Threat of force/Use of Force Appropriate? [Archive] - Glock Talk


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06-19-2011, 05:21
VADuck Hunter posed this question to Mas Ayoob in the GATE Self-Defense Forum. As Mas suggested, it is a question and topic we who carry need to ask and discuss before, before we find ourselves in a similar situation.I would love your opinion on this Mas.

I was involved in a situation a couple months ago when my buddy was talking trash to a bouncer at a bar (not the greatest bar in town to say the least). He picked a fight with a guy (not the bouncer, but was standing up for the bar). My buddy was incoherently drunk, but i was the DD and did not drink a drop the entire night. Well it turns out this guy had about 8-10 friends outside ready to jump my friend and i. They cornered us (no escape possible). Believe me, i doubted we would not exit the encounter without serious bodily injury by the crowd in front of us. Well a guy came forward, and pushed me against a wall so i just reacted and put him to the ground. This took the fight out of the mob, and we were able to run away, while they threw bottles at us. More than one of them had a knife on their belt (though none of them drew it) I am 6'4" and weigh 260lbs... Would this count towards disparity of force if i had a handgun (which i did not). I feel like if i did have a hand gun, and if i had drawn, no one would have had to get hurt. We could have just gotten away (which was our intention). Because of my size and physical prowess, would i have gone to jail for aggravated assault if i had drawn a weapon on them?

I have read this entire forum, and the question really nagged at me, because honestly i was in fear for my life. I have 0 doubt they would have nearly killed us if not actually killed us. I am a pre-law student so i have an understanding of the law, but very little practical experience. This is in Montana, which has a holistic support of self defense as far as case law goes... This was told to me by a professor at the university. My concern in this is my physical size, and the fact my buddy essentially picked the fight. Would i be the aggressor?

Thanks for reading all of this, and i understand if you do not take this question, as it is quite long. Let's keep the discussion on topic.

State laws on use of force vary, so please tell us where you live so we can put everything in perspective.

06-19-2011, 05:22
And the response by Mas:Lots of issues here, bro, and enough complicated branching to probably make it better suited to a thread discussion elsewhere on GlockTalk. Best I can do in the short answer forum of GATE is:

1: Some would suggest that cold cocking your antagonistic drunk buddy would have been the quickest, most all-encompassing solution.

2: Classic example of my friend John Farnam's advice, which reads in part: "Don't go stupid places with stupid people." If this guy is gonna get smashed and start fights in bars full of dangerous people, and you absolutely HAVE to babysit him when he's drinking, best bet is to rent some DVDs and buy some pizza to go with the booze, and do it at home where he won't get you both into (as much) trouble.

3: Size and strength is an element that gives you disparity of force. So is the physical prowess you mentioned, but you didn't go into detail on your hand to hand background or just how decisively you put that first guy horizontal.

4: Force of numbers of course gives the others an element of disparity of force; no matter how big the moose, a large enough wolf pack can take him down.

5: Judge and jury would be looking at whether you attempted to de-escalate or remove your buddy between when he became antagonistic and when the crowd became assaultive. Absence of any attempt by you to quiet him down or get him out of there would make you look like part of the problem, not part of the solution.

6: Drawing a gun might indeed back off a mob. You'll want to be double checking on the legality of carrying in a bar in Montana, though. There's also the possibility that someone in the crowd might have had enough "beer muscles" to jump you for the gun...or pull one of his own.

I hope you've had a long talk with your buddy once he sobered up, and maybe discussed changing the recreational drinking paradigm. :supergrin:


Bill Lumberg
06-19-2011, 08:34
If you're hanging out in a situation like that, the last think you'd need is a handgun. More in need of a mirror.

06-19-2011, 10:26
Assuming there is not alcohol involved.

1. Walking down the street with the wife.
2. Surrounded by 6-12 thugs intent on giving a beatdown, which is common here in Philly. Such a gang killed a guy last year, beat him to death. Other people have been stabbed and beaten.

I would think that the area, history of violent crime in that area, a need for self-protection in a life-threatening situation. It seems we have a murder a day in a relatively small city compared to NY, DC, LA, etc.

