Just because the assailant is down and out doesn’t mean…

Just because the assailant is down and out doesn’t mean the incident is over. Contacting authorities and explaining the scenario is an essential part of any personal defense situation. Alfredo Rico Photo

Decades of watching television and movies condition us to believe that real shooting incidents are like the “reel” ones on the screen. The sound of the last shot echoes away, the last piece of ejected spent brass rolls to a slow-motion stop, and the victorious hero rides triumphantly off into the sunset. Try to follow that part of the script and there’s a good bet you’ll find yourself riding off to prison instead.

Aftermath Reality
On one internet gun forum, in a thread discussing what do to after a shooting, one poster innocently said, “Why do I have to call the cops? There’s no law that says a victim has to report a crime, is there?”

The cops and lawyers participating in that thread told the poster in no uncertain terms that in many jurisdictions, there is indeed an obligation to report a crime. Shooting people is against the law. The way the whole “justifiable homicide” thing works is, action in legitimate defense of oneself, or of others one has a right to protect, is an affirmative defense against the crime of shooting the assailant in the first place.

There’s something else going on, too—a legal concept called “flight equals guilt.” The assumption is that the person who did the right thing will stand their ground and explain themselves. If they flee, they may be presumed to have done so out of “consciousness of guilt.” It’s an element of human nature that goes all the way back to the Bible.

It’s not that the law derives from the Bible. Rather, both the law and the Bible show a remarkably good understanding of human behavior and social standards and expectations.

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  • Robert

    I believe the age old adage “Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6” applies even in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia. If you are placed in a situation in your own home where you legitimately fear for the lives of yourself or your family… if there exists a threat of death or grave bodily injury to yourself or another by a person in close proximately who possesses the means to carry out that threat… then open fire. Remember, you shoot to stop the threat (not “to kill”). When the threat is eliminated and you are safe, immediately call the police and report the incident(first called first believed). Be concise but brief with the 911 operator. When the police arrive, state briefly and concisely the facts as you see them, and then immediately state “I would like to speak to an attorney at this time” (very important to use those words). Be polite, and be very cooperative in your actions, but say no more, not one word, volunteer no information, and answer no further questions until you are represented by counsel. You will be scared, shaken, shaking and wanting to defend your actions. Dont. State the facts, then shut your mouth until you have an attorney in the room with you. Remember “ANYTHING you say can AND WILL be used against you in a court of law” including and especially, spontaneous uttering as a result of emotional distress. Once you ask for an attorney, the police are not allowed to directly question you any further without counsel present. However, that does not mean they cannot attempt to get you to talk without asking questions. They can and will write down everything and anything you have to say. So, be quite, and ask for a lawyer.

  • shawn

    im new to Sacramento California and im not sure what my rights are as far as. in the event that my home is broken into while i am sleeping. am i legally allowed to shoot someone if i feel threatened.? and if i have my concealed weapons license and driving down the road and am being followed by someone that intends on hurting me am i legally allowed to shoot them if i can not make a move in my vehicle and they approach my window and pull a knife or some kind of weapon or have no weapon at all. how am i able to legally react.? not that i ever want to take a life but i feel ignorant to how it will play out in the eyes of the law..