Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Disparity of Force

I came across the terminology "Disparity of Force" in a clip of Massad Ayoob explaining "Stand Your Ground Law" that was posted by Marc MacYoung on his FaceBook page. Before we continue, you might want to listen to the below 16.5 minute clip and get an idea what the terminology means.

I'm not here to discuss about Gun Control, Castle Law, or even Stand Your Ground Law, as they are actually irrelevant to where I am right now, Indonesia. Here in Indonesia, civilians don't have the right to have firearms. There was even a time having bladed weapons could get you into serious trouble. The only people that have firearms are police officers, military, and the bad guys, including terrorists. So this won't be the topic of this entry. But at a personal level, if you do practice martial arts then I think you should try to familiarize yourself with all types of weapons, ancient or modern.

The Disparity of Force is an important concept that all those who practice martial arts and self defense understand. As explained in the clip, the Disparity of Force is when one has a clear advantage of dominating the other person, by means of weapons or not. A bigger person may clearly be able to beat a person of a smaller size to death, or an abled body person beating the life out of a handicapped person, is a Disparity of Force, though the person is unarmed.

As we've discussed before, if we talk about martial arts we are talking about warfare, which it's either you kill or be killed kind of battlefield situation, and you do want to have the upper hand at all times in order to be able to execute this. Even when your opponent is disabled, you are going to "finish the job". Warfare has a different rule than self defense in a civilian setting.

In the civilian setting, it is not that simple. I see this as people that are actually defending themselves become the attacker because they simply don't know the lines when to stop. You may be the person that is initially being attacked, but you are maybe skillfull or lucky, you were able to get the upper hand or somehow disable the initial attacker, but you proceed on beating the guy perhaps to the point of death. In this case, you will need a very good reason why you did it. Or the tables are turned, fearing for his life, the initial attacker actually killed you instead, and he could actually get away with claiming self defense.

I am not familiar with the law down here, but it is usually vague at best. We have pick pockets or robbers lynched mob, humiliated, killed, burned, and not one of those mobs got prosecuted or even arrested. So maybe those lines are ignored here, especially if it's too difficult for the police to investigate, and they don't want to be unpopular by sympathizing with the thief rather than the mob doing their brand of "justice". A lynch mob is clearly a  Disparity of Force, and by right I should be able to defend myself or retaliate using lethal force, but that may not be the case here.

Going away from that as Indonesian Law is not my forte, and should be discussed with somebody that has more expertise in the subject matter.

This entry is just a word of caution to fellow practitioners out there to know their boundaries. Just because the tables are turned and you are having an advantage over the initial attacker, now that person who was attacking will start claiming self defense and get you into trouble with the law. We heard stories of people fighting, and the person that initiated the fight in turn claimed self defense. Which is a lot of crap, but if that person knows how to manage the situation better than you, then you will be on the short end of the stick and going to jail or at least sued. You will need to understand martial arts and self defense in the civilian context.