Park Ranger Tases Guy Walking Dogs Without A Leash

from the watch-your-back dept

In the latest example of questionable taser use, a man walking his two dogs off-leash at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was tased in the back by a park ranger, who was apparently trying to make an example of him. The problem was that the guy, Gary Hesterberg, was walking the dogs at Rancho Corral de Tierra, which used to be an off-leash walking area until it was just recently incorporated into the National Park. When the park ranger confronted Hesterberg and asked for his identification, for reasons unknown, Hesterberg gave her a fake name, and then tried repeatedly to leave. Finally, when he started to walk away, the ranger shot him in the back… because she was trying to “educate residents of the rule.” Then, he was arrested “on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and knowingly providing false information.”

It seems that the use of a taser in this situation was excessive and unwarranted. The guy wasn’t threatening the ranger in any way, and even if he had lied about his name (not that lying should be a reason to tase someone), the ranger wouldn’t have known that at the time, since Hesterberg only gave his real name to the authorities after he got tased. Did the ranger accomplish her goal of “educating” visitors of the park rules? Yes, if educating means “scaring into submission.” As Eric Cartman would say, “Respect my authoritah!”

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Comments on “Park Ranger Tases Guy Walking Dogs Without A Leash”

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TtfnJohn (profile) says:

I do get concerned about the often random use of tasers by law enforcement. Not that I’d find myself in the position that this man did nor would I give a false name there’s a real possibility that using a taser on me would kill me as I’m 100% dependent on my pacemaker and the amount of electricity generated by the weapon would destroy it.

Despite the propaganda of Taser International these devices are not always non fatal.

Aerilus says:


sadly its going to take them tasing and killing a few people with pacemakers or other cardiac conditions then getting sued for millions of dollars before law enforcement realizes that tasers are deadly I keep waiting for some school resource officer to do this since they seem to need tasers so bad because of the scarey highschool students, what is wrong with pepper spray or using your brain and diffusing the situation (especially if its a high school fight) rather than shocking the crap out of a teenager

Michael says:

Going overboard

The TSA is starting to expand their operations to our railroads, bus stations and roads in an attempt to intimidate American citizens. They’re turning us into a police state step by step and justifying it with propoganda about terrorism. I’d be more concerned about people who have the ability to trample our freedoms than terrorists. Slavery is a worse fate than death.

Pickle Monger (profile) says:

This is clearly bad judgement. I wouldn’t have started with the dog owner. 😉 Reminds me of an old joke:

“A man wakes up one morning in Alaska to find a bear on his roof. So he looks in the yellow pages and sure enough, there’s an ad for “Bear Removers.”

He calls the number, and the bear remover says he’ll be over in 30 minutes.

The bear remover arrives, and gets out of his van. He’s got a ladder, a baseball bat, a shotgun and a mean old pit bull.

“What are you going to do,” the homeowner asks?

“I’m going to put this ladder up against the roof, then I’m going to go up there and knock the bear off the roof with this baseball bat. When the bear falls off, the pit bull is trained to grab his testicles and not let go. The bear will then be subdued enough for me to put him in the cage in the back of the van.”

He hands the shotgun to the homeowner.

“What’s the shotgun for?” asks the homeowner.

“If the bear knocks me off the roof, shoot the dog.”

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Use of force rules

Silly me. I always thought that there were rules about the use of force, like eminent danger to the officer or someone else. Are the rules gone, misinterpreted, stretched beyond the imagination of an overly stimulated teenager? Or is this simply pure egotistical power grabbing by anally retentive sociopaths wearing uniforms and acting under the guise of law enforcement?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The “upside” to this is, without the “nonlethal” alternative would this ranger have shot this vile lawbreaker?

It seems as we give them more ways to handle situations, they find more reasons to use their new found toys and powers over others. It also seems the more toys we give them the less critical thinking is done beyond mace/tase/shoot on a quick option menu.

