You may have seen a 71-year-old Florida resident shoot two armed robbers in this self defense shooting video. But it is not likely you have read anything like my thoughts on what happened.
In the above video, two armed men enter an internet cafe in an obvious robbery attempt. One man is armed with a bat, while the second is armed with a handgun.
As the felons are trying to move the patrons, one of the customers draws his concealed pistol, closes the gap with one of the subjects and begins firing. The two criminals, both shot in this encounter, stumble over themselves fleeing from the business.
Robb does a pretty good job of hitting some of the points I was going to make, so please check out his post. However, I have a few more.
Shot placement matters…
Shooting someone in self defense will cause bleeding, which will lead to incapacitation…eventually. Both felons were shot: one in the arm, the other in the hip and butt. Both subjects might have bled to the point of incapacitation eventually, but not nearly fast enough to stop this fight.
Only when you hit vital organs are you likely to take someone out of the fight quick enough to reduce their ability to harm you and others.
Bring the biggest bang possible…
According to reports, our hero in this incident was carrying a .380 ACP handgun. I agree that a .380 ACP in the pocket is better than a .50 BMG in the safe. However, that doesn’t transform the .380 into a legendary manstopper. It just means you have something more effective than a stick.
I don’t care what theory of stopping power you might subscribe to because all of them show the .380 ACP as significantly weaker than other cartridges including the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Shot placement is more important than cartridge selection. All other things being equal though, shooting a felon with a more powerful cartridge in a vital area is more likely to rapidly incapacitate them.
Responding to multiple shootings in my “day job” has shown me that a .380 ACP is very spotty on its ability to penetrate deep enough to hit something that matters. Other cartridges, including the ones mentioned above, are significantly more reliable. Probably to most devastating handgun wounds I have come across are from the .357 Magnum.
Even when shot multiple times, the fight isn’t over…
There are a lot of sayings the make this point: anything worth shooting once is worth shooting twice, for example. Another is from the movie Zombieland:
In those moments when you’re not sure the undead are really “dead” dead, don’t get all stingy with your bullets.
Good advice when dealing with a walking corpse or with a felon intent on doing you harm. Unless the first shot you make hits the felon’s brain stem, it is unlikely that it will incapacitate him or her. That means you need to cause more bleeding to more rapidly induce incapacitation.
In this incident, both subjects were shot, but both were able to rapidly move and make their escape. They would have just as likely been able to point a gun and rapidly stroke the trigger. Just because you have shot an armed felon doesn’t mean the fight is over!
One of my favorite gunfighting quotes comes from Evan Marshall. Someone once asked Marshall how many times they should shoot in a gunfight. Marshall’s response:
Continue shooting until your sight picture is degraded by a lack of target.
Having enough ammunition is important…
Going hand-in-hand with shooting until the threat is stopped is have enough ammo to get the job done. A lot of people carry a five-shot revolver or a six-shot pistol and figure that is “good enough.” In many cases it may be. But, it would not have been in this incident had either of these subjects decided to stay and fight.
Do you carry an extra magazine or a speed strip of additional ammo? If not, why not? Convenience?
Neither subject was incapacitated in this incident, but the hero either ran dry or was about to when the encounter ended. Had the perps attacked instead of running off, I’m not sure the citizen had enough ammo to continue the battle. He may have had a second magazine, but the odds are he did not.
I most frequently carry a Glock 19 with a spare magazine or a second gun. Having a second mag or second gun allows me to stay in the fight should the first gun run dry. Does that make me paranoid? I don’t think so. I just want to make sure I have enough felon repellant to go around.
This ain’t Hollywood…
Does this encounter look anything like a Hollywood movie? Nope.
Combat, whether military or self defense, is rarely ever accurately portrayed in the movies. Yet, many of us have watched so many movies that those unrealistic situations have become part of what we think we know.
Realistic training is the key to success. Spending a week with Massad Ayoob or at Gunsite will really open your eyes to the realities of combat. Learning “on the job” has a poor success rate. It is much better to prepare.
Don’t do stupid things…
I once heard Michael Bane say that you can avoid most problems by following this simple mantra:
Don’t do stupid things, in stupid places, with stupid people.
Bane’s absolutely right. I’ve seen in replay daily in my career as a police officer. Most people would never need the police if they merely followed Bane’s advice. And, I think this whole thing could have been avoided had Bane’s rule been followed.
Obviously, had the suspects not done stupid things, they would have avoided being shot. But, I think the hero in this could have avoided the problem as well.
These internet cafes in Florida are quasi-legal gambling operations that deal mainly in cash. They operate in the gray areas of the law, which can mean they are located in less-respectable, higher-crime areas and might be a little slower than other business to report suspicious people and activities. Everyone knows they deal in cash, which would seem to be the preferred booty of the common street thug.
The internet cafe would seem to qualify as a stupid place. I would argue that gambling, generally, is a stupid activity. However, it is something you can stay at home and do if you so desired. Sure, he had a “right” to be there, just as he has a “right” to hang out on a sidewalk in Crip territory wearing Klan a robe.
Or, if you must go out to gamble, there are a number of places to legally do so in Florida. Sure, they are less convenient, but at least they are above board and not likely to require your use of a firearm. Problem avoidance is the best method of winning a fight.