In Self Defense - Episode 81: OC Spray With Chuck Haggard: Part2 - CCW Safe National | CCW Safe Weapon Liability | CCW Safe Defense Attorneys
In Self Defense - Episode 81: OC Spray With Chuck Haggard: Part2

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In Self Defense - Episode 81: OC Spray With Chuck Haggard: Part 2

In Part 2 of Shawn Vincent and Don West’s conversation with Chuck Haggard, Chuck describes the different types of OC spray, how to train with OC, and he provides some tactical considerations regarding how and when it is appropriate to deploy OC, and what the goal of using OC spray is.


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TRANSCRIPT:

Shawn Vincent:

Hi everybody, this is Shawn Vincent, thanks for listening in today. Today is going to be part two of our conversation with Chuck Haggard. Chuck Haggard is a long-time law enforcement officer and he's also a self-defense instructor. He's got a business called Agile Training and Consulting, you can find him at agiletactical.com. One thing Chuck's well known for is instructing people on the use of OC spray, that's pepper spray. He teaches in terms of law enforcement and in civilian self-defense. And last time we were speaking to Chuck, our conversation ended with a conversation about how pepper spray, as opposed to practically any other type of self-defense weapon, is socially acceptable to be displayed in public. That is: you could carry it in your hands while you traversed a dark and remote parking lot at night and you wouldn't attract negative attention. In fact, we're going to start our conversation out today about that as a tactic, using pepper spray to negotiate what Chuck calls “transitional spaces,” places like parking lots where you could be more prone to an assault.

Shawn Vincent:

We're going to look at the different types of OC spray, cone-shaped mists, streams, gels, and foams. We're talking about the goal of using pepper spray, in fact, the goal of all self-defense. which is to break contact with an attacker, to turn the fight off, so to speak. We'll talk a little bit about personal space and setting boundaries and enforcing those boundaries if they're not respected, OC spray plays a part in that. The value of verbal commands in a potential assault situation, how to train with pepper spray -- they make inert products that allow you to experiment with different formats to find out what works best for you.

Shawn Vincent:

And the overriding theme here is that using a little bit of force early in a self-defense scenario can keep you from using a lot of force later, and after you've been through this conversation I hope you'll agree that having pepper spray or OC spray as part of your self-defense toolkit is something that every armed defender should consider. We'll be joined by Steve Moses, firearms instructor and CCW Safe contributor, also Don West, he's National Trial Counsel for CCW Safe and a veteran criminal defense attorney. Thanks again for listening in, here's our conversation with Chuck Haggard.


Shawn Vincent:

So, Chuck, we've talked to Steve that part of navigating that uncomfortable encounter is one, like demonstrating that you're not an easy victim for this perpetrator and having some pepper spray out and ready to go is not a bad way to start demonstrating that you're not an easy picking, yeah?

Chuck Haggard:

I believe that it is. If you look at predation behavior in nature is, well one, it's these transitional spaces that, where do the lions on the Plains of Serengeti go to wait for food. They don't randomly wander around, they go sit at the waterholes and things like that, where they have more selection to look at. And then part of what they look at is, are they going to chase the full-sized, in his prime Cape Buffalo that can put up a fight? Or are they going to chase that one over there that looks a little older and he's got a limp? They're going to go after the guy with the limp.

Chuck Haggard:

So they're looking for most criminal assaults or a transaction and they are using you for something like a human ATM. So there is a cost-benefit analysis that goes into this sort of behavior, and nobody walks up and snatches a purse because they believe, if they look over there and they're like, "You know what? I bet that little old lady is going to shoot me if I try to grab her purse," they're probably not going to try to grab her purse. If they're walking up to me to . . . this is a financial transaction to them, if now all of a sudden they're going to get covered in pepper spray and somebody's going to put up a fight, they're going to go look elsewhere for an easier target.

Chuck Haggard:

One of my friends that's sadly no longer with us, William Aprill, who famously talked about, part of what a street encounter can be is basically an interview, you're being interviewed for the position of robbery victim let's say. And what you want to do is fail the interview as William was going to say. It's like you're a great white shark and you're swimming through the ocean and you see a whale. Is the whale taking a nap or did the whale die of a heart attack? Do you have a buffet to choose from or you're going to get your butt kicked? So what do sharks do? They go bump their prey to see if it's going to put up a fight, to see if it's going to be dangerous because they don't want to get hurt or killed. Well, what they want is easy pickings.

