Despite being nominally peaceful the modern world can seem a dangerous place. Sometimes the danger is real, real enough to warrant the use of deadly force in response. Previously I have written about this rare but adrenaline charged scenario from a legal standpoint. Today Marc J. Victor offers excellent legal education for those who may be confronted with a self-defense shooting. He offers five observations based on his decades as a defense attorney:

First, do not talk to the police. I’ve said this time and time again. You have a right to remain silent – remain silent. I would expand on this point by saying not to talk to anyone except your attorney. Friends, relatives, neighbors, and the media can all be called as witnesses against you based on what you told them and how they remember it. I disagree with Victor on only one issue – 911.

911 is a government service, an extension of the police. Do not call 911 yourself. The exception is only if you created the situation that lead to the shooting incident (which, by itself, may not preclude innocence in the shooting). One has a legal and a moral duty to report such circumstances. These are rare. The thug who tried to carjack you (whom you shot) created the problem. You merely rendered yourself aid, solving the problem.

If the shooting ocurrs away from your home, leave reporting to witnesses. Odds are they will dial 911. If there is nobody around but you and the body(S), consider the matter over and leave. Speak to no one except perhaps an attorney or a priest. We are surrounded by cameras these days. If the police learn about you via a recording, let the recording serve as the witness. It should later serve as your defense in court; your attorney can narrate it. You say nothing.

If the shooting happens at your home, then your neighbors will likely call 911. Let them. Say nothing. If you have no neighbors or if hours pass without the police arriving, consider the matter over. Maybe invest in a good shovel.

The rest of Victor’s analysis centers on the failed American “justice” system, reasonableness, and perception. These are important to consider prior to a shooting and critical when talking to a lawyer. Read his examples and exceptions.

After a shooting or even absent one the police may come calling on you for your gun(s). They may be looking for other valuables as well. If it’s not the government, it may be ordinary criminals. In addition to not speaking to them or consenting to their expedition you may also want to make their searches difficult if not completely futile. If you don’t want it discovered, hide it.

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