Monday, November 19, 2007

Shoot Or Don't Shoot?

A self-defense scenario for you; tell me what your course of action would be.

You live in a fully developed suburb of a major east coast city. You take your dogs out in your own backyard in the middle of the day. A raccoon runs out from underneath the porch and attacks your dogs. While you try to separate the animals, the coon takes a nip at you. Assuming that you are carrying your pistol, do you draw and fire? Why or why not?

Think it's far-fetched? Think again. As improbable as it seems, it happened to one of my co-workers this weekend. Here are more facts-- He slipped and fell as he tried to get the dogs away from the raccoon and dislocated his elbow. He also did not have his gun, even though he owns one and told me that he wished he'd had it on him. He got nipped on the foot, and ended up stomping the raccoon to death, but the whole event lasted several unpleasant minutes. One of his neighbors just watched, apparently more worried about the raccoon than the human. By the time another neighbor figured out what was going on and summoned help, the animal was dead. So he was pretty much on his own for the whole thing. Now he has to wait for the results of the rabies test, and faces surgery on his arm. (Oh, and he lives in a very blue county of a red state, where gun use is rather frowned on.)

Again, is this a shoot or no-shoot situation? Why or why not? Reality-- it's not always cut and dried.

8 Comments:

Blogger VFRMarine said...

Frankly, I'm in the "shoot" category. Unfortunately, blue state rules may result in some serious unintended consequences, including possible criminal charges. Then again, judged by 12 vice injected (anti-rabies shot) by 1 is a chance I'm willing to take.

One would like to think you could go out in your own (suburban?) backyard without running into this kind of trouble. Also, what's the point of owning a gun if you're not prepared to use it?

Would be a wise idea to investigate the weapon discharge statutes in said blue state for a non-life threatening, but self defense situation.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Countertop said...

Not sure. I live in Fairfax and would have no problem blasting him to bits. However, your friend is in Arlington where its a much different situation.

The fact that no one came to his assistance, should have led him to shoot the thing, but being in Arlington, he would likely face firearm charges for shooting. Would he win at trial?? Maybe (look at the animal activist neighbors reaction for insight into the jury he might face).

That said, I had a similar - though not as scary - experience myself last year (or was it the year before). I was walking my son around the neighborhood and as we came around the corner to our house, we he started saying "look at the raccoon" and began to run up the road to a very rabid and disoriented looking raccoon sitting right there on the sidewalk.

I scooped him up (kick and screaming that he wanted to pet the raccoon) and hauled him in the house. Went outside, and the raccoon was stumbling like a drunk person back and forth on the sidewalk. Picked up the phone and called animal control.

The operator began giving me the 2nd degree and doubting that the animal was actually rabid ("we don't have rabid raccoons in Fairfax", "just because its daylight doesn't mean he's rabid", "he might be disoriented because he was startled awake"). I finally cut her off, said he was just next to an area where all the neighborhood kids play and that "I've got my gun and am going to shoot him" if you don't send an officer over.

We had both a cop and an animal control officer there within about 5 minutes. By that time the racoon had stumbled down the sidewalk behind our neighbors house and was sitting at the entrance of a hiking trail.

They saw I had my gun with them, thanked me for caring enough to call him in and stick with him, and then proceeded to capture him.

Both had no doubt he was rabid.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous bullnav said...

We have had discussions about this in regards to dogs. The question becomes, "Is deadly force authorized?" In other words are you in fear for your life or those around you.

Coon? I would not think so, especially with my dogs. But if it came down between my dogs and the coon, the coon is going down.

Rabid? I think I would have handled it like Countertop (my 10/22 would work quite fine).

I have also thought of back up plans. My son's single-shot .22 can take shorts, which don't make a hell of a lot of noise, but then you have to have it with you. The bow is handy also..

Am I concerned about what the cops will do or what the neighbors think? NO.

Read LONE SURVIVOR to see what happens when you start worrying about what kind of trouble you might get in if you take the action you KNOW is right.

9:02 AM  
Blogger vmijpp said...

Thanks, gents. I conversation earlier today with an MP gave me some more info. His reply was, "Blast it." He continued to explain-- and he was once a base Provost Marshal-- that rabies is a deadly disease and although it has an effective cure it's not a sure thing. A rabid animal is a deadly threat and a serious meance to the community.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is a situation that required a moment of forethought. If he had picked up a shovel, a rake, a hoe, etc. and then waded in, he could have kept Mr. Raccoon at a distance. Once he was in this mess, I don't know. A raccoon is not a likely animal to kill you. I think it would be a clearer shoot situation if it had been a coyote or a feral dog.
Out in the country, where he should move ASAP, the loaded 10/22 over the door would have ended this before it began.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Shoot. it's more humane than stomping the creature to death. Had the creature lived and been caught, it would likely be euthanized anyway especially if it was rabid or had distemper (which may have been why it attacked in the first place).

And then I'd be tempted to bitchslap the retards that just stoop there watching.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a little bit late, but I would say shoot the coon and screw the neighbors, even in Arlington. Rabies IS deadly...
I hope your co-worker's results come negative so he does not have to go through the shots...
Olga

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Windy Wilson said...

California is so blue it's ultra violet, and LA has raccoons, opossum and skunks, and also laws against discharging firearms in residential areas.

This has made me think, because we have opossums in the neighborhood, and some 10 years ago one was crawling along the sidewalk along the neighbors wall, like a drunken sailor. We were aware he was sick but did not think of rabies or distemper.

Thank you for this post.
Forewarned, now I will attempt to be forearmed.

12:35 PM  

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