Skip to main content

View Diary: RKBA: A question (241 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  so does that change your opinion (8+ / 0-)

    or do you still think she was not entitled to a self-defense argument?

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 07:49:45 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Let me give you my opinion based on a couple (8+ / 0-)

      different scenarios:

      1. What I detailed in my diary, with no additional information.

      2. That she couldn't escape through the garage, so she retrieved her firearm and attempted to escape. When confronted, she shot at her husband (and missed) since she was afraid of life and limb. <- This sounds like it would be justifiable but I'd still find her responsible for the damage her bullet did. You're responsible for every bullet that leaves your firearm, self defense or not.

      3. That she couldn't escape through the garage, so she retrieved her firearm and attempted to escape. When confronted, she fired a warning shot since she was afraid of life and limb. <- The shot in this case is NOT justified. There are no such things as warning shots. Either it's a last resort and you're shooting to defend yourself or it's not a last resort and you don't pull the trigger. I don't think 20 years would be an appropriate punishment though.

      Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

      by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:07:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're an experienced gun handler, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kharma, fluffy, greengemini, lyvwyr101

        So you believe that every bullet should be fired with intent to kill, right?

        But many people who have never touched a gun (but who have watched a lot of movies) don't understand this.

        And for the record, her "warning shots" worked in this case. They may have been colossally stupid. But they worked.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:41:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. (10+ / 0-)

          If you're in a situation where you resort to a firearm for self defense, you're shooting to STOP the criminal by shooting him/her. Killing is a side effect of getting shot but remarkably enough, most people shot with a handgun survive.

          If you feel the urge to 'just fire a warning shot' then you haven't hit that stage where you're justifiable in shooting your firearm in self defense.

          But many people who have never touched a gun (but who have watched a lot of movies) don't understand this.
          Which is why I teach the concealed carry course for Michigan. That's something we teach and it's drilled into the students head.

          Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

          by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:47:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, I should have said (4+ / 0-)

            "Stop the other guy," not "kill."

            But I think you understand what I meant, yes?  Most people haven't taken your class, KV, but they may have seen HBO's very popular (and "based on historical facts") series Deadwood where Sheriff Seth Bullock fires a couple shots into the saloon ceiling to stop a fight before it becomes a riot.

            The "reasonable person" standard is much lower than what you teach.

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:25:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  No, grover -- DEADLY FORCE rules apply (6+ / 0-)

          you don't fire "warning shots" in combat situations.

          It's a waste of bullets you might need more acutely for actual delivery to the target.

          In most situations, particularly where you've got somebody who's not, say, a trained sniper, one shot is not one kill; in many situations one shot is not even one person dropped out of action -- therefore, don't waste ammunition (this is why the military makes you practice with your firearms regularly; to some degree, muscle memory can help with overcoming stress. But the flipside of that is cops getting blown away because at the range policing their brass meant catching it coming out of the chambers and pocketing it, which slowed down their reloading to the point they could be shot. Sound crazy? It's like riding a bike or playing the violin -- you perform as you practice).

          It gives the person you're "warning" the idea you're not ready to kil them in order to preserve your own life / safety. (This is a bad thing.)

          That bullet's going somewhere and it's going to hit something and you cannot retrieve it -- so you've lost the ability to fire it for effect.

          (This is more than one bad thing. You fired a warning shot. What was downrange / in the line of fire you didn't see? Or WHO could your warning shot have hit, without your intention to do so, because you were being stupid? Was that the last bullet in your cylinder? Did your magazine jam, making your weapon about as useful as a similar-sized-and-shaped club now?)

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:16:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  *I* don't fire any shots, BlackSheep. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KVoimakas, johnel, Wee Mama, greengemini

            It's been decades since I fired a gun.

            I think it's just difficult, perhaps, for  regular gun handlers to understand how a person "out there" in the non-gun might be thinking.

            The fact is, the concept of warning shots permeates our culture, whether serious gun users think they're a good idea or not.

            You can rest assured I'll never shoot one, though.
            :)

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:54:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  this is just plan silly... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kharma, lyvwyr101

        ...

        There are no such things as warning shots.
        and when JayinPA posited it he got laughed at.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:51:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Legally, there are no such things as warning (12+ / 0-)

          shots.

          Either you're in a situation where you shoot the criminal (or shoot with the intent to hit the criminal) OR you're not to the stage yet where lethal force is justified.

          Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

          by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:56:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Somebody needs to inform the Coast Guard.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            grover, lyvwyr101

            they fired warning shots at a drug smuggler boat this weekend.  Wonder why they aren't as proficient with their weapons?

            •  Coast Guards are civilians in self defense (12+ / 0-)

              situations?

              The Coast Guard, like the rest of the armed forces, operates differently than we civilians.

              Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

              by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:17:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Like KV said... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              theatre goon, KVoimakas

              Civilans don't have arresting powers other then citizens' arrest.  In most states, you cannot use any force to detain when making a citizens arrest.  Only police have that authority.

              Civilians do not have a use of force spectrum.  You can either not lay a hand on anyone (the default) without it becoming a battery, or you can use force to defend yourself.  If a firearm is involved, it is always considered lethal force, and you have an even narrower window in which you are justified using it.Contrast this to civilian law enforcement, or the Military.  

              Police have a particularly broad force continuum, ranging from grabbing you if you verbally resist, to applying pressure on pressure points and joint locks if you physically resist, and then it escalates from there though less-then-lethal measures such as chemical agents, tazers, batons (if they carry them) up to full-on lethal force employing their firearms.  Civilans  simply don't.

              The military has rules of engagement and various states of weapon readiness;  from weapons hold, where you really can't fire unless in self defense, to weapons free, where you can fire at will, and several sates in between where different mixes of command and autonomy are employed.  Even then, SOP's and other standing orders may dictate weather or not warning shots are needed.  Civilans neither fall under UCMJ, nor do they enjoy a force continuum.

              You cannot compare a civilian self defense scenario to a millitary engagement, or a law enforcement officers use of force.

        •  JayinPA was actually correct. (12+ / 0-)

          It was the way he said it that was the problem.  He was a bit overly legalistic.

          KV is correct, legally there is no such thing as a "warning shot."  Warning shots are legally problematic for two reasons:  1) they violate at least two of the basic rules of gun safety (never point the muzzle at anything you're not willing to shoot, and be aware of your target and what's behind it), and can result in an innocent person being injured or killed; and 2) as KV notes, one should use lethal force only as a last resort in self defense, and firing a warning shot by definition indicates that you haven't gotten to that last resort stage.

          Do I feel sorry for Marissa Alexander?  Absolutely.  Do I think 20 years is justified?  Probably not; I have a huge problem with mandatory minimums.  Do I think she was justified in firing a "warning shot"?  As a gun owner, I would have to say no.

      •  "there are no such thing sas warning shots" (4+ / 0-)

        let's take it back one step further

        by that reasoning you should never take out a weapon and point it at someone unless you are at that moment prepared to shoot and kill them, right?

        Because if you say pointing it at them does not represent a threat of imminent death and therefore should not be punished with the same punishment as pulling the trigger, then how in god's name can firing in a different direction be anything other than an attempt to warn the person who is not yet convinced of your willingness to shoot to kill by the fact that you point the gun at them.

        Unless you are prepared to argue that if you point the gun and they do not immediately do what you tell them you are justified in pulling the trigger because of fear for your life or fear that they might take your weapon away from you.

        In the Rodney King case, Stacy Coon ordered the other officers to put away their firearms and attempt to do a swarm on King because LA police policy specifically prohibited approaching a suspect with an unholstered firearm if at all possible because of the risk the suspect might obtain control of the firearm.

        I have had a firearm pointed at me.  I was in a store when a disturbance happened and the man behind the counter, AFTER the security guard had control over the person making a ruckus (in response to stupid remarks by the person behind the counter) pulled out of his back pocket a .25 caliber pistol with no safety and with his finger on the trigger, and he started swinging it back and forth.  By the logic of stand your ground I would have been totally within my rights if legally carrying to pull out my weapon and shoot him, would I not?

        There are a lot of problems with the Marissa Alexander case.  I would not rely solely on documents submitted by the prosecution when they are countered by statements offered by the person supposedly threatened by the weapon.  I was more threatened by the man behind the counter than the supposed victim was threatened by Alexander, according to his own statement.

        By the way, I asked the man if he knew what he was a doing and he - a man in his mid to late 50s, said "oh I was in the Army."  As a former Marine, I knew that no military firearms instructor would ever have permitted what he did.  I went out to the nearest policeman I could find to ask what the relevant law was.  He called his sergeant.  They called the watch commander.  As it turns out he did not need a license to have a firearm in the place of business (he was the manager) or in his home, although if he was transporting it in between without a permit he could be arrested.  The DA's office was not willing to prosecute him for reckless endangerment - with his finger on the trigger and waving that gun around he was endangering all of us at whom at any moment that gun was pointed, and without any reasonable cause to believe he was at risk or in need of defending himself.  The DA's office also told the cops to instruct him that he should make choice of whether he was going to have the gun at the store or at home, because if they had reason to stop him (such as, I suppose, seeing the outline of the gun in his back pocket) and found him carrying without a permit for that they would arrest him.

        I am not going to attempt to hijack your diary given my different attitude about who should be able to have what weapons under what circumstances.

