93 thoughts on “You Are Not Allowed To Defend Yourself”

  1. I’ve read that there was at least one off-duty police officer in the theater who was armed, but who never had a chance to get a clear shot, due to the darkness, smoke, and crowd.

  2. “Yeah, the guy was armored up, but someone could still have gotten in a head shot, if they’d been allowed to have a gun.” Or a crippling leg shot, which–once he was down– could make the head shot easier.

  3. Sure. And how many innocent bystanders would have got hit in the process? There is a reason why all police officers are trained to go for centre-mass shots.

    1. That’s a situation where you would typically grab some gadget off your utility belt and throw it.

      Fox News reports that one of their sports reporters, who survived a shooting at a Toronto mall food court just last month, is among the dead. 🙁

      1. …anything — anything at the guy. A bat-o-rang, bottomless popcorn, 44-oz of coke (still legal outside NYC!), whatever. When you look at these scenarios, it’s when the murderer is put on the defensive that carnage stops almost immediately. Often you get one final incredibly heroic victim in exchange for a number of would-be-victims = rounds remaining.

    2. Ever hear of a Mozambique Drill Christian? Also called a ‘Failure Drill’.

      I practice headshots every time a shoot and I practice around 25 times a year even in nasty, cold weather.

      One thing we know, the longer the shooter is unopposed, the more innocents get hit by him. Sounds like shooting back is a far bettter deal than letting people continue to be fed unopposed into the meat grinder. Yeah, you might risk hurting someone by trying to stop it but the odds still strongly favor the attempt over letting the manic shoot unrestrained.

        1. If the shooter wasn’t having any problem hitting targets in a dark and smokey theater, I don’t see why anyone else would.

          Also, in this particularly odd case, a single shot might’ve caused a really crazy reaction, like dropping his guns so he could confront the Dark Knight hand-to-hand and quote some choice bits of dialog.

          1. The shooter isn’t trying to pick off individuals, he’s just spraying and praying. The only time he’d need to do a lot of aiming would be when shooting at people trying to leave, who are back-lit by light from the lobby.

          2. Just a return volley might have caused him to hesitate allowing bystanders more time to flee.

            Look, trained police have firefights regularly and fail to hit their targets. Yet, we don’t say police shouldn’t be armed. We don’t say that, because the threat of equivalent response is usually sufficient to cause the bad guys to reconsider their actions. The CCL person in the audience simply wants a chance to defend themselves, a chance to send a bullet back. Whether they get a headshot, legshot, center mass, or miss way high; its a lot better than hoping the fat ass banker in front of you has enough lard to protect you.

        2. I know I could’ve given that bastardi a serious WTF moment. Which might have been enough. And since I suspect that the only time you’ve ever been even close to such a moment was on the GameBoy your folks bought you I’m pretty comfortable that you have no f’n clue WTF you’re talking about. (WTF != Win The Future)

          1. 1)It is a pocket flashlight that is brighter than a 6 volt lantern. It will easily illuminate to the far end of the theatre.

            2) People will be running away from the shooter. Take cover and plan you course of action while the mass of people passes behind you. Preferabally find the notch between the seats and use them for support.

        3. Yes. Many of us KNOW we can make that shot Chris.

          Even if you graze the stupid turd, it gives him something to do, other than shooting innocent movie patrons. Better still you knock him down and he quits killing people, even if he’s just wounded.

          Even if you just hit his vest, he’s stunned enough to stop most likely, and that’s the center mass shot, all the non-gun owning, non-CCH, people ‘think’ we should take.

          WHY is it that after the fact, some ass hat like YOU (and 10K others I’ve read in the last 36 hrs ) keep stating that doing SOMETHING is worse than doing NOTHING because someone might got shot by US?

          Unlike this piece of trash, we don’t just shoot blindly. And, God forbid, we do wound someone, how many might be saved? Or, given the practice many of us take on, wouldn’t it be better for someone to try to stop guys like this, than just let them run out of ammo?

          I have to tell you, when these things happen, it makes everyone with a CCH start re-thinking, being more vigilant in crowds, watching people, etc. This is WHY most of us carry. And I can’t imagine the suffering of the victims nor the families.

