The Deadly Force Continuum: Are You Mentally Prepared to Defend Yourself?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
By Paul Martin

By Sandra Lane
August 19, 2019

We often talk of defending ourselves in various ways and with many different weapons. Close to where I live is a walk-through shoot where the customer can take a live weapon through an obstacle course type building. I’d absolutely love to go through just to see how I would react in a break-in or defense simulation. Short of that, my family and I have trained repeatedly with squirt guns in clearing and defending our house.

In reality, though, we don’t really have a good idea as to how we’d react in a situation where we’re attacked or our lives are threatened, so unless we’re actually in that situation, we’ll never know. We talk and guess about it all the time, but in a real live attack, in an SHTF situation, the whole body, mental and physical, can be seriously threatened which means it’s entirely possible that we just stand frozen with a gun pointed at someone. We could also go the other route and completely unload the magazine into them. So, we could theorize, and we can, and should, train as much as we’re able to so that we’re as prepared as possible. But how do you train your mind?

How much force should be used when defending your family?

The United States Military and Law Enforcement Agencies across the United States have policies/rules that guide their use of force in any given situation. These policies are called by different names; Escalation of Force, Use of Force Ladder, Deadly Force Ladder, Deadly Force Continuum, Use of Force Continuum, etc., and they all appear interchangeable. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) prefers to call them “The Use-Of-Force Continuum”, but despite the different titles they all provide guidelines regarding how much force can be used against a person, which also can be used as guideposts much like the EOF (Escalation of Force). (Just a special note here: The Deadly Force Continuum, or Escalation of Force, is used in some part with our Military’s Rules of Engagement. So you can see that these guidelines are used by all types of organizations that deal with potential threats.).

Disclaimer: Before going any further, please make note that each state and country has laws regarding the use of weapons and deadly force. This article only pertains to a time when there is a direct absence of the Rule of Law. As mentioned before, these are simply guidelines that are set up to dictate how much force we use and when. This article does not replace local, city, state, country, or global (?) laws.

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