        I am willing to suggest that if the moment one pulls a gun is justifiable and that it means that one is preparing to use deadly force, having an intermediate step such as firing a warning shot IF IT DOES NOT ENDANGER ANYONE ELSE is certainly preferable in my mind to immediately escalating to shoot to kill.  Note the words in caps.  I also recognize that most people are so tunnel-visioned they may not be aware of the dangers to which they are exposing others.  I am suggesting that to immediately escalate to attempting to kill represent a real problem in my mind.

        For the record -  at the distance the man was from me behind the counter I could have when he swung the gun widely to the side easily have stabbed him fatally had I  a knife that did not need to be unsheathed or unfolded.  I could just as easily have grabbed his arm - he was 3 feet away from me and the gun passed within 1 foot of my chest - but do so would have risked the gun going off and hitting someone else.  And yes, I thought about it and decided not to do it.  

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:04:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (9+ / 0-)
          by that reasoning you should never take out a weapon and point it at someone unless you are at that moment prepared to shoot and kill them, right?
          Correct.
          By the logic of stand your ground I would have been totally within my rights if legally carrying to pull out my weapon and shoot him, would I not?
          I'd need to know more about the situation, but if he fit the three major requirements (jeopardy, opportunity and ability) then I would say yes.

          Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

          by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:09:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  BINGO, TeacherKen: (10+ / 0-)
          by that reasoning you should never take out a weapon and point it at someone unless you are at that moment prepared to shoot and kill them, right?

          LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

          by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:20:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You never aim your weapon at anything unless (6+ / 0-)

          you are willing to shoot it and you never shoot anything unless you are willing to kill it. Regarding self defense, the intent isn't necessarily to kill but to stop the attack and since people who practice their marksmanship are typically taught to shoot center mass, (center mass presents itself as the largest target area), many such shooting incidents end up being fatal.

          Of course aiming your weapon at someone can deescalate things relatively quickly if there is enough distance between you and your would be assailant, which can give both parties the opportunity to think about the consequences of their future actions.

          You eat a lot of acid, Miller, back in the hippie days?

          by oldpunk on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:20:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A couple things. (5+ / 0-)

          1.  Yeah, your store clerk was using really bad technique.  While drawing the weapon was debateably justified, "swinging it back and forth" is not a good tactic.  Pointed at the ground until/unless a lawful target presents itself, yes.  Swinging, no.

          2.  Just because one is legally justified in pulling a gun does not require that it be fired.  If merely presenting a weapon stops the threat, that is where the response ends/is paused.  

          3.  "And yes, I thought about it and decided not to do it."  Good, because in that situation, you don't want to do anything that could be perceived as assisting the suspect, or being aggressive to the "victim".  

          4.  "...although if he was transporting it in between without a permit he could be arrested."  WTH?  In what state do you need a permit to simply transport a firearm between two lawful places?  Gross example of a stupid law.

          Your hate-mail will be graded.

          by PavePusher on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 03:34:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  while tranporting on a regular basis (0+ / 0-)

            he would be carrying a weapon he was not licensed to carry.

            Unless it were locked and unloaded, he would be in violation of the law.

            And trust me, this guy would not unload it nor lock it in his trunk.

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 04:10:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Trust you? Did you really say to trust you? (4+ / 0-)

              You think that pulling the trigger is such a minor thing that it can be done just to scare someone. THAT is grounds enough for me not to trust your opinions regarding guns.

              Which of these two is more likely to result in fewer flying bullets:
              A - Allowing people to shoot to prevent imminent grave bodily harm or death ALONE.
              B - Allowing people to shoot to prevent imminent grave bodily harm or death PLUS allowing people to shoot in order to scare people in the form of a "warning shot".

              Answer A = Pass, B = Fail.

              And you assume that he didn't have a virginia chp - a thing that shall be issued by default and only denied for cause.

              Now get yourself a song to sing, and sing it till you're done.

              by JayFromPA on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:41:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  oh, and it is not just bad technique (0+ / 0-)

            it was outright reckless and with his finger on the trigger represented a threat to everyone in the store

            I would have had every right to take action up to deadly force because what he did represented a threat to my life.

            What is scary is the number of people with guns who have no idea how to properly handle them - as is regularly demonstrated by the large number of gun fails we see.

            I am reminded that in Tucson, a legally licensed man came out of the store hearing the shooting and unholstered his weapon and was about to shoot the man he saw with the firearm when fortunately he realized that man had taken the gun away from the shooter.

            I can imagine a circumstance where an undercover officer pulls a weapon and some civilian pulls out a weapon in response and opens fire - maybe hitting the officer, more likely hitting other people.

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 04:14:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Forgot a scenario: (6+ / 0-)

      4. That she could escape through the garage, but she retrieved her firearm and decided to confront her husband, armed. <- Aggressor.

      Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

      by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 08:19:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ken - one of the big issues in this case (5+ / 0-)

      was that her shot was in the in the direction of the two minor children. That was a bad fact for Ms A. She might have had a better defense if she actually shot the husband.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 09:01:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site