          I also, wonder about what is going through the minds of that LEO and the CCH people who were in that theater. This won’t sit well with them, not being able to protect those people.

          1. I never said doing nothing was better than doing something. I question how effective anybody, even trained military, would be when caught in what’s effectively a well-laid ambush.

            Sometimes bad things happen despite all preparations otherwise.

          2. Well Chris, you’ve NOW ruled out civilians with guns, LEOs on or off duty with their guns and the military, which leaves WHO?! It seems you think no one can be trusted to stop some crazy person like Holmes. You’ve got all the NON-answers.

            But do you have any actual answers? If you think no one is ‘trained’ to respond to this kind of thing, what would YOU have done? Would you have ‘bothered’ to call 911, after all, they can’t handle this kind of ‘ambush’. So what IS the answer Chris?

            And remember, pissing on yourself ain’t much of a defense against large volumes high velocity lead spraying around a large, dark, auditorium.

          3. Der Schtumpy – somehow you’re reading my 2 plus 2 and coming up with 17. All I am saying is that, with the element of surprise, I question that anybody sitting in the theater not actively working security could have stopped the shooting.

            Even if you were trying to secure the theater, you wouldn’t have guards inside the theater. You’d secure the perimeter, and have your guards outside where they can actually see something.

          4. I question that anybody sitting in the theater not actively working security could have stopped the shooting.

            They couldn’t have prevented it, because there wasn’t warning prior to this guy starting to shoot. I think we all agree on that. But they have reduced the shooter’s effectiveness and the body count by returning fire.

            And that leads to a second point. Would the shooter have gone through with this plan, if he knew that people could carry in that theater? It’s one thing to jump into a crowded theater with high confidence that you’re the only one armed and another to do so while wondering just how many people will be returning fire.

            Here, he knew that the policies of the theater would be that it would be very unlikely that anyone was armed. If the theater had allowed people to carry firearms into the theater, this attack might not have happened at all precisely because the shooter might have done this math.

      1. Isn’t it remarkable how all the progressive utilitarian trolley-problems go right out the window once it conflicts with ideology?

  4. Can someone point me towards an explanation of how the guy got into the theater in the first place?

    I’ve read he came in through a fire exit.

    How did he open it from the outside? Did the fire alarm go off when he did? If not, why not? Do the house lights come on when the fire alarm goes off? (They would if I was designing the fire alarm system.)

    1. He worked at the theater as a janitor (or so I’ve read), but bought a ticket, went in, propped a door open from the inside, went outside and got his guns and accessories, and came back in through the propped door.

      1. Ok, that answers the “how did he get in” question. Thanks.

        I’d still like to know why the fire alarm didn’t go off. I’ve been hearing how smart the guy is supposed to be. (and no, that isn’t sarcasm. He supposedly studied some serious subjects in college) Maybe he shorted the alarms beforehand?

        1. It was just a standard external exit door that also happened to be a fire exit as well. This is a very common design for theaters.

    2. My understanding is that he bought a ticket, went to the theater in normal attire. At some point he left via the outside (fire) exit, propping it open with a shim or something on his way out. He went to his car, and suited/geared up and then returned via the fire exit.

  5. The reason police are taught to aim for center mass is because their commanders won’t invest the money and time to train them into real gunmen. Professional close-quarters assaulters like SAS and Delta make headshots routinely under these conditions.

    1. Yep, and the guy who taught me to shoot a Handgun used to be the head firearms instructor for Delta. I practice shooting 3×5 index cards at 15 yards at least twice a month amongst other targets.


  6. Different US states have different rules. In Florida a “no guns” sign in a private business has no legal force. It’s like “no shoes, no shirt, no service”. They can ask you to leave but that’s about it. And how are they going to know you’re armed? They could start wanding the customers as is done at some sports events and concerts, but that’s a hassle and probably won’t prevent any shooting rampages, which in any case are extremely rare events.

  7. My weapon of choice for CC is a .40 semiautomatic pistol. I don’t care what body armor you have on or what drugs are in your system, if you are hit, it may not kill but you will fall down.

