Defense Principles

THE AFTERMATH: How Can We Plan and Prepare?

The Aftermath Defense Actions

The Aftermath Is Just As Crucial As The Confrontation.

Here at Defense Actions, the subject of what comes after a self-defense situation or “the aftermath” has been noted.  The idea that just getting a gun and/or a concealed carry permit is “enough” and nothing else is needed has been the subject of articles on training and preparedness and will doubtless be addressed again.  In my on-going contemplation and study of self-defense, a few things keep coming forward.

Nationally recognized expert Massad Ayoob has written numerous articles and several books that cover the aftermath of a self-defense confrontation.  What to say, when to say anything and to whom, is reviewed through his years of experience as a trainer and expert witness for citizens and law enforcement in the courtroom.  In several of his works, the following items are highlighted:

  • Don’t ask for a lawyer immediately…cops watch TV and will often react as media portrays the events.
  • Don’t panic and run away.  That looks like admission of guilt.

The Aftermath, According to Massad Ayoob

Ayoob also offers several other words of counsel; His five steps are highlighted in my courses and in many other training courses.  Let’s look at them.  He calls them the five bare-bones statements.

  • First: “This person attacked me.”  That makes it clear from the beginning that you are the Victim and the person you were forced to shoot is the Perpetrator.
  • Second: “I will sign the complaint and press charges.”  You’re speaking the cop’s language and further locking in the facts of “who’s who” and “what’s what”: you are the Good Guy or Gal and the person on the ground is the Bad Guy.
  • Third: Point out the evidence.  If you don’t, it can disappear or get moved.
  • Fourth: Point out the witnesses.  Their words may well exonerate you, but the general public fears reprisal by the genuine criminals who attacked you and may well be reluctant to come forward on their own.  The only way to be sure that testimony, which may exonerate you, will be taken is for you to point out to police the witnesses who saw you shoot your attacker in self-defense.
  • Fifth and critically important: “Officer, you’ll have my full cooperation after I’ve spoken to counsel.”   Stick to that like name, rank, and serial number.

The Aftermath Interview RoomExperts tell us that it will be a minimum of 24 to perhaps 72 hours before you’ll be in any condition to deal with a full interrogation.  And that interrogation (the more politically correct term “interview” is used now) should not take place until you’ve discussed it with your attorney in depth.  Nor should it take place, in Ayoob’s opinion, without the attorney right there with you.  He also says that a legal stenographic service’s camcorder should be rolling to record it for your side just in case.  Most of this is taken from Ayoob’s article in the February 2009 issue of Combat Handguns.  As mentioned, these steps have appeared in several places.  His columns, books and articles are extremely valuable when seeking to get the best information on the aftermath, or, this area of concern.

The Aftermath Must Be Considered And Prepared For!

What happens after the gun is used or fired in defense of life is often not considered by the gun owner or permit holder.  In watching the evolution of how to respond to the aftermath, I’ve observed several things. 

  1. One is a pre-paid legal service of some kind.  This was quite popular in my area a few years ago.
  2. Another is a group known as the “Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network”.  This was started by Marty and Gila-May Hayes, owners of the Firearms Academy based in Seattle, Washington.  They believe that armed self-defense is a legal and moral right, and the Network was formed “to aid, educate and support lawfully-armed Americans who are forced to defend against criminal attack.”  Their website gives information on the benefits of joining. (  Their Advisory board members include such experts as Massod Ayoob, John Farnam, Marty Hayes, Tom Givens, Dennis Tueller and Jim Cirrillo, Jr.  I’ve worked with and trained with Farnam and Tueller, and the other names are recognized experts, though Cirillo was sadly taken in a car accident a couple of years ago.  One item offered is a set of DVD’s that goes into great detail on several related subjects.
  3. Some of you may be familiar with the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA).  During recent weeks that organization has offered what they call the Self-Defense Shield.  From what I can gather from emails, etc., it is a form of legal insurance that allows you to pay for the needed legal counsel, which, when you need it, is NOT inexpensive!  As near as I can determine, it is for members of the USCCA and requires a fee.
  4. That brings us to the Defense Actions Ready Kit or D.A.R.K for shortThis is a CD, or PDF download, that gives advice, forms, contact information you put together for family and spouses to be used if you are involved in a self-defense confrontation.  This is something I offer, as does Damon Thueson, through the Defense Actions training courses.  It is reviewed in detail on the website.  I have never seen anything quite like this in the industry, which covers all aspects, the before, during, as well as the aftermath; until Defense Actions wrote it, so take the time to review these materials.  Remember things don’t end after the trigger is pulled;  It is another beginning.

To quote the late Jeff Cooper, “You have to survive an armed confrontation in two parts.  Problem one was the confrontation itself.  Problem two is surviving the issues that the courts will confront us with following the shooting.”  With that in mind, I hope this look at the aftermath has given you cause to prepare yourself through training and to develop a plan to deal with the potential aftermath.  I’ve heard it said that the aftermath “can be far worse than the actual confrontation”.  Preparation with an eye to first avoiding trouble, training for and recognizing the possibility of facing an attack, then being prepared for what comes afterwards is what we should seek to do.  Stay safe and check “six” often.

Be Smart, Stay Safe and Check Six Often!

Steve Beckstead

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2 Responses to “THE AFTERMATH: How Can We Plan and Prepare?”

  1. On October 12, 2011 at 11:23 AM Nora Holloway responded with... #

    Great post! It’s sad but all too often people don’t think of what happens after you buy the gun and get the permit.

  2. On March 31, 2013 at 2:03 PM Warren Stephens responded with... #

    I am glad to see that you mentioned the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network. As an affiliated attorney, I cannot say enough about this organization. Dedicated to the aftermath of a self-defense shooting, it is essential to every armed citizen. Good article.

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