Lord Binky says:


First off, NOT shoot the guy with a tazer. Second, tell him what he rules he was violating and why he was being detained, in the article bystanders said he asked repeatedly and she did not provide that information so he tried to leave. That would have been a much better start instead of getting embarassed that you’re just a park ranger and having to show dominance over the lowly citizens.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

The trouble with tasers

This ranger is clearly unsuitable for the job.

However, this does raise a larger point. My problem with Tasers lies exactly in their mostly nonlethality. It was obvious to anyone who’s paid attention to history that they were going to be abused simply because they won’t kill most of the time.

And look what’s happened. When they were introduced to police departments around here, we were constantly assured that Tasers would only be used in situations where a gun would otherwise have been used. That type of usage is, I think, wholly uncontroversial and makes it an easy sell.

Nowadays, however, Tasers are not used that way. They are, instead, used to torture people into compliance even when they aren’t an immediate threat. Many use of force policies even approve of this.

In my opinion there is rampant abuse of Tasers, both sanctioned and not, and this abuse is at the level where it would be the largest benefit to the public at large to either forbid their use, or treat their use as no different than using a gun.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:


Despite all the movies you may have seen it is not okay for police to shoot people in the back while trying to escape. In this case, if she wanted to detain the guy, she should have told him she was arresting him and for what reason, if he attempted escape then she should have called for backup, followed the guy, and waited to detain him with others helping. At any point, if the dude attempts to cause harm to officers, then the tase may be used.

Anonymous Coward says:


That last statement I think that cuts more to the point. He could out-wit hear in speech so she didn’t even try speaking anymore. There were bystanders watching her fail miserably at performing her job even if it was just to give him a warning or write him a ticket. So after being publicly embarrassed by her own poor performance, she assessed the risk level(man+2 small dogs) and decided it was safe for her to use brute force to reaffirm her position as dominant over citizens and “educate” the people around her to this point.

Lord Binky says:


The only flaw in that logic is that you’re expecting a park ranger can keep up with a man walking two small dogs. What if he jogged? There’s no way she could have kept up with him. She would have likely had to ask him to make several stops so she could keep up with him until he either got to his car (and wrote down his licence plate, i’m kidding i’m kidding obviously she wasn’t trained to be literate)or maybe even his home if that was nearby.

vilain (profile) says:

Bust gone bust

When this all comes to trial if some DA decides to prosecute, I’m sure the ranger will be called to the stand to explain why she tazed the suspect. And to explain why, when asked, “Can I go now?” she said yes.

If the judge throws this out of court, I would not be surprised.

If the DA charges this guy and not accept a plea, I would not be surprised.

If this park ranger continues tasing people with impunity, I would not be surprised.

Planespotter (profile) says:


“Excuse me Sir, The park has now been incorporated into the National Park and walking dogs off the leash is no longer allowed. I’m sorry for the confusion and I will ensure that signage explaining this is placed at the car parks, picnic areas and rest rooms as soon as possible. I’m sorry that I have to ask but could you please leash your dogs.

Thanks Sir and once again on behalf of the Ranger Service I apologise for the confusion.”

Anonymous Coward says:

This was a law enforcement Ranger, not an Interpretive Ranger. Most people encounter Interpretive Rangers at parks and they’re the one’s who are generally very friendly and helpful. Not that LEO Rangers aren’t generally friendly and helpful, but people should realize that most Rangers are not LEO’s and do not carry weapons, nor would they ever consider tasering someone for something like this.

Anonymous Coward says:

So nice of you to ignore the crimes he was committing, you people are the problem, not the ranger, who was enforcing the law, he lied to a law enforcement officer, granted at the time, they didn’t knwo that, but repeatedly trying to walk away, that is suspicious behavior, like he may be a wanted criminal, you don?t know , the ranger didn?t know, even after being told to stay put, he kept trying to walk away, he got what he deserved, period, end of story

Anonymous Coward says:


Nothing, she accomplished the task and that was to have all dogs on a leash or have the people who don’t leave.

