A question on Disparity of Force [Archive] - Glock Talk

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apacheaws
03-04-2011, 14:07
Mr. Ayoob, first of all I'd like to thank your for lending your experience and knowledge to us here on these boards.

I've read all of the threads here on your GATE forum that returned from a search of "disparity of force," and I believe I have a relatively basic understanding of the concepts. Now, I am a non-confrontational person, and I would never provoke a fight. I never want to get into a fist fight, however if I am ever viciously attacked by an unarmed man, I've decided for myself that I would use my gun to defend myself, even if the assailant is substantially smaller than I am.

There aren't many people out there who would generally be viewed to have a large advantage over me in a fight. I'm currently 23 years old, 6'0" 210 lbs and in good shape, and I have been in the US Army for close to 6 years. My views on why hand to hand fighting is not for me actually come from my military experience: Over the past few years, I have once been forced to take an "army combatives" course, which I wasn't able to complete due to a neck injury. Aside from the match that resulted in that injury, I am just absolutely not good at hand to hand combat. I'm not ashamed to say that I've been whooped by guys that I have 50 pounds and 6 inches on.

As a result of my limited experiences and training with hand to hand combat, I'm pretty sure that I only know enough of the martial arts to get my butt kicked. A fear that I have is being attacked by a smaller, but vicious unarmed opponent and being killed--whether by a lucky blow to my head, being knocked down and stomped, or having my concealed pistol unconcealed during the fight and being used against me. Furthermore, I'm ETSing relatively soon. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I will likely have VA disabilities for neck and back injuries I've suffered during my service.

In your opinion, would my experiences and personal feelings towards the matter have any weight in criminal or civil court?

One more question. I've attended a nationally recognized 4 day defensive pistol course, and at that course we were given multiple lectures. In one of the lectures, the speaker advised us to put into writing our beliefs on self defense, when we would use lethal force to protect ourselves, and what exactly made us decide for ourselves what our limits are. We were instructed to write this letter, have it notarized, mail it to ourselves, and put it in a safe. In your opinion, would this be a good idea?

Sorry if I've rambled a little. I appreciate your time, sir.

Mas Ayoob
03-04-2011, 21:10
Against a single unarmed attacker, particularly a smaller one not known to you to have high skill in unarmed combat, you wouldn't have the best disparity of force defense. Arguing that a blow to the head COULD kill you goes more toward bare fear, which never justifies force, than to reasonable fear, which can.

I'd sugget that you consider pepper spray and taking another run at hand to hand training.

The essay on your self-defense beliefs can't hurt, particularly since it was done at the suggestion of a reputable instructor, but I wouldn't count on it getting in. Opposing counsel will argue that it's too self-serving to have probative value.

What you definitely SHOULD mail to yourself is your notes from that course and all others you've taken. Do it registered mail and leave it sealed, with extra copies available to you and counsel. This will help to show that you did what you were trained to do, and will also be greatly helpful to your instructor when he comes to speak for you as a material witness.

best,
Mas