I would go to the case of Gerald Ung, who was surrounded by group of drunken LaCrosse team thugs intent on assaulting him. He was acquitted.

IMO, it all depends on the individual situation and the culture and history of the area.

06-19-2011, 13:43
Lets just say this bar has 1+ visits from the police a night. We knew a guy who worked there, who quit because it got so bad. This was a really awful situation. If i had a gun i would have drawn... Thats my statement about this one (i am the OP). I was sober, but no one else was by my estimate.

06-19-2011, 14:24
Lets just say this bar has 1+ visits from the police a night. We knew a guy who worked there, who quit because it got so bad. This was a really awful situation. If i had a gun i would have drawn... Thats my statement about this one (i am the OP). I was sober, but no one else was by my estimate.

And YOU decided to keep going there why? If you knew this bar had problems (cops being called 1+ times a night) and you even knew a guy who quit working there because it "got so bad" WHY, WHY, WHY would you keep going there?!?!?

YOU made the decision to go to this bar with your friend and act as DD.

YOU allowed your friend to get piss drunk.

YOU did nothing to stop your friend from picking a fight when he was piss drunk.

Sorry, but you made a lot a bad decisions leading up to this potentially life-threatening situation. All of those things will be brought up by a competent prosecutor. I'm not sure a jury is going to side with someone who brought a gun to a drunken brawl, even (especially?) if that person was the only one sober.

One of the most important things about being a responsible CW carrier is make good decisions about the places you frequent. Choosing to go to bar known to have problems is not a good decision.

Caver 60
06-19-2011, 14:30
This won't answer your question, but.

Have you ever been with this friend before when he's been drinking? Did he behave in a similar manner or way on that occasion? If so, why were you out with him again, especially at a known trouble spot?

I learned a long time ago to avoid possible trouble as much as I can.

06-19-2011, 14:41
In GA, you can only carry in bar if the owner grants permission (IIRC). I don't know the law for Montana. So that would change the situation where I live.

Putting that aside, you might get grilled in a trial as to whether you went outside knowing or suspecting the people were waiting for you. I had an incident many years ago where two guys were aggressively picking a fight with me. Long story, short...I could have walked away, but I opted to grant them their wish. In the end, no charges were filed. However I was deemed the aggressor because I had opportunities to walk away and instead made the bad decision of going after them. I was immature and made a stupid decision. The fact that it was 1 vs 2 was irrelevant because I made no effort to avoid the confrontation.

Now I don't think the person in the OP was immature or stupid. However I think he needs to consider whether he knew they would be followed or met outside and whether he did everything possible to avoid that confrontation. This part leads me to believe that he knew there would be trouble -
Believe me, i doubted we would not exit the encounter without serious bodily injury by the crowd in front of us.

All we can obviously do is speculate what would have happened. However I see this coming back to haunt you if you pulled a gun. "If you expected trouble, why did you go outside, Mr. VADuckHunter?" "Why didn't you call the police?"

Anyway that's my $0.02 worth (maybe less).

06-19-2011, 14:54

The principal failure here was going into that bar in the first place. I don't care what excuse you come up with, going into a bar that is a nightly entry on the police blotter for whatever reason, sober or not, armed or not, playing wingman for your best friend, brother, father or whoever was a mistake. If your friend had that great a need to drink to that extent, I'd be taking him to an AA meeting by force rather than to another bar.

I'm from Ohio, and this situatuion would have been a mess of the first order.

Fortunately, the biggest one got fixed last week. Our legislature just fixed weapons carry in a bar, so within the next 90 - 100 days whenever the the clock officially starts with the governors signature and the secretary of state's entry of that action into the statutes we will be able to carry a firearm into a bar as long as we are not drinking. currently, and until about October 1 give or take a week, it is a felony to carry a gun into a bar.

Onto other brass tacks. Your buddy was pretty much completely in the wrong. I think you understand that. I am amazed that he made it past trash talking to the bouncer to make it to picking a fight with another patron. Around here, you start antagonizing the security staff, you're leaving, and if you resist that in any way, you'll be removed by force with complete justification, and a ride to jail waiting for you for your trouble.

