Saturday, March 28, 2015

Flip Side

A common concern in any self-defense course for the armed civilian is when would lethal force be justified or more to the point, legally used?

While no catch phrase or mnemonic can cover all situations, I have always been fond of:
A Ability,
O Opportunity,
J Jeopardy. 
These hallmarks justify the use of lethal force in self-defense.  Most serious instructors will elucidate something along these lines with some much-needed amplification.

You can also look at these as a mirror image.  These are also the conditions you need to prevent in order avoid serious injury and death as well as being forced to use deadly force in self-defense.  Frankly, shooting someone in self-defense creates problems of unbelievable magnitude, but not as many or as bad as being killed yourself.

So how do you deprive your assailant of Ability.  He’s bigger than you, stronger, healthier, there are two of them, has a contact weapon or a gun.  How do you counter that?  

You are limited in any of your responses because you’re reacting to someone else’s stimulus.  You’re inherently behind his OODA loop

One suggestion might be to have a second or third person along.  Double date, do things in a group, use the herd approach to safety.  Sure, you aren’t going call your buddies every time you need to go to the grocery store or fill up the gas in the car, but you could pick time, location and conditions that normally have people around.  They may not help you, but your potential VCA doesn’t know if they won’t help either.  

Opportunity. You clearly have the most maneuvering room with opportunity.  See the potential danger before it arrives and leave.  If you can’t leave, get the professionals (AKA police) on the line before someone else starts to control your actions.  Again having friends with you gives you a sufficiently better chance of detecting trouble coming down the road.  I am strongly tempted to say the best counter to opportunity is awareness, or condition Yellow.  Simply put, see the problem, leave the problem.

If a VCA doesn’t have the opportunity to assault, rob, injure, main or kill you, isn’t that the desired outcome?

Jeopardy.  In many cases, the initial signs of jeopardy signal the initiation of the attack.  You may be too far behind their OODA loop to do much other than decide to freeze, fight, or flee.  Just remember the situation isn’t frozen, but remains fluid and new situations will occur.  Note I said new, not better.  Act as soon as possible.


I had an acquaintance call the other night.  It appears someone was pounding at his front door late last night.  He didn’t turn on any lights, but looked out the door peep hole and saw a man with a rifle standing on his front door.  Realizing it was not an itinerary rifle salesman, he beat a fast retreat to another room and called the police.  The salesman was long gone by the time the police arrived.

I realized my acquaintance broke the deadly AOJ triangle by not providing the opportunity to the man with the rifle to harm him.

There are those times you need to respond with overwhelming, devastating violence.  An active shooter on your floor, outside your classroom, in your presence are obvious examples.  But for the majority of cases, avoiding trouble by breaking the AOJ triangle is a successful outcome.

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