Decisiveness Matters In A Deadly Force Situation

By Sheriff Jim Wilson, Shooting Illustrated

I recently saw a post on social media in which a guy was explaining that you should just reason with a person who has just committed a home invasion by breaking into your house. At first I thought it was a joke—and I really hope that it was.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I am all in favor of having discussions about current issues. I’ll even discuss with people who think totally opposite of me, if they can participate in a civil conversation. But, those conversations are best held when there is no violence or criminal activity occurring. That’s all a bit different from looking down the barrel of a home invader’s gun and asking about the events of the childhood that caused them to turn to criminal activity. In my past, I have looked down gun barrels and I have counseled people about their conduct—but never at the same time.

When deadly violence is thrust upon you, you must act and you must act quickly. The level of force that you bring to the situation depends upon the criminal(s). Obviously, we should be able to articulate why we thought deadly force was the proper response in a given situation. Was the attacker drunk and empty handed? Was it an angry family member? Were death threats made? Was the aggressor clearly armed with a weapon that could cause serious injury or death?

The answers to these questions will dictate how we respond and with what level of force. All of which should seem pretty obvious. However, the kicker is that you have to make these evaluations in a fraction of a second. That’s the tough part. It helps if you have given the whole thing some thought ahead of time. Ask yourself, “What am I being faced with and what is the proper response?”

But, above all, you must be prepared to act and act right now when the situation calls for it. Save the philosophizing for in the morning down at the coffee shop. There is a time to talk and a time to act—it’s a real mistake to get the two mixed up. In fact, the results can be fatal—for you.

Thanks to Shooting Illustrated for this post. Click here to visit

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