You're On Your Own (YOYO)

By R. L. Seigneur, Major (Ret.)

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled again that the police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm (Town of Castle Rock, Colorado v. Gonzales)

The U.S. Supreme Court's 7-2 decision overturned a ruling by a federal appeals court (No. 04-278. Argued March 21, 2005-Decided June 27, 2005). The lower court had permitted a lawsuit against Castle Rock, Colorado for the failure of the police to enforce a protective order which had led to the murder of the woman's three children by her estranged husband. The Supreme Court ruled that the woman did not have the right to sue the town or the police department.

Any incident/situation in which the police are not available to protect you can be referred to as “You're on your own” or “YOYO” situations. I'm not sure who first coined the YOYO acronym, but I give them full credit.

The Thin Veneer of Civilization

By R. L. Seigneur, Major (Ret.)

My father's generation can best described as that generation of Americans that lived through the Great Depression, served during WWII, and afterwards went to college, and/or got a job and started a family. At an appropriate time, a veteran might share a WWII story with another veteran. For example:

Shortly after one of those bloody island battles characteristic of the war in the Pacific during WWII, a group of Marines who had participated in the battle was standing in a chow line back aboard ship. The chow line was so long it stretched out onto one of the exterior walkways on the outside of the ship. Without explanation or apology, a sailor cut the chow line. One of the Marines nearby picked the sailor up and threw him over the side of the ship into the ocean. No one said a word.

I've personally witnessed soldiers steal food from each others' rucksacks when extremely cold, tired, and hungry. It was not a prank; it was theft from a brother soldier.

I remember a story told by a psychology professor who had taken a sabbatical from his teaching position and went to work as a police office for one year. He wanted to prove to himself that the intelligent use of psychology by a police officer could work wonders in most situations. He came back from his sabbatical a changed man. What he really learned was that he often found himself in situations that were so dangerous that he did not just want a gun, he wanted a big gun, and he was very willing to use it to get out of a bad situation.

Given a “YOYO” scenario (You're On Your Own), if you think that you, those around you, and the people across town won't change when things get really bad, then you must be an average American who's never been really cold, tired, hungry and scared.

Use of Deadly Force

By R. L. Seigneur, Major (Ret.)

Would you believe I served in two branches of the U. S. Armed Forces during three wars (without being shot at) and never clearly understood the use of deadly force until, as a civilian-citizen, I took a concealed-carry course in order to obtain a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon (pistol or revolver)? Yes, it may be sad, but it's unfortunately very true.

Many years before I took a concealed-carry class I witnessed a firearm introduced into a bad situation where somebody died needlessly because an average guy, thinking he was doing the right thing, got in over his head. In my opinion, he got in over his head because he did not have a basic understanding of the justifiable use of deadly force. Had he learned and remembered even the basics, I'm sure a life would have been saved that night, and his life would not have been ruined. The incident I witnessed was foolish, tragic, and--most importantly--avoidable. In my mind, there was no obvious bad guy. There was however foolishness layered upon foolishness, and sometimes that's all it takes.
Let me give you a basic overview of the justifiable use of deadly force ONLY to motivate you to seek more information and training. This is a deadly seriously subject, and you had better get smart on it as soon as possible. I'm not training you and I'm not giving you legal advice. Each state or territory has its own laws and YOU have a responsibility to know what they are and abide by them.

The basic rule or concept is that in order to use deadly force justifiably, you must be in fear for your life or be in fear of great bodily harm.

Here are a few more realities to be aware of:

In summary, should you ever have to use deadly force, even if your use of deadly force is found to be completely justified, there is a high probability your life, as you knew it, will never be the same. All of this does not suggest you should not defend yourself, I'm not suggesting that at all, but you better understand the realities of the world you live in. What I've told you here is not the end of the story, it's only the beginning. I highly suggest you become very knowledgeable on this subject by reading such books as In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of Firearms in Personal Protection by Massad F. Ayoob, and (AND!) taking a concealed-carry course of instruction from the best certified instructor you can find, and then keeping your head in the game through continuing education in one form or another. Trust me, even if you never intend to carry a concealed weapon, the training and education you receive will benefit you for a life time. Believe it or not, understanding the justifiable use of deadly force is as fundamental as understanding first-aid or CPR.