I shot an unarmed 16 year old--- kinda sorta

This is a discussion on I shot an unarmed 16 year old--- kinda sorta within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I think sometimes we over think the disparity of force issue. Where it's commonly used against a shooter (who believes/states they were acting in self-defense) ...

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Thread: I shot an unarmed 16 year old--- kinda sorta

  1. #31
    Member Array Blindeye's Avatar
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    I think sometimes we over think the disparity of force issue.

    Where it's commonly used against a shooter (who believes/states they were acting in self-defense) is the 240 lb. man who shoots the drunken 110 lb. female neighbor, or the 65 year old homeowner who shoots the 15 year old kid stealing the lawnmower.
    It's not that a drunken woman or 15 year old boy can't kill you, it's that the perception of most people (LEO's and people on the jury alike) that we can avert injury to ourselves by retreating or using less lethal force in that particular situation.
    (And please don't think that I am justifying the violent actions of the woman or boy in this question, just the fact that it's this type of scenario where the disparity of force issue is raised against us shooters).

    It doesn't matter if your attacker is smaller than you, or fat, or skinny, or what ever. If your attacker is adult (or nearly so) and able bodied, then there is no disparity of force.
    If the attacker is falling down drunk, in a wheelchair, an obvious juvenile, or the like, and now you've got a problem.

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  3. #32
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I wonder. How much weight would the fact that the person being attacked is legally disabled hold? If the government says that you are disabled enough to receive benefits would that be taken into account?

    Michael

  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlr1m View Post
    I wonder. How much weight would the fact that the person being attacked is legally disabled hold? If the government says that you are disabled enough to receive benefits would that be taken into account?

    Michael
    Interesting question I am curious of also since I have residual effects from a stroke and heart problems from Agent Orange.
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  5. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    Interesting question I am curious of also since I have residual effects from a stroke and heart problems from Agent Orange.
    While usually the totality of the events are where disparity of force issues become mitigating issues, it goes without saying that physically disabled participants against able bodied adults are viewed as being a disparity.

    That is the whole point of disparity of force used as a mitigating factor when determining justification. The fact that you are not considered an opponent with equal ability as the aggressor.

    If you are not on equal footing with the other person, either in size, physical limitations or other such factors, one is usually excused for using a higher level of force to repel an attack than what was being used against them.
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  6. #35
    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    I would go with disparity of force also, then there is also the possibility while one is keeping you occupied the other may retrieve the knife and continue the attack.
    ^ This!

    Also, did you know where the knife landed during the fight? How easy would it be for one of the assailants to retrieve it while the other kept you occupied? I don't see where anyone could reasonable question whether this was a good shoot or not. I't also a pretty good example of how our logical thinking can be screwed up during a SD situation! You knew this was SUPPOSED to be a hand to hand exercise, and that it wasn't a real threat, yet you went for your gun because you knew that you might not have the ability to win just going hand to hand.

    A couple of clichés come to mind here:

    You rise to the level of your training.

    and

    If you find yourself in a fair fight your tactics suck!

    I think you did well.

    Thanks for posting.

  7. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Disparity of force comes into play here...
    There really are no hard and fast rules about disparity of force situations, and while 3-or-more on one might qualify, I'd tend to think of 2-on-1 as borderline, barring additional info. The cynic in me says, the more likely you are to be charged in whatever jurisdiction this occurs, the less favorably they are going to look on you turning a 2-on-1 fist-fight into a lethal force situation. Yes, I say "fist-fight" because after you disarmed the knife guy, there were no obvious weapons in play.

    My personal opinion is that it is justified because the pair continued the attack after they made it clear that lethal force was in play, but I am sure there are jurisdictions in this country (a number of them near me, in fact) that would disagree...

    This is a good situation to discuss, and a great scenario for your instructor to throw at you.
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  8. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazzaerexys View Post
    There really are no hard and fast rules about disparity of force situations, and while 3-or-more on one might qualify, I'd tend to think of 2-on-1 as borderline, barring additional info. The cynic in me says, the more likely you are to be charged in whatever jurisdiction this occurs, the less favorably they are going to look on you turning a 2-on-1 fist-fight into a lethal force situation. Yes, I say "fist-fight" because after you disarmed the knife guy, there were no obvious weapons in play.

    My personal opinion is that it is justified because the pair continued the attack after they made it clear that lethal force was in play, but I am sure there are jurisdictions in this country (a number of them near me, in fact) that would disagree...

    This is a good situation to discuss, and a great scenario for your instructor to throw at you.
    I agree. However, in this case where you have a situation where the victim's age is twice that of both the assailants, along with the use of a deadly weapon, I think there would be little doubt as to the legitimacy of the lethal force used.