Shawn Vincent:

Got you. So tell me a little bit about how you navigate this encounter now. You're committed to this less-lethal option, you've got your OC spray and I think when I ask you to set up the scenario for us, I'd love for you to explore, Chuck, when is OC a good option and when does it cease to be a good option tactically?

Steve Moses:

Hey Shawn, before we go any further, I'd like to insert something.

Shawn Vincent:

I'd love it, Steve, please.

Steve Moses:

Okay. I would like Chuck to come back and revisit the four common types of spray, the aerosol, the stream, the gel, and the foam, and talk specifically about the advantages and disadvantages of each for a concealed carrier, especially based on where they may think they're most likely to use it. For instance, am I likely to use that in a club? Am I likely to use that in a church? Et cetera. So Chuck, would you do that please?

Chuck Haggard:

Oh, most certainly. So I started out my career with probably the most ubiquitous type of early spray, it was the cone-shaped mist that comes out in a fog pattern, and it actually accomplishes what people think shotguns accomplish, in that it spreads out wide and you can hit a target very easily. So cone-shaped mist tends to be effective on the street, four to six feet away, which is interpersonal violence distance right outside the edge of where somebody can assault you. So it tends to work real well. You can engulf somebody's face and head with a cloud of pepper spray and hit them in both eyes. It affects their respiratory tract, causes coughing real bad, causes a lot of inflammation to the face and the eyes of the mucus membrane. So it tends to be almost instantly effective and it's very easy to get an effective hit with.

Chuck Haggard:

It can be used in other scenarios that . . . when I'm talking about different things in classes. It depends on how you use it. Some things people look at, it's neither a bug nor a feature, it's just how it applies to your scenario at hand. Cone-Shaped mist is more affected by a crosswind, which we get a lot of here in Kansas and some other places, so that can affect your reach with it or where it goes after you spray it. If you really misjudge and you spray it directly into a strong headwind, then that's going to be a situation that you're probably going to quickly regret. So it tends to be very, very effective and what I've used for most of my law enforcement career.

Chuck Haggard:

Streamer is a much more cohesive stream, tends to have a longer range, it's much more target-specific, tends to stick to what you hit, what you sprayed, will off-gas and have some respiratory effect, not quite as much as a cone-shaped mist. You have to have more accuracy to make it effective in that you have to aim for the bad guy's eyes and you have to hit them in both eyes ideally for it to be really effective. Some possibility of cross-contamination if you have bystanders, but much less than with a cone-shaped mist. And then you have the gels and the foams, which I lump a little bit together. Gels tend to act like a streamer except they don't off-gas at all, they don't have any respiratory effect. What they're made to do is stick to the target and not have any bystander effect. These have been utilized by a lot of people such as hospital security and people like that, where you really don't want to have any bystander involvement because of the nature of the venue you're in.

Chuck Haggard:

Personally, I'm not a fan of gels because I note that they tend to have a very delayed reaction. I've personally been sprayed with gel spray and in training, I've utilized it on students in training. It tends to have a very slow effect kicking in. The other one is foam. Basically, it comes out in a splatter. When people think foam, they think shaving cream or something like that. It's a real wet foam, it almost turns into a thick liquid very shortly after hitting the target, but it has a physical effect if you hit a bad guy in the eyes, of having a physical barrier to their vision, like you put a blindfold on them with the added effect of a pepper spray, so you have the pepper spray effect which causes involuntary eye closure, inflammatory response, things like that.

Chuck Haggard:

And a couple of the pepper foam products can be really good products. Again, no respiratory effect at all, it is concentrated on the one person that you sprayed. So I recommend those for... I've worked with clients who are hospital security, who are jail staff, things like that, where they want to give up the respiratory effects of the spray so that they can ensure that bystanders or part of their clientele aren't affected by any of the respiratory effects.

Shawn Vincent:

That's interesting. And we talked a little bit earlier about law enforcement has been using OC spray for a long time, now the civilian defender market is aware of OC spray, there are different priorities, right? Law enforcement involved subduing someone that they're going to have to arrest. As a civilian defender, what's the goal in using pepper spray?

Chuck Haggard:

I would say breaking contact. If you can, let's say you were about to be physically assaulted or purse snatched or a strong arm robbery or some sort of whatever caused the justified response for you to pepper spray that person. What that allows you to do is not have to fistfight that person because you can spray them at a distance outside of fist fighting range, and then allow you to break contact without making physical contact with that person and get away to safety. That's the whole point of it.

Shawn Vincent:

We're not trying to win a fight here; we're trying to avoid a fight.

Chuck Haggard:

We're trying to turn the fight off. A term that I picked up a long time ago and I'm not sure where, was that OC tends to take the fight out of the fighter. So if they want to punch us in the face and now we give them a face full of pepper spray, it gives them something else to think about while we evacuate the area.

Shawn Vincent:

So if I'm being approached by somebody that I suspect means me harm, what does this look like? How does work as this gap closes? When do I deploy the OC spray? What's the effective operational range and what are the tactical considerations that I want to think about here?

Chuck Haggard:

Yeah. Depending on which spray you chose, you can have a few range variables and then environmental conditions, how hard is the wind blowing, things like that can certainly have an effect. But even with the cones and the streams, most people are going to be utilizing this stuff somewhere between four and eight feet away. So just outside the range of somebody's ability to punch you in the face which is where you want it to be, because we think about eight feet away as the outside of a social dist . . . I don't mean social distancing in the COVID era. But say, if you're going to walk up to a stranger and you don't want to invade their airspace as it were, say you're going to ask them for directions or, "Sir, can you tell me what time it is?" You're going to be farther out than you would be walking up and talking to a friend, somebody that you know and you're having a conversation with those bubbles of close personal body space will flex with the familiarity that we have with the person we're interacting with.

Chuck Haggard:

So if you have somebody approaching you and you are uncomfortable, you know, "Why is this guy walking up on me here at the cart corral, at the Walmart parking lot or wherever you happen to be, and you give him the palms out, have you have your stance. Say they're walking up, because a common ruse is to ask somebody for money so that they can get in closer and facilitate something like a mugging or something like that. So just to have a scenario that everybody can relate to. So the guy's walking up, utilizing a ruse of trying to get a dollar from you to get inside your personal space to facilitate a physical assault, and you ask him to stay back, "Hey buddy, could you stay right there for me? You're really making me nervous." And they continue to encroach and now you're not going to be nice about it, you yell at him to stop and to stay back. And you've set that boundary. To steal some wording from some of the Me Too movement and that sort of thing nowadays with the ladies, people utilize the term setting boundaries. What you're doing is setting boundaries.

Chuck Haggard:

But what I don't hear a lot of is what do you do to enforce those boundaries if they're not respected? So once you get to the point like, "Hey buddy, can you stay back? You're really making me nervous." And you're utilizing language, "Sorry buddy, I can't help you out. I don't have any cash on me," or things like that and they continue to encroach and yell for them to stop and they're still displaying that behavior where they're trying to physically encourage upon you. That's one of the scenarios where I would say that you would utilize pepper spray to break contact with that person that you verbally have confirmed that they have some sort of ill intent against you, and that they're not stopping their encroaching behavior. And if you paint a good picture of that encounter, what you are articulating is a reasonable fear of physical assault or some sort of criminal behavior of predation, like, "I thought the guy was going to punch me. I thought the guy was going to mug me. I asked him to stop three different times, I yelled for him to stop, he's continuing to come. I'm moving backward, he's continuing to come after me. I felt I had no choice but to spray him and then try to get away and call 911.

Shawn Vincent:

Yeah, and all that Chuck, right here you're using movement, posture, and verbal commands to establish boundaries. Each boundary they pass opens the door up wider to your justification for using this less-lethal tool that you have got.

Chuck Haggard:

When you think about it, you kind of done, you know the old army thing where you got somebody in the dark and they do the whole, "Who goes there?" So you're doing that here, you're confirming ill intent through this procedure, through these tactics. Sometimes it's just more open than that. We had a case here and I just saw another one that was a similar deal. A lady's walking out to her car, already has her key chain and pepper spray in her hand, a guy just runs up and tries to knock her down and grab her purse. It's a straight-up physical assault. And this type of physical assault, men versus women, is not an uncommon physical or criminal assault paradigm. That's criminal dudes will be much more likely to run up and just try to manhandle or overpower a lady, taking her purse, taking her wallet, dragging them into the bushes or whatever the case may be, and having that pepper spray already in their hands, instantly deploying it, has interdicted more than a few of those events.

Shawn Vincent:

When is it too late to use pepper spray?

