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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At what point does a hostile group of people become " a threat of serious injury or death" if there is no weapon present?

I live in Sandy, Ut . For those of you who don't know, sandy is a wealthier part of SLC. Well the area is filled with " my daddy has money, so I can do what I want" types of kids. Well the other day me and my friends went for a drive and ran into a bunch of these guys just up the street from my friends house. Just driving by this group of guys got about 6 yelling come fight and several yelling f*** you. We did not say anything or even look at these guys until they started yelling. As wierd as this sounds, it happens alot in the age 17-24 crowd around these neighborhoods.

My main question is, if we had been on a walk where there was no quick way to leave the scene, at what point would this have been a serious threat? There were around 15 guys in the drive way, and I had only 3 with me. It may sound like a stupid question, but these confrontations happen rather often sometimes.

Thanks

Keith
 

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First off, I am not a lawyer. Disclaimer duly given.

One thing that I would have done in the situation you described, is call the police and file a report of threatening gang behavior. The police should be aware of what's going on. I believe in the right to self-defense, but that doesn't mean that I don't believe in calling the police to bring criminal behavior to their attention.

If someone does wind up drawing & shooting in self-defense, a history of complaints to the police about this gang will help in the claim of self-defense.

It is difficult to answer your real question. A gang of thugs, even unarmed, can cause grave bodily injury or death. You have to apply the standard of what would a reasonable person do when confronted with such a threat. If you wind up shooting in self-defense, get a lawyer before blabbing it all to the police.

And count on the rich daddy to try to crucify you in court.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You gotta use your head when you carry. If you see a mob like that, avoid it. If you have to turn on your heels and run, then run. Do the "beat feet boogie".
Because if you get in and things get frisky, someone could die. So don't be acting cavalier about it.
Now if you do get tangled... you only draw when the fight is lost. If you have to take a beating, then take it. Because kids being stupid isn't worth killing them. You don't want to do that because no matter what happens, you are goign to be branded as the badguy.
If you are down on the ground and things get really ugly - then you have to do what you have to do... but pick your target carefully because you are goign to have to be able to articulate exactly why you shot who you shot.
If you get into something liek that, and you draw - you will go to jail.
So please, use your head, plan ahead, and avoid the trouble.

It's like martial arts, the one with the most training is the one that doesnt' have to use it.

You carry a weapon capable of taking lives... it's a huge responsibility. You gotta use your head.

Disengage, break contact, call for support. In the case of a mob - call 911 and let them deal with it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help guys. My Uncle always tells me "sometimes you have to learn to loose." This isn't a situation where I would have drawn and I have a good head on my shoulders when it comes to these situations. Although being new to carrying, it always helps to get others opinions. I don't think any of them are stupid enough to use a weapon, but like I said having 10 or more people can be just as harmful.

I appreciate the help and hope to here more opinions.

Thank You

Keith
 

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I am not a lawyer.......I am personally strongly infavor of Mad Ogres comments regarding retreat--saving face is not my concern. However, I have never understood how to apply the idea, which i have heard from others before, that I might need to take a beating to avoid a gundraw. I am not a big dude--a couple of hits from a larger or multiple opponents might knock me out--which could cause me to lose control of my weapon--or hit my head on the pavement in such a way as to cause stroke or death. If you are large or multiple opponents who continue to advance on me while I am retreating and begging for no problems, you present an immediate threat to me. My thought in this type of situation --if I could not avoid it and had previously called the police for help with their threats as suggested--is that I would try to maintain a 7 meter perimeter and would draw if this is breached as I am retreating. In the case of neighborhood rich kids, I would probably give a solid draw to the ready with my command to stop. Someone who still advances on a person drawn to the ready either has evil intent or is crazy or on drugs and unpredictable.
stay safe.
al
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree, that is a good point. Whether or not there is a weapon, several people can cause death. Is it against the law to expose your weapon in the scenario you discribed above? If you called the police and described the situation, is it possible for them to get you in trouble?

Thanks in advance
 

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I dont know is the short answer. I assume that what I do in honest action to defend my life would end up ok for me--although charges may be filed for brandishing or making a terroristic threat. Even if the situation played out as I said, and the group retreated, I would be the first person on the phone telling the police that I just drew on a group of thugs to defend my life so that the first call they got was not somebody saying that some gun-nut is threatening kids for no reason.
I know some people advocate never drawing until you are actually going to fire, but I have felt that there can be a pause if the situation allows. I would like to think that I would rest easy knowing that I did what I had to to save my life and accept the consequences, but I did go too far.

al
 

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IANAL, so take it for what it's worth.

