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Self Defense/Politics and Self Defense (and convincing family members deeply into the right)?


First read these links because they frame the basis of my question.

Now first let me admit I come from a conservative family. Indeed I was raised to assume under the conservative mantra that "If someone hits me, I can hit him back because its self defense. He threw first blow and I am only defending myself by counterattacking because he's the aggressor who started it and if I don't hit him back I will be continuously assaulted until I'm in the hospital".

FUCK there are members of my family who believe the "fighting words doctrine"-for example if someone burns the bible, I can hit him and not go to jail because I am doing self defense and he started the attack by openly insulting my religion.

Now my family hates LIBERALS because they believe that liberals are TRYING to take away our rights to defend ourselves. I argued with my uncle about stuff from your website, and he said I shouldn't trust you because you're a sheltered democrat who believes criminals have the right to rob our homes and rape our kids.

(BTW my uncle 100% supports the castle doctrine and "Stand your Ground" Laws).

Basically my family keeps telling me  that in self-defense we should have the right to SHOOT someone if he tries to punch you in a bar brawl and "Robbers shouldn't be at your house in 1 AM in the morning in the first place if they don't want to be shot by a shotgun" mantras Republicans support so  much.

I used to buy into my family (and Republican) beliefs about "self-defense"...... Until I went into your website one day by accident.

The more I read your site, the more it seems all I ever believed about self-defense is no longer concern for safety but flat out assault and fighting, and even TRYING to find excuses to attack someone under the guise of "I'm defending myself!".

However not just my family but everywhere I go I am now being bashed as a liberal hippy for citing your works. In a few Republican forums and conservative blogs, not only was I banned but when I mentioned your works and quoted stuff, people went beyond using the "you're a democrat card" and were accusing you of being a PUSSY and lacking the backbone to willingly defend yourself. A few members even stated you must be an underground drug dealer or gang member because you are "defending criminal's rights to attack us innocent victims" and you are supporting the government to "taking away our rights to defend ourselves".

Even at a local Republican meeting, I was immediately disowned as a member just for bringing some of your books with me and trying to warn party members who attended that what the Republicans espouse will PUT you in jail.  They kicked me out within hours, my registration with Republicans was deleted from the localmparty computer database, and I was being mocked as a liberal.

I wouldn't care but I am concerned you're being unfairly bashed as something you're not;IIRC aren't you a moderate?

I just want to let you know what Republicans believe about your (incredibly accurate) statements of self-defense are. Because Too many stuff they espouse  are UTTER BS. I already seen some family members and friends get killed or go to prison and I used to call BS on the latter believing that they were unfairly locked up for the "crime of self defense"; in the former I used to believe based on the accounts they didn't used their "right to self defense" because they only pulled out their gun or fought back when its too late (cornered with no room to escape, etc).

But the more I read yoru site, the more I wonder if they were breaking all rules of legitimate self defense.

Now a plus question; is there anyway to convince family members to actually go and research the law so they don't go to jail when they punched someone who stated say Jesus Christ may not have existed? They already refuse to read your stuff because they marked you as a "sheltered liberals who support criminal's right to have a gun and want us law-abiding citizen to remain defenseless". But I am truly concerned with some of their safety because the last time we went into a "self defense" situation they almost got locked up so I want to somehow instill  "de-escalation" into their heads. Your stuff is the BEST introduction course to this complex subject but they refuse to read it. What do you recommend I do to convince my diehard republican family what they believe is self-defense ain't the actual thing?

On the other extreme of the thing, do you believe democrats and liberals are TRYING to take away our right to self defense? IDK but all the stuff liberals always say like "You should NEVER SHOOT someone until you're out of options and pinned in an area with no escape and your assailant is GOING TO KILL or RAPE YOU" is spoton with your writings at NoNoneSenseSelfDefense and your books.

Do you believe that liberals and democrats have a FAR better grasp on the subject than those "law abiding" Republican and Conservative citizens do?

For the record, politically I refer to myself as a pragmatist. Despite having friends who are both liberal and conservative, I am technically neither.

Which if you want a more specific definition of my politics you could call me a "Middle of the road, independent with strong Constitutional leanings, yet understanding economic and social limitations."

However, pragmatism gets me sneered at by both progressives and right wingers. Those are the extremes of both -- they are NOT the main bodies of either liberals or conservatives. Much less Democrats or Republicans. Each extreme accuse ANYONE who doesn't drink their all-or-you're-wrong Kool-Aid as being the other. (Which is really hurtful when a liberal/conservative is called conservative/liberal by someone who is supposedly on your side, but further out there. (I wrote a blog about this kind of thinking-- )

One of the bigger problems is people don't understand the Constitution (I have a demotivational photo that reads "Bill of Rights: Too long, didn't read (But will use half-assed understanding to demand freedom for stupid behavior)") A big, big and did I mention BIG issue in this country has always been the division between states rights and federal power. In fact, before it became trendy to claim it was about racism, it was commonly taught that the Civil War was about states rights vs. federal control. The original Articles of Confederation had been 12 years of disaster before the Constitution was written. (Basically the states had been squabbling and nothing was getting done.)Yet the major fear of the Anti-Federalists was the Constitution gave the Feds too much power. It was in fact, the Anti-Federalists who INSISTED that the Bill of Rights be included to protect THE people's rights. Then it was a matter of an individual's rights.

