Self Defense/debating on this


can you explain briefly,describe briefly,discuss,evaluate,outline how can self-defence is justified? can you give some examples how on comparing and contrasting it? thank you

Hi Ling,

Really sorry for not getting back to you sooner...long story short, I changed my email address and this is one site that I haven't reached yet.  In any case, my bad!

This is an interesting subject; one that can be answered rather quickly or in great detail (I will opt for the former!).  Self-defence can be justified if a) you are being attacked or b) you act pre-emptively to prevent an attack from occurring.

Let's start with a) - In Canada, The Criminal Code states in section 34. (1) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than is necessary to enable him to defend himself.  To me, this is a no-brainer.  If someone accosts me with bad intentions, I am going to do whatever I can to 'get the hell out of there'!  This is where the law is particular, especially when Crown decides whether or not to prosecute: "no more than necessary to defend".  Your objective is to create an opportunity to get out of harms way, not continue an attack when your assailant is out of matter if you believe he deserves it or not.  

b) Section 37. (1) Every one is justified in using force to defend himself or any one under his protection from assault, if he uses no more force than is necessary to prevent the assault or the repetition of it.  This is my favorite!  If you are confronted and there is no way out, pre-emption will allow you to 'stun and run'.  This is where you establish a situational control of proxemics (control the space), initiate your main artillery (let's say...a palm strike to the face), keep attacking until the assailant is neutralized (if escape isn't possible), and run like the wind!  Once again, your only objective is to escape and dissuade (de-escalate or talk down), if avoidance isn't in your favor.  

I can't emphasize how important situational and environmental awareness is and how it is the mother of all prevention tools.  If it looks like trouble and you get that feeling in your gut, trust it and make the right choice to not be there.  If you are there and you can't get away from it, do what it takes to facilitate an escape route (or in the eyes of the law, what a 'reasonable' person would do), and leg it.  

I hope this helps,

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Conor MacPhee


I am a fully licensed private investigator, security consultant, and bodyguard in the province of British Columbia. I am also a personal security management instructor with over 20 years experience in non-aversive and aversive physical intervention. I have a strong background in impact, edged, and aerosol weapons training; conflict resolution; crisis management; threat assessment and response training; stress/fear management; and personal safety awareness.

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