Having to defend yourself or another with the use of deadly force is a frightening prospect for someone who is normally inclined to peaceful behavior. Having that fear does not mean you won’t do what you must when the appropriate time comes, but how you persist through your emotional state in the moments that follow that can have a great deal of influence on how you are treated by the criminal justice system.
When you call 911, be careful; your call will be recorded, which means that you will be speaking “on the record.” You will surely be flush with adrenaline when you make the call, so you should guard against rambling or saying more than you should. Try to keep what you reveal at that point to your name and address, that you were the victim of a violent assault or intrusion, and that you shot the perpetrator(s) in self defense. Also, make special mention that you were in fear for your life – it’s very important to drive that point home.
When the police arrive, they will have a bunch of questions for you. Say as little as possible until you have had a chance to speak with a lawyer. Not only is your lawyer your official advocate in the legal process, but he will also be someone who is more dispassionate about your situation. He will not be burdened with the emotions and other stresses with which you’re dealing, so his responses to law enforcement on your behalf will be devoid of those influences.
If there are witnesses and/or any pieces of evidence that support your version of events, be sure to identify them for police.
Be sure to ask for medical assistance. Receiving medical attention is a good idea anyway, because even if your assailant did not make physical contact with you, you may have injured yourself somehow, or even be at risk of a heart attack or some other acute, stress-induced ailment in the moments following the shooting. Also, it helps to further validate your previously-stated claim that you were the victim of the attack.
In the end, the most important thing you can do right after you shoot someone in self-defense is to be sure to say as little as possible. It may sound, at first blush, like the act of a person guilty of having done something wrong, but it’s important for a person who has done everything right to keep quiet, as well. Remember that while there are many good people who work in the criminal justice system, careers depend on successful arrests and convictions, so you cannot dismiss the leverage exerted by those influences on police and prosecutors.
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James L. Paris is the Editor-In-Chief of Christian Money.com and the author of more than 20 books on personal finance. He studied biblical prophecy while a student at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. Along with completing ROTC survival and marksmanship training, he is certified as a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He is the author of the soone to be release Selling The Mark Of The Beast – How The Antichrist Will Convince The Masses To Willingly Take The Mark.
Bob Yetman, Editor-at-Large at Christian Money.com, is an author & instructor in the realm of personal finance and investing, as well as on topics of fitness and self-defense. A U.S. Army veteran, he has earned a B.A. degree in psychology from Stetson University, numerous licenses and certifications in the financial services industry, and the Certified Fitness Trainer and Specialist in Martial Arts Conditioning designations from the International Sports Sciences Association. He is the co-author of the yet to be released book, Selling The Mark Of The Beast – How The Antichrist Will Convince The Masses To Willingly Take The Mark.