Friday, March 30, 2012

Why using a gun in self-defense should be a last resort

I'm sure you've seen the media coverage of the shooting in the gated community in Florida.  I'm not going to comment on the event itself other than to say it's disgraceful how the media outlets and other groups have hyped it up and spun it to promote propaganda.

But let's say for purposes of discussion that despite making some bad calls, Zimmerman was justified in using deadly force.  I'm not suggesting that he was or wasn't- just asking you consider that he was justified.

Look at his life now.

He has groups offering bounties on him.  He's going to be ostracized in his community, and maybe even by his family.  Imagine how he's treated at work now.  He's had to engage the services of a lawyer and he's at risk of a civil suit for years to come.  The financial impact is huge and that doesn't address the mental impact of having killed someone.  Imagine the impact of that.

Was this the best possible outcome in this situation?  I think we'd all agree that for Zimmerman it was not.

That's the point I'm trying to make here.  If you have to shoot someone in self defense, your life is going to suck in ways you likely don't imagine right now.  You'll likely be arrested and processed by your local police department.  Maybe you'll even have to post bail.  They will certainly take the gun used as evidence and you're unlikely to get it back, even if there is a trial.  You are going to be subject to civil suits and your legal bills required to fight those could easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars.  If the event makes it into the press you will likely experience scrutiny by peers and employers, perhaps even resulting in losing your job.

I'm not suggesting to dissuade people from being prepared or from using deadly force to defend themselves.  A decade of legal and financial troubles are certainly preferred to be killed or seriously injured or crippled.  But I suggest you should draw a gun as a last resort.  Give the mugger $20 or even your wallet instead of escalating the situation.  Try to flee a situation rather than confront an attacker.  Call 911 and let the cops respond rather than getting involved.  Understand the full potential fallout from your actions before you carry and especially draw a gun.

Having a carry permit doesn't award you any legal protections over any other civilian.  You don't suddenly become a deputy sheriff or security guard.  You are held to the same laws as people that don't carry guns.

A podcast I enjoy recently discussed this topic, and it think it's a good listen.

Also, this blog calls out two instances where deadly force was used and the person who did so ended up ruining their lives.  It's certainly worth reading and reflection. 

Stay safe out there!

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