Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What if I Kill Someone?

 

It could be a matter of life or death. That reality struck a chord with me a few months ago, when I received my concealed carry permit and continued my online training.

For those of you who have read my gun posts, you might know that I was prepared to carry a gun on my person. The violence in the streets throughout this country, the shootings and the killings, convinced me that I needed to take my gun ownership seriously and be prepared to protect myself. But the more I saw the training needed to carry a gun responsibly and to minimize the possibility that no one was unnecessarily killed, my ambivalence set in. We signed up with USCCA which offered excellent videos, with a great deal of coaching about the correct responses. I realized that there were multiple scenarios I might find myself in, many of them demanding different responses to an armed person. I might encounter a person in a poorly lit parking garage. I might be eating lunch in a restaurant with a friend. I might be shopping for groceries. Any one of those situations would require that I be alert and prepared to respond so that no one would be killed unnecessarily. And that included me.

With that understanding in mind, one evening, after we’d talked about getting additional live training with an instructor, I told my husband that I just didn’t think I could carry. It would require my finding time to practice several times a week in drawing the gun, unjamming a gun, being situationally aware—the need to be well-prepared felt overwhelming. And as ridiculous as it sounded, I was concerned about actually killing a person. You learn that you don’t want to draw a gun unless you have to do it. But if you know your life is threatened, you need to be prepared to shoot, perhaps kill, the other person. Or you might die.

My husband was disappointed. But after thinking about it, he made a proposal. We were already pretty well trained in handling a gun; we shoot at a range every two weeks. He suggested that we go ahead with the situational training, and if I didn’t feel prepared to carry afterward, he would respect my decision. (I knew he’d be disappointed, but he would honor his promise.)

I know that many new gun owners in Florida have a minimal amount of training and probably rarely practice. I know that I respond well to the most urgent situations. I know that I take guns more seriously than many people around me. But all the training in the world won’t guarantee my response in an emergency situation.

So, Tuesday we will head south, stopping at an animal rescue facility and staying overnight in Okeechobee, for training to begin on Wednesday morning through Friday afternoon. The instructor will be working with just the two of us. I hope my decision about whether to carry or not becomes much clearer when we are finished.

It could be a matter of life or death.

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  1. kedavis Member

    Do you get any impetus – or perhaps the opposite – from the possibility that you could save the life of someone else, perhaps even several other people depending on the situation?

    • #1
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  2. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’ve mentioned before, but it bears repeating: this is why I let my CCW lapse, and no longer carry. I have had very little range time in the last 5 years, and quite frankly what little I have had has not encouraged me to return to the nearby ranges (gun ranges need to do a much better job at customer service for their range counters – too many people see it as their duty to guard the ranges from the customers). Add to that Ohio’s “Duty to Inform” nonsense, and some personal reasons I’ll not discuss, I decided that carrying was, for me, not an option.

    • #2
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:02 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Do you get any impetus – or perhaps the opposite – from the possibility that you could save the life of someone else, perhaps even several other people depending on the situation?

    Thanks for reminding me,@kedavis. That’s an excellent point and matters a great deal to me.

    • #3
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. kedavis Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Do you get any impetus – or perhaps the opposite – from the possibility that you could save the life of someone else, perhaps even several other people depending on the situation?

    Thanks for reminding me,@kedavis. That’s an excellent point and matters a great deal to me.

    Glad to help. “When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away” counts for everyone else too, not just you.

    • #4
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Barfly Member

    Susan Quinn: What if I Kill Someone?

    We’ll understand. We’d rather you kill, or wound or scare off, an attacker than lose you or your husband. Firm grip, front sight focus, center mass.

    • #5
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:25 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. Barry Jones Thatcher

    If you are not carrying pepper spray, consider it. I CCW, carry pepper spray AND usually have an umbrella with me that is stout enough to double as a walking stick whenever I leave the house – all because I want to have more options available than shooting someone should the event arise. Not every situation calls for deadly force but if pepper spray or getting whacked with my umbrella doesn’t seem like a suitable option I can always go for the last resort or as Mas Ayoub said ‘in the Gravest Extreme”, my firearm. Options are a good thing.

    • #6
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:28 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: What if I Kill Someone?

    We’ll understand. We’d rather you kill, or wound or scare off, an attacker than lose you or your husband. Firm grip, front sight focus, center mass.

    Got it!

