You hear about “disparity of force,” but do you understand the relationship it has with shooting a person in self-defense?
District Attorney Ernie Lee said Trevor Nunn was shot in Jacksonville, NC, when he returned to a home he was told to get out of earlier in the day.
Authorities said he was “an occasional overnight guest at the residence,” according to District Attorney Ernie Lee. On the day of the shooting, Nunn and other residents started arguing, so he was told to leave. Nunn went back a few hours later for his personal items, and they locked the door when he left. It didn’t take him long to get back in, and he began screaming with no intention of taking off, even after they told him to get out.
It’s not clear how he got in, but he started yelling, and the situation quickly got out of hand for the people who live there. When they told him to leave, he had no intention of complying, so the confrontation spiraled out of control, and his hot-headedness is how he ended up looking at the end of a loaded shotgun.
The press release said:
“The homeowner believed the deceased was acting erratic and suspected that the deceased was under the influence of a narcotic, so the homeowner got a shotgun from another part of the residence, loaded it, and told the deceased to leave; the deceased did not leave and began to close the distance on the homeowner. The deceased was able to grab the barrel of the gun, and a scuffle ensued. Due to the homeowner’s physical disabilities, he believed that if the deceased gained control of the firearm, the deceased would kill the homeowner. The homeowner was able to regain control of the firearm, take a step back and fire a shot at the deceased who was about to tackle the homeowner.”
“Disparity of force” is an element for a shooting like this to be justified, and this is a great illustration of how it applies. Even though Nunn didn’t have a weapon, he still had the upper hand because of the victim’s disability.
Massad Ayoob said, “his physical advantage becomes the equivalent of a deadly weapon and warrants your recourse to a gun or knife or whatever in self-defense.” The attacker did not need to be armed with a weapon because his physical state was superior.
Having a firearm available can be an equalizer to level the playing field.