Author Topic: Use of Deadly Force  (Read 1953 times)

gerhard1

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Use of Deadly Force
« on: August 03, 2016, 11:36:27 AM »
Deadly force is defined as that degree of force which a reasonable person believes likely to cause death or grave bodily injury.

One thing that I have yet  to see addressed here is this question:  when is the use of deadly force in self-defense legally justified?

I know the answer, of course:  the question is intended to stimulate discussion in order keep us out of trouble.  And not all states require training to get a CCW license.  Some states don't even require a license to conceal.

Indigodog

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2016, 07:40:01 PM »
For me it all boils down to a point where you fear your or another persons life is in danger of being extinguished or great harm be done. This is the tipping point in my opinion. The right to respond with equal or greater force in this instance should not be questioned but should be legally supported by both law and community.
I find it sad that the majority of debates argue more over the means of how one protects themselves than over the right to do so. I will default back to allowing "Equal or Greater Force" to be a measuring stick along with what might be the best means at hand to stop the threat in the quickest manner. It could be an arguable point as to weather it would be better to have the letter of the law define that degree than having a jury of twelve after the fact. I would rather the law declare my right to defend life and limb than the uncertainty of politically opinionated, charged, or biased, individuals the courts say might be my peers. YMMV...
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kennethjerney

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2016, 08:02:01 PM »
If someone is causing harm or wants too, and enters my place of living, why should I not shoot to kill?

Carrie

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2016, 09:07:17 PM »
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is all mostly focused on Illinois law (My state of residence).

It differs from state to state. Some states are 'duty' to retreat states, which require you to retreat until you are entirely trapped; then you have stand your ground states.

In Illinois and some other states, use of deadly force is justified when: a forcible felony is committed in your presence (Murder, assault, sexual assault, etc.). If you're within your own home, it can be any felony at all.
Now most CCW instructors and police suggest simplifying it by only using force if there is immediate and real danger of someone (yourself or another) suffering death or serious bodily harm.

@Kennethjerney
You'd want to check your state laws, but in most places it's almost never suggested to wound your attacker. Not only is this often a criminal action, but that opens the door to civil suits. Lawyers tend to use any wounding (not lethal) shot to say that you were not truly in danger, or that you wanted to wound your attacker.
Sad as it is, there have been many cases where a violent attacker has received a life in prison sentence, and still sues the intended victim for everything they own.

kennethjerney

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2016, 09:26:33 PM »
That is sad, but I did say "shoot to kill". I also live in Illinois

Carrie

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2016, 12:10:13 AM »
Valid. I guess I misread your question at first.

Branth

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2016, 02:27:50 AM »
Get a copy of "In The Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob from your local library.  Read it cover to cover.  It's not long, and is more worth it than I have words to describe if you want to answer OP's question.

gerhard1

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2016, 11:43:38 AM »
Does the defender shoot to kill,, shoot to wound, or what? 

My answer is, neither; that you shoot to stop.

However, the best way to achieve this is through a hit in the central nervous system or the heart or aorta. The hit to the CNS will usually have instant results, and the hit to the circulatory system will usually be very fast, but sometimes not instantly.

Sadly, the shots that will disable instantly, are very often fatal. Even if your foe does not die, the purpose of shooting him will have been met.

NYPD has had this (shoot to stop) as their doctrine for years, and it has served them well.

Please keep in mind that the purpose of defensive bullets is not to kill; it is not to wound. Their only purpose is to stop the bad guy. To paraphrase something that I read a long time ago: killing the bad guy is not your job; it is a function of the courts. That your bullets kill is simply a regrettable side effect. Their function is to STOP whatever action forced you to shoot in the first place.

The use of deadly force in self-defense is to stop a deadly threat to you or someone that you are responsible to protect, and that is it's only function. Killing should not be your goal,  but since stopping the threat may very well result in the death of your adversary, you should never shoot unless you are justified in killing him (or her).

Keep this in mind and you will be less likely to get in trouble.

And I agree: In the Gravest Extreme is a classic book, and one that I recommend very highly.

Werz Waldeau

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2016, 03:40:42 PM »
Does the defender shoot to kill,, shoot to wound, or what? 

My answer is, neither; that you shoot to stop.

True.  However, any shooting at all is considered an application of deadly force, and the same rules of self-defense apply, whether you kill, wound, or completely miss.

gerhard1

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2016, 03:56:35 PM »
Does the defender shoot to kill,, shoot to wound, or what? 

My answer is, neither; that you shoot to stop.

True.  However, any shooting at all is considered an application of deadly force, and the same rules of self-defense apply, whether you kill, wound, or completely miss.
Yes, and I said essentially this later on in the  post that you quoted.

Quote
The use of deadly force in self-defense is to stop a deadly threat to you or someone that you are responsible to protect, and that is it's only function. Killing should not be your goal, but since stopping the threat may very well result in the death of your adversary, you should never shoot unless you are justified in killing him (or her).

Mr Ed

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2016, 06:19:25 PM »
Does the defender shoot to kill,, shoot to wound, or what? 

My answer is, neither; that you shoot to stop.

