Again, review the chart. The question is shooting bad guys in the back. Many in the gun community, indoctrinated by the fear-mongers and liability-centric trainers are totally averse to back shooting. And it shows. We recall the Minnesota Mal event where tha bad guy terrorist is actually advancing on the good guy back first. And the good guy is shown back pedaling, apparently hesitating to shoot him in the back, and actually falls down. Fortunately, it worked out well for the good guy.
A recent question at warriortalk on the legality of back shooting created the need for this article. So lets get to it. I have shot bad guys in the back twice. One was an active shooter and the other a home invader/rapist. Both were justified.
In the tactical scheme of things, the back shot will present itself, usually in one of two ways. One the bad guy will be attempting to move from one point to another, either in an attempt to flee after his crime, or gain a tactical advantage. The other is that at the outset of the event, or as you move to contact, the back shot presents itself to you.
So lets go through the flowchart and see where we are. Usually it will not be a situation where you are the target of the assault, although as the happenstance hero in Minnesota learned, never say never. In any case, we arrive at the question - "Do you have a clear understanding of the events?"
It should be fairly clear to you what is going on. If not, its simple...don't engage. Your perceived information of the event will justify your actions. This is where the officers may have insider information from a radio call, or a briefing. You as a private citizen will have only what you see to go on. So what did you see? What did you hear?
The next question in the chart - "Is escape and/or deescalation possible or moral?"
Look, I get it. American Gun Culture has become a culture of fear thanks to those who profit from that fear and have a greater capacity for getting their message out than I do. But consider that for you to take a proactive shot on a bad guy's back, certain things must have already happened. One is that the bad guy must have already used deadly force against someone else. And the total picture of the event has given you a certainty that this is a continuing threat to everyone. In other words, others are likely to also be killed or seriously injured if the bad guy is not "made safe".
Is this a thug versus thug event, or is it an active shooter taking out his victims? It is important for you to be able to take everything you see at face value and make judgements based on those images. The ONLY difference between a private citizen's actions and those of the police officer are that the police officer usually has some insider information about what went on whereas the private citizen does not. If the information you have at the time justifies shooting them in the back, then shooting them in the back is justified whether you are a barber or a ct operator.
When guys ask about this in class I simply say this - "If your wife or daughter were at that place and time...and the bad guy was not a specific threat to me, but was running toward their location...and you, not there, could send me a message what would that message be? Would it be, that this has nothing to do with me and that I should act in fear-based self preservation only, or would you tell me to please save your family by killing the bad guy?"
Again, there are no magic words, but there is magic in carefully chosen words...magic that will justify your actions. The active shooter that has just killed a couple of people and is now running away is a present in a nice gift box with a ribbon and your name on the box. And the fact that God placed you there at that moment is not an accident. The more blood the bad guy has spilled, the greater license you have to kill him. To not intervene and take action against the bad guy is inconceivable to me...and I do in fact know what that word means.