    I learned how to use a firearm when I was 8. As a young adult the Army trained me even more on the use of a firearm (as well as eating tear gas but that is a different story). Anybody who has had any form of serious training should have been able to shoot under the conditions of the theater, unless you were eating the floor. (BTW as a CCW holder I would feel personally compelled to protect those around me)

    1. Indeed. And even if someone had “merely” hit his body armor a half dozen times with a 9mm handgun that likely would have stunned him long enough for other bystanders to tackle and overwhelm him physically.

      1. Even the first one that gets his attention drops the deaths/second rate considerably. It’s not like he’s just going to be standing there like Superman, bullets richocheting off his chest in perfect inelastic collisions…

        1. I think he might even figure out that someone is shooting at him with that sort of thing happening. I read somewhere that the realization that someone is shooting at you can result in changes to your behavior.

      2. Heck, even hitting him with a large Coke is going to improve the situation. Popcorn probably not so much, but any distractions and incoming objects like purses and cell phones are going to help. If those can be followed up with a mass tackle, so much the better, but either way more people are going to escape. In situation like this one, the shooter is almost completely surrounded, in close quarters, and outnumbered a hundred to one. Closing the distance might be more effective than opening it. Getting people to reflexively counter-ambush the attacker is another matter, and I doubt any public officials would dare risk that approach.

  8. Oleg Volk made a good point on his blog about shooting at an armored aggressor using handgun rounds. If the aggressor is shooting, your center-mass shots are likely to hit him in his arms, which would naturally be in front of his body operating his firearm. While a clean headshot would certainly be preferable, shooting his arms and reducing or eliminating his ability to fire would be a desirable outcome as well.

    1. He’s harvesting prey. All the mall ninja equipage aside he’d have no expectation of return fire.

  9. Consider also the possibility that any CCW-holder in the theater might have been a better shot with more practice than Holmes, and able to fire off several accurate hits before Holmes was able to respond with a half-assed point-and-pray shot.

    We’ll find out more about his skills and practice habits soon enough, but the fact that he hauled in a sampler pack of weapons suggests to me that he didn’t know how to use any of them particularly well.

  10. What is surprising to me is how he managed to get into the theater with two long barreled weapons without anyone noticing it. I also notice a lot of people are bothered by him having the AR-15 but I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the victims were actually injured with shotgun fire instead. Closely packed people in close quarters is not exactly an ideal situation for a perp with a semi-auto rifle.

    1. What is surprising to me is how he managed to get into the theater with two long barreled weapons without anyone noticing it.

      This was a midnight showing, right? I doubt they had midnight openings of the Katy Perry movie in an adjacent theater. His route was likely deserted. Seven o’ clock on a Saturday night would have been 100x more conspicuous, I agree.

    2. Also, didn’t this occur after the showing (or at least the previews) had begun? If that’s the case, and he came from the parking lot, at night, I doubt any of the victims took much notice of the door’s opening or the sound it made given the sensory assault that takes place in a modern big-screen theater.

      1. That’s my understanding. Everyone would be in the theater proper. His route and activities would be free of witnesses until he returned.

    3. He didn’t have a real AR, he had a .22lr copycat look-alike.

      A S&W M&P 15-22 model to be precise.

  11. Gee, I guess my refusal to attend movie theaters anymore due to my suspicion that my seatmates are likely ill-mannered jackwagons is rather prophetic.

    Full Disclosure: I have 3 grandsons who live in Aurora whose parents haven’t seen fit to respond to calls, texts, etc. And as this is just the sort of flick that they’d want to see, you’ll understand my concern.

  12. FC – Precisely. Which is fair enough, as there are many demands on police budgets. But how many members of the general public, even of the subset that is CCW holders, are that well trained? Getting that good is very expensive in time and money, even if you have the inbuilt talent. After all, SAS and Delta don’t take everybody.

    jsallison – I hope you get word, too.

    1. Plenty of us could make that shot.

      Seriously, why do you guys keep asking THAT Fletcher? Didn’t you bother to read the posts above?

      I don’t know one gun owner who practices by shooting in the general direction of the target. I don’t know one gun owner who practices who is satisfied with hitting the target ‘somewhere’. When we practice, we shoot for some specific spot ON a target. Even the targets made for Center Mass shots, or just silhouette targets have a ’10 ring’ or center point on them. And those are normally about the size of a mans fist.

