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“It’s not just the fist. There is a gun in this scenario: your gun. You as a police officer cannot afford to lose a fight…is a fist a use of deadly force? Absolutely.” – Jose Guerra in To Shoot or Not to Shoot? [at]

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  1. “Ok, first of all, why can’t they just shoot him in the leg or arm while he’s running? And if the guy punches them, why don’t they just yell ‘we’re COOL, bro!’? If the dude has a gun, THEN you can quick scope him!”

    -every other idiot watching this report

  2. Even if there are no weapons involved, fists and feet can be deadly if you don’t have the size, strength and skill to fight off your assailant. That’s something we little guys have to keep in mind.

  3. We have to be careful here. A fit man who swings his fist at you really hard is an imminent threat of causing great bodily harm or death. A 110 pound woman, an 8 year old child, or an elderly person swinging a fist is not an imminent threat of great bodily harm or death unless the victim is feeble in comparison to the attacker.

    • Or well trained.

      My wife for example, if forced to defend by hand will absolutely use lethal techniques as first choice because she isn’t as strong as most men. Someone trained to fight unarmed combat is not going to be simply “swinging a fist.” If they are a woman or child, they’ll actually be taught that is often the worst thing to do.

      Just like a gunfight, hand-to-hand fighting isn’t what you see on TV or at a Tae Kwon Do school; a punch in the nose, at worst a kick to the groin. If you’ve been taught, it’s ugly and messy and very personal.

      I don’t care if it’s a gun, a knife, my keychain or even my car. Or my fist. What makes something a weapon is its intended use.

  4. I think focusing on the hands or punch as a deadly weapon is missing the point.
    The physical confrontation itself regardless of how big or macho the parties involved has the potential to be deadly. So you can take a punch? That’s great. You’re a 5th majic ninja judo master who knocks out teeth in the dodecahedron? Good for you.

    The fact is when a fight starts there is no certain way to know how it will end up and therefore any physical exchange is potentially deadly. Super ninja MMA homoeroticus might have a stroke before he chokes out his opponent.

    • Unfortunately, Shire-man, lots of people do not share your view. To many people, throwing a hard punch isn’t that big a deal. The fact that a single hard punch can easily knock-out a person (or less commonly actually kill a person), doesn’t seem to matter. Of course if a single punch knocks-out the victim, the attacker can easily kill the victim in their state of unconsciousness.

      Any hard punch or kick from a fit attacker can cause serious bodily harm or death. Any attack involving any hard punch or kick from a fit attacker is therefore an imminent threat of great bodily harm or death in my opinion.

      Important Notes:
      Pushing, slapping, or grabbing someone is egregious but it is not an imminent threat of great bodily harm or death. And an attacker who lacks the physical size/strength to cause serious injury or death with their “hard” punch or kick is not an imminent threat of great bodily harm or death.

  5. This article is a great talking point for a much larger and more important concept. Every fit man who has hands and feet has the means to attack someone and inflict grave bodily injuries or even kill the victim … just like any person who has a firearm has the means to attack someone and inflict grave bodily injuries or even kill the victim.


    If a location is a “gun free zone” to supposedly protect attendees from attackers, why are fit men allowed to enter without someone first strapping them into a straight-jacket?

    If it is okay for a fit man to have unbound hands and feet at a location, what is the problem with a person who carries a firearm openly as long as they never actively point it at anyone nor express intent to harm anyone?

    Those two questions expose the obvious hysteria of people who oppose the right of good, honorable people to keep and bear arms.

      • I believe I read an article once noting state courts, the law, do not consider hands or feat, or heads, or elbows, in as they exist on persons, as deadly weapons. Can they be occasionally used to cause death, yes, but our guns are the great equalizer. Very unusual for a child or small or frail person to cause death to a larger fully able larger person/adult. I believe this guys implication of a person standing with a clenched fist being deadly weapons worthy of being met with deadly force/weapons response (“unarmed”), would fail in most cases.

  6. And if a “civilian” uses a firearm in the same situation it’s murder.

    The issue should be some criminal attacking someone, not that someone defended themselves.

