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Posted on March 9, 2020 by in Training



If I am given two chances to accomplish an action I will almost always find that it is easier to do it correctly the second time because I now know what to expect. In the event that I am only going to get one chance to do it right, then visualizing what may occur prior to commencement can increase my chances that I get it right or at least do it better the first time.

In a recent course I attended, the instructor asked the class if anyone present would provide first aid to a criminal offender they had just shot in a justifiable self-defense situation. My answer at the time was and still is: “Maybe”.

I encourage concealed carriers to close their eyes for a few seconds and imagine what that person who just attempted to harm or kill them that is now laying on the ground bleeding might look like. It might be a large male dressed in black wearing a ski mask, a skinny teenager, an elderly woman, or a completely naked man with bulging eyeballs who is sweating profusely in the dead of winter. There may or not be weapons on the person or on the ground close by.

Where this incident took place can matter. It could be inside our home, the Wal-Mart parking lot, a convenience store, the local gas station, or inside a church.  I may be able to see in a 360-degree arc all around me, or I may be surrounded by visual barriers like gas station pumps, pillars in a parking garage, or stands filled with potato chips.

There may be a friend or family member with me who can assist, or I might be alone in a growing crowd of people. This crowd may be supportive to me, or openly agitated and hostile.

I will need to contact law enforcement (or ask someone to do that for me) and also make a request for medical assistance. I will need to take stock of my own physical and mental state.

This a lot to keep in mind immediately after experiencing such a distressing event. I might be served by asking myself the following questions:

  1. Would rendering first aid to a violent criminal offender I just shot appear to be unsafe under the present circumstances?
  2. Would rendering first aid to a violent criminal offender I just shot appear to be safe under the present circumstances?

I would be the first to say that there is no “one size fits all” answer to these questions.  I will also go so far as to say that being able to tell my attorney later that I made the best decision possible after assessing the ongoing actions of the criminal offender, the environment in which all of this was taking place, the risk that the attack might resume or possibility of being attacked by others, and my own current physical and mental condition.

I carry a tourniquet and hemostatic gauze on my person. I can visualize a situation in which I might toss either or both to a violent criminal offender that had been shot if it appears that there are no weapons within his or her reach and that person extends their arms away from their body and displays open palms. I qualify this by saying that I might not do this if I have immediate concerns about being re-attacked by that same person or ambushed by others.

What about actively rendering first aid to an injured violent criminal offender?  Such action would come with no small risk. People have been killed by persons as young as 6 and as old as 102.  Some criminals simply do not think like we do, and for reasons that seem wildly illogical are willing and capable of killing others at the exact moment one of them is trying to save their life. Having said that, there is be a situation in which it is obvious that the criminal offender is in danger of dying that I would actively render first aid if the following is true:

  1. They lack the obvious physical attributes that would suggest they could overpower me.
  2. Their strength appears to be greatly diminished by the effects of their injury.
  3. They have indicated a willingness to cooperate (which does not mean that I trust them to be telling the truth).
  4. There are no weapons visible on their body or anywhere close.
  5. I can handcuff them prior to rendering first aid and have someone who can provide cover while I am doing so. In a law enforcement situation that will be another officer. My wife is trained and capable of doing this at home.
  6. I have the medical equipment needed. This would include pressure dressings, hemostatic gauze, tourniquet, and protective gloves. I do have this this equipment in my vehicle and at home, but do not all of it on my person.

I have no interest in getting into an argument with others who disagree mostly because I am not sure that there is a correct answer. I have discussed this subject with other instructors and received various responses.  I am a firm believer that I have the right to self-defense, and that there are situations in which responding with deadly force is the only option. However, if the day comes that I am presented with one of the two scenarios described above, I will likely be far better prepared to deal with it successfully and favorably manage the outcome if I have given it some advance thought.

Steve Moses

Steve is a long-time defensive weapons instructor based out of Texas who has trained hundreds of men and women of all ages for more than two decades on how to better prepare to defend themselves and their loved ones. Steve has completed over 80 private-sector and law enforcement-only defensive weapons and tactics classes, and has trained civilian and law-enforcement officers in six states. Moses is a reserve deputy, former member of a multi-precinct Special Response Team, competitive shooter, and martial artist. Steve has written numerous articles for SWAT Magazine and other publications. Steve is a licensed Texas Level 4 Personal Security Officer and Instructor who was Shift Lead on a mega-church security detail for seven years, and has provided close protection for several former foreign Heads of State. He is currently an instructor at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu/Krav Maga in Tyler, Texas and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group (