What else is there to do?

Beat the people who walk dogs unleashed?

She could have recorded the encounter so a next time it could be used as proof to sue the guy.

The lesson to society here appears that all rules no matter what they are must be enforced by violent acts.

I could understand if the dogs posed a threat to others, if they were aggressive or something but none of that appears to be the case so why it is ok to use violence for something so stupid?

Anonymous Coward says:

he probably deserved it

i think you hit the nail on the head.

the guy probably was being a dick and this woman was straight up embarrassed and couldn’t handle her shit.

she is the type of person who would cut off her nose to spite her face. this person has no business being in the line of work she does; unfortunately, i feel most aren’t up for the task

Spointman (profile) says:

no excuse

Assault and battery with a deadly weapon? I was always told that battery means physical contact happened, assault merely means that you threatened the person. IANAL, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

The deadly weapon part is shakier, but any halfway decent lawyer should be able to make a case that a taser can be used to kill people, even if only by misusing it.

Lord Binky says:


It is not a crime to walk away from a police officer that has given no reason for detaining you. I can be suspicious all day long if I don’t appear to be breaking a law they officer can’t do anything more to me other than watch, What criminal looks suspicious, obviously they would aim for being inconspicous, at which point the officer should detain every conspicously inconspicous person? Let’s just detain all citizens and then only the enforcment personel can be criminals.

And the ranger was not enforcing the law. She was not in the middle of trying to ticket him, she wasn’t even saying why she should listen to him. Law enforcement is not entitled to absolute authority, if they tell you to do 1000 push-ups, you do not have to mindlessly obey.

Ilfar says:


“Hey there, were you aware you can’t walk your dogs off their leads here? It’s a National Park.”

“The rules are the rules, I can see your dogs are unlikely to attack the wildlife here, but I must ask you to please leash your dogs.”

“If you won’t leash your dogs, then I have to ask you to leave.”

The point to being an enforcement official is not to start a confrontation every single time, but give em the benefit of the doubt the first time you encounter them. When I was a noise control officer I found it much easier to cheerfully tell people they needed to lower the volume. The few times that didn’t work, pointing out the process that was about to occur (I give you a Notice to Reduce Excessive Noise, next 72 hours if I have to come back I do so with police and we take your stuff) worked. For those few that didn’t, pointing out the next time I came back would be with the police – well, those who are obnoxious generally know the cops by name, and don’t want to meet them for various reasons.

I had exactly one instance where I had to call for police and nearby guard support, and that was a liquored up young man who learned confronting police officers about why they are on his property is a fast way to play the handcuff game. That’s ONE instance in just under a year, while dealing with multiple DRUNK partygoers four nights a week…

Give someone a taser, they’re just going to think they have to use it.

bshock (profile) says:


I suspect the true flaw in this line of reasoning is the tacit assumption that the ranger had to do anything at all.

Look at the situation: a guy was walking his little dogs without their leashes. He and the dogs weren’t hurting anyone at all. He’d merely broken a rule.

Enforcement of rules for the sake of enforcement of rules is simply idiotic.

I suppose you could argue some slippery slope nonsense about one broken rule begetting more and larger broken rules, until we descend into mere chaos.

But let’s be serious.

isaac Kotlicky (profile) says:

Priorities, people...

You gotta know where they lie…

Walking your dog without a leash = tasered
Sharing culture with internet links = extradition and trial on foreign soil
Operating a cyber locker = Full on SWAT assualt by Seal Team 6 (who were complaining that they couldn’t use deadly force…)

Steal millions under a fake investment Ponzi scheme = police escort to shield you from the media
Bribing politicians and laundering money/prostitution = Job as a media political analyst
Stealing BILLIONS via mortgage backed securities and eviciting hundreds of people from their homes = Government fines you 10% of your ill gotten money.