However, the best way to achieve this is through a hit in the central nervous system or the heart or aorta. The hit to the CNS will usually have instant results, and the hit to the circulatory system will usually be very fast, but sometimes not instantly.

Sadly, the shots that will disable instantly, are very often fatal. Even if your foe does not die, the purpose of shooting him will have been met.

NYPD has had this (shoot to stop) as their doctrine for years, and it has served them well.

Please keep in mind that the purpose of defensive bullets is not to kill; it is not to wound. Their only purpose is to stop the bad guy. To paraphrase something that I read a long time ago: killing the bad guy is not your job; it is a function of the courts. That your bullets kill is simply a regrettable side effect. Their function is to STOP whatever action forced you to shoot in the first place.

The use of deadly force in self-defense is to stop a deadly threat to you or someone that you are responsible to protect, and that is it's only function. Killing should not be your goal,  but since stopping the threat may very well result in the death of your adversary, you should never shoot unless you are justified in killing him (or her).

Keep this in mind and you will be less likely to get in trouble.

And I agree: In the Gravest Extreme is a classic book, and one that I recommend very highly.

You have done your homework, sir! Excellent advice. I'll add that words matter, especially when deadly force is used. And not just words spoken to law enforcement, but any and all words spoken to friends, coworkers, and most especially words written on social media... before and after the event. Depending on where the incident takes place, some prosecutors will do everything in their power to prove that we are the bad guys, instead of the criminal who attacked us. Optics matter, too. Firearm modifications, as well as choice of ammo, will most likely be brought into any courtroom proceedings. If we have a pattern or history of claiming that we'll do (fill in the blank) to someone who breaks into our home, etc., that can and will be used in court to establish a state of mind, premeditation, on our part. A sign in our yard that says that trespassers will be shot and survivors will be shot again is probably not going to help our case in court, no matter how appropriate or funny it may seem beforehand.

Another consideration is that most of us, even highly trained law enforcement officers, have an accuracy/hit rate of less than 30% in a defensive situation. That means that even the most highly trained among us will have an average hit rate (anywhere on the attacker) of 3 out of 10 shots. Shooting with the intent to hit a specific part of an attacker's anatomy other than center mass is probably not the most likely plan for a successful defense against the attack.

So, in a nutshell and based on a wide variety of experts in the field, one proactive response to law enforcement would be, "He (the attacker) was going to kill me. I shot to stop the attack. I will cooperate, but I wish to speak with my lawyer before I say anything else." Now shut up and call your lawyer.

Werz Waldeau

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2016, 10:56:55 PM »
So, in a nutshell and based on a wide variety of experts in the field, one proactive response to law enforcement would be, "He (the attacker) was going to kill me. I shot to stop the attack. I will cooperate, but I wish to speak with my lawyer before I say anything else." Now shut up and call your lawyer.

The better statement would be: "I defended myself."  Period.

As to the lawyer, make you sure you have one who will come now, not "tomorrow afternoon, after I get out of court."  The police are collecting evidence now.  The police are interviewing witnesses now.  Remaining silent is your Fifth Amendment right, but if you don't get your story out there immediately - through your lawyer if not through yourself - the witnesses and physical evidence which corroborate that story may be ignored because nobody recognizes the importance of the same.

gerhard1

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2016, 06:20:29 AM »
Does the defender shoot to kill,, shoot to wound, or what? 

My answer is, neither; that you shoot to stop.

However, the best way to achieve this is through a hit in the central nervous system or the heart or aorta. The hit to the CNS will usually have instant results, and the hit to the circulatory system will usually be very fast, but sometimes not instantly.

Sadly, the shots that will disable instantly, are very often fatal. Even if your foe does not die, the purpose of shooting him will have been met.

NYPD has had this (shoot to stop) as their doctrine for years, and it has served them well.

Please keep in mind that the purpose of defensive bullets is not to kill; it is not to wound. Their only purpose is to stop the bad guy. To paraphrase something that I read a long time ago: killing the bad guy is not your job; it is a function of the courts. That your bullets kill is simply a regrettable side effect. Their function is to STOP whatever action forced you to shoot in the first place.

The use of deadly force in self-defense is to stop a deadly threat to you or someone that you are responsible to protect, and that is it's only function. Killing should not be your goal,  but since stopping the threat may very well result in the death of your adversary, you should never shoot unless you are justified in killing him (or her).

Keep this in mind and you will be less likely to get in trouble.

And I agree: In the Gravest Extreme is a classic book, and one that I recommend very highly.

You have done your homework, sir! Excellent advice. I'll add that words matter, especially when deadly force is used. And not just words spoken to law enforcement, but any and all words spoken to friends, coworkers, and most especially words written on social media... before and after the event. Depending on where the incident takes place, some prosecutors will do everything in their power to prove that we are the bad guys, instead of the criminal who attacked us. Optics matter, too. Firearm modifications, as well as choice of ammo, will most likely be brought into any courtroom proceedings. If we have a pattern or history of claiming that we'll do (fill in the blank) to someone who breaks into our home, etc., that can and will be used in court to establish a state of mind, premeditation, on our part. A sign in our yard that says that trespassers will be shot and survivors will be shot again is probably not going to help our case in court, no matter how appropriate or funny it may seem beforehand.

