I’ve never shot anyone in self-defense but my limited time in the military has made me cognizant of how to deal with wounded personnel — both adversaries and allies. It’s a part we often forget. After the act is committed, by us or someone else, there’s a person who is likely severely wounded but may still pose a risk. I wanted to write an article addressing some things I’ve thought of in consideration of this.
If you shot someone, it’s most likely because you perceived him as a threat. He’s still a threat.
The Threat Didn’t Disappear — It’s Neutralized
After you shot someone and he’s down, you need to stop. In the time it takes for police and ambulances to arrive, you’ve got time to assess your situation. That’s time you can use to treat a person for his wounds or secure your area.
As a civilian, if given the option, I would flee the scene. I know it sounds weird. After all, if you’re justified in your actions, there’s nothing to fear, right?
Well, I can’t be sure of that. And as much as I’d love to help out someone in distress — if I caused those wounds it’s likely because I had a damn good reason. That good reason didn’t vanish after I pulled the trigger.
My general philosophy: there are better-trained individuals out there who are in a much more neutral state to tend to a wounded attacker than me. Those people will be arriving shortly.
Just Because One Threat Is Down Doesn’t Mean There Couldn’t Be More
The immediate threat may have stopped, but there’s no saying if there could be more. Robbers and burglars like getaway drivers. Gangbangers tend to go in packs. I’m not making any assumptions that just because one was dumb enough to attack, there couldn’t be more.
Now is the time to get yourself and your family to safety. If you’re in your own home, that means barricading. You may need to stay with the wounded intruder to ensure he doesn’t get up. People can play opossum. If he’s still conscious, you can tell him to apply pressure to his wounds. If he’s not conscious, help will be arriving shortly.
If someone wants to administer first aid to him while he’s down, I can’t do anything to stop them physically. That would be impeding their movement. I can, however, ask them politely to leave him be until police arrive. A non-combatant between two combatants is a bad situation. If I can kick a weapon out of reach or make it harder for the downed threat to use a Good Samaritan to his advantage, I’d do that. But, mostly, I want to keep myself in a safe position so I can see who approaches or departs and, most importantly, be able to take cover.
The conclusion of all of this is that if I perceive someone to be a threat bad enough to warrant deadly force, I’m going to wait until trained medical help arrives to administer aid. If I get involved, all I do is leave myself open for the threat to re-emerge and do more damage.