Brandishing A Gun Creates More Problems Than It Solves

How Brandishing A Gun Creates More Problems Than It Solves

If you’re one of the majority of people that have a semblance of empathy for your fellow man, you probably don’t want to shoot a person unless you absolutely have no choice. The problem is that bad guys don’t make that choice an easy one. In fact, the more ambiguous they are prior to the attack — such as pacing around or generally ‘acting sketchy’ — the more opportunity they have to assess you and determine whether or not they’re going to strike.

A good example is if you turn on Animal Planet or read National Geographic. Watch how predators act. They take their time selecting their prey. In situations like crocodiles on the plains of the Serengeti, they are in a target rich environment when the water buffalo migrate. Crocodiles still take their time waiting for the perfect time to strike.

The reason is simple: any animal that is attacked will attempt to defend itself. Any animal that is attacked and hurt will attempt to fight or flee.

It’s natural.

And predation is natural, too.

Unfortunately, in the human scope, our predators are capable of a lot more tricks up their sleeve. And us, as law-abiding citizens and gun owners, are forced into a predicament as to when it’s appropriate to defend ourselves.

Let’s take a recent example taken from a supposedly real life situation. This was posted on Reddit’s CCW sub by a user claiming he brandished his pistol in an attempt to stop a possible attack.

“White guy walked by, then came back and stepped around my SUV back corner and got very close to me and put his hand in his pocket. I had seen him through the car window acting weird and already had my hand in my pocket [on his pistol]. As soon as he stepped up, I pulled out my pistol.”

This was a situation that occurred on the outskirts of Detroit — a city known for its violence and armed robberies. The person describing the situation had every right to feel threatened by someone acting sketchy and then approaching him from an obtuse angle while he was parked at a gas station.

It’s a great example of someone brandishing a handgun to defend himself. The situation ended without any shots fired or injury. Both parties survived. No damage was done.

On the surface, this sounds like an ideal ending. With the best possible outcome being no harm coming to anyone, that’s pretty damn close to perfect. The guy waits until the possible attacker approaches and demonstrates enough intent to be perceived as a threat. He then draws his gun because, unless some major deviation happens, he’s going to need to use it to defend himself.

The suspect sees the gun and realizes his best chance of walking away unharmed is to turn around and walk away. Why would he do that?

If you shoot a bad guy in the back, you’re now the bad guy. It’s a really messed up game of reverse tag.

This is just the simple reality of law-abiding gun use. You have to be in the right. You have to perceive the threat and feel the threat is imminent and unavoidable and use that gun judiciously to defend your life.

In just about any other situation, though, such as a person intimidating another person in a parking lot or a potential hostile situation in a closed environment — like a parking deck — brandishing a gun only opens you up to civil and criminal liability.

Civil and criminal liability can be very expensive.

The basic rule of law-abiding gun carrying: pull your gun only if you absolutely intend to use it. Until you perceive the threat as a threat, leave that gun holstered.

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  • Van Phillips

    I can’t disagree with this articale. But, it fails to point out something else that is happening in the scene as it is set up. And, for me that is the biggest problem with people permitted to carry. What is that other bigger issue? Situational Awareness!

    The “bad” guy clearly was trying to catch the “good” guy unawware, as are those preditors in the wild. Did the pistol change the situation? Yes! But, had the driver lapsed for a few momnts, the pistol would not hve been avaliable in time and the result could have made the “good” guy a victom.

    We live in nteresting times, as the old saying goes. And, everyone (permited to carry or not) needs to remain alert to what is happening around them. Put, that smart phone away and pay attention to the actions in the real world and in real time.

  • I put my hand on my sidearm in my pocket if I become suspicious, just as I have seen police rest their hand on their open carry sidearm. If I had to point my sidearm at someone, someone is going to jail because I believe I have been threatened with death or grave injury. At that point, there is no longer any discretion under our State statutes. Either I would go to jail for pointing my firearm or they will go for assault or some other active felony.

  • Jim L

    I take the tack not pull it out unless I am going to use it. Situational awareness is key, but so is attitude. i can’t explain it, but if you look vulnerable, you’re more likely to be accosted. It’s how you walk, the expression/look on your face and in nature, even smell. You can’t display fear. Act like you own the joint.

  • Grimsinger

    Christ, the last thing I’d ever want to do is shoot somebody. I can’t think of a more nightmarish scenario. I will do anything NOT to. I wouldn’t pull my gun unless I was dead cwrtain I was going to use it. That being said, if I am truly in a situation where I belive I have absolutely no other option, I’ll have no reservation about putting a bullet in the other person. I practise constantky for that, and I think about it every time I put on my gun. If it comes down to me, my family or the life of an innocent, I wouldn’t think twice. Better to be judged by twelve than be carried by six.

  • TimOzzyCzernik

    So, you see someone being harassed, you ask if there’s a problem, the HARASSER… turns toward you.. steps toward you… do you “turn and try to get away”? I have VERY BAD KNEES, sometimes I have a challenge walking without a cane. I “THINK” IF I feel threatened.. I “SHOULD be clear to pull my pistol?

  • pointman_12

    don’t trust anyone…seen enough people get arrested with an already made up excuse ready to go…i would have drawn my gun too or at least made it look like i had something…action is faster than reaction…better to offend someone then get jacked…

  • Davein

    I don’t mean to be an armchair quarterback, but he should have been verbalizing loud commands as soon as he noticed the other guy acting sketchy: “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” ‘WHY ARE YOU HERE?” “STOP” “BACK AWAY” etc.