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When is it okay to shoot an unarmed attacker?

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Old 08-31-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
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Default When is it okay to shoot an unarmed attacker?

I live in a rough area due to disabilities. Thugs and gangs are rife in my neighborhood and surrounding areas. No matter how pretentious they are, they're still dangerous. They're always shooting and beating someone, hijacking vehicles, robbing stores, etc.

I have cancer, and I'm small stature and frail. I weigh in the lower 130's at 6 foot tall. If I was walking along outside and someone were to approach me and attempt to attack without a weapon, I'd rather just shoot than to fight. I wouldn't want to test how much of a beating I can take before I absolutely needed to shoot to save my life at the last moment. I do carry a can of pepper spray, but I have doubts of its ability to dissuade an attacker.

So my question is, at what point is it okay to shoot an unarmed attacker? Is it okay to shoot before they've made physical contact? How could you prove your case to the investigators? I realize that I should probably ask a lawyer these questions, but I can't afford consultation of that kind and I'm just looking for some broad input, especially from LEOs.

Last edited by meal4zombies; 08-31-2012 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:04 AM   #2
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This is not legal advise just my humble opinion. If you are afraid of great bodily harm or death shoot them. You can't wait until your ready to pass out and then decide, you won't be able and would probably already had your gun used on you.

As an edit, you just can't be sissy scared. I mean there has to be a real threat.

Last edited by kycol; 08-31-2012 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:22 AM   #3
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My strategy up until now is to give an audible warning, pepper spray if provoked with my off hand, keep my other hand near or on my gun.... but I'm not so sure if pepper spraying could strategically backfire somehow and leave a window for attack, or if I would even want to. I'm the minority here and I'm not so sure I'd even have the support of witnesses. People are constantly yelling out their windows at me calling me a cracker and all sorts of other names. I definitely don't fit in. My primary strategy is total avoidance. I may even get a button recorder for documentation purposes to serve as evidence.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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I would suggest moving. It sounds like a no win situation. The oc spray and gun idea isn't far off. I would suggest spray and then run. If they pursue you at that point, draw your sidearm. Judging about the area from your comments, if you have to use your gun expect to end up in jail and if you don't, plan on moving. The 'honkey' that shot treyvon took a beating first and it didn't turn out well for him.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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I agree with mountainman13. Get out of there, even if you have to break a lease. What you can do depends largely on state law. In South Carolina and in Indiana (the only states I have knowledge of), the requirement is that you fear for your life. That can be broadly interpreted, but in those 2 states it is reasonable to shoot if your attacker(s) have a great advantage over you in size and strength, which appears to be your case.
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Old 08-31-2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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WE ARE NOT LAWYERS- we had one or two, but questions from you guys sent them into catatonic shock- they just hide under the table and whimper.

Not legal advice- just advice. Shooting ANYBODY for ANY reason is going to be a a major legal, financial, and emotional event.

In GENERAL, the justification for the use of ANY deadly force is that you were in fear of death or serious bodily harm. That can come from an unarmed assailant, depending on ALL the circumstances. And no, we really can't play "what if" on this- there are way the hell too many ifs. Age, size, physical condition, number of persons, etc etc all come in to it.

I am going to close this one- before I have to pull postings from non-attorneys offering free legal advice. Which is worth every penny you pay for it.
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Old 08-31-2012, 03:33 PM   #7
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IMPO (In My Professional Opinion) and in my jurisdiction this MAY be a defensible situation. IF you can reasonably articulate that you were reasonably in fear for your life from a superior attacker, you might just walk. Objective Reasonablness is the standard. 6'0 130# and X years old faced with an openly hostile male 6'0 230# X-20 years AND a displayed intent (either verbally or by specific actions) to cause harm a decent attorney will win that case nearly everytime. You might still get arrested, but you will be alive to defend yourself in court.

All of this applies only in MY jurisdiction and does not take into account hundreds of variables like were you out at 0200 with a video camera inviting such an attack so you can shoot someone, ect.

In life, strive to take the high road....It offers a better field of fire.
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