Unarmed Attacker-What do you do?

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    Member Array Bart's Avatar
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    Unarmed Attacker-What do you do?

    What do you do when you are carrying concealed and you're attacked by someone who is unarmed? I won't dictate any specific circumstances or surroundings, just say it happens. Personally, I would fear for my life and would shoot if I were able to access my weapon. This however is not a defense situation that I would feel secure in presenting to a jury. What does the law say in your state regarding this situation?

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Disparity of force legally. To be honest....fear for your life is just that. If you want options for the unarmed attacker, look into Judo, OC spray, or kicking them where the jingles jangle and run away very fast so you can dial 911. Shooting an unarmed attacker may save your life for sure, but under most circumstances, it could be very uncool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart View Post
    What do you do when you are carrying concealed and you're attacked by someone who is unarmed? I won't dictate any specific circumstances or surroundings, just say it happens. Personally, I would fear for my life and would shoot if I were able to access my weapon. This however is not a defense situation that I would feel secure in presenting to a jury. What does the law say in your state regarding this situation?
    You are very wise in believing that you should not feel secure presenting the case to a jury.

    I can tell you in most jurisdictions, juries all across the United States take a general disdain to shooting unarmed people, period!

    There would have to be very obvious and compelling evidence, that there was a clear disparity of force for you to shoot an unarmed person who was just verbally threatening you before any physical damage has been done by the assailant.

    For you to shoot an unarmed man and walk away unscathed without a mark on you will likely get you some serious prison time.

    Shooting an unarmed man when you end up spending a week in the hospital with a concussion with a fractured face and peeing blood for a week makes a pretty compelling case for disparity of force. However shooting him prior to receiving any serious injuries I think most juries are going to come down very hard on you.

    JMHO
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Member Array Bart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bark'n View Post
    You are very wise in believing that you should not feel secure presenting the case to a jury.

    I can tell you in most jurisdictions, juries all across the United States take a general disdain to shooting unarmed people, period!

    There would have to be very obvious and compelling evidence, that there was a clear disparity of force for you to shoot an unarmed person who was just verbally threatening you before any physical damage has been done by the assailant.

    For you to shoot an unarmed man and walk away unscathed without a mark on you will likely get you some serious prison time.

    Shooting an unarmed man when you end up spending a week in the hospital with a concussion with a fractured face and peeing blood for a week makes a pretty compelling case for disparity of force. However shooting him prior to receiving any serious injuries I think most juries are going to come down very hard on you.

    JMHO
    By attack I meant that the guy jumped me and is beating the snot out of me. Strictly physically attacked, not verbal.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart View Post
    What do you do when you are carrying concealed and you're attacked by someone who is unarmed?
    What do you do when you are carrying concealed and you're attacked by someone who is unarmed?
    Can't possibly know if a violent attacker is unarmed. He's currently not got a man-made tool in his hand? So what. He could easily have a knife, gun or other ugly tool in reserved.

    The point is this: if I'm reasonably in fear of losing my life or limb, the statutes (thankfully) where I live support my every right to defend myself, even to the point of using deadly force, no matter what the cost to the attacker ... even if it kills him. It's irrelevant whether he has a man-made tool in hand, or not. The yardstick is: is my life at risk of loss. 'Nuff said, really.

    As well, most states have "disparity of force" recognized in the statutes. Me, I'm a bit disabled. Due to a severe and degenerating problem in my hip/leg, I am not capable of facing a prolonged violent attack and surviving it. I can't run very far, before it locks up and collapses. That means, I'm forced to stand my ground and take whatever the BG dishes up, and that won't be much before I'm on the brink. So. I'll use my judgment. And I'll stop the violence before I'm knocked out for good. The statutes support this, essentially.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bart View Post
    This however is not a defense situation that I would feel secure in presenting to a jury.
    I won't EVER feel "secure" in having to explain my actions to others, in which the law supports their ability to have their perspective become the justification, instead of mine. Fact is, in an attack on me, I am the one who was there. Not a jury member, not a district attorney, not any other of these folks who legally get a shot at claiming I'm lying. So, there will never be comfort or security in the situation of having to get another to see it through my eyes, 'cause if they fail to do so then I'm strung by the toes because of their failure.

