Movies and TV shows, by definition, thrive on drama. Part of the drama involves Actor A firing a handgun at Actor B, who then goes flying through a plate-glass window as if he’d been picked up and thrown by King Kong. One media source estimated that by the time an American turns 21, he or she has seen some 18,000 violent deaths enacted on TV and movie screens. Another media source reverses that figure and posits that it’s 21,000 “shootings” viewed by age 18.

That’s a lot of programming for our general public—and, never forget, the general public constitutes your jury pool if you ever have to go to trial over a self-defense shooting. Among that general public is the legal community. Plaintiff’s lawyers and prosecutors are as vulnerable to public imagery as anyone else. When anyone so programmed runs across a case where someone was shot many times, it’s hard for them to believe it was self-defense. It’s hard for them to believe that all of those shots were motivated by anything but malice.

And malice is the key ingredient in a murder charge, or most allegations of excessive force.

Superhuman Strength

There are lots of reasons a criminal antagonist can stay on his feet and absorb shot after shot before he ceases his attempt at murder. One of them is substance abuse. In what we’ll call Case One, many years ago an armed robber in the Chicago area engaged multiple police officers in a hellacious shootout. I was told by a member of the investigative team that the guy was a heroin junkie who had recently “shot up.”

Thus, it’s no surprise that this man took a whole lot of lead before he stopped trying to shoot the officers. He was shot 33 times with 9mm pistol bullets before he went down. I’m told he was also hit with two 12-gauge rifled slugs, the second of which at last ended the fight. The suspect has been hit many times in the head, and virtually all of his body organs have been violated by bullets. However, none of the headshots reached deep brain. A part of this “stopping failure” may have been the choice of ammo, reportedly 100-grain “soft-nose” rather than hollow-point bullets, most of which passed through and through without expanding. But a huge part of it was obviously the drugs the gunman had on board.

Pages: 1 2 3 4
Show Comments