A Punch to the Head is Potential Deadly Force

By Dean Weingarten

A Punch to the Head is Potential Deadly Force
A Punch to the Head is Potential Deadly Force
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- If you watch television and the movies, you might get the impression that a punch to the head is no big deal.

That is not true.  A punch to the head is a very serious attack. 

It can disable. It can maim. It can kill.  The head is a vulnerable target, which is why an attacker aims for it.  I first became aware of the deadly potential of one punch to the head in the 1970’s, from a long forgotten news story.

Later, the son of a close friend killed a man with one punch.  He was eventually found not guilty of manslaughter, but only after a long and expensive legal fight.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Kokette of Madison, Wisconsin, for producing One Punch Homicide, which documents the surprising numbers of one punch homicides that occur in the United States and around the world.  From simple Internet searches, he has compiled a list of 114 one punch homicides in the United States.  I am sure that the list is far from complete.

Everyone understands that a punch is more likely to knock you out rather than kill you.   But there is little practical difference for someone who is intent on defending themselves.   Once you are knocked out, you are at the mercy of your attacker.   They then have the choice of killing or maiming you at their leisure.

From onepunchhomicide.com:

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg of King County, which includes Seattle, Washington, says King County has four to six one punch homicides every year. If King County’s one punch homicide rate is average for the U.S., which is impossible to tell because no one in the U.S., including the FBI, keeps statistics on the subject, then the U.S. has between 500 and 1,000 one punch homicides every year. Although this isn’t a huge number, it has other implications. Most single punches don’t result in a death, but for every death by one punch, how many other people experience serious injuries, including brain damage, because of one punch – 10, 20, 50, 100, or more?

Here is a well known case of one fatal punch from July of this year (2014):

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A well-respected veteran soccer referee’s life was cut short by a punch delivered during a Detroit-area men’s league game.

John Bieniewicz, 44, died on July 1, two days after a player struck him at a community park in Livonia.

The standard for the use of deadly force is that you reasonably believe that you are defending yourself from force that can kill or severely injure you.   Once you know that a punch can kill or severely injure you, you can explain to a jury why, as a reasonable person, you were forced to threaten or use deadly force to defend yourself or others.

You do not have to allow yourself to be beaten before you defend yourself with deadly force; but you have to be able to reasonably explain why you understood that you were under the threat of potentially deadly force.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Apparently Gene fights fair. Hit ’em high, hit ’em low, hit ’em where the Trojans go!


My first punch or blow will be directed at the solar plexus or diaphram. that will take most anybody down. then after that they will have to worry just what I might do, as I want the outcome to live in their memory forever.


A broken nose can be fatal too , right? I have been wondering if people aren’t getting more delicate. A football player died of heatstroke. A few people have died of one blow to the head. In “Lazarus and the Hurricane” one working-class Brooklyn resident killed his brother accidentally – he hit him once in a temper, using a pipe. Maybe with malnutrition – the US R.D.As getting lower and lower, humans told to live on just sugar and fiber – people’s skulls are getting thinner. On the other hand in the 70’s I heard of a man who became… Read more »


Don’t roll over for “Polar Bear hunters” or their dangerous “knockout games”!

Jamie Clemons

A blow to the temple or the back of the head could easily be fatal.


When a person is assaulted a number of non-verbals are conveyed, the first is that you have been singled out. No attack happens without subtle messaging so watch your six, remember the ooda loop and have a plan. You are responsible for your own safety.