    It was a stranger attack

    Two able bodied young thugs against one (senior citizen who is disabled)

    They used a deadly weapon

    Even though the knife was removed from the scuffle, the fight never ceased, abated, or let up at all. One is not expected to be able to pull back once the deadly threat was initiated if the victim had no opportunity to reassess the situation. (Who's to say the victim even knew for sure that the knife was out of the equation).

    It really goes to the state of mind of the victim. He was in fear for his life!

    I'd be hard pressed to see any jurisdiction in this country file charges against the victim. Even an anti-gun jurisdiction. And if there were charges, I'm confident there would be a line of competent lethal force lawyers who would love to represent the victim.

    There comes a point, where trying to nit-pick something to death is going to be counterproductive, and venturing into the absurd. I see it as a completely clean shoot.
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  9. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TedBeau View Post
    ^ This!

    Also, did you know where the knife landed during the fight?
    I've had two different forms of instruction. The first insisted that the only thing to do with the knife on disarm was to plunge it into the attacker. The second (I think more wisely) suggested throwing it out of play. Legally it is safer. As an SD move it is giving up a weapon. For our practice purposes the knife was assumed to be out of play.

    How easy would it be for one of the assailants to retrieve it while the other kept you occupied?
    That's always going to be an "it depends" thing. Woods? Stream? Lake? Sidewalk? I practice throwing it out of play because I think there are legal complexities to using a knife on a (now) disarmed assailant. But, who knows what I would do in real life. I'd probably stick it straight down in back of the clavicle as that would be a move most likely to save my hide. Worry about the "looks of it" later.

    I don't see where anyone could reasonable question whether this was a good shoot or not. I't also a pretty good example of how our logical thinking can be screwed up during a SD situation! You knew this was SUPPOSED to be a hand to hand exercise, and that it wasn't a real threat, yet you went for your gun because you knew that you might not have the ability to win just going hand to hand.
    Yup. I truly surprised myself. Couldn't believe it. And that's a good reason to not take a real one into the gym, dojo, or whatever you call it. There could have been a tragic accident in that microsecond where my brain lost track of the fact that it was a game.

    A couple of clichés come to mind here:

    You rise to the level of your training.

    and

    If you find yourself in a fair fight your tactics suck!

    I think you did well.

    Thanks for posting.
    Yes on the cliches, and thanks for the attaboy.
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  10. #39
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    In Virginia, you should be okay with shooting the kids. You were outnumbered & had no idea what other weapons they might have had. They could have also easily taken your gun from you & shot you with that, even if they didn't have any other weapons of their own.

  11. #40
    Senior Member Array dripster's Avatar
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    This has to be the most asinine post ever. In the topic header you state you shot a 16 year old. Then it turns out to ber a scenario. That is ridiculous. Dont post stupid crap like that.



    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Role playing and MA/ SD scenario. I didn't know the full script. Felt it in my gut.

    It started with an interview. A kid who I thought was 18 just asked for the time, politely. I looked at him and (for real) wasn't sure how old he was as I'd not met him before. (I did know he was part of the training session.) Asked him how old? He answered 16.

    Me: Where do you go to school?
    Him: Blah Blahh High School.
    Me: I've lived here a long time never heard of that, where is it?
    He: some bull answer.
    Me: (command voice) Why aren't you in school? {This part was unplanned dialogue and is probably about how it would go for me in the real world. I did suddenly want to know why he wasn't in school at 10 AM.}

    At that---

    He shoved me and we got into a standing shoving match with me pinning him against the fence. (This initial attack was planned for training, and not in actuality provoked by my demand to know why he wasn't in school. It just happened to work out that way. It had a very realistic feel to it as it happened.)

    I look over my shoulder and I'm being attacked by a 30 something with a knife. The kid was
    diverting my attention from what was going on in back of me.

    I turn and disarm my attacker, strike a blow and throw the knife away. Kid (who has been and is empty handed) starts to charge in to assist the second attacker. I wasn't expecting it to got that way though it is obviously what would occur in a real world ambush.

    Me: I pull and fire at the kid (toy gun).

    OK not all was role playing. The kid in fact is on probation, going to an alternative school which is why he was not in school--I didn't know that at the outset. My MA /SD instructor was baby sitting him in lieu of the kid being in class, but I didn't know that either. I didn't find out about that part until after. My MA Instructor was the second attacker with the knife.

    When the kid charged me I really felt like it was a real fight even though I knew it wasn't. He did momentarily scare me, and my reaction was to pull the toy training gun and "shoot" the kid. I was supposed to kick him off, and continue with combatives.

    Well, this scenario is not unrealistic. You could be walking in a park, or find yourself in a secluded place, and be set- up by an innocent looking kid who'd keep you busy while a more experienced and more vicious BG would set on you from behind. An ambush.

    So, here's the question. I really surprised myself when I pulled and fired the toy gun. I was supposed to kick him off and send a combative to his head. The kid charging at me felt real. My gut screamed, " two on one, they'll beat the s out of me."

    In the real world, Justified? Not Justified? Guilty? Not Guilty?

