Shooting unarmed persons, will it be justified?
BY: Nick Torre III • Dec 18, 2019
Picture this: Ay wag na pala (Never mind). Just watch this video of a cop being clobbered by five persons:
In one segment, he was sitting in the pavement explaining something in front of the camera when suddenly, the assailants began to lynch him again. He was armed but unfortunately, the gun was reportedly wrested away from him. So, for us gun holders, what shall we do if the same situation happens to us?
First off: I am not a lawyer but I have discussed this with lawyers (and prosecutors actually who attended the recently concluded Prosecutors League of the Philippines Convention in Tacloban City) and I noticed that even among lawyers, there were differing opinions on this matter. So here is what I will do if that happens to me.
First and foremost, one good thing for us gun holders in the aftermath of this incident is that we have a very good case study to draw our actions from. So for me, right at the very start of the confrontation, I will run to where there are CCTVs. Hahaha! If you are familiar with the area where the confrontation happens, then this would not be a problem. As this incident succinctly demonstrated, video footages are the incontrovertible witnesses! So the advice is to be familiar with the CCTV camera locations in areas you frequently visit.
Second and the most important question: Can you justify shooting the UNARMED attackers? I will let my lawyer defend me in court later, but here is what I will tell him in my affidavit.
- The situation is me against five persons. I had already retreated (I went to an area with CCTV, is it not?) and still they chased me. So I have no other recourse but to defend myself.
- If they close the gap, they may be able to wrest my gun away from me. And as the case of the cop showed, they can and they will and God knows what will happen if they take my gun away! The cop was just lucky that his own gun did not kill him but I would not bet my life on it to find out what will be the end result if that happens to me!
- So I fired on the nearest attacker after he refused to stop approaching me. I aimed at his legs but he ducked so he was hit in the chest instead (*wink*wink*). I thought of including this part because I talked to a prosecutor who asked me why not shoot to disable and not shoot to kill! I cannot blame her for that question because she is neither a shooter nor a gun owner thus she does not know the challenge of hitting a small moving target like the arms and legs! But back to my reasoning. After I fired at the nearest person, I expected the others to run and retreat, but seeing their comrade down, they simultaneously attacked me leaving me with no other recourse but to fire more shots.
There, in a nutshell, is my affidavit. There will be questions on it, yes. Lawyers will always have other opinions but hey, I will prefer to defend myself in court than be at the center of a wake.
In the end, preparation will always be the key in successfully defending yourself. As gun holders, the law on the use of lethal force must always be clear on us. To prepare, the answer to a very vital question must be thought of beforehand: in what scenario will I most likely use this gun? The answer to this question will vary from person to person. As I had discussed in a previous article in surveillance detection, we all have different circumstances thus, our danger areas and scenarios are unique to each of us. Find this danger area and picture out the most likely scenario. For most of us, the danger is physical attack and harm in our chokepoints.
If we see somebody holding a gun in our chokepoint waiting for us, shall we pull out our gun and engage him or shall we ram him with our car? Here is the footage of an actual assassination of a cop in Novaliches to help you decide on your answer:
If somebody pulls up alongside our car in a highway and pulls out a gun, shall we steer away or shall we drive towards him and ram him? Here is the story of the attempted assassination on a lawyer and the aftermath of his actions:
There will be other scenarios for each of us and the internet is full of resources from the experiences of others. It will not hurt if we check it from time to time and prepare our response of that actually happens to us. Remember, you will have no more time to think about your action is a crisis situation. Most likely, instincts will take over thus these instincts must be conditioned beforehand to ensure that it will be legally tenable later on.
Stay safe everyone!