Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: Threats Have An Economy Of Scale

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

As we all know, a legal claim of self-defense requires that there be a real danger to life and limb, and that such danger be imminent. To shoot a bad person in a justifiable manner, they have to have the ability to seriously injure or kill you. They also have to be in a position where they are just about to do so as well.

If you see a man carrying a knife in a sheath, he has the ability but isn’t necessarily about to stab you. A man with a knife in his hand advancing toward you saying that you have to give up your wallet and cell phone or get carved like a Thanksgiving turkey…in that instance, anyone could reasonably draw their pistol from a concealed carry holster and fire. The ability is there, the opportunity for said criminal to do so is there, and the jeopardy is real.

However, what constitutes a threat of that caliber (pardon the pun) involves an economy of scale. Granted, this isn’t legal advice, just for the general purposes of discussion.

What may not be much of a threat to an able-bodied person of young to middle age (say 21 to 55) may in fact be a lethal threat to a person that isn’t quite as able bodied. A great number of medical conditions can make a person far more vulnerable to even a small amount of physical trauma. Previous traumas, congenital defects and many other conditions can weaken a person’s ability to take damage.

Here’s an example. Back in the 1930s, there was a fast-rising heavyweight contender named Ernie Schaaf. In February 1933, Schaaf fought Primo Carnera, who knocked Schaaf out in the 13th round. He never regained consciousness, lapsing into a coma and dying a few days later.

Carnera was a powerful puncher; he still holds the career knockout record among heavyweight champions. Not only that, Schaaf’s previous fight had been a rematch with Max Baer – also a legendary puncher – who knocked Schaaf out cold. Schaaf’s first fight with Baer, in fact, took place four months after Baer’s infamous fight with Frankie Campbell, who died from brain trauma sustained during the fight.

However, Schaaf’s autopsy revealed he had in fact died from viral meningitis, which he contracted during a bout of the flu prior to his match with Carnera. The punches he took merely accelerated the process; he was days, if not hours, from dying already. What was merely somewhat dangerous (namely, fighting Carnera) became fatally dangerous after a bit of influenza.

There are plenty of conditions that would similarly make moderate trauma into fatal trauma. Most people can recover from a stab wound, depending on location. However, a hemophiliac, person with a different clotting disorder or a person on blood thinners could easily exsanguinate. An elderly person may be easily knocked out cold by a blow that might merely stun a person in young or middle age. A person who has had successive heart surgeries could be killed by a blow to the chest that may barely affect another person.

And so on and so forth. The idea being that what isn’t a lethal threat to you, due to medical history, age and other factors may be perceived as a threat to a compromised person. While the otherwise able and fit person may not necessarily be too concerned, that is something that an elderly, disabled or otherwise impaired person legally carrying should be aware of.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit