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Thread: Opportunity

  1. #1
    ASD Senior Member Decline's Avatar
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    Default Opportunity

    Editor's Notebook: Opportunity
    by Rich Grassi

    How do you rate this soon-to-be-physical transaction? Is our defender on the left far enough away to respond before he can be battered by the attacker? Distance equals time.
    Generally speaking, we teach justifiable use of deadly force as a three-part evaluation; ability, opportunity and jeopardy. Ability refers to the attacker possessing the tools, skills, innate capability to cause death or crippling injury to the defender. Opportunity is the immediate nature in which that deadly force can be delivered. Jeopardy is the evaluation of actions, statements and behaviors that give us the reason to believe that the attack is imminent.

    As an example, I worked many days around peace officers who were obviously armed. They had ability, their possession of a tool of deadly force. There was no jeopardy as none acted in such a way as to make me believe my life was in danger.

    Similarly, I came in contact with people using cutting tools. Possessing instrumentalities of deadly force, they also didn't act in an aggressive manner.

    How does opportunity fit in? Say you're standing on one side of a high traffic street when Hulk Hogan comes out of a building on the other side, sees you and yells across, "You little worm! Soon as I get over there, I'm going to beat you to death!"

    His body language doesn't communicate he's kidding; he looks enraged. Skin flushed, breathing heavy, clenching and unclenching fists, pushing people out of his way . . . nope, he's serious. Being larger and more muscular than you are (if he is) and apparently being schooled in destructive arts, you have considerable support for perceiving his "ability." What does he lack?

    You don't see a remote control weapon, e.g., a gun. He has to bring his physical force across the street, currently populated by speeding cars and trucks, to you to employ his ability. If you were to simply wait for a lull in traffic to line up your sights and pull the trigger, you may be in trouble in a homicide investigation and a wrongful death suit. Since he can't immediately employ his force, you have options - and you need to be making use of them soon.

    There's the opportunity problem - if it's a contact weapon assault, how close does the offender have to be before you're caught in the no-win situation of having to use deadly force?

    In 1983, Dennis Tueller of the Salt Lake City UT PD explored that issue in an article for SWAT Magazine. His article, "How Close is Too Close?" explored an experiment he conducted on the police range. He determined that his trainees, on average, closed 21 feet in 1 seconds to sink a knife into a cardboard silhouette.

    How long does it take for you to employ that concealed handgun?

    From 1994 until 2002, we collected data on similar-but-different "Tueller Drills" using in-service deputies and Criminal Justice college majors. We found that 1 seconds is actually long. Our record, on a flight ramp, was a mid-30s aged Marine Warrant Officer. He closed the distance in just over a second. A 48 year old deputy sheriff with, he later determined, a broken bone in his foot cleared the distance in 1.8 seconds.

    A college kid who started face down on the deck - felony prone - got his feet under him and cleared the distance in less than 1 seconds.

    If you have an electronic shot timer with a random start, take it to the range. Gear up, no cheating, wearing the gun truly conceal and seven yards from the target. How long does it take to get two hits in that eight-inch circle from a holstered concealed handgun? Be honest.

    Now, if someone is standing exactly seven yards away with a knife, club or the physical skills of a Green Beret, is it wise to stand and draw? Rapid lateral movement is good, especially if you can put obstacles between you.

    An officer entered a room after an offender and saw him with knife in hand. The officer simply stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him. Taking a position behind obstacles - thereby increasing the time the offender needed to reach him - he drew and waited. The offender came in, saw the set up and dropped the knife.

    Better to avoid the use of deadly force where you can, but understand how quickly it can come to you.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Decline For This Useful Post:

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  3. #2
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    Rapid lateral movement is good, especially if you can put obstacles between you.
    Amen to that. Decline, a very insightful post. One of the reasons that I love IDPA so much is that your shooting is not static, movement and use of cover/concealmen is stressed. Even just a few steps may be all it takes!
    HUG YOUR KIDS EVERY DAY AND TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM
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    ASD Senior Member Jim Trueblood's Avatar
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    "The Best Gunfight"

    Good Info, thanks for posting.

    In every survival course I've ever been through, proficiency with a handgun was never higher than #4 on the top ten list of survival skills. #1 was always Physical Fitness, #2 Awareness, #3 Avoidance.

    My favorites were always Awareness and Avoidance training, because it forced me to THINK my way to victory whenever possible, and to remember that "the best gunfight" is the one that didn't have to happen.

    Jim
    Last edited by Jim Trueblood; 07-02-2010 at 11:38 PM.
    "The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental."
    John Steinbeck





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  6. #4

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    I'm a big believer in the axiom; "the best shot you will ever make is the one you don't have to take."

    Get through ANY encounter that has the potential to produce death or great bodily harm without having to fire a shot is the BEST outcome. If you can get away, do so. Even surrendering your own property (house, car, money) is better if you have no other choice.
    But that one time where you HAVE to take action must be perceived by anyone watching to be the only thing you could have done.
    Essentially, you are "performing for an audience".
    Before ever having to employ deadly force of any kind to resist an offense against you, think of how that looks to witnesses. Run this through your mind every day, and get used to the thought.
    "What will a witness say about my actions?"

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    ASD Senior Member texengineer's Avatar
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    The instructor for my CCW class told us that we're supposed to get rid of the little angel on the right shoulder and devil on the left, and replace them with a single "reasonable person". We're supposed to consult the reasonable person with all of our decisions. Kind of silly, but a good model for how we're supposed to respond to things.
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  9. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by texengineer View Post
    The instructor for my CCW class told us that we're supposed to get rid of the little angel on the right shoulder and devil on the left, and replace them with a single "reasonable person". We're supposed to consult the reasonable person with all of our decisions. Kind of silly, but a good model for how we're supposed to respond to things.
    I LIKE it!!
    I'll have to remember that. Your instructor has a good head on him.

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