Should A Fist Be Considered A Deadly Weapon?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by MJS, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Link

    Saw this in todays paper, and thought it'd make a good discussion piece. :)

     
  2. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    It IS a Deadly Weapon. Even to someone completely Untrained. It can be used to Kill someone. Hell, throw in Feet, Elbows, Knees, and Your Forearms as well.
    They can Kill, like any other Weapon, if it is used in that way.

    Does this mean it should be Legally Viewed this way? No.
    Because otherwise, Water is a Deadly Weapon as well. And just about... Well, anything. It should be considered a Means to an End. And if that End is Lethal, then it shouldnt really matter what was used.
     
  3. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng Sr. Grandmaster

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    This one should be

    [​IMG]

    ...

    Other than that I think they are openning up one big can of worms
     
  4. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think it's going to be down to the interpretation of the language of the law, rather than any meaningful objective analysis of what is and is not a 'deadly weapon'. It can be an interesting semantics and legalese dance, but I don't generally get too excited about this sort of thing when it is a state-wide or local context. I guess ultimately I would side with the position that a fist is not an 'instrument' in the sense that it is a foreign object, something other than a body part. There is already a law covering simple assault WITH a body part such as a fist, which would seem to be the dividing point.

    It does open the question as to whether an unlawful assault should be punished more in line with the damage done than the object used, but that would be a question for the legislature to wrestle with.
     
  5. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Here it would be assault and the severity of the assault would be judged by the injuries rather than whether a weapon is used or not. It can range from common assault through to Actual Bodily Harm, Grievous Bodily Harm and Aggravated Assault. (within those catergories there's several depending on who the person who's been assaulted is ie a police officer, prison officer, Customs officer etc) It's an easier way to judge an assault and it's severity. You can hit someone with a bat once and it not cause a lot of injury but as here you can batter someone with your fists and cause a lot.
     
  6. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Grandmaster

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    Same way in my state. I think the law there may just be written poorly. Here we judge the degree of assault by the injuries not the weapon. Now a weapon involved can raise the degree of assault but its not the only factor. We only have 2 types of assault here. 1st and 2nd degree. 1st is a felony and you must have serious injury. Beating someone 30 times in the head would qualify as 1st degree. 2nd degree would be a punch to the face once that didnt cause an injury or even touching someones arm would be 2nd degree. Pulling a weapon on someone would be a 1st degree even without using it.
     
  7. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Bill beat me to it, and probably said it better. It is not unusual for court cases to be decided in ways that cause many people to decry judges must be senile or crazy, or overly liberal, or whatever comes to mind. Maybe sometimes they are. But often times if hinges on the wording of the law and they are required to test that against the constitution first, then often rule on what the legislature meant. In the latter case, they usually go with a strict interpretation of the words, abscent any other guidance. If a law is written badly, or carelessly, that is not the judges fault.
     
  8. mmartist

    mmartist Green Belt

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    Fist undoubtedly is deadly. Especially when you are well trained you can kill someone with just a single hit. But if you know how to inflict such damage be sure you will never do this.
     
  9. Zenjael

    Zenjael Purple Belt

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    There was a book I once read by Robert J. Sawyer. Good sci-fi about neanderthals, in an alternate dimension, find a way to bridge their universe with ours. It turns out they're so strong if they punch one of us in the head, wildly, instinctually, in the book it perma-brained a person. I doubt this is true- that neanderthals were so strong they could coffin us with each facestrike, but I know individuals who if they hit you, lights out for good. And it's even worse when these are individuals who don't use pressure, or any particular points to hit. Some people are just bears, and it works for them.

    There is relevance to that, for if every time a punch was liable to kill, of course it should be illegal. A palm strike from me, and most likely most martial artists, would be fatal if it connected with the same amount of force we use to break cinder blocks. It is because of this I avoid direct strikes- there are times when just executing the technique by itself (without added force) can cause injury.

