Can *you* exercise non-lethal force?

This is a discussion on Can *you* exercise non-lethal force? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I really can't, not yet anyway. Reading a lot of the things on this board has gotten me to thinking that if possible, it would ...

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Thread: Can *you* exercise non-lethal force?

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    Member Array xsquidgator's Avatar
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    Can *you* exercise non-lethal force?

    I really can't, not yet anyway. Reading a lot of the things on this board has gotten me to thinking that if possible, it would behoove me to be able to project non-lethal force in addition to my pistol (i.e. pepper spray or something). Not all situations will give one time to use it, nor will the threat necessitate non-lethal force, but it seems to me a really good option to have available if a situation is developing that may require force or a show of force, but not quite (yet at least) to the point you have to draw a pistol. If I really get afraid of something about to happen, mr 9mm's coming out, but there are a lot of situations short of that where at least a good butt-whooping, serious injury, robbery or something else bad may about to happen too. Or, where there's a threat but it's ambiguous enough that drawing a handgun isn't necessarily called for based on what's visible.

    For those of you who do keep other options open, what options do you carry? All I can think of is some sort of chemical or pepper spray, but what are the possiblities, short of being able to fight hand to hand or with some sort of martial arts?

    And, not that I'd shirk from self-defense, but if it were possible to do something non-lethal first, even if it doesn't succeed in deterring the BG, wouldn't that be better for me so that I tried everything possible short of opening fire on an attacker?

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    yes

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    Senior Member Array JohnKelly's Avatar
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    Other than hand-to-hand combat, no. I don't carry pepper spray, nor do I intend to.

    I intend to avoid situations and try to de-escalate where possible. Failing that, I have my sidearm.

    It's not my job to keep the BG safe from lethal threat, or to use escalting force as a cop would. Cops need to, as they must arrest the BG with as little force as necessary.

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    Member Array crankinNM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xsquidgator View Post
    And, not that I'd shirk from self-defense, but if it were possible to do something non-lethal first, even if it doesn't succeed in deterring the BG, wouldn't that be better for me so that I tried everything possible short of opening fire on an attacker?
    My wife has pepper spray. I should probably get some too. I sure don't like the thought of using my hands as a weapon. I have to use my hands on the job. Also if I get in a fist fight the attacker could get the best of me and get my gun. Now the guy who had no leathal force does.

    I read an article on self defense that said never go toe to toe. Learn to hit hard, hit first, and then run like heck. I think that is good advice. I'd still be worried about breaking my hand.

    BTW I bought a heavy bag last week and have been beating it up just to get some punch conditioning. I kick it too.
    Last edited by crankinNM; October 17th, 2006 at 10:59 PM. Reason: misspelling

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    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnKelly View Post
    Other than hand-to-hand combat, no. I don't carry pepper spray, nor do I intend to.

    I intend to avoid situations and try to de-escalate where possible. Failing that, I have my sidearm.

    I had a situation the other day in which I was followed to my car by a guy who had been standing outside the door of the McDonald's I was just leaving.

    He had called out something about, "Hey, can you do me a favor?" I wanted no part of it, having been there, done that with the local vagrants who always have some story (usually b.s.) about why they need your money. I just said, without turning to him, "Sorry, I can't help you," with a pretty dismissive air, I have to admit.

    All of the sudden, I heard "MF this" and "MF that" coming from behind me, all mad because what, I'd "dissed" him? So I became alert. Pistol was in shoulder bag, his intentions unknown. Started saying vaguely threatening stuff that I now don't remember. I turned my head to get knowledge of exactly where he was, and said, "You don't want to with me, ..." and walked on. It was a judgment call -- be meek and have him get assertive, or be assertive and let him know I'm not a victim to be picked on.

    Well, he felt like rising to the occasion, and he started walking (not quickly) toward my car, as I did. I unlocked my car, and the first thing I did was reach in to the console and pull out a can of (literally) "Whoopass!" (a pepper spray I got at a local gun shop). But I didn't threaten him with it, I held it just out of sight mostly, but then he did see it. He had stopped his approach near the rear of my car, and was essentially just being an indignant black man who insisted on calling me racist terms like "cracker" -- literally! I got called "cracker"!

    So it was more like we were having an argument, than a real threatening situation. He started saying (almost incoherently) that he "EATS mace," kind of taunting me to go ahead and spray him. I was tempted. Heh. I didn't, though.

