shoot first, ask questions later

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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