Michelle Pickett, a rising star in firearms training in general and already a star in training females in self-defense shooting, is hosting a great class at the awesome Volusia Gun Club in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She has an all-star class of instructors in many shooting, self-defense, and casualty care topics.  You can get info at MichellePickett.com.  Michelle is as great a host as she is a trainer, and the Volusia club is a joy to shoot at. The Evil Princess and I shoot a match there every year, and a few days ago competed in their Glock match.  We both managed top ten placements and I’ve been told I earned a pistol prize.

Michelle recently hosted Gail and me at her facility in Micanopy, Florida for a self-defense principles lecture to a primarily female audience.  Women more than men are likely to have to resort to a gun to protect themselves from big, strong, violent males.  In 1991, law professor Holly Maguigan did a study of murder convictions that were reversed on appeal. Overall, the odds were poor: only 8.5% succeeded in getting their convictions overturned. Looking at subsets, however, Maguigan found that fully 40% of women convicted of murder won their appeals!

I suspect a great many of those wrongful convictions resulted from the common myth that “it’s never self-defense to shoot an unarmed man.” On the contrary, the law has long recognized the concept of “disparity of force.”  It applies when the unarmed attacker is so likely to cause death or great bodily harm if his vicious assault continues, that his advantage becomes the equivalent of a deadly weapon and warrants the victims recourse to a per se deadly weapon such as a gun in legitimate self-defense.

Disparity of force can take many forms. Force of numbers with multiple assailants. An attacker much larger and stronger than the intended victim. An assailant known, or obviously recognizable, as highly skilled in unarmed combat.  Disparity of force might take the form of position of disadvantage: you might be equally matched, but he is smashing your head against a brick wall and you have no other way to stop him.  It might be an able-bodied man attacking a handicapped victim, even if the handicap takes place during the course of the instant assault. Just this month I testified for a man with the proverbial “eggshell skull” who was charged with attempted murder after he used his .45 against a 250-pound ex-bouncer who smashed the defendant’s head to the floor; after a week of trial, attorneys Don Hendry and Kris Parker won him an acquittal after only an hour of jury deliberation.

AND – that disparity of force often takes the form of a male attacking a female. My hat is off to people like Michelle Pickett and Professor Maguigan, whose work will save innocent women’s lives.

I hope you can make it to Bullets on the Beach. Even if you can’t, you might want to forward this to someone who can.


  1. Sounds like great class taught by a kick ass woman.
    Continued success and thanks to Michelle Pickett who is out there teaching women to take back control of their lives and safety.

  2. Watched your disparity of force video on Wilson Combat again last night! Very happy you’re bringing disparity of force to light. Keep up the good work really appreciate you spreading the knowledge.

  3. Now that I am over 65 I take some comfort in knowing that a younger and healthier attacker can be considered a disparity in force, if you are elderly with the many vicissitudes of health that go along with that. (Weasel-craft not withstanding)

  4. It’s so refreshing to hear good news. Underdogs triumphing over criminals makes for some of the best news possible. You would think that by this time in history, much of the human race would have figured out what true justice is when it comes to criminal violence, but sadly, the bad guys still do way too much winning. I know some of this is slanted by the news coverage. Justice doesn’t make headlines, but injustice does.

    In America, crime pays often enough, and punishment results in a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, where one can improve their physical shape, and learn from other criminals. So, there is no punishment, only incarceration.

    Think about this word, “gang.” It conjures up images of bad guys co-operating together as a team. Why does the word “gang” conjure up images of groups of bad guys? Why can’t good guys form “gangs”? The only good gang I can think of is The Guardian Angels. They have to be very careful not to overstep the bounds of the law, set by government. They don’t have a lot of power over the bad guys, they are volunteer helpers for the government.

    I know our criminal justice system was set up to function well, but it has been corrupted by bad individuals. That seems to happen in every system. Something can be set up well, and administered by good people. Over time, things will change, and humans will corrupt a good system. Character matters.

    Oh, now I have depressed myself again. Tell me more stories of women successfully resisting their attackers. On FoxNews, I saw a 24-year-old woman in a gym successfully fight off a rapist! Yahoo!! Yee Haa!! Yippee Ki Yi Yay!!

    • @ Roger Willco – “Over time, things will change, and humans will corrupt a good system.”

      Lord Acton is famous for the following quote:

      “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      In point of fact, I disagree with Lord Acton. He is taking a left-wing viewpoint here. He is saying that the people who gain governmental power were, initially, good and honest people. However, exposure to an outside, environmental social force (holding political power) corrupted them and turned them bad.

      This is pure left-wing thinking. The viewpoint that humans are basically good and all evil can be traced to some kind of exterior factor. It is the old idea that criminals are not responsible for crime. Rather crime comes from external forces like poverty, child abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, racism, gang social pressure, the easy availability of firearms, etc.

