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From the Wabash Files:

A while back an aquaintance of mine was walking to his girlfriend's house.

A known street tough accosted him, pulling a knife and telling him that he was going to cut him.

This aquaintance pulled a 1911 and aimed it at him, verbally warning him to back off while putting distance between him and the threat.

The tough looked at it, stopped, and said, "That gun ain't loaded!" He then began advancing again.

If this scenario happened to you, what would you do? I'd likely shoot, giving controlled pairs to COM until the threat was no longer present.

What would be your solution?

I'll fill you in on the resolution and aftermath after all who wish to participate, have.

Josh <><
 

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Hello, Josh. If he had the knife in his hand and had made threats of harm, which I would interpret as verbal confirmation of a visual deadly force situation where it would be either him or me, it would be him...and I would not shoot him in the feet. Depending on the distance, when he got too close, I'd shoot until the problem was solved.

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If I were convinced he presented an imminent deadly threat, I would move while drawing, and if he hadn't backed off in that short interval, bangbangbangbang right up the mid line. Then move and see if more was required. Repeat as necessary.

I am assuming that since I can hear him making threats, he is close enough to be an imminent threat, he isn't 30 yards away across the street. (altho if he came running across the street, I would definitely have my gun out, be moving away, and be making a verbal challenge).

elb
 

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My primary concern (after survival) would be to comply with the law in my state (Florida) My understanding of the law here is this. It is illegal to brandish a weapon to intimidate someone. Except in the actual act of defense of human life weapons must be concealed at all times, so I can't flash a gun to scare the bad guy off.

If someone threatens me with a knife at a distance of what I perceive to be under 21 feet my life is in imminent danger. I will draw and shoot to kill unless in the second or two it will take me to draw and get an aimed shot off the bad guy retreats, turns, drops knife, hands up etc, he has to beet me to the trigger. I wouldn't engage the bad guy in debates about weather the gun is loaded or question myself about how serious the bad guy's intentions are , his state of mind or weather he had a bad childhood.

A knife is deadly force at close range. Over 21 feet I would back away and be ready to draw but would not brandish the gun.

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Bear in mind, 21 feet is not magic. Dennis Tueller simple used it to prove that 95% of cops would die if they started and engagement at this range with a knife weilder and their gun was in the holster.

STill and all, it is good to plan these things out in advance. This is all part of the color code and the OODA cycle...have a plan: "If he does this, I will do this...."

In our state, theatening folks with your weapon who pose no perceived threat is a felony (wanton endangerment) but if there is a threat (even if it more perceived by you than real) then you are justified in using lethal force.

OTOH, if you are claiming to use force in defense of another (even your family) then the threat must be "as conditions exist" not your perception.

Know the law in your state! Act accordingly.

At the same time use judgement. When I was young and foolish I made the decision not to shoot a fellow attacking me with an edged weapon (in this case a long screwdriver). I was pretty accomplished at hand to hand stuff and I had the reflexes of a cat.

Unfortunately I was way to fast for him and got that screwdriver stuck through my left hand - lengthwise!. As it turned out the guy fainted when he saw what he had done. While I made a foolish decision I am rather glad it worked out like it did. I got over the injury quickly, the guy saw the error of his behavior (and quit drinking I understand). But I have never again decided to take on folks with an edged weapon using physical force.

The next time I was involved in such an encounter I kept my distance. The subject did indeed get shot but not by me (I had control of the situation and that incident ended there but later that day his companion shot him when he went beserk again).

Jim H.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And now the rest of the story:

After the attacker said, "That gun ain't loaded," my aquaintence said something to the effect of, "Yes, it is," racked the slide (it had been in condition 3), and put one into the air above the attacker's right shoulder (or into the ground to the side of the sidewalk; I got two different stories, the official one and his) .

The attacker turned and ran.

The police were called and my aquaintence was 'cuffed and stuffed, and taken to the station. The police chief got there (third shift) and began chewing the officers out. He asked, "(Aquaintence), you shot to scare him away, not to kill him, right?" Aquaintence agreed. The chief then asked his officers if they'd rather be working a homicide right now.

Aquaintence was turned loose.

While I'm not happy with the police chief's stance on warning shots nor his berrating of his officers for doing what they felt was right (and they did also catch the suspect, btw), it turned out well on that end. I'm just concerned what the chief would do if I had to defend myself - I believe in warning shots in very few circumstances, and this wouldn't have been one. I can say with confidence that I would have shot high COM.

The civil side was different however. We don't have lawsuits in Wabash - not for wrongful death or anything of that sort, anyway. The family that the young tough belongs to is extremely clanish, with most generations overlapping - lots of uncles younger or same age as their nephews, for example. They're a gang with blood bonds in other words. Along with that clannish lifestyle comes the "protect our own with whatever violence is necessary" way of thinking.

My aquaintence ended up with the whole clan after him with everything from guns to knives to pitchforks.

He continued to carry and a friend of his was acting as a bodyguard - he carried more guns on him than he could realistically hope to use.

Last I heard the whole situation had cooled off some, though it had taken about a year.

Strange town.

Josh <><
 

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Josh---

With all due respect, this isn't a grey area. The only scenario where the use of lethal force is legally justified is if you're in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily injury, endquote, and in a jurisdiction with an obligation-to-retreat statute on the books, the situation is even more complicated. The problem in this case is that you're in trouble no matter how you react---you cannot, for example, threaten somebody with a gun, and the warning shot would probably be considered negligent use. The incident you describe is unhappily all or nothing: basically, your friend's legal options are to either shoot the guy or run like hell. I find the chief's reaction very puzzling, too, since he's in effect condoning a lesser (but still dangerous) offense because nobody wound up dead, but this is no more than his personal opinion, and his officers were following correct protocol in making the arrest. The good part, I guess, is that your acquaintance survived both the original encounter and the later grudge match.

David
 
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