"Would you shoot?"
On another forum, someone presented a fairly common tactical scenario:
"You're in a small store making a purchase, and through the window you see a crazoid raving that he's going to kill everyone he sees, and then he pulls out a gun. You have your carry weapon at hand. At what point will you fire?"
I guess I got influenced by Massad Ayoob's "In Gravest Extreme" early. I've always been aware of the backlash even the most justified shooting can create. My plan has always been to avoid pulling the gun if at all possible. It's at least partially my fault if I get into a situation where it might be necessary, and in the case of an ordinary mugger, the $100 or so in my wallet is a bargain compared to a lawyer and time lost from work. So grabbing steel and playing hero has never been something I've planned to do if I could avoid it.
From the situation given, the guy hasn't actually shot anyone yet, so in my state I'd be making new friends at the prison if I fired. I would have to wait for him to actually shoot someone before I'm on stable legal ground. Then my state has a law that *requires* me as a citizen to use any level of force, including deadly force, to stop murder, rape, or arson. So I'm legally obliged to tangle with a shooter, even if he's not an immediate threat to *me*. And I'll still wind up getting close and personal with the police and court system, no matter how justified or what kind of video the store's cameras get.
Maybe I'm sour due to the news in the last few weeks, but I just made a decision. In view of the local law, not an entirely lawful one should I be caught. But my sudden insight is that every single one of that shooter's potential victims made a choice NOT to have a gun, and I'll be damned if I'll stick my happy parts in the meat grinder to come to their rescue. To hell with them; I'll slide out the back door and away. "NINE PEOPLE KILLED BY CRAZED GUNMAN!" Aw, "the news is sad today, oh boy..."
They made their choice. Let them suffer for it. I'm not playing.