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Disparity of Force & Home Defense

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by kunlao21, May 7, 2010.

  1. kunlao21


    Dec 10, 2007
    Hi Mas,

    Thank you for all of the insight regarding SD and firearms. I've heard you speak of "disparity of force" in SD situations regarding youth, size, build etc.

    But you also mentioned briefly during a video presentation about those trained in hand to hand or martial arts as being an element to factor in before deciding with which level of force to react.

    Some have had the benefit of training over the years, but like you or anybody with similar training knows, any aggressor has a puncher's chance of overcoming anyone if taken by surprise, in the dark, just plain lucky, etc.

    My question relates to this specific factor in a HD situation. Armed during a home invasion against an unknown number of assailant(s) Should an armed citizen with a boxing/wrestling/judo to have first go toe to toe, and not use his weapon?

    My feeling is that I have no idea if this person is armed, don't know his experience, is "possibly/likely" armed, has others in the home/waiting outside. All of these unknown factors are what cause me to feel more threatened. With this confrontation in a home environment, would Castle Doctrine rule over disparity of force?

    For illustration purposes, I pick the name of any known macho celeb/competitor and imagine them in the court room while hearing the State declare, “This man could’ve easily knocked out/choke-holded/otherwise subdued the home intruder without having to fire a single shot.”

    I’m sure individual state statutes and other issues I haven’t mentioned make an absolute answer complicated, but any help would be great.

    Thanks Mas!
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
    As you've noted, disparity of force is one of the more complicated areas of lethal force as related to self-defense, and you are absolutely correct that each person wants to research the caselaw of their own state.

    Generally speaking, your hypothetical of an "unknown number" of home invaders, in a situation where you don't know whether or not they are armed, definitely warrants taking them at gunpoint. Multiple opponents constitute disparity of force. Even in UFC matches -- or in the Roman arena, for that matter -- two or more against one was always seen as unfair, overwhelming odds.

    An unarmed home intruder lunging at the legitimate, gun-holding resident, MUST be assumed to be going for the gun. Even if the resident is a weapon retention instructor, there is a likelihood of the gun discharging in an unpredictable direction (threatening family members and other innocents in the household) should a struggle ensue.

    Therefore, the trained martial artist should be prepared to articulate in court why his training taught him that such a struggle was to be avoided, and that it was appropriate to shoot the intruder grabbing for his gun before the intruder could get his hands on it.

    Hoping this is suitably responsive to your question,

  3. kunlao21


    Dec 10, 2007
    I appreciate such a prompt and thorough reply. This helps a great deal. Thanks again!