Thanksgiving Day was a very enjoyable time for us. We hosted a traditional dinner of turkey, cranberries, stuffing, candied yams, mashed potatoes, and lots of pie. We also had a little excitement in our neighborhood. During dinner several local sheriff’s and Montana Highway patrol vehicles descended upon our subdivision. After a high speed chase, a criminal suspect was apprehended just down the street from our home. Here’s a link to a story describing the incident, http://www.krtv.com/story/30613183/man-arrested-after-leading-deputies-on-high-speed-chase-in-broadwater-county please read this short account so you will understand the points I’m about to make.
First I want to congratulate the law enforcement officers involved in this matter. They acted professionally and with the public’s interest in mind. I also commend the civilian who aided in this cretin’s apprehension. This incident ended without injury or loss of life and that is a really good thing.
Now I want to offer some analysis concerning civilians interceding in matters like this. As a firearm and personal defense instructor I feel it is important to give my insight in what could be a lethal force situation. I’m not criticizing the civilian’s actions, I’m only giving my opinion of what might be a different course of action. None of us know how we will react when faced with a potentially life-threatening situation, but with proper training, both physical and mental, we can improve the odds of surviving, hopefully uninjured.
The most important advice I give my students is to remember that the confrontation you always win is the one you never have. In other words, DON’T go looking for trouble. If you can avoid a confrontation, do so, but be sure that you aren’t moving into a more dangerous situation.
If you do find yourself involved in a confrontation with a criminal predator, try to maintain as much distance from the predator as you possibly and safely can. Use strong verbal warnings, keep them simple and direct them loudly at the potential assailant. If the criminal escalates the threat, you must respond with similar force; you can only use the amount of force necessary to stop the threat and that force must be commensurate with the severity of the threat. While it might seem to be a trite example, you can’t shoot someone for calling you bad names. If you are armed, remember, you are responsible for any and all bullets that you fire. Even though our Veep once suggested a couple of shotgun warning shots into the air, it is not a good practice to indiscriminately fire any gun. The projectiles will eventually come back to Earth and if someone is harmed, you will be held accountable. Finally, be aware that law enforcement will arrive on the scene and they will be in a heightened state of alert. They may not know you are the “good guy” so follow their instructions immediately and without complaint. The details can be sorted out later.
As law abiding citizens, most all of us would like to aid our police in any way that will help them catch criminals and reduce crime, but we are not trained law enforcement officers. We should offer whatever aid we can, but we must be very careful not to impede first responders, nor escalate an already dangerous situation. Do what you can to help, even if it is just staying out of the way.
Be safe and good shooting.