shoot first, ask questions later


Also found in: Acronyms.

shoot first, ask questions later

1. To kill someone that one perceives as a threat or that one feels justified in killing before ensuring that one is absolutely correct. The word "and" is often used instead of a comma. The country's new leader vowed to crack down on anyone associated with dealing drugs, claiming that he was authorizing the police force to shoot first, ask questions later. The sheriff had a policy of shooting first and asking questions later, so while the crime rate was fairly low in his town, so was the death rate.
2. By extension, to take some decisive, negative action before finding out whether it is correct, justified, or necessary. I know you're upset, but you need to consider a few different things before you up and quit your job. Don't just shoot first and ask questions later. When it comes to claims of theft by a member of my staff, my policy has always been shoot first, ask questions later.
See also: ask, later, question, shoot

Shoot first, ask questions later.

Prov. Assume that everyone you encounter is hostile to you.; Take action, even though you do not know enough to be sure if it is the right action. If the foreman saw that one of the workers was working slowly, he didn't stop to find out if the worker was sick or unhappy; he just fired him. He believed in shooting first and asking questions later.
See also: ask, later, question, shoot
References in periodicals archive ?
But critics repeatedly have accused the company of a Rambo-style "shoot first, ask questions later" approach when carrying out security duties in Iraq.
He was the younger, wilder one - more of a shoot first, ask questions later type.
Horner would find out that Crescent's standard operating procedure was often to shoot first, ask questions later. On one occasion one of his Iraqi gunners opened fire on a truck that that following behind one of the firm's convoys.
BBC reporter John Simpson yesterday hit out at the US army's "shoot first, ask questions later" policy in Iraq.
Second, one might think twice about some of the cliched paradigms that have been used to drive our mighty military momentum, like, "You can't stand around waiting to be mugged." This is the Bernhard Goetz doctrine, the cowboy rationale, as well as the hip-hop anthem, shoot first, ask questions later. It is a scared gangfighter's way of thinking, and it insures a never-ending cycle of trauma, in which illusions of danger are treated on a par with reality, in which waves of endless violence engulf all sane limits.
At home, he's of the shoot first, ask questions later parenting school.
In addition, on a day to day basis the IDF often adopts a shoot first, ask questions later policy, which makes daily life more than a bit risky for those who live in the shadow of the Security Zone.
Although the 'shoot first, ask questions later' approach to investigations remains, one of the more memorable aspects of Shaft's character has been toned down to fit in with prevailing attitudes - much to Sam's disappointment.