Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.
- Ep. 1 Should I Shoot? When Lethal Force Can Be Used
- Ep. 2 Should I Shoot? Why You Need a Lawyer Now
- Ep. 3 Should I Shoot? ‘What Gun Should I Get?’
- Ep. 4 Should I Shoot? Probable Cause
- Ep. 5 Should I Shoot? What If the Crook has a Gun Pointed at the Clerk?
- Ep. 6 Should I Shoot? What Gun Should I Get Part II
- Ep. 7 Should I Shoot? The Fleeing Suspect And the Good (But Dead) Samaritan
You just topped off your tank and now you need something cold to drink for the ride home. While you are in the back of the gas station pondering what will quench your thirst, you hear someone yell, “Give me the money!” At first, you think it might be on TV, but you quickly realize the store is being robbed.
You are carrying concealed and have to make a split-second decision to intervene on the clerk’s behalf or be a good witness for the responding police. Your most basic instinctual response is to want to help. You could draw your weapon and order the suspect to drop his weapon (if seen) and to lay down on the floor with his hands on his head. We’ve seen this on TV and in movies, so it must work, right?
Food for Thought
The store is being robbed, not you. They have insurance and hopefully a really good camera system to capture the suspect’s image for law enforcement to make a case when he’s caught.
For this argument, let’s say the crook has demanded the cash from the register and has a small pistol in his hand. The clerk is following the company policy of opening the register and getting the cash out. Can you legally use deadly force to protect another from great bodily injury or death? The crook has a gun pointed at the clerk who he’s ordering to hurry up and fill the sack with the cash. This is happening in milliseconds … what to do?
You stay hidden, watching everything you see and hear. The crook exits the store, jumps into a car and drives away. No one is hurt. You, the clerk and the cameras have a great suspect and car description.
Let’s say you go with the option to draw your weapon and try to stop the crime in progress. Now the crook has a decision to make — comply or fight his way out.
I use this while responding to radio calls and you should be using it when you plan for everyday life. What if the crook is part of a team? After all, crabs run in pairs and crooks run in bunches. What, you didn’t notice the layoff guy in the back corner looking at the sunflower seeds? He’s the guy whose job it is to shoot anyone in the back who tries to be a hero and stop the robbery.
What if there is an off-duty police officer in the store that’s being a good witness when you pop out with your gun? Are you really friend or foe? What if you have your wife or child with you and the shooting starts because the crook is a two-striker and has no desire to go back to prison for life? After the shots start flying, who knows where all those bullets are going to go?
There are lots of “what if?” questions here. Hopefully, while hiding behind the candy display, this isn’t the first time you’ve thought about what you are going to do if caught in the middle of a robbery.
Train hard and constantly think about the “what if?” questions and how you will respond. It might not work as you planned, but at least you have a plan, have thought about options and aren’t making it up on the fly.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.