    But that is not the OP question; most of the time weapons are thought of as, well, weapons. Knives, guns, staves, etc. Things which were designed to kill. But truthfully, philosophically these are inanimate objects. They are useless without their wielder... and I've had classes on how to use the baton, where the very next week our HW was for next class to bring in a magazine, and reapply the baton techniques through a rolled up one. I've taught classes where I gathered misc. junk which I put in a basket and handed out. The assignment was simple, with a partner, think of 2 ways to kill someone with that item, and try to find a way to stop it. Two people ended up with pennies to work with, literally.

    And you know what, there are some drills I will never do again, I do not have my doubts about that one. Anything which is being used to harm, or kill, is a weapon. And weapons are useless without intent. In short, because the fist is intended to harm, it is a weapon under that definition, which I think a fair one. When someone gets killed by a salt shaker, by someone who knows how to use an acupuncture-pointer, it begs the question of what a weapon is.

    To me, if you kill someone with an item, or article I suppose it's called, than it is a weapon, even if it's a fuzzy stuffed animal. I do not think the objects should define the crime, the intent, and result should. But I'm an idealist.

    In the last year or so I've had to altercations which, when younger, certainly would have ended up as fights. I've found that people who are skilled at martial arts, are also skilled at avoiding conflict. If they're smart, I suppose.

    It makes me think of a story I was told while studying the kata in Kendo (I know its not kata, but it's their equivalent to one-steps. Im blanking on the name like a noob) where we were told about two samurai who trained and trained, and one day became great warriors. They were from different families, at war, and so just off what they wore, knew they must fight.

    One day while walking, when both had trained for many years, they crossed paths. They stopped, each keeping their eye on the other, their hand on the sword. Both drew it, pointing their respective swords toward the other's throat. They eyed each other, both took a small sliding step forward...

    And they resheathed their blades, and bowed to each other. For they knew if they fought, both would die... and for what reason?

    Likewise, a tale of one the greatest katana wielders speaks of how in his old age while fishing, a brash young man rowed to his boat, and once near, challenged the man to a fight. The old man agreed, responding first that the young man hand him the oar he used so that they could bring the boats close enough to be kept together. The young man complied, eager to fight, and the old man quickly snatched the extended wood from the other's hands, where he began to row away, now with two oars.

    I cannot recall the rest of the story, but ultimately the old man called out to him that he was both too old to keep killing people, having grown weary of doing so from so many challengers over the years trying to claim his title, and that he would rather fish than fight. He wished the young man luck in swimming back.

    As someone who is 22, I look toward people with more advanced years, with wisdom. It says something to me that after all our achievements are met, in the end we are happiest lying in a hammock, in peace. Though some crave war- those kinds of desire come from ignorance. After strife all a person longs for is a way of peace, and not to be screwed with. At least that is what I have seen.

    I like to think what sets a martial artist apart from other people, is their lack of ignorance. I think the best fighter, is the one who finds a way to walk away without a fight, or better yet, to make a friend.

    Both times in the confrontations this year, forgiveness ended up being all that was needed. And it's so much easier to give, than it is oft made to be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  10. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Er, no.
     
  11. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Did I miss something or do I just wish I missed something? :rolleyes:
     
  12. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Just the usual "I can kill a man with a punch to the head, so I have to restrain my awesomeness, it's a heavy burden to bear" stuff. My head is about to explode, so perhaps he can kill a man with a few keystrokes. Deadly, is he.
     
  13. Himura Kenshin

    Himura Kenshin Master Black Belt

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    Alex, I have noticed yet again how you managed to derail the conversation. I'm starting to think you are trolling although untintentionally.

    To answer the OP. My opinion is that unless you can remove it, it should not be considered a weapon. This was always my argument for people who thought a black belt had to register his hands and feet as deadly weapons. I'd say, "If i don't register them, will they take them away?" Legally I do not think a body part should be considered a deadly weapon, unless you have a hook for a hand or something like that.
     
  14. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    The fist, as was used is a weapon. Intent is everything. I don't know how I feel about it being an "instrument." The man convicted used his fist to harm another person. If it was anything he picked up, even stuff not considered to be a weapon normally, it would turn into a weapon. I know some states keep a list of what is deadly. Other states use the circumstance and intent of the accused.


