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Mon Jul 1, 2019, 11:14 AM

Besides being stupid, are "warning shots" de-facto reckless discharges?

This question is inspired by the altercation between Ebony Jemison and Marshae Jones which resulted in the death of Jones's 5 month old fetus.

According to the shooter, the following occurred:

But, Jemison said, on the day of the shooting she and three of her friends went to the Dollar General store during their lunch break when she saw Jones with four of her friends approaching her outside the store.

An altercation broke out, and Jemison claimed that Jones grabbed her hair.

Jemison said she then fired a single shot from her gun toward the ground that was intended to be a “warning shot” because “there was too much going on and just too many bodies.”

“My shot wasn’t to hurt anybody,” Jemison said. “It was just to get everybody to leave.”


From the Alabam Code regarding justification (we'll go ahead and say that hair-pulling justifies deadly force for the sake of argument):

If a person is justified or excused in using force against a person, but he recklessly or negligently injures or creates a substantial injury to another person, the justifications afforded by this article are unavailable in a prosecution for such recklessness or negligence.


We all know brandishing, shooting to wound, and warning shots are all stupid. Unless you reasonably believe the situation merits the death of the person threatening you, you should not pull out a firearm. Only when you are both justified and committed to killing a person should you shoot, and then you should shoot to kill.

But especially in an admittedly crowded parking lot, where there were "just too many bodies", is it de-facto recklessness to discharge a firearm into pavement vs the person you reasonably believe you are justified to shoot?

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Reply Besides being stupid, are "warning shots" de-facto reckless discharges? (Original post)
moriah Jul 2019 OP
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jul 2019 #1
The Polack MSgt Jul 2019 #2
Hangingon Jul 2019 #3
Kaleva Jul 2019 #4
The Mouth Jul 2019 #5
Alea Jul 2019 #6
yagotme Jul 2019 #7

Response to moriah (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 11:25 AM

1. IMO and in most jurisdictions, warning shots are a bad idea

I remind any readers of the case of Summer Moody:
https://topics.al.com/tag/Summer%20Moody/index.html


I detest warning shots.

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 01:36 PM

2. Warning shots are not a good idea in any real world situation

The concept is a product of bad script writing and magical thinking.

A warning shot can only work safely with "Hollywood Magic" bullets that don't travel past your sight lines or over penetrate .

IMHO anyone that discharges a weapon in crowd WITHOUT EVEN AIMING is guilty of reckless endangerment

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 02:26 PM

3. In Texas and most other states warning shots are illegal. N/t

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2019, 09:10 PM

4. Warning shots and brandishing are illegal in Michigan

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2019, 04:08 PM

5. Yes

As you state: " Unless you reasonably believe the situation merits the death of the person threatening you, you should not pull out a firearm."

Perhaps reasonable people can disagree over the very principle of lethal force used for self-defense (I support it, I know people I admire who would prefer to be robbed, beaten, raped or killed before taking another life) but never ever pull a gun unless it's a matter of life and death an one is prepared to use it to terminate the threat.

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Response to moriah (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2019, 06:45 PM

6. "I was in fear for my life. I thought they were going to kill me

but when I pulled out the gun it went off striking the ground before i could aim. I can't say anything else without talking to my lawyer."

Even if it truly was a warning shot, I would never admit it. I really can't think of a situation where a warning shot would be a good idea. Maybe if I woke up at night hearing someone rummaging through living room, and living alone and knowing no one should be in the house, might fire a shot through my floor as I yelled to get the hell out. I'm not going to sweep the house looking for them and it might be a better option than waiting for them to finally come to my bedroom, and thinking most burglars would haul butt after hearing me yell and fire, but I don't know. That's maybe a scenario I might fire a warning shot hoping they would run out of the house. Even then I would tell the police the gun accidentally went off. I would never admit to it being a warning shot.

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Response to Alea (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 10:11 PM

7. Better off to not shoot at all,

as you might damage some piece of your house's infrastructure, gas line, cutting/shorting wire, water heater, etc. IIRC, Rule #4 is "Know your target and beyond."

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