      If we can hit that ‘fist’, we can hit some guys head. Or hit his arm, or his torso, or the stock on his rifle. Maybe just the sound of someone else shooting, combined with the muzzle flash in the dark would make him run!

      Here’s my question.

      Why would rather see this happen time and time again, and always worry that the legal gun owners MIGHT harm someone, and yet, never consider the people these murdering bastards ARE going to shoot and kill?

  13. High stress situations degrades fine motor control, and that is one reason to drill center mass shots. Training can overcome that issue, but it’s something you’d have to drill fairly often to keep that edge, and most ranges aren’t equipped for that kind of training, not to mention it’s expensive.

    You may have seen the video of gramps shooting two robbers at an Internet cafe in FL earlier this week. If you note the video, he was progressing with a poor stance and reverted to one handed shooting. Still he managed an butt shot in one and a sholder in the other. The thing is, as pointed out above, the perps got the hell out of Dodge as soon as they realized they were under fire.

  14. Orville – Quite. Not many people are named John Preston, Jason Bourne or James Bond.

    I’m told that one of the things people being trained with guns are told is to be very sure you know what might be in the way of the bullets if you miss. Or words to that effect.

    1. So you can see a 71 y/o make those shots with your own eyes on YouTube. But you don’t think man half that age could have done the same thing elsewhere? And you arrive at this brilliant conclusion, how?

      And, yes we are told that we’re ultimately responsible for ALL projectiles coming from our guns when fired. But in a situation like this, stopping to consider all the ‘what ifs’, you could second, third and fourth guess yourself, and about 12 other people in this particular instance, into the morgue.

      I have to say I’m shocked at the number of people here, and on other site I’ve been reading, who would opt for doing nothing over possibly saving themselves or others. I hope you guys aren’t ever in a live or die situation. That fetal position defense you seem to favor won’t help much I’m betting.

      Hopefully if SHTF around you, some CCH person will be there to stand over your quivering mass and stop the Holmeses of the world!

  15. This shooting was truly terrible and it is not clear what the audience could have done. It was dark in the theater, plus the shooter threw smoke so even if there were armed people in the audience it would have been hard to do anything. Suppose ten or so people were armed and started shooting back. The others with guns might have started shooting the initial people defending themselves since it might have been clear who was the terrorist. A full out brawl could have ensued though that is purely speculation. I suspect it would have been better if the audience was armed but none-the-less it would have been bad.

    I have thought about this a lot and I see no clear answer for society to defend itself against mass shootings. They happen all over the world in pro and anti gun nations and it is terrible some coward could pull out military-grade weapons on a group of unarmed people. Probably the best solution is for people to be weary of suspicious people to prevent this from even happening and to have a well trained group of legal weapons carriers. I suspect with adequate training the shooter could have been stopped without a brawl but that is a guess.

    Best, Alex

    1. Alex,
      From what I have been reading (and its not clear) he did NOT have military grade weapons. A shotgun is a standard hunting weapon and the military does not field rifles that use 22lr cartridges. The only thing that could have been considered military was his pistol and it would only be used by Law Enforcement.

  16. 50 or more people injured; a dozen or more killed.

    Obviously a new law will fix this. /sarc

    One gunman vs. a large crowd. The first thing you do is start throwing things at the gunman while running toward him. As a fat guy, I’ll go first.

    That’s assuming you believe nobody in the crowd can fire back. Now if you know people can fire back, you get out of the line of fire. This is why people should be allowed in public places NOT concealing their weapons.

    Years ago in AZ, going into a convenience market with a six gun on your hip was no big deal. Today, you’d probably get shot by the paranoid.

  17. Ken, It was not clear to the people in the theater what was happening. It was dark, smokey and I am sure there was lots of yelling and noise. My guess is many of them had no idea which way to run or where the shooter was exactly. I am sure eye witness accounts will tell us more, but given what we know the crowd had no obvious way to defend themselves.

    Best, Alex

    1. That’s always true Alex. Perhaps more so in a dark theater with loud speakers.

      Never-the-less, as information becomes available you act on that information.

      This is helped by considering your actions before finding yourself in the situation.

      I know today, if I find myself in that situation tomorrow; If I don’t already know people have guns to defend me; I’m heading straight for the bastard throwing my shoes and wadded up clothes if I have nothing else (like a loose chair) at hand. I expect to take a few bullets. Bullets that won’t be going into others (and perhaps giving somebody with a gun the time to set up his or her shot.)

