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Disparity Of Force

Discussion in 'Legal' started by ManBearPig, Dec 18, 2008.

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  1. ManBearPig

    ManBearPig member

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    A few days ago someone in a thread, can't remember which, said something to the effect of "you can't kill an unarmed attacker with a weapon". I knew that was wrong, but I couldn't think of the term. Today I did.

    The term is "Desparity Of Force". You CAN use a weapon to kill an unarmed attacker, if the odds are against you. If you are outnumbered, it's Desparity Of Force. If your attacker is much bigger than you, it's Desparity Of Force. If your attacker is trained, and you are not, it's Desparity Of Force.

    Remember when those 8 teenage girls tricked another teenage girl into a home, where they beat the ever loving crap out of her? That's eight against one; which is Desparity Of Force. Even though they were not armed, she would have been well within her rights to make it to the kitchen, grab a butcher knife, and start stabbing until they ran off; and if someone would have died, no charges would have been filed. That's Desparity Of Force.

    To answer that person, I forgot who it was and what thread it was, yes you CAN use a weapon to kill an unarmed attacker.
     
  2. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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  3. GregGry

    GregGry Member

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    Charges can always be filled, even if there is no evidence to support the charge. Of course it would get throw out, but that doesn't mean charges can't be filed.

    Disparity of force in law enforcement is called officer subject factors. Physical size difference, training differences (Aka the person your going up against is a known heavyweight boxer), number of attackers, etc are all factors.
     
  4. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Member

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    As has been said, it's "disparity", as in an unequal pairing.

    But you're absolutely correct. And too many people don't know it.


    It's why an armed woman or smaller male can shoot a violent, attacking unarmed attacker that's bigger or more skilled than they are.

    I'm 6'4", 250, so I don't see myself being able to use this defense successfully, unless I'm outnumbered, even though I truly can't fight that well.
     
  5. expvideo

    expvideo Member

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    Correct. Basically, you have to think about it the same way that the jury will:

    Would a reasonable person have feared for their life if put in the same situation.
     
  6. Titan6

    Titan6 member

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    I don't know where you are so you really need to look at your state laws. They vary widely on this matter.
     
  7. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    Not exactly true, PCP is the great equalizer in a physical confrontation, the largest, strongeset, fastest most adept and deadly fighter specifically gentically created to be a killing machine might meet his match in a 5'0 100 lbs PCP raging psycho. Same is true to a lesser degree of meth, crack and other drugs.
     
  8. GregGry

    GregGry Member

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    I have fought people who were on drugs that impaired their sensation of pain. I have never had a toxicology report come back as PCP, however I have seen videos and talked with officers that have had first hand experience with people on pcp. The problem is that they can't really feel pain, and being that PCP is a dissociative anesthetic (Basically it separates mind from body) and the users can't really react/control themselves when ordered to do so. In 90% of the videos I have seen the PCP user is primarily concerned with getting away from threats more so then entering them. Of course since the pain threshold is higher, about the only thing that’s effective is the taser since that can get them to lock up.
     
  9. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Member

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    Good point, MBT.
     
  10. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    I dont get the concept. I am 6 ft tall and 210 lbs. If another guy comes rushing up to me cursing and threatening and he's 5'8" and 165 lbs does that mean I can't defend myself with deadly force? Is there some kind of contest you have to go through first to see whether he really is stronger or more fit?
     
  11. GregGry

    GregGry Member

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    If all that happens is a person much smaller then you gets in your dace shouting and swearing, no you can't use deadly force.

    This is ment for when your outnumbered, out skilled, or out sized.
     
  12. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    really? Does he offer a guarantee that all he's going to do is curse or threaten? Do they wear buttons or how do you identify them and distinguish them from people who are going to beat you up?
     
  13. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    Actually if you are 6'0 200 lbs and out of the blue some 5'4 134lbs nut job comes running after you trying to kill you, you can defend yourself.

    I think that the idea of Desparity Of Force is an old time notion. These days I don't think it holds AS true as it used to.

    Mostly because of the drug factor or the perp factor.

    IMO
     
  14. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    This topic always seems to limit the good guy a little too much IMO, and it has been discussed to death. Like Bubba pointed out, it could be difficult to know whether an attacker is more skilled until the fight is fought. I don't want to get physical when I'm carrying, period. The risk of my gun being used against me is too great to simply give the guy a fist fight because he's my size and unarmed.
    I've read too many of the "one punch killed this guy" news articles.
    I'd prefer to defend myself with deadly force if need be. I would like to decide the if need be part, even if the jury gets to take several weeks to decide how I should have reacted in those few seconds.

    I know that we're not talking a true legal line per se, in that, I'm one inch shorter than this guy so... doubletap! It always depends on
    A. your own personal threshold to act with deadly force, and
    B. how eager the local DA is to indict someone who defended themselves against an unarmed attacker.
     
  15. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    Also, what is "unarmed"? Just because someone doesn't appear to have a weapon doesn't make it so. I'd hate to get shanked by an "unarmed man."
     
  16. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    True. In my CHL class (while specifically talking about disparity of force) the Sargeant that was instructing mentioned cases he's been on where it took 4 or 5 230lb musclebound LEOs to wrestle down a single 140lb guy on PCP.
     
  17. Cyborg

    Cyborg Member

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    Does Age And Medical Condition Count?

    I am (OK USED to be) 6'4" and weigh around 300lbs but have a pacemaker, am on blood thinners and am diabetic. If I were, say, in my 60s or 70s and my attacker was in his 20s or 30s and in demonstrably better condition and overall health, would that count as disparity? I don't know about in other states, but in Texas the severity of an assault on a senior (over 64) or physically/intellectually handicapped is greater than on a regular citizen.