    Still, better that than dead. So, I'll continue to rely on the legal yardstick that exists, and my own internal gauge of what's right, honorable and just. It's far more accurate and likely to determine when I'm at reasonable risk of losing my life than any written words in a book of statutes in Salem, Oregon.

    In short: if I feel my life is at risk, I'm defending it. If you're attacking me and that's the level it has reached ... beware of my wrath, 'cause I'm going to stop you if I'm able.


    What does Oregon have to say about all of this? Basically the same thing. Oregon recognizes the "reasonable man" standard and puts the initial judgment into the hands of every citizen to make the call, though afterwards the D.A. and attorneys get a shot at helping twist the minds of a jury of my peers into failing to see it that way.

    Basically:

    161.205 Use of physical force generally.

    The use of physical force upon another person that would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

    (1) A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person may use reasonable physical force upon such minor or incompetent person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of the minor or incompetent person. A teacher may use reasonable physical force upon a student when and to the extent the teacher reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order in the school or classroom or at a school activity or event, whether or not it is held on school property.

    (2) An authorized official of a jail, prison or correctional facility may use physical force when and to the extent that the official reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order and discipline or as is authorized by law.

    (3) A person responsible for the maintenance of order in a common carrier of passengers, or a person acting under the direction of the person, may use physical force when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain order, but the person may use deadly physical force only when the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent death or serious physical injury.

    (4) A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or to inflict serious physical self-injury may use physical force upon that person to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to thwart the result.

    (5) A person may use physical force upon another person in self-defense or in defending a third person, in defending property, in making an arrest or in preventing an escape, as hereafter prescribed in chapter 743, Oregon Laws 1971. [1971 c.743 21; 1981 c.246 1]


    161.219 Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a person.

    Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 161.209, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless the person reasonably believes that the other person is:

    (1) Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person; or

    (2) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling; or

    (3) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. [1971 c.743 23]

    Essentially, I'm lawfully supported in my physical defense of my life in all circumstances. Nobody has a right to attack another, and everyone has a right to stop an attack. A person is also I'm legally supported in the use of lethal force in defending life, recognized legally as having every right to do so when a person has a reasonable belief that the life is about to be lost. Fairly simple, really, other than the wrinkle than (a) there's a presumption of guilt in the statutes, and that (b) others, who weren't there, get to judge the need, and their judgment is what goes into the books as being true, whether true or not. But then, this is a legal system we have, and it's not always just. Either way, better than Mogadishu in the summertime.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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    People are going to do what they are going to do.

    There are a lot of people with guns who whole heartedly say that they are going to shoot and kill someone if they get so much as a slap in the face.

    It gets posted here all the time... "I don't know that they don't have a weapon... They may pull a knife later, therefore as soon as they yell Boo, I'm blasting!" or "did you know that one punch can kill someone? I'm not letting anyone punch me in the face!"

    Well, all I can say is I wish those people the best of luck.

    There are no clear cut answers. Moods of various courts can be fickle. Only you can know when you've taken a beating that is going beyond what your body can take without risk of life or permanent injury.

    However I can say, as a person who deals with crime victims for a living, I've seen people beat pretty severely and survived just fine. And the courts have too. If they allowed people to go around and shoot people every time someone got a bloody nose or a black eye, there would likely be anarchy and chaos.

    I know where the line is for me when I'm going to shoot someone who may be unarmed. I can pretty much guarantee it's at a different point than what you think it is, and likely different for a lot of other folks as well.

    The bottom line is, yes, it is on rare occasion, justified to shoot someone who may be unarmed. But I bet it's accepted on more rare occasions than most people here seem to think.
    -Bark'n
    Semper Fi


    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bark'n View Post
    There are no clear cut answers. Moods of various courts can be fickle.
    The laws dictate that a jury determines "reasonableness." Probably better than most other systems, though I'd feel much better if my state had it stated plainly in law that there is a legal presumption of innocence in a claim of self-defense. Sadly, that's not the case.

