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Letter Re: Shoot or Don’t Shoot–Moral Implications of the Split-Second Decision to Take a Life

Hi James,

Thank you for the work that you do. In reference to this quote:

” As a side note: There is a video commonly shown to police academy students that depicts a real situation where a man armed with a knife attacked an armed police officer from across a room (10-to-15 feet). I have heard that merely viewing that video (and communicating the fact of said viewing) to a prosecutor can result in the dismissal of charges related to shooting a person who is threatening you with a knife. (While you’re armed with a gun). YMMV [1]. Research carefully.”

I believe your contributor is referencing a video [on the Tueller Drill [2]] by Massad Ayoob. It has been awhile, but I believe the key point was about justification for lethal force when there is a perceived imbalance of power (a knife at a distance versus a firearm). Basically, by going through the drill, the people in his class new for a fact that a knife was a lethal threat at a range of 21 feet [3] and hence there were justified in their minds by taking the shot. If you should find yourself in a similar circumstance this would be an interest topic to cover with your attorney… not with the police or prosecutor. – Scrod