Dear Fellow Survivalist;
Any time we are in a situation where we are forced to defend ourselves, we are actually forced to defend ourselves twice. The first time is against the bad guys and the second is against the good guys. As I mentioned last week, the legal defense we must give for our actions can be even harder than the physical defense against attack.
In reality, the switchover from defending ourselves physically to defending ourselves legally must happen instantly, as soon as the shooting ends and the smoke clears. Everything we do from that point on, is going to affect our legal defense; and we’re only going to get one chance to get it right.
This starts with holstering our gun, so that we are not a threat to anyone. Most of the people there won’t be sure what happened and will be highly susceptible to the power of suggestion. If they turn around and see you standing there with a gun, they may just assume that you were the bad guy and so were also the one who started all the shooting. Holstering your gun demonstrates in a visible way that you are a good guy.
The next thing to do is check to see if anyone is hurt. One of your shots may have gone wild or one of the criminal’s shots. If there is anyone who is hurt, you want to know, so that when you call 9-1-1, you can tell them to send an ambulance.
This includes checking the bad guy you just put down. Chances are, you’ve already done that, as you probably didn’t holster your pistol until you were sure that they were no longer a threat. That probably even included kicking their gun away, just in case they were playing possum. Well, they may still be playing possum, so check to be sure.
I always want to be ready to render first-aid to anyone who needs it, including the guy I just had the shootout with. While I don’t always carry a first-aid kit with me, I try to as often as possible. At the worst, I’ve got one in the trunk of my car, which hopefully isn’t parked too far away.
Now it’s time for the hard part; calling the police. Don’t assume someone else has done this and don’t ask them to do it for you. If others called the police, that’s fine; but you want to call them too. This is your first opportunity to talk to them, after the shooting, and your first opportunity to make an impression. So you want to make sure you make the right one.
You absolutely don’t want to say anything like, “I just shot a man.” Okay, let’s get that clear. These are the police and they’re used to dealing with bad guys. Telling them that you just shot someone makes you sound like the bad guy. Rather, you want to tell them “My name is _____ . I have a concealed carry permit and I was just the victim of a crime.” You’ll also need to tell them that there was a shooting, without saying that you did it. If an ambulance is needed, say so. Finally, tell them where the crime happened. Don’t say anything more than that.
Let me warn you; they’re going to try and keep you on the phone, talking, trying to get as much information from you as they can. Don’t succumb to this tactic. Stay polite, but try to get off as quickly as you can. The less you say, the better.
If you have concealed carry insurance, call their hot line next. This should put you in direct contact with a lawyer or someone else on their legal staff. You want to be talking to them when the police arrive, as they will help keep you from having to talk to the police. You absolutely don’t want to talk to the police when they arrive. You’ll have to do it sometime; but you want to wait until you are settled down, have a clear head, have your legal counsel there and have had time to think through what had happened.
Remember the line from the Miranda Rights, which reads, “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”? Have you ever noticed that there is no opposite to that in that list of rights? In other words, while anything you say will be used against you, nothing you can say will be used in your favor. Put more simply you can’t talk yourself out of it.
Maybe you’re the hero of the hour. If so, let others tell the police that; don’t try to tell them yourself. Be patient, allow them to do their jobs and keep your mouth shut. It’s easy to talk yourself into jail, even when you’ve done the right thing.
Eventually, you’ll have to be interviewed by the police. They won’t be able to close the case without that. But by then, your attorney will have prepped you for the interview, helping you get your story straight and having thought through the questions they are most likely to ask you. You will need to be prepared, because unless they are already totally convinced that you’re the good guy, they will be trying to trip you up and get you to admit to doing something wrong, like shooting too quick. Sadly, being prepared to defend yourself from the good guys has become just as important as being able to defend yourself from the bad guys. Just one more way we need to be ready; just like keeping your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.