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Self Defense — From America’s Foremost Expert & Gun Culture Supporter

2,527 words

Massad Ayoob
Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense
Iola, WI: Gun Digest Books, 2014

In the wake of Charlottesville and other street battles between pro-whites and the Antifa, it is a good idea to take a look at the legal aspects of self-defense. For unlike movies and TV shows where the villain is killed by the hero and the show ends with the hero honored by all, violent self-defense has serious legal ramifications that could last for years. Fatal shootings have even more legal ramifications. It is thus important to understand the ins and outs of legal self-defense.

The expert on the matter is Massad Ayoob, an assimilated Yankee New Englander of Arab stock who is a “cop’s cop.” What’s remarkable about Ayoob’s career isn’t his long time wearing the badge and walking the beat, but his service as an expert witness regarding firearms and self-defense. Ayoob crystalizes his experiences and considerable body of research on self-defense in his book Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense.

Ayoob approaches the issue from a Civic Nationalist, pro-gun point of view. [1] He mentions racial issues, but doesn’t explore them further. From a white advocacy point of view, the problem of “gun violence” in the United States isn’t “guns,” it is non-whites — especially blacks — with guns. Ignoring the broad interpretations of the Second Amendment, why isn’t there a movement to keep guns out of the hands of crime-prone blacks and other non-whites, while leaving gun rights for whites intact?

When is it OK to Shoot?

Ayoob writes, “The set of circumstances that justifies the use of deadly force is a situation of immediate danger of death or great bodily harm to oneself or other innocent persons. Since deadly force is normally only allowed as a last resort, the danger should be otherwise unavoidable and not created by the defender himself.” [2]

To put it simply, a self-defense shooting is justified when a person has a reasonable fear for their life. This must be reasonable fear, not “blind” fear. There is more leeway for cops regarding reasonable fear than civilians. A person appearing to reach for a gun, such as the late Philando Castile, does, as we saw by the results of the trial of the cop who killed him, cross the threshold for reasonable fear leading to a legal shooting. [3]

Furthermore, weapons of deadly force are all legally equal even if you have an AR-15 and they only have a knife. It is always reasonable to shoot someone armed with a knife or bludgeon who you reasonably believe is trying to kill you. It is also reasonable to shoot someone trying to run you over with a car, but otherwise “unarmed.” Indeed, as the public has come to know due to blessings of Islamic immigration, a car is a most deadly weapon. Additionally, overwhelming disparities in size and fitness between two parties in a dispute, such as a 200-pound muscled young man vs. a “little old lady,” can justify a deadly self-defense shooting on the part of the smaller person.

Even armed with a knife, club, car, or the “fists of steel” of an athlete, an attacker doesn’t need to be in arm’s reach of the person shooting in self-defense. In 1983, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Dennis Tueller discovered and then published the fact that an attacker armed with a contact weapon such as a knife could cross a distance of 21 feet in less than a second and a half. In his own experiments, Ayoob found that fat people, old people, children, and even people in wheelchairs could cross 21 feet in less than 2 seconds. In other words, legally, even a distance of 21 feet is close enough to be a just self-defense shooting. With all things legal though there are exceptions and mitigating circumstances. A shooting isn’t always justified within 21 feet and not necessarily unjustified outside that distance. Again, one must have a reasonable fear for one’s life and the shooting must be unavoidable, and the deadly situation not created by the defender himself.

Thou Shalt Nots of Firearm Self-Defense

Ayoob gives some good “thou shalt nots” of self-defense and backs up his ideas with many examples from the field. Before getting too deep into the “thou shalt nots,” one additional thing must be discussed. If you are in a dispute you think could lead to deadly violence, be the first one to call the police. By calling 911, one gets into “the system” as a victim. When dealing with a government agency like the police, such bureaucratic trifles set the tone for all that follows. If one is dealing with a long-running dispute with a stalker, neighbor, etc. that could turn deadly, get your side of the story documented by the police after any and all negative interactions with that person. Should the situation come to a head in a just self-defense shooting, the documentation will go a long way in proving one didn’t just shoot the neighbor/stalker/whomever out of spite. With that said:

