A Self-Defense Primer

OK, Proud Boys, today we’re going to talk about how to get away with killing a man.

In the firearms community, there’s an endless amount of ink spilled over the latest guns and accessories. We treat our guns like Barbie dolls, always swapping out one part for another in the search for the “perfect” configuration, and we never really settle down for the discussion of “Wait, what happens if we ever have to actually shoot someone?”

It’s a simple scenario: It’s 0115, and you’ve just finished venerating your housewife. You’re grabbing a drink of water in the bathroom when an armed junkie high on bath salts breaks through the plate-glass window in your living room. You get back to the bedroom, grab a weapon, and as the bad guy walks down the hallway ranting about eating your face, you put a pair of rounds into his chest. It was a legally, and morally, justifiable self-defense shooting.

But now what?

Well, let’s back up a step, first. I’m not going to ever tell you what gun you should use for defense (use the one that you’re most comfortable with that will still do the job), but I will tell you what guns you shouldn’t use:

First, don’t grab the full-auto AK your grandpappy snuck back from Viet Nam and passed down to you. Don’t grab the rifle with the “prototype” silencer you made in your garage last week. In a shooting, the gun you use will be seized as evidence by the cops for the duration of the investigation. If it’s illegal for one reason or another, you’re not getting it back, and you’re probably going to jail. It does not go without saying that you should always be familiar with any applicable firearms laws, it’s sadly common for people to have no idea what the actual laws are regarding guns.

Second, don’t grab your custom 1911 with pirate-skull grips and “Dead Men Tell No Tales” laser-engraved on the slide. Your lawyer will thank you for not giving the prosecutor reason to ask if you just wanted to kill the guy, and didn’t actually need to. It might be “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6”, but it’s far better to not get arrested at all.

So, you grabbed a gun, and you shot the bad guy. What now?

Well, no matter what the movies say, don’t shoot him again just to make sure. Don’t run up to him to check him for weapons, or cuff him, and don’t run up and try to administer first aid. Your job is to keep yourself and your family safe, and unless you’re really good at first aid and really bad at shooting, you’re not going to save his life with what you have in your house.

No, instead, take a few deep breaths, take a minute to let your nerves calm down from the adrenaline surge, and then call 911.

Now, it’s important to note here that anything said to a 911 Dispatcher is evidence, and is recorded. If you’re frantically saying “oh my God, a guy was in my house and I shot him and I think he’s dying and there’s blood and I’m scared and…” and you let your mouth run too far, you can easily say something that’ll make them think the shooting was criminal. Especially in jurisdictions where the laws don’t clearly favor the homeowner. Most people don’t think highly of career criminals, but it’s still a REALLY bad idea to say things like “Some junkie busted into my house, so I shot the f***er.”

Calmly state that there was a home invasion, shots were fired, and the bad guy still in the house. Don’t hang up, stay on the line until the police arrive, and when they’re a block away, set the weapon down. They’re going to show up at your house unsure of what they’re walking into, and since they know that there was a shooting, they’re not going to be relaxed, to say the least. Don’t be armed when they get there. Just set the gun down where you fired it.

For the love of God, do not let your kids, if you have any, see what happened. Bullets do ugly things to bodies, they don’t need to remember the sight every time they’re walking through that part the house. Obviously, you’re not going to be able to do anything about the blood, but kids shouldn’t be exposed to death like that. It’s far easier to explain that “daddy hurt the bad guy” until the kid is older, and ready to understand that the bad guy didn’t survive.

As soon as the police arrive, you need to remember that it’s not your job to explain what happened. Answer questions, but stay calm. Now is not the time for badass quotes from Dirty Harry, and it’s not the time for openly pondering if there was another way the situation could have been resolved. Remorse is a normal reaction from people who spend their lives wanting to be left alone in peace, and suddenly have to enforce that wish with violence, but if you’re processing through that with the responding officer, you run the risk of “confessing” to a crime that didn’t actually happen.

If you have a lawyer (something I recommend), call your lawyer as soon as the cops arrive. Your lawyer might be bleary-eyed, but he’s your insurance policy. Lawyers are experts at keeping people out of trouble, and it’s worth having a lawyer that knows you that you can call at 1 in the morning to handle something like this.

Stay calm, don’t ignore the 5th Amendment, and you’ll be fine. If you had to shoot somebody in your house, you did nothing wrong. Which brings up another important step:

Find a counselor of some kind. You’ve just been through a very rare, and very traumatic experience, and even if you’re not injured, violence is (thankfully!) rare in our society, and most of us don’t have any experience watching people die. Fewer still have killed. That’s traumatic, and your spouse or best friend is not going to be equipped to help you process through it. If you’re the religious type, talk to your priest, or find a counselor of the same religion as yourself. If you’re not religious, at least find a counselor that deals with returning veterans, if possible.

Finally, don’t talk to the media. Stay quiet, and live as far below the radar as you can. You wanted to be left alone before it happened,  and that doesn’t need to change. Nothing you say to the media is going to help you get over shooting someone if self-defense, and the less you talk to them, the faster you’ll start to return things to the new normal.

As Proud Boys, we’re committed to a lifetime of not starting fights, but not running away from them. If you’re the type to carry (I do, regularly), that also means you’re committed to a lifetime of talking your way out of fights, so that you’re never in a situation where your mouth got you into a gunfight you didn’t need to be in. Picking unnecessary fights should be left to fools, fighting is a distraction from being good husbands, fathers, and friends to the people around us.

But, as men, occasionally some of us will be called to stand between the people we care about and that which is Evil. On that day, with an appropriate level of humility, we need to be willing to not only die for the ones we love, but to fight, and if need be, kill, to keep them safe. To do anything less is rank cowardice, and a man who won’t raise a fist to protect his family isn’t man.

I pray no one that ever reads this has to kill anyone. I also understand that it’s an ugly world, and one that doesn’t always cooperate with the desires of a man that just wants his family to be left alone in peace and safety. If the ugliness of the world visits you, may your bullets hit their targets, and may your family always be safe.

Jonah Leben

Written by Jonah Leben

Jonah Leben is an Orthodox Christian, 2nd-degree Proud Boy, competition shooter, aircraft mechanic, and recreational ruckhumper that grew up in Idaho.

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