Self-Defense Turns to Murder When a Defender Can't Control Himself

Self-Defense Turns to Murder When a Defender Can’t Control Himself

At Active Self Protection we never want our self-defense to become murder. Ever. This video has important lessons for all of us about our approach to self-defense, but it takes humility and honesty to learn them.



If you value what we do at ASP, would you consider becoming an ASP Patron Member to support the work it takes to make the narrated videos like this defensive encounter that turned into murder? gives the details.


Original video of the murder is available in our Instructor Development Portal.


News story with more details on the claim of self-defense:


More news with additional details:


What does this defender teach us about the difference between self-defense and murder?


  1. The first pillar of lawful, moral self-defense is “innocence.” (get a nutshell here: or the whole concept here: ) 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. If you’re seen as the instigator (there’s a long standing feud in this instance) it can damage your claim of lawful self-defense.
  2. One of the five pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “imminence.” Imminence means the threat is happening RIGHT NOW, that it’s neither too late nor too early for you to defend yourself! The standard of imminence is seen as a triad of ability, opportunity, and jeopardy (also known as the AOJ triad, which is explained here: in some detail). In this video, the AOJ triad is certainly met for the first shot. It MIGHT be met for the second shot. But by then, the threat is over, and therefore it is certainly not met for the third shot.


  1. One of the pillars of lawful, moral self-defense is “reasonableness.” In every defensive incident we ask whether the actions of the defender were reasonable from an objective standpoint, as seen in the moment. Would an objective, reasonable person do what you did in the moment? A good test of whether your actions are reasonable is whether you did them to stop the threat or to punish someone (Charles Humes calls it “The Punisher Test”: it’s a good comparison) The third shot here certainly did not look like it was about stopping the threat but about punishing the attacker, and as a defender that isn’t self-defense but murder.


  1. 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 during a carjacking or other attack. 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! That training will teach you to keep your cool when the chips are down so that you don’t murder someone who attacked you at the end of your self-defense.


  1. 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. In this case, the long-simmering feud between these two men erupted into an aggravated assault (the man with the large stick against the defender) and a murder (the defender when he shot in anger after the threat has passed). Live a life of peace and de-escalation so that you never get to this point.

There are 3 additional lessons for Patron Members and 3 class starters for Instructors from this ATTACK, so please join us in those programs to see them!


Attitude. Skills. Plan.


(music in the outro courtesy of Bensound at




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