Deadly Force vs Non-Deadly Force
Many of us in our daily activities see situations that under the right circumstances could become a situation where we would have to make a choice about our safety. Let’s be perfectly clear about these incidents. There are two buckets of force in life. Deadly Force vs Non-Deadly Force. When you are involved in an incident you must decide within a split second if your life is in danger (deadly force) or if there is some less than lethal alternative (non-deadly force) that is more appropriate for the situation. When you are attacked in any situation that is less than deadly force you are only allowed to reach into the non-deadly force bucket to solve the problem this is called proportionality. Going to your gun in these situations is not appropriate and can get you arrested and in a situation where you are facing charges. Non-deadly force options are limited to some extent by your physical ability to handle an individual with your bare hands. You also have the option to retreat (run away) which is always good if it can be accomplished safely under the circumstances. Remember that when you are in a vehicle driving away is always the best option. Many times people freeze and fail to see the options available. Practice visualizing these situations and while driving always be aware of how close you are to other vehicles, especially while waiting at a light or other traffic control situations. You should always be able to see the rear wheels on the vehicle in front of you, so you have room to maneuver around that vehicle if you have to. OC/Pepper Spray is also a good idea and is considered a non-deadly force option. These sprays give you the advantage of time to make a good decision without having to use deadly force. Some communities in the front range have local ordinances prohibiting certain size containers of these sprays. Colorado Springs has a 1.5 oz limit to be legal. Pueblo has no limit. I noticed in the Pueblo paper today that people are not being arrested anymore if they have not committed a felony. (Catch and Release) sound familiar? This is because they claim they have no room in the jail facilities for non-felony offenders. It is your job to have the tools you need to keep yourself and your family safe. Be very aware that the display of a gun or threatening to use a gun can have consequences you may not like. In Colorado, we are not allowed to use deadly force to protect property. They will find room for you and me in the crowded jail if we use our deadly force tools improperly. Remember you must have a reasonably articulable fear of death or serious grave bodily injury to use deadly force. That means you must be able to tell a story that to a reasonable person would sound like your life was in danger of death or serious bodily injury. It can not be an irrational fear. Remember Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy. Do they have the ability to harm you (a tool, overwhelming strength or size)? Do they have the opportunity this is usually a matter of time and distance (are they close enough to harm you with that tool)? Jeopardy (do they intend to harm you)? If you are a nervous Sally and everybody scares you, maybe you should reconsider carrying a handgun for self-defense. A handgun needs to be a last resort, not the go-to tool that you use for every event. Training and familiarity with your firearm can go a long way to ease some of your concerns and will give you the confidence you need to make proper decisions. Remember any incident you are involved in should be reported. You always need to be the first one to report the incident on the phone to the police. If you are not the reporting party you could end up being the accused party of the use of unlawful force.
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As always any advice I give on this or any other matter is not legal advice. This information is only for educational purposes and you can not rely on it as LEGAL ADVICE. If you feel you need more information about these and other subjects of this type, I have a list of qualified individuals that you are welcome to have. Do not rely on family attorneys, police officers, or military personnel for this information. It has been found that many of these people have outdated or misleading information about these topics. When in doubt join one of the legal organizations that will take your questions and answer them. I recommend the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association).