Chuck Haggard:

Well, I think if you're in the middle of a ground Jiu-Jitsu grapple, you probably waited too long. That would be a good one. It is best utilized when you still have some distance versus actually rolling around on the ground with somebody. I would tell you that one of the things that I counsel people to do, if you are a person who carries a gun, and not everybody does, but if you are a person who carries a gun, let's say for the sake of argument you spray the guy and he's screaming and now he yells he's going to kill you and he starts pulling a knife out. Clearly, you want to abandon the pepper spray and get your gun deployed because you are segueing from a non-deadly force scenario to a deadly force scenario very quickly, and that is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Shawn Vincent:

Right. And he's demonstrated that the OC spray has not taken the fight out of the fighter and so the intention and the threat still remains. And I think this is worth touching on, OC spray is not a magic bullet, it's going to make it harder for someone to attack you, but it doesn't, unless they're motivated, it doesn't stop the attack all the time.

Chuck Haggard:

Truthfully bullets aren't magic bullets.

Shawn Vincent:

Oh, that's exactly right.

Chuck Haggard:

Second police action shooting that I was any kind of a party to, very early in my career, I think this was like '88. One of our narcotics detectives shot a guy through the aorta with a .45, and I remember the autopsy, I read the autopsy report. It left a hole in this guy's back, seven-eighths of an inch across. Well this guy, I will not describe all the events because I would have to use copious amounts of harsh language. But this dude was on his feet for probably the next three to four minutes barricaded in a room with a shotgun, screaming he's going to kill people and things like that. Bullets don't work commonly. No. What we have is a tool contextual to the amount of force we're talking about.

Chuck Haggard:

In the police experience, it works 80 to 90% of the time. I would pause it in a civilian setting because you don't have to go lay hands on the person to put them under arrest because even blind people can do jiu-jitsu, once you touch them they know where you are, they can hit you, they can wrestle with you, things like that, even with their eyes closed. But if you spray them and you can walk away, run away and you don't have to lay hands on them, that's an advantage to you. The joking expression, 80% of the time it works every time, is actually pretty good odds.

Shawn Vincent:

Yeah. And Don, we'd talked about reasonableness when it comes to the use of deadly force. If you've given somebody the verbal commands and you've made some attempt to back up and they crossed that boundary and you've nailed them with pepper spray and they still demonstrate the intent to do you harm. If you escalate your use of force, they've given you plenty of ways to articulate why that was reasonable to a jury, haven't they?

Don West:

They sure have. Some of these encounters of course start with something that's very, very ambiguous and uncertain, and part of this process of the commands and the closing of the distance in spite of the demands and the disregard for your private space as that stuff begins to unfold, and you have a much clearer idea that this person intends harm, you are able to, as Andrew Branca talks about, stripping away the ambiguity. There's very little question at the end of this process that you've described after you've displayed and ultimately deployed pepper spray that didn't stop the person from their assault that it's now escalated. That their intentions are clear.

Don West:

And some of those things that Chuck talked about, I guess, the physical capabilities, maybe the sex, the gender, the size, all that stuff may factor in as to whether simply because the use of the pepper spray didn't stop them may factor in. But I think you're on really solid footing at that point too because your proportional force would be in fact proportional to their increased force, obviously, if they display a deadly weapon, that is someone goes for a knife or has some other weapon that can inflict serious bodily harm or even death, that they have now by virtue of their own actions raised your permissible response to the use of deadly force. I did want to ask Chuck, since we're talking about a progression, the hypothetical being as someone's approaching or panhandling and you're asking them to stand back.

Don West:

Is there an intermediate step of showing the person that you have pepper spray before you use it, or are you usually better off when you've decided that you are threatened and you need to take some action that you just go ahead and do it? And I say that because we've talked in other podcasts and even a little bit now maybe, about showing a weapon as opposed to actually using it, in other words giving the person who's about to commit the assault or the battery the opportunity to back off.

Chuck Haggard:

Well, I think if you have the time and the ability, legally speaking, both in the civilian world and the police world, it seems more reasonable if you give some warning before you use force, be that force the stereotypical police, "Stop or I'll shoot," type of thing. In my job here in Kansas by law, if I can give a warning, I'm required to give a warning and that's in a police context, I think you have, again, the stronger case you're confirming ill intent. If you have the ability to articulate a warning and threaten the use of a weapon and then you're forced to use the weapon by that person's actions, I just think that goes further to your articulation.