      I don’t care if the bad guy is crazy. Dead crazy suits me.

  18. Ken, I agree we can learn from this so we have a plan of action should this happen again. I am just saying the audience could not have been expected to defend themselves given what was happening and especially given the surprise tactic used. For what it is worth, passengers have learned from 911 to attack hijackers so the same could likely happen in these cases.

    Does anyone know if the lights went on during the shooting? If not theaters can certainly program their light to go on with loud sounds, smoke, or anything indicative of an assault.

    Best, Alex

    1. I am just saying the audience could not have been expected to defend themselves given what was happening and especially given the surprise tactic used.

      You’ve just hit on my exact point. It’s not about planning for a specific incident; it’s about preparing a response in general. The criteria is lone gunman vs. crowd. It doesn’t matter where (plane, theatre, sports arena, or whatever.)

      If I have cover, I may use it. If I don’t have cover I’m going straight at ’em flinging any heavy objects I can get my hands on. Others are going to see something and it should spur them to some action rather than just waiting for their turn for a bullet.

      As for lights and smoke… eyes adjust. Probably those in the theatre were better adjusted than the gunman who just entered the theatre. Was it Patton that said a bad plan executed is better than a great plan not executed?

    2. A few years ago, after the attach at a McDonalds, I started to consider my response to this type of evil. Since I am a firm believer in the best defense is any type of offense, I became a CCW holder.

  19. Let’s say an armed citizen fired at the Batman shooter right after he hit his first victim, and brought him down, but in the process hit or even killed some bystanders. Not saying that people defending themselves should be cavalier about collateral damage, but the final injury-toll would still be far less than it actually was. I’m sure the next-of-kin of the people hit by strays would be upset, but the large number of people whose lives would be saved would probably be grateful someone stepped in and took the actual murderer down.

  20. One of the things I heard on the radio a day or so after the event is that Big Gubbmint loves to disarm those who could possibly have put a stop to the situation…..

    ….but Big Gubbmint also WILL NOT be seated there next to you in the theater.

    And yet we read of anti-gun legislators owning guns (in one case I know of, illegally) or hiring beef that carries.

    Personal dilemma time:

    there you are carrying in the theater. guy comes in with an AR and a smoke bomb. Bomb is tossed and he (let’s say) racks in a round and points the gun at an audience member.

    You have your gun out.

    Do you wait until the guy has drilled one or two or three so that this is a certain case of self defense?

    Or do you stop him cold, before he shoots, and risk the idea that this really was a (very very stupid) part of the act by the theater?

    Of course, no theater would EVER set something like that up if people could carry into the theater.

    Which is the other problem:

    Let’s say the theater allows guns into the theater. You are CC. Theater has a scanner and detects the gun on you.

    You are the theater owner.

    Question in the theater owner’s head:

    Is this a law abiding citizen who will use the gun as self defense only?

    Or is this The Joker?

    What will you do?

    1. Do you wait until the guy has drilled one or two or three so that this is a certain case of self defense?

      Take him out. I can live with myself for shooting a complete moron but not letting innocent people die to cover my as_

      You are the theater owner.
      Ask to see his/her permit. Any law abiding gun owner in a State that requires a permit will show you the permit.

      1. “Take him out. I can live with myself for shooting a complete moron but not letting innocent people die to cover my as_”

        Well you might have to live with yourself in jail. Probably not if it occurred in Texas but there woudl be a good chance if you lived here in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.

        “Ask to see his/her permit. Any law abiding gun owner in a State that requires a permit will show you the permit.”

        Apparently Holmes legally bought his guns locally and the ammo through mail order. I have no idea what Colorado law is regarding having a permit, but this guy bought the guns legally.

        At least..that’s what the wsj article said:

        “Mr. Holmes had purchased two firearms at a Bass Pro Shop in Denver, the company said Friday.

        Mr. Oates said Friday that the suspect bought four guns over the past 60 days, and over the Internet bought 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle, 3,000 rounds for Glock handguns and about 300 shotgun rounds. The suspect also had a 100-round drum-style magazine for the assault rifle that would have allowed him to fire 50 to 60 rounds a minute.”


