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Most famous self-defense shooting ever?

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by DonCT, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. DonCT


    Oct 30, 2004
    Hi Mas: I am a huge fan of yours since I read my father's copy of Stressfire way back when I was in 6th grade (I'm 37 now). As a professional writer, I also admire your manner in making complex technical info understandable for the average (me) reader.

    Anyway, as an NYC native I was curious about your analysis of the Bernie Goetz shooting that some say turned the tide in favor of legal concealed carry.

    In my view, he did several things right: He had good situational awareness, he formed a plan and carried it out, he kept his cool and he won despite 4-1 odds.

    He did plenty wrong too: He fled the scene, spoke to cops without a lawyer and made numerous conflicting and inflammatory statements.

    Also, despite being acquitted of criminal charges re: deadly force, he had a decade-long civil suit battle.

    Fascinating also that 26 years later we (and Bernie himself) have no clear story of exactly the sequence of shots, but that a comment he may or may not have made. "Here's another" came back to haunt him based on testimony from one witness 11 years later.

    Your thoughts?
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    Kind words appreciated, Don, and your analysis of the learning points from the Goetz case strikes me as succinct and cogent.

    It's worth a book -- and it has been the subject of books -- and can't be adequately dissected in this small space. I wish Goetz himself would write a book on it. Only he can answer some of the key questions.

    I personally thought the jury was correct in acquitting him on the aggravated assault charges, and might well have acquitted him on the illegal gun possession charge as well if they had been given a good legal reason to do so, such as a Doctrine of Necessity defense. However, from what I've read of the case (I was not personally involved), there is no indication that the defense team got this option in to the jury in Goetz's criminal trial.

    As to the "You don't look too bad, here's another (shot)" issue, I agree with you that it is one of the most fascinating elements of the case. Particularly since when you analyze it, it couldn't have happened. Each of his four attackers sustained only a single gunshot wound. One shot went wild into the upper part of the subway car. That accounts for all five shots in the cylinder of his Smith & Wesson .38 Chief Special. There could not have BEEN a gratuitous second shot into an already wounded member of the four-man mugging team.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post (which might flourish in one of the regular sections at GT such as Tactics & Training, hint-hint).


  3. DonCT


    Oct 30, 2004
    Awesome thanks!