Chuck Haggard:

With pepper spray, might they try to, if they're going to continue with an assault, try to take efforts to hold their hand up in front of their face to not get hit in the face with pepper spray or something like that, you do give that poker hand away to them. And I see there are advantages and disadvantages in both sets of tactics. I think at the point, I'll leave that to my students because I won't be there for their fight, that is going to be their decision to make. So just like with a deadly force decision or less than deadly force decision, what's the right force decision to make at that second is going to be completely there's to make, and it's going to be in tune with the scenario that they find themselves in.

Chuck Haggard:

It may be that the suspect is pushing their luck faster than you can get all that done and you're like, "Hey buddy, can you hold up?" And now the guy's running at me, I think we're done talking at that point, just as one example. You tell me from a lawyer's perspective if you think that it's easier to articulate. You warned him, then you threatened him with the spray and then he forced you to spray him anyway, that if you have the opportunity to do that, that would seem to be an easier defense, yet, in court.

Don West:

Yeah. That progression, that incremental escalation, if you've shown them you will use it, and then you need to, yeah, that's easier to defend. What triggered that question in my mind was your earlier discussion where you're saying the effective range of most of these pepper spray incidents is four feet to eight feet. If someone's that close to you, you don't have much time to warn somebody if their response to the warning is to tackle you or to complete the physical assault.

Chuck Haggard:

True.

Don West:

The better use of that time may be, if you're going to warn somebody, to back up or back away at the same time, to create a little distance so that you still have the opportunity and the time to do it if it doesn't deter them.

Steve Moses:

Don, if I may I'd like to add something, and that is the greater your skills are, both in terms of managing people, in terms of using OC, in terms of perhaps being able to use a handgun and also your ability to deal with a surprise assault or let's say semi-surprise assault launched at a couple of arm’s length, all of this gives you options. And so in many of these instances, it depends upon, "Okay, how has this person approached me?" Is this person running at me, just passing or standing there and there's no place for either one of us to go? Is this person walking towards me? That's one thing that might factor in.

Steve Moses:

And then the other thing again is, with a guy like Chuck, I mean, this guy is prepared. He's got great people management skills, he's got the ability to deploy a pepper spray very quickly and efficiently -- the same thing with a handgun. And also if he were suddenly . . . somebody tried to take a punch at him, Chuck would be able to protect himself from that. So the more options that a concealed carrier has and the greater skills that that concealed carrier has with those tools, I think really can improve the chances for a positive outcome in a lot of these situations.

Shawn Vincent:

Steve, I'd love to hear . . . You know Chuck better than any of us, what's something that you've learned from Chuck that you want our listeners to know?

Steve Moses:

One of the things that Chuck first impressed me with was just his vast knowledge and his ability to convey that knowledge to the students so that you had a greater understanding of what might actually take place, why this person might be in this particular place at this certain time. The fact that you get your mindset correct, mindset being, okay, you can go easily from general awareness to situational awareness, if the circumstances dictate, to train, to put yourself in training, do force on force, do role-playing.

Steve Moses:

And the more that you prepare yourself, the better, I think, that I am personally, prepared to deal with a variety of situations that could go multiple ways. And for me, that was one of the reasons that I first started, after I met him, taking his blocks of instruction. And then I also, matter of fact I'll be honest with you right now: my intent is to bring Chuck to an area for an OC, in the civil sector, OC instructor course. Just because he has such a vast knowledge in all these different ways that are effective in dealing with people that the majority of us do not have largely because of one, his decision to become very educated in that arena, but also his 30 plus years of experience.

Shawn Vincent:

Yeah. Chuck, let me ask you before we wrap things up here, you talked about training with OC spray, how does one train with OC spray? The gun range I go to, they just don't like it if I whip out my OC spray on the range.

Chuck Haggard:

So that's something you can do in your own home, your backyard, something like that because you have the inert products that you can get the exact same size, can and the stream pattern or the spray pattern, I should say. If you want a cone, if you want a streamer, if you want the foam, you can buy those as an inert product. So there's everything there but the pepper. So, just like the class I did Saturday, we used up a bunch of different OC inert products showing different spray patterns and effective ranges, how they react in the wind and things like that, and did different drills with basically a low-level force on force, where you are working with and against another person as your "bad guy." But if you do nothing else, let's say my friend, I met Evans, she has marketed, unfortunately, I'll say, a lot of the stuff that's marketed to the ladies that do something silly and make it pink and they think . . . I think it's almost insulting behavior how some of this stuff is marketed to ladies.

