Ep. 29 Should I Shoot? Are You Afraid to Shoot Because of Media Backlash?


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.

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

A Chicago police officer was nearly beaten to death while responding to a vehicle collision. She stated in an interview from her hospital bed that, before she lost consciousness, she thought she was going to die but didn’t want to shoot the unarmed assailant for fear of the backlash it would bring.

The will to survive has been trumped by, “What will it look like on the news?” to the point where an officer would rather get killed than deal with the fallout from saving his or her own life. If this doesn’t make your head spin and your stomach turn, let me add this to the discussion: What if you or your loved one were the one being beaten to death and the police officers on scene let you die so they wouldn’t have to deal with the media, department review and possible criminal charges for doing their job? You starting to get that sick-to-your-stomach feeling yet?

I’ve written at length about when you can legally defend yourself with deadly force, so I won’t do so again. What I will remind you is, regardless of what the news has decided to make a priority, your right to self-defense still exists. With the way law enforcement is being scrutinized, you had better be prepared to defend yourself and family since the cops who show up might be thinking more about liability than saving you. I’m still a law enforcement trainer and the guys and gals coming up now are receiving the best training in the Western world; what we can’t control is their mindset and actions. So I’ll stand by my statement that you need to be prepared to defend yourself and family.

Civilians Too

A recent conversation with a friend who has a concealed carry permit took a turn to the butt-chewing when he mentioned he wasn’t carrying that much because of the same fears mentioned above. When I got done ripping him a new one, he told me I was right and he had to remember why he chose to go through all the hoops and training to get the permit in the first place.

We can’t give up on defending ourselves because it’s not popular with today’s biased media. The old macho adage, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by six” could be classified as tough-guy talk, but it is true at least to some degree. If you give up your right and ability to self-defense, there is a good chance of being carried by six of your closest friends.

Keep your training current and your head on a swivel. Avoid confrontations and go about your business in a polite, professional manner. Please don’t leave your gun at home; it’s no use to you back in the safe.

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Onthe Wall November 18, 2016, 11:59 am

    My grandfather used to say ‘IT’S BETTER TO BE JUDGED BY 12 THAN CARRIED BY 6’. Empty the gun in to them you’ll still be alive.

  • MagnumOpUS November 18, 2016, 9:10 am

    In the act of protecting my family, myself or perhaps another individual, I will be more concerned about shot placement than ‘media backlash’!

    What a silly headline!

  • CJ November 18, 2016, 7:22 am

    Media Backlash!!??
    I should hope for such a payday.

  • Bisley November 18, 2016, 6:58 am

    The one, and only, thing to consider before using deadly force is whether you have a reasonable fear of being killed, or severely injured. It’s too late to reconsider after you’ve been shot, stabbed, beaten, etc., and are unable to protect yourself. The woman cop needs to be fired — if she’s too stupid to defend herself, she’s in the wrong job. Whatever sort of hell might come from shooting an attacker is better than being killed, or crippled.

    • Ron Stidham November 18, 2016, 11:38 am

      As far as protecting myself and or family, their is no question. I have lived my life tiring to be a good man, I have done some stupid things when I was younger, some I am still disgraced by. But not when it comes to my family or my self. When approaching a confrontation that I have no knowledge of, that’s when things get a little weird. You don’t know who, or was has happened, and to respond in helping either person will be a tricky decision. Now as for the female officer, she should be released of her duties! Not reprimanded. What is the good of a LE, if they wont protect themselves form harm, you and I may not either if this media control is their biggest concern. Be alert, use common sense, stay alive.

  • billybob November 14, 2016, 11:55 pm

    Engage only if your LIFE or Family is in danger ! KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ! DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE afterward !
    Try to back away beforehand ! If you have time state you are in FEAR for YOUR LIFE ! If you call the police tell them there has been a shooting and an ambulance is needed, & the address (nothing more ) ! Everything you say is recorded ! Get the names of any witnesses & phone numbers ! Most witnesses don\’t want to get involved or take weeks off from work !
    Next call your attorney ! Tell the police your attorney has advised you not to talk til you have met with him/her !
    You will need at least $25,000.00 to pay to get him/her started !