Barchetta02 said:
Is it against the law to expose your weapon in the scenario you discribed above?
Just off the top of my head here -- and someone with Pancho's Gun Laws II handy correct me if I'm wrong -- DON'T threaten with your gun just to scare them off. IIRC the law only allows you to draw when you believe that there's imminent danger of bodily harm.

iampacking said:
I know some people advocate never drawing until you are actually going to fire
The rule of thumb that I remember is only draw when you're justified in pulling the trigger. You're then in a position to judge the situation. Any punk with a shred of self-preservation will high-tail it before you can say anything. Those intent on combat won't, and you'll have to make that split-second decision.

I study the Renaissance war arts, and know how fast a person can close in on you and strike with a weapon. It really is a split-second decision.

Oh... and be careful about pre-emptively calling the police. Call your lawer first.
 

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Barchetta02 said:
Whether or not there is a weapon,
There is always a weapon, be it fist, boot, or bazooka.

Numbers simply increase the lethality.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good advice. Thanks. That was what I was needing to have answered. I know you cannot draw to intimidate someone or use as a scare tactic. I needed to know if you could draw when threatened in such a manner.

Thanks to all who replied.

Keith
 

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I thought I would resurrect this thread in order to ask a further question: what do I do if I retreat/run away, they follow and I don't have a chance to call 911? Should I hunker down behind a wall, pull the piece (locked and ready to rock), state my intentions in no uncertain terms ('if you don't back off RIGHT NOW!I'm gonna start firing!') and then pray for the sanity to come back to them? Is there any other sort of recourse?
 

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The Scourge said:
I thought I would resurrect this thread in order to ask a further question: what do I do if I retreat/run away, they follow and I don't have a chance to call 911? Should I hunker down behind a wall, pull the piece (locked and ready to rock), state my intentions in no uncertain terms ('if you don't back off RIGHT NOW!I'm gonna start firing!') and then pray for the sanity to come back to them? Is there any other sort of recourse?
IANAL...If you have done everything within your power to disengage, to leave, to extract yourself from the situation, you are justified in taking the appropriate amount of force to eliminate the threat. That being said, the choice of when or at what point you make a decision of deadly force rests solely upon your shoulders. Any group of persons, men or women, who could cause you sever bodily harm, or death, is a threat which according to the statutes, allows you the right to defend yourself or others.

In my younger years I ran into a situation with about a dozen young men who were intent upon causing me serious bodily harm. When I realized the danger I was in I immediately turned about and went the other way. They followed. Their behavior, attitude and demeanor along with their words gave me every reason to believe the worst was about to happen.
How was I able to extract myself from the situation without serious damage to me, to them? They had followed and pressed upon me so that there was no doubt what the outcome would be if I did not act, so I acted. At the time I had no option for having a concealed weapon as I was in Wisconsin where that is illegal. I chose to swiftly act before they could. I chose the biggest person in the group, and the one next to whom and physically hit them both and berated all of them in what I am sure appeared to be the act of a deranged, or crazy person. Think about it, 12-1 and I acted like this? They all immediately backed down and didn't know what to do. I left and they didn't continue with their threats and I was able to escape without harm to self. It took several hours after I returned home to calm my quivering nerves.

Would I have been justified, if able, to have either pulled, or let it be known I had a gun in this instance? You bet! I had every reason to believe the worst was about to happen to me. I am glad that my actions didn't require, or necessitate that type of action. This doesn't mean that I would not have been able to draw or expose if I felt the need, I most certainly could under Utah law. The ultimate decision under any circumstance for threat of or use of deadly force to extricate oneself from a situation such as this, is ultimately upon the shoulders of the person being threatened. No one else can tell you what you need to do, the decision is yours and what you do IS a split second decision that could result in you taking a life, or in you being able to walk away without harm, as well as the criminals. Only you can decide your course of action if you have no other options available. Go through scenarios in your head, think about possible situations, prepare yourself for any possible engagement, be as prepared as you possibly can be, but most of all you need to be willing to do what is necessary to protect yourself from harm. Remember too, no matter what scenarios you may come up with, there will be dozens you didn't and you need to know instinctively when it would be appropriate to defend yourself.

