Friday, December 11, 2009

To Publicly Kill an Intruder

My barber sent me the link to the video below. It contains a news broadcast of a woman who shot an intruder while on the line with a 911 operator.

Here are some of my observations on the event:
  1. Those who say that you don't need a gun when you can dial 911 need to hear this call. The woman dialed 911 AND she had a shotgun. If the police had arrived before the intruder had broken into the house, then she would not have needed the firearm (in this instance). No matter how good your local police are, there will be a time lag: you punch in 911 . . . operator picks up . . . you ask for police . . . operator asks scripted questions . . . you insist your life is in danger . . . operator dispatches an officer . . . officer(s) travel whatever distance to your location . . . officers call for coroner. The question is whether they will call the coroner for you or for the orc who tried to break in.
  2. The 911 call provides a permanent, first-person record of the incident. This can work for the woman or against her. The pluses: a) the call shows that she did make an effort toward a resolution that did not involve her using lethal force, and she flatly stated that she did not want to kill the man; b) the call provides documentation of her actions and state of mind [e.g., she retrieved the gun only after the level of threat escalated; she verbally affirmed that she feared for her safety]. The minuses: a) the call records that she refused to lock herself in the bathroom (could be important in a civil suit brought against her by the orc's family); b) the woman shows immediate remorse for shooting the intruder (could also be used in a civil suit as evidence that she knew that shooting the orc was wrong)
Lessons? Even with good intentions and pure motives, you can incriminate yourself -- at least in the eyes of a sly attorney.

That means it might be wise to think ahead about what you or other family members may say to a 911 operator in a potentially lethal situation. Remember that anything you say will be used against you.

Disclaimer: This blog does not in any way purport to give legal advice or counsel. If you need legal advice, you should seek the counsel of a competent attorney.


Stephen Boyd said...

Wow! That was very sobering. Thanks so much for sharing it!

That's a big motivation to discuss scenarios with family members.

Gravelbelly said...

You're most welcome, Stephen.

Randall Gerard said...

she did exactly right. better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6.

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