Use Enough Force

By on June 24, 2014

Are you prepared to use enough violence?  We all think we are, but studies show we (the good people) generally hesitate.  If you read “On Killing” by David Grossman, you may understand it better, but the short explanation is that good people don’t want to kill other people.  It’s almost hard wired into our DNA that we don’t want to kill another human being.  Without a doubt, it’s hard to do.  Ask those that have done it.  We make excuses and delay any chance we can get.  Saying things like “drop the gun” or “freeze” are both ways we delay and try not to do what may need to be done.

Violence is an extreme.  We, the good people, aren’t used to going to that extreme.  We need to think about it.  And we need to think about doing a lot of it.

There are tons of theories about only needing a little violence.  We want to just shoot someone in the shoulder to stop them from killing someone else.  We want to shoot once or twice and see what happens.  If there is a fight, we want to do like the movies and square up and not really hurt anyone.  Even when the other person has a knife and says they want to kill us, we want to still only hurt them a little.

Use of force rules and laws put even more burden on us to not hurt someone.  I saw it overseas on many occasions where even Marines were afraid to do too much violence, or hurt someone because of the repercussions.  Have no doubt, those repercussions could even include going to federal prison if they violated the ROEs (Rules of Engagement).  Even though, at the bottom of every ROE card I was ever handed, it said something like “force, including deadly force, is authorized to protect yourself and friendly forces.”  The one I had to memorize at the end said “Nothing in these Rules shall prohibit you from using force to defend yourself or prohibit the commander from taking necessary steps to defend his unit.”  Even with those lines in there, our trained military forces don’t want to use force.

Here, in the real world, it’s even worse.  At least as a Marine I had one little card to memorize and, as long as I acted within those guidelines, I would be okay (and I would have been judged by a jury of Marines).  There are laws upon laws upon laws about the use of force.  Here in Texas, the use of force laws are different for nighttime and daytime.  Not only the laws of the state you are in apply, so do laws that are in the county and city you are in.  Then there are more court cases about using force than there are laws.  In California, there was a law on the books for years (I don’t know if it’s still there) that said you could shoot a fleeing felon.  The Supreme Court said that you would violate that person’s civil rights by doing that and you were guilty of murder or attempted murder.  Fleeing can’t be the only justification.  California just never bothered to change the law.

All that to say, when it’s time to use force, you have to use force!  You have to use a lot of force.  If deadly force is justified, there is no difference under the law if you shoot someone in the head or in the arm, it’s still deadly force.  You were either justified or not.  But the rules of nature are different than the rules of man.  Different things happen to bad guys when you shoot them in the head versus the arm.

Once force is justified, you need to use a lot of it.  If you don’t use enough force fast enough, it could very easily get you killed.  Take the recent Las Vegas shooting.  Bonny and Clyde wannabes killed two police officers while they ate pizza and then ran across the street to the Walmart where they were spotted by Joseph Wilcox, a CHL holder that was carrying his gun.  I’m waiting for more information to come out, but for some reason Joseph hesitated and didn’t shoot the male and the female had enough time to shoot and kill him.

Joseph Wilcox is a hero for getting involved.  I think he was one of the main reasons no one else was killed by the killers.  He is a hero for what he did.  But I’d rather pin a medal on his chest because he was able to shoot the bad guys and survive rather than give those same thanks to those he left behind.

If you are ever in one of these horrible situations, there isn’t a way for you to use too much violence.  Once violence is necessary, use as much as you are capable of and then some.  There is no honor among thieves.  If you give them the chance, they will kill you.  I teach an old saying given to me by another Marine, “if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying hard enough.”  This is true when your life is on the line and some dirt bag is trying to kill people.  They will have no problem cheating and will do anything they can to get you.  You have to get them first.

When you play the “what if” game or think about scenarios going wrong, think about using a lot of violence to end the confrontation.  Don’t think like IDPA and just shoot two rounds and the bad guy falls.  Think about them not falling, think about you running out of ammo, think about having to go to a knife.  Think about continuing the fight and being as mean, brutal, and violent as you can image; because no matter how nasty you think it can be, if it really happens to you, it will be worse.  You have to respond in kind with more violence than your aggressor.

Stay Safe,


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