This may not answer your question directly, but we all have the right to self defense, we also have the responsibility as law abiding citizens & CFP holders to be responsible with our actions as we have the ability to take a life as quickly as a police officer could were one present to extricate us from the situation. The onus is hard to bear, but a responsibility which actions from may affect us for the remainder of our lives. We need to be willing to do what is necessary to protect our lives, or the lives of others. If you are able to run the other way, turn and walk away, or to divert our path if necessary I say do so. If you have attempted all known methods of avoiding the confrontation you do have the right to exercise your right to self protection. Now a days cell phones are easy to hand, I use one when I carry & suggest all of us do. After a situation you need to be first on the phone, most certainly they will be (the perps) trying to discredit you after they have run away by stating you were the aggressor. To be prepared is your responsibility to yourself. Use the best judgment you have at your disposal and be prepared for anything.

I hope this helps.
 

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There is a lot of protection offered you by Utah self-defense laws. You really only have to convince 1 of 12 jury members that it was reasonable for you to think that you were in a situation that could inflict death or serious body injury to you or a 3rd party. As another person so eloquently stated, "There is always a weapon, be it fist, boot, or bazooka.
Numbers simply increase the lethality."
Just be reasonable in your actions. And do NOT talk to the police. Call a good attorney and let him help you get the most protection under the laws.
I teach my students they are only allowed to say 2 sentances to the police and the first sentance is OPTIONAL:
1. "I felt my life was in danger."
2. "I am not saying another word until my attorney is present."
You will have a legal battle (Most likely CIVIL) no matter what the circumstances, but IMO it would be tough to convict anyone criminally as long as they can convince 1 member of a jury that what they did was REASONABLE.... and honestly that shouldn't be too difficult.
The bigger problem is going to be the civil suits you will face. Dad's with deep pockets should be feared.
I would do EVERYTHING possible in EVERY situation to avoid confrontation at all costs! But if confrontation can't be avoided... isn't that why we all carry firearms?
 

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:agree:

What I don't agree with is the earlier post stating "you only draw when the fight is lost. If you have to take a beating, then take it." We live in a civilized society. No one should have to "take a beating" because a bunch of punk kids decided it would be fun. No one should even have to take a single punch. The idea of carrying a defensive tool (gun/pepper spray/whatever) is to protect ourselves from serious harm.

I agree that "kids being stupid" isn't a reason to kill one of them, but then they are making an active choice to pursue a illegal course of action, and rich daddy or not, all actions have consequences.
 

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PW said:
I teach my students they are only allowed to say 2 sentances to the police and the first sentance is OPTIONAL:
1. "I felt my life was in danger."
2. "I am not saying another word until my attorney is present."
Also, it's worth mentioning that the only reason for uttering sentence #1 is that it MIGHT reduce the chance that the cops treat you like the perp. It may save you from the discomfort and indignity of being cuffed, booked and jailed until your lawyer shows up. It also might not change any of that, and it won't help you at trial. I'd say, if it looks like they're going to haul you in anyway, don't even give them #1, just start by asserting your right to remain silent and to have an attorney.

I can't think how they could possibly use #1 against you, but they absolutely cannot hold your silence against you. And it's impossible to put your foot in your mouth if it's closed.
 

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NormanXDm said:
:agree:

What I don't agree with is the earlier post stating "you only draw when the fight is lost. If you have to take a beating, then take it." We live in a civilized society. No one should have to "take a beating" because a bunch of punk kids decided it would be fun. No one should even have to take a single punch. The idea of carrying a defensive tool (gun/pepper spray/whatever) is to protect ourselves from serious harm.

I agree that "kids being stupid" isn't a reason to kill one of them, but then they are making an active choice to pursue a illegal course of action, and rich daddy or not, all actions have consequences.
I agree. Nobody should have to take a beating because a bunch of punk kids being stupid. Still, I don't think I'd like to be the one labeled for shooting one of them. If you are carrying a firearm, it is also a good idea to carry a can of pepper spray, mace or maybe an expandable baton. When you are forced too, pulling a can of mace is far more easily justified than pulling a firearm because it is a defensive weapon, and non lethal. The threat of getting a face full of mace should be enough to ward off most kids who are trying to look tough. Of course, it might help also when you accidentally expose your firearm while retrieving your can of mace from its holster. :angel:

If they decide to escalate the situation after that, it is their choice and is unlikely they intend to play two hand touch. Get away if you can, defend yourself if you must.
 