Another consideration is that most of us, even highly trained law enforcement officers, have an accuracy/hit rate of less than 30% in a defensive situation. That means that even the most highly trained among us will have an average hit rate (anywhere on the attacker) of 3 out of 10 shots. Shooting with the intent to hit a specific part of an attacker's anatomy other than center mass is probably not the most likely plan for a successful defense against the attack.

So, in a nutshell and based on a wide variety of experts in the field, one proactive response to law enforcement would be, "He (the attacker) was going to kill me. I shot to stop the attack. I will cooperate, but I wish to speak with my lawyer before I say anything else." Now shut up and call your lawyer.
Thank you for your very kind words. 

You bring up one issue that is important, and allows me to bring up another issue.  Since most of you  carry in order to protect yourselves not only from robberies but other things as well, it seems to me good to say something about that.

What happened that led up your self-defense action?  Did you try to defuse or try to de-escalate the situation before it got out of hand?  Did your actions cause or contribute to the situation?  These things will be looked at in the police investigation that follows any shooting.

What is your current attitude like when carrying?  Is it 'with this, I don't have to take anything'?  Does that gun you are carrying put a big chip on your shoulder?  I can tell you right now that your actions will be scrutinized like anything, especially in a region like Chicago, which has a reputation of being very anti-gun, in spite of being in a state that has shall-issue CCW.

Learn to de-escalate conflicts before they become physically violent.  If you have the chip that I mentioned earlier, you'd best lose it.  Having a gun gives you a perfect excuse to walk away from a verbal altercation, because having it to turn physical is the absolute last thing that you  want.

Once more, thank you for your kind words.

gerhard1

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2016, 10:53:44 AM »
If someone is causing harm or wants too, and enters my place of living, why should I not shoot to kill?
If I may, a question:  why would one shoot to kill as opposed to shooting to stop?

Branth

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Re: Use of Deadly Force
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2016, 01:10:44 PM »
Does the defender shoot to kill,, shoot to wound, or what? 

My answer is, neither; that you shoot to stop.

However, the best way to achieve this is through a hit in the central nervous system or the heart or aorta. The hit to the CNS will usually have instant results, and the hit to the circulatory system will usually be very fast, but sometimes not instantly.

Sadly, the shots that will disable instantly, are very often fatal. Even if your foe does not die, the purpose of shooting him will have been met.

NYPD has had this (shoot to stop) as their doctrine for years, and it has served them well.

Please keep in mind that the purpose of defensive bullets is not to kill; it is not to wound. Their only purpose is to stop the bad guy. To paraphrase something that I read a long time ago: killing the bad guy is not your job; it is a function of the courts. That your bullets kill is simply a regrettable side effect. Their function is to STOP whatever action forced you to shoot in the first place.

The use of deadly force in self-defense is to stop a deadly threat to you or someone that you are responsible to protect, and that is it's only function. Killing should not be your goal,  but since stopping the threat may very well result in the death of your adversary, you should never shoot unless you are justified in killing him (or her).

Keep this in mind and you will be less likely to get in trouble.

And I agree: In the Gravest Extreme is a classic book, and one that I recommend very highly.

You have done your homework, sir! Excellent advice. I'll add that words matter, especially when deadly force is used. And not just words spoken to law enforcement, but any and all words spoken to friends, coworkers, and most especially words written on social media... before and after the event. Depending on where the incident takes place, some prosecutors will do everything in their power to prove that we are the bad guys, instead of the criminal who attacked us. Optics matter, too. Firearm modifications, as well as choice of ammo, will most likely be brought into any courtroom proceedings. If we have a pattern or history of claiming that we'll do (fill in the blank) to someone who breaks into our home, etc., that can and will be used in court to establish a state of mind, premeditation, on our part. A sign in our yard that says that trespassers will be shot and survivors will be shot again is probably not going to help our case in court, no matter how appropriate or funny it may seem beforehand.

Another consideration is that most of us, even highly trained law enforcement officers, have an accuracy/hit rate of less than 30% in a defensive situation. That means that even the most highly trained among us will have an average hit rate (anywhere on the attacker) of 3 out of 10 shots. Shooting with the intent to hit a specific part of an attacker's anatomy other than center mass is probably not the most likely plan for a successful defense against the attack.

So, in a nutshell and based on a wide variety of experts in the field, one proactive response to law enforcement would be, "He (the attacker) was going to kill me. I shot to stop the attack. I will cooperate, but I wish to speak with my lawyer before I say anything else." Now shut up and call your lawyer.

Use of guns in self-defense by civilians looks very different from use of guns by cops, so while I don't have the stats in front of me, civilians do tend to have a higher hit-rate.  We're never forced to initiate contact or engage with an aggressor, so we never pull up 50 yards or more from a developing incident and have to deploy our guns - If we can see the incident from that far away, our usual course of action is to get out of Dodge and not draw attention to ourselves.  Civilian shooting incidents past very close range are practically unheard of, whereas the same is not true of police.