Author Topic: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion  (Read 4481 times)

Offline Josh the Aspie

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2715
  • Karma: 94
  • Faith, Hope, Love.
    • Josh the Aspie's Homepage
Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« on: September 12, 2014, 02:44:17 PM »
First of all, I am aware that this is a potentially controversial issue, so I'm going to try to understand others points, and consider them carefully before I react, and I hope that others will too.

I have lately been considering, and debating with some others, what some reasonable standards of self-defense are, from both an Ethical and Practical standpoint.

I am not talking about what the legal standards are, particularly since these vary from place to place and time to time, but rather what ethical standards to consider ahead of time in your training, and to hold yourself to, both in "SHTF" situations, and in non-SHTF situations.

I have come to a set of conclusions, but as a flawed individual, am aware that these may need to be further refined, and I would like to start a conversation on this basis.

-----

Point 1. "Best block no be there"

I think that each of us has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to reduce our vulnerability, so we are less likely to need to defend ourselves.  If you lock your doors, you're less likely to find a robber in your house.  If you avoid walking alone in the bad parts of town, and if you don't stumble around drunk in the dark, you are less likely to be mugged.  Obviously we can't bring our risk to 0 and we need to live our lives.  The recent mob attack on a grocery store proves this.  I still think risk-reduction is an ethical part of self defense.

-----

Point 2. "If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."

The larger context of the verse can be found in Mathew 5:38-42.
There are certain actions that will not cause us real harm, and to escalate situations will only make things worse.  If a roman legionnaire wants you to go with him 1 mile to carry his pack, and you refuse, he may attack you.  If you defeat him, you will bring the legion down on you and yours.  But if you go with him longer than required, you may gain favor with him, or he might get in trouble for forcing you to go further.

If a person slaps you, and has done no real harm, then striking that person back may only escalate the situation further, leading you to be incarcerated for striking another, or you getting a huge beat-down.  Even reporting the person that slapped you to the police may get you in trouble, depending on the circumstances.  It sucks, but that's reality.

And quite frankly, if you've been hurt, but it's not permanent damage, then risking escalation to a higher level of damage to you and your opponent from both sides seems both unethical and impractical to me.

-----

Point 3. Action follows intent.  Protect, don't attack.

Don't focus on catching, or hurting the other person.  Focus first on making sure that you, and those under your protection get out of the situation safely, and secondary to that consider how to prevent any other losses that will have a permanent impact on your life.  Don't risk your life or freedom to protect a TV.  On the other hand, if you're in the middle of the countryside in winter, and someone is trying to steal your car, that person is threatening your life.

In a true grid-down SHTF situation, someone stealing the entirety of your food stores, or your heating fuel may well be condemning you to death, if you don't defend against the attack.

We don't have all the time in the world to assess our actions in a fight, which is part of why how we consider our reactions ahead of time, how we train, will have a huge impact on how we react.  If your mentality about combat situations is "I will end my opponent", then you're more likely to empty a clip into an already disabled threat, and possibly miss that threat's backup.  If your mentality is "run away!" and you can't, you may freeze up.  And how you discuss self defense issues with others will likely be used for or against you in court.

-----

Point 4. Desire the ideal, but recognize that it often doesn't happen in the midst of chaos.

If someone makes an attack for my face, that's a serious threat.  Even 14 year old girl with press on nails and jewelry has a high enough chance of permanently damaging my eyes that I'm not willing to just stand there like a rock and take her clawing at my eyes, or throwing an elbow to them.

One of the reasons I train in the martial arts is to make it more likely that I will react in a way that protects me from permanent damage but also reduces damage to others.  Not everyone has that dedication, or the benefit of that training.  Even with my training, I know I won't always react in an ideal manner.  I may try to grab the other person's limbs, but under repeated attacks, wind up clocking my opponent in the face and breaking his or her nose.

On top of that, even in ideal circumstances (within the bounds of the non-ideal situation of having to defend myself), where I manage to use nothing but control techniques on a physically weak but genuinely emotional woman trying to gouge out my eyes, she will likely wind up with bruises on her wrists.  In her thrashing to get out of my attempt to use control to leave both of us safe, she may wind up striking her head on a nearby object, or butting me in the head, or stomping on my foot.

Even if I use control techniques, others may judge me to be the bad-guy, and come over to deliver a beat down. 

Or, I may be facing multiple opponents, and need to just try to fend off a crowd of multiple attackers, which is far from ideal.

So while you'd want an ideal reaction, or circumstances, you can't limit yourself to only being willing to take ideal actions in ideal circumstances, and you need to extend that understanding to others in similar situations.

-----

So, thoughts on the above standards?  Holes that need filling?  Points you want to expound on?