  7. If it is reasonable for a police office to consider their service weapon as a deadly weapon which cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of a criminal, then that also holds true for our CCW firearms, and folding knives as well.

  8. This is why I always thought calling Michael Brown an ‘Unarmed Teenager’ was disgusting. He was a big guy who could kill someone with his fists. Unarmed my ass.

  9. There are also a bunch of YouTube videos/Vines/Etc. of people getting slapped and knocked out. Doesn’t have to be a fist, doesn’t have to be more then one hit. If there is a firearm present and the person with the firearm goes unconscious there is no telling where that firearm will end up.

    • And don’t forget that at least one of those knock-out victims died…hit head on the curb as fell.

  10. I don’t need a gun to kill you but you’re going to need one to stop me.

    People don’t think it’s a big deal because of television and movies. They watch people fistfight on TV not understanding that what they’re really doing is dancing. The pretty boy hero gets punched 2, 3 times in the face but is still pretty enough for his closeup, maybe a little trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth that he can wipe away with the back of his hand and a quip someone else wrote for him.

    • I find that to be a problem with most of our voters and legislators. Everything they know about life comes from the big screen. From the way a silencer sounds, to the way cars crash. “Low information” comes to mind.

  11. All of the people screaming, “But he was UNARMED!” piss me off. No one is unarmed unless he or she is unconscious. You have no idea how intelligent the other person is, you don’t know how they’ve been trained, you have no idea what otherwise-innocuous object they can suddenly turn into a weapon and how deadly it will be in their hands. I, for example, might well have a harmonica in my pocket, I’m learning to play the harmonica. Or it might be a simple tinwhistle, for the same reason. But in my hands, because I’ve trained for it, a harmonica or a tinwhistle can and IS a very dangerous weapon. Both can be, if employed properly, FORCE MULTIPLIERS. There are places on the human body that will scream in pain if even struck lightly with a hard object, held so it protrudes even slightly from the ends of the fist, nor will it look particularly dangerous there. But there are many places you can be struck with such an object that might even incapacitate you or kill you. Pressure points. Points with little natural armoring but potentially painful of struck. If you were struck by an object the thickness of a pen just under the arm against the ribs, could you keep from drawing all of your attention to the intense pain it would bring? If your attention WAS drawn, could you be distracted enough that this same object could be slammed into your opposite temple, possibly with deadly force? If the sharp edges of a harmonica were suddenly jammed into an eye, or your groin, would you involuntarily drop what you were holding to clutch at the body part? That’s part of our instinctive respons to a sudden and blindingly-painful injury. Can you ignore it, bring your own weapon to bear and hit with it? Or will the next strike be to the back of your head from your own gun’s bullets?

    There is NO SUCH THING as an “unarmed” person. If they are still a person, they are potentially armed better than you, because they may be SMARTER than you. They may be more cunning than you. They may be more ready to kill than you. And that’s why the bleeding heart cries of “but he was unarmed!” just piss me off, because they’re LIES. It gets worse if the person is bigger than you or obviously stronger than you. Their fist alone, without an innocuous object in it, can crush your skull, break your arms, rupture internal organs. More people are bludgeoned to death with bare fists and feet than people realize. They have been taught by Hollywood and television to think that bare hands means harmless. Again, that’s a lie.

    If I am carrying a stick or a cane, you’d better have a gun on me if you think I’m a criminal. A stick or a cane can be an unbelievably deadly weapon. I’ve taken deadly weapons away from people and in one case, broke the wrist of a man holding a switchblade, demanding money. I did it with a walking stick I clearly used to help me walk. I’ve got bad knees, and it helped…but I am also trained to use a sword, and a cane is just a blunt sword in the right hands. While it can’t cut, it can still thrust and strike, can break bones, can disrupt organs, cause massive pain. I can thrust with the tip and CRUSH A LARYNX faster than the other person can register. I haven’t done it to a larynx yet, but with a blunt sword I DID cave in a man’s protective mesh face mask with a single blow, before he could move to interpose his own weapon. It was considered a “win” in a tournament, because had it been a real fight, it would have been a surely lethal blow.

