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  • Robert Farago

Could You Shoot Someone?

The statistics say no

Last August, Adam Simjee and his girlfriend Mikayla Paulus (above) were driving through Talladega National Forest. Ignoring TLC’s advice, the college students were searching for Instagram-worthy waterfalls.

The sightseers were waved down by Yasmine Marie Hider. Ms. Hider claimed she needed a jump-start. Mr. Simjee and Ms. Paulus stepped out of their car to help.

Ms. Hider pulled out a gun, aimed it at the couple and ordered them into the woods.

Once away from the road, Ms. Hider demanded the University of Central Florida students’ credit and debit cards and personal identification numbers.

Mr. Simjee pulled out his own pistol and told Ms. Hider to drop her weapon. Ms. Hider opened fire, shooting Mr. Simjee.

Mr. Simjee fired back, hitting Ms. Hider four times. Ms. Hider survived. Mr. Simjee did not.

Mr. Simjee was exercising his natural, civil and Constitutionally-protected right to armed self-defense when he drew his gun and told his assailant to stand down.

In doing so, he violated a hotly debated “rule” of armed self-defense: if you draw your gun shoot! Easier said than done?

According to On Killing, fewer than 20 percent of U.S. troops fired their weapons in combat during World War II.

What are the odds that the average American facing an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death – the legal framework for deadly force – can aim a gun at someone and pull the trigger?

In 2021, William English of Georgetown University surveyed sixteen thousand gun owners. Of the thirty-percent who reported a defensive gun use, just over 80 percent said they never fired a shot.

The respondents who deployed their firearm in a self-defense situation were successful. No one was injured. The threat stopped.

So why do so many gun guys say “if you draw your gun, shoot”?

They believe you should only draw your gun when a threat of grievous bodily harm or death is in the process of happening. At which point you should shoot.

That’s a strategically valid, legally defensible position. But again, the stats indicate that the majority of armed Americans – perhaps people in general – are incapable of the second part of the process. For good reason?

Killing someone, even someone who’s threatening your life, even after watching hundreds of thousands of justified shootings on video, requires a certain type of resolve.

You must be willing to face the moral, legal and psychological consequences. And the instinctive possibility that, like Mr. Simjee, you won’t be successful. The deeply-held suspicion that pulling the trigger will escalate the situation, extinction resulting.

Gun control advocates like to paint armed Americans as trigger-happy Dirty Harry wannabes. Truth be told, gun owners – perhaps people in general – aren’t hard-wired to kill.

It’s a question gun owners need contemplate: can you live with the aftermath of shooting another human being? The potential psychological trauma, social ostracism, legal expense and media attention.

To my mind, if you’re not prepared to pull the trigger, don’t have a trigger to pull.

Simple compliance may be enough. If you’re not willing to take that chance or want a plan B, there are non-lethal self-defense weapons (e.g., TASER, mace, blinding flashlight).

In an assault, rape attempt or robbery, an unarmed or non-lethally armed person might end up wishing they had a ballistic solution. Or the other way ‘round.

Either way, consider - and be prepared to live with - the potential consequences of your self-defense choices, or lack thereof. Before it’s too late.

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