Sounds fair to me…

Rez (profile) says:


The ‘service’ part of ‘public service’ is perhaps the hardest thing for these people to remember. They are supposed to maintain order – one way to do that is to be polite, informative, and courteous. Acting like an ass and getting people pissed off defies the goal. Tasing someone because you couldn’t express your ideas properly defies that goal. Hell, groping someone’s genitals so they feel violated and unwilling to cooperate defies the goal. We really need to re-evaluate how we define the service that people supply to our nation, because so far its turing into a beatme-rapeme club that nobody can escape.

Rapnel (profile) says:


Are you fucking kidding me with this? Did you even RTFA? You might be one of those dildos that honestly believe someone with any badge can tell you to stand still without being told why but a little common fucking sense could go a long way. “Remain at the scene”? Scene of what? A particular are of dirt sporting a fucking authoritative cunt on a power trip with a badge enforcing a new leash law with a potentially lethal use of force? I don’t care if he was Billy the fucking kid. Carrying a badge does not put you at some fantasy level above the rest of society, she is a member of it and should exhibit an extraordinary amount restraint and utilize honed skills in dealing with “confrontational” situations that are not driven primarily by emotion.

“end of story” – tool – you don’t even have the whole story. Ranger needs training. There’s your fucking story.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wow, a lot of internet tough-guys here. If you were a cop, walking up behind someone and trying to stop them is a good way to get knocked the F out or worse. All they have to do is spin around and land an elbow or slip your firearm from your holster. The dumbass was repeatedly trying to walk away from her instead of handing the situation like a normal, non-douchebag human. Try being a jack like that to a typical sheriff and see how funny he thinks it is. You would be in cuffs and lucky to not have taser darts in you. Dumbass deserved every volt he got.

Anonymous Coward says:


Posting anonymously is highly suspicious behaviour, like you may be a wanted child rapist, we just don’t know even after being given the option to fill in a name, you’ve decided to post anonymously. You should be hunted down and kicked in the bollocks until they fall off. After all, it’s what filthy rapists like you deserve, full stop, end of story.

Fucking retard.

Pjerky (profile) says:


I guess I have been out of high school longer than I thought (only 10 years) but last time I was there many of the students were as big if not bigger than many of the faculty and some become VERY violent when angry. I have seen plenty of students react with near deadly force against faculty to completely justify the use of tasers and pepper spray in some high schools. I would even go as far as say that tasers are a better option given how few students have heart conditions compared to asthma. And I doubt any have a pacemaker (though I suppose it is possible).

Pjerky (profile) says:

No excuse

I am not sorry to say, the dumb bitch should be tased in return and then fired. And he should be released with a huge apology. Hell if this happened to me and I had managed to get back up on my own power I would have gone for her throat and wouldn’t have stopped until someone put me down. There is no way in hell I would have stood for this from anyone. I don’t care who the hell they are. There is no excuse for this behavior by the ranger. None at all!

Anonymous Coward says:

Tazing people in the park...

it’s a National Park (although not in the area where the taser assault occurred) so its business is growing wood not entertaining people, in this case the LESS people it gets, the better for the trees

what the park needs now is some hunt & kill drones set to automatically kill any human (or dog) that enters the area and put ranger Sarah in charge, she already seems to have a history of abuse^h^h^h work experience.

Lord Binky says:

Tazing people in the park...

Holy crap, if that’s her, she hates dog owners doesn’t she? Must be a cat person. So this is her what, at least third time tasing people walking their dogs? In one comment on a previous tasing, someone said the guy was being an asshole, but he already had his citation, there was nothing more for her to do!

Why is it people think you are not allowed to be an asshole or that it’s wrong to be an asshole to a cop? I guarantee cops it isn’t illegal for cops to be assholes, so where does this come from? If you take your ticket and co-operate with an reasonable request, there’s no reason you can’t freely say what you think of the situation and the performance of the officers.

