Legal or Not?

jbuck88

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During the construction of our house there was a tweaker that was shooting randomly towards our house. He was in the river valley about 200yds away. Our house sits in a sparse tree line, along with another house. It is clearly visible.

He was arrested and he was under the influence of Meth. He said he thought he seen a cougar.

If that happened today I do not know what I would do. My neighbor said he just fled, but if I shot back what would have happened to me? There is really no where to hide from a 7mm Rem.


What would you do?
 

shankster..

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Re: Legal or Not?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jbuck88</div><div class="ubbcode-body">During the construction of our house there was a tweaker that was shooting randomly towards our house. He was in the river valley about 200yds away. Our house sits in a sparse tree line, along with another house. It is clearly visible.

<span style="text-decoration: underline">He was arrested and he was under the influence of Meth. He said he thought he seen a cougar.</span>

If that happened today I do not know what I would do. My neighbor said he just fled, but if I shot back what would have happened to me? There is really no where to hide from a 7mm Rem.


<span style="font-weight: bold">What would you do? </span></div></div>


Buy one of these and run around your back yard like a video game:

show_image.php
 

gunnergirl81

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Re: Legal or Not?

Lethal force is always the last option. You will be raped in court if they can show you had a more reasonable option to flee, and chose to return fire. An incidental danger is not a clear threat.

Now, should you choose to yell a few obscene words at the dumbass and he points his weapon towards you? Different matter.

No matter what, be prepared to lose your weapon, and spend some serious money in court/attorney fees if you ever shoot someone.
 

KJMOC

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Re: Legal or Not?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Kenda</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Now, should you choose to yell a few obscene words at the dumbass and he points his weapon towards you? Different matter.

</div></div>
Articulate, articulate, articulate.
 

jbuck88

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Re: Legal or Not?

Sorry I have gotten use to texting so I have lost almost all ability to communicate effectively by this point.

I wasn't home when this happened. I received a frantic call from my neighbor telling me that someone is shooting at us. I was out of town so there was nothing I could do. He took of in his car, but the road runs along side the river valley where this guy was fishing. I came out to inspect what had happened the next day and didn't see any holes in my house, but my neighbor had one. I understand that he was just taking random shots towards the tree line in the direction of our house. However there is no trees between our houses and him.

I only ask now because I seen this guy was back out of jail and hanging around town again. He was arrested for this, but seeing him again made me think about what would happen if something like this happened again.
 

sirhrmechanic

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Re: Legal or Not?

The law enforcement standard, at least in our department, is described by the Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy standard.

There are some additional flavors which include Preclusion, but the AOJ standard is pretty widely-recognized.

I copied the text below from a Web site that enunciated AOJ pretty well and am reposting it. There are different ways of describing it, but this one is pretty good.

Ability

The other person in question has the power to cause you death or great bodily injury. The concept of death is pretty self-explanatory. But what of great bodily injury? This could be open to interpretation. It could mean losing a limb. It could mean paralysis. It could mean any kind of harm that might possibly affect your physical abilities until the end of your life: crippling physical injury. Weapons are certainly a great equalizer and can come into play here. Disparity of force is also an important consideration: what if you were unevenly matched against the threat? Examples of this might include: a bigger and stronger person versus a smaller and weaker person, multiple attackers versus one individual, a man versus a woman, a skilled martial arts practitioner versus an unskilled opponent, an able-bodied individual versus one who has physical disabilities, an adult versus a child, etc.

Opportunity

Does the other person have the opportunity to maim or kill you at this very moment? How far away is he or she? Are there obstacles in the way of this person doing you harm? It is important whether the other person is armed or not, as well. Obviously, if someone has produced a firearm and is within sight of you, this certainly presents a good opportunity for them to harm you. If that person is wielding a knife or other improvised weapon and they are 50 meters away, it’s not justifiable to gun them down! However, if this person is an able-bodied adult within 21 feet of you, he or she can cover that distance within about 1.5 seconds. That changes the game considerably! You must use common sense and observe the pertinent environmental variables.

Jeopardy

This means the threat is immediate. The totality of the situation indicates to you that you or a third party is in grave danger, here and now. This is where reasonableness really comes into play. Perhaps this individual did not verbally indicate the intent for facilitating your early demise, but was advancing toward you menacingly in your home and with a weapon drawn. Do you stand there and wait for confirmation? Certainly not! Perhaps this individual does state the intention to kill you, and has the ability to do so, but no opportunity. This is important because the threat is not actually imminent. As soon as opportunity does exist, it can change to imminent danger in a heartbeat!


Keep in mind that your own jurisdiction, state, locality, State's Attorney, Law Enforcement Agencies, etc. will all have slightly different standards for how any standard is enforced or prosecuted and, like it or not, your local media will have a role as well. Nothing is cut and dried.

Soooo. the advice above that folks above have given you is generally good (well, except the cat suit... though that cracked me up!) Yell, call 911, flee if you can... etc. etc. etc.