Once he picked a fight with the other guy, you have new problems. Ohio is a "stand in the shoes" state with regard to defense of another person. It is NOT a "reasonable man" state. That makes a BIG difference. You only have as much right to defend the other person as that person has to defend himself. And since your buddy was the initial antagonist in this situation, you would basically have no legal recourse to defend him, even against a mob, until he did something to de-escalate, attempt to leave and disengage from the situation, etc. It is possible that as some point the actions of the mob would rise to a level where they were no longer legally defending themselves or a member of their party from a violent drunk and were themselves engaging in a life threatening assault without justification, but I'm willing to be that point is not reached until well after the well deserved whooping is underway. The parallel I'll draw to that is the Rodney King incident. remember, of the 50 or so blows delivered to Rodney King, only the last 6 or so were ruled to be unjustified. Up to that point, the beating was ruled justifiable.

So how justifiable ANY action on your part outside would be hinges on what happened in that large blank space you left between "picking a fight with another patron" and "met by 8 - 10 friends outside". If your buddy apologized to the patron for the misunderstanding and decided to call it a night due to his self-recognized level of intoxication and you get met outside, then you start having a case for justification, or more likely a misdemeanor "mutual combat" assault. If you or a bouncer had to drag him from the bar against his will while he's still putting up a fight, making threats, or actually starting up something physical with his opponent, then you probably comitted an additional assault by pushing one of the members of the party justifiably defending his friend, and would likely have comitted a felony had you drawn a gun in those circumstances.

Choosing poorly with regard to starting a bar fight with a superior opponent is not one of the elements of justification. From the perspective of that other party, and well trained police officers, it is prudent and justifiable to subdue an intoxicated and combative subject with vastly superior numbers to limit the possibility of injury to your team. If said drunk is being helped out by a 6'4 linebacker type, the amount of people they get to use goes up. And if one of those two folks draws a gun, well, you finish off the story...

I've been long winded enough on this one. I'll summarize by saying that relatively speaking, the window you have to squeeze through to justify a defensive response by you in those circumstances is about 6" wide, compared to the barn door you could drive a gantry crane through that represents an unjustified criminal act by you for aiding the antagonist of a drunken assault. It sucks, but that's the risk you take when you head out to bars with drunk, out of control friends.

06-19-2011, 15:19
Assuming your "friend" provoked the incident, in most jurisdictions, you may lose the self-defense conjecture. You had an obligation to drag your friend away from it, tell the others "sorry, he's drunk" and tell him to shut up.

Even if you did this but the mob kept after you, generally you can respond with like-kind force. One guy pushed you against the wall and shoved him down. That's fine as its nondeadly force responding to nondeadly force. What's isn't fine is drawing your weapon unless some other guys drew knives or other deadly weapon as you guys were retreating. Even under this scenario, it would be a tough call and a DA would likely offer you a plea deal on lesser charges, perhaps reckless endangerment (crowds of innocent people).

Not only that, you risk being sued in civil court for whatever damages, injuries, and maladies attributable to your actions.

I understand your frustration - you feel like you had no way out at the bar, yet legally, you also have no easy way out. Its a damned if I do, damned if I don't situation.


06-19-2011, 15:23
I drug my friend to escape... They cornered us. I was completely sober, and remember the incident quite well. Really i was trying to get out of there. We did not know about the people outside, or i would have left out the kitchen entrance to avoid the confrontation. This guy who started it all really is one of my good friends, and does not usually act nearly as belligerently as he did that night. The guy who was part of the non-bar employees approached him and started threatening him INSIDE the bar. We left the bar to avoid that one. No one knew there were more outside. I really hate fighting, because i hate dealing with the legal ramifications and making enemies. i am really a quite amicable person. I wrote this question to Mas in order to get an answer on what the law thought of the situation. I felt endangered for my well being to the most extreme in the situation. (ps i hate that bar... always have, but they have really cheap drinks and thats why my buddy wanted to go there)

06-19-2011, 15:55
Lets just say this bar has 1+ visits from the police a night. We knew a guy who worked there, who quit because it got so bad. This was a really awful situation. If i had a gun i would have drawn... Thats my statement about this one (i am the OP). I was sober, but no one else was by my estimate.