    • #7
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Kevin Schulte Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I have had very little range time in the last 5 years, and quite frankly what little I have had has not encouraged me to return to the nearby ranges (gun ranges need to do a much better job at customer service for their range counters – too many people see it as their duty to guard the ranges from the customers)

    Skip, have you exhausted all available ranges in your area ?

    I have heard some stories from people of some ranges in my local. Fortunately the range closest to me has friendly staff.

    • #8
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    If you are not carrying pepper spray, consider it. I CCW, carry pepper spray AND usually have an umbrella with me that is stout enough to double as a walking stick whenever I leave the house – all because I want to have more options available than shooting someone should the event arise. Not every situation calls for deadly force but if pepper spray or getting whacked with my umbrella doesn’t seem like a suitable option I can always go for the last resort or as Mas Ayoub said ‘in the Gravest Extreme”, my firearm. Options are a good thing.

    Excellent suggestion on pepper spray. The umbrella sounds awkward, but I’d have a few extra things in my purse (which would be designed to carry). Thanks@barryjones!

    • #9
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:48 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I have had very little range time in the last 5 years, and quite frankly what little I have had has not encouraged me to return to the nearby ranges (gun ranges need to do a much better job at customer service for their range counters – too many people see it as their duty to guard the ranges from the customers)

    Skip, have you exhausted all available ranges in your area ?

    I have heard some stories from people of some ranges in my local. Fortunately the range closest to me has friendly staff.

    Our range is great, too! Real nice folks.

    • #10
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. GrannyDude Member

    I think it is reasonable to weigh all the possible risks, and make your decision based on your best assessment of actual or potential danger, and the appropriate response to it—accepting that these are subject to change.

    You don’t have to carry, Susan. I don’t.

    I could, of course, if I felt I needed to, but because I am around a lot of guys with guns, I know what carrying a gun means. And of my own limitations, which are practical rather than moral.

    As one of my guys (a gun nut, very pro 2-A) gently explained: “Kate, I have spent some time with you. I’ve been there when you wandered off and left your purse with all your money in it on the table at a Dunkin Donuts in the middle of freakin’ Connecticut. I’ve been there when you’ve driven off with your cell phone sitting on the roof of the car. For that matter, I’ve been in your car when you asked “are my brakes supposed to make that horrible grinding noise?” You are good at people. You are not good with objects, even really important objects.”

    He’s right.

    Yes, I could change this. But it would take time and training, diligent practice, over and above what I already do to prepare for my actual job. I have a completely different situational awareness—the one that can pick the primary mourner out of a crowd from fifty yards. I don’t have the one in which, when a grieving person muckles onto me, I think “where are her hands? How close are they to my weapon?”

    I live in a very low-crime state. As my husband says, we’ll talk guns after we start locking the doors. That could change. My perception of it could change. A brief, undramatic, fluke encounter with a scary guy tomorrow could have me walking into the gun store by the end of this week. That’s fine.

    Don’t think of it as a matter of principle. You’re okay on principles. Go check out that situational training, try to see it as useful and interesting, an adventure-in-itself that you and your husband can share and discuss, and maybe make use of, if not right away, then at some point.

    • #11
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:52 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I think it is reasonable to weigh all the possible risks, and make your decision based on your best assessment of actual or potential danger, and the appropriate response to it—accepting that these are subject to change.

    You don’t have to carry, Susan. I don’t.

    I could, of course, if I felt I needed to, but because I am around a lot of guys with guns, I know what carrying a gun means. And of my own limitations, which are practical rather than moral.

    As one of my guys (a gun nut, very pro 2-A) gently explained: “Kate, I have spent some time with you. I’ve been there when you wandered off and left your purse with all your money in it on the table at a Dunkin Donuts in the middle of freakin’ Connecticut. I’ve been there when you’ve driven off with your cell phone sitting on the roof of the car. For that matter, I’ve been in your car when you asked “are my brakes supposed to make that horrible grinding noise?” You are good at people. You are not good with objects, even really important objects.”

    He’s right.

    Yes, I could change this. But it would take time and training, diligent practice, over and above what I already do to prepare for my actual job. I have a completely different situational awareness—the one that can pick the primary mourner out of a crowd from fifty yards. I don’t have the one in which, when a grieving person muckles onto me, I think “where are her hands? How close are they to my weapon?”