      This idea is the driving force behind left-wing ideology. That, to build the left-wing utopia, we must first build the perfect (Great) Society. A Great Society that eliminates all of these negative forces. The Left believes that a perfect environment will create perfect humans (just like in Star Trek with its “Federation of Planets”).

      Thus, the need for an all-powerful central government that controls every aspect of our economy and our lives. A super “Nanny” government that is strong enough to create that Great Society and generate the left-wing utopia populated by perfect humans.

      It is all Bull$h!t (pardon my French!).

      Lord Acton was Wrong! Rather, this is what happens.

      The Leftists work tirelessly to centralize power and create a Statist Government that totally dominates over the rights of the individual. They think they are creating their utopia by doing so.

      However, such a powerful government acts like a flame to a moth for power hungry criminals and psychopaths. They are drawn to that power like a cat to catnip. They need power like an addict needs heroin.

      So, what happens? The more powerful the central government becomes, the more it is dominated by power hungry criminals and psychopath. These people did not get corrupted by power, as per Lord Acton. Rather, they were evil, corrupt people right from the beginning who jumped into government to further their own power, wealth and ambition.

      So, each time the Leftists centralize power in their super government, instead of building utopia, they build a corrupt, criminal government that will end up robbing and abusing the people and spitting on the rights of the individual.

      Which is exactly where we are today in the USA.

      So, forget Lord Acton. Power does not corrupt. Rather, a powerful government will always turn corrupt because it will attract criminals and psychopaths like a carcass attracts flies!

      • TN_MAN,

        I agree 100%. A virtuous person will not be corrupted by power. A selfish, power-hungry person will appear to be corrupted by power, but what really happened is that, once he got power, his corrupt nature was on public display. He was corrupt before he got power, but it couldn’t be seen, except by those who were very close to him.

        I think I can name some corruption-proof people who would make good rulers; Job, Moses, and the Apostle Paul. If angels were to govern man, they would definitely not be corrupted by power.

        I agree also that if there is a big, fat prize tempting some weak person, he will try hard to obtain it. If a ruler is actually a servant of the people, has a modest salary, modest lifestyle, and modest amount of power, his position will be less attractive to tyrants. Hence, why it is important to keep American government small and limited.

        Look at Napoleon. It wasn’t enough for him to be crowned the King of France. No, he had to crown himself the Emperor of the French Empire. His ego was not satisfied with just being a king.

        Leftists think poverty breeds crime. I can see how poverty might tempt one to shoplift food, but there is no reason why poor people can’t be virtuous. They don’t have to be thieves, addicts or violent. Those are choices, and those choices might actually make one poorer, not richer.

        I do admit one odd thing which probably influences Leftists. I often see large homes that are well-kept. Sometimes I see small homes that are dumpy. The small home should be easier and cost less to take care of, so I would think it would be more common to see large, dumpy homes, instead of small, dumpy homes. But, for some reason, I tend to see more small, dumpy homes.

      • @ Roger Willco – “If angels were to govern man, they would definitely not be corrupted by power.”

        Not necessarily. Remember that Satan is considered to be a “fallen Angel” who (along with a set of disloyal angels) rebelled against God and were “cast out” in consequence.

        Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

        Clearly, this can include angels too. It absolutely includes fallible Human Beings. Another reason why the Left-Wing utopia will never exist. No environment, no matter how “Perfect” will ever create perfect human beings. It is not even theoretically possible.

        Quote of the Day:

        “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” — Immanuel Kant

      • TN_MAN,

        Good point. Lucifer was an archangel, and he corrupted himself, and rebelled against God, along with a bunch of other angels. So, yes, angels can be corrupted. I Timothy 5:21 mentions, “elect angels.” It may be that the elect angels cannot be corrupted.

        I love that quote by Immanuel Kant. I’ve mentioned before that utopia is impossible, but the closest mankind has ever come to it is Disney World in Orlando. It doesn’t qualify as a utopia, because no one lives there, inside the park. It is interesting that, while people can imagine perfection, they cannot attain it.

  5. I would welcome disparity of force discussion regarding us semi-crippled old farts. I am within a couple of days of your age and like you afflicted with arthritis and other ailments. Bottom line is I am an old man, look like one and walk like one. This gets me extra victim selection points which I would rather not have but I don’t get a choice. Running away is no longer an option unless I get a big head start which I endeavor to do.

  6. My father often said: Age and Treachery will outdo Youth and Enthusiasm. A respected boxer in his youth, he became cool and easy-going, but fierce when riled or cornered.

    Stay wise, wary, and aware my “old friends” ~ it will serve you well.

  7. In NC, we have one of the elements of Disparity of Force actually written as a statute – namely, Assault on a Female. It provides a higher level of punishment, clearly recognizing that on average, most women are not the physical equal of their (almost) universally male attackers. All other elements are strictly case law.

Comments are closed.