  • Don’t compromise truth. After the dust settles, don’t disturb the scene, plant a knife, or give a false statement. There will likely be witnesses even if you don’t see someone during the shooting. Additionally, forensic science has advanced enough that the truth will come out that the knife was “planted.” If you’ve lied, you’re done.
  • Don’t flee the scene — in most legal circumstances, flight equals guilt.
  • Don’t shoot “anyone” entering your house. One can’t shoot the FedEx guy, cleaning lady, or milkman out of blind fear. Shooting the repairman you didn’t expect to show up because your spouse coordinated the repair and forgot to tell you won’t fly as a justified shooting with any judge or jury.
  • Don’t provoke a situation then “fear for your life” and shoot. This could be a big show stopper for white advocates. Going to a rally could be seen as “provoking a situation” by a hostile jury mad that one of their fellow townspeople was killed by “neo-Nazis.” It might also work the other way, white advocates have a right to speech and protection by the state. The Antifa could be “provoking a situation.” Either way, it’s always going to be an open question. A white advocate caught up in this situation now must focus on private legal matters, not The Cause.
  • Don’t fake a heart attack or health problems after a shooting. You’ll get found out, you’ve compromised the truth, and wasted the time of medical staff. Fake health issues and your goose is cooked.
  • Don’t shoot “warning shots.” Ayoob gives a great many details to why “warning shots” are bad. To boil it down to the essentials, warning shots wastes ammo one may need as the fight continues. They are also a tactical mistake in that your eyes leave the target. They also incur charges one can be convicted of even if the shooting of the “bad guy” turns out to be justified. For example, the bullet fired from your warning shot might zip by a daycare, endangering the lives of children. This isn’t anarcho-tyranny, there are plenty of legal precedents against “warning shots.” A warning shot also tells a judge and jury a tacit admission that even by your own lights, you knew deadly force was not justified at the time you fired. Warning shots can confuse your partners as to what is going on and may lead to more tragedies. [4]
  • Don’t shoot to “make sure he’s dead.” When you’re out of danger, you must stop shooting. Also, don’t shoot at someone fleeing. At the same time, you’re not finished in a later trial if you emptied the magazine into the perpetrator and there are bullet holes in his back, because bodies spin as they fall, the fight is fast and confusing, the gun shoots fast, etc. Again, when you’re out of danger you must stop shooting.

Ayoob adds a few do’s:

  • Do expect to take the stand in a trial for a justified shooting. Pleading the Fifth in these cases doesn’t look good to a jury. In trials where the shooter is known and the only question is whether or not the shooting is justified the defendant must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is in the right. In these cases, the defendant usually must take the stand. [5]
  • Do expect to get sued, even for a justified shooting. Anyone can sue anyone else for anything. If you are involved in a shooting at your house you might have some help from your insurance company.

If you ever get involved in a shooting, Ayoob has a five-point checklist for what you should do:

  1. Establish the “active dynamic.” That is to say, let the authorities know immediately what happened. You must show what the other person was doing that caused you to shoot. Say, “he tried to kill me,” or “he tried to rape my wife,” etc. NOT “I shot him.”
  2. Advise the police that you will sign the complaint. You need to establish the fact that you are the victim-complainant and the other guy was “the bad guy” forcing you to shoot. (For technical reasons, Ayoob advises not to use the phrase “I will press charges.” This is a TV/movie thing, and in some jurisdictions only the District Attorney can “press charges.” You might step on toes with that phrase when you need to be humble.)
  3. Point out the evidence. The scene gets chaotic with cops, bystanders, ambulances, etc. They may move or alter the evidence. If your shooting is just, all undisturbed evidence will help you.
  4. Point out the witnesses. Nobody wants to be caught up in a trial, miss work, become a target for criminals, or get publically abused like the famous witness Kato Kaelin. If they leave the scene unidentified you’ve lost testimony to your innocence. In a just shooting, all evidence will help you. Even lying witnesses who were friends of the guy you shot will get tripped up in court and that will help you also.
  5. Once the above is done, politely decline further questioning until you have a lawyer.

Ayoob also adds his 10 Commandments for Concealed Carry:

I: If you Choose to Carry, Always Carry as Much As Possible (i.e. big enough caliber, and spare ammo).

II: Don’t Carry A Gun If You Aren’t Prepared to Use It (know how to shoot and be aware of your surroundings.)

