Bad cowboy mentality

“He Should Have Killed Him” Is A Type Of Comment We See After Posting Some Self-Defense Stories; Here’s Why We Hate That


Here at Concealed Nation, we cover a lot of self-defense news stories.  Sometimes they involve concealed carriers and other times they just involve aware citizens willing to defend themselves, their families, and their property.  Not every criminal involved in a self-defense shooting dies.  A good number of them don’t.

More importantly, not every person involved in a self-defense shooting has ideal conditions to aim, fire, or move.  So sometimes we end up with stories like this one where the robber got shot in the shin.

Top comment?

“He should have killed him.”

Brandon deletes a lot of those.  Why?  It’s not really what we’re going for when we cover the story.  It doesn’t put any of us in a good light. We’re hoping to foster a discussion about – hopefully – how situational awareness, training, preparedness, knowing the law, and having the right equipment plays into a successful self-defense scenario.

What’s a successful self-defense scenario?

  • You lived.
  • Bad guy is down.
  • Nobody else is hurt.
  • You’re not in jail.

Notice we didn’t say ‘bad guy is dead’.  There’s a reason for that.  Self-defense can involve the use of deadly force.  When you are facing an imminent threat, you have the justifiable and natural right to defend your life with whatever means are available to you.  No one here at Concealed Nation will ever argue to the contrary of that.

Now that we have that covered, let’s go over the bit about “killing people”.

Where Deadly Force Ends And Society Begins

The idea behind killing people as a solution to a problem is as old as civilization itself.  When you had an enemy, you could either make peace or kill him.  History is literally a record of who killed who to get where.

And then we got to this grand invention called “civilized society”.  In America, it really took root around the time the first continental railroad neared completion.  Cowboys no longer could get into shoot-outs.  Territories were soon made states.  People had to settle their differences in a courtroom, not in the streets.

At least in theory.  Practical history debates that but I digress…

In some people’s opinion, it all really started to go downhill after that — in terms of individual freedom of choice.  So we collectively sacrificed the individual’s ability to determine ethical/moral relativity in exchange for community standards.

Summary: the legal authority to kill someone can only be determined by the state, not the individual.

Yes, yes, I know how wrong that sentence may sound to some.


On the upside, we got better sanitation, housing conditions, established better property rights and eventually had safer workplaces.  And by proxy of the firearms we carry right now, guns got a whole bunch more efficient.

Amazing what we can accomplish when we’re not just constantly shooting each other over poker winnings or branded cattle.

The trade-off is we resolve our disputes through the court system.  Are the courts fair and earnest?  No.  But they are a system of established, codified legal doctrine.  The only people who may enforce that law are officers sworn to uphold it.

…Which means we – the people – are not agents of enforcement of that law.

There are agents that are sworn to uphold the laws of the land.  They’re called law enforcement.  Are they always right?  No.  But they’re the appointed, duly sworn agents that we pay handsomely with our tax dollars.

And when someone threatens your life, you – as the concealed carrier – have the lawful ability to carry a firearm on your person in a concealed manner so that you may use it to defend your life from hostile aggression.  You are ALWAYS authorized to use whatever means are at your disposal – firearm, flame-thrower, hatchet.  The authority of law concerning the legal disposition of where you may/may not carry your firearm is unfortunately determined by the federal and state legislature*.

*Not a fan of that?  I’ll talk about constitutional carry in a different article, I promise.

State law changes from state-to-state, year-to-year.  However, most states regard the use of lethal force as only applicable until the threat no longer substantiates itself as a threat.

So, if you shoot an opponent, you have to stop shooting him once he is no longer a threat.  If you’re bludgeoning him with a wooden table leg, once he is no longer a threat – you have to stop*.

*You and your team of attorneys can argue with the prosecutor where that fine line is.  It’s usually somewhere around the point of compliance, unconsciousness, or the attempt to flee.

Generally when the person is running from you or surrenders — deadly force is no longer authorized by law.  When the person stops moving — deadly force is no longer authorized.

Next time you read a story about a concealed carrier critically injuring a criminal by gunfire, consider the peril that person would have put himself in if he continued to shoot after the threat was neutralized.  The best we can ever truly hope for is just better judicious aiming.

Moreover, a statement such as “He should have killed him” doesn’t put us in the right light. That shows anger and aggression, instead of a feeling of “Damn, I’m glad that intended victim survived and was able to successfully defend his or herself.”

