How to Make a Bad Decision

A woman in Chattanooga detected a bum aka ‘homeless person’ in her backyard Monday morning (2/6/23). After verbally warning him to leave, she decided to fire a ‘warning shot’ at him. However, the shot hit the man in the ankle. When the POlice arrived, the man was taken to hospital in an ambulance, the woman made a statement to the POlice about the incident, and she was arrested for Aggravated Assault. As in every other State, Aggravated Assault is a felony in the State of Tennessee.

All three of the inputs to Bad Decision-Making were part of this incident.

She didn’t Know the Rules – In most places, you can’t shoot at people who are trespassing without having some consequences. The consequences may only be getting arrested but the bail bondsman’s fee (10-15%) comes out of your own pocket. Fortunately for her, Affordabail Bail bonds is nearby. $50,000 bail means that decision costs at least $5,000 just to not spend a night in jail surrounded by ne’er-do-wells.

Her Skills were Inadequate – She didn’t intend to shoot the bum but managed to hit him anyway. A ‘warning shot,’ by definition, is intended to miss.

She didn’t Understand the Situation – at 4:30 am in your backyard where there is no lighting, you can’t tell what’s going on 20 yards away without a flashlight.

“the distance between Teem’s back porch and the place where the victim was shot was about 60 feet.”

Bottom Line: Don’t go outside.

My thanks to Reed Martz of Freeland Martz PLLC for the heads up about the incident.

4 responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder that Bad Decision-Making can be very easy, whereas good decision making requires some effort. If a person has any sort of firearm, they must make the effort.

  2. Who would shoot someone just for trespassing?

    An asshole, most of the problems that you’re talking about are moral ones not knowledge ones, you should only use or threaten deadly force when you actually need to save somebody’s life, not intimidate people who you don’t like

  3. I’ll note that this is the type of situation where you have the time to do things like call the cops. That’s a smart use of your tax dollars in such a scenario. The only emergency here is the one the lady created.

  4. For the longest time I “knew” not to escalate a situation such as this, that I’m better off calling the cops and locking my doors. Reading your stuff finally put words to what I “knew” (not really…) :
    — A crucial, primary task is to ‘Break Contact’ ASAP. It is our police’s duty, in upholding the law and public peace/safety, to investigate and arrest (not sure if you’ve said it, but another important purpose for me the citizen, if possible and wise, can be to “observe and report”. Again, I don’t make a ‘Move To Contact’) —
    Thank you for your teachings and this particular commentary.

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