Asking for official permission to stay alive.

Often in home defense episodes, people ask 911 dispatchers for permission to use effective means of self-defense. “Mother, may I please, please save my life by fighting those who’d murder me?” I would guess this stems from being unsure of own right to use deadly force in self-defense. This is precisely why handgun courses usually cover the legalities of self-defense. The decision to fight with all you’ve got should be made long before the emergency happens.

Many movies promote the idea that most people just can’t bring themselves to resist criminals. Just as a grease fire in the kitchen has to be handled soonest with the use of a fire extinguisher, so does criminal aggression must be handled at once with the most effective measures available. Being defenders, lawful people always begin behind the reaction curve and only prior what-if planning allows them to catch up with the aggressors and beat them at their own game.

A lawful, peaceful person should not be apologetic about doing in a criminal aggressor. Human life is worth defending. Life of a home invader or a mugger or a rapist has negative worth and continues at the sufferance of the real humans. And it’s quite all right to treat violent criminals as less than human — they aren’t being stereotyped for some common congenital trait (such as ethnicity or appearance) but treated according to their immediate unlawful actions. Wanton initiation of aggression is a very certain denial of humanity.

Just as a great potential dinner may have to be ruined on a moment’s notice if the oil in your frying pan flashes, a potentially good human who just happens to be a murderous thug at present has to be stopped. The stopping process may ruin the critter but that’s his problem, not yours. A couple of years ago, one of my friends was grabbed by two older men right off the street in Oakland. They dragged her towards a construction site, she managed to slice one of them with a knife and the attackers took off, presumably for the nearest hospital. Whether the wounded rapist lived or died is not important, the important thing is that she escaped. Fortunately, her sense of self-worth is sufficient to ward off any second-guessing or misdirected guilt. My friend is quite comfortable with the outcome of that encounter and that’s how it should be.

Save your pity and consideration for the humans in your life. Goblins masquerading as humans do not deserve it. Know how to protect yourself and be willing to apply that knowledge if necessary. And don’t think that you have to request official permission to protect yourself.

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12 Responses to Asking for official permission to stay alive.

  1. Very well stated!
    Posted. Thank you.
    Miss Violet

  2. Pingback: Asking for official permission to stay alive. « Freedom Is Just Another Word…

  3. ankle says:

    I certainly wouldn’t argue individuals’ right to defend themselves, and appreciate your clear description of why the use of deadly force against an aggressor is the only legitimate option (as opposed to “vigilante justice” or some other silly misrepresentation). It sure seems to me, based admittedly only on anecdotal evidence, that plenty of erstwhile victims who have successfully defended themselves struggle with feelings of guilt, especially when they managed to kill, as opposed to wounding or simply scaring off, their attacker. I’d hesitate to describe this as having an insufficient “sense of self-worth”. These victims certainly don’t deserve feelings of guilt, but many suffer them anyway.

    All that said, I’m glad your friend was able to spare herself further violence in the incident you describe, to teach her attackers a lesson, and to avoid problems with feelings of guilt thereafter. Thanks for the post.

    • Oleg Volk says:

      That particular friend had a history of victimization by family and strangers. Now an adult, she was ready for such an eventuality and acted quickly and effectively. As for the self-worth, I think that’s one of the factors that can blunt the cultural memes suggesting guilt for harming “another human being”.

  4. Paul Koning says:

    The question you didn’t ask is, what answer would you get if you did ask 911?
    Consider the recent case in Blanchard, Oklahoma. According to the news report:

    “I’ve got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?” McKinley asked Grady County dispatcher Diane Graham shortly before she fired one of the guns.
    “Well you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself,” Graham is heard answering on the 911 tape released Wednesday. “I can’t tell you that you can do that, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your baby.”

    Not exactly a clear and crisp answer. It sounds like something written by a lawyer. And that was in Oklahoma — imagine what the answer would be in California or Massachusetts, or similar states that hate self defense.
    Or maybe you don’t need to. Consider this report, from a comment in one of the reports about that same event:

    A young woman with a baby called 911 saying a man (a neighbor who had just broken up with his wife) was beating down her door. She had a gun but the operator (female) told her not to use it. Once the man broke inside her home he grabbed her and raped her while she screamed the whole time. The call was recorded until the police came in and pulled him off the woman.

    This message needs to be hammered home at every opportunity.
    As Blackstone pointed out, the right of self defense is a basic human right (and Oleg makes that point in the name of his web site). For that matter, it’s a basic law of nature. Even mushrooms understand self defense. I guess that means mushrooms are smarter than liberals — or maybe just more honest.

    • Tim says:

      As a police Dispatcher, I have long dreaded the possibility of this situation arising and that question being asked of me. The “I can’t tell you what to do” response is a sensible one. I am not in control of you at that moment.
      That said, I believe my response – and the one I have rehearsed in my mind over and over *just in case* goes like this: “Ma’am/Sir, you have a duty to your family to survive this. Do what you have to.”
      If they want to fire me for that, at least I go away knowing I NEVER told anyone not to defend themselves.

      • Paul Koning says:

        Yes, I can see how it would be a real horror to anticipate for a dispatcher.
        I like your answer. And your insistence on saying the right thing whether your bosses like it or not.

  5. PM says:

    Minor quibble. A fat fire is best extinguished with a fire blanket. And using a water based extinguisher on a fat fire is a badness thing:

  6. LarryArnold says:

    It all starts with, “If they want your wallet, give them your wallet. Otherwise someone might get hurt.”

    “They” don’t always want your wallet, of course, so there are variations. For a long time one was, “If they want to hijack the airplane, give them control of the airplane. Otherwise someone might get hurt.”

    That one has fallen into disrepute.

    During stand-your-ground debates we’ve heard folks bewailing rises in justifiable homicides. We need to remind them that often the alternative to successful self-defense is a completed violent crime.

    • Paul Koning says:

      Part of what’s wrong in arguments like the one you quote is that they are based on the theory that the criminal’s life and the victim’s life are of equal value. Sensible people know better.

  7. Braden Lynch says:

    I believe the intentional failure to protect your innocent life from criminal aggression is an affront to God. The use of force to prevent the murders of individuals and to prevent genocides like the Holocaust, is required morally.

    Hence, I have utter disgust for those who say firearms are not suitable for self-defense, and that they should be confiscated. Never Again and Molon Labe!

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