Can I Legally Shoot Someone If I’m Defending a Statue?

defending a statue

A viral social media post is suggesting that it may be okay to shoot someone to defend a statue. An Independent Program Attorney at U.S. & Texas LawShield® begs to differ. Texas LawShield recently became aware of a viral Facebook post telling people they can shoot someone vandalizing a statue.

defending a statue
Cavalry Group statue, Grant Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Based on recent events, we understand the importance of knowing whether or not this is valid legal information. It appears this viral story started as a blog post that reported on one individual’s opinion on the use of force and/or deadly force to protect public property. The position advocated by the Facebook post cited in the blog is not a very good idea.

The defense of property justifications (TPC 9.41, 9.42, and 9.43) are all based upon the finding that the person’s conduct was based upon a “reasonable belief” that the use of force is “immediately necessary” to prevent the harm to property. With regard to deadly force, it can only be used if the person “reasonably believes that … the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by ANY other means.” This presents a lot of room for a jury to find that someone was unreasonable in using force or deadly force to defend against an act of criminal mischief. Further, deadly force can never be used in response to the crime of criminal mischief in the daytime.

Many people who have commented on this post have posed a “…but what if they come at me…” scenario.

It is true that the circumstances that allow for the use of force and/or deadly force can change instantly. If a person is simply trying to stop a vandal by shouting at him or calling the police, and as a result the vandal attempts to attack the person, then the person being attacked would be justified in using force and may even escalate to deadly force to defend themselves if they have a reasonable belief that they are going to be murdered.

However, if a person were to physically intervene to stop a vandal (any offensive, unwanted, or injurious touching is an assault) and then were to be physically assaulted themselves, the issue that a jury would have to decide is whether or not the person had disqualified themselves from claiming self-defense because of their initial “assault” on the vandal.

Needless to say, this is a very complex issue and should not have been addressed by anyone in such a cavalier manner. It is unfortunate that civilized behavior in our society has devolved to such a state that it is even necessary to consider these issues.

Would you defend a statue? Have you ever been involved in a situation where confronting someone over vandalism to public property led to a threat of personal harm? Share your answers in the comment section.

Check out these other great articles from U.S. Law Shield, and click here to become a member.

The just-released video above is from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, supporting a judge’s ruling that a citizen who opened fire on a man attacking a Lee County deputy last year was justified in using deadly force.
Taking the family to a state or national park this summer? Then you need to know the rules about firearms carry at your destinations, in state or out of state. Click to watch Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington explain various park rules controlling where you can — and definitely cannot — take your gun. And please take the poll at the bottom to tell us if you take firearms with you on vacation. All poll responses are completely confidential.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (41)

  1. Some things are worth defending, and statues are right up there. Certainly some birdshot is in order for these jackballs.

  2. To those Fascists who commented in favor of or to justify hurting others or ending human life over public inanimate objects; what you’re saying is that if your Fascist sorry excuse of human garbage were to go to DC for example and deface or destroy the MLK Jr. statue, then one of those “goddamned liberals” as you like to call them will be in the right to shoot you in the face in defense of that statue, right? It’s a two way street after all. Your same twisted antisocial logic will still apply if the tables were turned. Keep that in mind, geniuses, when you advocate for murder; because that’s what it is that you’re advocating for, murder. It won’t have a different name no matter what books you throw at it or other names you try to give it. I sure hope that the FBI and HSI read the crap that some say on this blog and which can only be characterized as high potential for homegrown terror. You all need to be locked up in an asylum and receive tons of medication and years of psychotherapy.

    1. Ethan,

      Proving your fruitless circle of illogic, you just admitted that “liberals” have the same legal “right to shoot [us] in the face” in defense of a statue.

      At least you acknowledge the law does in-fact provide for the public’s defense of such property. But in so doing, your rant becomes dangerously hypocritical as you proceed to threaten others with your “two way street” rhetoric; while at the same time apparently enjoying the liberal anarchists’ right to shoot people over a statue as well.

      With that, you blew your entire point… if you ever had one.

      It would be remiss of me were I not to point out that you, along with most liberals have no clue what a fascist really is. There has been nothing posted that I have read which would indicate you have a proper claim to label anyone here a fascist. You really need to bone-up on proper definitions.

