Bad Advice Part 4
A lot of terrible advice gets tossed around in life – some of it, if followed, will only cause minor or temporary trouble. But sometimes the advice is so misguided that the results of following it could be catastrophic.
Drag Him Back Inside
“If someone is breaking into your house through the window and he falls outside, drag his body back through the window.” This advice is offered because of the assumption that, should the body of the bad guy be lying outside your house, the investigating
authorities will decide you didn’t have the legal right to shoot him in the first place. The legalities of defensive shooting are tricky, and it’s impossible to pin down how police, prosecutors and juries will read given situations, but having the guy on your porch instead of on your living room floor is not necessarily going to get you in trouble. All evidence will be examined, and if he has, for example, a knife in his hand and a pocket full of zip ties, it is pretty reasonable to assume that his intentions were bad. The sight of a man with a knife in hand climbing through your window would put anyone in fear of their life. If the man is unarmed, it will be harder to prove that you had to shoot him, but not impossible. Many things go into the decision to use deadly force, and those things will be considered along with where the body was found. But that’s not the biggest reason this advice is bad.
Tampering With the Scene
Moving the body is tampering with the evidence…there is no way around that. So is getting a knife or other weapon and planting it on the body. So is letting off a few shots from his gun, or scratching and hitting yourself to make it look like you were in more danger. Anything of that sort is completely illegal, and makes you become a bad guy in the eyes of the law. And even if the bulk of the evidence collected is clean and shows you in the right, any tampering will make the jury wonder what you are trying to cover up. Your manipulation of the scene could make you lose a legal battle, even if the shooting was totally justified.
The One Thing TV Gets Right
I’ve often mentioned that television shows are not the best place to get advice or facts, and that much of what goes on during crime shows is unrealistic. Very true. The CSI shows are some of the worst…all kinds of things happen that don’t in real life. The speedy lab results are laughable, and watching the investigators handle all aspects of the situation including confronting the perp with the evidence…well, sorry, but it’s not that glamorous. A lot of people work the investigation, and everyone has their little bit they take care of, and most of it is just slogging through routine, and the types of DNA tests they are running usually take from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to complete. But one thing police and other investigators are very, very good at is reconstructing the events and sequence of a crime scene. They can practically track your atoms through that scene. If you drag a body back over the sill, they WILL find out. Ditto with the planted knife, extra blood smooshed around, smacking your own head on the wall, etcetera…so just don’t do it. The only exception to this that I can think of is that you may have to move the bad guy’s weapon out of his reach at some point, and you had better tell everyone investigating that you did so, and precisely where it was before you moved it.
Tampering with the scene of a defensive shooting is illegal and wrong, and it is far more likely to hurt you than help.