Is Someone's Size Enough To Justify Lethal Force?

Jan-Marcus-Trapp / Pixabay

I’m not a particularly large man. When I’m on the plus-side of the scale, I’m fat, but I’m still not big. No one feels threatened by me, but some big men actually do cause that reaction in people. Especially during some kind of altercation.

Yet is someone’s size enough to justify lethal force?

Frankly, it would probably depend on the situation, but as a general rule, someone just arguing with you who happens to be huge isn’t going to be enough to justify feeling afraid for your life, as one Illinois man found out.

A sworn affidavit said the Friday afternoon argument in the 1400 block of North Union Street started with a neighbor over damage the neighbor’s child had allegedly caused to the 75-year-old armed man’s car.

Then the 31-year-old, 300-pound man intervened and the confrontation escalated. The sworn affidavit noted the armed man and the bigger man “do not actively get along.”

The affidavit said witnesses describe the older man first pulling the .380 handgun and pointing it at the bigger man saying “I’ll (expletive) kill you.” The older man was then described as dashing into his residence and emerging armed with the shotgun, cocked and held at the “ready position.”

He told police the younger man was armed and he had to defend himself. “… So I asked if he ever produced a weapon?” said Officer Jacob Stewart who signed the affidavit.

“(The older man) advised (the younger man) was armed with ‘300 pounds of body weight’ compared to his 150-pound frame … He advised he would have shot (the younger man) without question if he stepped onto his property.”

The police didn’t buy that, though. Now, the older man in question is in jail charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated assault. Granted, this is Illinois, but still…

Look, I get being intimidated by a guy who at least appears to be 300 pounds. You definitely don’t want to get into a brawl with the dude, that’s for sure.

However, nothing in the report suggests any kind of an actual threat. Just being big isn’t enough to justify someone pulling a gun on them. Unfortunately, I know plenty of people who may well think that way. “I’m too old to take a butt-whoopin’,” some say. However, this wasn’t even to that point.

Folks, it’s an argument. If you don’t want to argue with a 300-pound man, then don’t. This sparked off because of supposed damage to the older man’s car. What he should have done is called the police and let them handle it. He didn’t. Instead, he apparently confronted the neighbor’s child, thus prompting the large neighbor to get involved.

Truth be told, anyone who tries to confront my kid about something will probably have to talk to me as well.

Regardless, though, a big guy isn’t grounds to fear for your life. Especially if he’s not making active threats against you. If he screams, “I’m going to rip you in half” and you’re on the small side, then, maybe, but not just arguing.

Unfortunately, people don’t know how to cope with disagreement these days, and that includes many gun owners.

Folks, don’t do this. Size matters, sure, but it doesn’t count as a weapon in and of itself, so don’t make a fool of yourself because you’re afraid. Learn to handle yourself. Learn how to deescalate a situation. Don’t think a gun is a problem solver for every situation and make the rest of us look bad, OK?