Is it a good idea to be an asshole? Of course not, but if you don’t care about the officer using discretion and giving you a warning instead of a ticket, or any of a thousand ways an officer can cut you slack, then go for it.

Lord Binky says:

What kind of wording is that by the way “on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order.” The officer suspected she had a lawful order that he didn’t follow? What a broad law, Police Officer : “I ordered them to fight to the death, they had to listen or I would shoot them both,it’s Ok because I suspected it was a lawful order.”

The obey an order laws include “lawful” for a obvious reason. Being that she couldn’t detain him for complying and she did not state any further business with him such as writing a ticket, there was no lawful reason for him to stay, he wasn’t wrong. Her order for him to stay was unlawful, and he is not required to listen to that order. Many people WOULD listen to that order because they’re afraid of cops escalating a situation as happened here, and without bystanders it is a “he said/she said” argument that the citizen is very likely to lose in a court.

Rekrul says:


And they are both better than nightsticks.

Maybe someday we’ll just be able to ask people pretty please, but until that time…

If a normal person shoots someone who only had a knife, they’re charged with using excessive force, since they had a more powerful weapon than the other guy. Never mind that the guy was high on drugs and intent on killing you.

So explain to me why it’s OK for a park ranger to shoot an unarmed guy in the back as he was walking away from her.

Tasers and pepper spray are supposed to be used for subduing violent suspects with less chance of killing them. They were never intended to be used just because an officer (or park ranger) feels they’re not getting the respect that they deserve.

Rekrul says:

no excuse

While I agree the Ranger should be charged, with assault.

Attempted Murder? Really? With a non-lethal weapon? Sorry, the ranger should NOT be charged with attempted murder.

Charge with Assault, or Assault with a Weapon. Charge with use of excessive force or even false arrest.

If the average person were to use a taser on a member of law enforcement, they would be charged with “Assualt with a deadly weapon”. Nobody would say “Oh, he only used a non-lethal weapon.” In most places in the US, tasers, and even the less effective stun-guns that you have to press against a person, are listed as “deadly weapons”.

Rekrul says:


Wow, a lot of internet tough-guys here. If you were a cop, walking up behind someone and trying to stop them is a good way to get knocked the F out or worse. All they have to do is spin around and land an elbow or slip your firearm from your holster. The dumbass was repeatedly trying to walk away from her instead of handing the situation like a normal, non-douchebag human.

She was the douchebag for turning a simple, non-dangerous violation of the rules into a major incident. Maybe if she had simply explained that the rules had changed, rather than being on a power trip, the guy wouldn’t have just walked away from her.

btr1701 says:


> If a normal person shoots someone who only
> had a knife, they’re charged with using
> excessive force, since they had a more
> powerful weapon than the other guy

Not sure where you live, but that’s not the case in any state in the USA. The relevant standard isn’t ‘whose weapon is more powerful’, but rather if a person is in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury. Once that standard is met, *any* weapon may be used to mitigate the danger in self-defense.

And yes, being confronted with a knife-wielding attacker would make use of deadly force reasonable, including the use of a firearm in defense.

btr1701 says:


> Despite all the movies you may have seen
> it is not okay for police to shoot people
> in the back while trying to escape.

In some states it is. It’s called the ‘fleeing felon rule’. If a suspect has just committed a violent felony and is fleeing the police and is armed and the cops can articulate that if he were to escape, he’d be an imminent and continuing danger to public safety, then they are justified in shooting him as he flees.

Most states have done away with this rule, but it’s still legal in a handful of states.

btr1701 says:

no excuse

> If the average person were to use a taser
> on a member of law enforcement, they would
> be charged with “Assualt with a deadly weapon”.

But they wouldn’t be charged with attempt-murder, which is the point under discussion.

The issue isn’t whether the weapon is ‘deadly’ or not. Anything can be a deadly weapon depending on how it’s used. The issue is whether the person had the requisite mens rea, or intent to kill.