    In the end, the man recieved 18 years for violently beating his wife, causing her serious harm. I think that is a just sentence. I'd hate to see him be aquited because lawmakers don't think a fist qualifies as "deadly."

    If the conviction is upheld, it does put a new light on the phrase, "keep your hands to yourself."
     
  15. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    You're focusing on the need to punish someone for breaking the law, and mere aggravated assault did not present a long enough prison term. This is an 'ends justify the means' argument with which I will always disagree.

    Can a fist be deadly? Of course. But it does not meet the standard of a 'deadly weapon' as described in the appropriate law. Therefore it is *not* a deadly weapon. Yes, it can be deadly. Yes, it can be used as a weapon. But we are talking about a legal description that it does not meet, not a practical one.

    The law should not be ignored because we wish a better outcome in a criminal case. We have laws and we have to obey them. If the legal description of 'deadly weapon' is not clear, I can only suggest remedial reading classes. If the punishment for agg assault is considered insufficient, I can only suggest lawmakers change the law to increase the punishment.

    The argument you present is equivalent to saying that rape is murder because murder gives the opportunity for a longer prison sentence, and that's desirable. Rape is not murder, murder is not rape. The quite-understandable desire for justice does not make the law a flexible plaything to be used in whatever manner one sees fit.
     
  16. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    Easy there Bill :)

    I'm actually not that far off from your opinion. I also don't think there is a heck of a lot of difference in hitting someone 20 to 30 times with your fist and once with an object. The intent and the consequence are the same. That was my main point. If the law is unclear then it needs to be updated and/or clarified. The sentence delivered needs to take into the man's intent and the result of that intent. Concentrating on whether a fist is a deadly weapon or falls into some other category loses the spirit and purpose of law, in my opinion.
     
  17. Josh Oakley

    Josh Oakley Senior Master

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    Aggregated assault and domestic violence charges would have been more appropriate. Not that I have any sympathy for the guy.

    But why is he getting a worse sentence than, say, Chris brown.

    Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk
     
  18. chinto

    chinto Senior Master

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    in my opinion, NO a fist should not be considered a deadly weapon for purposes of law. Does this mean that a fist can not be deadly? NO, not at all, but a "deadly weapon" should be an inanimate object. any thing from a Machine gun or heavy artillery such as a 155 mm cannon or a simple stick or knife or even a rock. But It should not be a body part, as fists or knees or elbows or feet. For one thing, not every ones fists or feet or what have you are the same, and definitions under law must treat that thing always the same way it seems to me. so once again, NO a fist is not a "deadly weapon".
     
  19. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    The problem is that people get their heads around the idea of guilt and punishment, and fail to grasp the actual law itself.

    Case in point; a man is stopped riding a horse on the highway. He's drunk. Initially charged with DUI, he beat the charge because the state DUI law says that DUI means driving a 'motor vehicle' on public roads while intoxicated. He was on public roads, he was intoxicated, but is a horse a motor vehicle? It is not.

    He was still a threat to others. He still was drunk. He could have caused an accident and people could have been killed. I agree with all of that. But you can't make believe that a horse is a motor vehicle to assuage your sense of justice. If there is a big problem with people riding horses drunk on the roads, then the government should consider changing the legal definition of DUI in that state to include horses.

    Same thing here. A fist is not a 'deadly weapon' by state law because it does not meet the definition of one in the law itself. Regardless of how a person uses it or how dangerous it might be, a fist is not a baseball bat or a club or a knife or a gun. Just like a horse is not a motor vehicle.

    FYI, police and judges have, at various times, tried to argue that a horse is a motor vehicle, but ultimately the charges did not stick.
     
  20. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog Old Fart Staff Member

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    In Colorado, a bicycle is specifically defined as a vehicle so DUI laws apply. There is also a specific law against riding an animal while intoxicated, so although it's not actually a DUI, you can effectively get a DUI while riding a horse.

    The same should apply to fists. They're not deadly weapons in the legal sense, and there are abundant laws already addressing the issue of striking with various body parts.
     

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