        1. Jail is preferable to what my conscience would do to me.

          Colorado requires a permit for concealed carry however, Holmes came in through an exit door and was not observed until he entered the theater.

          Colorado also allows a business to ban firearms from their establishment. Cinemark has a strict no weapons policy making the theater a “Gun Free Zone’ i.e. shooting gallery.

        2. Correction – a business in Colorado my ban openly carried weapons. Concealed Carry only applies to hand guns in Colorado.

          Bottom line is even though Holmes bought his weapons legally he broke the law when he enter the theater with them.

          Gun laws only apply to law abiding citizens, not to criminals.

          1. “Gun laws only apply to law abiding citizens, not to criminals.”

            A. you are preaching to the choir and

            B. That’s not the question at hand.

            The question is: if you are the theater owner and a patron comes armed/concealed but you detect it…

            What do you do?

  21. What will you do?

    When I was ten the kids I hung out with would have taken him out with sling shots. They always had them with, including the movies (and a pocket full of the right sized rocks.)

    Dad’s a barber and often has customers with holstered guns. I asked him if that made him nervous and it surprised me that it did. I’ve got a knife phobia, but no gun phobia. I don’t carry a gun, but would feel very secure in a crowd where everybody else did. I figure if a dozen guys had guns and one was a nutcase the other eleven would protect me. That changes somewhat if they are all in uniform. Then I figure the one would tell the other eleven to shoot me. I trust a bunch of chaotic individuals more than I do most coordinated groups.

  22. “… if they’d been allowed to have a gun. I wonder if any of the victims has CCW, and can sue?”

    IANAL, but I would think that any victim would have a reasonable case for damages, regardless of their individual CHL status.

    As to that, I believe CO law is similar to that here in TX regarding CHL holder rights/responsibilities. I would check before making the trip, but I believe both states require licensed gun carriers to be in compliance with the law in order for them to meet the standard for a justified shooting. Specifically, trespassing (as in carrying a gun onto premises known to prohibit same) will disqualify a CHL’d shooter from any statutory protections his licensed status might otherwise offer.

    The DA might decide not to prosecute a publicly acclaimed hero, or the Grand Jury could No Bill someone so charged, but private property rights take precedence over individual choices when it comes to activities property owners (or even their designated property managers) choose to permit occur on their property – like carrying guns into one of their movie theaters. If you break the law in order to do so, how are you any less a criminal than the person you very heroicly saved all those others from as far as the law is concerned?

    A CHL isn’t a shooters magic “get out of jail” ticket and in fact imposes considerable ethical burden on those of us who have one. One of the choices I make is to install Crimson Trace laser sights on all of my carry guns as well as carrying a flashlight any time I’m armed (and mostly just all the time because who wants to constantly sort through their “normal” pocket trash?). Another is to practice 3 – 4 inch groups from my carry pistol/revolver (two different types of gun actually) at 25 yards on a regular basis, and I am by no means above average among the responsible shooters I know.

  23. “A CHL isn’t a shooters magic “get out of jail” ticket and in fact imposes considerable ethical burden on those of us who have one.”

    Which is why I ask the question as to what everyone would do if they carried in the theater, and the guy had not yet opened fire….

    do you wait until he does?

    1. I will defer to TL James’ 8:16 am comment below as likely being better informed about CO law specifically. Here in TX, the operative statute (Sec 9.32) says in part that you will be presumed to be justified in using deadly force if someone commits or attempts to commit: aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery. Deadly force can be used to stop any of these crimes, as well as when it may be immediately necessary to protect yourself or another person from the attacker’s use of deadly force, and Texas specifically states that an intentional display of a weapon by one person to induce fear or intimidation in another is sufficient to justify the use of deadly force in defense of self or another by anyone lawfully present to directly respond to the threatening display. By that standard, were there no restriction on firearms carriage by the property owner, any audience member lawfully carrying a gun would have been fully justified under Texas law to shoot young Mr. Holmes DRT as soon as he unlimbered any of his firearms; no “he shot first” needed.

