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“Police said the man who was shot picked up an officer’s gun that had fallen to the ground and, at one point, turned toward several police officers,” reports. Wait. What? “Police were called about a robbery at a strip mall on Central Avenue in east Charlotte. Officer Joshua Skipper was the first policeman to arrive at the scene, where he made contact with the robbery victim and the suspects’ vehicle, which was still on the scene, police said in a release. As he waited for his backup to arrive, a person inside the car jumped out and tried to run away . . .

Skipper chased him, and a scuffle ensued as Officer Skipper attempted to place the suspect in handcuffs, according to police. Skipper carried a second, or backup, pistol, which is allowed by Police Department policy. As he scuffled with the suspect, his backup gun fell on the ground, police said in a statement.

Police say the victim of the robbery picked up Skipper’s backup pistol, walked back toward the suspects’ vehicle and pointed it at one of the people accused of robbing him.

Meanwhile, Officer Prince Blue had arrived on scene.

According to police: “Officer Skipper told Officer Blue to tell the man to drop the weapon. Officer Blue at the time was unaware that the man holding the gun was in fact the victim of a robbery.”

Blue repeatedly told the man to drop the weapon, police said, “at which time the robbery victim turned towards the officers and pointed the weapon directly at them.” Blue fired three times, according to police, striking the victim once in the leg.

What’s not wrong with this story? Even if we take these “facts” at face value—which is a bit like believing that Hollywood stars are hospitalized for “exhaustion”—it’s an ideal example of why the rabbi tells his students to “avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things.”

There are a lot of lessons to draw from this incident. Always secure your gun or guns securely. (In the famous FBI Miami shootout two officers lost their guns in a car wreck; one from his lap one from under his leg.) Cops’ marksmanship generally sucks. And my favorite: you’re not the good guy.

That’s as far as the police are concerned. And BOY are they concerned when there’s a gun anywhere in the picture. Yours, theirs, someone else’s—any gun will send them into, uh, “intellectual shock.” At that point, fellow officers in uniform are the only other guaranteed good guys. Everyone else is a potential target. And that means you.

If you are going to defend yourself with a gun, know this: you are in grave danger of being shot by the cops. Don’t think for a second that your situation is obvious to anyone with half a brain. If you can, as soon as you can, either put the gun down or put it away. Don’t put your hands anywhere near your body and don’t make any sudden movements.

Yes, you need to dial 911. But, as Ralph constantly reminds us, police mistake cellphones for firearms. If the cops are already there, fuhgeddaboutit. And be ready to drop your gun, phone or whatever you’re holding. And I mean DROP IT. (Yes, even a Wilson Combat 1911.)

Do NOT turn to face the person issuing the command; it could well be the last face you ever see. Freeze and drop what you got.

I know we’ve been over this before. But I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. Doing what needs doing in a self-defense scenario is only part A. Part B is making sure you’re not victimized by the police. Both legally (STFU) and ballistically.


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  1. The victim sounds like a moron in this story and is lucky that the LEO didn’t put two in his chest. Why would you pick up the officers gun, and if you did, why wouldn’t you hand it back to the officer immediately? Then he ignored the other LEO’s command to drop the weapon and instead turned and pointed the weapon at the cop. That guy is a first class, Grade-A dumb ass who I can say deserved to get shot. What would possess you to point a loaded weapon at a COP? If you are the officer what would you have done, take the chance the guy had misplaced his brain and hope that he regain his faculties in time to not shoot you, or put him down and feel bad about it later? The guy may have been in shock from being robbed, but the officer wasn’t wrong for shooting him.

  2. When somebody calls out, most people will respond by turning in the direction of the shout. It’s human instinct. When someone turns around with a gun in his hand after being challenged by the police, the cops shoot. That’s cop instinct. Following those natural instincts doesn’t make bad people of the cops or the victim. Dead people, maybe.

    In this situation, I won’t fault the conduct of the shooter, but I will praise his luck and his crappy marksmanship.

  3. I’d add that no matter what, let the cop disarm you if the gun is holstered and they tell you to take it out. Some cops want the badge to get some kills, like the Las Vegas PD with the concealed carrier in Costco. I will never touch my gun in front of an enforcement drone, for any reason. Once you’re murdered, they will investigate themselves and then conclude “officer safety” justified it.

    • I just read the story about the Costco shooting, and omfg. What a sad story. This is the first time I have ever had any hesitations to carry.

    • I think that the cop who fired the killer shot in the Costco case was also involved in two other shootings of civilians. Two more and he makes Ace.

  4. Wow, I guess cops get more liberal ROE’s on US civilians than I did on my last deployment…at one point we couldn’t even return fire until fired upon, and even then only if there were no civilians around.

  5. “The only way to protect yourself from The Police is to either be closely related/married to one or to BE one yourself.”
    – unknown wise person.

    Go ahead and take your shots. I know this will incense a few, and you know the above statement is true.

  6. This guy’s lucky he’s not dead. The police already have a tough job, and they don’t need to deal with these fools.

    • Hey, JOE, how do you like Plaxico now? He’s gonna win a lot of games for your beloved Jets, even if he is a firearms dweeb.

  7. If this story can be believed–it seems really strange. Hopefully there is a video of it that turns up and can show what happened.

    Anyone thinks range time can help with keeping a gun pointed where it was when you get started or you respond to someone calling your name?

  8. Yeah, I was trained to loose my mind when I saw a gun but then I realized that there are lots of people out there with guns who don’t have my training and, don’t need to be shot.

    We are evidently neglecting this part of our training. You can’t take the double tap back once you do it. I therefor practice to be very good and very fast. Practice saves lives, including mine.

  9. Robert,

    Very sound advice that can’t be repeated often enough. If the po-po show up and you are armed, do exactly what they say and do it slowly and under control. You are a potential threat and will be treated accordingly until they know what the story is.

    Drop your gun without turning to face them and keep your hands visible at all times and, oh yeah, STFU.

    Great column!


  10. If the gun in your hand is a cocked 1873 Peace Maker clone, following the command to “drop it” could result in a big bang and a swarm of angry police bullet impacts!

  11. In the words of Richard Pryor;
    “I am reaching for into my wallet for my drivers license.” … said while moving very slowly and in an exaggerated manner…. “I ain’t gonna be no %$@*&%$^ accident, Jack!”

    I respect and admire cops. That’s why I IMMEDIATELY do EXACTLY what they tell me to do, expecially on the side of the road or in the dark of night. If it was an improper instruction, my lawyer and I may get a judge to say he should not have done that at a later date. I will hire the lawyer, not my Executor.

  12. Is it just me or does the woman in the video look like Janet Reno with long hair?

    Is that what she is up to these days?

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