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Doctor Jenks said:
Pulling a can of mace is far more easily justified than pulling a firearm because it is a defensive weapon, and non lethal.
I agree, though I'd note that pepper spray/MACE is "less-lethal", not "non-lethal". People who have respiratory problems can die from it. Still, as far as the law is concerned, it's not a deadly weapon unless you know that the target has severe asthma or something.

Doctor Jenks said:
The threat of getting a face full of mace should be enough to ward off most kids who are trying to look tough. Of course, it might help also when you accidentally expose your firearm while retrieving your can of mace from its holster. :angel:
I carry my pepper spray in a pocket on my weak side so that if I ever have to use it I can do it with my strong hand gripping my gun. If the situation is serious enough to warrant deploying the spray, it's serious enough to be prepared to draw the gun. The fact that gripping the gun will make it abundantly clear that I'm carrying is just a side effect of preparing to draw -- but if they use that information to decide to back down, I'm good with that.
 

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I have a different take on this. Groups are very very dangerous, not because of the many fist and boot heels coming your way. A group feeds off each others adrenaline. They push each other further than if it was one on one.

I personally would only run if I thought it would do any good, most of us are not going to out run a group of 18-24 year olds, save your breath and energy for the fight. Of course make every attempt to get away, but in reality, if they are intent on stomping a mud hole in your backside its gonna happen. So for me the fight is on.

I don't look to hit the biggest guy, I want the one making the most noise, his yapping is building up the rest of the group. I don't punch booger maker or belly, catch him right in the throat, it instantly shuts him up, he can't breath and puts on a dramatic show, planting a seed in the groups head. Simotainusly with a open hand slap the collar bone of the guy next to him, it only takes about 4lbs to break it, its very painful and even if they tried to fight they couldn't use that arm. Hopefully the rest of the groups seed flowers in seeing such violence from you and let's you excuse yourself from this situation, "rich" kids will undoubtedly, gang members will if anything respect you, that goes along way with gang members.

If after that you are pursued and you then draw your firearm and fire, I believe only a OJ Simpson jury would find you guilty. You can show retreat, nonleathel force, retreat again and that they were intent of causing you great harm or death leaving no other choice but to use deadly force.

Now if they were armed with so much as. 1x2 stick I'd be drawn doing my best to convince them that they might get me in the end but also I hoped they told their Mothers they loved them that morning, because if they wished to continue this a few wouldn't be going home today.
 

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First I wanted to post a legal examination of this issue so I apologize up front for the length of the post. Secondly, I'm not a lawyer and my understanding of the law can be debated, infact I hope divegeek weighs in on my analysis he seems the most versed of any of us (though he isn't a lawyer either... i think :wink:). Throughout the post I've highlighted the code of interest in red for clarity, additionally in order to save space I've ommited parts of code that in my opinion have no affect on the situation being analyzed. The omission is designated as such ...

Upfront my Conclusion is when faced with 3+ individuals that are verbally making threats or violent movements, and you've done nothing to provoke them, you are absolutely justified in drawing and you may be justified in firing. Here is why:

This statute covers use of force and threatening use of force in defense of person and should be one we are all familiar with:

76-2-402 Force in defense of person said:
(1) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that force is necessary to defend himself or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, that person is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if he or she reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or a third person as a result of the other's imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
...
(4) For purposes of this section, a forcible felony includes aggravated assault, mayhem, aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, and aggravated kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, rape of a child, object rape, object rape of a child, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and aggravated sexual assault as defined in Title 76, Chapter 5, and arson, robbery, and burglary as defined in Title 76, Chapter 6. Any other felony offense which involves the use of force or violence against a person so as to create a substantial danger of death or serious bodily injury also constitutes a forcible felony.
To me it seems clear you can Threaten force, including deadly force, against someones imminent use of unlawful force. Now as divegeek has pointed out in other threads this accompanied by a show of force (drawing the firearm if concealed) does make you liable for Assault as defined in 76-5-102. Now it is my belief you have a good defense against assault because of the nature of the encounter. However, if you want to avoid this liability all together just don't pull your gun out if concealing. So far as I can tell making the threat "I've got a gun, don't come any closer" without actually showing the firearm does not constitute assualt.

