Is Violence justified In the Use of Self Defense? By: MM

Violence is justified in the use of self defense for the victim of the assault. In many cases like Commonwealth v. Shaffer, the abusive fiance of a woman with her kids chased the mother and kids down into their basement and threatened to kill them all if they didn’t come out of hiding. She warned him not to come down into the basement, but contrary to her pleas, he entered the basement. She shot and killed him. In the jury trial she was found guilty for 2nd degree murder.  Her plea of self defense was ignored because the state she was living in said that she didn’t retreat far enough from the fiance to justify using self defense.  If someone was trying to hurt her or a loved one, why would she get in trouble for hurting that person to improve her and her kids’ chances of survival?

The United States law of self defense from Wikipedia reads: “In the United States, the defense of self-defense allows a person to use reasonable force in his or her own defense or the defense of others. In the US, the legal standard used to measure whether actions fall under “self-defense” is known as the “reasonable man standard”, (i.e., what a reasonable person would consider to be a reasonable action based on the given circumstances.)”

It is often thought that the victim should call the police or run away, but if the victim was at gunpoint or in immediate danger, they wouldn’t be able to call the police or run. The victim wouldn’t have time to wait for an opportunity to escape.  Fighting and potentially killing the perpetrator to gain freedom would be justified.  Others may argue that Self-defense wouldn’t be justified for a relative to intervene because it wouldn’t be “self defense”.  However, why would someone get penalized for trying to help a relative or close friend from dying?  Just because self defense has the word “self” in it, the US law should not only cover people protecting themselves, but also the law should cover a relative or friend protecting someone they have an emotional connection to.  If a mother’s kid or kids were about to be hurt or killed and the US law didn’t say she was allowed to save her kids’ lives, she would be going to jail for protecting her children!

In the article “Detroit Mom Fires at Intruders” a mom protects her house and children from three unsuspecting thugs. “she “didn’t have time to get scared” as she rushed to protect her children.”


Article credit: Moran, Lee. “Detroit Mom Fires at Intruders.” Ny Daily News, 19 Feb. 14. Web. 15.

Photo credit: “A Single Tear.” Flickr, 10 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.