Armed Self Defense in Wisconsin

Here’s a video from John Correia over at Armed Self Defense (they have a new website, so new it still has greeked text in places! No doubt they’ll fix it. On the downside, the new site has broken all the old ASP links). John talks not about the legalities of the situation, but about the tactical decision making by the defender. Most of the decisions are good, in that the defender and the bystanders didn’t get shot or dead, but as always there are lessons to be learnt from what he did wrong as well as what he did right.

Note that he got something tyro hunters are warned against: “buck fever!” In this case he didn’t have a nice eight-pointer in his sights (they always grow a few points when you miss or don’t get the shot off, don’t they?) but a guy who could have actually killed him. John has other videos where things don’t end well for the licensee or undercover cop when the criminal has the drop on him.

We never draw a pistol without hearing Paul Poole’s voice: “Bwaw-haw-haw! Dumbass dry-fired in a firefight! Bwaw-haw-haw, you’re daid!” This guy didn’t end up “daid,” but if the criminal had been less of a bozo than the usual run of his ilk, he might have been. One begins to see the appeal of safetyless Glocks. (Well, we’re on the side of the angels with a decocker-only DA/SA. And yeah, that means doing lots of controlled pair drills DA first).

At 3:28 in the video, John is explaining that Our Hero is monkeying with his safety, but also, look where he is, where his attention is, and where the robber is. Are there two robbers?! He’s face down in the mechanics of the gun — people, that old military thing of handling the gun blindfolded, assembling it inside a laundry bag, etc. is not hazing but valuable training — while the guy who pushed up the adjacent aisle is behind him at his approximate 7 o’clock. Meanwhile, one guy is in front of him, off camera to our right (defender’s left). It was a near run thing. 

He did well to holster his sidearm after firing (no doubt, police are responding, and you do not want to have it in your hand when they arrive). His decision to follow the criminal towards the door was arguable, but we call it a mistake. A robber, confronted by armed force, is not coming back. He’s running, and probably in soiled pants. Remember, chasing these guys is not your problem. It’s why Officer Friendly gets the big bucks (hah). When the bad guy bolts, your mission, to protect your, your family’s and (maybe) others’ lives, is complete.

The criminal here made some really bad decisions (apart from the obvious one of being a criminal). The first is trying to take on, solo, a group of people in a broken-up space, with multiple entrances, exits, and points of cover and concealment. Probably not the first time this Wealth Redistribution Technician has done that. (In our limited experience, robbers tend to pick one kind of venue to rob — banks, groceries, sandwich shops, small-time dope dealers, convenience stores — and stick to it until their Robin Hood life gets harshed by the agents of the Sheriff of Nottingham, or wherever). Every time this brain-dead robs a place like this he’s rolling the dice that there won’t be a guy like this carrier in here — math that was encouraged by Wisconsin’s former no-carry laws — and this time the dice came up snake eyes.

This case is also interesting because this was the first defensive gun use by a licensed carrier since Wisconsin left the dwindling ranks of no-carry states a couple of years ago. (It was the last holdout, apart from Illinois (since issuing) and DC, although there are still states like New Jersey and some jurisdictions in New York, California and Massachusetts that treat may-issue as de facto no-issue).

7 thoughts on “Armed Self Defense in Wisconsin

  1. Haxor Angmark

    in Mexifornia, with its completely Talmudic legal system, a White person-with-gun would be most unwise to interfere with any such Victim of Society….particularly if said VOS is Black, Brown, or Muslim

  2. Tom Stone

    De Facto Non Issue here in Sonoma County CA.
    81 applied for carry permits last year out of a population of 300K and change.
    7 were granted.
    Five reserve cops, two Judges (One retired).
    Very few bother applying because the Sheriff has made it abundantly clear that he sees an armed populace as a threat to good order.

  3. John Distai

    I appreciate when you post things like this. I wasn’t there, so I accept that my comments are Monday morning quarterbacking.

    Something that strikes me a bit odd about the video is the seeming lack of concern and desire to escape amongst the other patrons. Was the cashier or anyone else’s life truly in danger? Of course having a gun pointed at you is considered “in danger” and a “threat”. But there is no massive flock scattering. Perhaps the guy is telling everyone to stay put? What is the read on the robber’s emotional state, other than in a hurry to get the money and leave?

    From the video, it looked like the robber wanted the money, and the cashier was obliging. Not being in the situation, it wasn’t clear if things were escalating beyond “give me the money and I’ll leave”. Due to this, I don’t know that it was in the CCW carrier’s best interest to advance and engage. Advancing to better observe and protect the cashier is understandable, as long as he was prepared to engage.

    Engaging without being fully prepared was bad enough. But to fire as the guy was running? He’s fleeing, so is he still a threat? My assumption is that missed shot is still his responsibility, so if he hit an innocent walking into the store, I assume the repercussions are now his. He does not have the same protections that municipal employees have, unless he’s an off duty officer. Not worth the risk, in my opinion.

    Perhaps it’s time I bought the “Law of Self Defense”, which will probably answer all my questions.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I highly recommend the book, and I expect that Andrew would analyze both the decision to “re-engage” as John puts it, and the shots, much as you did. Shots at a fleeting perp are especially problematical, because the way the law works is that self defense is possible only as long as the threat is present; if the threat withdraws, pursuit risks flipping the legal burden of “who is the aggressor and who the defender.” Cases have turned on that, and guys who went from defense to pursuit when their blood was up have gone to crowbar motel as a result.

      I suspect the guy overrated his own skills, and, I still like my description of his firearm problem (probably, as John notes, an applied safety) as “buck fever.” We know from experience in the military that everybody could do better his first time under fire no matter how much training he has. Next time the shock is substantially reduced and performance is higher.

      If the perp fired at the defender, as he may have done (video’s unclear), he should have bought himself more time upstate, but it;s hard to say. WI has some extremely touchy-feely judges and it’s amazing how many judges think armed robbery is no big deal, when every robbery hinges on a stated or implied threat of murder and a high percentage of murders are what even the homicide cops call “a robbery gone bad” when it’s really just one of a robber’s planned outcomes.

  4. Gray

    In a similar situation a better course of action would be to carefully fade from the immediate area, move towards the rear exit (while maintaining SA for being followed or stand-off guys) and once out and safe, call 911.

    There are only poor outcomes for LWEO’s in good shootings nowadays, and much worse for civilians.

    The code has turned Napoleonic regardless of the facts. It’s been 25 years since Rodney was arrested, and almost 25 years since the President of the United States, on national media, promised the rioters that He would drop the full weight of the U.S. DoJ upon the scalps of those rotten cops who were found not-guilty by a jury of their peers.

  5. Docduracoat

    Robber fleeing with gun in hand is a threat to everyone
    He could turn and fire at any time
    He could shoot anyone in his way
    You could argue that you were justified in shooting while he is still close
    You cannot pursue him once he has fled

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