Thursday, July 21, 2005

Shoot to Stop

I was surfing over at Say Uncle and found this post, which talks about the use of lethal force. All of my training and experience over 24 years has taught me a few things about lethal force. First of all, you never want to use it. You may have to use lethal force, but you never want to use it. Trust me on this one.

If you find yourself in a lethal force situation, there are certain things you must do to stay legal. Most importantly, make sure that the situation requires lethal force. If it doesn't, then you don't want to be the one to bring lethal force into the mix.

Next, convince yourself that you are going to continue the fight until it is over. Mental preparation is 95% of the battle.

Also important, train yourself that you will only shoot someone to compel him to stop doing a certain action. In short, you want to Shoot to Stop. We don't shoot to kill, nor shoot to wound, but shoot to stop.

Let me give you an example.

You get out of your car and go into a convenience store. You notice a goblin holding a gun on the cashier. You draw your gun and tell the goblin to drop his gun. He drops the gun. You tell him to lay flat on the floor. He does so, and is taken into custody without incident. That is a good use of force. The goblin stopped doing what he was doing and was taken into custody. No one was hurt.

Now, lets change the scenario just a bit. You get out of your car and enter the convenience store. The goblin is there holding a gun on the cashier. You draw your gun and tell him to drop his, but this time, he turns and points the gun at you. You shoot him twice in the chest, he falls and drops the gun. You give him medical assistance, he is taken into custody. This is still a good shooting. You told the guy to stop, and when he didn't you shot him.

More importantly, later, when you are on the witness stand (you will be on a witness stand, trust me), you can say with all sincerity and conviction that you did not intend to kill or wound the goblin, you only wanted to stop him from committing a crime. He continued the crime and you were forced to use lethal force to make him stop.

Shoot to stop takes all the intent to kill or wound out of the equation. It is legally defensible. It is based on the actions of the goblin.

Shooting center mass is part of the Shoot to Stop philosophy. In such a situation, you are going to be under unbelievable stress and your fine motor skills are going to suffer. You will fall back on training and muscle memory, and you will need to aim at the largest possible target. Shooting center mass doesn't mean aim at his heart or lungs, just shoot whatever is most visible. Mostly, his heart and lungs fall into the center mass of his body, but all you are trying to do is get him to stop.

If you put two rounds into his center mass and the rounds aren't taking effect, then you have to try something else to get the goblin to stop. The next largest visible target that is commonly avaiable is the head, where the central nervous system is controlled. Another large target is the hip, which controls mobility. A hip shot goblin may still be in the fight, but he isn't going to run off. His mobility will be severely limited.

Of course, all this is academic, because the vast majority of us will never be in a Shoot to Stop situation, and we can thank God for that.


Misty said...

Very well said - but in circumstances where some goblin may have explosives strapped round their waist, sadly you have to aim for the head and make sure they don't get a chance to detonate anything.

Pawpaw said...

Misty. Agreed. I wasn't talking about London's problem, I was responding to a thread at another blog about the problems of carrying concealed weapons and the lawful use of those weapons. In situations such as London, a whole nuther set of criteria are required.

Scotty Brim said...

I do not think so.