We recently reported on a story that we feel needs some extra commentary because of how bizarre it is. An 81 year old Florida man defended himself against a burglar at about 9:15 in the morning with his .22 pistol. To give some backstory, the old timer doesn't know if he landed any shots, and what happened afterward deserves to be talked about in further detail.
If you'd like to read more about the story before proceeding, you may do so, here.
Back? Okay, so the burglar rang the doorbell and when there was no answer he went to get some gloves and break into the house and climb in through the window, only to be met with several rounds of .22 (lr? WMR? TCM? Unclear at this point.) zipping by him.
Before I proceed, let me say that I used to work for a company called US Law Shield. Maybe you've heard of them, maybe not. But essentially what they do is sort of like USCCA in that they cover you with attorneys if you ever use your firearm in self-defense. They put on gun-law seminars, and that's where I worked. One thing I remember the lawyer saying, that really struck home to me, is that every shot that leaves the barrel of your gun is owned by you.
He would then tell us what he meant, and it actually has something to do with the basic gun safety rule that says this: Know your target and what's around it. In other words, you shouldn't be firing your gun blindly, especially once the threat is over.
Why? Well, once that bullet leaves your gun, you've got no control over where it goes. Even a .22lr round can travel a long distance before it stops.
This old timer actually said in the 911 recording that he fired many shots (he doesn't know how many) and that he even fired at the burglar's truck as he fled. I hope it's obvious as to why that is bad, but we are a teaching blog, so I'll lay it out: He had tunnel vision and had no idea who was around his target as it sped away.
In fact, if you listen to the recording, provided below, you'll hear that the old man is not in the right frame of mind and can barely hold a conversation or describe what the burglar looked like.
Anyway, back to the bullets … were there innocent bystanders hanging out on the street? Kids riding their bikes? Moms walking their baby in the stroller? Catch my drift? Don't forget that it was 9:15 am. There are a lot of people around at that point of the day.
Keep this in mind going forward, because it's important. Even if you're justified in self-defense, every bullet has your name on it once it leaves the barrel. If it strikes someone else, that's on you.
That's not the only mistake the old-timer made, however. In his 911 call he said something else that could seriously jam him up in court.
Remember a minute ago I said I used to work for US Law Shield? Something that one of the lawyers, Mike Giaramita always said, was to lawyer up and shut up. In fact, he stated that, if you remember nothing else, this is the most important takeaway from the seminar … Why? Because talking to anyone can bite you in the rear.
This old man is on a 911 recording saying things like: I should have killed that sumb!tch. That could be used against him in a court–even in a future case, if the man ever does kill someone in self-defense. He's also on record stating that he shot at the vehicle as it was moving away from him. Again, not a good scenario.
So, like my good friend, Mike, I'll say this: If you take away nothing else from this, lawyer up and shut up! It could save your arse one day. You know what, scratch that, you also need to remember that you own every shot that leaves your barrel and to not fire blindly at things, hoping to kill that person, while you may accidentally hurt someone else.
What are your thoughts? Am I way off base on this? Let me know, in the comments below.
Oh, and while I've got you here and mentioned USCCA and US Law Shield …