What You Can/Can't Do.

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by MJS, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    While reading this thread, I found the debate between Draven and punisher73, to be very interesting. I think that both of them made some very good points, so rather than sidetrack that thread, I wanted to start a seperate one.

    I wanted to take this thread, to discuss the techniques that we see in various arts, use of force and the law. Now, if we look at pretty much any art, we can see some pretty nasty things, things that if done on someone, would probably wreck the person pretty bad. These things are usually done in response to punches, grabs, kicks, chokes, and various weapon attacks.

    Just looking at some of the Kenpo techniques, we see things such as arm breaks/dislocations for a simple grab. We see pokes/gouges to the eyes for punches. The list can go on and on, but I think you see where I'm going with this. :) I've often thought about what other options there are, besides using the set technique, ie: instead of the eye shot, substitute that for a palm to the face. Still an effective move, but not on the same level as the eye shot.

    So, anytime we talk about a SD scenario, the topic of the law, the courts, lawsuits, juries, etc. always come up. What the jury will think about this or that, what if the bad guy sues us, etc., etc. But, if we look at our art, whatever it may be, it almost seems that no matter what we do, we could end up in hot water. For example, in that other thread, a RNC, in one state that was listed, was considered deadly force.

    Now, I dont know about anyone else, but when I travel, I dont research the laws (and maybe I should??) of the area that I'm going to. In other words, when I take my yearly trip to NYC, I dont look online to see what I can/can't do, should I need to defend myself. I dont research the laws of the USVI, when I go on a cruise with my wife. Again, maybe I should. IMO, I dont see it that necessary, for a short trip. However, if I were to move to NY for example, then yes, I think that would be a wise idea.

    Of course, while thinking of this thread today, something else came to mind. It seems that the majority of attacks that we may find ourselves in, are all on the assumption that they will be in daytime hours, in populated areas, that witnesses will be around, etc. So in other words, at 11pm, when you pull up to the ATM, and someone attempts to mug you, and you're fortunate enough to defend yourself, do you stay or take off? I know what I'd do, so I'm just tossing that out as a general question. :) Would the bad guy, if he were to stab you, call for help for you, while you're bleeding to death on the sidewalk? If I had to wager a guess, I'd say no.

    So, in closing, I'll say what I've said in times before. The safety of myself and anyone with me, is my #1 concern. I really dont have any concern for the guy who's trying to rob me, kill me, rape my wife, steal my car, break into my house, etc. I didn't invite that persons actions, so IMO, he gets what he gets. Yes, of course, as I said I'll always assess the situation, but whatever happens to him, well, maybe next time he'll think twice. I'm sure this will be frowned upon by some, and thats cool. :) Everyone has his/her opinions, and I'll respect that. Certainly not every situation will require a break of some sort. In that other thread, punisher73 commented that he ended a fight by attacking the biceps, of someone who threw roundhouse punches at him. Certainly a great move and very effective. :) I'm a big fan of limb destructions. :D

    Thoughts, comments, ideas. :)
     
  2. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think listening to the advice that a fraud gives is a rather poor idea.
     
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  3. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Forgive me for asking Bill, but you lost me on this one. Feel free to shoot me a PM. :)
     
  4. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Was that directed at me?
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Absolutely not! And I apologize to all and sundry. I'm having a tough time keeping my big mouth shut.
     
  6. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Thanks for the quick response. I'll be honest, it hurt when I thought you were directing that at me. I've always thought we've had good dialog.

    Thanks for clarifying! Have a great one.
     
  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I am most humbly apologetic for hurting your feelings; I have the utmost respect for you.
     
  8. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Quite alright.

    Now to get the thread back on track.

    The more I spoke with Draven, the more I thought we were closer to agreement than not. As I understand it in his state, when someone gives opinions on legal matters they can be held responsible and face criminal charges. They also don't have the "duty to retreat". So for him, he can't give too much guidance in that area, but can only point to the direction. If I advised my students to initiate an attack with WV laws then they would face criminal charges.

