Back to Basics: Disparity of Force

AyoobAn Interview with Massad Ayoob 

by Gila Hayes

eJournal: Whether you are reading a book, listening to a lecture or standing around the range discussing recent crime reports, you will quickly run into the term “disparity of force.” It is important to define the words we use and the context in which the definition is applicable. In the legal context, what is the meaning of “disparity of force?”

Ayoob: It’s an important piece of the puzzle and to understand it you must know what the whole puzzle is supposed to look like in the end. When you open a jigsaw puzzle and none of the pieces look like they will fit, the first thing you need to ask is, “What this thing is supposed to look like at the end?”

What this puzzle looks like at the end is what justifies the use of deadly force, which is that degree of force a reasonable person would consider capable of, or likely to, cause death or grave bodily harm. The only justifying circumstances are immediate, otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm to oneself or another innocent party one has the right to protect.

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President’s Message

Marty Hayes

Recently, I spent a long week at Gunsite Academy, taking an advanced performance handgun course, and competed in the Gunsite Alumni Shoot. In 2018, I managed to shoot a great match, coming in 3rd overall, and this was my first time back to shoot the match since. Accordingly, I was expecting another high finish, but sadly, that did not materialize for me this year. In fact, I shot the worst match I have ever shot, placing about 60th place (out of 250). So, what happened between 2018 and 2022? Well, time is what happened. 

You see, in the last four years, I basically quit shooting. At least handguns. This occurred because of several factors. The first was that I transitioned myself out of teaching, and it was my protocol when teaching to demonstrate the drills for the students, which resulted in me getting some good practice every weekend.

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Attorney Question of the Month

ico gavel 200

The September edition of our online journal featured an article discussing intermediate self defense options carried in addition to a gun or when not carrying a gun. State laws can impose restrictions on possession or use of pepper spray, TASER®s, force multipliers like Kubotans and even hand-to-hand defensive tactics, but those laws vary from state to state.

With many Network members already carrying pepper spray and other non-gun defense options, we started discussion of the below questions with our Affiliated Attorneys in last month’s edition of this online journal. This month we wrap up this discussion of laws affecting private citizens in various locales who employ alternative defense options.

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Book Review

There I Was...When Nothing Happened:

True Tales of Real Self Defense From Professionals in the Field

Independently published Sept. 2022
Paperback, 6x9, 320 pages $24.98
ISBN: 979-8847706292
eBook $9.99 ASIN: B0BB8XPRFY

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

In the book I review this month, Jason Brick brings together a large collection of essays by prominent instructors and use of force professionals that illustrates the art of threat detection and skillful de-escalation. The stories in There I Was often start with the authors embroiled in potentially explosive situations. While everyone agrees that avoiding danger entirely is preferred, there’s much to be learned from experiences in which skilled men and women defused brewing hostility. The anthology’s contributors all could win fights decisively but write convincingly about choosing other options.

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Editor’s Notebook

gila 300

by Gila Hayes

Isn’t it ironic that in my lifetime, most Americans have endured fewer hardships and benefited from having more extensive safety nets than ever before, yet fewer people today have the survival resources to carry them through four to six months of trouble, a precaution that our parents and grandparents considered just part of responsibly providing for their families. Supplies of water and food, savings, and fall-back provisions for emergency housing, are all topics on which much authoritative instruction is readily available, so today I’m going to ask you to think of a related but different set of concerns.

Armed citizens invest considerable time and discretionary income on guns, ammunition, training, shooting sports and practice in the name of preparing to defend against violent crime. That’s good! It gets us started thinking right and if you haven’t already addressed other vulnerabilities, what better time than now to make sure you and your loved ones have a full range of plans to get through hard times?

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About this Journal


The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.

Do not mistake information presented in this online publication for legal advice; it is not. The Network strives to assure that information published in this journal is both accurate and useful. Reader, it is your responsibility to consult your own attorney to receive professional assurance that this information and your interpretation or understanding of it is accurate, complete and appropriate with respect to your particular situation.

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