      And, just because it’s been much bruted about in recent months, Texas Penal Code §9.32 (c)* states that in defending yourself or another person, you have no duty to retreat if: (1) you have a legal right to be at the location where deadly force is used, (2) you did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used, (3) and you were not engaged in criminal activity at the time deadly force was used. The statute is better classified as a “no duty to retreat” law rather than a “stand your ground” law though as the latter phrase does not appear in the actual statuatory language. Under these very limited circumstances, a prosecutor or law enforcement more generally can no longer legally argue that you had a reasonable “escape route” or that you should have had to “fall back” before justifiably using deadly force.

      What is most pertinent to this particular crime is that the theater owner forbade carry of private firearms on the property. Per Sec. 9.32(c), (1) and (3) above, no one could qualify under the Texas statute as having committed a justifiable defensive shooting since they would be presumptively trespassing (see: Texas Penal Code §30.05) at the very least (or under the CO statute as I understand things – again, IANAL so salt all of this as you think best :)). Texas has very specific signage requirements for any property owner (including all state/county/local public properties) to meet that legal exclusionary standard, but as a practical matter you would almost certainly receive a trip to the local jail until a judge can sort all that out.

      That being said, Oleg Volk has a well-informed post up on his blog that addresses your question quite directly; I wholeheartedly recommend his work to anyone interested in firearms and/or photography.

      *I don’t know why Rand’s blog software displays (letter “c”) as the copyright symbol, but there it is in the “preview” …

      1. I’ll add to your comment about TX law and point out that Texas law provides even more leeway at night. A few months ago, a guy stole a truck from the driveway of a recently returned vet. The vet heard the activity, chased the guy down, and shot him in the head. It was 3am, so foggy that life flight couldn’t be called out, and the vehicle was moving, yet GSW to the face. I know because my wife was the supervisor at the hospital that received the corpse. No charges ever filed against the vet. He didn’t have an expectation to flee at night (he actually chased), but during the day, the vet would have been expected to realize the situation was non-life threatening.

        The thief carried no ID, so was a John Doe. With a clean headshot, he made a perfect organ donor.

        Don’t commit crimes at night in Texas.

  24. Gregg, the way it was explained to me is that CO law requires you to have a reasonable expectation of imminent bodily injury or death to yourself or to someone with you with whom you share an association (a spouse, child, parent, date, coworker) before shooting in self-defense. The other person doesn’t have to fire first.

    That’s what the law appears to say, but that’s also what CCW-holders are taught, and what will as a result inform their on-the-spot actions in such situations.

    Holmes clearly established himself as a credible, imminent threat of injury and/or death to anyone present before he fired his first shot, by dropping tear gas canisters, dressing himself in body armor and gas mask, and brandishing one or more firearms (even had they turned out to be toys). Once that threat was so clearly presented, there would have been no requirement to wait for him to act on it.

  25. I heard this morning that a young woman covered her friends body with her own, while stopping blood from a gunshot wound to her friends neck. They did not say jugular but they did say ‘could have bled out in minutes’, so you do the math.

    The young woman doing the lifesaving was shot while saving her friend, but she stayed right there.

    And I heard that three of the victims were shot and killed while saving friends and family.

    Likewise, it seems a thirteen year old girls had the presence of mind moments after the shooting stopped to attempt CPR on the youngest victim, a 6 y/o girls. The reports say SHE got the adults moving and SHE called the LEO’s over.

    Given the fact that CPR classes were probably in that 13 y/o young ladies past, she knew time was important. However, I don’t know anyone who ‘practices’ saving their friends bodily like the victims did, nor do I know of practicing covering up gunshot wounds while personally being shot, but they did it and had the presence of mind to see it through.

    Chris, Fletcher, others… do you STILL think civilians can’t operate under dire situations, just because it’s something they can’t practice? I’d hope to Pete I’d be as calm as a 13 y/o girl in a situation like this. If nothing else, I’ve at least been in some prior, seconds running like hours, high adrenaline places before, so I think I could do as well as the 13 y/o.

    No offense meant to 13 y/o’s by any means.

  26. I’m betting many more legal CCH / CCW holders will stick a .380 or a .22 Magnum, loaded with hollow points, in their pocket or in a ankle holster. I think many people will look past the law now, to be safe.

