Real definition of deadly force

US Navy 030416-N-5862D-099 Members of the Auxi...

US Navy 030416-N-5862D-099 Members of the Auxiliary Security Force (ASF), are trained how to properly use the ASP collapsible baton. The baton is primarily a defensive or non-lethal tool that is used when the situation calls fo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Since all of the new gun debates started, there have been many people, both politicians and private citizens saying things that are missing some truths.  Or maybe just missing some facts.  I spent 10 years as a police officer and some of the comments I read on this issue drive me nuts.


One topic that is very bothersome is what caliber is best for defensive purposes with regards to concealed carry.  Many down the lowly .22LR.  Some are in love with a 9mm or 40.  Some are fond of a .45 and i’ve read statements by some that I believe would carry around a bazooka if they were permitted to.  The opinions are all over the board.


But one thought bothers me more than any others.  There are some that like to talk about how smaller calibers don’t have enough ‘stopping power’.  While I understand the opinion, I often disagree with the motivation behind them.


Police use something called a force continuum to determine the level of force to use in a particular situation.  The highest and last resort is called deadly or lethal force.  This means that this level of force when used has the potential to take a persons life.  It does not say that this force level is to be used to kill.  It is a last resort level.  It is to be used when all other options have been exhausted.  Now, there are circumstances when a threat has jumped to deadly force and therefore the individual being assaulted must match or exceed the threat level being used against them.


The use of deadly force in any situation is to be used to stop a threat, not with the intent to kill.  The absolute best option is that simply presenting deadly force will be enough to stop the threat.  “Putting a person 6 feet under” is not the goal.  The goal is simply to stop the threat.  It is not street justice.  It is not a punishment for a person prior to court.  In many cases, a person that is intent on doing harm will be shocked into retreat once they find that their intended victim or a bystander has the ability to stop their actions.


Using a firearm to stop a threat may end in the death of the perpetrator.  That is a risk that a criminal takes in their chosen occupation.  But, our goal is to survive, not to kill.  I want to make it clear in closing that I do believe in the 2nd amendment.  I do believe in an individuals right to defend themselves and their family.  I don’t believe in death for the sake of death.




2 comments on “Real definition of deadly force

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