Not an actual weapon …

Self Defense and Stand Your Ground laws are almost fine: the concept is legit, but the implementation leaves them open to some serious abuse.

Even South Park noticed this years ago.

To get straight to the point:

Most Self Defense and Stand Your Ground laws require only a belief that the person you’re about to hurt or kill is a threat to you (or in some cases to other people or even to property). You don’t have to be right; you just have to think you’re right.

And for the most part, people using this defense are white male Americans.

We always think we’re right.

Now, the State should absolutely not be able to tell any citizen that they’re not allowed to defend themselves using any means necessary. Hell, citizens should be encouraged to be able to defend themselves (and others); self-reliance is a good thing.

But this whole belief angle makes a mockery of that principle. For one thing, it means that the stupider and more aggressive you are, the more likely you are to get away with it.

So require that you actually be right.

An appropriate term is, I think, “justified true belief”: you have to believe that you are threatened, have an expressible reason for that belief, and that belief has to turn out to be true.

This being law, it might be better to express that as “not demostrable to a reasonable doubt to be false”? It would probably be best to put the burden of proof onto the prosecution in this situation, which rewording it that way does?

The details are less important than the principle: that the State can’t forbid you to defend yourself and others, but you have to actually be treatened for that to work.

So close the “comin’ right for us” loophole South Park mocked 20 years ago.

And then go apply the same rules to the police.

One thought on “They’re Comin’ Right For Us: Fixing Self-Defense

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