Self-defense: A Sorry Excuse For Intended Violence
When people are driven into a corner, the most primitive instincts start to resurface. No matter how far we’ve gotten in terms of self-knowledge and technological development, we continue to bring with us one crucial necessity of life – the need for self-preservation.
At least, that’s what one school of thought claims.
However, this core principle in the homeostatic theory of behavior still holds true in modern society. For example, when someone is showing intentions of causing physical harm to your body, you’ll fight back. When a workmate tries to rat about your bad work ethic to your boss, you try to stop them at all costs – even when it comes to a point that you have to threaten or bribe them.
You see, the most basic human response to a threatening stimulus is defense. Any normal person will fight back if an external party (anything outside of oneself), poses a threat to his/her physical, emotional, mental, or financial well-being. In a sense, people are already pre-wired or pre-programmed that when the right conditions are met, survival instincts just automatically operate.
When Is Self-Defense Justified?
Self-defense is only considered as such if the act committed is solely for the purpose of “defending.” And when a person tries to defend himself, he will not use more force than necessary. The otherwise OFFENSIVE act is JUSTIFIED only when the damage done is commensurate to the damage suffered. In simpler terms, all violent and non-violent acts are done in order to protect and preserve the self.
When Is Self-Defense Considered An Excuse For Intended Violence
When the damage inflicted is overboard or excessive to the damage received, then an otherwise SELF-DEFENDING behavior is considered UNJUSTIFIED. It is understood that when one tries to protect the self, he or she is doing so without harboring any ill-intent towards the offender prior to the attack. The offensive behavior is committed as part of the body’s response to real-world threats.
In order to better understand the difference between these two definitions, let us picture two short scenarios:
Scenario 1. You and your recent girlfriend decided to take a nice afternoon stroll in a nearby park. It was a quiet afternoon and both of you were really enjoying it. You hate to interrupt the fun but you really had to heed nature’s call. You made your way to the comfort room when suddenly – Whack! An uppercut goes right to your jaw. The perpetrator showed no signs of stopping his attack. So you decided to bring out your black belt karate moves to protect yourself. You won.
Scenario 2. Same scene – you and girlfriend at the park, having fun, then you excuse yourself to go pee. And whack! An uppercut goes right to your jaw. You look up and see the perpetrator’s face – it was your girlfriend’s rumored “other guy.” So you take the opportunity as a chance to whip his butt. Karate moves, blah-blah-blah, and you won. But the guy looks half-dead.
Between Scenario 1 and Scenario 2, only the first one can be considered self-defense because an offensive act was done only to preserve the self. The second one however, was intended violence disguised as self-defense. The fact that there is an ulterior motive behind the action makes it unqualified for self-defense.
So before you start hitting someone, think long and hard. Am I hitting him because I need to or because I want to?