      Now then, if instead you were foolishly referring to those that understand the dangers perpetrated by the un-American anarchists that have no concept for the rule of law, then your words are still wasted; because if you had a lick of common sense, you’d know that no self-respecting American patriot would ever break the law to damage a statue.

      It is absolutely absurd that your psychosis leads you to believe there’d ever be a time where “the tables were turned”. This is because no true American dedicated to defending U.S. property would ever want to – “go to DC… and deface or destroy the MLK Jr. statue”.

      Given you’ve completely failed to grasp such fundamental concepts makes you even more dangerous, because it is actually you that perpetuates false narratives which creates hate in the minds of your fellow sheeple who then carry out more violent acts.

      In addition, it takes a disgustingly warped mental state for you to ever equate the dignity and respect which such patriots have for our Country and its laws, when you repugnantly compare them to the real “human garbage” on the Left that are destroying these public monuments.

      It is this “garbage” that has been the documented source of increasing violence spawned within these alt-left groups. Such groups are now well-known for their daily tactics committed to dangerous acts as organized mobs hell-bent on intimidation, shutting down free speech, harming fellow humans, and destroying public and private property. It is their actions which are the true definition of “fascism”.

      Furthermore, the actions perpetrated by these increasingly dangerous groups have now earned them the title of “terrorists” by literal definition. So when viewed in its realistic and brutally honest context by all sides, there is no escaping the fact that the recent destruction of these statues is simply part and parcel of these groups’ continued escalation of terrorism in America.

      The talk you see here, and in many other forums, is America finally waking up and beginning to lawfully discuss their options as these groups increasingly show how dangerous they are willing to become.

      So what you are really complaining about (as a closet-fascists yourself), is free speech in preparation of a lawful defense of the infrastructure of our Country – should these terrorist force it to become absolutely necessary.

      So trust me when I say, the FBI you hope is reading this so-called “crap”, is really only concerned with those groups which have already actually carried out the many terrorist acts we’ve all seen lately; which includes their destruction of memorials. The views being expressed here are merely seen by the FBI as a gage for them to determine just how fed-up and dangerous the “public” feels these alt-left groups are becoming.

      In the simplest of terms, when someone comes at me with a big stick to take my watch, they are a criminal. But when they come at me or property to do harm over my ideals, they are a terrorist.

  3. Your a whimp. Who cares if they fly the confederate flag. I appreciate things like that. I’m not dumb liberal that gets a tummy ache from seeing confederate flags. Honestly I think the lgbtq flags are 10x more offensive and I don’t plan on moving away because of that. Its no wonder that people can’t unite when they are this sensitive. END WHITE GUILT 2017

  4. This is idiotic. Anyone who’s looking for some twisted legal excuse to shoot people should get their head straight and try to be a better member of the human race. I don’t care what the law says, laws can be wrong. If your state has a law that it’s no problem to drive your truck through a protest, don’t do that either.

  5. HAHAHA…

    SHOOT them with ur Camera’s CELL PHONE. Ask them to pose/smile! THEN: CALL THE POLICE! And when they STORM U – NOWWWWW… NOW U can shoot the stupid Bastards! {Police r already on the way}.

  6. Defending a piece of art that pigeons use as a toilet isn’t worth the time spent in court, the unwanted negative attention, lawyer fees, and possible jail time even if you are in the right. A guy who was engaged to my cousin is currently having is wages garnished to pay for medical expenses and legal fees after he beat up some kids tagging his old high school. He damn near got the child molester label tattooed on him for spraying paint down one of the kids crack.

  7. Anyone carrying a firearm to an assembly is not there to assemble peacefully. I find it funny that the ‘rally’ in S.F. was cancelled because the police said nobody attending could carry firearms, sticks, shields, etc. So the wussy alt-right punted. They knew they would get their ass kicked.

    As far as these statues are concerned – they have no place in society.

    The people they honor were trying to protect slavery. If you are for that then you should be ashamed. I see no statues of slaves being whipped, or hanging from a tree.