    I live in a very low-crime state. As my husband says, we’ll talk guns after we start locking the doors. That could change. My perception of it could change. A brief, undramatic, fluke encounter with a scary guy tomorrow could have me walking into the gun store by the end of this week. That’s fine.

    Don’t think of it as a matter of principle. You’re okay on principles. Go check out that situational training, try to see it as useful and interesting, an adventure-in-itself that you and your husband can share and discuss, and maybe make use of, if not right away, then at some point.

    As usual you’ve given me wise and practical feedback, @GrannyDude. If I had a bunch of guys around me with guns, I probably wouldn’t even consider carrying! I’m so grateful for the input I’m getting. Thanks.

    • #12
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:02 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Rodin Member

    You train your muscles and you train your mind. The decision is whether or not to commit — not what you would do if you commit. You think through the situations in which you would commit and practice for that. And positively create scenarios in your mind where you would prefer to be injured or even die rather than use deadly force. The utility of doing that is you know when and how you are justified in the action you take — not just legally, but consistent with your personal morality.

    I am not a fan of carrying both lethal and non-lethal force. Not for cops or private citizens. Make a choice and train how and when you are going to use it.

    • #13
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    You train your muscles and you train your mind. The decision is whether or not to commit — not what you would do if you commit. You think through the situations in which you would commit and practice for that. And positively create scenarios in your mind where you would prefer to be injured or even die rather than use deadly force. The utility of doing that is you know when and how you are justified in the action you take — not just legally, but consistent with your personal morality.

    I am not a fan of carrying both lethal and not lethal force. Not for cops or private citizens. Make a choice and train how and when you are going to use it.

    Well said! Part of my agreement to go through the situational training is because I know how important muscle memory and mind training are. Thanks, @rodin

    • #14
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnellJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Do you get any impetus – or perhaps the opposite – from the possibility that you could save the life of someone else, perhaps even several other people depending on the situation?

    Thanks for reminding me,@kedavis. That’s an excellent point and matters a great deal to me.

    Glad to help. “When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away” counts for everyone else too, not just you.

    Or, in the case of the Portland police, only 1 hour and 36 minutes away.

    • #15
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:47 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Concretevol Thatcher

    As someone who carries most of the time I think that your reasoning is well thought out and attitudes toward training very admirable……also very rare. I guess in some cases however someone that is armed but out of practice is better off than someone not armed at all. Its a little bit of a gray area I think but it is very important to be self aware about it.

    • #16
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:53 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Bob Wainwright Member

    Maybe you should carry an expandable baton instead. You won’t kill anyone but you will get that satisfying thud as you smack it into their shins. 

    • #17
    • September 20, 2020, at 7:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. kedavis Member

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):

    Maybe you should carry an expandable baton instead. You won’t kill anyone but you will get that satisfying thud as you smack it into their shins.

    And they will make a very satisfying “thump” when they hit the floor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e8OBQ-tHsY&t=210

    • #18
    • September 20, 2020, at 7:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    I understand your point. One thing I tell people that approach me about a CCW is to get right in their head that they can kill. That they can live with it if they do. I suggest maybe hunting so one gets the feel of killing. An understanding of it. If you can’t it is best not to carry. If you have a gun you will not use, then to be honest, you are just giving the criminal a gun they can turn against you. Maybe carry something less lethal. I have given and trained my wife and my mother to use pepper sprays, stun devices, tactical flash devices. There are other items that may be useful.

    • #19
    • September 20, 2020, at 9:38 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    From seeing your posts about your long-ish journey to this point, it seems obvious to me that you feel you should carry a gun. You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it. Sounds like it’s time (after your class), to start trying it out. If you still don’t feel prepared, you can stop for a while, or forever.

    As long as you’re carrying legally, and safely, there’s not much downside to just carrying a gun around with you. You don’t have to jump into action every time you see some shady guys on a street corner. You don’t have to rescue damsels in distress. The gun will just be a lump sitting there in the holster, and all you have to do is keep your finger off the trigger when you take it off and put it back on again. That’s all you really have to do with it. Well, until someone actually becomes a threat to you. If that day comes, I think you’ll be glad you have it.

    Susan Quinn: With that understanding in mind, one evening, after we’d talked about getting additional live training with an instructor, I told my husband that I just didn’t think I could carry. It would require my finding time to practice several times a week in drawing the gun, unjamming a gun, being situationally aware—the need to be well-prepared felt overwhelming.

    Why do you feel you need to practice that often? Do you think that will be necessary for as long as you are carrying, or just for the first few weeks? If you’re talking about spending a few minutes at home with an empty gun, drawing and dry-firing, that doesn’t sound impractical. If you mean live-fire practice nearly every day – the only people who do that are professional competitive shooters (I’m not talking soldiers or police), or maybe those lucky ducks with lots of acreage and a berm behind the house.

    Taking a 3-day course, followed by bi-weekly range sessions, should prepare you well (aside from being fun and relaxing). Also, if you can manage to take another class later on, from a different instructor, to widen your perspective, and refresh what you already know, that would put you ahead of the curve.

    Remember, if you have to use lethal force, you’ll be doing your best, in a bad situation someone else forced you into. You may not perform perfectly, but that shouldn’t be required. Again, it wasn’t something you chose, even if you chose to carry a gun.

    • #20
    • September 20, 2020, at 10:23 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. kedavis Member

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    From seeing your posts about your long-ish journey to this point, it seems obvious to me that you feel you should carry a gun. You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it. Sounds like it’s time (after your class), to start trying it out. If you still don’t feel prepared, you can stop for a while, or forever.

    As long as you’re carrying legally, and safely, there’s not much downside to just carrying a gun around with you. You don’t have to jump into action every time you see some shady guys on a street corner. You don’t have to rescue damsels in distress. The gun will just be a lump sitting there in the holster, and all you have to do is keep your finger off the trigger when you take it off and put it back on again. That’s all you really have to do with it. Well, until someone actually becomes a threat to you. If that day comes, I think you’ll be glad you have it.

    Susan Quinn: With that understanding in mind, one evening, after we’d talked about getting additional live training with an instructor, I told my husband that I just didn’t think I could carry. It would require my finding time to practice several times a week in drawing the gun, unjamming a gun, being situationally aware—the need to be well-prepared felt overwhelming.

    Why do you feel you need to practice that often? Do you think that will be necessary for as long as you are carrying, or just for the first few weeks? If you’re talking about spending a few minutes at home with an empty gun, drawing and dry-firing, that doesn’t sound impractical. If you mean live-fire practice nearly every day – the only people who do that are professional competitive shooters (I’m not talking soldiers or police), or maybe those lucky ducks with lots of acreage and a berm behind the house.

    Taking a 3-day course, followed by bi-weekly range sessions, should prepare you well (aside from being fun and relaxing). Also, if you can manage to take another class later on, from a different instructor, to widen your perspective, and refresh what you already know, that would put you ahead of the curve.

    Remember, if you have to use lethal force, you’ll be doing your best, in a bad situation someone else forced you into. You may not perform perfectly, but that shouldn’t be required. Again, it wasn’t something you chose, even if you chose to carry a gun.

    That’s good advice too, but I think Fake John/Jane Galt made a valid point that maybe even after all that practice, if someone isn’t certain they can actually use the gun in an appropriate situation, it’s better if they don’t have a weapon that could be taken.

    • #21
    • September 20, 2020, at 10:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Flicker Coolidge

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):
    The gun will just be a lump sitting there in the holster

    I’ve been trying to work up to getting my wife to carry. She was talking about this at work one day and the person she was talking to said she was carrying as they spoke. She had a bra-holster. And my wife said she was surprised and couldn’t tell, so she showed it to her. Wife was impressed.

    • #22
    • September 20, 2020, at 11:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  23. Henry Castaigne Member

    Barry Jones (View Comment):
    AND usually have an umbrella with me that is stout enough to double as a walking stick whenever I leave the house –

    • #23
    • September 20, 2020, at 11:30 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. Flicker Coolidge

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Barry Jones (View Comment):
    AND usually have an umbrella with me that is stout enough to double as a walking stick whenever I leave the house –

    Be careful. These are illegal in many states.

    • #24
    • September 21, 2020, at 12:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. TBA Coolidge

    If you carry you are not obliged to pull your gun. 

    If you don’t carry, you won’t have a gun to pull. 

    • #25
    • September 21, 2020, at 1:17 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):

    Maybe you should carry an expandable baton instead. You won’t kill anyone but you will get that satisfying thud as you smack it into their shins.

    Thanks for making me laugh, @bobwainwright. Sometimes I take myself too seriously.

