The Clint Eastwoods of America

 

I ran into this tweet today, which reminded me of a similar one–that one with video–the other day: Concealed carriers taking on a heroic burden by shooting an assailant dead. The law means much less than it used to do in many parts of America. Sometimes only such men will enforce it. It would be wise to applaud them.

There’s more news on the shooting: The robber had a fake gun. The oddity is that the guy who saved all the terrified customers just gave them their money back from the thief, took his own money back, then left. Like Clint would have done in the movies… The police, of course, want to question him. I hope he doesn’t get arrested. Obviously, in some liberal jurisdictions in America, citizens are punished, humiliated, and harassed while criminals are protected, avenged, and eulogized with great gusto by the authorities. Hopefully, Houston is not that liberal, or not yet…

This is an entire genre of cases that should be much more talked about, at least by conservatives–if it’s not public knowledge that such things happen, I don’t know how Americans are supposed to take civic virtue seriously during a crime wave…

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  1. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I carry. I believe in the right of self defense.

    But this was not a justified legal shooting once the robber’s gun was out of his hands. You don’t get to shoot someone who clearly no longer presents a danger to yourself or others.

    As Branca put it:

    At the moment that ninth shot was fired the robber was apparently unconscious on the floor and had been disarmed of the only weapon he was known to possess, when the shooter fired one last shot, apparently into the robber’s head.

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Oh Please!

    The robber’s life was forfeit the moment he entered with a gun, fake or not. 

    The laws should support that. The idea that once someone threatens my life there is a point at which I am supposed to back down is morally and ethically evil. 

    You threaten deadly force and therefore any level of response is valid. The penalty for the threat of deadly force should always be death. If you die because you attacked a citizen, the law should be written to exempt the defender from any prosecution, period. 

    I also believe that the threat of deadly force i.e. using a gun to rob people, even if it is fake, should be subject to the death penalty. 

    Kill people who think this is OK and it will not happen as often. And by death penalty, I don’t mean some lethal injection, I mean hang them. Hanging should be how we execute people. In public. As am example.

     

     

    • #2
  3. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Note the video title:

    “Taco shop customer fatally shoots armed robber, returns money to fellow victims before fleeing s…”

    Fleeing?  They’re already making up a narrative.

    • #3
  4. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    As part of a well-ordered society, the police have a duty to investigate these events and determine the actual facts of the event as best they can for the protection of the community. I hope to live in one someday.

    • #4
  5. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    If you want to better understand what happened, the Legal Insurrection blog links to two sites with the full, uncensored video of the shooting. (Every mainstream news source I have seen stops the video before the first shot is fired, making it impossible to judge the accuracy of the reporting.)

    • #5
  6. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    • #6
  7. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    iWe (View Comment):

    I carry. I believe in the right of self defense.

    But this was not a justified legal shooting once the robber’s gun was out of his hands. You don’t get to shoot someone who clearly no longer presents a danger to yourself or others.

    As Branca put it:

    At the moment that ninth shot was fired the robber was apparently unconscious on the floor and had been disarmed of the only weapon he was known to possess, when the shooter fired one last shot, apparently into the robber’s head.

    Where did Branco post that? His commentary is always worth paying attention to.

    • #7
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    And I wonder how many members won’t see this because it didn’t start on the Member Feed.

    • #8
  9. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Point conceded, but adrenaline has a logic all its own. There is a world of difference between gaming the situation from a position of comfort and responding in the instant to a mortal threat. I am more interested in how actual people, both trained and untrained, respond.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Point conceded, but adrenaline has a logic all its own. There is a world of difference between gaming the situation from a position of comfort and responding in the instant to a mortal threat. I am more interested in how actual people, both trained and untrained, respond.

    Of course.  But my point was more like, coming up with a scenario defending what the guy did, which doesn’t really make sense even within the scenario created, doesn’t seem helpful.  I’d probably go with “adrenaline has a logic all its own, Full Stop.”

    And if I’ve learned anything from the Die Hard movies among other examples, it’s stupid to just shoot at the bad guy until he (or she) runs away.  Shoot until you’re confident they’re dead.  Otherwise they’ll just come back when you’re not expecting it.

     

    • #10
  11. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    When you watch the video without sound you cannot determine when the customer stopped firing. When you add the audio, it appears that the customer kept shooting after the robber was lying face down on the floor, to include a last shot to the back of the robber’s head, or close to the robber’s head.

    The customer may be in trouble here. I’m a firm believer in the right to self-defense, but once the threat has been neutralized you are on very shaky ground legally if you keep shooting.

    • #11
  12. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Point conceded, but adrenaline has a logic all its own. There is a world of difference between gaming the situation from a position of comfort and responding in the instant to a mortal threat. I am more interested in how actual people, both trained and untrained, respond.

    Of course. But my point was more like, coming up with a scenario defending what the guy did, which doesn’t really make sense even within the scenario created, doesn’t seem helpful. I’d probably go with “adrenaline has a logic all its own, Full Stop.”