    I will qualify as a senior in 7 years.

    Cyborg
     
  18. GregGry

    GregGry Member

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    There are no guarantees in life unfortunately. Under most states written law you have the right to use deadly force against force that is likely to cause great bodily harm (Great bodily harm is defined exactly in the law books)or death. This disparity of force could be used as a defense to using deadly force if you can prove that the force you were up against (Say 4 people vs you) could have caused great bodily harm or killed you. Does that make it simpler? Its easier for 4 guys with their fists to cause you great bodily harm/death then 1 person. In a situation where 1 person with their fists up wouldn't normally be able to cause you great bodily harm/death, every extra person increases the odds of you being hurt bad. Its possible to prove that 1 persons fists could have caused you great bodily harm/death, however its going to be hard if both you and the attacker are the same size/appox fitness level. Now if your down on the ground and can't get up, and your being hit/kicked, its a different story.

    The reality is that every use of force case is different, but similar. You are forced to make decisions, and in most cases a judge or jury is going to check your decisions at a later date. As long as your within the relm of reasonbleness you will be ok. By that I mean if you shot someone that did nothing other then yell in your face, you should be convicted of murder. Now if you pulled the trigger after someone chased you and had you pinned in an alley while approaching with a knife, its more reasonable. However change that situation where the person was chasing after you because you just sexually assaulted someone, and it becomes questionable.


    Would you shoot a person in any situation, under the idea "Well they might have been armed"? The idea of the law is to be able to bring people to justice that use their weapons without any reason to. Good examples are gang members that shoot other gang mambers in turf/drug/power wars. The fact is the law doesn't want people to shoot others as a first response to everything.
     
  19. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    Did you actually think that one through? You're going to let some guy pummel you to the ground and only then think about drawing your weapon?
    Hello?
    No, I don't think so. Do what you want. I'm drawing and firing if the situation arises.
    What in anything I have written in my lifetime makes you think I would shoot a person in "any situation"?
     
  20. kludge

    kludge Member

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    Pretty much describes me too.

    You could also describe me as fat, slow, out of shape...

    ... and the only thing standing between the BG and my wife and 5 small children, who are all slower than me...

    I don't have a chance against a young attacker with fists and feet.
     
  21. Dr. Fresh

    Dr. Fresh Member

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    I don't know where you come from, but around here 1 guy with fists can do "great bodily harm" regardless of his size.
     
  22. Polish_Pounder

    Polish_Pounder Member

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    Tough Call

    A few of my friends were out camping on a public beach about a year and a half ago and they got jumped. There were 4 guys and 2 gals 24-27 years old, and 2 unknowns 17-21 years old walked over to their camp fire. They asked what they needed, and one responded by decking one of the guys from behind (target was sitting, assailant standing). As my 2 good friends were getting up to go defend the other guy, the fourth guy ran and the 2 gals started shouting. My friend told the second guy to control his friend, who looked glassy eyed and drunk. He got kicked from an unseen third person and delivered a few punches before getting knocked out. My other friend didn't even get a punch in before he was knocked out. Both woke up in the hospital, where the gals explained that the third guy came out of nowhere and kicked them. They were then beaten and kicked while they lay unconscious and the gals were hitting the attackers. Both of my friends ended up having to have multiple surgeries to fix the broken bones in their faces and noses, not to mention closed-head injuries.

    What would you do? It appeared to be a 6 on 2 situation, and before anyone could respond it was a beat-down that could have killed them. My point is, I always assume that I am facing a skilled, determined attacker unless he shows me otherwise. I am 6'1", 160 lbs soaking wet. I used to kickbox and have mean upper cut that has knocked more than a few people out. If you saw me on the street, you would immediately classify my as a bean pole who probably has never thrown a punch, but looks can be deceiving.

    -Polish
     
  23. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Remember that the bottom line is that if you use deadly force, you may need to convince a jury that a reasonable, prudent person in like circumstances and knowing what you know would have concluded that the use of lethal force was necessary to prevent otherwise unavoidable death or grave bodily harm of an innocent. And you may need to be able to articulate why you decided that you needed to use lethal force.

    That doesn't mean that you won't be able to convince a jury that you needed to use lethal force against an unarmed person. But the reality is that it's an easier sell if

    [1] you're 5'5", 135 lb., 72 years old with a heart condition, and if your assailant is 6'3", 210 in his mid-twenties; than if

    [2] you're 6'3", 210 lb, in your 20s, and your assailant is 5'5", 135 lb., in his 50s.

    That doesn't mean that you may not be able to do it, but you're going to need a very good story. A jury is going to start out with a much more negative view of a big, strong young man using a gun against a little, older man, than a small, old, sick man against a big, strong, young man.
     
  24. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Member

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    In addition to being 6'4" and 250, I'm also 24 years old. I look like a rugby player. (And was, for about 6 weeks my freshman year at USC.)

    I'm strong, and I can take a hit, but I've just never had much hand-to-hand experience. I've been whipped a couple times sparring, if I can't land a good hit.

    That, and I'm scared to death of being cut by some crackhead's rusty shank.

    I'm currently looking into some 1 on 1 instruction by an ex LEO/judo instructer who goes to my church. So, soon, I'll have another tool in the box.

    But, if I am reasonably afraid at any time for my life, I'm clearing kydex.

    And I think I could articulate my rationale to any LEO/jury very well, which may be the deciding factor if the S ever hits the F for any of us.
     
  25. Sinixstar

    Sinixstar member

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    There's never any guarantee, no matter how big or small the person is.

    I think the bigger question that needs to be asked - is are you really going to unload on somebody just for getting in your face and yelling? Does getting in one's face and yelling constitute a life-threatening situation?
     
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