The following is taken directly from a posting I made at a different gunfu site where I'm a moderator dating back to 2006 in which I was reporting a real world incident I'd had hours prior where there was a decision process involved to which I was faced with assessing hyena under conditions which most people would have deemed to be worrisome and some people, some of us, might have made an erroneous and overly quick judgment. That judgment might could have resulted in someone going to jail, the hospital, or the morgue.
In my case none of the above as I went home and reported what had happened for others to learn from.

I won't carry over the story of what had happened to me in specific, as ultimately it's not important. What is though is the following information that was part of my story in which I explain exactly what outline I had going through my mind to assist toward judgment and my on the fly decision making.
I'm thinking, hoping, this specific information will prove useful for folks here as there have been lately many posts about act/don't act conditions and todays poll thread where folks talked about under what conditions would they act.

Yes this is a bit lengthy to read but hey, we're not just talking ABCs here.
This is your life and possibly even mine, literally...

J.A.M. (Justification, Abilty, Means)

Legality and defensibility though varying somewhat state to state for self-defense (justifiable homicide) as well as toward concealed carry weapon use the bottom line always comes down to the very simple acronym of J.A.M.

The above term of J.A.M comes straight from both the VA (NRA) and MA (S&W) CCL classes I've taken through the years, as well as Massad Ayoob and most other CCL instruction & reference guides/books I've studied. The definitions I transcribed directly from the class guide book toward the S&W taught MA CCL class in specific. I took copious notes in class and each page of that class guide book is covered in my hand written notes and course discussed advisories. The sub explanations per item are my own words to further define and explain what each element of 'J.A.M.' means in plain easily understood English.

If you do not have the trifecta of 'J.A.M.' and just one or two of it's legs then you'll discover in real life that you very likely may be considered a criminal too.
Recent incidents such as the ice cream store shooting in VA and the TX guy who shotgunned two alledged burglars at his neighbors unoccupied home are examples of why it's important to know, understand, and memorize J.A.M. (aka A.O.J.). Not knowing as much can cost you directly alot of time, money, and even your freedom as you otherwise bet on having an easy prosecutor/DA or sympathetic and understanding jury of your peers.

Quote Originally Posted by Mass. Carry Permit Program Certificate Number LTC-005, Page 4 Section 2B


* Jeopardy - Serious bodily injury/death
(e.g. Can he/she/it kill me right now this moment...not in 60 or 30 seconds but right now and _imminent_ death is staring me in the face)

* Ability - To cause that degree of harm
(e.g. Does he/she/it have the _actual_ ability to kill me...not might or could have with a lucky lob shot via a pistol from 2 city blocks/a football field away. We're talking running up on you at OH MY GOD HIS BREATH STINKS!!!! range)

* Means - Weapon of some description and/or physical force
(e.g. Does he/she/it have a weapon of real, serious and immediate ability to kill me...not OMG these kids were squirting my wife & I with Super Soakers so I had to smoke'm. Now if the Super Soakers were filled with gasoline then you might have an argument but it would still be tenuous as you could just run away but if they also had a lit road flare in hand and you think they were motivated to immolate you & yours now soaked in gasoline alive...well then that would be considered as them having 'means'.)
The elements of the acronym J.A.M. may also be recognized by law enforcement under the acronym of 'A.O.J.' (Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy) as well as 'A.O.I.' (Ability, Opportunity, Intent) and by students of Ayoob as 'A.O.J.P.' (Ability, Opportunity, Jeopardy, Preclusion).

Additional reading on this subject can be found at:
* 'Shoot/Don't Shoot Study Guide 2003' -

If the guy in TX from a week ago who had shotgunned down those two persons allegedly burglarizing his neighbors home had known and memorized J.A.M. then he'd likely not have found himself jammed up as he is today.

Be safe out there...

- Janq