    And if I’ve learned anything from the Die Hard movies among other examples, it’s stupid to just shoot at the bad guy until he (or she) runs away. Shoot until you’re confident they’re dead. Otherwise they’ll just come back when you’re not expecting it.

     

    D’accord.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    When you watch the video without sound you cannot determine when the customer stopped firing. When you add the audio, it appears that the customer kept shooting after the robber was lying face down on the floor, to include a last shot to the back of the robber’s head, or close to the robber’s head.

    The customer may be in trouble here. I’m a firm believer in the right to self-defense, but once the threat has been neutralized you are on very shaky ground legally if you keep shooting.

    Maybe.  But they’re probably better off in Houston than if the same thing had happened in Austin.

    • #13
  14. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    I’m firmly against the football-instant-replay approach to assessing centimeters and pixels and milliseconds in an overly legalistic after the fact review of lightning fast events. We’re all better off with viewing the totality and most of  the time not questioning the on-field call.

    As for neutralized threat, there’s a few issues I struggle with. One, to me, once someone introduces the threat of lethal force in a crime then that threat isn’t actually neutralized until the threatener is either gone or dead. Two, these things happen so fast, with instinct kicking in, that expecting some detached assessment of threat level is unrealistic, and that is entirely on the threatener. Three, f around and find out – the threatener is opening a can of worms that can’t be easily shut and that too is entirely on him.

    Of course there is some line that a victim can cross over into perpetrator territory, but to me that line should be exceedingly bright and way past where that line would ordinarily be drawn in other circumstances. We should give so much leeway that only really egregious instances should even draw a second look.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    I’m firmly against the football-instant-replay approach to assessing centimeters and pixels and milliseconds in an overly legalistic after the fact review of lightning fast events. We’re all better off with viewing the totality and most of the time not questioning the on-field call.

    As for neutralized threat, there’s a few issues I struggle with. One, to me, once someone introduces the threat of lethal force in a crime then that threat isn’t actually neutralized until the threatener is either gone or dead. Two, these things happen so fast, with instinct kicking in, that expecting some detached assessment of threat level is unrealistic, and that is entirely on the threatener. Three, f around and find out – the threatener is opening a can of worms that can’t be easily shut and that too is entirely on him.

    Play deadly games, win deadly prizes?  Sounds right.

     

    Of course there is some line that a victim can cross over into perpetrator territory, but to me that line should be exceedingly bright and way past where that line would ordinarily be drawn in other circumstances. We should give so much leeway that only really egregious instances should even draw a second look.

    It’s far more appropriate to hold police etc to higher standards than civilians.

    • #15
  16. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I’m all for the ninth shot.  That’s to make your funeral a closed casket thing, that your cursed memory may depart as swiftly after your spirit.  Make your homies think twice instead of people eating their dinners in a restaurant.

    I understand that it’s not a wise shot from a legal gun-carrier point of view, and I agree with the logic.  I’m glad to see it all the same.

    • #16
  17. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Probably, but some people get a little excited when a guy threatens to kill them. 

    • #17
  18. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Reload.

    • #18
  19. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    When you watch the video without sound you cannot determine when the customer stopped firing. When you add the audio, it appears that the customer kept shooting after the robber was lying face down on the floor, to include a last shot to the back of the robber’s head, or close to the robber’s head.

    The customer may be in trouble here. I’m a firm believer in the right to self-defense, but once the threat has been neutralized you are on very shaky ground legally if you keep shooting.

    I agree, which is why I hope the police spend every possible resource to do things other than track this guy down. 

    • #19
  20. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    TBA (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Probably, but some people get a little excited when a guy threatens to kill them.

    Yes, but, the point was that if someone is thinking there might be an accomplice etc, emptying your gun on the first target is not smart.  So that would not be an argument to make in defense of doing so.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    TBA (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    When you watch the video without sound you cannot determine when the customer stopped firing. When you add the audio, it appears that the customer kept shooting after the robber was lying face down on the floor, to include a last shot to the back of the robber’s head, or close to the robber’s head.

    The customer may be in trouble here. I’m a firm believer in the right to self-defense, but once the threat has been neutralized you are on very shaky ground legally if you keep shooting.

    I agree, which is why I hope the police spend every possible resource to do things other than track this guy down.

    If worst comes to worst, spend more time at the donut shop.

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    kedavis (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Probably, but some people get a little excited when a guy threatens to kill them.

    Yes, but, the point was that if someone is thinking there might be an accomplice etc, emptying your gun on the first target is not smart. So that would not be an argument to make in defense of doing so.

    I agree, and would like to think I’d be more strategic. But I’d probably do the same thing and wonder where all the bullets went. 

    • #22
  23. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    TBA (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Probably, but some people get a little excited when a guy threatens to kill them.

    Yes, but, the point was that if someone is thinking there might be an accomplice etc, emptying your gun on the first target is not smart. So that would not be an argument to make in defense of doing so.

    I agree, and would like to think I’d be more strategic. But I’d probably do the same thing and wonder where all the bullets went.

