There are times when you do want to hold a Bad Guy (BG) at gunpoint. If the scrote’s got your family hostage at a remote, as-yet-unknown location. Or BG number one’s looking to join-up with the rest of the BGs (falsetto and all), come back and cap yo’ ass. While it could happen and there’s nothing wrong with learning the proper way to detain a stranger, the general rule remains: don’t do it. For one thing, holding a suspected perpetrator with the threat of lethal force could have dire legal consequences . . .
The District Attorney may charge you with any number of felony crimes, from brandishing to kidnapping—even if it’s clear the BG was a suspected or actual perp. Failing that (or in addition), the Bad Guy’s peeps may hire a lawyer and sue you for violating the perp’s civil rights.
Your “right” to hold a Bad Guy until the cops arrive depends on applicable laws. In some states (e.g. Minnesota) you can’t chase a BG or “challenge them with violence.” In Texas they slap you on the back and give you a medal.
As with any defensive gun use (DGU), your guilt or innocence ultimately rests upon the “reasonable man” standard, considering the totality of the circumstances. If the detainee had a Ka-Bar knife and a rap sheet as long as Ana Hickman’s legs, if you’re an Iraqi vet, you’re fairly safe from prosecution.
But not necessarily. Your local law enforcement/gun culture and the DA’s standing in the polls factor heavily. And note that this discussion is predicated on the BG being inside your home. If you hold a BG on the street, where the possibility of disengaging without violence is much greater, your lawyer’s going to have a harder time making your case.
Yes, your case. Your lawyer. Your money. No matter what the authorities do or don’t do about your selfless act of bravery in defense of a peaceful, lawful society, it’s gonna cost you time, energy and money. I know we’ve got plenty of Boy Scouts amongst our readership, but is it really worth it?
Consider the real downside . . .
While I’d rather point a firearm at a bad guy and tell him to freeze than catch a wave at Jaws, there’s not much between the two activities in terms of risk. Just ask the police: stopping and holding a bad guy (prior to cuffing them) is the most dangerous part of the apprehension process. Which is plenty damn dangerous.
Civilians would do well to remember that a detained BG has every incentive to leave before the clean-up team (i.e. cops) arrive. The best way to do that: f’ you up. And what’s the bet the guy staring at the business end of your Glock’s intimately familiar with the strategic advantages of sudden, extreme violence?
Check this story from today’s cbsnews.com and ask yourself this: how lucky was the guy with concealed carry permit to walk away from the waffle shop without some extra holes in his body?
When it comes to armed confrontation, distance is your friend. The BG’s speed is your enemy and speed equals distance / time. Less mathematically, how fast could a Bad Guy close the gap between the two of you in a detention situation? Fasterthanthis.
Sure, you could have the BG lie down a fair distance away with their arms spread—and hope they don’t have a concealed weapon or a friend waiting in the wings. “Could” being the operative word. What are you going to do if the bad guy doesn’t follow your commands, decides to take his chances and moves towards you? Shoot them?
Yup. That’s what you’d have to do. Hoping that your perfectly placed bullets will stop their attack. ‘Cause it can take a good thirty seconds for a heart-shot BG to realize that they’re dead; a freshly aerated perp can do a lot of damage before they buy the farm. As in kill you.
And if you shoot the BG, well, think of the mess, the angst, the hassle, the money, the BG’s family vendetta, the loss of your gun rights—all fallout from a “successful” DGU. And all you really had to do was let the stupid bastard leave.
Again, every DGU has its own geography, psychology and pace. The only hard and fast rule of armed self-defense is . . . survive. But it pays not to do things that extend your TED (Time Exposed to Danger). It pays to do everything in your power to bring the incident to a safe (for you) and rapid conclusion.
If the BG escapes to commit another crime, IMHO, that’s not your responsibility. Your only “job” as an armed citizen: defending your life and the life of your loved ones. Besides, if you die in a citizen’s arrest gone wrong you can’t pay your taxes, which pay for the cops and the entire justice system.
For everyone’s sake (except the BG’s): just let ’em go.