What do you think? Was this self-defense or aggravated assault? The video here certainly shows us how important it is to our Active Self Protection to know how to lawfully and correctly use our firearm in self-defense!
This video is sponsored by CCWSafe, who I use to help me win the fight after the fight: https://get-asp.com/ccwsafe. I am a member and I recommend them highly; please go check them out and thank them for being a sponsor of our daily lessons!
Original, unedited video of the incident with some discussion of how he claimed self-defense: https://get-asp.com/wu57
What does this teach me about the difference between self-defense and aggravated assault?
- A life of self-protection must be dedicated to avoidance, de-escalation, and escape whenever possible. You win 100% of the fights that you don’t get in, so make a commitment to de-escalate, escape, or evade any encounter you possibly can. Having good situational awareness will give you more time and opportunity to see problems coming and formulate a plan to stay away and protect yourself without danger to yourself or others. This is always our first choice in self-defense.
- If you can win “the fight before the fight,” you win. You win that fight by minimizing your potential for being attacked in the first place! That means making smart decisions and living a life of awareness and readiness so that you don’t take unnecessary risks. The judge said this was self-defense, but without the cameras there he could easily have been convicted of aggravated battery. The better path here is to win the fight before the fight!
- The first pillar of lawful, moral self-defense is “innocence.” (get a nutshell here: http://get-asp.com/wbbp or the whole concept here: http://get-asp.com/1fqe ) Innocence requires that we not be the instigator of the fight and that we not be the aggressor or the perpetrator. In some states when we attempt to leave or run we can re-establish innocence in self-defense, but states differ on that. Regardless, getting into a fight is a poor basis for a self-defense claim later, so always live in such a way that innocence isn’t a problem for you.
- Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. Had this encounter not included the gun, it would have never gone to the judge and the defender would have been much safer legally. Those empty-handed skills are much easier to argue for in court as self-defense than pistol whipping someone!
- Pepper spray (also called OC or OC spray) can be a very useful defensive tool for non-lethal self-defense. I carry this one, and it’s nasty stuff: http://amzn.to/1kxJpls . It can also be used against you in a fight, so you should know how to defend yourself if you’re sprayed! Take a good course on pepper spray and how to employ it, and as part of that course take a dose yourself so that you know the effect it will have on you and how to fight through it to continue to protect yourself.
- Whether you’re LEO or CCW, you need to know what force options you have available for your self-defense and when to abandon one and move to another. (“force options” are a better model than the older “force continuum” model) You need to know when your pepper spray is the best option, or when to abandon it (or the TASER) in favor of your firearm in a split second decision. The best way, of course, to learn and embed these options in your mind is to train in force on force scenarios with the options and then respond to the situations appropriately.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
(music in the intro and outro courtesy of Bensound at http://www.bensound.com)