Chuck Haggard:

And in that vein, my friend, Annette Evans, as an example, has worked with the POM company, you can buy a set of live spray, inert spray as a set. So you can get this in, utilize the inert to get familiar with the product, how it sprays, things like that, and then carry the live stuff. Just as you would if you bought a pistol, I would assume that you would get some ammo, take it to the range, see where it shoots on the target, and that kind of thing before you would carry that pistol. So if you do nothing else, you could do something as simple as setting up an IDPA target and get a pen and draw a couple of eyes on it, and then do some target practice on the cardboard.

Chuck Haggard:

What I do with my students is, we utilize shot glasses, clear shot glasses, because if you're spraying for somebody's face and eyes, then the droplets of the spray on the shot glasses are very easy to see whether or not they got an effective hit or not. But just becoming familiar with how the spray works, what type of controls it has, what safety devices it has, and what's the reach and things like that, you can explore all that with the inert and do that in your backyard or in your garage or whatever.

Shawn Vincent:

And of course, if you wanted to, you could find someone who offers training classes like you, right Chuck?

Chuck Haggard:

Yes.

Shawn Vincent:

What I'm leading up to, I'd love for you to let our audience know how they can find you online. And if they were interested in a workshop, how and when you do those.

Chuck Haggard:

So, I just did an instructor workshop last Saturday in Ohio, and I had 14 instructors that went through that course. So they're going to be teaching in Ohio, a couple of them were in Michigan. I've been out in Texas, a bunch of the KR, Karl Rehn's training staff have gone through my training. I'm doing a class in Denver two weeks from now, both an instructor class and a user-level class. And I've had a lot of a demand for a two to four-hour user-level class. I've taught that at the Northeast shooters conference. I'm going to be teaching an OC block at A Girl & A Gun National Conference in Colorado here in, I think a couple of weeks, it's the end of the month. So my website is Agile Training and Consulting, it's agiletactical.com. I would have went with Agile Training but somebody already bought that domain name, so I had to go... Agile Tactical sounded cool and the way it went with my business name.

Chuck Haggard:

I teach a bunch locally and I do roadshows quite a bit. This year, I've been to Baton Rouge, been down to Dallas, going back down to Dallas again later in the year, I was just in the Dayton area at Ohio. I will be in the Denver area and then in Grand Junction, Colorado, at the end of the month. And I will be in Nashville later in the year as well and those are specific to pepper spray.

Shawn Vincent:

Awesome. Hey Steve, before we wrap up here, is there anything we didn't cover, or do you have any last-minute questions for Chuck?

Steve Moses:

No, I think he has really done an excellent job. And one of the reasons that I was really keen on asking him to be a guest, was that I knew how complete he was from A to Z and I think he's pretty much demonstrated that.

Shawn Vincent:

Yeah, Chuck, he made my 45-minute podcast an hour and 15 minutes.

Chuck Haggard:

So could I impose upon you to stretch that for another minute?

Shawn Vincent:

I'd love it. I wanted you to have the final word unless Don has another question too, but then I want you to have the final word and let us know anything you didn't get out.

Don West:

Well, I want to have another minute too, because I want to know from Chuck, since when I buy pepper spray, I'm very uninformed. I've certainly learned a lot today and really appreciate that. But I've noticed there seemed to be two types of dispensing mechanisms. One is a lever that slides side to side from “off” to “active” and then there's another one that has a flip-up cap that you slip your thumb under. Are there advantages, disadvantages to one or the other of those?

Chuck Haggard:

The one with the rotating type safety is an older design. And in my experience, they are somewhat prone to accidental discharge and I see that. Like I've had calls in the police world where, say there's a complaint that somebody sprayed pepper spray in a bar or sprayed pepper spray in a restaurant or something like that, and what we when we dig into that, we find that it was a lady who had pepper spray in her purse and the safety worked it's way off and something pushed the button and it fired off in the purse. One of my friends had that happen. You know the 5.11 pants? They have that little magazine pocket kind of thing on the front of the pants. A friend of mine hopped into his truck and then was wondering why his leg was getting all warm, and then realized that his pepper spray was discharging in that pocket all over his thigh. We're going to say that it was uncomfortable when the spray spread.

