Learn the 5 pillars of self-defense

Hot Springs Police Department Captain Phillip Shively explains what you need to know about using a firearm for self-defense.

CUSTER, S.D. — Concealed carry permits are often obtained with self-defense in mind, and those who utilize firearms for this purpose should be familiar with the stipulations of self-defense claims. Hot Springs Police Department Captain Phillip Shively is also an instructor for the enhanced concealed carry permit in South Dakota, and he explains the five pillars of self defense.

The 5 Pillars of Self-Defense:

  1. Innocence: You have to be innocent leading into a situation – you can’t be engaged in any kind of illegal activity. You have to legally be where you are,” Capt. Shively explains.
  2. Avoidance: You have to try to avoid at all costs that a situation where you have to use lethal force,” he adds. South Dakota law explains that, although South Dakota codified law says we don’t have the duty to retreat, it may be the best option. “Don’t be so proud that you can’t de-escalate a situation and try to back out of it.”
  3. Imminence: Imminence includes three additional components. If one of these three isn’t present, neither is imminence.
    • Means: This is the tangible/visible threat that is posed against the victim. “The means is the tool that they have, the ability that they have, or maybe being outnumbered maybe four to one,” Capt. Shively says.
    • Opportunity: Is the opportunity to harm you being taken? The individual may be too far away top harm you with the means they have.
    • Jeopardy: Jeopardy comes and goes quickly. If an individual threatens you, but then turns and walks away, jeopardy has also gone away.
  4. Proportionality: Force must be met with an equal force. “Whatever kind of force there is, whatever we’re meeting, we have to meet it with the force proportionate to that force it’s being shown us,” Capt. Shively explains.
  5. Reasonableness: “Every decision you made has to be reasonable. And when we judge that reasonableness, it has to be the same decision that the 12 reasonable people in the jury box would have made, given they were in the same situation you were in,” says Capt. Shively.
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