Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What to do and say after the brown stuff hits the fan -- if you survive

Suppose the worst happens and you have to shoot somebody to protect your own life or the lives of your loved ones -- or even a complete stranger you see in deadly peril.

What then? What should you do, what should you say and how should you say it? And when should you shut up? The first thing you should do is dial 911 on your cell phone and report the incident to the authorities.

Even if no shots are fired, if you have to draw your concealed weapon, you should call 911 to report the incident. If you don't, you can bet the would-be robber who changed his mind is dialing 911 as he runs away, screaming some madman just pulled a gun on him! Police assume the first caller to report an incident is the victim, so if you don't call, you could be suddenly surrounded by police demanding that you drop your weapon and surrender. Call first.

Here's some good advice from an article by K.L. Jamison in Concealed Carry Report.

The first words out of the caller’s mouth should be the location of the incident. If the battery then dies, or the minutes run out, or some other technological catastrophe occurs the authorities will know that something of interest is at that location, and the caller’s cell phone records can prove that he or she made the call. The next statement is the caller’s name.

The core of the 911 call consists of three sentences:
“He tried to kill me.”
“I was never so scared in my life.”
“Send an ambulance.”

The first sentence serves to introduce the roles of the parties, the caller is the victim, the other person the attacker. Being in reasonable fear of life or limb is a prerequisite to acting in self-defense. The phrase “I was never so scared…” is to preclude the prosecutor from claiming that the citizen never said he was scared “until he talked to a lawyer.”

The phrase “Send an ambulance” says that the caller does not want anyone to die.
When the police arrive, they will want a more elaborate statement; this should consist only of:

1. He attacked me.
2. I will sign a complaint.
3. There is the evidence.
And if you can't manage to say anything else to police or when calling 911, say "I was in fear for my life!"

If you have any trouble after that explaining the situation, fall back on a one-word vocabulary, "Lawyer!" You can get in a lot of trouble by saying too much or too little, but it will never hurt to shut up and say "Lawyer!"

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