Thanks to cell phone cameras, YouTube is lousy with teenage fighting videos. (Some would call it the rise of “thug life” but I couldn’t possibly comment.) Whether or not YouTube exposure is fueling the phenomena is an interesting question. Equally interesting: when is it OK to bring a firearm to bear to stop the a fight? Some of these fights are brutal. Some are fatal. Police are taught to adhere to the use of force continuum against aggressors. The general rule of thumb: you can use one level of force above the level you’re facing. If someone slaps you, you can’t shoot them. When it comes to guns . . .
citizens intervening in other people’s battles must ultimately adhere to their state’s lethal force statutes.
In almost every case, bringing a gun to bear on someone requires an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm to innocent life. Innocent life. Hmmm. Who would that be in the violent fight above? Both combatants? Backing-up a bit, was grievous bodily harm in the offing here? Not so much. Then again, one punch can end a human life.
So when should someone trying to stop a fight bring a gun into play? Whatever you want to say about risking gun rights, the firearm above was effective. The fight stopped.
At the end of the proverbial day, the legality of any defensive gun use comes down to the “reasonable person standard.” After the authorities become involved, the police, District Attorney, prosecutor, judge and (perhaps) jury have to make that call.
This reasonable person says that a gun was not needed in the scrap above – at least not at the onset, when verbal commands and physical force didn’t have a chance to work. You tell me: Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day or concerned citizen protecting innocent life? Or both?