There is a lot of bad self-defense advice out there. One of the more frequently recycled pieces of bad self-defense advice is to fire warming shots in an attempt to scare away a threat. This advice is commonly given by individuals who don’t understand self-defense laws and vice presidents (but I repeat myself). A man is now facing the consequences of following bad self-defense advice:
Chris Harris said he was coming from church when he and his girlfriend were surrounded by nine men looking for a fight. He said men made threats and the couple was scared for their lives, but Harris explained he was the one that ended up in cuffs. And facing some pretty serious charges.
“It was one of the most scariest experiences I have ever been though,” said CC Roxby, Harris’ fiancé.
“They surrounded me saying some pretty vulgar things like they were going to rape my wife in front of me, cut me,” Harris said.
Roxby said she called 911, but one man continued to be aggressive.
“The kid kept advancing on me, saying it wasn’t a real gun, and I would much rather shoot a shot into the air to prevent them from attacking me rather than them attacking me and me shooting someone,” Harris said.
“The cruisers were coming down the street at that point and the young men ran away,” Roxby said. “Instead of them following the gang, the officers arrested Chris for firing a shot into the air.”
Some people are probably asking what the living fuck is going on here. Let me explain. Warning shots are a bad idea both defensively and legally. Defensively a warming shot is a loose round, which means where it lands is anybody’s guess. That’s a major risk to innocent bystanders.
Legally speaking warning shots take away your claim of being in immediate fear of death or great bodily harm. By firing warning shots you legally admit that you believed the situation could be resolves with something less than lethal force in that moment so employing a lethal weapon was not warranted. In other words, legally speaking, if you use a firearm you damn well better believe that lethal force is the only option left to you to preserve your life.
Based on the description of the situation, nine aggressive opponents against two individuals, I would argue that lethal force was certainly warranted. But firing a warning shot was not because of the potential risk it put innocent bystanders in.