The FBI released the details of their initial investigation into the Saint Cloud mall mass stabbing last month, including the first public look at the store video. MPR News covered it.
Warning; the video is graphic, if you haven’ been completely desensitized to violence:
The investigators also praised Jason Falconer.
Falconer’s actions are instructive to anyone who is a carry permittee, and – with a little luck – to voters this fall:
Thornton said Adan had asked Falconer if he was Muslim. Falconer, said no but saw the knives and identified himself as an officer.
Adan initially turned away from Falconer and the officer followed repeating that he was law enforcement and ordering the man to drop the weapons.
If you were a citizen with a carry permit and a legally-carried handgun, at this point, you’d have a bit of a conundrum.
The Minnesota self-defense statute allows lethal force in self-defense to protect one’s self “or another” from death or great bodily harm. But case law also establishes a “duty to retreat” (outside one’s home) – you have to undertake all “reasonable” means to avoid the use of lethal force.
What is “reasonable?” For your purposes as a citizen, that will be decided by a county attorney. As Joel Rosenberg used to say, while you, the citizen, had seconds to decide whether to defend yourself or not, under immense stress, often under low-light or confusing conditions, with a lethal threat bearing down on you, the county attorney will take days or weeks, in a well-lit, warm office, with sheriff’s deputies guarding him, to decide that question. And at the end of the day, it’ll likely be at least in part a political decision; a DFLer will often file charges (although we’ve been surprised in the past), while a DA in Kandiyohi or Pennington counties will hail the shooter as a hero.
In other words, it’s vague. Intentionally so; county attorneys like to have lots of discretion; they don’t like to have to work under all sorts of immutable rules any more than you do. Of course, you and I don’t hold peoples’ lives, freedom and lifes’ savings in the palms of our hands, either.
That was the crux of the”Stand your Ground” law that passed the Minnesota legislature in 2012 with a decisive bipartisan majority, only to get vetoed by a governor who was acting as a marionette of big-money anti-gun special interests; put the benefit of the doubt on the side of the law-abiding citizen.
Oh, yeah – and the next time some gabbling anti-gun hamster asks “why does anyone need more than seven shots?”, you can show them what happened in Saint Cloud; Jason Falconer is an expert “three-gun” competition marksman and marksmanship instructor, an absolute master of the craft of putting pieces of lead into things.
And here’s what happened (I’ve added emphasis):
“Upon following Adan into Macy’s and repeatedly announcing his authority and commands to drop the knives, Adan ran toward Falconer with the knives raised two separate times, then continued to crawl toward him with a knife in his hand even after being shot during to separate prior charges at the officer,” Thornton said.
Falconer fired 10 rounds, striking Adan six times, he added. Store video showed Falconer shooting while backing away from Adan as the attacker continued to approach with his back turned.
Adan fell to the ground multiple times after being shot and still had a knife in hand. He tried to get up a final time using a store sign for balance.
So – an expert marksman (and cop) fires ten shots at contact range, and misses four times (which is actually abnormally good, even for point-blank range engagements); he scores six hits, during most of which the attacker kept charging.
If the shooter had been less expert, and hit the attacker fewer times? If the attacker had been high, or dissociative? If the defender had a smaller-caliber firearm (Falconer’s pistol was a 9mm)? If the defender didn’t have any unobstructive, flat, clean room to back-pedal away from a charging man with two knives?
If there’d been more than one attacker?
Even with a “large” magazine, a defender in that situation could very well have learned what a Thanksgiving turkey feels like.
The lesson for the law-abiding gun owner?
No compromise. No retreat. No surrender.