As a Christian, to this day, I still question the validity of the idea of self defense.
It’s a problem for me for reasons that may not be so obvious.
Besides that I have a general commandment (if you choose to call it that) to be non-violent, I have to look at anyone seeking to do me harm and ask one simple question, “Is this person saved?”
You may think the query irrelevant, let me try to explain why to me, it’s not.
If someone is not saved, my dispatching that individual, may well result in his or her failing to have the chance to become so. I consider this a major failing on the part of any Christian.
If the person is saved, I’ve just caused the death of a brother or sister in Christ when I cause them to cease to be on this planet.
Funnily, the defense of others, is another matter. I think those who claim belief in Jesus, have a right—even a responsibility—to defend and protect others, particularly if they’re vulnerable.
In all of this though, I recognize the right of emergency personnel to defend themselves and definitely others, from potential mayhem, up to and including the use of lethal force.
So when I hear that a police officer, for example, runs from someone in order to not get stabbed to death, you can be sure I count it reasonable for that same officer to pull his service weapon, and send the perpetrator to the great beyond.
That’s never something one is happy to see happen, but considering the individual is wielding a weapon with intent to use it, who’s to say after the police officer, some other poor unfortunate (like his wife, child, or other household member) might not be next?
The case mentioned is a more extreme one. The fact is though, I can make the same argument for someone who’s reaching for a knife in the floorboard of his or her car after having been told by officers doing so will result in action of some kind.
That’s even more true when the person in question has shrugged off law enforcement and non-lethal restraining devices like pepper spray or tasers.
As you can imagine, I can make a case for others who claim Christ having a right to defend themselves.
The easiest way to do this, would be to give an example.
Imagine there was a man who had a Moderately Autistic son. Assume that he was acting as sole parent for the child (even more so if the other parent had passed on). Somebody comes at him with intent to do harm. He pulls a gun, and shoots that individual.
It’s true he was protecting himself from harm, but you see, he is the only one looking after that little boy.
I get that others can take up that task if he perishes. If that child were with him when he was attacked though, what’s to say the person accosting him won’t turn on the child next?
Put simply, if a someone chooses violence as a way of life, it’s not unreasonable to assume he or she will attack and possibly kill others after attacking the person previously mentioned.
When it comes right down to it, there’s literally no way to know what the evildoer will next want to turn his or her hand to.
So funnily, where it’s hard to justify protecting myself from harm, it becomes a little easier when ill may be inflicted on another if I’m not present to stop the person doing wrong.
That’s even true if they appear to intend to do harm to me alone.
In all this, there’s a realization. Life is precious. I never have the desire to do another harm, much less to take that most irreplaceable jewel from their crown.
The counterbalance, is that other people’s lives are just as precious as the one with bad intent.
It’s this fact that may make the case for some sort of defense more reasonable.
I don’t want to die. Even so, I can imagine no longer being here. That could happen literally in the next second. The effect on my son if nobody else, is virtually impossible to gauge. I can’t imagine it being good.
My passing under circumstances of old age or infirmity will likely do enough to upset his little apple cart. My leaving as a result of the violence of others, likely the more so.
Getting back to police officers though, if you think it’s unreasonable for such people to protect their own lives, perhaps you should consider that they put their very existence on the line, almost every time they don the uniform.
And if I can make the argument that I have the right to protect my son, and can only do so if I continue to survive, how much more can a police officer make such a claim when there are unknown others present?
This is all relevant to the present moment because I heard of a recent case in which there was a cop and an armed civilian looking to do him harm.
After he shot the civilian, people began to protest what he did (some rioting, I’m sure).
I wasn’t there. I cannot say what did or didn’t happen.
Should a full investigation of the officer be performed? In my mind, the answer is, “When a cop discharges his weapon and harms or kills another, it needs to be determined that it was reasonable.” So the short answer is, “Yes.”
In the end though, reacting in a knee-jerk fashion to such a situation makes those doing so less credible (and all considered, their credibility was already waning from what I can tell).
So asking the question, “Is self defense a reasonable course of action for a law enforcement agent?” where the answer is dependent on circumstances, results in a definite, “Yes!” where I’m concerned. You may think that’s unreasonable, for my part I cannot agree with you if you do.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.