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  • Herr Zwingli

    Well said. I’ve been thinking the same thing in reading many of these comments.

    Don’t forget also that any prosecutor worth his salt is going to dig these comments up and use them to convince a jury that the defendant was just waiting for any excuse to kill someone. Everyone do yourselves a favor and leave the adolescent vitriole in some other forum.

    • Cisco

      The best idea is, don’t consent to an interview by police, without your lawyer present.

      • Herr Zwingli

        While that’s generally a sound statement, other than calling 911 and stating that you were involved in a self defense situation and that your attacker is in need of medical assistance, it won’t matter in this regard. After a self defense shooting you will essentially be wrapped up in a murder investigation until they satisfy themselves it was justifiable. They can easily get a warrant to search your computer and find these statements.

        • Cisco

          Yes, you must make the 911 call to notify the authorities that there’s been an incident, and you give them the info on what has happened, and request assistance. That should go without saying. What I’m talking about is later on, at the police station, when they want to sit you down in an interview room and question you at length. That’s the time to have a lawyer with you. And the time to hope you haven’t already said too much, before the lawyer got there. You’ve already protected yourself with your firearm, now protect yourself even further, with your lawyer.

  • anarchyst

    NEVER EVER say that “you shot to kill”. Prosecutors LOVE railroading honest citizens into their “criminal justice system”. A person shoots to “stop the threat”, nothing more…

  • Charles Champlain

    i have had my ccw for over 5 years
    now, & with the grace of god i have never had to pull my weapon in fear for my or my wife’s life. those that say that they would kill to protect their property are rediculous. is a person’s life worth that big screen or that diamond ring, if you take a life for that item, you deserve to go to jail for it, if you take a life to save yours or that of your family that is another story, just be ready for repercussions & have a good lawyer handy, its alot easier to shoot to stop the fight, not shoot to kill, just my opinion

    • Louis Marschalko

      In traditional legal theory “property” is considered to be “that which sustains life.” Imagine being destitute in a society with no welfare system and no “social safety net.” You, or at least your youngest children, might well die of starvation, exposure to the elements or be kidnapped by bandits and sold into bondage. Therefore you would be justified in taking a life to prevent the very real danger that you or yours would lose theirs. As it was so it shall remain. Civilized human beings are but savages with modern technology.

      • If your using the traditional (but not constitutionally relevant) definition of “property,” then the items mentioned by C. Champlain would not technically be property, as they do not sustain life (I’ll assume that the diamond is a luxury item).

      • Cisco

        Works for me.

  • Which means we – the people – are not agents of enforcement of that law.
    I thought that citizens have same arrest powers as LEOs, except they can’t make traffic stops.

    With that said, one should never relish or desire to kill another person.

  • Cisco

    One thing to consider though, if you should ever have to shoot someone, in self defense, and he dies, he damn sure won’t be coming back to get revenge. The last thing you’d want, is for this fool to come back at some later time, and blow you away.

  • Redline

    I agree on face value, the “should have killed him” is a harsh response. But are you sure it’s not as much tongue in cheek as a real wish? How many of these articles have you posted that have; long criminal history, just released from (insert violent crime here), on parole, and the likes?
    Maybe, just maybe, it is a way for the average guy to vent their frustrations about the revolving door of the American justice system.
    Much like the hundred times you read on here a statement similar to “never put your fate into the hands of a jury”. What does that even mean? If it’s a choice between defending myself and/or family or worrying about hurting the bad guys feelings and it going to jury trial, I’d pick jury. I’m guaranteed to still be alive. So is may family.

  • Massolo

    Well the two things you get if the criminal dies, is one less repeat offender who can sue you for violating his civil rights. I understand now that you only want “helpful” comments and that others that you don’t like will be censored. Not the kind of “free speech” I would have expected. I will stop coming here because of this.

  • Pod

    I learned to “shoot to stop” and I’ve told that to everyone else I know who has expressed an interest in carrying a gun for defensive use. You can shoot someone in your home who is an unwelcome intruder, but executions aren’t allowed under current law in any US jurisdiction. If the assailant bleeds out and dies, that’s legal, but you can’t carry out an execution.

  • Kevin Snyder

    In all seriousness – those guys nearly always say “You should OF killed em.”