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Self defense, martial arts and the use of deadly force.(12 posts)

Self defense, martial arts and the use of deadly force.Kristin
Jun 27, 2003 10:17 AM
I've studied some self defense, and can rescue myself from an attacker. All of the instruction I've received is to use deadly force. If my aim is good, then my attacker will not get up again. The assumption seems to be that if the attack occurs suddenly, deadly force is justified. Is it? Or do I open myself up to criminal and civil liability? Sometimes attacker is not a stranger. As a matter of fact, I'm least likely to be attacked by a stranger. I've asked about learning methods that would allow me to subdue an attacker without killing them; but have been told that's foolish. Is it? What if I had to defend myself against a date who'd had too much to drink and all I know how to do is put him in the hospital or the grave? Thoughts?
If your life is in imminent dangerBrooks
Jun 27, 2003 10:35 AM
than deadly force is justified. A drunken, groping date on which you use deadly force will put you in jail for manslaughter. Being able to subdue then kick in the nuts will incapacitate all men enough for you to escape. You do what you have to do, your instructor(s) are foolish if they aren't teaching you how to subdue without deadly force.

Just my opinion, of course.
"if the attack occurs suddenly"...PdxMark
Jun 27, 2003 12:11 PM
That really is (would be) the question. With just two of you there, it's a matter of reconstruction for police and prosecutors to figure out what actually happened. They might agree with you, and your decision, or they might not.

It seems that conflict resolution and conflict avoidance will cover 99.9% of conflict situations. In that 0.1% situation, the decision to use deadly force will be thoroughly analyzed and second-guessed. I would think that killing a date who groped you, or tried to, runs a severe risk of a long prison term.

I think your instructors are viewing the world through the lens of the tools they have to use. The problem is that not every physical threat is life threatening. I think that the ambiguity of threatening situations requires a range of responses. Of course, this is from a guy whose main defenses are verbal placation and retreat.
The law is clear on this, almost53T
Jun 27, 2003 1:03 PM
Universally, you are justified in using deadly force if and only if there is an imminent and otherwise unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to the innocent.

You have to read that sentence closely since every word is important.

There are additional situations where deadly force is authorized by statute, such as in Massachusetts where the legislature has removed the responsibility to retreat within your own home, or in many states where a peace officer can shoot a fleeing convict or criminal suspect, based on the presumption of a future threat to the public.

That said, I'm not sure you would ever be considered to have used deadly force if you were unarmed (i.e. knife, gun, broken bottle, baseball bat). Punching an adult man is very rarely considered deadly force, although it may be violate several criminal and civil principles depending on the circumstances.

In your case about a drunken date, remember your responsibility to retreat before using deadly force. It is good practice to retreat before using non-lethal force as well. Your ability to retreat varies depending on your attacker's weapon. If he is unarmed and drunk, it will be very rare that you have no opportunity to escape. However, all juries and most prosecutors will consider the man to have superior physical ability, even when drunk, so that you will have no problem establishing an imminent treat of grave bodily harm. You will have to further establish that it was otherwise unavoidable (your duty to retreat).

None of the preceding is legal advice, and I am not licensed to practice law in your state.
Jun 27, 2003 1:48 PM
Trying to retreat can put a girl more risk than taking a swing. I'm not comfortable with this idea that I must try to run before doing anything to defend myself. It might be the law, but it puts me in greater danger and I don't like that.

By the way, I'm not talking about using a weapons here. The techniques I was taught are punches and kicks that are designed to severely injure a person. My naturally strongest punch is one designed to snap a windpipe. Other defenses include things like a kick to the groin that will not only hurt but may leave a man childless. Any hit, when concentrated and driven can do serious damage. Body weight and muscle strength has little to do with it.

Also, the punches I've learned require and element of surprise if their to be sucessful. I'm not sure, thought, that I'd ever use them. I'd rather learn how to beat an attacker with street fighting skills than to kill him in 2 seconds. I could misread a situation or not, but then go to jail. Who wants that.
Not a lawyer53T
Jun 27, 2003 6:04 PM
...but i carry a gun.

While I am confident that your training has given you some good self-defence skills, do not overestimate the health risk to the guy of getting beat up. A windpipe is a very tough to "snap". It is made of mainly of cartilage and connective tissue and takes a scalple and a saw to disect. It is protected on both sides by a very dense column of muscle, with the colar bone just below and the jaw just above. That is a "low percentage shot". But your right, it could severly injure or kill a person, but I would like to see some studies of anyone actually being killed this way, and what the actual trauma to the windpipe was.

As far a infertility from a blow to the groin, I doubt it. Nature treats reproduction as very important and equips us guys with redundant testicles. The odds of permanant failure of both is very very low. However, temporary incapacitation is almost assured, unless the guy is very stoned and psychotic.

Your defensive techniques are in fact street fighting. Guys (and girls) who fight on streets don't box or wrestle, they fight for real. Hopefully you don't get to see much of this in your lifetime, as it is not like on TV, it is much more like the damaging techniques you describe.

