Opportunity, Ability and Intent

Opportunity, Ability and Intent

This is a discussion on Opportunity, Ability and Intent within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I spend a lot of time shooting IDPA here in the Atlanta area. Quite a few of the guys I shoot with are current or ...

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Thread: Opportunity, Ability and Intent

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    Member Array Damon1976's Avatar
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    Opportunity, Ability and Intent

    I spend a lot of time shooting IDPA here in the Atlanta area. Quite a few of the guys I shoot with are current or ex law enforcement. This time I spend with them allows me and others to pick their brain regularly on many topics. The most important topic that is or can ever be discussed is WHEN am I allowed to pull that trigger. Last night we had a very good talk with a group of us and a retired state trooper and ex swat guy. The moral of everything he told us and talked about last night were 4 things. Opportunity, Ability and Intent. If you are able to articulate these things intelligebly then you will always be able to prove justification in firing your weapon. The 4th rule we took away from last nights talk is 1 is 1 and 15 is 1. Meaning. If you come up with the justification to have drawn and fired your weapon 1 bullet you were as equally justified in firing more. AKA I still perceived a threat on the 14th round so I fired a 15th.


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    Does anyone have a good definition of each term as it applies to self defense?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orange Boy View Post
    Does anyone have a good definition of each term as it applies to self defense?
    Opportunity= A person has the immediate opportunity to cause serious physical harm

    Ability= Same person has the ability, be it from physical stature to intended victem or some sort of weapon.

    Intent= Through actions or words they have presented intent to exercise the ability and opportunity to cause such harm.
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    Along the same lines, but I always think "When must I shoot?"

    Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy:

    He/They have the ability to do grave body injury or harm, the opportunity to do the same, and I as a reasonable person feel either myself or someone I love is in jeopardy of grave bodily harm or worse.

    As for how many rounds, my goal is to neutralize/stop a threat. If it's 1 or 8 or 16, I stop when the abiltity , opportunity or jeapardy has been negated.
    When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.

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    Member Array Damon1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dademoss View Post
    Along the same lines, but I always think "When must I shoot?"

    Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy:

    He/They have the ability to do grave body injury or harm, the opportunity to do the same, and I as a reasonable person feel either myself or someone I love is in jeopardy of grave bodily harm or worse.

    As for how many rounds, my goal is to neutralize/stop a threat. If it's 1 or 8 or 16, I stop when the abiltity , opportunity or jeapardy has been negated.

    Yea he was telling us they just altered the saying from what you said. Now its Opportunity+Ability+Intent=Jeopardy

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    jfl
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    Considering the level of stress involved in a SD situation and the speed at which things unfold, I am not sure I would have the time to analyze "Opportunity, Ability and Intent".
    In the few situations I had to draw, in the last 30 + years, my mind was busy trying to realize if there were other threats, what cover was available, how should I move, issuing verbal commands and making sure I had a clear line of fire.
    Thinking too much can get you killed, and thinking too little might get you in jail; avoidance is your friend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl View Post
    Considering the level of stress involved in a SD situation and the speed at which things unfold, I am not sure I would have the time to analyze "Opportunity, Ability and Intent".
    In the few situations I had to draw, in the last 30 + years, my mind was busy trying to realize if there were other threats, what cover was available, how should I move, issuing verbal commands and making sure I had a clear line of fire.
    Thinking too much can get you killed, and thinking too little might get you in jail; avoidance is your friend.


    this is not about avoidance though. and while there is much thought and little time that goes into drawing and firing your weapon, for a CCW holder AND cop alike, these are the basic questions that in 1 way or another will need to be answered in the end that determine if you go to jail or not

    it sounds long, drawn out and complicated. but when he would explain different scenarios that he has seen in his career it all makes perfect sense and all 3 of these things are answered in a split second



    he gave an example of a training they do with new officers. you have a 6'2" male, he is naked and obviously unarmed. you have a 5'4" female cop inform this man she is placing him under arrest. the man says out loud, i am going to kill you and then starts walking towards her deliberately. he then asked us was this a shoot scenario. based on those 3 simple words the answer was yes.




    he used another scenario that happened at georgia tech a few months ago. a disgruntled teacher who didnt get a job basically came into the office with a samurai sword and was cutting up the other guy who got it, and i mean cut him up bad. 2 georgia tech cops responded. when they showed up he was standing over the guy, just chilling, holding the sword while the guy was standing there bleeding. he was no longer being agressive, simply standing there. the question was would they have been justified in shooting this man, which they did not. while he was no longer displaying intent it was still implied because he was now standing between these officers getting this man medical attention

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfl View Post
    Considering the level of stress involved in a SD situation and the speed at which things unfold, I am not sure I would have the time to analyze "Opportunity, Ability and Intent".
    In the few situations I had to draw, in the last 30 + years, my mind was busy trying to realize if there were other threats, what cover was available, how should I move, issuing verbal commands and making sure I had a clear line of fire.
    Thinking too much can get you killed, and thinking too little might get you in jail; avoidance is your friend.
    I bet that your mind did analyze "Opportunity, Ability and Intent" prior to you drawing your weapon.
    Don't do things you don't want to explain to the Paramedics!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Damon1976 View Post
    he gave an example of a training they do with new officers. you have a 6'2" male, he is naked and obviously unarmed. you have a 5'4" female cop inform this man she is placing him under arrest. the man says out loud, i am going to kill you and then starts walking towards her deliberately. he then asked us was this a shoot scenario. based on those 3 simple words the answer was yes.
    In Minnesota it would not be so clear, a mere threat does not give me a justification to shoot.

