U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 09-23-2008, 07:42 PM
Location: Pinal County, Arizona
25,107 posts, read 34,374,882 times
Reputation: 4893


The right to protect your family, yourself and your home is a basic right.

Over 3 decades ago, an intruder entered our home, and he was armed. We found out later he was an addict and had previously been arrested (and served time) for burglary of residences (to finance his habit).

The individual encountered my wife and small child - my wife screamed when the "bad guy" pointed his gun first at our child - then her.

Retrieving my firearm, I was able to put myself in a position to have a clear shot at the intruder - and I took it - killing him.

There was an investigation - and no charges were filed. My firearm was returned to me by the County Attorney.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 09-23-2008, 09:11 PM
5,763 posts, read 13,331,365 times
Reputation: 4523
Originally Posted by elvislives View Post
The miltary trained me to "shoot to kill" not wound ..two to the chest one to he head was their motto , and the made us do this over and over and over in training until it was natural,do you think that would have any bearing if presented at a trial?

Every situation has its own details, but most likely your past training would be irrelevant. The reason is that by law, deadly force is nothing more than force that carries substantial potential to cause death. You don't actually have to kill someone to be viewed by law as using deadly force. Firing a shot in itself would be viewed as deadly force, whether or not you succeeded in killing the person you shot at. In fact, you could miss altogether and it would still be considered deadly force. The law would say that you should not be firing a shot at all unless you would be legally justified in killing the other person. Therefore, if the judge concludes that you were justified in even firing a shot, then the question of whether the shot was fatal would be moot, in the eyes of the law.

It is true that a court considering the question of whether someone used appropriate force in self-defense will consider whether a person reasonably had the option of using less force to defend himself than he did use. DanoTex's earlier hypothetical example of the 90-pound woman would be a case in point. It all depends on the details of the situation, but there could be cases where her limited ability to defend herself with her bare hands might mean that she would legally be justified in using some kind of a weapon or object to defend herself, while a 200-pound man might have been able to use his bare hands to protect himself. Then there might be cases where the judge would conclude that a 200-pound man with no self-defense training might be unable to defend himself with his bare hands and would be justified in using an object or weapon of some sort, while a 3rd-degree black belt might have had the ability to apply some sort of control hold, so that the judge would examine the question of whether he should have tried to do so before resorting to greater force.

Bottom line on your original question: Since the law would say you should not be shooting at someone at all unless it is a deadly force situation, then past firearms training that did not include shoot-to-wound would generally not be an issue one way or another. If you would be legally justified in shooting, you would be legally justified in killing.

On a side note, law enforcement training also generally does not involve any shoot-to-wound training. Legally, it is also true for LEOs that they should not be shooting at anyone they would not be justified in killing. The idea of shooting a gun out of someone's hand or some such thing is so much old-movie baloney.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-23-2008, 09:14 PM
5,763 posts, read 13,331,365 times
Reputation: 4523
Originally Posted by ParkTwain View Post
That's an interesting thought. Remember that Americans in many American cities are dealing with police forces, operating under a military model, who can shoot-to-kill citizens with impunity in broad daylight. Take a look at the incidents in the last couple of years in Las Vegas. Waving a short knife at a police officer at a distance of 30 yards or more and not responding to a polcieman's orders in a short enough period of time is grounds for the police to shoot and kill, not disable, the knife wielder. Regardless of whether the wielder is mentally ill, deaf, having a diabetic seizure, etc. Same thing has been happening all over the country as tasers are being rolled out for use by more and more police forces. If the citizen doesn't respond to an order by the police in a "suitable" manner and period of time, you can/will be tased regardless of any evidence ascertainable by the police at the scene of one's mental and physical health, ability to speak and understand spoken English, evidence of deafness, etc.
Mmmm, it's not quite this simple.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-23-2008, 09:39 PM
5,763 posts, read 13,331,365 times
Reputation: 4523
Originally Posted by RowingMunkeyCU View Post
Possibly. But I also think the motto "Anything worth shooting once, is worth shooting twice" applies too.

Assuming that an individual (or individuals) entered a home unlawfully, the resident of the home cannot make any assumptions as to the intentions of the intruders (are they there 'just' to steal, or inflict grievous bodily harm upon the owner?). In that case, the resident has the right to kill the intruder using any means necessary. "If you can't do the time (death), don't do the crime."

If all states were to adopt this law, the number of home invasions would drop to a foolhardy few. If criminals knew that every homeowner had the right (and were armed) to kill them should they enter, not many would continue that path.

And what about the criminals who were injured breaking in and have sued the homeowners? More dead criminals = fewer lawsuits won on technicalities.

Heck, maybe it would even limit the not-quite-legal no-knock warrants and searches conducted by LEOs, if they knew there was a good chance of being mistaken for an intruder.
You make some good points here. I'm no expert on castle doctrine, or other laws regarding defense of the home, but I am fairly sure that such laws do not require the homeowner to make a guess about the intruder's intentions. If you are cornered in your home by an intruder, I believe that in any state you then have the right to assume that you are in grave danger, and defend yourself accordingly.

The key issue that castle doctrine addresses is whether you have a duty to retreat if you are not cornered. In addition to the principle that one's home is one's castle, I have a problem with the notion that the homeowner has a duty to retreat for the same reason that RM points out in the quoted post that there should be no obligation to determine the intruder's intentions. Having someone break into your home is going to be such a frightening, out-of-control situation by its very nature that I would consider it unreasonable to expect the ordinary person to make a cool-headed judgment about which routes he might safely use to retreat back deeper into the house. I also have a problem with the expectation that the homeowner would not take down the intruder at first opportunity. If you avoid doing this, and instead retreat back into the house, you have allowed the intruder the continued opportunity to do you harm. You never know how the situation might develop if the intruder pursues you back deeper inside the house. It might turn out that you have foregone your best opportunity to defend yourself. The very act of breaking into someone's house creates such a potentially dangerous situation for those inside that I feel that the law should take the view that an intruder gives up the right to life simply by this act alone. It is asking too much of most ordinary folks to expect them to stay cool and analyze the situation clearly enough to determine the best escape route. Their best chance of survival, if they are armed and ready to shoot, is to shoot at the first, best opportunity.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 09-23-2008, 09:52 PM
Location: Kingman AZ
15,371 posts, read 33,778,569 times
Reputation: 8976
Just in case, you should also know where to bury the body.......
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top