Wait a minute though I said you might also have legal grounds for firing as well. I found an interesting section of code as it applies to groups:

76-3-203.1 Offenses committed in concert with two or more persons said:
(1) (a) A person who commits any offense listed in Subsection (4) is subject to an enhanced penalty for the offense as provided in Subsection (3) if the trier of fact finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the person acted in concert with two or more persons.
(b) "In concert with two or more persons" as used in this section means the defendant was aided or encouraged by at least two other persons in committing the offense and was aware that he was so aided or encouraged, and each of the other persons:
(i) was physically present; or
(ii) participated as a party to any offense listed in Subsection (4).
(c) For purposes of Subsection (1)(b)(ii):
(i) other persons participating as parties need not have the intent to engage in the same offense or degree of offense as the defendant; and
(ii) a minor is a party if the minor's actions would cause him to be a party if he were an adult.
...
(3) The enhanced penalty for a:
(a) class B misdemeanor is a class A misdemeanor;
(b) class A misdemeanor is a third degree felony;
...
(4) Offenses referred to in Subsection (1) are:
(a) any criminal violation of Title 58, Chapter 37, 37a, 37b, or 37c, regarding drug-related offenses;
(b) assault and related offenses under Title 76, Chapter 5, Part 1, Assault and Related Offenses;
What this states is every offense listed in Section 4, which includes assault, that atleast 3 individuals engage in upgrades the crime. So let's look at Assault as defined again in 76-5-102.

76-5-102 Assault said:
(1) Assault is:
(a) an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another;
(b) a threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
(c) an act, committed with unlawful force or violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another.
(2) Assault is a class B misdemeanor.
(3) Assault is a class A misdemeanor if:
(a) the person causes substantial bodily injury to another; or
(b) the victim is pregnant and the person has knowledge of the pregnancy.
(4) It is not a defense against assault, that the accused caused serious bodily injury to another.
Do you see where I'm taking this yet? :wink: Assault when it causes "substantial" bodily injury when committed in a group of 3 or more persons is a felony. Not only a felony but a felony that includes force against another individual. Now as stated at the beginning you may use deadly force to prevent the commision of forcible felonies.

Now I don't know what the difference is between "serious" and "substantial" as stated. A few less broken bones maybe? However, in my condition (geek with little upper body strength) a group that attacks me will certainly cause substantial bodily injury and I would fear is likely to cause serious bodily injury. Especially in the event the group ignores any threats made. Therefore I will draw and fire to stop the threat if they fail to rethink their unlawful actions.

At the end of the day the most important thing is that you and your family are safe. As I've attempted to outline should you need to draw and fire at a group that isn't armed with conventional weapons I think you have a good legal leg to stand on and I doubt a jury will convict you. Civil suits are another matter altogether.
 

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Interesting analysis, Nutty. I think you're right that any assault by 3+ people that causes "substantial" injury is a forcible felony. As far as I've ever seen in my reading, the term "substantial" just means "having substance" as opposed to something that has no actual effect, so I would guess it means any damage -- bruises, scrapes, etc.

However, I don't think you actually have to go that far to find justification. I think all you need is 72-2-402:

(1) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that force is necessary to defend himself or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, that person is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if he or she reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to himself or a third person as a result of the other's imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
If you reasonably believe that they might seriously injure you, then you're justified in using deadly force. If I'm being threatened by multiple attackers, I will almost invariably consider myself to be at risk of serious injury or death. Why? Mob behavior (as CDXD40 pointed out) is unpredictable and tends toward escalating violence. Even relatively non-violent people can get sucked into throwing a punch or a kick, and a group is MUCH less likely to stop beating on you after you're down than an individual. So the motive of a group is more suspect than that of a single individual when making the same sorts of threats.

And as far as ability to cause harm, there's no question. The group almost always has an overwhelming force advantage over the individual, even if the members of the group are smaller and weaker than the individual.

Oh, and for the record I am not a lawyer. My degrees are in Mathematics and Computer Science, and I'm a professional software engineer. I just read law stuff for fun. If I could figure out how to support my family while going to law school I would probably become a lawyer, because I find it really interesting, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.
 
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