The Ramifications of lethal force

By way of Sebastian (from whom I find many things) I find Dr. Helen’s recent piece on the guilt/emotional reaction had by LEO’s when they are involved in a shooting, good or otherwise. She goes on to ask if Law Enforcement officers are made to feel guilty by society for killing, how much more so are armed civilians that are involved in shoots?

A while back LawDog looked at the decision making process involved in taking another human being’s life; at the time I didn’t have the temerity to comment on his blog, nevermind that my comment likely would have consisted of “Yeah, that’s about right”.

It seems to me that Dr. Helen’s entry and LawDog’s entry make stellar companion pieces for one another: Helen looks at how society views the action of lethal force and LawDog looked at the decision one makes and how it affects the person making the decision.

You might recall the recent incident in Ohio where a CCW holder justifiably drilled some young fellow who was in the process of attempting to rob him at gunpoint. The media played the incident as though a precious young life had been snuffed out, despite the fact that the “precious young life” was committing several felonies against another person.

Just three days ago, a citizen fatally shot a scumbag after that scumbag (who happens to be related to someone famous) had shot a cop in the back and then run said cop over with his car. The scumbag-in-question then refused to drop his gun, and was then shot by the citizen, who had picked up the officer’s gun. I’m certain that the media will play this to make the scumbag out like a poor, misdirected choirboy or some nonsense; and they’re turn the cop’s memory into that of a jackbooted thug.

In both cases, regular citizens with no special powers were placed in extraordinary situations, and did something that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. I found this quote, again from LawDog about the emotional response to even a justified shoot.

Whichever, you have just breached the most sacred of Man’s taboos. You have done something that cannot be taken back, and you have done the single most powerful, awful thing one human being may do to another.

That really is the issue with deadly force – most people have serious moral issues about killing their fellow man, badguy or otherwise. No matter how justified the shooting is, most people end up carrying that moment with them for the rest of their lives.

That’s where a person moves into the long term ramifications of killing. The emotional impact has a different effect on different people; I know people who have regular nightmares because of it, I’ve read of people who have never picked up a gun again.

If there is one thing that I would add to LawDog and Dr. Helen’s articles, it would be this. If you are ever involved in a shooting as a civilian, cop, or whatever; seek counseling. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pastor, a therapist, or anyone else – what is important is that it has to be someone who understands precisely what you’re going through. Your wife or husband may not be able to help you work through it; I feel as though it is of the utmost importance to spend some time with someone who can. While you may never understand the “how & why”; time spent in counseling can help you come to terms with your emotional burden.