In this case, there was zero evidence that the park ranger intended to kill the dog walker.

Anonymous Coward says:

no excuse

The guy was in retreat, he posed no immediate danger, he was not a violent criminal, he didn’t commit a violent crime, he didn’t appear threatening and still got hit with a weapon that could have kill him, those things are called “less than lethal” but are potentially lethal so maybe attempted man slaughter is more fitting if we want to go down that road.

Personally I think she should be punished by unpaid leave, have a record of this incident and apologize profusely for what happened to the guy she harmed and put at risk by being irresponsible.

She was not there to teach people a lesson, she was there to enforce the rules and she accomplished that the moment the guy was evading the park with his dog, that should have been the end of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

and he got tazed in the back, right??? how did he know??? oh yeah he knew he was wrong, knew he was violating the law, he got what he deserved

if you are breaking the law, which he was, and being questioned about it, no, you do not have the right to walk away from the LEO

since from the mouth breathers on this forum, all of you were standing there the entire time and know every minute detail of the event…tools……keep drinking the koolaide sheeple

Moby (profile) says:

not enough info

Taser’s are considered non-lethal / less-lethal weapons…Borrowing from Wikipedia, “It is often understood that accidental, incidental, and correlative casualties are risked wherever force is applied, but non-lethal weapons try to minimize the risk as much as possible.” In laymen’s terms, while using a taser can sometimes result in a negative outcome, it is preferred over shooting someone, which guarantees a negative outcome. This is a primary reason many law-enforcement agencies resort to tasers.

Contrary to some of the statements here, you are not allowed to walk-away or refuse to be questioned by a sworn officer. It is true an officer should have probable cause to detain you. However, just because you disagree with his reasoning or feel otherwise, you cannot refuse to comply. Under the law, you are required to comply. If you feel the officer unfairly targeted you or behaved inappropriately there are legal and civil avenues you can pursue at a variety of levels.

Refusing to comply when stopped or questioned and attempting to flee; however peaceful, is an invitation in the use of increased force to detain you. Not to mention, suspicion was heightened when the person lied and gave a fake name.

I am not condoning the officer’s or the citizen’s actions as the story is vague at best. Making judgments w/so little info is an exercise in futility.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Tasing in GG Park

I don’t see it that way. The guy was “fleeing”. The Ranger had every right to detain him, if only to talk to him, and he was avoiding even that common courtesy.
Argue that we shouldn’t have law enforcement (“somebody shot your child, stole your wallet, and fled? Gee, that’s a shame”) but if we have law enforcement, and there is a total lack of respect for it on the part of someone, they asked for what they got. I personally feel the Ranger should have been congratulated on enforcing a respect for the law.

nasch (profile) says:


It is not a crime to walk away from a police officer that has given no reason for detaining you.

Think about this though, if you’re walking away, the LEO doesn’t have an opportunity to explain to you. If a cop comes up to you and says “Hello sir, I’d…” and at that point you leave, and he says “sir, wait, don’t leave, I need to talk to you” and you keep going, what is he supposed to do? If he has a legitimate reason to detain (not necessarily arrest) you, is he supposed to chase you while trying to explain what he’s doing? Before tasers, I’m guessing he would tackle and handcuff you, and most people would say “well duh, don’t walk away from a police officer who just told you to stay put”.

I’m not saying this ranger did a great job, but when she told him to stay there and he left, what would he expect to happen? LEOs are not trained to just let people ignore lawful orders. They’re law enforcement officers, not law suggestion officers. I don’t know if this order was lawful for sure, but it seems like she would have good faith reason to believe so.

Maybe a better headline would be “Park Ranger tases guy who leaves against orders”. Since the dogs had nothing directly to do with the tasing.

Anonymous Coward says:


Depends on why you want it.

If you just want to see a bear get tazed and suffer, then yes.

