A little over a month ago, a Denver area man had his car stolen at the Northfield shopping center. He tracked his car down using an app and when he located it, he approached the car to confront the thieves. At least one person in the car shot at him and he immediately returned fire. The car took off and was found a few blocks away, the driver was dead. The driver was 12 year old Elias Armstrong.

Two weeks later, a Pueblo resident was leaving her house to walk to her car when she was ambushed by 4 armed juveniles. When she turned to go back into the house in an attempt to get to safety, she was shot twice in the back by a 12 year old boy. The assailants have been caught and charging decisions are being made.

When the story about Elias Armstrong’s death hit the news, there was a general outcry from some about the killing of a 12 year old boy by a grown man who was trying to get his stolen car back. The story reached national news. The boy’s pictures were used to show the public that this child did not need to be killed.

The story about Chanise Sena being shot twice in the back by a 12 year old boy has received very little attention, even in the city where the incident happened.

The lesson that we should be taking from these two incidents are important. The first lesson is that you are risking a great deal when you voluntarily enter a potential life and death situation. In the case of the car theft, the victim risked his life, his criminal future and his future financial stability. The family of Armstrong has indicated that they intend to file a lawsuit against the defender when they can identify him. This civil suit is likely to go on for a very long time once it starts. And because it was a 12 year old boy who was killed, he will have an uphill battle. He will also be living with the fact that he killed a 12 year old boy for the rest of his life. In the moment where this man was being shot at, it is reasonable that he defend himself and return fire provided that he is prepared to do so. But the question he’ll probably be asking himself for a long time will be, “was it all worth it to try to get my car back?”.

The other lesson we should be taking from these two incidents is that threats can come from anywhere. We have a moral responsibility to be as prepared as is reasonable in our daily lives. Chanise Sena stated that she didn’t take the boys seriously when they first ambushed her, she didn’t believe that a group of young boys was serious about the threats they were presenting her with. I’m not encouraging you to treat everyone as a threat, but rather to not take the world around you for granted and assume that the world reflects your expectations and values.

Chanise was not armed and had very few options to respond to this extremely dangerous threat, but if she had been armed it would have been reasonable for her to respond with lethal force. Chanise did not create this situation, she was in a place where it was normal for her to be, doing things she normally does when the threat literally came to her doorstep.

We carry guns in case we are forced into a position where we have to defend our lives or the lives of others. We should be prepared to do that against anyone who presents that kind of threat, whether it be a group of hardened criminals or a 12 year old boy with a gun who is shooting at you. We only shoot when we have to, because the risks of using a gun in self defense are extreme.

Get trained, educate yourself, build your skills, think and act defensively.  Make yourself harder to attack. You have a moral responsibility to be as prepared as is reasonable to defend yourself.  


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