You may be underestimating the value of running away. Maybe you could give an example of a situation where retreating would increase your risk of injury/death?

While you at it, you're probably creating a list of situations that should always be avoided, even before your guy gets drunk. That is, every situation should be assesed to see if running away would increase your risk. If teh answer is yes, don't go there. This is part of a (buzword) system called "situational awareness". It's kind of like pilots always having a clear landing field in sight, since you never know when you might need one.

Again, I can't see any situation where you might use non-deadly force (punches and kicks, bites and eye-gouges) against a male aggressor and later face civil or criminal penalties. The courts are too full of people using knives and guns to bother with a guy who got beat up by his date.

I do want to emphasise, that just likle in international relations, if it comes to the use of force, one or more avoidable mistakes may have already been made. Stay away from situations where you cannot retreat without increasing your risk.

Look up a book called "In the Gravest Extreem". It deals mainly with armed self-defense, but discusses many of the concepts of liability that you are concerned about.
Are you a lawyer, btw? nmKristin
Jun 27, 2003 1:51 PM
There are alternativesScot_Gore
Jun 27, 2003 4:05 PM

re: Self defense, martial arts and the use of deadly force.Skip
Jun 28, 2003 6:28 PM

Carry pepper spray. Sabre brand is a 3 in 1 combo - red pepper, CS tear gas, and an invisible UV dye to mark the assailant. Very inexpensive, effective, and non-lethal.
Ju-Jitsu and other forms of self-defence...OutWest
Jun 28, 2003 11:55 PM
...have holds and locks that will incapacitate the aggressor, even physically damage him/her but you have control of the degree of damage. My son was 8 years old when he tried a choke hold on me (with my permission) and I just about blacked out in 8 seconds. "Deadly force" sounds a bit macho-extremist to me. If they tell you that you need to use deadly force, pack a gun. Otherwise check out some other forms of self- defense.
best to avoidishmael
Jun 29, 2003 9:34 AM
I've been in many situations where I could've ended up in a physical fight. Often, ironically or not, while I've been out on a ride. I've always backed down and escaped from injury, except for once(I should've run instead of walked). Although later I'll have some regrets about not kicking the shiit out of some ashole, and in every case I think I could've, the greatest regret would be to be seriously physically damaged. Which brings me to the one time I was hurt. A lunatic, I dont know if his goal was to rob me or just harrass me, started following me in the middle of the day in the Mission area of San Francisco. He'd talk to me while walking behind me, saying things like " you think youre tough", "what you got in your pocket". I didn't run, I kept walking and he followed. I measured what I said, nothing too agressive but I wasn't going to lose my pride and beg for him to leave me alone. I told him with bluster and annoyance to "leave me the fuk alone!" And then he was gone.... And then six or so blocks later he was back. And now he was heading towards me. For the last couple blocks tell then I'd been thinking how nice and appropriate it would've been for me to quickly smack him in the stomach, and now here he was again. I'd taken about half a year of very physical kickboxing and felt if we were in the ring together I'd tear him apart. But, ofcourse this was the street. He recognized me, it had only been a couple minutes since he'd been harrassing me, and he was looking at me as he our earlier meeting. I took my hands out of my pockets. I thought we were going to pass each other. But then out of no where-smack. I would've thought I'd see it coming. And then I was dripping blood at a rate of about a drip every two seconds. And he was coming at me again. I had too much adrenaline to feel anything, but the blood was worrisome. I dont think you know what you'll do in such a situation till you get in it and now I was in it, and I still wasn't fighting. I was running slowly backwards egging him on, trying to keep him following me. I wanted to find a cop. He gave up chasing me, I was barely jogging, I dont think he could've lasted too long in a fight before he'd need a nap or something, he was far from in shape. And then I needed stiches and now I have a slightly narled ear. And I dont think he hit me with anything other than his hand. mMybe he had a ring on. Dont remember, didn't see much.
Although things get heated at the moment and maybe there's a possible loss of pride I think it's best to run. Looking at things later in retrospect(which lasts a lot longer than the present) you'll be happier in the long run. Atleast that's how I see it. I've never been in a situation in which I couldn't run.
re: Self defense, martial arts and the use of deadly force.rwbadley
Jun 30, 2003 7:09 AM

Having studied many forms of fighting technique for 20+ years, I would like to point out a couple things.

Until you are in a 'real' situation, you really have no idea how any event will progress. RE: self defense, it can take years for the defense skills to become developed to the point where you may have real self defense capability. Especially in the case of a typical 'bigger man smaller woman' scenario.

Some drug crazed looney won't feel any pain. A large assailant could grab you, wad you up into a little ball, and toss you in a corner. Be very careful how you assess your danger.

I wouldn't worry about hurting your attacker and ending up in court, if that were to happen, the jury would likely see you as a victim not a bully.

Talking your way out, running, pepper spray. All solid alternatives. Hand to hand is risky, if it can be avoided do so. If not, do what you can to the soft targets, and hope for the best. Be very fast and powerful and then get the heck out.

Here's hoping you never have to deal with it!