     

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    TBA (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Probably, but some people get a little excited when a guy threatens to kill them.

    Yes, but, the point was that if someone is thinking there might be an accomplice etc, emptying your gun on the first target is not smart. So that would not be an argument to make in defense of doing so.

    I agree, and would like to think I’d be more strategic. But I’d probably do the same thing and wonder where all the bullets went.

    I would have clicked out before I left my seat.

    • #24
  25. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    As part of a well-ordered society, the police have a duty to investigate these events and determine the actual facts of the event as best they can for the protection of the community. I hope to live in one someday.

    He does look back at the perp several times as if he fears the perp will still attack him

    • #25
  26. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):
    The way these things play out in real life, the gun is emptied into the target, and then the situation is reassessed. The defender does not know what other weapons may be concealed or whether the attacker is truly unconscious, or whether they have an accomplice that must be watched for next to avoid an ambush. The situation is anything but in control.

    Sure, but, in any of those extended circumstances, wouldn’t emptying your gun into the first target be rather foolish?

    Point conceded, but adrenaline has a logic all its own. There is a world of difference between gaming the situation from a position of comfort and responding in the instant to a mortal threat. I am more interested in how actual people, both trained and untrained, respond.

    Of course. But my point was more like, coming up with a scenario defending what the guy did, which doesn’t really make sense even within the scenario created, doesn’t seem helpful. I’d probably go with “adrenaline has a logic all its own, Full Stop.”

    And if I’ve learned anything from the Die Hard movies among other examples, it’s stupid to just shoot at the bad guy until he (or she) runs away. Shoot until you’re confident they’re dead. Otherwise they’ll just come back when you’re not expecting it.

     

    The U.S. Marines have a saying, if it’s worth shooting once – it’s worth shooting again.

    • #26
  27. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    When you watch the video without sound you cannot determine when the customer stopped firing. When you add the audio, it appears that the customer kept shooting after the robber was lying face down on the floor, to include a last shot to the back of the robber’s head, or close to the robber’s head.

    The customer may be in trouble here. I’m a firm believer in the right to self-defense, but once the threat has been neutralized you are on very shaky ground legally if you keep shooting.

    How would a police officer be treated in the same situation? 

    • #27
  28. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Django (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    When you watch the video without sound you cannot determine when the customer stopped firing. When you add the audio, it appears that the customer kept shooting after the robber was lying face down on the floor, to include a last shot to the back of the robber’s head, or close to the robber’s head.

    The customer may be in trouble here. I’m a firm believer in the right to self-defense, but once the threat has been neutralized you are on very shaky ground legally if you keep shooting.

    How would a police officer be treated in the same situation?

    If they were lucky, they would be out of a job. If not they would face prosecution and then be out of a job.

    • #28
  29. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    When you watch the video without sound you cannot determine when the customer stopped firing. When you add the audio, it appears that the customer kept shooting after the robber was lying face down on the floor, to include a last shot to the back of the robber’s head, or close to the robber’s head.

    The customer may be in trouble here. I’m a firm believer in the right to self-defense, but once the threat has been neutralized you are on very shaky ground legally if you keep shooting.

    How would a police officer be treated in the same situation?

    If they were lucky, they would be out of a job. If not they would face prosecution and then be out of a job.

    Yup.  That’s a terrible shoot for a cop, and probably for a well-trained veteran (which is shockingly few veterans, by the way).  A court would have them banged up for a while.

    I would support the first four shots for a cop.  At that point, the cop should (ideally) notice that the weapon has tumbled into the corner, out of reach of the dirtbag who has become utterly immobile.  Ideally, the cop would then hold him at point and radio in.

    I’d support probably eight for a citizen, and Heck, I’ll give the ninth (but I would be hard-pressed to defend it in court).

    And so we come full circle.  “Empty the magazine” is also more defendable than assess and shoot some more.  Hesitate to start and the bad guy gets you.  Hesitate to continue and the court gets you.  As Percival puts it, “click out” before you re-assess.  The ninth shot may sink the guy, but mostly because it was preceded by a pause.

    • #29
  30. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    kedavis (View Comment):
    And if I’ve learned anything from the Die Hard movies among other examples, it’s stupid to just shoot at the bad guy until he (or she) runs away.  Shoot until you’re confident they’re dead. 

    I recommend changing “dead” to “neutralized”: Andrew Branca has now discussed this incident on his Law of Self Defense podcast. (Follow the Legal Insurrection link to find the YouTube video of the podcast.) He points out that the right to use deadly force in self-defense ends when the deadly threat ends. Thus, you are not allowed to keep shooting an attacker once he is unconscious or otherwise disarmed and immobilized. Citizens may not perform summary executions–legal trials are required. The first four rapid shots appear fully justified, as they neutralized the robber. The next four seem doubtful, since the robber was down and disarmed, although Branca discussed how this might be debatable. The last, ninth, shot is just an execution. That taqueria customer put himself in an extremely precarious position.

    • #30
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