Ok, since I have a blog now, I’m going to do a better job keeping track of some of the crazy/unusual questions that I hear in class. And don’t confuse this blog with “do I shoot to kill?” I wrote a whole blog on that already.
I’ll start by explaining how the conversation actually went (let me know where I went wrong) and then I’ll tell you what I REALLY wanted to say. My memory sucks, but here’s how I’ve remembered it:
- Toward the end of our Level 1 CO – CHP class, a younger gentleman, likely in his 20s, says “I was assuming that you were going to talk about using rubber bullets in my gun since I don’t think I could ever kill anyone…”
- Me: “Umm… you were considering rubber bullets? As a less-than-lethal option?”
- Him: “Yeah, I just don’t think I could ever kill anyone.”
- Me: “I’m a fan of less-than-lethal options. Don’t let me or anyone else try to talk you into doing something that puts you out of your moral comfort zone.”
- Him: “Most people will just stop and run away when you shoot them with rubber bullets.”
- [here’s where I had to swallow hard before saying much] Me: “What if the rubber bullets DON’T stop the threat?”
- Him: “Hmm… well, I guess I’m not sure. But I’m pretty sure they’ll work.”
- He’s relying on “pretty sure” to save his life. Nice. Me: “Well then, again, I don’t want to step on any toes morally. Personally, I’ve never considered that as an option for me, but if that’s where you’re at, I’m ok with that.”
- Him: “Ok, thanks.”
Clearly, this was not a question at all, but a please-validate-me discussion. Here are some things that ran through my head at light speed:
- Wow, did he just ask about rubber bullets? I’m not sure I’ve ever been asked that before. And I mean ever.
- Where does one even buy rubber bullets? Does Cheaper Than Dirt sell them? They sell Pakistani gas masks from 1943, so probably. I’d try them first – they have everything. (note: I’m still not sure, but I did find this)
- But wow, if cheap Winchester 9mm Luger is going for $0.50 a round, how much are these things gonna be?
- Do rubber bullets penetrate winter jackets? Or is that something you only use when it’s warm out? Or maybe you can only defend yourself 6 months a year? What if you lived in Alaska?
- Wait, why is he asking me this? Is there another question here that I should be answering, like “is killing legal?”
- How in the world did he end up at this place in life where he’s asking his CHP instructor about how to not kill someone? I’ve been asked plenty about how TO kill someone, another question that isn’t really a question and one that I never answer and wouldn’t even if I could… but I’ve never really been asked how not to kill someone. At least like this.
- Now that I think about it, rubber bullets are probably controlled by Federal Law. I’ll have to check on that. (update: I still have no idea)
- Wait, isn’t that still assault with a deadly weapon? Or worse? How much would they sue you for if you shot them with rubber bullets? If a woman can get $5M for spilling coffee on herself, wow…
- About the only time I can think of where someone would prefer rubber bullets would be during riot control, and only if you’re law enforcement. Society tends to frown on mowing down 50 fine young adults, even if they are drunk and killing pedestrians/motorists (Reginald Denny, anyone?).
- If deadly force is authorized, why would you mess around with rubber bullets? And if deadly force is NOT authorized, why would you be shooting anyone with anything anyway? Ugh.
- Tactically, what if the bad guy is armed? And now you just shot him with a rubber bullet? Yeah, maybe he’ll just see the error of his ways and join the church choir on the way home. Maybe.
- What if you shoot someone with rubber bullets and he still dies? What did you possibly gain?
So that’s pretty much how it went. I’m not a big fan of rubber bullets, but I didn’t want to have a huge morality conversation in a Level 1 class… but looking back, maybe that’s the best time to have exactly that conversation. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of my “firearms and morality” soapbox: the Bible says “thou shalt not MURDER,” not “kill.” Killing is absolutely acceptable under SOME circumstances. Murder is not. King David was God’s chosen to lead his people – and he killed all sorts of people. He was a true hero and God loved him… right up until he murdered a man so that he could make a move on his wife.
So – where did I screw up?