On the other hand, considering a simple tazer would probably just annoy and harm, but not incapacitate a bear, causing nothing more than the severe mauling, if not death of the moron wielding the tazer, if the reason you wanted to see that is to see say, the narcissistic, power hungry ranger from this story get mauled, that would probably fall under ‘cruel, but still kinda funny’.

robert says:

sounds like assault.

this park ranger ought to be prosecuted for assault. if i did this to anyone, it would be assault. i don’t care what my reasons for doing so were: if self-defense was not involved, then the act of tasing another human being should be prosecuted as assault. flat out.

prosecute this dirtbag before someone decides that flipping the park ranger off while walking away is grounds for execution by sidearm.

ma (profile) says:

Here in Florida…..This ranger has clearly crossed the line and could have been shot and killed by a legally licensed concealed weapons carrier in self-defense…..And the shooter would have gone home to see his wife and kids scott free. But then again you won’t see that here in Florida because of castle doctrine. Only the ones stripped of their rights will be subjected to this in states such as in California. An armed society is a polite society? And by the way, there is no wholesale slaughter here in Florida as liberals would have you believe. Get smart and learn something, the thorn in the side of all anti gunners, read; ?More Guns Less Crime? by John Lott. The only statistical and scientific study ever done.

btr1701 (profile) says:


> > Key point there though is VIOLENT felon.

> Also FELON. I can’t imagine that walking
> your dogs without a leash is a felony.

Yes, but we were no longer talking about *this* case. Chuck Norris’ Enemy (deceased) made reference to movies and what the police can and cannot do. Since this case didn’t involve the police, we were no longer talking about this case, but rather the broader legalities of when it is appropriate to use deadly force.

My comment addressed that, not this park ranger situation.

Rekrul says:


Not sure where you live, but that’s not the case in any state in the USA. The relevant standard isn’t ‘whose weapon is more powerful’, but rather if a person is in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury. Once that standard is met, *any* weapon may be used to mitigate the danger in self-defense.

And yes, being confronted with a knife-wielding attacker would make use of deadly force reasonable, including the use of a firearm in defense.

I’m in the US, and while it’s not strictly defined in law that you can’t use a more powerful weapon to defend yourself, the standard is whether you used a justifiable amount of force to defend yourself. Unfortunately I can’t provide any examples at the moment, but I have read news stories about people who non-fatally shot knife-wielding intruders in their homes and were successfully prosecuted for using excessive force. The argument went something like that the intruder posed a lesser threat because they only had a knife, which is a close range weapon, so shooting them from several feet away was excessive force.

Also, cop friend once told my father point-blank, that if he ever was in a situation where he had to shoot someone, to make sure that he killed the person. In fact, he told him to “empty the gun into him”, and then say that he panicked and just kept pulling trigger. The reason being that if you have enough time to take careful aim, or shoot the person in a non-vital area to wound or incapacitate them, you weren’t in enough danger to justify shooting them.

Also, some jurisdictions in the US have a “duty to flee” law, which requires that unless you’re in your home, you attempt to flee from a violet attack rather than defend yourself, and that use of a weapon is only justified if you can prove that there was no way for you to flee.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but the rights of victims have been under attack for many years now. Burglars can successfully sue you if they get hurt while breaking into your home or business. If you set up any kind of trap to kill or injure burglars, you will be charged with a crime, even if you’ve been robbed repeatedly in the past.

btr1701 (profile) says:


> I have read news stories about people who
> non-fatally shot knife-wielding intruders
> in their homes and were successfully prosecuted
> for using excessive force. The argument went
> something like that the intruder posed a lesser
> threat because they only had a knife, which
> is a close range weapon, so shooting them
> from several feet away was excessive force.

When it comes to knives, 22 feet is the minimum safe distance for someone armed with a gun. At 21 feet or closer, a person with a knife can lunge forward and cut you before you can raise the gun and pull the trigger.

Seems unbelievable, but we had drills in the academy that proved it soundly.

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