Bricks, St. Louis Riots And Rules Of Engagement

BY Herschel Smith
2 years ago

Jim Hoft:

Protesters are chucking bricks from an Interstate 270 overpass. Police have shut down the interstate in north St. Louis County.
Police are moving people out of Ferguson

We’ve seen this before in Iraq.

More than one third of all Soldiers and Marines continue to report being in threatening situations where they were unable to respond due to Rules of Engagement (ROE).  In interviews, Soldiers reported that Iraqis would throw gasoline-filled bottles (i.e., Molotov Cocktails) at their vehicles, yet they were prohibited from responding with force for nearly a month until the ROE were changed.  Soldiers also reported they are still not allowed to respond with force when Iraqis drop large chunks of concrete blocks from second story buildings or overpasses on them when they drive by.  Every groups of Soldiers and Marines interviewed reported that they felt the existing ROE tied their hands, preventing them from doing what needed to be done to win the war …

This was eventually changed and our men were allowed to fire on insurgents throwing blocks from bridges and overhead passes due to the danger.  I am just wondering – to what degree would we allow that for ordinary American citizens who are under threat from blocks thrown from overhead passes?  Would we tie their hands more than we tied the hands of our Soldiers and Marines in Iraq?  If so, why?

  • http://notonemoregunlaw.blogspot.com Archer

    I predict the rules will effectively prohibit ordinary Americans from defending themselves from blocks thrown from elevation (buildings, overhead passes, etc.). At the very least, the aftermath of such an encounter will create a “chilling effect” for future victims.

    It’s going to be a similar legal bind as a citizen facing an attacker armed with a knife. If the attacker is too far away to use the knife directly, then he’s probably too far away to justify deadly force in response. However, if he throws the knife, he’s now unarmed and has no control over the knife, and the victim will have a harder time justifying deadly force in response. The victim would effectively have to prove that a lethal threat existed (A-O-J triad), from a knife, from across the room. Good luck with that.

    Extend that to a brick/block from the overpass. An overzealous, anti-gun (anti-self-defense) prosecutor could have a field day with this. If an armed citizen fires before the brick is thrown, the DA says, “Why’d you shoot? He was just holding a brick! That’s murder!” If the citizen fires after the brick is thrown, the DA says, “Why’d you shoot? He didn’t have a weapon anymore! That’s vigilantism!” It’s a potential conviction either way. (Even if the citizen fires at the exact moment the brick is being thrown, a creative DA could argue that the citizen couldn’t be sure of the target, or if the guy meant no harm and was just dropping the brick. Vigilantism!)

    The legal uncertainty will provide a “chilling effect” on self-defense. (Disclaimer: IANAL, not legal advice, yadda yadda.)

  • Paul B

    I don’t plan on driving under any bridges. I would anticipate the police will be tasked with the military role here as the military was in Iraq. Some of the Fibby agencies will provide additional needed man power and we will be faced with the choice to be on the side of the criminals or the civil population which will be tasked with staying indoors and keeping our heads down until order has been restored.

    If you use a weapon to defend your self you will be a criminal, regardless of whom you were defending yourself from.


You are currently reading "Bricks, St. Louis Riots And Rules Of Engagement", entry #12611 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Politics,Rules of Engagement and was published August 12th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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