    ... I've seen people beat pretty severely and survived just fine. And the courts have too.
    And I've seen a person die from a single punch. There are instances of the range of circumstances, out there, none of which alters what's going down at the moment your life is in the balance.

    Here's the rub: a person cannot await being beaten unconscious before resisting. At that point, no defense is possible. Any defense must precede the point of incapacitation.

    I know where the line is ...
    I know the point at which I will resist violence to me, as well.

    Though, nobody knows the "line" a given jury will draw when judging.

    I know that juries are gulled into seeing lines differently than the law supports, based on assumptions, fears and manipulation by the prosecution.

    Technically, the law requires that juries determine what constitutes "reasonableness." Yet, such a judgment by a jury doesn't change whether a person's actions were reasonable or not. Funny system we've got, in that sense.

    Anarchy and chaos? I'm more of the opinion that there are only so many criminals around. At some point, the spigot runs dry and their predations will occur less frequently due to being eliminated (either incarcerated, ejected from the state or terminated from this world). But, that's all a guess.

    But I bet it's accepted on more rare occasions than most people here seem to think.
    Probably.

    I've seen a few court cases, and I've read about scores. None of which have I seen from the juries' eyes, as I've not been on those juries. In the few that I have seen, the justification and "reasonableness" varies quite a bit.

    All of which is why Ayoob and others harp on taking the high road, training to a higher standard, training to see when there is no other option and then being able to act decisively. It's about all a person can do, really.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    The laws dictate that a jury determines "reasonableness." Probably better than most other systems, though I'd feel much better if my state had it stated plainly in law that there is a legal presumption of innocence in a claim of self-defense. Sadly, that's not the case.


    And I've seen a person die from a single punch. There are instances of the range of circumstances, out there, none of which alters what's going down at the moment your life is in the balance.

    Here's the rub: a person cannot await being beaten unconscious before resisting. At that point, no defense is possible. Any defense must precede the point of incapacitation.



    I know the point at which I will resist violence to me, as well.

    Though, nobody knows the "line" a given jury will draw when judging.

    I know that juries are gulled into seeing lines differently than the law supports, based on assumptions, fears and manipulation by the prosecution.

    Technically, the law requires that juries determine what constitutes "reasonableness." Yet, such a judgment by a jury doesn't change whether a person's actions were reasonable or not. Funny system we've got, in that sense.

    Anarchy and chaos? I'm more of the opinion that there are only so many criminals around. At some point, the spigot runs dry and their predations will occur less frequently due to being eliminated (either incarcerated, ejected from the state or terminated from this world). But, that's all a guess.


    Probably.

    I've seen a few court cases, and I've read about scores. None of which have I seen from the juries' eyes, as I've not been on those juries. In the few that I have seen, the justification and "reasonableness" varies quite a bit.

    All of which is why Ayoob and others harp on taking the high road, training to a higher standard, training to see when there is no other option and then being able to act decisively. It's about all a person can do, really.

    Good post. Especially the last paragraph. Also like Ayoob, I believe it's best all around to avoid shooting if at all possible. I also know that if I must shoot someone, I must be able to do it in time to save my life. I just caution against jumping the gun and shooting before you are truly in jeopardy. In most cases, at least for civilians, the courts do not excuse "preemptive" killing of people without clearly being placed in jeopardy against a credible threat.
    -Bark'n
    Semper Fi


    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Anarchy and chaos? I'm more of the opinion that there are only so many criminals around. At some point, the spigot runs dry and their predations will occur less frequently due to being eliminated (either incarcerated, ejected from the state or terminated from this world). But, that's all a guess.
    QUOTE ccw9mm

    I agree,anarchy and chaos,? Why should anyone risk even so much as a bloody nose, broken arm, black eye, or worse before they are forced to decide, how far the attacker is going to go,,, are they going to stop after I yell stop, and am forced to pull my firearm.If people in society lack enough respect to attack other people who are minding their own business, then it should not matter if they are attacking the person with a Sherman tank, or their bare hands.
    Jeez, how the heck has society denigrated to this level is beyond me.



