February 20, 2017

Willingness to Use Force and the Permission to do so

Willingness to Use Force and the Permission to do so

It is my belief that there is a small percentage of people who are freely willing to use force at a moment’s notice. There is a larger percentage who, because it is not something in their normal routine, have to grant themselves permission so to speak and still another group of people who resist the use of violence, even at their own peril.

If I asked you if you were willing to use force to protect yourself or a loved one, I believe the majority of you would say “yes”, but the speed at which we give ourselves permission could vary greatly and can have a drastic impact on the outcome of the altercation.


I am not a violent man; I personally see it as something that should be used as a last possible option, but it must be an option. To those people who say that violence doesn’t solve anything, I would say “it absolutely does.” Violence, in the form of war, ended the Holocaust and slavery, to name just two horrible things. Violence or the threat of violence in the form of self-defense has stopped violent crimes of every type. The police use violence and the threat of violence to stop crimes of all kinds.

“All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

It is my belief that we have an obligation to confront evil. If we see evil being visited on someone and do not attempt to stop it, we incur some of the guilt that is being inflicted. We could personally intervene or call the police to do so.

I also believe we have a moral obligation to use violence to stop violence being visited upon us. If we do not, I believe we incur guilt for any future evil this person inflicts. We also bare guilt for preventing any future good the victim may have done.

I have heard the argument from Christians in the past that they don’t want to use lethal force because they don’t know the condition of the person’s soul. Their soul is not your personal responsibility in that moment. Being there for your family, providing for them, and living the life God has called you to is your responsibility.


The word “permission,” used in this context, feels a little clunky to me but is actually a good fit. As I stated earlier, violence is not something most of us use often. Because of this, when we must use it, we often have to grant ourselves permission. Depending on our background, our self-talk could be a very short “do it” or we might have to convince ourselves that while we may not like it, this person/situation is forcing us to do this and that if we do not, we may be severely hurt or even killed.

To me, the use of force of any kind is a two part equation; one part moral and the other part legal. If standing before God or a judge, I could explain why I felt justified in using force; for fear of bodily harm or worse. I then have all the permission I need.

In the heat of the moment, you might not have time to consider an explanation to God or a judge. For this reason, it is important to give yourself permission to use force under certain conditions. The amount of force used should also scale with the threat. Here are a few of my personal thresholds.

I don’t think anyone should participate in the posturing that often takes place in street fights; the pushing and chest bumping, insulting and cursing at each other and so on. To me, this is the same as a warning shot. De-escalation here is the prudent thing to do; walk away but remain alert. If your safety is truly in danger, don’t flex, just act. If your safety is not in danger and you take part in the posturing, using force as things escalate, your actions will not be viewed as “self-defense” in court.

That being said, if someone is yelling and threatening me, I will get ready to use force, both mentally and possibly physically, by getting in a fighting stance, for instance, if, for example, walking away isn’t an option because of being backed physically into a corner. Now, if the person threatening has a weapon and is making threats, the use of force is more than likely called for.

Once someone places their hands on someone else in a violent manner, from a slap, push, punch or choke, the attacker has given the victim permission to use enough force to stop the aggression.

Preemptive Strike

I think preemptive use of force can often prevent a more violent outbreak. For example; you’re out to dinner with your children or grandchildren and someone who has had too much to drink is being verbally abusive to everyone around them. You get up to leave, which draws attention to you, and the man starts cursing you and threatening you as he blocks your exit to the door. Knocking him on his backside could very well stop him from escalating even more and physically attacking you or your loved ones.

Here is another example; a woman is walking by herself in a parking garage. She is approached by a man she doesn’t know. He grabs her by the arm and tells her not to scream. If she either used a combative, aka a punch or kick to cause enough damage to stop the aggression, or pulled a firearm and demanded he leave, she could very well prevent herself being kidnapped, raped and killed.

In neither of these examples did the attacker have a visible weapon, but because of their actions, I believe the victim has a very viable case of using force in self-defense.

