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“It may be extremely difficult for you to remain behind cover and watch the assailant you shot lie in excruciating pain in a pool of blood. You must mentally prepare yourself for the situation in which a predatory criminal who just a few moments earlier was intent on hurting or killing you, is now writhing on the floor in pain, crying out and begging for assistance. For many, this will be the hardest part of a shooting situation. Decent people do not enjoy inflicting suffering, even on a criminal who violently attacked them, and may feel sympathy for an attacker in pain.” – NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection in the Home

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  1. “feel sympathy for an attacker in pain.” – ahh, while it may feel tragic and upsetting, I certainly wouldn’t feel sympathy for very long over someone that died while trying to kill me or my family.

  2. This is not a problem I anticipate having. Having reached for my gun before in self defense, lets just say you’ll be too focused on survival to care about the dead or dying felon on your carpet. With the cops on the way, emotional energy is better spent preparing oneself for the onslaught of the legal system:which may include being booked into custody for the night.

    • Not around here, at least, so long as you waited until the perp was inside your home before shooting them.

      While getting blood out of carpet is a pain in the butt, it’s less of a pain in the butt than being on the wrong end of a homicide investigation.

  3. Early on in Desert Storm my crew was celebrating popping the turret off a T 55 at about 3,000 meters. After a second my gunner pointed out, “Holy sh*t, there were four dumb bastards just like us in that tank.” Sobering moment.

    In Iraq and Afghanistan our medics worked just as hard on the insurgent casualties as they did our own. The signs of a civilized Army. I took no joy in standing over seriously wounded or dead insurgents. I was always glad it was them, not me, but there are nights I don’t sleep well thinking of the people I’ve killed. I loved Clint Eastwood’s line in Unforgiven. “It’s a hell of a thing, killin’ a man. Take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever gonna have. ”

    If you don’t understand that beforehand, you may not want to use firearms for personal defense.

    • Well said, on all counts.

      Seeing someone die is indeed a hell of a thing, and it stays with you.

      • Never killed or seriously injured a human before, but I think I have an inkling of how you would feel.

        I had to put a small deer out of it’s misery on the side of the road one night several years ago. Driving down this back road one night, and I came upon a deer struggling on the side of the road. I got out of my car, and walked up to it to determine what happened. It had been hit by a car, and it looked like it’s hip was broken, because it could not stand up on it’s rear legs. I could tell it was in a lot of pain and Very frightened. I didn’t have any weapons on me, but I knew that the deer had to be put down as soon as possible. I reached down, got a good grip around it’s neck with one arm, and grabbed it’s nose with the other hand. I waited a couple seconds for the deer to relax a little, then I twisted it’s head to the side until I heard the neck bones break and the deer went limp in my arms, dead. I killed it with my bare hands, and I felt it die. I would do it again, because I know it was the right thing to do, but I still have nightmares about it twelve years later.

    • I make a distinction between a soldier who is either pressed into service or fights for what he holds dear and some criminal.

    • I agree as well.

      I think the best mindset in that type of situation is that you had to choose the lesser of the evils so to speak. Not that shooting someone in self-defense is evil … but it is very unpleasant. The flip-side is that letting a criminal have his/her way with you is even more unpleasant.

    • >In Iraq and Afghanistan our medics worked just as hard on the insurgent >casualties as they did our own. The signs of a civilized Army.


    • +100
      For me it wasn’t so much the men who wound up on the wrong side, although that was hard. It was the women and kids who decided they wanted to fight. It was hard knowing it came down to you or them and it didn’t happen often at least not to me. I did however see the after effects especially Gaza.
      I think I would call 911 but not help them unless I knew myself and my family were safe.

    • Ditto the “well said,” LTC. From this and all your posts I’d say that the men and women under your command are lucky to have you. The same for the nation. Thank you.

  4. Watching an assailant suffer doesn’t compare to watching your family suffer, or yourself.

    • Yes, you are correct. But having injured or killed a person who has lost touch with their humanity should not be cause for us to lose touch with ours.

      • When one does battle with monsters, it is vital to make sure that one does not become a monster.

