Last week, I wrote a story on six ways good guys can screw up a self-defense use of force incident. It sparked a lot of rather vigorous comments and a post/link from Law Professor Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, which I take as a huge compliment that a nationally known law professor would post my work for another million people to see. My goal, along with my fellow instructors, remains to help good people not get themselves caught up in the criminal justice system in the aftermath of an otherwise righteous use of force.
Some folks took a lot of issue about not resorting to deadly force to stop a property crime. One “anonymous” commenter offered this:
“ Better to call the police, wait inside your home and let the cops take care of it. That’s why you have insurance.”
I don’t insure my gun collection or my parents life’s savings. If someone is trying to take either, they are going to die. End of story.
I’m sorry readers, the saying “No ‘stuff’ is worth killing someone over” isn’t exactly true. If they are stealing my old lawn mower from outside, okay, fine. If they are stealing things worth literally decades of someone’s savings, nope, they are going to die. Jury or not. Actually. I would gladly kill someone, illegally, so that my life’s savings could go to my kids. No problem with that. At all. A lot of people would, And criminals should know it too.
Good on him for conceding that stealing a lawn mower doesn’t reach the threshold. Smart cookie. Then he writes, “stealing things worth literally decades of someone’s savings, nope, they are going to die. Jury or not. Actually. I would gladly kill someone, illegally, so that my life’s savings could go to my kids.”
I hate to break it to you, sir, but your life’s savings won’t go to your kids. It’ll go to the deceased burglar’s next of kin in a wrongful death lawsuit. And you will face years in prison. If you’re lucky, you’ll get out in time to see your kids and grandkids before you die, but they won’t have any of your stuff.
In Illinois, we had a successful farmer named James Love shoot and kill an “unarmed” drunk and stoned 20-year-old body builder a few years ago. I helped the defense attorneys on that one, pushing back on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman comparisons. Even before the case went to a criminal trial for murder, the kid’s mom had filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Yes, the very same mother who filed for an order of protection against her own son a few months before because he was so violent when he drank.
She wanted the entire farm, and everything the man owned in the wrongful death suit. Fortunately the jury saw the truth and acquitted Mr. Love in pretty short order. That, of course, shut down the wrongful death action, but Love still spent over $100,000 on the criminal defense legal bills. But it was a small price to pay to fight for his freedom and for his family to retain ownership of his multi-million dollar farming operation.
Others raised other, very valid points. Including Kyle Guthrie.
He’s right. If you’ve ever posted memes in poor taste [you should see Jeremy’s face right now], or those expressing your intent to dial .357 instead of 911, you may see those placed in front of the jury. You better have some self-defense legal coverage because you may need it in the worst way if you post flippant comments on your social media feed.
Here’s one I hope is in jest.
Really? You’re going to tamper with a crime scene? And if discovered, the police/prosecutor/judge/jury’s not going to believe a word you say about anything. Modern forensics bring some powerful tools for big cases.
We have that in Illinois if the entry is made in a “violent and tumultuous manner.” Translation to English: if they kick in your front door or bust through a window or sliding glass door, you may freely punch their ticket. You’re presumed to have legal justification.
At the same time, just because they’re “bought and paid for” doesn’t mean using deadly force is the best option. As I’ve written before, there are a LOT of downsides to using deadly force, both personally, financially, professionally, socially and more. Don’t believe me? Ask George Zimmerman or Kyle Rittenhouse. Or even former cop Darren Wilson (from whom I got a thank you card in the aftermath of the whole Ferguson fiasco).
Here’s one from a poster who I always enjoy reading his comments:
Again, are you willing to risk a George Zimmerman life over a bloody television set?
You’re risking a lifetime of bad dreams, the Mark of Cain, potential loss of a job, relationships, marriage, freedom, drug and alcohol issues, sexual dysfunction (hey, they got a pill for that!) and even your life over a frickin’ Samsung TV?
Like a cop who shot a home intruder after intervening to stop the man from strangling his girlfriend in front of the cop’s private residence, you might have to move to help protect your family from retribution from the dead perp’s pals or family. You might have to drop a hundred grand on moving, selling your current residence at a loss, plus hotels and all the rest over a goddamn $500 or $1,000 big screen? You’re not thinking rationally, sir.
Easy to say, I know. I’ve been there, not thinking clearly after getting victimized. But I learned a very valuable lesson thanks to others setting me straight right here in comments.
Then there’s this one:
This comes down to articulation. Can you articulate why the bad guy stealing your genset outside was a direct threat of great bodily injury? Have a good attorney to help. But yes, if you have medical devices, powering them could go towards a valid reason to potentially use deadly force to repel a thief. Ditto for life-sustaining medications. The same goes for food in times of scarcity. Not so much in the case of that old lawn mower or Craftsman cordless drill.
By the way, this is a great video.
Then there’s this from Uncommon Sense:
Well stated on the importance of not turning to deadly force the instant an uninvited guest strolls through your front or back door. Who knows, it might be your daughter’s boyfriend sneaking in for a midnight rendezvous.
Over at Instapundit, there were a couple of comments I wanted to share.
Richard • a day ago
1. Avoid. See Farnam about the 4 stupids.
2. Evade. See Cooper about situational awareness.
3. Retreat. See Ayoob
4. If necessary, fight. Making sure you understand the law. See Branca.
Wow. Richard gets it. I’ve trained under two of the four he mentioned and one or two of my fellow instructors have trained under Cooper and Branca as well. Richard’s right. Although I know a couple of attorneys including Guns Save Life’s own Steve Davis who I think are as good or better than Mr. Branca in teaching the judicious use of deadly force.
Lastly, this one made me laugh out loud in bed, waking up my wife.
sfalphageek Boyd • a day ago
I don’t know if this is exactly what you’re looking for in terms of firearms insurance, but Home Depot will rent you a backhoe for two days for $398.50.
Go forth and be safe. As I’ve written (plagiarized from Andrew Branca to a large degree), carry a gun to make yourself hard to kill. Know the law to make yourself hard(er) to convict.