on my mind while I am fighting for survival.
      Pluck me from any geography and drop me in any society and my will to live and kill to live will not change based on what man has determined to be acceptable use of force.
      Self defense is universal therefore my actions needed to survive are always right even if local laws are contrary to natural rights.

Comments are closed.