Originally Posted by bokguay
I'll add my last thoughts that were happening that morning:
The guy was much bigger than I and much much bigger than the 3 gals with me. The last thing I wanted to do was draw but had he made an attempt to get over the counter I would have had no choice IMO. He wouldn't have jumped over to shake our hands and give hugs. He moved his arms around enough to not feel the immediate threat to draw but is words, tone, body language and eyes put me on high alert. Since I wear my holster tucked there is an extra step to drawing so I had that out of the way.To be honest, you don't know how you'll react until it happens. I know I was prepared to draw and if it came to that hopefully I was prepared mentally to shoot. The last thing going through my mind was the legal aspect, there's just not enough time to think that far ahead and still focus on the situation.
Of all the experiences related on this forum since I've been tuning in, this reads like one of the best handled. It seems that you were right at the threshold of the justifiable use of your gun, but managed to take proper steps to end the situation without you having to do so. Instead you were able to call in the professionals, who incidently had no problem drawing their weapons on the threat, armed or not.
All this concern about whether the BG displayed a weapon or not as the threshold of whether bokguay would have been justified in firing on him really perplexes me.
There was only 5' and a counter between him and the BG. Have you seen how fast a reasonably agile person can clear a typical restaurant counter? Have you seen the studies or read any of the threads about the proverbial attacker with a knife from 21' away? That is supposedly the distance at which an attacker can cover the intervening distance in about the same amount of time it takes to draw and fire a concealed weapon. I'm sure there's a bunch of variables that could change that to anwhere from 10' to 40', but the point remains, that 5' is a heck of a lot less.
About the weapon: Were his hands visible? Did he display any disabilities which would impair his ability to clear the counter or use his hands, feet, and limbs? If not, those are formidable and potentially deadly weapons. You have no way, in such a situation, to determine whether or not the BG has any advanced training or fighting knowledge. Many people are able to use their body to great effect at close quarters against a person armed with knife or gun. Additionally, you may not be able to tell whether or not he has a weapon concealed which he might draw as he comes over the counter. If the BG appeared to be in good to excellent physical shape, you must consider that he has the ability to carry out his specific threat whether he displays a weapon or not.
Further, it is foolish to estimate, or underestimate an opponents ability to hurt you based upon size alone. It may be a factor, but other factors of apparent physical condition and behavior would be higher on my list of threat assessment.
I agree that using deadly force is the action of last resort, but if carrying a gun, that last resort might come just a little earlier than if I nneded to consider deadly force by use of a nearby weapon of convenience or my own hands. I would not wait to allow the BG a reasonable chance of engaging me in hand to hand. If it came to a brawl with a BG, and I'm armed, my focus becomes split between beating the BG and keeping him from finding and managing to take my gun from me. That's unacceptable. For that reason alone is why others have expressed dismay at those who suggest that the situation was not escalated enough to draw and/or fire.
Because of the described agitation of the BG and the little bit of distance, my first question was wondering why bokguay's weapon was still in his holster.
But I wasn't there, and he appears to have handled it perfectly. Perhaps he is able to draw very quickly with an untucked shirt. Perhaps the BG was never quite poised to go over the counter. Fortunately, the question about whether he would have been justified in shooting is little more than academic.
I'm not one who would be looking for an opportunity to engage a BG. It is better to avoid the possibility if it is avoidable, and it is better to use less than lethal means if they are available (in this case the phone was quite effective). But if the situation is unavoidable, and LTL is not readily available or not reasonably viable, I think those who would hesitate to draw because they do not actually see a weapon should rethink their decision to carry. There is a good reason LE met the BG at the door with weapons drawn. It is a reasonable precaution and it is far, far better than giving the BG the opportunity to physically engage and have the opportunity to take a weapon.
Thanks for sharing your experience bokguay.