If force is justified, then the means that force is delivered is largely irrelevant. This is particularly the case when it comes to deadly physical force.
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What does this video teach us about defending ourselves against robbers?
- Your car can be used as a very effective force multiplier if you are willing to use it. While a handgun might deliver 300-500 ft-lbs of energy, a car delivers on the order of 200,000 ft-lbs of energy at 40mph. (calculate your car’s KE here: https://get-asp.com/swon if you’re a nerd like me!) Being behind the wheel with a deadly threat in front of you also puts the engine block between you and the threat; engine blocks are effective cover. It makes sense to use your car if you are in it to defend yourself.
- The “fleeing felon rule” generally applies to Law Enforcement Officers in the performance of their duties, and since 1985’s Tennessee vs. Garner decision the ability to use deadly force to apprehend a fleeing felon by LEO has been limited to cases where the officer has probable cause to believe that the fleeing felon is a continuing threat of serious physical harm to the officer or the public. However, how that law applies to non-LEO varies state by state. Make sure to know your local laws so that you know the limitations of shooting a fleeing felon, especially if you’re not a police officer.
- One of the most significant paradigms of using deadly force is called the may-should-must paradigm. “May” asks whether your force is lawful (and, if LEO, within policy). “Should” asks whether the rewards outweigh the risks of not acting or of unintended consequences. “Must” asks whether this is the only course of action that can affect the necessary outcome. Knowing how to apply this paradigm in deadly force encounters, in the moment, is an important responsibility for self-defenders! Here the officer had to stop this known deadly threat from continuing to endanger the community.
- In a deadly force encounter, decisions of life and death will be made in the blink of an eye. On the range and in class we have time to consider and to think and to reset and to make multiple attempts, but when the balloon goes up in real life you’ve got fractions of seconds to decide what the best course of action is to protect yourself. The way to be better at decision making in the heat of the moment is training, specifically scenario training and force-on-force training that is designed to work on decision-making skills under stress. It’s offered all over the country, so get training!
- From a legal standpoint, generally speaking if deadly physical force is authorized the means of that deadly physical force is irrelevant. In other words, if a deadly threat exists it’s just as acceptable to shoot them as it is to hit them with your car. If the threat level is deadly, then a deadly response is justified and you can use whatever deadly response is at your disposal to end that threat. Of course, these things are always fact sensitive and you should check your local laws.
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