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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:13 PM

In the absence of "Stand your ground" types of laws, how much risk to life and limb...

...is a person legally expected to accept before deadly force is considered justified for self defense, if ever at all?

I imagine this varies from state to state, and depends on various legal precedents.

I'm not a person who walks around armed myself. I have never owned a gun, and likely never will. I think most people grossly overrate the risk of being a victim of violent crime, and underrate the risk of keeping a gun at home or on their person.

That said, I can easily imagine situations where I'd use lethal force if lethal force were available to me. I consider not just a high risk of death, but a high risk of serious injury to myself or others sufficient reason to use deadly force against an aggressor. I'd hate to think I'd go to jail for that kind of self-defense.

For instance, if someone were threatening to throw acid in my face, something very unlikely to kill me, but something likely to blind me, disfigure me, and cause me great pain, and the only way I see out of that situation, without the luxury of a lot of time to ponder other means of defense, is to kill that person, would I be at great risk in any state in the US for being convicted of manslaughter for defending myself that way?

The legal issues aside, are there people here so against being violent themselves they'd consider that the only "right" thing to do in such a situation is to let a person blind you or someone you love rather than killing that person to prevent it?

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Reply In the absence of "Stand your ground" types of laws, how much risk to life and limb... (Original post)
Silent3 Mar 2012 OP
Duer 157099 Mar 2012 #1
Silent3 Mar 2012 #4
X_Digger Mar 2012 #10
Drahthaardogs Mar 2012 #21
11 Bravo Mar 2012 #11
Lizzie Poppet Mar 2012 #14
ProgressiveProfessor Mar 2012 #22
leftofcool Mar 2012 #2
The Magistrate Mar 2012 #3
X_Digger Mar 2012 #7
The Magistrate Mar 2012 #8
X_Digger Mar 2012 #12
The Magistrate Mar 2012 #13
X_Digger Mar 2012 #15
trof Mar 2012 #20
X_Digger Mar 2012 #5
jwirr Mar 2012 #6
X_Digger Mar 2012 #9
safeinOhio Mar 2012 #19
Noodleboy13 Mar 2012 #16
guitar man Mar 2012 #17
Noodleboy13 Mar 2012 #18

Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:17 PM

1. Why is deadly force the only option in your scenario?

If I had a gun and someone were going to throw acid in my face, damn, I would aim at their knee or groin, feeling assured that would stop them from doing anything but probably dropping the acid on their own feet as they grasp their wound.

I just don't get the "shoot to kill" mentality.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:32 PM

4. The circumstances are hypothetical...

...and might not involve a gun. Maybe all I can do is push the person off a high place, or literally "throw them under the bus", or whack them in the head with a baseball bat with, while in a panic, not a lot of fine control over the degree of force I use, and with good reason to want to end the conflict as quickly as possible without the risk of the attacker getting back up again, whether he's unconscious or dead.

When imagining being faced with that kind of viciousness, in a charged emotional state the attacker is responsible for creating, I must admit that I don't think I'd feel a whole lot of guilt or responsibility for not highly valuing the attacker's life, or taking the time to carefully consider less lethal alternatives.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:45 PM

10. It's not shoot to kill, it's shoot to stop.

The intention is to stop the attack- and limb shots are pretty much a hollywood concoction.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #10)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 06:00 PM

21. Agreed. Groin shots are also deadly

the vena cava lies in that area. They teach cops to aim for the groin against suspects they fear might have body armor.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:48 PM

11. I have not fired a weapon at another human being for over 40 years. But if I never need to again ...

I will aim for center mass. If I don't want someone dead, I won't shoot them; but this "hit them in the knee" or "wing them" or "shoot the gun out of their hand" crap is TV/movie bullshit.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:09 PM

14. If you had a gun and also received competent training...

...you'd have learned that shooting to "wing 'em" is something best reserved for the movies. In the fast-moving, high-stress environment of a genuine violent assault, you don't aim at anything other than the center of their torso...because you will very probably miss. Even expert, competition-level pistol shooters - people who can do incredible things in controlled conditions - would do nothing different in a real scenario of self defense.

As another poster pointed out, you're shooting to stop...not necessarily kill. And more often than not, you won't kill, either. Modern trauma medicine borders on the miraculous.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 09:09 PM

22. Because that kind of situation is reactive not contemplative.

And you aim for the center of mass since that you know you can hit.

Shooting to wound or disarm requires distance and a very cooperative target.

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:23 PM

2. Not me, I fight back

Yes, I own a gun and yes I have a license to carry and conceal it. I do not carry it around unless I am out alone at night away from home where my husband can not protect me. It has only been fired at the firing range and I have never pointed it at anyone. Would I defend myself against an intruder? You bet your ass. Would I shoot someone who was just wondering around my yard? No. If I had it on me and someone threatened to throw acid in my face, I would probably use it.

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:29 PM

3. In Actual Practice, Sir, None

People are able lawfully to respond to imminent threat of harm with force anywhere.