    • billybob November 15, 2016, 12:09 am

      1. Call 911
      2. Officer this person attacked me, I will sign the complaint,
      3. Officer here is the evidence (knife, gun, ball bat, whatever).
      4. Officer these are the witnesses.
      5. Officer you will have my full cooperation in 24 hrs after I see my attorney.May 13, 2013
      10 things you should NEVER do after a self defense shootingWhen it comes to armed self defense, it\’s usually not the shooting itself that trips you up legally. More often than not, it\’s what you do afterward that gets you in hot water.Here are 10 things you should avoid after using your gun in self defense. Never …Call 911 in a panic. No matter how tough you are, your body and brain will be a mess after you pull the trigger and see a body lying on your living room floor. Take a moment to breath deeply, calm down, and get your thoughts in order before you call authorities. Consider learning 4-square breathing to relax.Leave the scene. Unless you\’re in danger, stay put. You may feel an overwhelming need to seek out friends or family or run away, but don\’t. That could be misinterpreted as fleeing the scene which could give the appearance of guilt.Move or tamper with evidence. It\’s natural to want to \”tidy up,\” especially if you\’re in your home. This is unwise. Touch nothing. If there are others nearby, make sure they do the same.Have your gun in your hand when the police arrive. Police will be responding to a \”man with a gun\” or \”shots fired\” call and won\’t know who\’s the good guy and who\’s the bad guy. They will view anyone holding a gun as a threat and will deal with you as such. In short, reholster your gun or set it down if you don\’t want to get shot.Make a statement to police before you talk to your lawyer. Police have a job to do and you need to be cooperative, but you don\’t want to say too much because anything you say will be used against you. What should you say? There are many opinions on this, but here is one formulation:My gun is laying over there, and that is the gun that I used to shoot my attacker in self defense because I feared for my life. I do not want to say anything else until I have had time to talk to my attorney. I want to cooperate with the investigation completely, but I\’m very upset right now and I need to talk to my attorney first. I hope you understand.Fall for good cop bad cop. You think you\’re too smart to fall for this routine, but you\’re not. You\’ll be upset and you\’ll want to talk, especially to anyone who appears sympathetic. Law enforcement officers are not necessarily your enemy, but they\’re not your friend either. Shut up. Talk to your lawyer before you make any statement to police.Try your case on the spot. Police have more than one way to get you to talk. Aside from good cop bad cop, they might challenge your use of lethal force. You\’ll want to argue your case, but don\’t. Again, shut up. You\’re not a lawyer and you\’re not in a courtroom, not yet anyway.Lecture police on the law or your rights. One of the worst things you can do is get belligerent or act superior. Police are human beings and will react like anyone else if you challenge their authority, belittle their intelligence, or talk down to them. No matter what police say, even if they say or do something you believe to be incorrect, this isn\’t the time to get into a debate.Fail to use the word \”sir.\” Most police are good, decent people who have a difficult job. Treat them with respect. Phrases such as \”yes sir\” and \”no sir\” will go a long way toward showing responding officers that you are the respectable, upstanding citizen you know yourself to be.Be surprised if you\’re treated like a criminal. It\’s best to assume that you will be handcuffed, placed prone on the ground, locked in the back of a cruiser, or even jailed. It takes time to sort out the truth of any shooting, and police are likely to do any or all of these things. Don\’t take it personally. Don\’t resist or argue. Cooperate fully and just let it all happen. Of course, if you\’re a member of Second Call Defense, you\’ll have immediate help to sort things out. But even if you\’re not, take it all in stride.

    • frank sheets November 18, 2016, 9:58 am

      Best advice I ever read

  • Will Drider November 14, 2016, 11:21 pm

    I’ve addressed this specific officers decision and impacts at other articles/Posts. My followup to her actions would be to fire the Officer as this was clearly a deliberate duty failure to act IAW training and policy. I do hope she recovers.

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