By Frank O’Brien,
Troy, New York, USA.
Though I admire the peace makers, liking them to be leaders rather than our current bevy of war mongers, I’m not a conscientious objector nor pacifist. Self defense as defined by the law varies from state to state, country to country, always there being a bit more leeway, or going towards more restricted circumstances under which you can justify it.
The standards change during war too, since necessity trumps all in that safety and security are damn well more precarious in a balkanized situation. When is your life in danger is what the question is, which if it is, that is normally the agreed upon circumstance to protect yourself or others, right up the point of lethal force. Preferably if you can incapacitate the attacker, that is what normally stands as the desired outcome, that way the aggressor can be put away for a time to be determined later. When you can’t take someone into custody is when they have a weapon, which is made more serious if it is a gun, bow and arrow, or some other deadly weapon.
Deadly force may in that situation be allowed as otherwise the perpetrator could cost a whole lot of innocent lives. A person’s personal capacity as to whether they are small, and the aggressor is large is another mitigating factor that needs to be looked at, besides whether you are a sickly person, disabled in some way, or have children to defend. The justification can go up and down the scale even if the scales of justice aren’t always fair as per these distinctions of circumstances, so this is where having a good lawyer would come in handy. I come from the hardcore Irish Republican tradition of physical force, where if you are being occupied by another country, and their army, resistance is a must in order to expel the occupying enemy.
In this sense the circumstances for self defense expand to include hard targeting of anything that represents your oppressors’ presence, even if you aren’t being set upon at the time of your attack. This is of course a war situation, in which strategy is as important, as protection is, yet involving things which can turn self defense on its head theoretically.
Obviously in a civil societal situation, where people’s needs are being taken care of, they have housing, and the basics, and aren’t being brutalized or exploited in anyway, the rule of law should be looked at first when approaching the judgment of any self defense action. The trouble is that in most countries today there is an insidiousness in which the veneer of equality is so-called apparent, but really there is unbridled exploitation and what amounts to suppression of various groups and people. In America there is now a very dangerous tide that has turned our country into a quasi-police state, from which there is very little escape, where grinding poverty, homelessness and hunger plague a large number of citizens, all while there are others who wrongly are living large, caring very, very little about the poor, dispossessed and forgotten.
Under these circumstances crime is relative, as long as it is to be judged fairly with an eye for the disparity that causes it. In this situation self defense can mean having to steal food to feed your family, since food pantries are in my experience delinquent in providing better than adequate sustenance.
Social inequality, racism, bigotry and prejudice are symptoms of a revolution that is merely waiting to erupt into all out warfare. Where social justice doesn’t exist, people do what they have to do to survive, and get by. When one looks at the working poor, where even two jobs doesn’t provide sustenance, one can rightly justify breaking existing laws since a certain section of that society doesn’t care enough to reform it into being an equitable system. This is a form of self defense as much as using force to subdue an attacker or aggressor, so in short selling drugs when it is done to keep food and drink in your belly, clothes on your back, and providing shelter is a circumstance where justice needs stop being blind, and it needs to open up its sad eyes.
Those who can’t work from having a disability that, for instance causes them constant chronic pain and or severe nervousness, like I experience, demands that a society does what it can, and then some, to aid and comfort that individual.
In my experience this is not the situation, rather severe inadequacies exist that leave people like me to go hungry, and without even some rudimentary sense of self worth. We make do, sometimes slowly selling off our possessions to provide the basics, until we have near to nothing left but the bare bones. Self defense in such circumstances includes doing whatever you need to to get by, as long as you aren’t bringing harm upon somebody else. So self defense is by definition a many sided paradigm in which any number of variables exist that decide its ultimate justification, along with the varying of what it can mean in a given circumstance. The disparity, inequality and out right racism of a Donald Trump riles me up to the boiling point, especially when I realize how good I once had it, all the while not thinking enough of those who were basically struggling to get by.
The pat answer of a government spokesperson is always lately talking in terms of how wrong it is to be radicalized, while there are those who actually have every reason to be bent on changing their circumstance to the better, to a more social justice kind of state. Here self defense is the hew and cry from the oppressed masses who aren’t by any measure sheep, so these assembly line procrastinators who twiddle their fingers while Rome burns need to be made to understand, and agree that all is not right in America, and many other nations. The poor need to be brought up out of there sad existences, by whatever means is necessary, keeping in mind that one doesn’t have a right to justify the reverse oppression of the upper classes.
It can boil over if left unchecked as its been for the longest time, which is why we all need to think in terms of bringing revolutionary economic and social change to fruition, when it also should have been done long ago. All of this encompasses self defense in that one must get their most basic needs to survive, in defense of their otherwise dying, but I emphasize that it must not be done at the expense of others if it does harm to them. We aspire to things higher in order to bring meaning to our lives, along with helping to enrich others, so by God it is time for self defense to be that very thing that turns around the attitudes of the well off, and especially super rich.
Together we can therefore defend each other from each other, having peace, contentment and be happy, joyous and free, not being in a state of desperation and near to suicide. All we need do is take on our current inadequate system, where there aren’t really any checks and balances, bringing about the needed changes that will make sure that everyone is equal, more or less. It is our duty to not just think of ourselves, family and friends, but instead think of the greater good being there for those that we don’t even know. As Jesus said, those who have the least are truly more his people than those who don’t want for anything. Whether it comes from liberation theology, or just the basic human desire to help another person, change to our currently bad situation can be remedied through our joining together, looking after each other better than we do now. This to me is the ultimate definition of self defense, when a people are so struggling to survive in the face of others who want for nothing, it becomes the truest of slaps in the face. Unlike Trump, or that compromising, and criminal Hillary Clinton, I would make it a point to restructure the economy to where everybody had more than enough, not going without for anything, so long as it didn’t entail the exploitation of others in Asia, or other areas of the globe.
The dividing lines are there right now, as they have been for so way too long, so revolutionary change must be enacted, fought for, and brought about if it even takes our taking on the oligarchs, their political lackeys and whatever force they might bring to bear to suppress such a movement. The name of the game changes once and if there is resistance from the Establishment, much like we saw during the antiwar protests during the 1960s and 70s. Lines would get blurred, with atrocities likely coming from both sides of such a fight. In the end the decision of whether there will be change will come from whether the middle class would join in feeling solidarity with the oppressed, especially the minorities that make up so many of the oppressed. It is the responsibility of the well off to properly look after the less fortunate, so such who had such inclinations could come from even those who are the middle, right up to even the top.
This goes even more so for third world countries, where there are even less democratic governments and militaries, who commit unspeakable crimes many times to keep all their people in check. So many knock off kinds of products are gotten from countries that are still developing into full fledged world economies, with slave labor and sweat shop type of factories being employed to exploit the workers of these countries. The force of a movement could take off once the middle class have had enough in paying outrageous taxes when their salaries aren’t keeping up with the standard of living, as sort of was my situation when property taxes went up even though the fixed salary doesn’t meet up to meet the demands such raises in price cause. The idea is that we are at a point in history where our current kind of economy will start failing to meet the needs of average people, so that we have to redo and rethink our kind of economic set up.
It is to where a world revolution like the “Arab Spring” could happen any day, and I predict that it would be chaos at first, but eventually factions would develop, and alliances made to win the day. This is all self defense, so it is justified, just hopefully it is had with care being taken to not be as savage as the oppressors from above. Its our future, so it is up to us to police ourselves, keeping alive true humanistic values and principles, or what used to be called the American dream. This goes for all countries, and I pray that it is done as lawfully as could possibly be done. As always it is up to you.