  5. i think this is actually more of a reflection on the drift of our society away from getting our hands dirty. As a big game hunter (deer and moose) I am quite familiar with what happens when bullet meets body and the effects thereafter. If someone is bleeding out on my carpet, i would most likely try to assist them, once I knew they were not a danger. i suppose it would depend how egregiously they offended my world

    Would I want to have to shoot someone…no

    would I if I had to….yes

    Would it upset me….yes

    Would i allow that to eat at me…

    • A thought mate, from the elephant, you don’t get a choice whether those things bother you. It eats at the vast majority of people. Nothing you can do, it’s all in how people are wired.

    • I think that’s a well thought out position (and a great one from a legal standpoint). Once you are out of danger, it’s time to provide aid to anyone injured, regardless of what side of the conflict they were on.

  6. it’s not about whether or not he deserved to be shot. what it does to you matters. none of my training prepared me for the moment that i saw another man over my sights. you carry that moment forever. i am now a father and grandfather and i hope that none of my kids ever learn that truth about me or face it for themselves.but i would not hesitate to add to that burden if my family was under threat.

    • God bless you, jwm. There are a lot of young fellows around now that are “tactical tough.” I pray they never have to live out some of their fantasies; for their fantasies are just that, fantasies. They do not understand, nor can they, the reality of death caused by your own hands. They have not heard a young fellow screaming for his mother. They have not seen the life leave a buddy’s eyes.
      Death is a terrible thing. It is not the worst of things though. For me, slavery is worse. If I could not live as a free man, I could not live.
      Warriors fight so others may live in freedom.
      Your sacrifices have been for others, that is noble; not lightly given, nor should they be lightly received.

    • You’re right in all respects, especially hoping my kids will never have to do it. It was much easier to do from a tank in Desert Storm than it was with a rifle in Iraqi Freedom. The farther one gets from the target, the easier it is. When the target is easily identifiable as another human being that’s as hard as it gets. When you’re close enough to hear him scream it’s nearly unbearable. Dave Grossman wrote a great book, “On Killing- The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill” that should be mandatory reading for all of the 5.11 Tactical Commandos. It already is for the military.

  7. Somewhere out in youtube land there is a video of a two Jihadi snipers drawing a bead on a Soldier. They nail him square in the chest except the body armor stops the round. After a few seconds the soldier gets up and can be seen scanning for the snipers. You can see him focus on a point, raise his M-4 and shoot both of them. This soldier was medic and he immediate went to check out both of his victims. They were both alive and immediately rendered aid just as he was trained to do.

    • I’m not doubting the story but isn’t body armor stopping a rifle round fairly impressive? I thought most rifle shots, especially larger calibers, go through body armor pretty easily?

      • Military body armor (IBA- Improved Body Armor) with the ceramic strike plates will stop up to 7.62x 54. It works. Thankfully I’ve never tested mine, but I’ve been present when others have had there’s tested. The stuff weighs a ton, we complain about it constantly, until we need it. Its good stuff, best piece of kit that has come out of the current conflicts.

    • This soldier was medic and he immediate went to check out both of his victims. They were both alive and immediately rendered aid just as he was trained to do.

      And that’s about the damn dumbest thing you can do. “Oh hey, you were hurt while trying to kill an innocent person? Here, let me patch you up so you can go kill some more innocent people!”

      What he should have done was immediately rendered a bullet into both of their skulls.

  8. Let us never forget the service men who have been killed or wounded in combat. However, there are many more who have been permanently scarred by what they have seen or what they had to do while in combat. Let us not forget to honor and respect them also.

  9. You know, I kinda agree with the NRA’s quote here.

    I read & hear from a lot of puffy-chested folks, who claim they’ll go all Terminator and gun down an intruder or attacker with ice in their vanes and a barrel full of bravado.

    Sure, I’d have no problem smokin’ some fool who wants to do me harm. However, I’m not gonna act like watching said fool writhe around and gurgle out his last breath on my living floor isn’t going to have a little bit of an impact on my psyche.

    I generally try to be realistic when it comes to defending myself with a firearm, whether it be concealed carry, or home defense, whatever.

    • I don’t know anyone who won’t sit back and possibly second guess themselves. I am glad for the friends in my platoon. It was like group counseling almost all the way through. We rely on each other heavily, both for protection and support mentally. You aren’t human if you don’t feel something, but when it is a him or me situation then it is a lot different. Although in my case we weren’t face to face, but it still applies to the lives of my friends.

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