27 August 2010

No Winners ...

Published story here. Of course this is just one side of the story and the facts may be materially different. Still given the facts as presented, it's an important lesson on when to brandish/shoot and when to escape.

Short version: Fine Upstanding Young Man "A" (FUYMA) purchases some beer at a convenience store. BadGuy "B" (BGB) accosts FUYMA striking said FUYMA in the head with a wrench and stealing the beer.

Fight over, BGB heads out with the booty. FUYMA retrieves a gun from is car and attempts to reclaim his purchase. FUYMA chases BGB behind store where BGB again attacks with the wrench. FUYMA shoots BGB in the chest.

End result: BGB is dead (please, limit your cheering to a golf clap... this story does not have a happy ending). FUYMA is up on 2nd degree murder charges. Note this is not a commentary on Arizona's constitutional carry law. Had he been carrying, constitutionally or via CCW and had he defended himself from BGB's during the initial attack with the wrench, the result could be very different. In this case he likely would be seen defending himself from an attack with a deadly weapon.

Unfortunately FUYMA wasn't carrying and instead had to retrieve the gun from his car and then restarted the fight. That makes him the bad guy. At best he has a long and expensive legal fight ahead and he escapes the legal process with his freedom. At worst he's looking at a long prison sentence and loss of civil rights. Not to mention the ruinous legal bills.

All training classes attended to date have stressed one lesson in particular. Even in the "cleanest" of shooting circumstances, you expose yourself to a horrendous legal fight and the bills that come with it. The conclusion of the lesson is "If you feel the need to pull your gun and potentially take the life of another, make sure that it's worth the cost of the fight." Generally, that means anytime either my life or my loved ones lives are threatened, it's game on. But my car, a parking spot? Not if I have a chance to escape. Clearly a twelve pack is not worth the trouble FUYMA has bought into. Not saying I agree with it, but that is the legal system we have today. Good luck man...

Now contrast that Gary & Linda Haas' encounter with prison escapees Tracy Province, John McCluskey and accomplice Casslyn Welch. A few days after escaping from prison, they tired of sleeping in the car and decided to seek out a camping trailer. They approached Gary & Linda at a rest stop and according to one report, Disarmed them. They ordered the Hass' into the trailer, then shot and killed them from outside.

I've tried to imagine how this encounter took place (IOW, this is my wild imagination and these speculations should not be confused with fact). Suspect it started with "the interview" as Joe Huffman calls it: small talk, where do you come from, nice trailer, great to be out, etc. During which time chief bad guy( CBG) closely observes Mr. Haas. The Haas' in condition white or maybe yellow doesn't recognize the interview for what it is and plays his role of the good neighbor. Then CBG pulls his gun continuing the conversation "please place your hands on the table, and oh I noticed a bulge there at 4 O'Clock. My partner will please check that out. They probably didn't have a clue their lives were in danger until the gun barrel was in their faces.

Now disarmed, the Haas' options are limited. Complying only bought them a few minutes. In this case when faced with a professional bad guy who limited the time from "cheerful friend" to "Grim reaper" to less than human reaction time. They didn't have much of a chance.

Seems to me best case scenario is to fail the interview. Next best is the scene from "Inglorious Bastards" "I've had a pistol pointed at your testicles since you sat down." Of course that scene didn't turn out so well either.

This may well be the Kobayashi Maru (no-win) scenario for carriers. Still I prefer my chances armed and observant...


PS.. Disclaimer... I am not an attorney so this isn't legal advice. Rather this is a layman applying lessons learned with 20/20 hindsight. I wish FUYMA the best and shed no tears for BGB.

PPS.. The prison system has a lot of questions to answer WRT the escape and why they were in that prison. These are some really bad characters who should be a maximum strength pen, but instead are housed in a medium security private dormitory with dubious "security". And now two innocents are dead, could have been five!

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