Is Self Defense A Right Or A Choice?
Written by Josh Pratt,
in Section Safety And Education
As much as you’d try to avoid dangerous situations, things may not go as planned, and you might still find yourself in a moment when you have to use defensive force. Aggressors could hide anywhere, ready to strike whenever you let your guard down, and sometimes using aggression back is the only thing that could save your life.
However, is it right to do so? Although you’re aware of the fact that you can’t have a nice talk with the perpetrator to magically leave you alone, it’s hard to know whether self-defense is the right thing to do or not. So, is self-defense a right or a choice? You will find out in the article below, so keep on reading.
Is There A Right To Self-Defense?
Basically, the right of self-defense refers to the act of using forced aggression back on someone who attacks you or another person. It’s an attempt to save your own life when you’re in a dangerous situation by trying to get rid of the one that’s threatening your life. Self-defense could either be perfect or imperfect. The former refers to the fact that the defender uses force against someone with a valid reason, in other words being reasonable. The latter, on the other hand, is when the perception is not reasonable, meaning the defender used force when there was no need for it. Now, when someone is attacking you physically and you’re in great danger, there is one thing that is precious to you and you fear to lose – your life. If you’re being robbed, you could buy a new belonging when you have the chance. Still, life is irreplaceable, and it’s only normal that you’d be in alert and want to defend yourself by whatever means.
Self-defense is a human right. When a criminal is using his/her force against you, you can’t just sit and take it. You’d go in survival mode and use anything you have available that will ensure you make it out alive. Even so, sometimes this involves harming the other person, and in some cases even going as far as taking the person’s life.
This is one major reason why people in the US are allowed to own firearms of multiple calibers. Even if the thought of using a gun against someone terrifies you, you’d be surprised at how helpful guns can be. Guns might inflict fear in some people, but they are part of your right to take action and defend yourself when someone is threatening your life. So, self-defense is definitely a right that every human has when it’s reasonable.
When Is It Not Right To Use Violence Back?
Although self-defense is a right that every human being has in certain life-threatening situations, it’s important to know when using self-defense is wrong. For instance, you shouldn’t become a killing machine if the police arrest you. Simply put, you can only use self-defense when you’re attacked illegally – for example, a civilian suddenly takes out a knife and runs after you in an attempt to kill you. In addition, the circumstances and the occurrence of self-defense have significant importance. Take this, for example: if a child hits you, either by mistake or playfully, would knocking him/her out be the right thing to do? Or take another situation: someone verbally threatens you but doesn’t initiate any violent act. Should you take out your gun and pull the trigger?
Basically, you would exceed the reasonable level of force – thus giving back more than you took, in other words. As a result, you will have to be punished not because you defended yourself, but because you didn’t limit yourself and used violence when not necessary. This is totally different compared to a situation when you have an angry criminal trying to stab you in an attempt to rob you of your belongings. Using your firearm to stop the attack would be reasonable in this situation. It’s very important to keep in mind that self-defense is used as a means to stop an attack. If the attack has stopped and you’re the one that has turned into the aggressor by continuing, it won’t be self-defense anymore, that’s assault.
When Is Self-Defense A Choice?
While being attacked will make you act on impulse in order to stop the perpetrator from continuing with their act, self-defense can also be a choice. It depends on the situation you’re in, though. As mentioned, self-defense is used when you’re in danger of being severely injured or losing your life. When such a situation occurs, you have the right to defend yourself in an appropriate manner, countering with the same amount of force. In addition, you can choose whether to use force back or not. Basically, you have a huge choice to make: do you defend your life, or let the aggressor take it? But there is also a bigger choice that you need to make, which is between your life and the perpetrator’s life. If you’re a moral person, taking someone’s life might not seem the right thing to do, as you’re not responsible for it. You might also think about the legal consequences you will face once you do the deed. Sure, you have the right to defend yourself, but should you? This is what makes self-defense a choice because you’re forced to choose between your own safety or sparing someone’s life.
The Bottom Line
When someone is putting your life in danger, you can’t just sit there and take it. You have the right to defend yourself by using the same amount of force the aggressor is using against you – even if, in some cases, this means using deadly force. At the same time, this situation puts the victim in a tough spot, forcing them to choose between their life or the life of the initiator of the act. So, as you can see, self-defense is both a right and a choice, and hopefully, this article has helped you understand why.