    I told him that he needed to back off. I moved from between my open car door and the car (didn't want to be pinned there). He started giving me guff about how all he wanted was a favor, "Ain't nobody tryin'a rob you, crackuh!" (No, you're right, 'cause that person would have been shot by now.)

    To try to de-escalate, I started asking him what this favor that he wanted was. He never did articulate that. At a point near there, I decided to get into my car and just bug out. He did not seem as though he was going to turn this physical.

    I got into the car, and the guy kept saying about how "that's why you white boys get robbed!" (Why, because we don't engage strangers asking us for favors/money?) At no point did I say anything "racist," not even with him baiting me the way he was.

    He started saying, through my window, that I had disrespected him, and that he was respecting me. I said, "Oh? The you've been saying, you call that 'respectful'?!" I backed out and drove off. He was shouting at me as I did, so I mouthed him an FU as I left.

    Anyway, I found myself comforted by the pepper spray even though I didn't have to use it. I feel I could have done just fine in a fight with the guy (I'm not a big fighter but I'd be no slouch if I had to fight) and surely I could have shot him if the need had arisen, but there was a large gulf between what was going on, and the need to shoot someone!

    What bridges that gulf? I think pepper spray can be what does the trick. That's why I have it on hand. I plan to get a smaller travel-size one so that I don't have to retrieve a larger one from the car's console.

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    nope, your asking for trouble by having less than lethal force available.
    You are opening yourself to all kinds of wrongfull death lawsuits etc., when/if you don't exhaust all your options before you shoot. We both know that 96% of the encounters there is no time for a use of force "ladder".

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    pepper spray, H2H and other stuff too. The more ya know , the better off ya are.
    peacefuljeffrey, I suggest a tactical withdrawl instead of conversation next time.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


    Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

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    Member Array xsquidgator's Avatar
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    PeacefulJeff,
    Your situation is exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about. Even if the guy had rushed you, in the eyes of the law (even in FL where you supposedly don't have to retreat anymore) you probably wouldn't be justified in shooting him as he hasn't threatened with a weapon. What are you supposed to do then? i don't know. Kind of what I think of about knowing what the law says, not what it ought to say. (I'm not looking for trouble and I don't think I ought to be in trouble for shooting someone threatening or attacking me and leaving me with only my gun or a fistfight. But, I know the law doesn't see it that way) I don't know if there's any legally good answer other than a physical struggle during which you might not be able to retain your piece. But a legally good answer doesn't seem to fit too well either. To de-escalate, if I'm alone in your situation I guess I could retreat away from my car, and call 911 on the cell. But that would really chap my ass, it sure isn't fair that even in a no-retreat state like FL the only option I'm left with is to leave some dirtbag with my car?

    Some sort of pepper spray sounds like something handy to have. True about the possibility of wrongful death lawsuits, but I think you're open to that regardless. Also opens up the possibility of grabbing for the pepper spray and losing valuable seconds when you ought to be grabbing for your gun. Unfortunately, there often isn't any way out of situations without some sort of risk, maybe this is one of them?

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    Member Array dogrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    nope, your asking for trouble by having less than lethal force available.
    You are opening yourself to all kinds of wrongfull death lawsuits etc., when/if you don't exhaust all your options before you shoot. We both know that 96% of the encounters there is no time for a use of force "ladder".
    You forget Sixto, the question is generated from Fla..which is a "stand your ground", ie: you may meet force with force...You are IMMUNE from civil action in that event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    pepper spray, H2H and other stuff too. The more ya know , the better off ya are.
    peacefuljeffrey, I suggest a tactical withdrawl instead of conversation next time.
    I definitely learned some things that time.

    I have not had the time, money, opportunity to avail myself of real, professional training on this kind of thing. Much of my learning about these situations, and how to handle them, has come from attentive digesting of discussions that take place on boards like this one, as well as magazine articles. (I haven't yet delved into the myriad books on the subject, but I plan to.)

    Learning also takes place in real life situations -- and you give thanks when you come through them having made mistakes that didn't cost too dearly. Fortunately, there's often some leeway.

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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xsquidgator View Post
    Some sort of pepper spray sounds like something handy to have. True about the possibility of wrongful death lawsuits, but I think you're open to that regardless. Also opens up the possibility of grabbing for the pepper spray and losing valuable seconds when you ought to be grabbing for your gun. Unfortunately, there often isn't any way out of situations without some sort of risk, maybe this is one of them?
    I think you just answered your own question...it'd be a bad deal if you took the time to deploy your OC only to realize you really needed a more decisive option.

