The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law

Attorney Andrew Branca has distilled the laws in all 50 states that concern themselves with self-defense. He says, “There are at most 5 elements to any self-defense case (and often not even that many). That’s true in every one of the 50 states, and all US territories.”

The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law are:

  • Innocence
  • Imminence
  • Proportionality
  • Avoidance
  • Reasonableness

Don’t Wait: Do

WWII US General George Patton gave a series of speeches to troops of the United States Third Army in 1944, prior to the Allied invasion of France. According to the article in Wikipedia, the speeches were intended to motivate the inexperienced Third Army for its pending combat duty. In the speeches, Patton urged his soldiers to do their duty regardless of personal fear, and he exhorted them to aggressiveness and constant offensive action. Here’s an excerpt:

“My men don’t dig foxholes. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have or ever will have…. I don’t want any messages saying ‘I’m holding my position.’ We’re not holding a[ny]thing. We’re advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding anything…. Our plan of operation is to advance and keep on advancing….”

A Simple Chart for Situational Awareness

The late Col. Jeff Cooper’s observational “Color Code” has been taught for many years. He simplified situational awareness into four levels of escalating degrees of preparation for readiness to overcome any threat. This system is a mental process, not a physical one, and should be used at all times.

Col. Jeff Cooper's Situational Awareness Chart

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