    This is an example of why it is important to know your state's laws. I guess if you had a "rule of thumb" while traveling it would be to find the most conservative self-defense laws and attempt to follow them.

    I think it does come down to common sense though. When you train and develop higher level skill, you know when you are in a dangerous situation and can keep a level head about yourself. My instructor always used a "limbo" example. Think of the bar as your ability to deal with a situation. When you first start, the bar is low and it requires great effort to go under it. As you train, that bar is lifting and even though the situations might get more difficult, your ability to deal with them increases and makes it easier. What is threatening to a beginner, might not be as threatening to someone experienced.
     
  9. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I think Draven's description of WV law is probably a bit off kilter. Both as regards any codification of the Castle Doctrine and/or duty to retreat laws, and what constitutes giving legal advice. From the sound of his interpretation, you're committing at least a misdemeanor by simply telling someone the speed limit on a road or that killing someone deliberately and with malice aforethought is murder.

    But more to MJS's theme... Self defense is an affirmative defense; you're essentially standing up and saying that you did indeed do something that would ordinarily be illegal -- but you were justified in doing so because you faced imminent harm. In general, for the legal defense to be successful, your force must have been reasonable and appropriate or proportionate to the threat presented. This gets to be a complicated question -- but it doesn't mean "exactly equal" but not vastly out of scale, either. A healthy adult using a rear naked choke or drawing down with a handgun on a five year old trying to tackle him is probably going to be rather out of scale.

    When you teach self defense, ideally, you're going to teach your students to be able to control and scale their reactions to the situation. For example, the other night I taught a choke defense to a student. It involves bringing the defenders elbows down on the front choke, then shooting the hands out in an x-shape to strike the throat or side of the head, grabbing the head or shoulders and pulling a knee strike in. That's great... but what if it's just a kid shoving him into a wall at school? Probably not advisable to hammer the side of the kid's head and pull the head into the knee, huh? So, that cross/hammer to the head can become a push to the chest...

    Legally and morally, we have an obligation to teach students to respond appropriately to attacks. If all we're teaching is sport, that's fine. We still have to teach them to play by the rules and be appropriate in their response. (Wasn't it Frank Shamrock who "forgot" the rules he was playing under and delivered multiple illegal strikes?) If we're teaching them to defend themselves in reality -- we still have to teach them to "play by rules" rather than simply turning a lethal weapon loose without control or a sense of responsibility.
     
  10. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Well then since we're discussing the law and I''m not giving legal advise allow me to explain the issues I'm talking about...
    WV Code 55-7-22
    I bolded what I specifically saying earilier I simply have to "believe" I'm in threat of serious bodily harm or death to be justified in using lethal force.

    As for the not permitted to give legal advise law thats 61-5-27a subsection (e).
    A lawyer must pass a state bar & as such is dully authroized to act as an officer of the court with certain legal authority. By advising anyone of legal matter & not having passed the state bar exam (that would includes police officers, paralegals & law students) it is illegal for anyone to give legal advise. My state no longer has a duty to retreat clause as it was replaced by the castle law.

    Now of course as I said there are different types of violence which allow for different reactions; I'm a big believer in that Self-Defense goes beyond physical techniques... Those different levels of violence, and different mindsets play a huge role in how you are going to react. More so, when you find yourself in court saying you reacted with "this" because your attacker did "that" and its a psychological precurser for "this other thing" it gives you a better legal ground to claim self-defense.
     
  11. JWLuiza

    JWLuiza Black Belt

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    This is a necessary condition for you to be breaking the law. Both contextually and verbally your students should understand that you aren't acting as an agent of the state, especially since part of your advice should be "educate yourself".
     
  12. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    In such cases, I would recomend using moves that don't look as if you are on the attack. If some one throws a big haymaker or straight punch at you, you can stick the guy right in the throat, with a swordhand and it will look like you just put your hands up to defend yourself. As long as you are concious of the third point of view, the idea of answering for what you have done becomes a lot easier. This has always been a concern in my circles.
    Sean
     
  13. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    I thought that as well however, I did ask a lawyer & I was told that the part that says "purport to exercise" refers to any action taken by an officer of the court & that "offical proceeding" ca refer to said lawyer/officer of the court's job to give legal advise. Like I said I can give an opinion but not advise, course the deciding factor between opinion and advise is the PA & court.

