Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Self Defence Craziness

I am just catching up on my reading (the May 14th Economist) and found, on page 36, an assertion that Florida has just passed what they call a 'right to shoot' law. In essence, The Economist says, this law gives a citizen the right to shoot a person who attacks them on the street. Now, I haven't read the legislation (can't find it here), but Good Lord! What kind of craziness is that?

I am reminded of a friend who recently did an essay on Australia's recent enactment of anti-terrorism laws. In essence, she found there was no need for these laws, as the crimes they provided for fit into the definitions of existing crimes, such as murder etc. Surely, the existing laws of self-defence would be sufficient and, if they are not, then is it right to pass legislation which provides for what might be found as excessive self-defence in this one situation? Why not allow a person to shoot another if the second is a road rager?

My point is that self defence as a doctrine should encapsulate rules, which should be applied to the specific situation, rather than setting out the special situations themselves.

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