What these 'stand your ground' laws do is declare that authorities are to presume a person's belief they were under imminent threat of harm was reasonable under certain defined conditions, rather than requiring that the person who claimed he or she used force in response to an imminent threat make some showing that that belief was a reasonable one.

More generally, too, response to a threat of harm is expected to be proportionate, and to be no more than necessary to meet the threat. If a man throws a punch at you, you are well within your rights to knock him down, and possibly even to kick him back down if he starts scrambling back up to his feet, but you are not entitled, after you knock him down, to proceed to stomp on his skull or cave in his ribs. The 'stand your ground' laws often do remove or weaken this, by the grants of presumption of reasonableness they make to use of deadly force under certain defined conditions.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:39 PM

7. You're confusing Castle Doctrine with Stand your Ground.

Castle Doctrine changes the presumption and removes duty to retreat from your home. In your home / car, you are presumed to have feared death or great bodily harm if someone illegally attempts to enter.

SYG does not change any presumption, it just removes the duty to retreat (in a place you have a right to be.)

True, some states have passed them together, but they are separate components.

eta: clarified

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:43 PM

8. Read The Laws, Sir

The one in Florida lists circumstances under which a use of deadly force is to be presumed reasonable, and by no means all of them involve being on your own property or premises.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:49 PM

12. I actually have them handy.. shall I quote them?

http://law.onecle.com/florida/crimes/776.013.html
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.


This is Stand your Ground. You'll notice that doesn't change the presumption.

However..

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person's will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.


^ That is Castle Doctrine - presumption changed.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:05 PM

13. On Review, Sir, You Are Partly Correct

The statute does specify that a person be treated as having a reasonable fear of imminent in one section --- 776.013( 1 )b --- that does not require a person be in or on their dwelling or property, but merely to have "...had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred."

776.032, however, does pretty much make a grant of presumption of reasonableness to anyone using force and claiming self-defense by saying "A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force.... As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant." The named sections ( 776.012 is defense of person, and 776.031 is defense of others) grant the right to use force, and this section directs their claim they did so under threat be, in effect, presumed reasonable.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:15 PM

15. §776.013(b) is an *and* with (a).

The presumption only applies to: "a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle".

If the police have no probable cause, you are already immune from arrest, detention, or prosecution by nature of the 5th and 14th amendment.

What's added in §776.032 is civil immunity.

There is no presumption change in 776.032, or for a person 'standing their ground' in 776.013 outside their home.

eta: The (a) and (b) in §776.013 boils down to this- the person has to be illegally entering, and you had to know that such entry was illegal. That's all it boils down to.


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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:58 PM

20. What if you can't 'knock him down'?

What if you're a small or old person who has no chance in a physical altercation?
I understand 'proportionate response'.
But that presupposes more-or-less equal physical abilities to exert proportional force.

Take it a step farther...we're both about the same weight and height, but he's a karate black belt but I'm pretty uncoordinated and have no fighting skills whatsoever.

I think I'd be justified morally (if not legally) to do whatever I could, with whatever I might have at hand, to avoid pain and injury or worse.


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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:36 PM

5. "Stand your Ground" removed "Duty to Retreat"..

Before SYG, in practice that meant that if you didn't try to run away, or didn't run away *fast enough* before you resorted to deadly violence in response to imminent death or grave bodily harm, you could be held culpable.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:38 PM

6. Yes, self defense has always been a law but you could not claim self defense if you could escape

the situation. This new law allows you to shot even if you could have walked away.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 04:43 PM

9. 'Safely' escape was usually the language.

Which led to some overzealous prosecutors making hay over a father not going out the back door when facing a home invader while his wife and child slept upstairs (when coupled with castle law), or a senior citizen not 'running' away from a young mugger, etc.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #9)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:54 PM

19. Using a rare event like the one you mention

to change the law, would be like using the rare event of a CCW holder committing a felony to justify banning CCWs.

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:30 PM

16. I can run faster scared than you can angry.

My brother came up with nugget to describe our views on conflict and violence. And this is coming from a guy with a CCW who carries everywhere.

Unless you are totally cornered, running is the best option, IMO.

peace,
Noodleboy

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Response to Noodleboy13 (Reply #16)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:42 PM

17. Unless you can't run

My legs won't carry me very fast anymore. Some days slower than others. I've got an old wound from where I was shot in the leg by an armed criminal 25 years ago, and a couple bum knees, one from an old baseball injury and the other from a motorcycle accident, so yeah, running is pretty much out of the question for me.

That being said, I don't always think pulling my gun is the right choice in every circumstance. Although my legs are shot, I can still punch as fast and hard as I ever could. I did a bit of boxing when I was younger and, I'm a little ashamed to admit it now that I'm older and don't drink like I used to, I was a hell of a bar room brawler back in my younger days.

So chances are, if somebody jumps up in my face and they don't have a weapon, I might just knock them flat of their ass. If someone comes along and pulls a knife or a gun, and I have the opening, I will most likely shoot their ass dead.

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Response to guitar man (Reply #17)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:47 PM

18. Agreed.

It's not a one size fits all philosophy.
Nor have I followed as assiduously as I maybe should.

peace,
Noodleboy

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