‘Man charged with assault for stabbing a home intruder goes free’ This was a recent headline. There have been others relating to what is a reasonable response if attacked. The courts are not clear and that shows that any self righteous action requires caution when getting involved in protecting an individual or property. Cases regarding shop keepers apprehending shoplifters have also been in the news.
So what is appropriate? Is it OK to take the law into your own hands? Most people who have been involved in doing this would say “yes” Yet the courts, or some courts say that is not appropriate. The charge in this case was withdrawn as the prosecution decided a conviction in front of a jury would never happen. Which again poses the question: if a jury would not convict why prosecute in the first place?
It serves as warning that to think anything goes is not acceptable. So often in anger management we hear justifications for violent behaviour occurred as a result of needing to defend themselves. In 99% of these cases there was an over reaction using force as punitive measure. The parallel is with road rage where drivers decide to teach other motorists a lesson.
This is not a black or white area. But it does serve to remind us when there is a desire to hurt somebody who is attacking, it is easy to go over the edge. The basic awareness in anger management is to think of consequences which always means stretching the mind to go beyond the immediate and the obvious. Otherwise don’t be surprised that things happen which you never even considered.
Source: Toronto Star