    If no one is familiar with being a defendant in a criminal case; let me tell you how its worked from my experience. First you are charged based on the "belief" of the AO; here they seem to believe that probable cause is saying you have probable cause, then you get arrested, get a bond hearing & go through the trial process. Guilt or innocence is determined via that process and no excuse or defense means anything until the court decides. The AO already thinks you're guilty otherwise they wouldn't be arresting you; so "shut up" & exercise you're miranda rights; especially your right to "shut up."

    Oh and AO; means Arresting Officer...
     
  14. just2kicku

    just2kicku Black Belt

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    In my opinion, I don't care about the law. Period. If someone comes up to me and tells me they're going to break my finger, do I stop at just breaking their finger. Is it a like for like action that I'm supposed to take? Hell no. I am going to destroy them. I wouldn't need to do that if I weren't pushed.

    I live by the law, I don't break it. (Except for an occasional speeding ticket) so if I'm forced to break it by no choice of my own, then I'm going for it just shy of killing the guy. I think if more people did that, tere would be less crime.

    The laws are made to keep honest citizens honest. Bad guys don't care.
     
  15. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Extraordinarily bad advice. Good luck in prison.
     
  16. Draven

    Draven Green Belt

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    Well while I can't say you have the best example here in not saying you care about the law, I do have to agree with your logic. When "laws" interfer with your ability to protect yourself or even realistically live your life, you have to make a choice. You can either be handicapped by an "artifical social structure" or you can act on the natural law self-preservation...

    For all those who take the side of looking the legal aspect & advising against whats considered "excessive force" I have to ask, at what point does the law become more valuable then human life?

    Are we to respect the rights of those who have already violated our legal & natural rights?

    More so, if a LEO "arrests me" for defending myself (and this has happened to me BTW) what makes them any different then the criminal I just "stopped?"

    Finally, I would like to ask this question, if two cars are racing the the fasting car crosses the finish line first (thus establishing the fact that faster finish's first) what does that mean for those law abiding people who allow an "attacker" to reach the "finish line" called excessive/overpowering force first?
     
  17. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think if you are reasonably smart and if you need to defend yourself that you act reasonable under the circumstances then you have a reasonable chance that the LEO, Prosecuting Attorney, Judge will reasonably believe that you acted within reason. Folks, it really is not that hard to be reasonable and responsible in your actions and you will be reasonably treated. Go beyond that reasonable level and you open yourself up for all kinds of negative consequences! Who determines what is reasonable? First the witness the the arriving LEO's then it will go on to a prosecuting attorney and may go all the way up to a Judge or jury. Bottom line know the law in your area and understand it and if you ever god forbid have to use force then be reasonable in your actions based off of the law! This is not rocket science!!! ;)

    That there is a lot of reason! :)
     
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  18. just2kicku

    just2kicku Black Belt

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    Gee Bill, I guess not all of us can actually think about what is and isn't against the law while we're being attacked.
     
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  19. JWLuiza

    JWLuiza Black Belt

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    Your post came across as "I FINISH IT. UTTERLY. CONTEXT DOES NOT MATTER".

    However, if you have the guy fleeing or under control, yet proceed to maim/kill, you are crossing ethical and legal lines.
     
  20. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I think you're talking to someone with an incomplete and biased understanding of the legal process and the law...

    But I agree with you, Brian. The concept of reasonableness isn't really that hard to understand. Yes, it may well come down to the judgment of the arresting officer, prosecutor, and eventually a finder of fact (judge or jury). That's why you have to have a good grasp of the basic concepts, and why it's imperative for an instructor to share and teach methods to adapt to different levels of force. Otherwise, you're turning loose an unguided, unaimed, and uncontrollable bomb.123
     

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