    It’s a shame, but when guns are outlawed…

  27. I’m betting many more legal CCH / CCW holders will stick a .380 or a .22 Magnum, loaded with hollow points, in their pocket or in a ankle holster. I think many people will look past the law now, to be safe.

    It’s a shame, but when guns are outlawed…

    It seems like a cliche, but a lot of people figure its safer to ‘maybe’ get caught, and lie their way out of it, than it will be to ‘maybe’ get killed while unarmed. Personally, I will start pushing to get as many of the restrictions on NC’s CCH laws overturned.

    And in the mean time, I’ll be watching my movies on the TV, and eating places that don’t serve alcohol, so that Roger D. Ruger and I can keep eating together with the family.

    1. … people figure its safer to ‘maybe’ get caught, and lie their way out of it, …

      That being so, “people” might ought to include the near-certainty of losing (most of) their civil rights forever while they’re still in the figuring stage of things.

      It is a pretty safe bet that a reasonably decently concealed handgun won’t get spotted by the po-po (or anyone else in the grocery checkout or what-have-you), but there’s effectively no chance of anyone failing to notice someone using a gun in a crowded public venue like a cinema. Any lying after that is going to be into a longer jail sentence if anything.

      1. Will,
        I’m with you.

        But if you say you ‘forgot’ it was there, the jury might buy it. And if you’ve been carrying for a while, it becomes like wearing a hat. You don’t notice it, will give them a similar experience to explain how you can forget.

        I’m not advocating this Will, and I hove NO intention of doing it. But I already know some people are doing it now. I just think the number will go up.

        The flip side of that is a thankful populace, when you stop the next Holmes, and he’s out there right now.

    2. … people figure its safer to ‘maybe’ get caught, and lie their way out of it, …

      That being so, “people” might ought to include the near-certainty of losing (most of) their civil rights forever while they’re still in the figuring stage of things (perjury being a felony and felons having effectively no civil rights – certainly not legal gun ownership or use).

      It is a pretty safe bet that a reasonably decently concealed handgun won’t get spotted by the po-po (or anyone else in the grocery checkout or what-have-you), but there’s effectively no chance of anyone failing to notice someone using a gun in a crowded public venue like a cinema. Any lying after that is going to be into a longer jail sentence if anything.

    1. From Wodun’s link:
      Violence of action, as we call it in the Spec Ops community, will often change the odds in your favor.

      That about sums it up.

  28. Der Schtumpy – No, I don’t think that civilians are always going to be unable to do the right thing in a stress situation. That would be stupid; there are far too many examples reported (and many more unreported) of civilians doing just that to keep that opinion for long.

    However, I do think that an accurate pistol shot by someone not particularly well trained, in the dark and smoke, under fire and in the midst of much screaming and running around, is a dubious proposition. And such a shot, if it misses, has a fairly good chance of adding to the problem you are trying to stop. And in that particular situation (target wearing body armour) may not stop the perp even if you manage to hit.

    1. such a shot, if it misses, has a fairly good chance of adding to the problem you are trying to stop.

      Spoken like a true gun phobic. First of all, he’s at one end of a theatre, so shots that miss him are not a problem. People between the defensive shooter and the target will cause the good guy to hold his fire. Yes, there is always a chance someone will stumble in the way but if you read the account most were diving to the floor (a natural reaction.) Without a defensive shooter, nothing stops the bad guy from walking up to those on the floor and shooting them.

      In summary, your fairly good chance, has almost no weight compared to the good of having defenders.

  29. I give up.

    I wasn’t thinking I’d change ‘any’ minds. But I thought the constant refrain of ‘untrained’, ‘bad shot’, in a dark room, would slow down.

    Fletcher, you seem to think body armor would keep him from feeling the hits. I’ve read accounts of guys hi, and saved. while wearing a est. Most say it’s like getting hit with a bat. It might not have killed him, but it would have redirected his focus. Actually, he might have fled once hit, to keep from feeling the bat again.

    And I failed to ask this earlier.

    Just how dark is it in a theater with the movie running. It’s not ‘daylight’, but it’s not 6′ up a bears @$$, while he’s covering his head with a blanket, sleeping in a cave dark either. It’s only ‘dark’ when there is nothing on the screen. And beings he was down front hear the Emergency Exit he would have been illuminated by reflected from a screen DESIGNED to bounce light back.

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