But notice how low down the totem "individual rights" are?  That's something the TLDR crowd doesn't understand. They've elevated their rights to the apex and expect the world to step out of their way.

This. Is. Simply. Not. True.

Nor is it how things work. While the right to self-defense has been established, what self-defense means -- along with any other word in the legal system -- doesn't mean what people think it means.

Two things...

One start with this Lectric Law Library definition of 'justification'  As in this is the standard you're going to have to meet.

Two is an excerpt from "In The Name of Self-Defense"

When you claim self-defense, you are confessing to a crime.

That is one of three things you need to know—right up front—about self-defense (SD). We'll get back to this confessing to a crime thing in a bit, but for right now let's keep going with the other two need-to-know items.

Two is that the self-defense pool has been peed in.

After SODDI (some other dude did it) self-defense is the second most common claim of people who have committed illegal violence. Got it? SD pool equals needs lots of chlorine. Even hardened criminals—when confronted with evidence that it wasn't some other dude—will often switch and claim self-defense. This is a tactical mistake. A mistake made by professional criminals who know how to play the system. But where the tainted self-defense plea is most common is among amateurs. And usually it's emotional and aggressive amateurs who participated in illegal violence.

Young bucks out on a Friday night get in a fight. When the cops come through the door, they stop in mid-swing and chorus, "He attacked me! I was defending myself!" That's self-defense, right?

Two neighbors get in a squabble and both claim it was self-defense. Except they both stopped what they were doing in their own yards and walked over to confront each other. After commenting on each other's sexual practices with their mothers, it goes physical. Self-defense, right?

Participants in a screaming match over a fender bender go physical—same thing. Isn't that self-defense?

Some drunken asshole jumps on and beats the hell out of someone for something that person said. When the cops show up on his doorstep, he claims he was acting in self-defense. Uhhh . . . beating someone for hurting my feelings counts as self-defense doesn't it?

A road rage incident, he cuts you off and blocks you. You get out of your car and approach him. It goes physical. Come on, that's gotta be self-defense, right?

A tattooed mixed martial arts (MMA) guy in a bar gets in another dude's face. The second dude smashes Tap-Out Boy in the face with a mug. "What do you mean aggravated assault? I felt threatened. I was defending myself!”

Same players, different outcome. This time, MMA guy does a ground-and-pound (puts the other person on the ground and continues to assault him) and gets the aggravated assault charge—if he's lucky. If he's not, he faces manslaughter charges. "Manslaughter? But it was self-defense! Besides, I didn't mean to kill him by beating his skull on the concrete floor! I was just defending myself.”

Someone threatens to kick someone's ass if he doesn't leave. Instead of leaving, the other person pulls a gun and shoots the first person. “What do you mean that wasn't self-defense?"

This book will help keep you from making the biggest mistake people make.

That is: Claiming self-defense when it wasn't.

Strike one.

Often with these tainted self-defense claims, the motive is to wiggle out of consequences. Especially when—after the heat of the moment has passed—the person realizes he or she was out of bounds. Trying to justify it (and save himself) the amateur starts calling it self-defense.

Strike two.

But far more common, these aggressive amateurs believe they acted in self-defense. Not just saying it either—they honestly believe it. That's the position they're going to try to sell. Except to everyone else it looks like the amateur is lying. Often because witnesses saw the incident, and everyone else has seen the security video.

Strike three, you're out.

Let me give you an important safety tip: When it comes to self-defense, what you believe does not matter. What matters is what you actually did, especially if you were involved in the creation and escalation of the incident—whether you meant for violence to happen or not. Your participation seriously undermines your claim of self-defense.

Learn the following and never forget it: Your words and actions before, during, and after an incident will be gone over with a microscope as officials seek misconduct. And the raw truth is they don't usually have to look that hard. Way too many people believe they acted in self-defense when they are—in fact—fighting. And that is where most people don't just step on their dicks, but pogo stick on them. While self-defense is legally justifiable, fighting is illegal. So, too, is a one-sided assault. As is excessive force and other similar procedures. Those actions, not that they defended themselves, are what get people into trouble. After crossing certain lines what people did is not legal self-defense, but illegal violence. That is the crime they are confessing to when they claim self-defense.

So after the first (claiming SD when it wasn't) and second (getting upset about having to deal with the aftermath) the third biggest mistake people make is: They want a painless answer.


What you're talking about isn't Republican or Democrat, what it is is people wanting simplistic answers that
a) don't require them to think
b) lets them do whatever they want without consequence
c) enforce tribal allegiance over how things really work.

This isn't about being a Democrat or Republican, both sides do the same thing. And the extremes of both are more close to each other than the rest of their own party.

Also watch for people trying to dismiss information because it comes from people they don't like, it's not just a logical fallacy, it's a form of extreme tribalism.

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Too numerous to list here. My CV (for my expert witness work in court) is at

Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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