Avoidance is the paramount key to personal security. If you knew of an alleyway where many rapes, murders and other illegal activity occurred on a frequent basis would you make the conscious decision to walk down that alley in the middle of a dark night? Common sense tells you don't do it.

Whether armed or not, do not put yourself in any location, which you are privileged in knowing ahead of time and have the option to simply not go, that has a strong potential of requiring the use of force in the interest of self-defense.

Certainly have a talk with your friend. Best of luck.

06-19-2011, 16:19
Oh we had a talk that went like this "If this ever happens again i am gonna let them woop you til the cops get there." Everyone has drank too much at some time in their life and done something stupid (well maybe not everyone, but i would say most). As i said this cured me of going to this bar, lesson learned.

06-19-2011, 22:52
Yeah you went to a nasty bar, and your buddy was being a jack-wagon. However, you didn't do anything wrong (from what you are saying) and you're trying to leave. These punks can only fight 10 deep. Mob mentality is nothing to mess with, especially when dealing with punks because each one is going to try to outdo the other in brutality until someone is either dead or really injured.

06-20-2011, 01:25
If you're hanging out in a situation like that, the last think you'd need is a handgun. More in need of a mirror.

Or in need of a friend who doesn't pick fights and talks trash to bouncers. Especially if you carry, you don't need that threat or risk around.

06-20-2011, 02:37
Lets just say this bar has 1+ visits from the police a night. We knew a guy who worked there, who quit because it got so bad. This was a really awful situation. If i had a gun i would have drawn... Thats my statement about this one (i am the OP). I was sober, but no one else was by my estimate.

Back working through college I was a bouncer and size helps but when the people nowadays carry bladed weapons it becomes very dangerous. In the situation described I would have not been there because the judge would have asked who the aggressor was and go from there. The normal rule is that if you fire a shot they would all run but the risk to innocent targets and cicilv exposure would prevent such actions. The op size would not matter if he had arthritis etc and these disabilities would have prevented self defense without a weapon. The op posted a good first because it costs less money in the long run. :whistling: Now if the men had pulled kinves or guns and you had a gun I would say pull the gun if they are not too close where they can take it away. If they made a fist they could be charfed with assault but I agree with the statements that the op should ahve not been there in the first place. The general rule is that when men drink they either want to fight or have sex and the bottle makes people ten feet tall. Good points.

Gunnut 45/454
06-20-2011, 10:54
I agree with what others have said - you still go there knowing that there is a great possibility you will not only run into the same folks you had the fight with? Time to assess your need to go there! Cause from my own experience they will catch you one night and it will not be pretty! Find another place to get a drink! Carrying a firearm into that type of situation will only lead to you getting more trouble ! CAUSE YOU KNEW IT WAS A BAD SITUATION!:faint: Remember just because you haven't got your butt handed to you doesn't mean you will not!:rofl:

06-20-2011, 12:14

You are asking all of the wrong questions.

The 1st question you should ask, which Bill Lumberg provided the answer for is:

A. Am I willing to possibly trade my life and my freedom for someone else who is not my direct dependent, family member, or spouse?

The 2nd issue here seems to me, to be that you are one of those overwhelmingly many who go thru the (trouble and) process of

passing a background check
selecting and buying a gun
selecting and buying the "proper" self defense load
getting the "right" holster
figuring out where you can, and cannot carry,

but spends scant time running thru potential scenarios thru your head. Seems to me being DD for someone else, an altercation would be high up on the list of possibilities to consider.

I don't like surprises. It means I haven't planned and prepared enough.

When you have answered the issue of if you are willing to possibly die for a friend, suffer serious bodily injury, inflict serious bodily injury, and possibly death on someone else ON HIS/HER behalf; submit yourself to hundreds of hours of courtroom experience in civil and or criminal proceedings, potential loss of assets (and you say you are a student, so if appears you'd be dragging either a spouse or parents into your quagmire...), when you have honestly and succinctly answered these questions is when you are ready to carry a gun.

