Most people assume that in the case of a self defense shooting, their problem ends with the shooting. An armed citizen buys a pistol, trains himself in its use, obtains a transport permit, is attacked, defends himself and survives. It is quite reasonable to assume that that cycle ended. Unfortunately, this is not the case, a new cycle begins in which people begin to separate the actions of citizens and decide using the benefits of hindsight and the comfort of what a person did instantly and under the stress of a lethal encounter. The police, possibly the prosecutor, the judge and a jury will decide the fate of the citizen. As tools they will use the actions of the armed citizen before, during and after the incident.
Many people, myself included, earn a living studying and teaching the art and science of what actions to take before and during a self defense encounter. A person is not even legally allowed to become an armed citizen unless they can show that they live up to the standards imposed on them. They must be sane, accountable, free from felony convictions, and, furthermore, may not have committed even certain minor offenses. The proper tactics to use in a shootout are also well documented. Anyone with five dollars can buy a book or magazine that discusses tactics and strategies to help them survive a shooting. What is not so well known is what actions to take after a self defense shot. What should a citizen do to reinforce that what he did was justifiable? A citizen may feel that he was threatened and had no choice but to fight with deadly force, but if the police, the district attorney, and the media decide otherwise, the upstanding citizen is now a suspect and possibly a convicted person. felon.
The Tennessee state firearm permitting course discusses an acronym CAPS to describe what actions a person should take after being involved in a shooting. I will not only describe the acronym here, I will add some of my own thoughts and how I got to them.
Call the police
You did nothing wrong. You were attacked. The attacked people call the police. The culprits hide their actions from the police. The prisons are filled with people who saw no witnesses and left the scene, only to be described later in the trial as a guilty person who ruthlessly shot an innocent civilian and then fled the scene. Running equals guilt in our legal system. If this is not enough, let’s look at another common theme of the justice system. It is that the first man who complains is right; the other is wrong. If you were involved in a shooting and then called the police, and while online with the dispatcher, a friend of the attacker called the police, he seems innocent, he has already made a report, he has already asked the police. help. Imagine that you did not call, that someone reported you as a murderer and the police found you carrying a pistol that matched the bullets of a dead man.
Help the injured (yourself and others)
Justified self-defense means that someone tried to kill you. Bullets, broken bottles, baseball bats or bowie knives were used against him. After the smoke clears, you will see if you are okay. Also, as you are a decent human being, you will ensure that all innocent bystanders are not injured. The next thing you are going to do after calling the police and performing the other CAPS functions is to help your attacker with first aid. You are going to do this because you are a decent human being who does not want to hurt anyone, you do not want to kill people. You were attacked and you defended yourself. Now that the fight is over, you have returned to being filled with peace and love. Now you’re not going to run up to a drugged street thug holding a knife in his hand and he’ll curse you at the top of his lungs. You will not do anything to put your own safety at risk. However, if you can do it safely, you should try to help all the injured.
Put your gun in a safe place
Now imagine the next scene, you have been attacked, there has been a shooting. The police have been called. You are covered in the blood of your attacker, because you just finished bandaging his wounds. You are standing waiting for the police; your gun is in your hand so you can turn it over to the police when they arrive on the scene. Do you know how the police would see the same? A police officer and his partner have just returned from a domestic dispute, haven’t had lunch, and both know they have a couple of hours left to write the report, when they receive a call from the dispatch about a shooting a few blocks down. . Not much shipping information yet. They turned on the lights and sirens. Their bodies get a burst of adrenaline and their minds start racing with the possibilities. They arrive on the scene to see a wild-eyed man with bloody hands and a large black pistol. They see a man on the ground, and once again their eyes are focused on that man standing there with that big black pistol.
Police are trained to react to the sight of a gun, and they will.
Put your weapon back in its holster, do not make sudden movements when the police arrive and, above all, do what they tell you. The time to make acquisitions for abuse is after you are cleared of all charges.
Secure the scene
Have you seen the movie “Con-Air”? Nicolas Cage was found guilty of killing a man with his bare hands. At the scene of the fight, three guys attacked him because they don’t like soldiers, they like his wife, and they are generally unpleasant people. One of them also took out a razor. Nicolas Cage, being the hero of the movie, and being an Army Ranger fresh out of Desert Storm, killed him. One of the attackers took the dead man’s knife and ran away. Does anyone think that an unarmed war hero, attacked by three knife-wielding men, would be convicted of murder? Not if there was evidence of a weapon. Gang members have been known to take tests. If it’s safe and you can do it without substantially altering the crime scene, make sure your attacker’s gun is present, the police will need it to clear it up.
Besides the acronym CAPS, here are two other thoughts of mine, which might be helpful in case you have to use deadly force to protect your life:
No matter what your friend’s cousin said, never, under any circumstances, try to mislead the police by adding, removing, or moving evidence. If you ever shoot someone outside your home and drag the body inside, the only thing that will happen is that my friends who work for the Tennessee Department of Correction will feed them their lunch every day for the next 20 years. The same applies to shooting a thief and putting a kitchen knife in his hand. Have you ever watched the CSI TV show? It may not be the most accurate description of a crime lab, but it is based on the fact that there are such things as forensic scientists. Cops are not stupid. They can deduce that the knife in the dead man’s hand is the same type of knife in the butcher’s block in their kitchen, and that that block is missing the exact type of knife in the thief’s hand. Combine that with the kitchen behind where the evidence says you were when you shot the guy, and the police will soon find out that the dead guy in your living room couldn’t have the knife in hand. If that happens, you are in a world of pain.
Never lie to the police. Everything you say will be written down and verified. If you lie and they find it, you will look guilty. If you appear guilty, you will be charged. If charges are filed against you and you appear guilty, it is not an effort of the imagination that you will be found guilty. The problem with this arises if you realize that if you appear to have lied to the police, they will assume you are lying. Many physiological changes occur in your body in response to dealing with someone who is trying to kill you. One of these things is called cognitive dissent. Without going into great detail, this basically means that the brain distances itself from things that it thinks are not important to its survival. Important things sometimes seem unimportant, while trivial things can seem extremely important. This results in him saying things in the scene that he later realizes are inaccurate. The reason for the Fifth Amendment is that you don’t incriminate yourself by saying such things.
Anyone who has seen a police program knows that “pleading the fifth” is the same as saying “I am guilty of sin.” How does one person juggle all of this? You cannot lie to the police, you have to cooperate, everything you say is going to be used against you, and when you enter you know that everything you say at the scene has a strong chance of being wrong. One of those solutions is to say something like “Officer, I want to cooperate, I am the one who called you, but before I speak with you, I would like to see a doctor, I am not feeling very well.” Remember CAPS, help the injured. You have just been in a deadly force encounter. Remember all those physiological changes that I mentioned briefly. It is perfectly normal to want a doctor to explain them to you. The time it takes to get examined is probably all the time it takes to get an attorney to protect your rights.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that in the event that you are in a situation of lethal force, your training is what will get you through, but it is your actions and lifestyle before and after that will keep you out of legal trouble. . Never give up.