Greg Ellifritz, whom we've met in these pages on numerous occasions, has some vitally important advice for civilian firearms carriers in the face of street and gang shooting incidents in public.
I’ve received several emails similar to this one lately.“Let’s say I’m at a place of business or some other public place and a scuffle breaks out resulting in shots fired such as at Polaris this week or another mall last week or in front of a bar last night. Last night, 15 shots were fired. Being armed competently what should I do? What would you do?”
I’m going to answer this one simply and directly. You off-duty cops and legally armed citizens have exactly one role in this situation: Make sure you and your family/friends don’t get shot. That’s it. End of lesson.
When I hear shots nearby, I immediately get down on the ground or behind cover. I assess where the shots are coming from and I plan a path of retreat in the opposite direction, ideally moving between large pieces of cover as I make my escape. That’s it. There is absolutely nothing else you should do.
These are young thugs fighting other young thugs. These are gang bangers fighting other gang bangers. These are drunken idiots who decide to whip out a pistol when they are insulted. None of those situations involves you in any way, even if you are in danger of catching a stray round.
They don’t want to shoot you. The only way you will get hit is by accident. Don’t go looking for trouble. Don’t try to intervene. There is no “innocent third party” to protect. Let the dumbshits shoot each other. You don’t have to play their game.
. . .
Don’t involve yourself in this stupidity. It will only harm you in the long term. If you intervene, you will either get shot by the thugs, shot by the cops, sued by the person you shoot, or criminally arrested. If that doesn’t happen and you make a statement to the cops you take the chance of being hunted down by the arrested party’s crew at a future date before trial.
Say it again with me: “Not your people, not your problem.”
There's more at the link.
That's critical in today's violent urban environment. Don't inject yourself into the problem unless you absolutely have to - meaning, to defend yourself and/or your loved ones from others trying to harm you/them. I've seen and heard too many wannabe Rambo's asserting that they'd jump in to stop a bad guy . . . but they ignore the very real dangers in doing so. Even if they survive unhurt, and hit the "bad guy":
- What if he isn't the bad guy, but trying to defend himself? How do you know?
- What if your bullets hit an innocent bystander, either directly or by ricochet?
- What if the cops come running in response to a call, see you with a gun, and assume you're the bad guy? A "good guy" was shot and killed by cops doing just that, not so long ago.
- What if your name ends up in the headlines, and the bad guy's buddies decide that revenge is in order?
- What if you're summoned to give evidence, and the bad guy decides he doesn't want you testifying, and asks his buddies to make sure of that?
(And to those who say, "Oh, but what if you could stop a rape or an assault, but don't, and an innocent victim gets hurt?", I can only say: re-read what I said above. Perhaps you may find yourself in a position to do something good, something heroic, like that, without risking your family in the process - but remember the potential consequences, and make really sure you're ready to face them before you act. This isn't the frontier, and it isn't the jungle, both places where the rule of law is conspicuous by its absence. If you interject yourself into a situation where deadly force is in use, that force can kill you or your loved ones as easily as anyone else.)
The "Don't be a 'good witness'" is new to me but makes perfect sense.
During the training to get my carry permit, the instructor presented a story of an individual who intervened in an assault, only to shoot the wrong person. It turns out the other guy with a gun, who was shot, was only defending himself from the other person who had attacked him with a tire iron.
The lesson was to not interject yourself into other people's fights if they don't affect you.
Excellent points, especially about the "defense of others" actions.
In Indiana, self defense is generally based on whether a reasonable juror would believe that your actions wete necessary.
Defense of others requires that you be objectively correct in fact, not in belief from what you observe.
Here, if you shoot someone who was, in fact, defending themself from an attacker, you're done. Oops.
John in Indy
Remember the Vigilanties came about because there was no law enforcement. They were given a bad name, I think based on the accusation of targeting some innocents, but notice law and order only came after them.
I believe it is Brazil where people on mopeds and motorcycles are robbing people. I've seen video of cars driving by, random drivers, swerving over and running over the perps.
As rule of law breaks down we will see private associations form. TPTB will of course blacken their name.
The advice in the article is sound for our current conditions. TPTB are against private firearm ownership and really had moral use of force. Just be aware on our current trajectory we are heading for more Vigilantism, which maybe indistinguishable from gang behavior or behavior by warlords.
Agree 100%. Back when I worked at "Big City Medical Center", they had a "gun free zone policy" that would have fired me on the spot if I was caught carrying. I told my co-workers that I had a very bad attitude about that. If I was to hear "pop!pop!pop!" anywhere nearby, do NOT count on me for help. That I would vanish faster than a cartoon character in a puff of smoke. I AM GONE!!
Not necessarily supporting this but I read something in the comments on another blog. It said that if a woman is being attacked in a big city, the odds are that she has politically supported all of the woke liberal policies that brought about that situation, given how the female demographic generally votes. The commenter said they would not risk their lives or freedom in such a case.
My concealed carry weapons are to protect my family and myself, to get out alive of any situation where our lives are in danger.
In Texas we enjoy a lot of legal protections, but I still have self-defense insurance.
I would edit this slightly: don't get involved unless you are absolutely 100% certain what's going on and who the bad guy is. Gang wars - hell, let 'em kill each other. Not my circus, not my monkeys. On the other hand. consider the Greenwood Park Mall shooting last year. The gunman opened fire on innocent people and killed three before an armed bystander took him out. If that young fella had obeyed your advice, Peter, how many more would that gunman have killed before he was taken out by responding police?
@wolfwalker: That "young fella" was in the line of fire, along with his girlfriend. He acted in defense of her and himself, so he was doing only what he should. It wasn't as if he was somewhere safe, looking on.
If someone is shooting at me or mine, that is one situation and in that *specific* situation there are no rules; if someone is shooting at someone else my job is getting me and mine first, to cover, then as far away as possible at as close to the speed of light as possible.
RE: the Vigilante thing - you do not want to WXYZ with me, I will WXYZ you, your family, everyone who has ever heard of you and anyone who stands in my way, back in ways you and they cannot imagine, slowly, painfully and I will enjoy it immensely; "no rules" will be the understatement of the century. But I am not going to get in the middle of whatever is going on if it can be avoided.
RE: the Witness thing - I don't know anything, I didn't hear anything, I don't know anyone who does know anything, I don't recall even being near there. Am I being detained or am I free to go, because I have an appointment at my lawyer's office and I don't want to be late.
I agree - and it's yet another reason to keep an eye on your surroundings.
- As has been mentioned before, sit where you can see incoming traffic.
- Keep an eye out for alternate exits
- Don't be afraid to leave early and "lose out" on the rest of your meal/ movie/ sporting event/ etc.
- Consider ahead the security of places and events you want to attend. For example, I used to occasionally go to concerts in the nearby big city. I decided the hassle of traffic, parking, security, etc wasn't worth it, so I switched to attending similar (sometimes the same group) in a smaller closer theater - with no security, free parking, minimal traffic, and which allowed CCW.
Me and mine. That simple. Society made it that way.
The mall? Why in the name of all that is holy would anyone be at a mall? Stay away from crowds. Rule number one in this case.
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