The question you asked Mas, and has been posted here is akin to me asking about how I should handle an instrument only landing on a Airbus A300, when all I've done to date is purchased a ticket on Delta Airlines.


06-21-2011, 09:05
in texas we would have had some major issues with this event.

if an establishment earns 51% or more of the revenue from alcohol you are prohibited from carrying in that establishment - good or bad, it is in my experience that alcohol does nothing but make the situation more complicated than it should have been. NO ONE was thinking right and with you being the only sober one did not help with your stress level thus unfair to you - friend or not. I have always been of the train of thought, and taught my children the same: "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are". So in the end, as a concealed permit holder, you are responsible for your actions - friend or no.

we could tell you what to do all day long and give you input but there are some liability issues you should have taken into account as well. you being the only sober person in your group, and carrying legally (I assume), you are going to be held to a higher standard in the event you had to draw your weapon.

Questions asked: why couldnt you outwit the drunk guy? how did you not see a mob of 8-10 guys heading in your direction in a parking lot? why did you not step back inside the bar? if you knew they were leaving why not give them an extra 15-20 minutes to clear out? I am not saying that you were wrong here, but these are questions which answers could place you in a bad light.

06-23-2011, 07:26
I would either take Mas advice #1.

Or I would leave him there to take the ass kicking he begged for.

"Friends" don't put you in that type of situation.

As for the law? You do what you have to do to stay alive. Just remember that the people in the judicial system won't be feeling whatever fear you felt that night when they decide on the legality of your actions.

Finally, I would never expect the display of a gun to deter anyone. As a matter of fact it may very well escalate the situation (as Mas said).

Edit: I might still be able to be friends with this guy, but he would no longer be a drinking buddy, and I would find a nicer place to do my drinking (like home). An ounce of prevention...

Happyguy :)

06-28-2011, 12:37
Reams of good advice here. That you are a large man doesn't make you knife or bullet-proof. In most instances, you have as much right to use deadly force against a knife or bat wielding man as would a man of more average size. My answer would be different if the knife was in the hands of a 90 year old lady, pissed that you stepped on her tulips.

As others have said, choose your friends more carefully. Avoid rough-trade bars, where trouble can find you. Winning an acquital is not winning at all as the cost of your defense team will mean financial ruin unless you're Donald Trump. The objective is to avoid indictment. Virtually any use-of-force incident beginning or ending at a bar, road rage incident, or love triangle means major legal trouble.

Shoot an intruder, shoot a robber like the mutt who just killed four innocent people at a mom-and-pop drug store in Medford NY, go to the aid of a downed police officer and the grand jury will likely consider you a hero. It goes down hill rapidly from there.

I live near a neighborhood that averages at least one shots fired incident per week. They are usually in or outside a bar, involve illegal handguns and occur mostly in the small hours, 2 AM to 5 AM. If I wanted to test my guns and loads against live adversaries, I know where to hang out. Needless to say, I simply stay out of that neighborhood except during normal business hours, when it is just another neighborhood. After midnight, the dangerous people of the night take over.

06-29-2011, 05:17
Let's consider what may have happened if you shot and killed a guy (which should be a main consideration when drawing a gun). I think that the real bottom line here is how your situation will be perceived in a court of law. Sure, it's clear cut to you, but it won't be to a judge and jury - especially when an experienced prosecutor gets involved. It will almost certainly be perceived as a drunken brawl where some a-hole pulled a gun and killed someone. In a court of law, context is everything. In my opinion, you would be completely F'd.

Bruce M
06-30-2011, 07:40
One of the lessons here is that a fair amount of use/potential use of a gun is perhaps not as clear cut as some would like to think. For every guy who successfully intervenes in an armed robbery where the subject is a mujahideen is intent on taking cash to fuel terrorism, there is another (or a bunch) where the lines between the good guy/bad guy are rather blurred; a scene in which the officers there wonder why someone or everyone did not just leave or not go there at all.