    Get real… those who go on about Heritage Not Hate forget that fact that in reality it is a Heritage OF Hate.

    Oh by the way, I’m a left-wing-democrat voter who carries and shoots his AR15 with extreme precision… and there are many more like me out there…

    1. Dude the civil war was about taking the power from states never forget that. Slavery was just the dog whistle leverage tool that was pulled out much later on in the war. Lincoln could’ve done some kind of other way to do the emancipation proc without killing thousands of fellow Americans. It was purely about control. Just like how they use minority’s today for political tooling.

    2. CAH,

      It’s pretty sick that you find humor in the thought of terrorist groups such as ANTIFA using violence to intimidate and shut down free speech in America. However, your reason given for the cancellation of the rally is the furthest thing from any real truth.

      The actual reason was out of a desire to preserve peace, because the organizers knew that terrorist organizations (specifically ANTIFA), were seeking out this peaceful rally for the singular purpose of inciting violence; just as they’ve done at every other rally they’ve appeared at across America.

      Along with ANTIFA’s documented record of instigation and violence at every peaceful rally they crash, the organizers are well aware these anti-protest terrorist groups refuse to acknowledge the rule of U.S. law, and thus would never have complied with the weapons ban anyway.

      Simply put, the cancellation was the mature and patriotic thing to do in the interest of our Country. It is pathetic that you find such an honorable decision to be a laughing matter.

      Furthermore, you are dishing up pure twaddle in the comment where you wrote, “Anyone carrying a firearm to an assembly is not there to assemble peacefully.”

      There are literally hundreds of thousands of peaceful U.S. citizens that carry concealed on a daily bases as a purely defensive measure. We carry our weapons as habitually as our wallet and car keys. So aside from an outright ban at such rallies, I can assure you that peaceful, law abiding, regular concealed carriers would be in attendance there, and everywhere else, with their personal defense weapon.

      I can guarantee you the lawful and responsible concealed carriers that attend these rallies do not have violence on their minds, but rather are prepared for defense of terrorist groups like ANTIFA.

      Sadly your comment is a testament to the narrowmindedness of the liberal condition that believes the presence of a firearm automatically must conclude violent or criminal intent is afoot by every licensed holder.

      A final note: Your last sentence regarding your ANTIFA style AR15 threats against the many peaceful people of this forum and elsewhere are unacceptable and out of line.

      But since you brought it up, I should remind you there are far more highly trained weapons experts, concealed carriers, precision shooters, and former and active military/law enforcement personnel that sit on the right-wing-republican-conservative side… so I wish you all the best of luck should your side eventually devolve our society to such a state that it ultimately comes to that.

  8. I often ask the same question about ISIS flags and shirts. Since we are war and they are worn to kill us all, if I see someone waving an ISIS flag or wearing their shirt, can I legally shoot them. A state of war exists between ISIS ad America.

    1. Did you ask yourself if you could shoot a person for wearing NAZI uniforms… worshiping NAZI’s… they want to see you dead too. Well perhaps not you, but me for sure… I’m educated. How about all these idiots waving the confederate flag… the rest of the U.S. beat their ass… and they too would love to see me dead… I went to college.. and my girlfriend is ( gasp ) not white…

    2. Just if someone is racist that doesn’t mean they want to kill people. There are some racists that would give their shirt off of their back to a colored person, and I know the majority of them would rescue a colored person out of a burning car or a house. Everyone wants to be offensive at these protests. 8 years of Obama pc and some people wanna show that they’re mad. Then you got the people that feel like their world is over because their leader is out of power now and they’re pissed too. Don’t let the optics distract you.

  9. This is why William Shakespeare had a line in one of his plays that said, “The first think we will do is kill all the lawyers!”

    I don’t think that statues are worth killing over or being killed over. However, the idea that mobs or vandals have free reign to to whatever they want and can only be stopped by police [brutality] is socialist nonsense.

  10. Jefferson Davis was a traitor and a coward. After swearing an oath to defend the Constitution, he led an armed insurrection. When, after the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Americans due to his ego and arrogance, he was caught, he dressed as a woman to escape. Rather than being hanged as he deserved, he ended up as CEO of an insurance company. He died of malaria rather than the execution he deserved.
    Jefferson Davis statues need to be removed from all public places by any means necessary. Any armed assaults by Dixie-whistlers should be met with lethal force in self defense.