To expand on a post above: If you shoot someone under virtually any circumstance, you will be arrested. You will go to court at least for an arraignment while decisions as to whether to charge you are made. You may end up in a trial. If the court decides not to prosecute you for criminal violations, some halfwit relative of the person you shot will turn up and sue you for violating their relative's rights... and if you leave the person paralyzed or badly injured... they will sue you eight ways from Sunday! And by the time they get to court, the perp will be all squeaky clean looking, wearing a suit and fresh from Baptism. No matter what, you will have huge legal fees, etc. even if you come out on the right side of things.

Remember that even an officer involved in a shooting gets put on leave and goes through the ringer. And is subject to the same civil suits, etc. It's not like TV!

Finally, I'm not an attorney, just a simple small-town LE. But I would say that self defense in an arms-length, alley-way or bedroom encounter can appear relatively clear cut under the AOJ standard. However, a long range engagement with high-powered rifles is going to be really, really hard to justify under any reasonable standard. I don't think it would go well for you or anyone else under those circumstances.

Just my $0.02... the usual caveats apply.

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

jbuck88

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Re: Legal or Not?

Thanks, what I was thinking too. Just figured I would throw it out there for discussion.
 

Maggot

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    Thats quite a bit more than .02 cents. Thats a million dollars of excellent advice.

    In virginia its called "the right to flee". Essentially, if you have any opportunity, you have the right to flee...even if someone is in your house, threatening you, if you have the opportunity to escape you are obligated to flee, rather than defend yourself. Only if you are cornered and in imminant danger for your life, do you have the right to use deadly force. Sucks, I know, but thats the law.

    Of course, Virginia being a "Gun State", that is open to interpretation, and usually interpreted in favor of the homeowner.
     

    Queequeg

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    Well written Sirhr!

    Obviously circumstances run the gamut of possibilities but I can certainly see the possibility of firing on someone shooting at or into my home.

    I do think under certain conditions, I would risk arrest and/or prosecution if my home came under sustained fire or that which I could see is about to occur and fire back (or before the shooter if possible!) if I could find the shooter.

    Not to preclude calling the police of course but I doubt I could live with myself if I let someone saw away at my family's shelter, while having the means to at least stop it, based purely on fear of subsequent arrest, prosecution or the opprobrium of the local news media and scumbag attorneys.

    Of course having the cojones to actually shoot at someone who is shooting at me is an open question!

    ETA:

    Florida has the Castle Doctrine
     

    jbuck88

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    WA has something close to the castle doctrine. Its more of a right to stand your ground. It pretty much says that we don't have to retreat first.

    Here we can defend our selves or someone else on their behalf if they are in danger.

    BUT

    Reading the RCW it also says we can defend our property from a felony being a committed upon it.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.16.050
     

    ArcticLight

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    jbuck - NOT in Kitsap County, Russ Hauge would throw you in prison in a heartbeat....

    He'd say "Please plead" and if you did not he would throw every possible law at you.

    Port Angeles is a bit more remote so maybe there but not here...

    PS got a brother up there in PA, need to come up that way and say Hi to everyone and see my brother...
     

    beretta989

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    If you have to ask it usually isn't. But there are shades of gray that can be on both sides at once. For instance If your kids had been outside playing and a round happen to hit one I'm pretty sure the court would see it in your favor.
     

    Shooter McGavin

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    I guess I am lucky. If someone was shooting towards my house at 200 yards they would be on my property and I would just be defending myself
    wink.gif
     

    bgbill

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jbuck88</div><div class="ubbcode-body">During the construction of our house there was a tweaker that was shooting randomly towards our house. He was in the river valley about 200yds away. Our house sits in a sparse tree line, along with another house. It is clearly visible.

    He was arrested and he was under the influence of Meth. He said he thought he seen a cougar.

    If that happened today I do not know what I would do. My neighbor said he just fled, but if I shot back what would have happened to me? There is really no where to hide from a 7mm Rem.


    What would you do? </div></div>

    If you shot and killed him from 200 yards away you most likely would be tried and convicted for murder.
     

    M25BeastShooter

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    Articulation is the key to any lethal force situation. As far as the range of the threat it is just based on the "expert" opinion of the situation. For example a NY liberal might believe with all his heart that shooting a "poor" criminal because he only has a knife is NEVER justified but any true expert will tell you that a threat with a knife at a distance of 15' is deadly force situation.

    So a threat firing at 200 yards with a 7mm mag or really any rifle is a deadly threat. The articulation comes in where; "I could not retreat as leaving my house would put me in an exposed position, the house offered no true cover as the bullets are capable of passing through the walls, I tried to contact the threat by yelling that there were people in the house to try to get the threat to stop. I fired at the threat after realizing that I feared for the safety and life of myself and family......
     

    rpk762

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    Just be sure to say I saw it also and only have shot him in the guts. You will want to have fired a few shots so you can say you missed.

    The best thing to do is call the cops and speak at his trial make sure he gets as much jail time as he can get. It will probably never happen again.

    Do not do this but shoot shovel and shutup.
     

    garey

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    Re: Legal or Not?

    For some inexplicable reason this brings to mind an East Texas friend's position on such matters: "when in doubt shoot it out". I would of course not condone such bahavior myself, but there it is.