    If justified, how? On numbers disparity alone? On the immediately preceding fight over the knife which continued after the disarm? On disparity due to age difference as well? On the ongoing nature of the fight which had involved aggravated assault?

    If not justified-- kids age? bare hands? knife already thrown into the wood? No lethal weapon in play?


    The scenario started out as training for H2H responses, but in the heat of the moment I added the shooting quite reflexively without thinking, and might in real life too.

    As I drove home I began to wonder about whether "shooting" was right or wrong, and how the law might look at it. Heck, how the participants might look at it too.

    Any takers?
    One more step and it's on!

  12. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by dripster View Post
    This has to be the most asinine post ever. In the topic header you state you shot a 16 year old. Then it turns out to ber a scenario. That is ridiculous. Dont post stupid crap like that.
    WOW...I hope that is sarcasm. This is the "Scenario" section after all.

    Hopyard..Ok, you threw one knife out of play. Who only carries one knife? Not a safe assumption that it was the only one.

    Glad it was only training. Glad that you are able to reflect on it. DO NOT let it make you second guess your gut and prior training. Your instinct told you what to do, not your brain. You think and you will not come out of bad situations like that well. (this from a guy who has no training in H2H, CQB)

    Back in the day I used to have no less than 3 on me at any given time, and I am a law abiding citizen. One for utility, one for defense, and a BUK (second defense knife elsewhere on my person).

    I had associates that had up to 9, which was really funny when one of them was being searched by an LEO as each one hit the hood of the patrol car, and he volunteered the three they missed in their search - BTW no charges pressed or arrest made, sent on his merry way after 25 minuets of confirming ID and no wants or warrants.
    Sticks

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  13. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by dripster View Post
    This has to be the most asinine post ever. In the topic header you state you shot a 16 year old. Then it turns out to ber a scenario. That is ridiculous. Dont post stupid crap like that.
    Did the cat pee in your Cheerios this morning?
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  14. #43
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    It doesn't matter if your attacker is smaller than you, or fat, or skinny, or what ever.
    Am I understanding you correctly? That height, weight, age, physical condition, skill set, training, vision, and hearing would not be considered in a "disparity" matter?

    If your attacker is adult (or nearly so) and able bodied, then there is no disparity of force.
    Again, two adults of any age, weight, height, etc. there is no disparity?

    the attacker is falling down drunk, in a wheelchair, an obvious juvenile, or the like, and now you've got a problem.
    I generally agree with the first two, but certainly not the third. While a falling down drunk is a risk, the risk is perceived to be less than lethal UNLESS the DRUNK has a FIREARM in hand, same with a wheelchair. Then your "disparity" flies out the proverbial window.

    Likewise, a "juvenile", obvious or not, can still kill in a heartbeat.

    Maybe I did not understand your post, but "disparity" is a much more defined matter than mere age, physical handicaps, or alcohol consumption. Disparity is a very factually driven determination based on the totality of the facts in the specific situation. While we all would appreciate a clearly defined answer here, I would propose that such clarity will in fact rarely be present, and a much more subtle approach and analysis be required.
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  15. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by dripster View Post
    This has to be the most asinine post ever. In the topic header you state you shot a 16 year old. Then it turns out to ber a scenario. That is ridiculous. Dont post stupid crap like that.
    1) It is in the scenario section.
    2) Go back and re-read the title "I shot an unarmed 16 year old--- kinda sorta"

    See those two words I put in bold? They are there for a reason. Use the brains G_d gave you.
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  16. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock and Glock View Post
    Am I understanding you correctly? That height, weight, age, physical condition, skill set, training, vision, and hearing would not be considered in a "disparity" matter?

    Again, two adults of any age, weight, height, etc. there is no disparity?

    Maybe I did not understand your post, but "disparity" is a much more defined matter than mere age, physical handicaps, or alcohol consumption. Disparity is a very factually driven determination based on the totality of the facts in the specific situation. While we all would appreciate a clearly defined answer here, I would propose that such clarity will in fact rarely be present, and a much more subtle approach and analysis be required.
    Disparity is a defined term under the law, but what constitutes disparity is up to the prosecutor and then finally up to the jury.

    I can't give you all the permutations on disparity of force, but my brief example remains valid.
    In states that allow concealed carry, for the most part, you are safe when the person attacking you is able bodied, and not falling down drunk.
    A drunk shooting wildly....sure, no one is going to arrest you. A guy in a wheelchair with a gun? Sure, you're safe there.

    But, a drunk (who is stumbling around) with a knife, and you have room to maneuver? Well, you are probably going to get a chance to explain that to a jury.
    And if you make a good argument, they will probably let you go. To me that's more of a gamble than I'd want, and if I really give a flip about the drunk with the knife, it will probably take just a second to pick up a pool cue (or the like) and have a go at his wrist.
    I did that once before; it was genuinely fun.

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