III: Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless (there is a classic Johnny Cash song on this theme…) [6]

IV: Carry Legally (Get the permits, fill out the paperwork, pay the fees, and know the law in your state.)

V: Know what you are doing.

VI: Concealed means Concealed (don’t scare people with part of your shooting iron sticking out or otherwise visible in some way.)

VII: Maximize your Firearms Familiarity.

VIII: Understand the Fine Points (state law and city law may be different.)

IX: Carry an Adequate Firearm (.22 and .25 caliber is too small, use what the police or military uses.)

X: Use Common Sense.

When choosing a self-defense weapon, there are some other considerations. As mentioned before,  your self-defense gun, your possession of the gun, and the ammo must be legal. Ayoob even recommends hollow points (if legal in your area.)

Don’t be an idiot.

Don’t get a self-defense gun with a macho brand name like Cobra or high-testosterone symbols like a “Punisher” skull. Don’t get a gun with a “hair-trigger” pull. Furthermore, use factory-made ammo, not home-loaded ammo. Don’t use bullets such as “Zombie Killer” ammo or the anti-Muslim “pig-greased” ammo. In these matters, you must be seen as a solid citizen who isn’t immature or reckless. Anti-Muslim “pig-greased” ammo, “Punisher” skulls on the pistol grip, and other macho stuff will imply something about your personality you might not want brought up in court.

Self-Defense and White Advocacy Post-Charlottesville

So many white advocates have been tripped up with firearms that Johnny Cash’s song about not taking your guns to town is probably the best advice. However, this advice must be tempered with the knowledge that Antifa is a dangerous force. [7] In this circumstance, the right answer is that the legitimate authorities are obligated to protect the speech of white advocates and white advocates must demand that protection even in light of the Charlottesville fiasco. White advocates must focus on ensuring their message gets out in as many ways as possible. It is probably time to focus on owning web hosting services, fundraising applications, etc. It is also a good idea to focus resources on the issue of legal ownership of a domain name on the internet. White advocates have a large, growing audience. [8] They don’t need to brawl, they need to communicate.


[1] Ayoob followed the Trayvon Martin case in his blog. He points out many of the legal ins and outs of the trial. One thing we haven’t yet seen is a “neo-Nazi” going free after shooting a colored attacker. So far, most white advocates caught up in a shooting get convicted. (See the write-ups about Ben Klassen and Richard Butler on the SPLC’s website for more details.) Your shooting might be legal, but white advocacy is always going to be a burden in a trial.

[2] Massad Ayoob, Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense (Iola, WI: Gun Digest Books, 2014), p. 20.


[4] For further reading: Ayoob is so certain that “warning shots” are a bad idea he did a radio show about it, you can listen here:

[5] Massad Ayoob mentions, and disagrees (to a degree) with the video that went viral about not saying anything to police if questioned for a crime. In a justified shooting, you must get your side of the story out immediately.


[7] The authorities must move against Antifa. Should “the state” fail to keep order between two political factions, we have a situation such as Bleeding Kansas in the 1850s and society moves along the road to civil war. Furthermore, while the Antifa might get temporary, conditional Middle American support by attacking “neo-Nazis” carrying torches, they also attack mainstream businesses, city property, Republicans, churchgoers, moderate Democrats, and police in liberal cities like Portland and Seattle. Everyone is thus a potential “neo-Nazi.” Antifa’s continued shenanigans will not continue to be tolerated. That is to say won’t be tolerated, unless the political elite is so hostile and spitefully Semitic that they choose to go all in with Antifa and let it all come crashing down.

[8] This poll shows that 10% of respondents feel “neo-Nazis” have a point. Furthermore, read the comments on former Vice President Joe Biden’s response to Charlottesville: One comment, from Media_Bladders reads:

Yep, Biden claims that Trump has emboldened white supremacists — but he was noticeably silent when Obama invited Black Lives Matter to the White House and whipped up racial tensions in Ferguson and Baltimore, not to mention sticking his nose in the Trayvon Martin case before the evidence had even been gathered.

Face it, Joe, racial animosity got worse during the 8 years you spent as Vice President. Don’t try to act like you give a crap now — maybe you and your boss should have tried to extinguish the fire with something other than gasoline.


