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Responses to defending yourself

We've had a number of responses to defending yourself, including comments from Jim Hodge, Miriam, Colin, and Mike Booton. They refer to mass killings, George Orwell, Dr. Watson and a case of assault which one commenter heard while a juror. (Thank you, Idris Francis, for sending out the post.)

Jim Hodge (see the comments below) noted the importance of being armed and the increasingly onerous municipal registration requirements that are being erected.

Miriam (in comments) recalled George Orwell's belief that gun registration would prove the beginning of infringements on English liberties.

Colin wrote, 'This idea that we should walk away and not hit back I think started after the Great War and was exemplified by the government’s appeasement policy to the Nazis. Maybe for understandable reasons at the time, but not in light of what followed'.

Mike Booton essayed -

This was a very interesting post and I am convinced it is largely accurate in the observation. I remember in the Sherlock Holmes stories that Watson often brings his revolver to prevent crime - and uses it too - in assisting the police in the execution of their duty, and very grateful they are too. None of the readers of these Victorian stories would have given it a second thought that he was routinely armed and a private citizen, and certainly not the Police, who, if Watson shoots the criminal, are inclined to believe Holmes had identified him in some nefarious deed and Watson had merely saved the State from an expensive trial. So different an attitude to today!

I have just finished Jury service - which I welcomed as my duty as a citizen, and because it is one of the few remaining bastions of English civilisation.

It was a simple case. A couple get drunk, she hits him, he hits her back. He'd never done this before, though she admitted whacking him many times (a form of brutal nagging). Unfortunately, being handy with his fists, when he hit her back he knocked out her two front teeth. What we had to decide was, was it reasonable force in self defence?

My view was that it was reasonable as (a la John Prescott) if someone surprises you with a punch, you don't have time to reason how much force to exert, but you punch them back, instinctively. I'm against hitting women per se, but that assumes that women don't hit men in the first place. The fact he did so much damage was unfortunate but not the issue (he could just as easily have hit her cheek and done no damage bar bruising!).

Unfortunately, every other Juror disagreed and thought it is never justified to hit a woman. We found a majority verdict 11/1 guilty.

Now I'm not complaining about the verdict - the man was a thug, so I'm not spending any sleepless nights over his fate (he was on bail at the time for another assault, on a stranger) - but about the prevailing attitude that one should never hit back under any circumstances, really one should "walk away" when punched, and that if one retaliates it should be with carefully assessed "like for like" force. I ask you, how reasonable is this assessment of the possibilities when you're attacked?

It made me realise that the namby-pamby liberal thinking has got into the core of our society, so that we have lost the ability to defend ourselves when attacked - both the ability under Law, and in practice, as everyone else thought they would just walk away (one woman, a teacher, obviously remembering her lessons in controlling unruly children, said one should "restrain" the person with a hug! The girl in question was a 10 stone Vicky Pollard look alike who probably packed a better right hook than I do, for sure). I was attacked for saying a punch for a punch seemed fair enough to me. One said, "so if we argued and you threw a punch at me and then I hit you back and knocked out your teeth, you'd think that was fair?" and I replied, "yes, a punch for a punch - if I started it, I deserve what comes back!"

Anyway, it seems to support what your correspondent says. We Brits have lost the sense of righteous indignation at being attacked (last seen in the Falklands war?). One should never attack first but I defend the right to strike back, perhaps with greater force, if one is attacked. Ergo, if a mugger demanded my wallet on pain of killing my girlfriend with a knife, and I was fortunately armed and shot him dead, should I be tried for murder? My esteemed colleagues on the Jury seemed to think I should be, and that I should have walked away (presumably leaving him my wallet and girlfriend as well). . .Am I wrong?

Thoughts?

Comments (1)

Danny Lemieux:

In fist fight, bring a knife. In a knife fight, bring a gun. In a gun fight, bring two guns. Fighting for survival and self defense has nothing to do with being "fair", but to remain standing in possession of one's life and possessions. There is a word for people who refuse to fight back: prey!

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