  11. Jefferson Davis was a traitor and a coward. After swearing an oath to defend the Constitution, he led an armed insurrection. When, after the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Americans due to his ego and arrogance, he was caught, he dressed as a woman to escape. Rather than being hanged as he deserved, he ended up as CEO of an insurance company.
    Jefferson Davis statues need to be removed from all public places by any means necessary. Any armed assaults by Dixie-whistlers should be met with lethal force in self defense.

  12. Defend a statue ? Heck no ! At the current rate of escalation of the sensitivities regarding “monuments”, I would be in favor of removing ALL monuments, from public places. That includes war monuments and ranging to ones of MLK. As a demonstration of the lack of viability this attitude has in a complex society, if ANYONE is offended by ANYTHING it should be banned. Cars, bicycles, leather in shoes, petrochemicals for synthetics, eating meat, eating plants(because they have “feelings too”), etc, etc, etc. Then the crazed, supra-sensitives might have a glimpse of how long is takes to become like animals grubbing each other for survival, … though I have serious doubts on that count.

  13. In other words, it’s just another opportunity for lawyers to take advantage of the law to twist and bent it to make it fit their needs. Bottom line, if you have money or property that they think they can take from you because of your decision to exercise your legal rights, they will.
    Once again we see that our rights are being Stomped on by the “legal system” and the cowards that operate it.

  14. As always good information. Woody always writes well and with integrity. As for some of the internet comments he addresses consider this–

    Think how stupid half the people are. Just think. Let is sink in.

    The other half are stupider than that.

  15. As usual, the fake news mass media has manipulated another story and worked everyone else into an unnecessary frenzy, including the folks at Texas LawShield.

    At no time did Phil Ryan ever state in this Facebook post a comment – “telling people they can shoot someone vandalizing a statue.” He simply opened his post by stating that, “defacing or destroying a monument or a statue… would be Criminal Mischief under Texas Penal Code.” So far Phil Ryan is 100% correct.

    Below that he pasted the pertinent excerpts of the 3 applicable Texas Penal Codes for all to read and decide on their own. He then concludes with a simple paragraph that states: “Bottom line, if someone is destroying a monument or statue that isn’t theirs, you can defend it by force during the day with deadly force at night.”

    Phil Ryan’s statement is in fact accurate in accordance with the law.

    It should also be noted that while one may assume deadly force means to “shoot” a person, Phil Ryan never used those words. What he made clear was that the law provides for a person to “defend” such property.

    There are many ways to accomplish such a “defense” without using a gun. So should a person ultimately be faced with “defending” such property, their method of doing so would be based on their own interpretation of the law that Phil Ryan so kindly provided.

    But at no point did he ever advocate flat out shooting someone over vandalism. There is absolutely nothing untrue about what Phil Ryan stated. An attorney may advise a person to refrain from “defending” a monument, but that certainly does not mean it is unlawful to do so.

  16. Carrying a weapon for self defense is one thing. Carrying it to a protest or other likely confrontational public activity is looking for trouble and is pretty much an offensive vs defensive posture. Why do that and risk the very likely negative outcome– for you. Isn’t your freedom more important than shooting someone because you disagree with them over the hot button issue of a statue that is being removed. Sure, have your opinion but don’t go looking to shoot someone over a piece of granite.

    The second to last thing I want in life is to shoot someone. The last thing is not being able to defend my life. CCW is just one small part of that. Judgement and common sense are a huge part. Neither is evident in this situation.

    1. Carrying s weapon to a protest is your right. Just because whimps say it’s an act of aggression shouldn’t deter you from practicing your freedom. It’s not an act of aggression. Be responsible and know you are representing a group of people and you wanna be at your finest. Study the law. At the Phoenix mosque protest it was very calm, none of us gun carring guys there were hot headed. Honestly wile displaying a more distinct message by open carring it also makes you realize that you have more of a responsibility than the rest of these guys at the protest. It was very calm, these police were very professional and polite, and they seemed to also be calm too they weren’t freaked out or zealous to the armed citizens. Also when you have that trust between the armed citizen and the police is s beautiful example of freedom and community. Just remember to study the laws be responsible. America is about doing things that are free and personal responsibility maintains that.

