In recent weeks there have been two high profile shootings of individuals by law enforcement in the US. I'm not here to argue whether the shootings were justified, that is for a court of law, based upon the evidence made available at the trial. The issue of being armed however is an issue, in the first instance, the shot suspect was said to "not be in possession of a weapon of any sort". In the second instance, the victim was "only armed with a knife".
So let's look at each of these cases in turn; firstly no weapon of any sort, well this individual had the same weapon we all have available to us, his fists. A clenched fist is a formidable weapon, even in untrained hands. A blow from a clenched fist to the head will cause at least dis-orientation from the first blow landing, should subsequent blows be aimed and land in the same area, anything from severe bruising to broken bones, right up to a blow being fatal. But you do not have to rain punches down on someone to kill them, just one punch will do it, as in the case of the football/soccer referee in Michigan. A link to the story is here from USAToday. The unfortunate punch, thrown in a brief fit of rage, had devastating consequences. Then consider what could happen if someone, intent on causing harm, did it to you, how would you fair? This person will invariably be bigger than you in some way, or at least consider themselves to be better physically than you. If the blow is thrown with intent, it will be thrown from a position of surprise and advantage to your assailant. You may never recover.
In the second instance, "only armed with a knife", well that's a pretty dangerous item, especially in the hands of someone intent on causing you harm. If you are confronted by someone with a knife, and they intend to use it fully to achieve their aim, and you are un-armed you will be fortunate to survive the encounter.
In both of these scenarios, your assailant must get close to you, if you are un-armed then your only course of action is to create as greater distance between you and the aggressor. Not always the easiest thing to do. But how much distance should you have between you and your attacker? When people are asked, they seriously under estimate how much distance can be travelled by an attacker, balanced against their ability to react. If you are fortunate enough to live in a country that will allow you to carry your own protection, then you may have a chance to survive one of these encounters. This protection is a personal firearm, but this is not a cure all solution, you still need distance between you and your attacker.
This distance has to be greater than the time it takes you to draw your firearm, point your firearm, and fire your firearm. That distance must be at least 21 feet (7 yards or 6.4 metres) for that is the least amount of ground that can be covered by an attacker and still give you a chance to draw your firearm. Of course if you have more space the balance of power changes, but the chances are your assailant will be aware of this and will take every opportunity to close down this gap. Not convinced, then follow the link to PDTV to watch a short video, but bear in mind whilst they are only enacting the scenario, the victim new he would be attacked, but not where, so he had a small advantage, and still came off second best.
In conclusion, the rights and or wrongs of the two shootings by the police will be decided in a court of law. But if you were in their position, given the information currently available, what would you do?