Think hard on how, whether you could use deadly force
(Hopefully not a dupe)
PS This writer is a police officer in the ATL area.
By STEVE ROSE | Tuesday, March 7, 2006, 10:07 AM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The state Senate recently passed a NRA bill that would expand the law that now allows Georgians to use deadly force in their homes and vehicles. This will spawn a lot of debate; some by people who take the time to look up some facts, but mostly from people dealing strictly from emotion and personal belief.
Sen. Regina Thomas of Savannah was quoted as saying the bill would increase the number of crimes in Georgia.
Crimes committed on the street in this area have already risen. Pedestrian robberies are up. The bad guys already have guns. They’re using them to commit the robberies and in some cases, even when the victim complies, they shoot them.
The proposed legislation is a clear indication that violent crimes are up and your chances of being caught in the middle are better than they were a few years ago. “Wrong place at the wrong time” can play a major role in a situation of deadly force. In such a situation, (such as on a sidewalk or parking lot, as the bill allows) having a weapon would give you the opportunity to save your own life. Your fate would not completely be in the hands of the bad guy.
There are some things that you need to accept.
First, crime happens. It happens to good people who step into a bad situation. Secondly, it happens more than it used to. Thirdly, it doesn’t just happen in the urban, inner city areas. It happens in the suburbs. The more population, the more crime.
You need to know that guns and violence are not as they are on TV.
Everything is different from what you may think. Bad guys don’t spin around a few times and then fall over. Bullets are designed to enter the body and then tumble around to maximize the damage to the organs before exiting. It’s not pretty and there are no commercials.
The other thing most people don’t realize: Targets, even close targets, are difficult to hit in traumatic, deadly force situations. It’s not easy to shoot something when your body and your brain are in life-preserve mode. Bullets, shot from guns, go somewhere and don’t stop until the energy moving them has totally expended or they hit something.
A fairly accurate assumption is that given a situation where the victim is put in the position of defending himself or her, and shots are fired; the first few will most likely miss.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you have a gun in your possession that you’re safe. The bad guy still has the advantage of surprise. Your life depends on how you respond. If the cards aren’t in your favor, don’t play Wild West with a quick draw. Remember, you don’t want to be the guy who finishes second in a gunfight.
Be smart and do your homework. You have a great opportunity to control your fate by thinking about what you’re doing ahead of time. For example, I still see people walking up to ATM machines at midnight and never even look around.
A lot of folks, targeted for robbery in this area, are approached while getting into or out of a car in a parking lot of an apartment complex or a large commercial lot. Look and see what’s around when you pull in. Check for people just sitting in cars or loitering around. In other words, don’t put your prevention options on the shelf.
Be familiar with what you have. If you own a weapon, practice with it. Most police-related shootings are at close range, say 7-10 feet. We practice all the time from 15 feet in and you have to constantly work on centering your accuracy at hitting targets that aren’t shooting back. Clean the weapon and use it at the range. Speak to someone, for example, a shooting instructor, and pick up some tips on shooting; things that you would not normally assume, so that your aim is more consistently accurate.
Sounds like a doomsday plan right? In some respects it is. Depending on how you think, it either makes sense or disgusts you. There are two situations that I know of where I was targeted for a crime.
Once was in a parking lot downtown, about 9 p.m. A man walked up to me while we were leaving the circus at the Omni. He just walked up, looked around, and started asking why we left the circus so early? I wanted to thank him for looking around because it very quickly tipped me off that he was up to no good and it allowed me time to react.
I can still remember the look on his face when he turned back around and met my agent, Mr. Beretta. Mr. Beretta, who represented me for a few years, said we were too busy to be robbed that night, but thank you anyway. Mr. Beretta asked the man to run very fast in the opposite direction. The man ran and then jumped over the wall at the edge of the parking deck. As we drove out, I realized we were on the third floor of the parking deck. He was pretty young so he probably had some bounce in him.
The second time was in the car. Long story short, I had no doubt that I was being car-jacked. Again, Mr. Beretta mediated a short, two-second meeting and the young man changed his plans.
Here is a question for you: Given this situation and the crime progressed, what would you do? You have to determine if or not the person was a threat. All that first guy needed to do was look around and I knew he was looking for witnesses. If that’s not your interpretation in that two-second time frame, he may have had a gun on you before you could react. The game is over at that point.
Hopefully he’ll take your wallet and be gone. It’s not an easy situation and it will, trust me, happen much faster that you think.
I’ve worked cases where the victim had access to the weapon but failed to use it because of a lack of clarity or commitment. In that case the gun was, and could be, used against the victim. In traumatic situations, when one’s adrenalin goes into hyper-mode, some people have total clarity of mind and others turn to Jell-O.
If you’re a Jell-O person, owning a gun may not be in your best interest.
One of the most important things to remember...your willingness to use a weapon - any weapon - will be key to your survival.
I am in total disbelief that this was printed in the AJC.
Great tips for the uninformed.