    Other than at work, I don't personally carry OC. If I need a "less-lethal" option, I've got my H2H training. However, I can also escalate to deliver deadly-force with my empty-hand stuff if necessary. Beyond that, I carry knives and a pistol. If I'm unable to de-escalate, then they were probably intent on attacking me anyway and I'm going to be "in fear of death or serious bodily harm" and respond accordingly.

    edit: I don't have a problem with OC as long as people understand its limitations. I see it as a tool to use when people are belligerent but not actually combative (yet). In that situation, it could take the fight out of them, or buy you time to escape or to access a more effective option.
    Last edited by KenpoTex; October 18th, 2006 at 12:09 AM.
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Your situation is exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about. Even if the guy had rushed you, in the eyes of the law (even in FL where you supposedly don't have to retreat anymore) you probably wouldn't be justified in shooting him as he hasn't threatened with a weapon. What are you supposed to do then? i don't know
    Exactly. That "I don't know" area is hard to tackle. That's why I got pepper spray in the first place. There is a huge gulf between angry words and shooting someone dead! In this case, if I could have just driven off I would have -- but I had to deal with the fact that an angry man was coming after me, from behind, and I did not yet know if he was going to charge my back as I sat down into my car (a very vulnerable position for me to be in).

    I think I did some things right in this case. I kept aware of where he was all the time. I didn't start cursing back at him, except for the initial insistence that he didn't want to dance with me. I didn't go right for a gun. I kept my movement options open once I realized to get out of the car doorway. I suppose I should have put the spray can in my weak hand, though. (I had it in my strong hand.)

    Live and learn. Fortunately, I can build on what I learned in this situation since it did not end badly.

    One thing that pleased me to no end was that I did NOT find myself ending up with much in the way of adrenalin jitters. I was pretty calm and cool, even in the immediate aftermath as I drove away. The only sign I felt that I had the slightest nervousness was that my clutch leg was a little shaky when I had to keep the pedal depressed at a long traffic light. I even was alert to see if the guy was anywhere near the corner where I waited at the light outside the McDonald's exit. (He was nowhere to be seen by that point.)

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    I wonder if spraying someone with pepper spray is concidered assault. It seems that even if you spray some guy who is just talking tough, that he could accuse you of assaulting him for no good reason.

    They taught is in security work that if you spray you are responsible for the persons safty after wards. So if you spray and run off, and the guy wanders out into traffic.................why am I always thinking worse case?
    Last edited by crankinNM; October 18th, 2006 at 12:16 AM. Reason: more info

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    Mo
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    My girlfriend carries a can of pepper spray, because she doesn't carry a gun. I carry a gun, because I can't carry a cop. It's not my job to engage people on a confrontational manner for any reason. Leave me alone. If you confront me with words, I'm backing down and leaving if at all possible. If you confront me with physical violence, all options are open at that point. I don't carry a defensive knife, defensive OC or defensive handcuffs. I carry a defensive 9mm. End of story.

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    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peacefuljeffrey View Post
    ...He started saying (almost incoherently) that he "EATS mace," kind of taunting me to go ahead and spray him. I was tempted. Heh. I didn't, though.

    I told him that he needed to back off. I moved from between my open car door and the car (didn't want to be pinned there). He started giving me guff about how all he wanted was a favor...

    To try to de-escalate, I started asking him what this favor that he wanted was. He never did articulate that. At a point near there, I decided to get into my car and just bug out. He did not seem as though he was going to turn this physical.


    He started saying, through my window, that I had disrespected him, and that he was respecting me. I said, "Oh? The you've been saying, you call that 'respectful'?!" I backed out and drove off. He was shouting at me as I did, so I mouthed him an FU as I left.
    Glad you made it out of that situation without it getting any worse. Good on ya for maintaining awareness of his position. However, I feel that you failed to act decisively enough. When he started getting agitated and began following you, I feel that you should have verbally escalated and ordered him to "Back off" if he continued to approach, that would have been the time to either spray him (if you already had it in hand) or present your weapon.

    just my $0.02
    "Being a predator isn't always comfortable but the only other option is to be prey. That is not an acceptable option." ~Phil Messina

    If you carry in Condition 3, you have two empty chambers. One in the weapon...the other between your ears.

    Matt K.

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