Don West:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Nice. Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

Chuck Haggard:

No problem. Yeah, the newer type with the trap door type of safety, where you flip up a little deal to get to the button, that's definitely the A option to go for, and one of the quality brands.


Chuck Haggard:

So I want to involve Don in this one. One of my maxims that I tell people in decision-making is that, if you have to use force, if you use enough force early enough, correctly, you often don't have to use more force later to dig your way out of a hole. So a law enforcement case and a non-law enforcement case I'll talk about. Are you guys familiar with the Kyle Dinkheller? The deputy Dinkheller shooting event? Very famous video, probably happened about 20 years ago, it's been all over the internet in the past.

Chuck Haggard:

So deputy Dinkheller pulls over a pickup truck, gentleman gets out, he gets verbally abusive screaming at him, he's a Vietnam veteran. Runs up on the deputy, it turns into a little bit of a physical thing then the guy goes back to his truck, digs out an M1 carbine, and it turns into a running gunfight that deputy Dinkheller loses. And you can, unfortunately in the video, hear him die a horrible screaming death. So a lot of people in the gun world, a lot of people in the police world were always asking, "The guy went back to the truck, why didn't he shoot that guy? Why didn't he shoot that guy sooner?" That's the wrong question. When the guy ran up on him with balled fists, why did he not utilize a level of force at that point? Why did he not pepper spray him and then armbar him into the ditch? Why did he not utilize his baton effectively and put the guy on the ground?

Chuck Haggard:

So not utilizing the correct level of force early to interdict the problem allowed it to escalate into a gunfight. Another one, the church shooting was that a year or two ago, that was down in Texas where the gentlemen, famously, there were two people shot dead and the crazy guy had a sawed-off shotgun. And then the fellow, I believe his name was Jack, famously made a 15-yard headshot on the bad guy and stopped the attack. I see a lot of people went out and they were commenting on, "Now I need to get a .357 SIG," or, "Now I need to practice my 15-yard headshots." Well, what if I told you that you could have resolved that entire situation very quickly, much more safely for everybody involved with no shots fired, wouldn't that be the better way to do business?

Chuck Haggard:

So I would posit to you. If you have a tool that shortstops something turning into a deadly force event, even if it's a legitimate deadly force event, somebody like Don would tell you that if you end up on trial for a deadly force event, even if you win, you kind of lose. You could be six figures in the hole on legal fees, et cetera, et cetera. So I mean, why would you not avail yourself of that option to avoid that drama if you could do it?

Don West:

Well, I don't need to explain what you just did because I simply agree with you completely. If you can short-stop it and prevent greater harm, absolutely take those steps. I'll be glad to defend you there much, much preferably than having to defend you if you've taken a life under questionable circumstances. So absolutely. If you can shortstop something, even if it requires using force, as long as that force is proportional under those circumstances under which you face them, stop it, stop it right there.

Shawn Vincent:

And I think, Chuck, when you say using the force early to stop you from having to use more later, part of that is as an armed defender, your job is to always be looking for threats, being conscious of potential threats and of averting those if you have as many options, as much training as you can to find a way to resolve that before resorting to lethal force.

Chuck Haggard:

Well, one of the things I've found in my life, I will tell you very early on, my law enforcement training left me unimpressed and underwhelmed. So I started seeking that out for myself and I have found it extraordinarily useful to be able to articulate things as my own expert witness, and I have since been an expert witness and I could tell you going to federal court is no, now you know, that's no fun. I have had to defend officers in a wide variety of circumstances. I've also been called in to defend civilian uses of force. I had a weird circumstance where I ended up being a defense witness on a murder case on an accidental discharge shooting, that is a weird place for me to be but it was the right place for me to be in that case because it was a big overcharging, it was a miscarriage of justice what was going on.

Chuck Haggard:

But as a defendant, the more training you have, the better you can read a scenario, the better you can react to a scenario and the better you can defend your decisions in a scenario. Because if you look what a reasonable man rule is, like I know and the reasonable officer rule is, what would an officer with similar training and experience do in that situation you found yourself in. Were you reasonable? Because other people with training and experience would have done the same thing. And so how do you know that?  If you've got training and experience.

Shawn Vincent:

All right everybody, that's the podcast for today. Thanks for listening through to the end. We'll be back in a couple of weeks talking to Don and Steve about a couple of new self-defense cases that we've found. Until then, be smart, stay safe, take care.



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