    Good post. Especially the last paragraph. Also like Ayoob, I believe it's best all around to avoid shooting if at all possible. I also know that if I must shoot someone, I must be able to do it in time to save my life. I just caution against jumping the gun and shooting before you are truly in jeopardy. In most cases, at least for civilians, the courts do not excuse "preemptive" killing of people without clearly being placed in jeopardy against a credible threat. QUOTE
    __________________
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    Semper Fi

    If I understand this correctly, are yousaying people should train ,to one extent or another in hand to hand, or other CQC, if so, not everyone has the wherewithal to accomplish this, monetarily,constraints of time, etc, etc,,,,
    And yes I too would advocate the prudence of "jumping the gun too early"
    But like ccw9mm stated, it sucks to have to decide, hey my arm is broken, and I think my skull might be fractured, before someone would feel compelled to shoot to stop the attack, just for fear of being wrongfully dragged through
    the Quagmire we call the legal system ,,, I'm just sayin

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    I cannot believe I am answering this question. Unarmed? I can only see one possibility if this were to ever happen---he had better be much bigger and more physical than you, which you will know immediately and is not cause for deadly force, and he had better be much more adept at killer martial arts or boxing or submittal arts, which you will only know after he has attacked you and you are in a fight for your life, which probably means that deadly force on your part is probably a non-issue already. Wish I could figure out where you are going with this "what if"---outside of a slight chance that you can draw your firearm while you are in the grasp of a guy who is trying to strangle you, this makes no sense. Again I ask---Unarmed? You cannot present a firearm and discharge it just because-----.

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    a threat is a threat and calls for defensive action...i carry pepper spray in the hope it will take care of a situation like this...in the event it doesnt and i feel i am not up to the task at hand i will present and fire if i feel it is necessary...if it becomes a jury decision i hope they agree that i made the right decision...

    otherwise as ive taught my wife...i will kick him in the balls until they are in his throat...and theres a really good chance he will lose both of his knees in my defense...there is no such thing as a fair fight...if there is no referee in the ring there are no rules and my intention is to win at any cost...although i will not bite ears...in most cases...

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    I'll agree with the initial apprehension to shooting an unarmed assailant. In the black and white of the use of force continuum, if you bring physical force to me - I will meet it with mechanical force first, not deadly. Your justification is most likely a grand jury presentation who will then find a bill for you.

    I know that all are not as able bodied. but the OP is why I preach and practice defusing, tactical withdrawals, H2H and unarmed combat. In the OP situation, the gun is a last option for me. I would rather use avoidance as an option.

    That said, reasonable force is in the eye of the beholder and if you can articulate and prove your justification of your use of deadly force on an unarmed assailant then you should be fine.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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    Tough call. Not exactly a "threat of death or serious injury."

    In Fl, a man shot his neighbor when, after an argument, the neighbor attacked him with a hose. The shooter was convicted because the garden hose was not viewed as a "deadly threat to life." So fists...? It might be too late to SD once the guy pounds you into mince meat, creating a "threat to life."

    The best I can say is to draw and hope he backs off. If not, I have to decide if this guy is crazy enough to beat me to death. If so, the decision is made.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Another thread that reinforces the inescapable fact that if you are going to carry a gun, you'd better have a less lethal alternative available as well.

    HtH training, chemical spray, electrical weapon, stunning BO, phaser on stun, whatever. If your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail.

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    I am in my sixties and have two documented musculoskeletal conditions that limit my strength and reflexes. I am no longer able or willing to get into it with anyone. Therefore, if attacked, I will stop the threat with deadly force. For I know if you go down, the attacker can easily deploy a weapon and kill you or kick you to death.

    The timing of my response will also depend on those in my party. In two weeks, I have to take my 86 year old mother to have a medical procedure that can only be done in St Louis. If I feel her safety is at issue, stopping the threat will occur before any physical attack. Hopefully, that will not entail deadly force. But only because I do not want to damage her hearing. I don't care one whit for the assailant.

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