Defense of Self Against Unlawful Attack

apparently, this applying to police is controversial.

Who knew?

To clarify, I’m talking about the new law in Indiana, not to #OWS punching a cop and being shocked when they get thumped.  Was falling asleep last night and heard Coast to Coast AM start in on it.

I do not want cops to die. I don’t even want a CPS agent that’s kidnapping kids “for their own good” to be shot, although that’s a bit harder to type than it probably should be.
Then again, I don’t want any more people to die in misplaced raids, like Jose Guerena.  That is the Marine vet who was killed in his own home, when he did his God-given duty to protect his wife and children.  Armed men were looking in his son’s window, which scared his wife, who screamed for help.  I don’t want a Jose Guerena who managed to shoot a home intruder rather than being shot 60 times to be put on trial because the people breaking into his house were state employees who thought he was a criminal.

The law is give and take. So far as people follow it, they are protected by it.  There is no way that you should get special protections against logical, immediate consequences of breaking the law simply because of who your employer is; when officers of the law make mistakes, they are putting the lives of those involved on the line.  The victims of the mistake should not be put in further jeopardy (not just of legal action, but of criminals doing the obvious exploitation of such a ruling) to

We all know, because of Nazi Germany, that civilized agents of the gov’t are required to refuse unlawful orders.  It has a sister right to resist unlawful force—if something is unlawful, it is outside of the law, unprotected by the law.  Ordering law around the idea that those who initiate an unlawful situation should be specially shielded because they are a public servant is a dangerous change of mindset; it protects those who have the most power and information, who should be held to a higher standard.

Here’s the meat and potatoes of the edited law:

“A person is justified in using reasonable force against ANY OTHER person to protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be imminent use of unlawful force.”

Quote copied it from the link up above.

Police are no different from other citizens, other than that they are empowered to enforce the law.  This does not give them special protection when they break the law, any more than they should be specially penalized for inadvertently breaking the law. The obvious hard case is that of a mistaken raid, where the police don’t realize they’re raiding the wrong house, and the homeowner doesn’t realize that the men with guns yelling are police.  I can see no reason that a law abiding person who is the victim of bad paperwork should be put in even more jeopardy than the screw-up already did.

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Former sailor, trained calibration tech, current mother, current geek; has a former sailor current geek computer tech husband, five kids and two spoiled barn cats. Has been "Foxfier" since before Mozilla existed, let alone renamed their browser "Firefox." It's a purposeful misspelling of the photo-luminescent effect-- for something that might look scary but is harmless. That's it.


  1. Did you notice that according to that law and probably many such laws, a person cannot use force if the bad guy is escaping after stealing? Now this contradicts the ever prudent sage, Axl Rose inter alia…” you can take anything you want, but you better not take it from me.”…from the yesteryear tune, “Welcome to the Jungle”. You according to law have to watch the criminal leave with your goods….( in your fav blue athletic bag no less.) My bad. But I retrieved by force a lethal weapon that likely would have been used later in a street murder. Aquinas…”the lawgiver cannot foresee every situation”…ergo, epikeia is needed. The law literally means that a gunstore owner coming upon a thief leaving his store with 30 Taurus pistols in a sack….cannot use force to stop him despite the imminent distribution of said guns to thugs. Lawyers….help me out with this.

  2. Bill, I’m pretty sure that if you run into a thief coming out of a gun store with guns, you can reasonably be expected to conclude he’s an imminent threat to life and limb.

  3. Foxfier,
    I hope you are correct but if the bag were closed and like many burglars (for sentencing reasons) he carried no loaded weapon himself outside the bag, I wouldn’t bet on the outcome in court if the owner fractured the guy’s skull with a gun butt.
    On your topic of the police, there have been cases of home invaders announcing themselves as police. Awful dilemna….whether you have a gun or do not. What do you do outside Indiana? Amazon sells great adjustable door braces (knob to floor white metal pipes with rubber ends) that you place in position in a second.
    Very good for big city life.

  4. If more Gentlemen and good willed citizens owned guns Criminals would think twice more often and people would not have to wait ten minutes for cops to arrive to arrest a man who left eight minutes before, The problem of Mexican drug smugglers killing ranchers in the Southwest would not happen as often because criminals get guns whether it is legal or not, your average Joe on the other hand tends to obey the law.

  5. Atleast in Newark Delaware a lot of cops act like totalitarians I know a story about a young girl who was taken to the Police station because she was looking for a balloon for her birthday with her friends in the middle of the day and the way the cop got her to go to the station was by threatening to send her parents to Jail. All because people are so freaked out about security when no one was doing any harm to them except the po po pig that took her away to the station on her birthday.

  6. The common law rule was very simple and straightforward. A householder could use force against an unlawful intruder, but he acted at his peril: if the entry was authorised, then killing the officer was murder.

    Just as the entry was either lawful or unlawful, so was the killing. As far as justification went, the householder’s state of mind was immaterial. The fact that the householder believed the entry was lawful, when, in fact, it was not, would not turn him into a criminal for killing the officer. Likewise, his belief that it was unlawful, when it was not, was no defence.

    This meant that no enquiry as to his state of mind was necessary at the trial. The test was purely objective, which makes for simplicity and certainty.

  7. I am not sure why a guy who you don’t know, probably doesn’t live in your neighborhood, and makes a living sending people to jail somehow is the exception to the rule of people not being allowed to barge into your house. I think neighborhood guards who are local and morally upright are more trustworthy than a lot of police officers.

  8. I find it odd for police officers to be surprised when someone their putting in shackles fights back, I think something which Christ tells to Peter is “Those who live by the sword die by the sword” one of the things that means is that if you punch someone or spray mace at their eyes don’t be surprised to get a hay maker in the jaw.

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