    And *I’M* disabled. I would have to act quickly to disable an attacker, because the exertion would catch up to me quickly, massive pain would hit me as soon as the adrenaline had dropped, and I would likely be unable to move much until it was relieved. But during that “window”, I’m better armed than most with only my bare hands…and I rarely have only my hands. I usually carry at least a blade, and know how to use it. My housekeys are on a janitor’s retractable spool on my belt. The keys are a weapon. The sash chain that retracts them to the spool is a weapon. The heavy steel spool itself is a weapon. I’ve broken noses with that spool in the past, and removed a knife from a hand with the chain. If I get behind you with it, you just lost your ability to breathe, as it is also an effective garrotte. If you get a finger under it, I can disable that finger simply by sliding the chain along it. It is not particularly sharp, but how sharp does it have to be to grind through flesh and rip a tendon? It will also HURT, and few people have much experience with real pain.

    This sounds graphic, but it’s simply how I’ve had to think in the past. I haven’t always lived in good neighborhoods, and have lived in states that did not like people carrying weapons, and generally disallowed firearms completely. So “unarmed” had to be transformed into “always armed” — and that is not a state of equipment, it is a state of mind. Tools multiply force, but you still have to apply the force for it to BE multiplied, and anyone can learn to apply that force. Since you have no idea how well trained or prepared any given person is to apply that force, you must assume they can and will kill you, even stark naked. In fact, naked would be worse, since we are trained by society to either look AWAY from nakedness, or some will be distracted by it and look at the wrong places.

    Heinlein said that the only true weapon is the human mind, and he was right. Richard K. Morgan also said it, somewhat differently, in one of his books. I’ve quoted this before. It’s worth repeating.

    “A weapon is a tool,” she repeated, a little breathlessly. “A tool for killing and destroying. And there will be times when, as an Envoy, you must kill and destroy. Then you will choose and equip yourself with the tools that you need. But remember the weakness of weapons. They are an extension–you are the killer and destroyer. You are whole, with or without them.”
    ― “Altered Carbon”, quote from Virginia Vidaura, Envoy Trainer, UN Protectorate

    • ^ This!

      Furthermore, in addition to excellent tactics, edge weapons, or improvised weapons on a person, there are almost always objects within reach that make vicious bludgeons.

      Any fit person who weighs about 80 pounds or more — where “fit” means they can move a hand, foot, or bludgeon with decent speed — has the capacity to cause great bodily harm or death. Once they reveal their intent, it is up to you to take them seriously and stop the threat.

    • The “but he was unarmed” people object because the logical conclusion to the fist being a deadly weapon view is you can shoot anyone at anytime because almost everyone has hands and/or feet. Shooting anyone at anytime is untenable as a principle for any class of people in a society. It is tyranny. We need to have some line that has been crossed.

    • Ralph, you are correct…a child punching a larger man, not likely to be found as using deadly force, vice versa, very possible. True story – a store clerk in our town disarmed a would-be robber, and sat on her to restrain her until police arrived. He was quiet large, so was she, but when he got off her, she was dead. No charges filed, and was not using a deadly weapon, just his ass.

  12. The baddest SOB I ever knew, using his fists, never weighed over 140lb!

    Seen him beat the fusk out of guys twice his size.

    I’ve also seen 6’4 300lb men cry when hit once in the face.

    NEVER underestimate an individual based on your unfounded prerequisite of size!

  13. It’s circumstantial, I believe the officer in my link below acted appropriately and that the spectators are disgusting yellow bellied cowards (likely leftists). They could’ve intervened and stopped it at any time and in my mind they share responsibility with the aggressor.

    If the instinctive shooting training and the “Law enforcement” attitude was replaced with ethics, positive “public servant” attitudes and accountability we wouldn’t be having any problems with police. We need peace officers not cops or LEOs, and for the last time I’m not a “civvie” and you aren’t military.

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