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  1. Raylan Crowder
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Another terrific write-up by the author with many good, common sense points of advice that usually fly over most folks heads. CC and AmRen are really putting out some great content at the moment. With all the Antifa violence and BLM rioting going on right now, quite a few of my friends and family members have moved further to the right.

  2. Ambrose Kane
    Posted September 1, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    This is an important article that White advocates really need to hear. One might think that among 2nd amendment supporters, such common sense basics would not have to be explained to them. Yet this is not the case. I have heard some of the most ludicrous scenarios shared by gun folks as ways to justify a shooting (e.g., “If you shoot them in the back as they’re running away off your property, make sure to drag their bodies back onto your property line before calling the cops”).

    The reality is that any shooting is going to be carefully investigated by homicide detectives and, contrary to what some folks think, these guys aren’t stupid (plus, they have almost endless resources to investigate a matter). A shooting is going to be especially reviewed with a critical eye if the shooter is a White nationalist. And if the victim is a minority, well, you better pray it’s not only a justifiable shooting, but prepared to spend lots of money for a good attorney.

    As I’ve said before, Whites – especially racially conscious Whites – need to be smarter than those who vilify us. We need to be prepared, have a plan, and think ahead so that if we find ourselves having to employ justifiable deadly force, we at least know what we’re getting ourselves into. Granted, no one is really ready for the extreme pressures that will weigh upon the person forced to use his or her firearm (even cops are greatly stressed by the process and a good many careers have ended afterwards due to the emotional trauma of it all), but it’s ten times worse when the shooter lacks good judgment and is unskilled in his firearm.

    Also, and I know the great Ayoob would agree, you’ll best avoid having to use a gun if you don’t go to places where the likelihood of a violent encounter is greater – such as bars, racially mixed sporting events, and anywhere Blacks and Hispanics gather in large groups. You need to always be aware of your surroundings, and you MUST learn to control your emotions, and consciously avoid problems and public disputes with people you encounter. This is the level of responsibility you bear when you choose to carry a concealed handgun.

  3. Mac
    Posted September 2, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Never thought I’d see Massad Ayoob mentioned here, a pleasant surprise to be sure, he’s one of a handful of people that can genuinely be called an expert on guns in my opinion. His advice is good but I’d be even more cautious than he suggests nowadays. Things are so bad that my current rule is that, outside my house, I would only use deadly force against an assailant if he was so dead to rights that it’d be nigh impossible to convict me. Unless you’re beaten half to death, and even then, you can’t be sure that you won’t get charged with something. On the other hand there’s pepper spray, which should everyone should carry, the laws surrounding it’s use are generally lax and it is effective, up to a point. I’d recommend keeping some on hand even if you’re carrying a gun, more options is always good especially if they’re non lethal. If you can’t carry or own a gun then the next best thing in my opinion is the Byrna HD which shoots balls that break open on impact releasing some nasty pepper spray / tear gas mix. It shoots with enough force to leave bruises, it has a range of at least 30 feet which is a lot more than most pepper sprays and it won’t be affected by wind. Like pepper spray it’s not deadly force so you have a lot more leeway of when you can use it and it’s probably the next best thing to an actual gun or tazer- which can also be legally sketchy. Basically, any type of defense that isn’t deadly is preferable, if possible. Obviously there’s situations where there’s no other choice but unjust prosecution can ruin your life in multiple ways, even if you beat the charges you’ll likely have spent a fortune on a lawyer to do so. Anything that can legally be used against you should be mitigated as much as reasonably possible.

    Always remember that law enforcement will do everything within it’s power to screw you if you ever use a deadly weapon in self defense even if it’s totally justified, let alone actually using deadly force. As soon as a gun is out in the open you’re liable to be charged, regardless of whether you use it or not, even if your life is genuinely in danger, it doesn’t matter. Not only will the incident itself will be looked at under a high powered microscope but your entire personal life, they’ll look for anything that makes you look even remotely unsympathetic as an excuse to charge you. Even the caliber of the gun you’re using can be used as justification to charge and convict you, that’s what happened to Harold Fish in 2006, that’s a prime example of how utterly insane our justice system is and it’s only going to get worse for whites going forward. The counter balance to all this is that it’s better to be alive and have your day in kangaroo court than be dead. Every sane white person should get legally armed with whatever is at their disposal, learn their local laws and train, we can’t count anyone else to protect us.

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