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 714
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2014, 04:50:07 PM »
5. He just needed killin' is considered legal defense on some made for TV movies.   ::)

Offline soupbone

  • Once made a pun out of "Mephistopheles"
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2446
  • Karma: 146
  • If you think you're close enough - get closer.
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2014, 06:42:18 PM »
Josh, thanks for bringing this topic up again. It is of vital importance in forums like TSPF, where self defense is a part of overall preps, to have a full, clear understanding of when you can or will use force to protect yourself and those you hold dear.

It is a good feeling to see that the vast majority of folks here choose to answer the question in a cool, logical manner - no macho rants, no "advice" from keyboard commandos, just good discussions. You are also correct in finding that ethical and practical considerations are important considerations. A shooting may be legally justifiable, but leave you an emotional mess [second guessing is a bitch].

Legal considerations cannot be overlooked, however. Generally speaking, you can use deadly force [that force which can be reasonably expected to cause death or grievous bodily harm] only to defend yourself or another person from death or grievous bodily harm as a last resort, only if all other means have failed or are inappropriate. Which means, basically, you cannot use deadly force to protect 'stuff'. No matter what kind of mental gymnastics you perform ["In a true grid-down SHTF situation, someone stealing the entirety of your food stores, or your heating fuel may well be condemning you to death, if you don't defend against the attack."] If it is not a direct threat against a person, don't use deadly force.

Now, if you decide to use less than deadly force, and it escalates ........

But whatever you decide to do, rest assured that you will be held accountable for it in the courts or the hereafter, and that if it comes to the point of shooting another human being, your life will be forever and irrevocably changed.

soupbone

Offline trekker111

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 916
  • Karma: 71
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 01:54:30 AM »
I've been an LEO for quite a while. I wish half those I deal with had half the grasp of common sense self defense principles laid out in the OP.

There have been to many people who could have avoided the situation altogether, or caused the situation to escalate due to their actions, then want to claim self defense when they are just as responsible as the other party.

Offline Chemsoldier

  • Pot Stirrer
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 5722
  • Karma: 544
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2014, 09:10:02 AM »
I think your standards are sound.  That being said, it almost seems like over intellectualization.  Existence is all the justification one needs. With life comes hope, I can reform my wicked ways only if I am here tomorrow.  After that comes the legal, which I need to keep my freedom and self-determination. I owe no one else anything but the legal. They don't need an ethical justification.  If you need one to convince a loved one you needed to punch an assailant you might want to ask them to chalk it up to trust or find a new loved one.

Offline Josh the Aspie

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2715
  • Karma: 94
  • Faith, Hope, Love.
    • Josh the Aspie's Homepage
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 09:22:58 AM »
Thanks for the responses guys.

I have a few responses.

No matter what kind of mental gymnastics you perform ["In a true grid-down SHTF situation, someone stealing the entirety of your food stores, or your heating fuel may well be condemning you to death, if you don't defend against the attack."] If it is not a direct threat against a person, don't use deadly force.

Now, if you decide to use less than deadly force, and it escalates ........

First off, I'm not saying that deadly force should be your first response in any defense situation if there's another that will work without exposing you to a real possibility of worse damage.

But I think the "direct threat" mentality is a bit of ethics derived from our modern world and lives.  In the old west horse theft was a hanging offense for a good reason.  You steal a man's horse out on the plains, or in the desert, and he's libel to wind up dead, especially in the depths of winter, or the height of summer.  Exposure kills.

In modern times, theft = death is almost unheard of today (in the west), and so it's reasonable to eliminate theft from those situations where it is acceptable for people to inflict grievous bodily harm (as you put it) on others to defend their goods.

My comment above is merely acknowledging that it's possible for the world to experience such an upheaval that theft = death is once again a real possibility, and in those circumstances only am I saying it would be both practical ethical to use such force.  Though if it's still plausible to use less force to deal with the situation, even if you think "there is no law right now" (which is another debate) I think it would be ethically necessary to try those other means.

I think your standards are sound.  That being said, it almost seems like over intellectualization.  Existence is all the justification one needs. With life comes hope, I can reform my wicked ways only if I am here tomorrow.  After that comes the legal, which I need to keep my freedom and self-determination. I owe no one else anything but the legal. They don't need an ethical justification.  If you need one to convince a loved one you needed to punch an assailant you might want to ask them to chalk it up to trust or find a new loved one.

I personally find it important to examine ethics, and my own mental processes, and consider things ahead of time.  As I said above in different words, if I don't get my head on strait before the violence begins, there's little chance it'll be on strait when the time comes.

