Self-defense and excessive force are terms we hear every day on the news, internet or social media. These two terms can quickly intertwine and become a very sticky situation.
Let’s say you and your girlfriend are out on date night and you notice three men following behind you. You take a quick peek at your six and they are getting closer and you feel as though they are up to no good. Your mind will be racing- are they robbers? Should we run? Should we call the police? Should I pull my gun? Should we keep walking or am I being paranoid? Should I take a side street and see if they continue to follow?
Ok, obviously you don’t know who they are or their intent. But suddenly they rush you and knock you to the ground at gunpoint and begin to assault your girlfriend. While they are focused on her you are able to pull your concealed carry weapon and shoot two of the men while the third runs away and you go ahead and shoot him as well. When the smoke clears you have two dead men.
The third man is wounded and is trying to crawl away and you go ahead and kick his teeth in for assaulting you and your girlfriend.
Are you justified in shooting the third as he was fleeing? He was armed, right? Will anyone know you went ahead and took the boot to his face? Were you in fear of your life and lethal self -defense was your only option as he was running away?
Was the shot in the back excessive? Was the kick to the noggin excessive? If you ask 100 people it might shock you as to the replied you would get.
I mean, they instigated and initiated the whole event, and you are the victim. Right?
Not exactly. Forensics don’t lie and everyone has a cell phone that may tell a totally different story than you tell the police.
Do you see how fast a bad situation can get even worse? All of a sudden a clear cut justified shooting in self-defense turned very gray and a jury of your peers will decide your fate.
How does the law determine whether it was reasonable self-defense or excessive? When a person (even the attacker) is injured or killed at the hands of another person, the law will begin that a crime has occurred. The person using the force will have the burden of justifying their actions and amount of force used.
The law will look at it from a stand point of “was the use firearm reasonable under the given circumstances”?
Ok, back to our original scenario. There are always what ifs and Monday morning goggles, but your decision in a crisis like this will change your life forever.
Can you legally shoot someone in the back? Absolutely but you have the burden of providing evidence that it was justifiable. At 10 yards I can run away from you and still hit a human while not looking at the target.
The law allows you to protect yourself and others. However you may still be prosecuted and sued for using excessive force.
You are not required to be a victim. But you need to know how to respond in a bad situation and keep your emotions in check to keep yourself out of the hot seat, court or prison.
Fortuna Paratus Remunerat= Fortune Favors the Prepared.