What are your thoughts on defense when coughed/spat at on purpose?

I just watched a video of a woman (customer) in a Walmart, who was freaking out over $22. Amidst the drama, one other employee came over to try and help resolve the situation. Unhappy with his presence, this customer started to cough and spit at the employee, and being either smarter/dumber than I…he took it. Just wiped his mouth off with the neck band of his shirt and remained in his spot.
Now, I’m pretty sure Wal-Mart is not providing hazard pay to their employees. And this woman just attacked the employee in a hazardous way. At what point, and to what end, would self-defense become a knee-jerk reaction out of anger for you? Would you be willing to lose your job for knocking her lights out? Would you instinctively draw your ccw?
Let’s also say you’re not an employee and this happens as a passer-by/personal altercation with a stranger. How far are we willing to go -in this current situation- for self-defense over a potential bio weapon?
Edit: To be clear, I’m not looking for answers or advice, by any means. Just provoking thought.

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You know sometimes these little thought exercises may take it a bit to far and get you in hot water… Legally speaking. Just saying.

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At this moment we’re going to need guns “lots of guns” we’re also going to need lawyers, lots of lawyers.
This Covid-19 will change the constitution.(IMHO)

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Yeah, I get that. And honestly, I’m not expecting actual detailed answers; I can’t provide my own. But it is a “shower thought” that I imagine I’m not the only one thinking about when seeing a video like this.
We’re all discussing what we plan for at home because of the virus but, said video was kind of an eye-opener.

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I wouldn’t have inserted myself in this situation in the first place. If anyone starts acting stupid in a store right now, I will either leave completely or just walk away.

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I work for Costco, and not only do they have a no weapon policy for employees they also have a zero tolerance policy for aggression of any kind toward customers. I would simply not even approach the situation to begin with.

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We had an incident similar to this a couple weeks back at one of our local Walmarts and the person was hauled off to jail for assault and deservingly so!

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The police officer said “You have the right to remain silent.” @MikeBKY said “You should invoke that right immediately following a critical incident.” Just sayin’

Cheers,

Craig6

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I might change that slightly… ever so slightly:

  1. When Responding Officers Arrive
  • Comply: Follow all police instructions.
  • Explain: “I was attacked, feared for my life & had to defend myself.”
  • Identify: Point out evidence, witnesses, and attacker.
  • Medical: Request medical attention, if necessary
  • Silence: “I will cooperate 100%, but first I need my attorney.”
  • (Do not talk further without your lawyer present.)

Hopefully that looks familiar to all of the USCCA Members here. And for those of you who aren’t members yet, it’s part of how we help our members prepare to defend themselves should they ever have to.

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I agree with @Dawn. Everything you say, from the 911 call forward, is going to be evidence but you do not want to be uncooperative.
You obviously need to tell the 911 call taker a brief description of what happened.
As Dawn said, the response is “I was attacked, feared for my life and had to defend myself.” You will need to identify yourself, witnesses, the attacker and any evidence that you are aware of at the scene. Make sure you request a medical response if it is needed. When first responders arrive, they should be provided the same information.
Advise responding officers that you will cooperate but you need your attorney. Invoking your right to an attorney is better than invoking your right to remain silent. When you invoke your right to an attorney, the police must stop questioning you and cannot do so again until you have your attorney present. Your right to remain silent is specifically invoking the right against self incrimination, which may imply that you have incriminating information. After invoking the 5th, the police can also keep talking and posing questions that you can continue to refuse to answer.

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As for the original question posed, by no means would I suggest using deadly force against someone who is threatening or actually coughing, sneezing or spitting at you regardless of whether they say they have COVID19 or some other disease or disorder. Generally, deadly force can only be used against the threat of serious bodily injury or death. While COVID has the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death, so do reckless drivers but we are not going to start shooting drivers.
Other options to use, without using force, is distancing yourself and using objects to block being touched by the person or their saliva. Worst case I would consider is using physical force to prevent the person from continuing the attack.

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I was kind of curious where this post might go given my call out’s and such. I did not wish to invoke the specter of shooting someone for spitting on food but it does beg the question about a personal attack. I’m kind of enamored with the whole “Field Goal” attempt. That would seem to me sufficient to stop the attack if they were curled up in a little ball holding on to their crotch guy or gurl. Just thinking out loud as the officer approached. :sunglasses:

Cheers,

Craig6

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A bunch of these incidents come from people who are not really violent, but they are the same types cussing you out on the parking lot, or throwing empty coffee cups, etc. Treatment should come from the law. Terror charge, absolutely. I don’t care if a horrible person like this gets removed from society for 10 years or more.

Unfortunately, police and DAs have been concentrating on releasing criminals upon us, not taking them away from us. That’s not OK, remember this as elections near.

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I wish I could say for sure, and like to think that, I’d be able to take the high road if someone spit in my face out of the blue and with malicious intent, but I can say my knee-jerk reaction would probably be more primitive than going for the gun. We can only hope that doesn’t happen again, to anyone…

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I think the more primitive, non-gun, reaction would get you in a lot less - if any - legal trouble.

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My brother in-law was spit on after a court case. (Spitter lost) He shoved the guy down 3 or 4 stairs. Was arrested and charged with assult. Nothing was done to the one who did the spitting. You are always better to just walk away.

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Spitting on someone often falls in the definition of assault and, in light of the current pandemic, purposefully coughing or sneezing on someone would like be considered the same. If you are assaulted, in most states you can use reasonable force against the assailant. I think a jury could be convinced that a good ass whoopin was reasonable.

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I’m guessing the ventilator is a better option??? We know Covid-19 kills.
I’m up for following our own advice, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
I know I’m extreme, however three words come to mind that justifies the use of deadly force “grave bodily harm”. Let me try some other words (since words matter sooooo much) danger otherwise unavoidable, preclusion and ability/opportunity/jeopardy.
I’ll defer to @MikeBKY for further opinions on knee jerk reactions.
In closing, never bring a cough to a gun fight!

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Would you say that pepper spray is acceptable means of force to increase distance? It also helps to mark them if it has the UV stuff in there. And it’ll give you enough time to get away and call the police.

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You are correct. Though I find trading dignity for civility just as bad as trading freedom for security.

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