  17. DO NOT shoot any a-holes defacing monuments!!! beat the spit out of them and then strap them to the monument and call the police

    1. Any Dixie-whistlers or white supremacists who attack can be met with force, like ramming them with axe handles. If they escalate to a deadly threat, they can be shot dead.

  18. It’s a sad day for humanity when someone will decide that a statue had more value than a human life. Isn’t killing people over statutes and symbols what 3rd world country dictators and authoritarian regimes do? If you shoot someone over a public statue either to just inure or to kill, then you aren’t human and don’t deserve to be among humans. You should be 6 feet under.

    1. That’s stupid logic. Although it might appear distasteful if anyone started destroying a cop car, a daycare center, Lincoln, statue, attempting to blow up my Rushmore, stealing bank money, evading tax, stealing a car, just about anything like that will end up with you getting shot if you refuse to stop. This country was made because of people that have backbones and honor. We can’t just let any pissed off anarchist come in and decide he doesn’t like something so he’ll just rampage anything he disagrees with and us citizens just sit by and allow this place to be taken over. This is all because P.C. has tied the police hands behind their backs and they can’t teach these terrorists a lesson anymore with a billy club. “Oh my goodness the value of a life” boo hoo! the life of an aggressive mobster thug with a mile long rap sheet with no fear of god or the law. He’ll surely be missed. This is the problem no backbones just let the lunatics run the nut house.

    2. So you’re saying it’s ok to shoot someone who is defacing a statue? I know of a place you’ll fit in well. A little country called North Korea. Maybe Kim Jung Un’s backbone and honor will appeal to your sensibilities.

    3. @ Joe,

      Symbology is an important part of every culture and has always been officially acknowledged as such by our government. For centuries we have defended symbology through representation with our own blood – and yes, even killing those that would attempt to destroy our cultural symbology.

      Our cultural use of symbology is so engrained as a significant element of our National dignity and States’ heritages that every branch and level of government, including the military, has very precise laws as to how monument, memorials, and ceremonies are to be carried out, built, dedicated, maintained, protected, and decommissioned.

      Because of the significance we place in symbology, the protection of same is actually more important than any other aspect because it shows a commitment to the defense of the republic for which it represents, and thus it can and has warranted the taking of life to defend it.

      Symbology comes in many forms – from tangible memorials to the acts carried out in ceremonies and other gestures involving physical acts. All of which are equally important in the eyes of the law.

      For those such as you that would attempt to diminish the importance of such symbology, you would do well to remember every troop that served or lost their life on foreign soil as an act of “symbology”; because every aspect of such endeavors are purely “symbolic”.

      One of the best examples of such a deadly defense of U.S. “symbology” is the raising of the flags on Iwo Jima and the Marines who defended them with life and limb thereafter. Yet you would attempt to dishonor someone with the same patriotism defending symbology on our own soil against un-American detractors.

      Moreover, in both European conflicts we did not fight in defense of any physical aspect of U.S. soil or property. Americans weren’t even at risk back home. Instead we would kill or die as living “symbols” representing strength and commitment over nothing more than a promise and gesture of good faith to our allies against the evils that would ravage them. Such “symbology” involved us taking many lives.

      So no matter how badly one thinks certain symbology may offend them here in the U.S., there is a process by the people, and of the people, for proper removal should it be determined necessary. As such, anyone that would destroy our sanctioned government “symbology” prior to proper decommissioning is nothing other than an enemy of the people. We simply cannot allow mob-rule.

      I can tell you what most armed Americans would do were they to see someone climb up and begin to swing a sledgehammer at the face of Lincoln’s Memorial or the Statue of Liberty. Of course it is up to each citizen to determine what each piece of symbology actually represents to them, and whether the defense of such is worth a life or not ; but I’ll never make an un-patriotic blanket statement like you that it never warrants the loss of life – because sometimes it just does.

    4. No Murphy,

      You’re the stupid one. No statue is worth a human life, including yours.