Offline Chemsoldier

  • Pot Stirrer
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 5722
  • Karma: 544
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 01:02:15 PM »
I see what you mean on sorting yourself out to an extent.  However, things you have sorted already tend to come out as intuitions later. Maybe its because I have been a soldier my whole adult life, armed citizen for over a decade and a small amount of LE time. Perhaps I have sorted it out already to my satisfaction.

Offline Josh the Aspie

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2715
  • Karma: 94
  • Faith, Hope, Love.
    • Josh the Aspie's Homepage
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2014, 01:08:32 PM »
I am still training myself to the point I am willing to carry a gun.  I'm nearing the level of accuracy at the range where I will want to move toward combat simulation.

But I tend to become angry more easily than I'd like, and I also very much dislike to be manipulated and put upon.  I am trying to accelerate my own maturation to the point that my instincts and intuitions will be guided and trained by then.  I'm rooting around in my own mind, and challenging what I find there.  I'm just doing it in a more analytical fashion than most folks that reach that point go through.  Perhaps I'm more conscious of the process.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 01:35:14 PM by Josh the Aspie »

Offline soupbone

  • Once made a pun out of "Mephistopheles"
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2446
  • Karma: 146
  • If you think you're close enough - get closer.
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2014, 02:37:05 PM »
Josh, thanks for sharing Post #7. That took guts. My sincerest advice to you, my friend, is that until whatever anger issues you have are 100% under control, under normal circumstances, you not carry a deadly weapon. Even though your chances of misusing it would be one in ten thousand, the results of that misuse would be catastrophic to you and your family. The candle would not be worth the game. That doesn't mean you need to go defenseless, however, as there are many good non-lethal alternatives ranging from a cane to a collapsing baton, to chemical sprays [OC, CS, whatever]. Yes, I know they aren't as "effective" as a firearm, but the vast majority of confrontations - even in police work - do not meet the requirements for the use of deadly force. They will buy you the time to get out of the situation, without risking something that may haunt you the rest of your life.

You talk of ethics. This is the key to the whole matter. Anyone who carries a deadly weapon for defense - civilian, police or military - has [or should have] made the decision that they are willing to take the life of another human being. If you aren't willing to do that and answer for what you have done, you have no business carrying a deadly weapon. Period. If you have the slightest concern that you will misuse that weapon, you owe it to yourself and your family not to carry. The best summary for all of this was something my old Flight Chief said at every roll call, back in the day when I was a newly minted butter bar in SAC Security: "Remember, Gentlemen, you have been entrusted with half the power of God..." Ditto for the non-lethal weapons. You must have made the decision that you are willing to cause pain and harm to another human being. And face the consequences.

Your continued training in martial arts is a good thing, if you have good instructors. If you are only being taught the fighting stuff, without the philosophy behind it, please find another dojo. Your goal should be to find the inner peace and strength to allow you slough off the aggravations of the modern world and to be able to differentiate between those annoyances and real threats. And to give you a sense of self that will allow you to say, "I have nothing to prove to you, I already know who and what I am; I've been proven in a hotter fire."

You are on a journey. The fact that you are at all concerned with the ethics of the thing and admit to certain issues shows a process of maturation. It's not there now [by your own admission], but you will be farther along on it tomorrow, or next week, or next year. Many do not even start that journey.

soupbone

Offline Josh the Aspie

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2715
  • Karma: 94
  • Faith, Hope, Love.
    • Josh the Aspie's Homepage
Re: Standards for Self Defense, Discussion
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 10:31:11 PM »
I have very little concern that I will take out a weapon and shoot someone who does not pose a real danger to me, or even clock someone that I'm not afraid will pound the living daylights out of me.  Rather, I acknowledge the possibility in the same way I acknowledge that there may be big foot out in the woods.

The concerns that remain are that I may make an error in judgement as to that threat (which everyone faces, to greater or lesser degrees), or that my own actions may be a part of what causes that danger, due to escalating a social situation to the point someone else attacks me.

I long ago reached and passed where I can recognize when I need to walk off, and do.  The events that remain in that category are relatively few.  At this point in my life, if I were the recipient of certain physical abuse I've been subject to in the past, I would not have acted as I did then, with physical reaction.

But I still get angry enough that I need to leave a situation, and still have the emotions from the event rolling around inside me for a long time.  Usually, I keep or regain my calm easily, more easily than most people.

Right now I'd have to say that what I still need to master, as far as my judgement is concerned, are long-standing issues about being attacked physically, being deceived, being socially attacked (demonized, called names, etc) for not agreeing with another's position, or seeing or reading about another being attacked.  I am trying to reach the point where I deescalate these situations, rather than escalating them.

These discussions are a part of that process.