Americans are treated to a steady stream of good guys purposely and casually wounding bad guys, usually in the shoulder. On TV and in the movies, such beyond-Olympic-level shooting always disarms and incapacitates the bad guy, and when the good guy is similarly wounded, they are barely inconvenienced and heal with amazing speed.
Not only is this sort of shooting incredibly dangerous to good guys and innocent bystanders, it’s almost always legally disastrous. In addition, any survivable gunshot wound may have life-long health implications. As regular readers may remember from an earlier article, one shoots to stop an attacker, to immediately–to whatever degree that is possible–cause them to cease the hostile actions that made the use of deadly force legally permissible. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that all legal burdens have been met. The good guy, under the laws in force when and where he has to shoot, is legally in the right when he pulls the trigger. But how is he going to accomplish his purpose: stopping the bad guy?
There are three primary means of stopping a human being:
Breaking the skeleton
Even a good center-of-mass hit is rarely instantly incapacitating. Unless you actually hit the heart or break the spine.
Furthermore, almost anytime someone has to shoot, they’re under incredible stress. Guess what? When your fight or flight instinct kicks in, your body dumps a ton of adrenaline into your bloodstream. Your accuracy is going to plummet.
Police may (or may not) be too quick to resort to shooting, but the idea of demanding anyone to shoot with an attempt to wound is asinine.