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It’s Not the End of The World; at Least Not Yet

It's not the end of the world

We prepare because we see how the world around us is, and we see that there are some very real dangers in it. However, there are some in our community who need to throttle back on “the collapse is coming” a bit. I may upset some of you but I hope you will read the entire article before you decide.

I believe that the likelihood of a “Mad Max” TEOTWAWKI type collapse is highly unlikely. I do believe that events like an EMP attack, pandemic and other wide scale events are possible, so it is worthwhile to consider those possibilities and watch for signs of them.

I explained in Disaster Probability that the events we are most likely to see are not widespread and will really only affect us as individuals, our families and maybe our neighborhood. The events that are far more widespread and are much more destructive are far less probable.

I’ve also come to believe that it is unlikely because world history has shown this to be the case. For example, there was hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic after WWII, and in Zimbabwe starting in 2008. These two events are probably the most closely related events to a “collapse” as most prepper’s view it.

Argentina had a financial collapse, as did Iceland and many European countries since 2008. While these all had financial upheaval, civil unrest and rioting for a short time, I don’t know that any resemble the collapse as many prepper’s expect it.

We’ve seen several regional outbreaks of SARS and other illnesses, but the last true pandemic we saw was the Spanish Flu of 1918.

If we look at the last 100 years of American history, we see the great depression as the biggest “collapse” style event. But there have been hundreds of smaller events, mostly weather-related. Even if we look at the worst of these; Hurricane Katrina, this was a horrible event for those in the area, but had little direct impact on the rest of the country. In the grand scheme of things, it was fairly short lived, and aid, while slow to arrive, still came. My point is that even the worst weather related event we have had wasn’t a “collapse” or “TEOTWAWKI” event, but if you live in an area where hurricanes are a threat, they are the exact kind of event you should be preparing for.

Yes, there is a small chance of these collapse types of events happening, but there are several much smaller SHTF events that actually happen every day, including death in the family, job loss, tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, medical emergencies, home invasions, car accidents, severe drought and wildfires, just to name a few. If we take a more general approach to preparedness and don’t measure things by how useful they would be in one event, our overall preparedness is greater.

I see people comment on things on facebook and blog comments to Prepared Christian and other sites that I just don’t understand. Things like “I won’t start a garden because when the collapse comes people will come take my food,” or “I won’t own a storage locker because when the collapse comes the government will take it.” I fully believe that a violent attack could be perpetrated against me. But this doesn’t cause me to stay in the house. I practice Situational Awareness every time I leave the house and frequently carry a firearm or other type of self-defense implement.

If you live your life avoiding certain things because one day an event with a low chance of happening could happen, you’ve already been affected by it. Gardening offers huge benefits; eating fresh fruits and veggies, reduction of stress, sharing excess fruit and veggies with neighbors and loved ones, which can lead to prepper conversations and possibly to their prepping. If your reason not to garden is because it’ll make you a target when TEOTWAWKI comes, first; breathing in TEOTWAWKI will make you a target, and second; you give up all of the benefits on the remote chance that the worst case might happen.

I received a few different negative emails on the article I did on storage lockers, most saying that my idea was foolish because in a collapse people would break in or the government would seize them. Yes, if TEOTWAWKI happens, people might break in and steal things and the government might lay claim to it, but if you read the executive orders, the government can lay claim to many, MANY things in a collapse situation. In a total collapse, you can probably kiss your storage unit goodbye, but that doesn’t make it a stupid or invalid plan for the family that has a little extra money and that lives below the flood plain, or the family who lives in tornado alley, or the family that lives in an area where wildfires are a yearly threat, who wants to make sure they have some items set aside in case they are forced to bug out with nothing.

If I need a used car, I judge it by its gas mileage, safety rating and whether it’s been in an accident, not by how it may preform if we get hit by an EMP.

Again, there is a chance that we could see the worst case scenario collapse, but you do yourself a disservice if you measure the quality of an item or a plan based on the small chance that it occurs and what people will do if the worst does happen.

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