Lot of folks consider self-defence -- the act of defending yourself against immediate unlawful force -- to be a right.
If pressed, they will state that self-defence is a right granted to them either from their Deity, or from Nature, depending on their personal faith.
In this -- to my way of thinking -- they are correct.
However, I put it to you that self-defence is not only a right, but it is a duty. Indeed, it is my opinion that a citizen of a community or society is obliged to defend themselves from unlawful immediate uses of force against their persons.
I see that I have lost some of my Gentle Readers. Allow me to elaborate.
All creatures on this little green dirtball operate on a Reward/Risk system: is the potential reward of this action worth the risk of this action? If so, you do the thing -- if not, you do something else.
In this, humans are no different than animals -- except that we can calculate delayed risks for immediate rewards. We understand that an act we do today, may have dire consequences next week.
One of the things I have noticed about critters during my law enforcement career is that they lack this ability. The possibility of getting caught by the police next week, or next month, has very little influence on the average critters Risk/Reward calculations.
Getting caught, injured or killed during the crime? Yes. Getting caught, injured or killed after committing the crime? Not so much.
Now, let us ponder two more things.
The first is that police can not and should not be everywhere at all times. Omnipresent police activity is physically impossible and morally repugnant -- it is the hallmark of an Orwellian dystopia.
Second is that a critter is not just the sum of his attack on one victim. A professional critter will victimize tens, scores -- or even hundreds -- of innocents during his career.
A community -- a society -- can not tolerate, nor can it bear the cost, of ten, twenty or a hundred victims of one human predator. Dealing with human predators -- critters -- is such a moral imperative that societies will go to great lengths -- taxation; awarding of powers of arrest, search and seizure; prisons -- to mitigate the damage done by critters.
The only problem is, is that critters don't factor getting arrested after the fact, or going to prison, in their Risk/Reward calculations. If they did, they'd be citizens instead of critters.
Which brings us to the obligation of self-defence.
For a critter, each successful attack upon a citizen -- "successful attack" being any attack during which the critter is neither injured, nor presented with the possibility of being injured -- lowers the Risk part of his calculations.
As an example, Joe Critter does his first mugging. He is probably almost as scared as his victim, he's not sure he wants to do this -- but ... hey! He got ten dollars (or sex, or a feeling of power, or whatever) but more importantly: he didn't get hurt.
The next time, he's a little less scared. He's a little more sure. He gets five dollars (or sex, power, whatever) -- and he's not hurt. He feels his activities present less risk to him each time he has a successful (he didn't get hurt) attack.
Twenty or a hundred victims later, Joe Critter not only doesn't think mugging is risky, but the lack of risk has caused him to consider other, more violent actions. Because these actions don't get him hurt.
On the other paw, suppose Joe Critter is in a place where self-defence is expected and encouraged. He figures the reward of wallet money is worth the risk of Rehabilitation Through Reincarnation, or Bodily Injury and attempts a mugging. The victim defends him or her self, and let us postulate that Joe scrambles away with powder burns and a bloody furrow along the ribs.
In contrast to the above example, for mugging number 2, the Risk part of Joe's Risk/Reward assessment climbs, rather than lowers. Death -- instead of being a philosophical possibility of his actions, is now a very real, concrete fact. But, Joe is young and stupid, so he has at it.
This time -- self-defence being expected and encouraged by this society -- Joe crawls to the nearest trauma centre with a .38-calibre lead slug in his belly. Pretty sodding quickly, the Risk (Death or Serious Bodily Injury) is going to outweigh the Reward (wallet funds), and Joe is going to turn to an activity with a lower Risk variable.
Not only does society as a whole indirectly benefit from the latter self-defence scenario, but the future ten, twenty or a hundred victims of Joe's predation benefit directly from his change of vocation.
And this example, Gentle Readers, is the exact reason why I throw things at the TeeVee every time some talking head in a uniform, or some Brady idiot, steps up to the microphone and solemnly parrots, "We don't recommend that people fight back" or "The best thing is to cooperate and let the criminal have what he wants."
Bushwa. Codswallop. Horse-puckey.
Every-stinking-time this variety of oral spew is uttered, it goes into critter Risk/Reward assessments and encourages them. Hells bloody bells, these sorts of statements encouraging -- rewarding -- critters should be grounds for arresting the idiots uttering them.
Evil is not defeated by submitting to it. Evil is not defeated by running away from it; nor is evil defeated by ignoring it.
Evil is only defeated by fighting back.
You may, or may not, think you have the right to self-defence -- and that is between you and your conscience. As a member of society -- as a member of a community -- you have the duty, the obligation, and the responsibility of self-defence.