    More important, there is a huge difference between the LEOs and us mere mortal granted the privilege to carry a pistol. Here every shoot goes to jury and I don't trust my peers to comprehend anything about guns and self-defense.

    Stay safe.
    If our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right. -- Cicero

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    The way I have had it described to me by a few different folks in law enforcement is: the Deadly Force Triangle of Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy (A.O.J.).

    Here is a link to a previous discussion: click.

    Deadly Force Triangle

    The Deadly Force Triangle requires three criteria be met: (A)bility, (O)pportunity and (J)eopardy. This is the standard promoted by the U.S. Federal Bureau Of Investigation, The Lethal Force Institute (Ayoob), and many other organizations.

    The Deadly Force Triangle:

    1. Ability -- An attacker must possess the power to kill or inflict crippling injury on the innocent;

    2. Opportunity -- An attacker must be capable of immediately employing that power in an attack. It's a function of many factors, including distance, time, barriers (ie, a door, wall, car between you); and

    3. Jeopardy -- An attacker must be acting in such a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would conclude that the attacker had manifest intent to kill or inflict crippling injury.


    In one phrase, essentially, justified use of lethal force requires that the innocent be in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.

    If these standards are met, if the use of lethal force is justified, then frankly it doesn't matter whether you use a knife, gun, baseball bat, car, or your bare hands ... lethal force is lethal force. And it wouldn't matter if you shot at the head, heart, pelvis, pinkie finger, or the back ... lethal force is lethal force.

    Of course, that's theory. The reality is, you're on the hook at all times to justify and explain your actions to those around you. I would think you should want to have a set of standards that are generally recognized as close to morally-unassailable as it gets. Because, even if you're completely justified to the highest standard, your actions are going to be scrutinized six ways from Sunday.

    For a simple run-down on the basic principles involved, check out this useful summary put together by the Champaign County [IL] Rifle Assn, page 9, as promoted by LFI; or, the FBI's Law Enforcement Bulletin; or get a copy of Ayoob's book, "In The Gravest Extreme."
    To this, some organizations add the concept of "Preclusion," which basically recognizes the value of all life and says requires that such a degree of force is to be used as a last resort only.

    Here is another write-up of the same concepts: UseOfForce.us -- AOJP.

    The last thing to remember is that this is all theory only. The AOJ(P) principles are supposed to be a higher standard, in which it should be a pretty good bet that following them should keep you out of most hot water when it comes to using deadly force. Though, while a useful and moral guideline to follow, what your state will hold you to is your own state's laws. Know your state's laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon1976 View Post
    The 4th rule we took away from last nights talk is 1 is 1 and 15 is 1. Meaning. If you come up with the justification to have drawn and fired your weapon 1 bullet you were as equally justified in firing more. AKA I still perceived a threat on the 14th round so I fired a 15th.
    Fine idea, until it runs up against the biases of jurors and prosecutors. Fire 15 rounds into any perpetrator, no matter how heinous and ugly the deeds he was inflicting on you, and you're likely going to have more explaining to do than if only a few shots were required to take him down. Bias and misunderstanding is what it is.
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    A-O-J is the 'standard' taught by Ayoob in his LFI-1 class... you can read about it in The Gravest Extreme, his seminal book about the use of lethal force in defense of self and loved ones.
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    Member Array Damon1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MN2Go View Post
    In Minnesota it would not be so clear, a mere threat does not give me a justification to shoot.

    More important, there is a huge difference between the LEOs and us mere mortal granted the privilege to carry a pistol. Here every shoot goes to jury and I don't trust my peers to comprehend anything about guns and self-defense.

    Stay safe.
    When you break down the basis of those 3 words you go beyond the basis of mere threat though. you can take this same example and remove LEO completely from the equation. the same thing would apply

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    Member Array Damon1976's Avatar
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    ccw9 and others. the explination phase is unavoidable the minute you have to even draw your weapon as far as i am concerned. so in some cases you will have to explain yourself much more than others. the moral of the story is as long as you can articulate the situation based on these 3 words or characteristics than under realistic circumstances you should find your self on the right side of the letter of the law.
    in regards to the 1 is 15 and 15 is 1 that was not meant to be taken so literally. it just means there is no set limit or standard to what is needed to remove the ABILITY of the threat from the equation. so if you had to fire 15 times to remove that ability so be it, as long as you can articulate that.
    in the near exact words of the trooper we were talking to. if you shot some one 15 times in self defense and you find your self being asked why you had to shoot them 15 times there is only 1 right answer, because the first 14 didnt end the threat.

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    Member Array Lumpy McSoo's Avatar
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    Agreed!

    I kept firing until the threat stopped.

    I wasn't counting rounds, I was just trying to stop the threat to my life!

    Stay Safe, Lumpy.

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