One of the most common questions asked in my CCW classes is, “When do you know to shoot or not to shoot?” This is a critical question when it comes to using a gun for self defense. If you make the wrong decision you could spend time in jail.
A Case In Point
It was a warm July evening when Kenny was sitting at a a red light. Traffic was moderate with cars in front, to the back and at side of him. He was in the curb lane when a young man with a gun approached him. Demanding his wallet, Kenny followed his direction and handed it over. The young man then shot Kenny. His wound was not life threatening and he was able to drive himself to the hospital. Kenny was armed but felt it would be better to handover the wallet instead of pulling his gun. As a result he sustained a gun shot wound.
The law states that you must “fear for your life” before using lethal force. Anytime a person points a gun at you, your life could be threatened. We have no way of knowing what the gun wheeling perpetrator has in mind. You have very little time, in most cases, to decide on what action to take. It is, in many cases, a split second decision.
Stress and Behavior
No matter what the race, nationality or sex, everyone exhibits the same behaviors when under stress. Here are a few examples:
– eyes are searching/scanning the environment
– moving and unable to sit still
– unable to focus
– hand may be shaking
– voice will quiver
These are just a few observable behaviors people exhibit when under stress. If you pay attention you will be able to pickup on those who are stressed. Now look to see why they may be experiencing stress. Does the situation seem out of context for the individual to be stressed.
I am not suggesting that you analyze the perpetrator to determine what he/she is going to do next. Your gut instinct must take over in a critical situation to guide your actions. Hesitation in one case my be the best move. However, it may cost you your life in another.
Train Like Your Life Depends On It
Tactical training helps develop quick and accurate decisions that need to be made in critical situations. Many people obtain their CCW permit and feel that is all they need. Some of these individuals will fail to act appropriately when confronted with the decision of “To shoot or not to shoot.” Tactical scenarios simulate actual life and death encounters. They teach the student to read the situation and quickly take action.
If you carry a gun on a regular basis make sure you mentally and physically train yourself so you will know when “To shoot or not to shoot.”
It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.