    • #26
    • September 21, 2020, at 5:30 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    From seeing your posts about your long-ish journey to this point, it seems obvious to me that you feel you should carry a gun. You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it. Sounds like it’s time (after your class), to start trying it out. If you still don’t feel prepared, you can stop for a while, or forever.

    As long as you’re carrying legally, and safely, there’s not much downside to just carrying a gun around with you. You don’t have to jump into action every time you see some shady guys on a street corner. You don’t have to rescue damsels in distress. The gun will just be a lump sitting there in the holster, and all you have to do is keep your finger off the trigger when you take it off and put it back on again. That’s all you really have to do with it. Well, until someone actually becomes a threat to you. If that day comes, I think you’ll be glad you have it.

    Susan Quinn: With that understanding in mind, one evening, after we’d talked about getting additional live training with an instructor, I told my husband that I just didn’t think I could carry. It would require my finding time to practice several times a week in drawing the gun, unjamming a gun, being situationally aware—the need to be well-prepared felt overwhelming.

    Why do you feel you need to practice that often? Do you think that will be necessary for as long as you are carrying, or just for the first few weeks? If you’re talking about spending a few minutes at home with an empty gun, drawing and dry-firing, that doesn’t sound impractical. If you mean live-fire practice nearly every day – the only people who do that are professional competitive shooters (I’m not talking soldiers or police), or maybe those lucky ducks with lots of acreage and a berm behind the house.

    Taking a 3-day course, followed by bi-weekly range sessions, should prepare you well (aside from being fun and relaxing). Also, if you can manage to take another class later on, from a different instructor, to widen your perspective, and refresh what you already know, that would put you ahead of the curve.

    Remember, if you have to use lethal force, you’ll be doing your best, in a bad situation someone else forced you into. You may not perform perfectly, but that shouldn’t be required. Again, it wasn’t something you chose, even if you chose to carry a gun.

    Excellent feedback, @thesockmonkey. It feels like you’ve tailored it to my situation perfectly. Good ideas to mull over.

    • #27
    • September 21, 2020, at 5:34 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Stad Thatcher

    Concretevol (View Comment):

    As someone who carries most of the time I think that your reasoning is well thought out and attitudes toward training very admirable……also very rare. I guess in some cases however someone that is armed but out of practice is better off than someone not armed at all. Its a little bit of a gray area I think but it is very important to be self aware about it.

    Even if you are well-practiced, your response may be different during an actual shooting event. I don’t practice as often as I should either, but I feel naked without my weapon. I’d rather be armed and out of practice than a great shot without a gun . . .

    • #28
    • September 21, 2020, at 5:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Front Seat Cat Member

    I can understand where you are coming from – I am not a fan of guns at all. That seems to be an unpopular premise. My personality matches @GrannyDude – I’d probably shoot my own foot off. More people should take your mental approach – whether for or against. Look forward to hearing your decision.

    • #29
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:02 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Todd G Member
    Todd GJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Situation-Based Training (SBT) is a real eye-opener. If your training is with Sam Barbakof at OmegaSBT, you will understand things about yourself and defensive options that punching holes in paper doesn’t convey. I’ve taken 3 of Sam’s classes (tell him Todd in Melbourne says “Hi”) at my local range and highly recommend him, and SBT in general.

    Sam’s scenarios are realistic, every-day situations you may find yourself in, including in and out of cars. His feedback goes well beyond ‘just shoot them’ into analyzing your options and taking a less-lethal path if it is possible. In one scenario, I made the mistake of moving to block a perp escape route and ‘shooting’ him. In the debrief he suggested if I’d not blocked the perps exit path I might have avoided having to shoot and endanger my ‘daughter’ that was behind me.

    Sam is a great guy with a very interesting back story. Tho his thick Russian accent can get in the way sometime.

    If you carry you need to decide in advance what your ‘line’ is–at what point will you defend yourself or your loved one with lethal force. Property? Your life? Loved one? Stranger’s life?

    Once you decide that, everyone–well, almost everyone–has a ‘safety’ switch in their head that kicks in when you point a gun at a real human and try to pull the trigger quickly, even knowing you’re shooting simunitions (basically 9mm paintballs in a modified Glock 19). If you’re serious about defensive carry you have to have experience what it takes to flip that switch. I consider Situation Based Training (and Branca’s Law of Self Defense book) to be must-dos/-reads to responsibly carry and defend yourself.

    Enjoy the training! And SoFla liquid sunshine.

    • #30
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:40 AM PDT
    • 3 likes