      If you shoot someone over a statue or for protecting any other property you deserve a stiff prison sentence and loss of the right to possess a firearm.

    5. @ Rob,

      I just wanted to make sure you were aware your fantasy bubble of thought exists only in your mind, because the reality is that the laws of most states clearly disagree with you.

    6. We are on the fast track to becoming a third world country. I have the misfortune to currently reside in Floriduh where every other halfwit drives around with the loser stars and bars flying from their pickup bed. I never understood the fascination of glorifying the losing side. Two more years to retirement and an immediate move to a blue mountain state where the redneck:real people ratio is more favorable.

    7. Yeah your right, it is sad these days that people don’t care enough for their own lives that they let granite and words hurt their feelings and let emotions control their very being of life and decides if they don’t like it they can destroy or shut up anything or anybody! Yeah your right it is sad that it has come to crybabies getting their way!

    8. It should be legal to shoot the POS in the face and save the statue, I place a much higher value on History than I do one of these POS Liberal/Antifa A-holes.

    1. By paying your taxes, and that money being used to buy and maintain both the property and statue, do you not in fact own that property?

    2. The Texas Penal Code does NOT make any distinction between YOUR personal property, someone ELSE’s personal property, OR public property — such as the statue pulled down AT NIGHT in Durham, N.C.

      FYI: The “nighttime” provisions of the Texas Penal Code are Biblically based:

      Exodus 22:2-3
      2 “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed.”
      3 “If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed.”

      There are two cases here. In the first case, if someone breaks into your home at night, and you kill him, you are not held guilty of murder. You are not deserving of capital punishment. You do not need to flee to a city of refuge to preserve your life. The understanding is that at night, it is dark, and if someone has invaded your house, they do not announce if they are there merely to steal jewelry and tools. In the dark, you have no way of knowing if someone is coming to kidnap, to rape, or to murder. You are thus blameless if the criminal is killed in that situation. The passage does make it clear that if a man is breaking in at night with the intent of theft or worse (rape, murder, kidnapping, etc.), the defendant can righteously defend himself with lethal force to prevent the commission of the crime.

      In the second case, it says “if the sun has risen on him”, and you kill the intruder, you are guilty of his bloodshed. The understanding is that in daytime, there is light, and you can discern the intentions of the home invader. The crime in question here is theft (“if the thief”). It is not legitimate to kill someone who is merely stealing your property. In creating civil laws, we see here that not all crimes are worthy of death.

      In the daytime, it is assumed that the intention of the intruder can be discerned. If he is a thief, he may not be killed by the defendant. However, if the intruder is there to commit a different crime—assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, etc.—different laws/rules would apply. Though the crime of theft is not worthy of death, kidnapping was worthy of death (Exodus 21:16, Deut. 24:7) as was murder.

      Matthew Henry writes: “…if it was in the day-time that the thief was killed, he that killed him must be accountable for it, unless it was in the necessary defense of his own life. … We ought to be tender of the lives even of bad men; the magistrate must afford us redress, and we must not avenge ourselves.”


      Political Correctness – The ideal that forces people, through peer-pressure, to use certain words or act in a certain way as to not cause offence to anyone.

      “Political Correctness – The root of everything that is wrong with society today.”
      –Manx Bloke, ‘Urban Dictionary’, June 15, 2007

      “Political correctness is the natural continuum from the party line. What we are seeing once again is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. It is a heritage of communism, but they don’t seem to see this.”
      –Doris Lessing The Sunday Times, London (10 May 1992)

  19. If they are tearing down a statue then they are NOT Americans!!!

    read the old ancient writing of Abraham when he destroyed his fathers statue of his fathers gods. That’s a funny story

    1. Then obviously, that would be justification to REMOVE the member(s) of such a “Local Municipality or State Government” who are either: 1) Leftist LibSoc SJW “Winston Smith”s wanting to purge the Confederacy from history, or 2) gutless, lily-livered “conservatives” who believe that you can “compromise” with #1 above in order to “get along by going along” (–Jim Wright, former Democrat congressman from Fort Worth, TX).

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Discover more from The Shooter's Log

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading