Law of Self Defense: A Self-Defense Cascade of Failure
“Defender” Drives Off Two Burglars and HE Is Convicted!
I’m often asked to describe the most common way people screw up their self-defense claim. The truth is there isn’t a single most common way. Too many people manage to find an apparently infinite number of ways to step outside the bounds of the law. Often, there were a bunch of exits off that jail-bound freeway that they could have taken, but didn’t.
For most normally law-abiding people this is not done out of malice, but ignorance. I mean ignorance not in a derogatory sense, but in a technical sense–they didn’t know where the legal boundaries were, and stepped over them without even knowing it.
“I can’t believe I got arrested for self-defense!”
In their minds they acted lawfully. “I can’t believe I’m being prosecuted for self-defense,” may be amongst the most common statements I hear from clients.
Indeed, it’s not unusual to see a defendant fail not from a single error, but from a cascade of errors, each building atop the mistakes already made.
A good example of this kind of cascade occurred in a case out of Virginia. The case ended in some social media outrage when the “defender” was compelled to take a misdemeanor plea deal after using a gun to fight off a pair of home invaders. (Source: Prosecutor responds to article, outcry about sentencing of man who shot intruder.)
Stated in that fashion, this certainly seems outrageously unjust. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, the actual facts of the case shed light on why a misdemeanor was not as unreasonable as it might first appear.
Defender Drives Off Two Burglars and HE Is Convicted!
The facts viewed in the light most favorable to the “defender” are as follows: 35-year-old William Andrew Sheets was in his backyard when he saw two strangers enter his home from the front door. His home had just recently been burglarized, and Sheets decided to intervene and stop what appeared to be yet another burglary.
Sheets, who was armed with a handgun, entered the home through the back door and confronted the two burglars, resulting in a fight with one of them. The burglar was subsequently shot in the face by Sheets and then was shot twice more. Both burglars were ultimately arrested, charged, and convicted of felony burglary.
A Cascade of “Self-Defense” Failure
So, how did the “defender” end up getting charged and taking a plea deal requiring 30 days in jail, two years of supervised release, and five years loss of his gun rights? Well, for several reasons.
First Error: It Wasn’t Sheets’ Current Home
First, the “home” in question was not actually Sheets’ home, at least not any longer. Although he had previously lived in the house, he had since moved to a new residence. He had, however, also left some of his personal property behind, planning to pick it up at a later date.
It was during this delay that the previous residence was burglarized and some of his property was stolen. Reasonably enough, Sheets reported the burglary to the police, but because he was unsatisfied with the police response he made another in a cascade of errors.
Second Error: Defender Sets Up an Ambush
That second error was to decide to take the law into his own hands, by arming himself and setting up a tent in the backyard of his former residence, in the expectation that the burglar would return to steal more stuff.
Third Error: Confronts Rather Than Calls Police
When he observed two men entering the home, presumably to burglarize it again, instead of calling the police to report a burglary in progress Sheets decided to enter the house—which, remember, is not his home—and confront them with a firearm.
When he did so he ended up in a physical confrontation with one of the burglars, shooting that burglar in the face. Incidentally, Sheets would later concede that he knew neither of the men was armed. The two burglars then fled from the house. Folks, remember, when you go to the fight, rather than the fight coming to you, that’s not going to look much like self-defense to a lot of people.
Fourth Error: Pursues the Fleeing Burglars
His fourth error was to then pursue the fleeing burglars out of the home and to their vehicle, continuing to fire at them as they ran, shooting one of the burglars twice in the buttocks. Incidentally, these rounds are flying around a residential neighborhood. Pro-tip: if you’re pursuing, you make it pretty easy for a prosecutor to argue that even if the person you’re chasing initiated the confrontation, you’ve now become the active aggressor in a second fight.
Fifth Error: Fires Into Burglars’ Fleeing Vehicle
But he didn’t stop there. His final error occurred after the two burglars were in their vehicle and driving away. Sheets ran up to the car and fired two shots into the vehicle. There may be circumstances where it’s allowed to shoot into another guy’s vehicle—if he’s using it as a weapon to drive over you, for example, or he’s shooting at you from within the vehicle—but when the other guy is using the car to escape from you, that’s not one of them.
And Defender Still Thinks He Acted Lawfully
As is often the case in these kinds of use-of-force encounters gone wrong, Sheets continues to have a genuine, good faith belief that his conduct was lawful. As the news article reports, “During his sentencing, Sheets reiterated that he did not believe what he did was wrong and was outwardly angry at the prospect of incarceration.” In truth he’s lucky to get a misdemeanor plea deal. In many jurisdictions an attempted murder or felony aggravated assault charge would not have been out of the question.
–Attorney Andrew F. Branca, Law of Self Defense LLC
Learn more about self-defense law from Attorney Andrew F. Branca and Law of Self Defense LLC by visiting the Law of Self Defense Patreon page for both free and paid-access content, and by viewing his free weekly Law of Self Defense Show.
(Featured image sourced from news report.)
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someone was spring loaded on “stupid”…
and yeah, he is DAMN lucky that’s all he got.
yeah once I got to the part where he was still shooting at their fleeing car, it was a double facepalm moment.
yeah- it seems to me, if he called the cops rather than leaving the building, he’d have been ok. Once he went into pursuit, those otherwise “overlookable” errors up front got thrown in.
Redc 1c4 – While I can agree with your “stupid” comment, it seems harsh given the natural feelings aroused when you have been robbed. In my own “perfect world” thieves returning and caught by the victim deserve what they get. Given the state of the law, he made a lot of “stupid” mistakes, but if you have ever been victimized this way, you will be a lot more simpatico with him. Yes, I think the victim should be able to exact vengance on his own rather than leave it entirely up to “the (so often hapless) authorities.” Big government, small people, or small government, big people. It’s clear to me which would work better.
So this is not man in backyard sees burglars go into home that contains his unarmed wife and daughter?
It wasn’t clear to me from your commentary as to who the property in question belonged to. If it was his, then it was still within his rights to defend it, right? That is to say, if he’d simply set up his sleeping bag in the house instead of the back yard, he’d have (up to the other stupid things he did) had the right to defend the property when they entered.
Things may be a little different under Texas law. I know of at least one incident in which a neighbor saw a couple of burglars departing his neighbor’s house (neighbor wasn’t home) and opened fire on them. As I recall, he wasn’t charged.
The personal property was his, and he was entitled to defend it as personal property–meaning, in VA, with non-deadly force only.
The house was no longer his residence, so he didn’t have the benefit of any of the usual special legal provisions that are triggered when using deadly force in defense of highly-defensible property.
Texas does, indeed, have a statutory provision for the use of deadly force in defense of mere personal property even in the absence of a threat to persons: Texas Penal Code §9.42. To my knowledge it is the only state that has such a provision.
So the key distinction that he still owned the house but was no longer living in it?
If this had happened in Texas this guy would be the mayor!
Seems like a situation where he was morally right, but legally wrong.
a plea deal requiring 30 days in jail, two years of supervised release, and five years loss of his gun rights
Interesting; I don’t think I’ve heard of anything like that “five year” thing before.
A loss of gun rights in a deal like this is not uncommon, although five years is quite a long time, in my experience. I’ve seen three years quite a lot, in the context of careless handling of a firearm that endangered others, and a misdemeanor (or less) deal. Of course, if they’d hit him with a felony it would have been forever.
and a misdemeanor (or less) deal. Of course, if they’d hit him with a felony it would have been forever.
D’oh! Sure, felony charge vs. misdemeanor. That explains it.
There was a case a few years ago in North Miami, in which a homeowner ambushed a burglar and, if I remember correctly, he was never charged.
But it was different circumstances.
It was his home and the burglar attempted the robbery while the owner was inside, at night. When the homeowner detected the intruder he fired a couple of shots as the perp ran into the master bedroom of the residence. The homeowner then ran outside through the front door, around the house and caught the burglar as he tried to climb out the bedroom window. He shot him right there.
I could be wrong, but I remember there were complaints that the bad guy was “ambushed”, but in the end there were no charges.
It would be great to know Andrew’s opinion.
Florida statutorily allows the use of deadly force against anyone who enter the residence of another through the use of force or, now, merely unlawfully. It can also be used to thwart any forcible felony, which, in Florida, includes burglary.
Now, If this is the case to which you refer [https://miami.cbslocal.com/2016/03/11/teen-burglary-suspect-killed-homeowner/], the homeowner said that she told the burglar to stop and he charged her in an aggressive manner, rather than running away. She shot him once in the chest. It ended up being a straight up personal self defense case which was peripherally tied to a burglary.
That’s not the case I was talking about, but seems similar. In the one I remember both shooter and burglar were males.
I will try to find it.
I think I found it. It’s here:
It’s the Miami Herald, so read at your own risk. 😉
It’s endlessly amusing watching “journalists” try to handle rather simple self-defense law issues. It’s as if they took “Black’s Law Dictionary,” turned it into liquid form, gargled it, spat it on the sidewalk, and made their legal conclusions.
I suggest chicken entrails would be more reliable. 🙂
“It’s as if they took “Black’s Law Dictionary,” turned it into liquid form, gargled it, spat it on the sidewalk, and made their legal conclusions. I suggest chicken entrails would be more reliable….”
That sure sounds like some of the comments by the trolls we have swinging by here.
There was a similar “Ambush” in FL years ago when a store owner rigged up a shotgun to go off when the transom above the rear door was opened. He had been robbed twice through the transom and had had enough. It shot the burglar but did not kill him. The crook sued the store owner and won in court. Booby traps are not allowed in home defense.
i’m NOT an atty, the original case sounded like a revenge trap.
while ‘morally’ satisfying, it had the endangerment issue (unless this took place in the sticks).
if the shooter had shot anyone (especially an innocent) he would be liable for homicide and reckless endangerment charges.
Agreed. This guy upped his vigil ante a bit too high in confronting, then pursuing these two parasites. However, I view this more as a public service to rid the neighborhood of rodents, but I’m silly that way.
All in all, I understand why a peaceful, orderly society has sensible laws on the books to reign in this type of vigilantism.
I see what you did there, and love it.
On a lighter note….
I’m waiting (with baited breath) for ModinMiddle to opine before I say anything …
Do you mean bated breath? Or have you been eating worms?
Baited breath is when a cat eats cheese and then sits in front of a mouse hole.
Mr. Branca, I liked your commentary and I understand why this guy was lucky to get the sentence he got. But isn’t it all still up to the jury? I’m thinking of the Joe Horn shooting in my home state. A neighbor shoots a burglar while he was making his getaway (if I understand the case correctly and with today’s media, who knows?) and the grand jury does not charge him.
I know state laws are different. And I’m subject to the idea my state allows for a less restrictive use of guns for stopping criminals (which I support) so I wonder if the difference in this case and the Joe Horn case is just jurisdiction and the jury.
I wonder if at some point you could do an analysis of the Joe Horn shooting. You know, if you run out of material (which is impossible, I know).
Always keep in mind, a lot of the outcomes in these cases is not a function of black-letter law, but a function of the exercise of discretion–by the police, the prosecutor, the judge, the jury. But just because we saw a positive outcome in one case because of such an exercise of discretion doesn’t mean that we can expect to get that same benefit of discretion if we’re in a similar situation.
We wear seatbelts not because not wearing one is a death sentence in a crash. We wear them because we’re preparing ourselves for the worst case scenario. The same is true in self-defense cases. We need to prepare ourselves not for what might happen if the authorities choose to use their discretion in our favor, but rather for what might happen if they DON’T.
How did you do that so fast?
I think I get it now. If I want to carry, I have to know the law AND assume the worst if I have to discharge. So I have to be part lawyer and part soothsayer. It’s a big responsibility to do it right. But that goes with the idea of discharging a gun at another person. I guess the rule is adequately summed up as “avoid shooting and hope for the best.”
My state has insurance for self-defense shooters. I’m in Texas. Do you know if these businesses are reliable? I’ll provide more details if necessary.
No “state” has insurance for self-defense events. These programs are all private entities, not associated with any state. The one you’re thinking of probably has “Shield” in the name, in which case I can’t recommend it. The ones I’ve worked most closely with are USCCA and CCW Safe–full disclosure, I currently have a partnering agreement with CCW Safe, and I’ve previously been (but am no longer) a member of USCCA’s Legal Advisory Board (don’t even know if that still exists).
I recently did an interview on self-defense “insurance” programs with John Lovell of Warrior Poet Society, so you might find that interesting: https://www.patreon.com/posts/interview-self-20152768
Legal Insurrection via Andrew Branca proves once again to be invaluable. I’d actually thank algore for inventing the internet if he’d had anything to do with it.
Hot dog, that is the coverage I have. Makes me feel like I chose wisely.
What was the homeowner shooting? A pea shooter?
News report doesn’t mention the caliber, but wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was a .380.
According to Mr. Branca he wasn’t the homeowner anymore.
You can be pretty sure this guy hadn’t read AB’s book, or he would have known much of this. One really big one, that is universal, except maybe in TX, when personal property is involved, is don’t run after the bad guys, trying to shoot them. Self defense means self defense. Not offense. If the bad guys are trying to retreat, to run away, they are no longer on offense. If you run after them to maintain contact, then you are the one now on offense, and can’t really claim self defense. Ok, some of the time, in some states, you may be able to claim it while they are still in your home, but even then, that ends when they leave your home (and, of course, this was no longer his home). Definitely not when they get in their car and try to drive away.
I should put in a plug for AB’s book “The Law of Self Defense” if you ever contemplate ever potentially being in a position where you might need to use deadly force to protect yourself or the life of another. Probably even if you just have a gun around the house. Bought a paper copy of a previous edition, but lost it when I loaned it out to a friend. So, I bought an electronic (Kindle) version of the latest edition, which allows me to read it on any of my electronic devices. It never hurts to brush up on state idiosyncrasies when visiting states that you don’t usually frequent, and an electronic copy makes that easy.
Ha, in my entire career I’ve heard from hundreds of people who have loaned out their copy of my book–and never from one ever got the book back. 🙂
You might consider offering (for a fee, of course; we are capitalists, after all) a tracking device embedded in the binding so those who loan their books can retrieve them.
As I have mentioned before, what you do not know about use of force in self defense, in the jurisdiction in which you currently are, can get you in serious legal trouble. That is why texts, such as Mr. Branca’s, are so important. It is also a good idea to check out books which are specific to your particular state, as well. Just because you BELIEVE that yopur actions are legal, does not make them so.
Not having any legal training, but a bit of CCW instruction, I was always told: you only use deadly force if your life is in danger, and stop when the threat is over. Do not look for confrontation, if you can just close a door and not be in danger, do it. Do not pursue, of continue after the perpetrator stops. The main thing I fear, carrying a self defense firearm is I may have to shoot someone. I know that my life will be forever changed.
The principles you recite have served me well for ~30 years of daily concealed carry. Keep it up. 🙂
This got very real for me 2 years ago. I’m glad I wasn’t carrying on this day (I was getting into a chartered airplane- so left gun behind).
While waiting for the plane- a big rage-aholic pulls up and jumps us. He was pissed because a plane had buzzed his house. Although we had this guy out numbered- he was twice our size and wanting to fight- even after we subdued him and let him up- he takes off swinging again. Had I been packing that day- I would have had to stand aside and watch and wait to see if the fight turned deadly- or fire a warning shot…. but once you unholster, you’re going to have discussion that is much different than if you keep it holstered.
As it was- I was able to separate the fight and get this guy’s wife and kids to stand the hell down (yes- they piled on).
Once the cops came- he made it out like we were the aggressors. This would have been a very bad day if I had been packing.
Two years of BJJ later, I still wonder about what trouble awaits if I engage, even physically. Choking someone out in Wa is a felony- even though it is the best non-lethal submission in sport- so if I take down a jack ass who is the aggressor, I may still end up on the losing end.
BJJ has a real issue here that I’m not sure they’ve ever addressed. The “go to” technique is to choke a person unconscious. Inducing someone into a loss of consciousness is very likely to be deemed “serious bodily harm” in most states (thus “deadly force”). Yet if you DON’T do that, what have you accomplished–you’ve merely tied up an angry person who wants to hurt you. How do you “un-tie” them while securing your own safety? That’s not at all clear to me.
None of that is meant as a knock on BJJ, perhaps I’m too ignorant of the art to know the answer, but I’m more than willing to be educated on the subject.
Here is a textbook case, from today’s news, of what NOT to do if you are robbed:
Once again, this is a case of an armed person NOT knowing the law.
This was a misdemeanor petit theft. While the store owner/employee has the statutory authority to use reasonable force to detain the thief and recover his property, he does not have the right to use deadly force for this purpose. If it were a robbery, then he could have used force to stop the robbery. And, fleeing after the commission of a robbery is part of the crime of robbery, under Florida law. But, as no force was used to take the property and not force was used to flee from the merchant, this was not a robbery. It was a petit theft (retail) and resisting a merchant by flight. So, deadly force could not be used, legally.
So, it wasn’t a robbery, under statute.
I find this a bit sad. Obviously, Milton from Office Space can’t just charge around like the light brigade, but as others said, he did a public service that the police can’t always do (i.e. prevent future crime).
Sheets would later concede that he knew neither of the men was armed.
I wonder how he would know that.
I wonder how he could possibly be stupid enough to say that out loud.
1. Occupying a tent in the back yard seems perfectly logical to me. Police bait people all the time with their scams … why is it legal for police and not the homeowner? Same reason you cannot lie to the FBI, but the FBI can lie to you with impunity. The laws are rigged. I remember watching a crime TV show where the police left a laptop in a car with keys in the ignition; once somebody got in to steal the car or laptop, the police would remotely lock the car and kill the motor. As I said, the laws are rigged.
2. He must be a terrible shot … should have aimed for the brain or heart while the perps were in the house. Dead men don’t talk. He would be doing a favor to society.
It’s perfectly legal for you to do what the police do, lay a trap for burglars and then peacefully arrest them and hold them for the police. It’s not legal for you or the police to lure burglars into your home so you can kill them.
If you find yourself, through no fault of your own, in a situation where the only way to prevent someone from killing you is to kill them first, then you’re entitled to do that; but you have no right to deliberately set such a situation up in advance.
With respect, to aim for the brain or heart would essentially require he be a superior shot, AND the target would be compliantly standing motionless while being shot. Center mass, center mass, center mass.
A point of confusion for me. For the castle doctrine to apply do you have to wait for the intruder to break in and enter the actual structure?
Would attempting to break down a door in the middle of the night be enough to justify deadly force?
Well, that would depend upon the jurisdiction in which you find yourself and the circumstances.
In castle doctrine states [those which allow deadly force to be used against an intruder into your home] use of deadly force against someone who has forcibly or illegally entered your home can usually be justified. Use of force against someone outside the building will probably not be legally justified, even if the person is attempting to forcibly enter through a closed door or window. The exception being if the person has forced or opened the door and is proceeding to enter. Then you have a good chance of justifying the use off deadly force.
I will offer one piece of advice. If you are armed and intend to confront the intruder always yell an order for them to leave the house. I know that all the keyboard commandos criticize this. But, it does two positive things. It may get the intruder to leave the premises immediately, negating the potential threat of injuring or killing him and /or you. It will also establish the intent of the intruder to do you harm, adding another layer of justification for use of deadly force.
maybe laws need to be changed…
Firing a ‘warning shot’ — yay or nay?
Nay. If you are in a situation that justifies using a gun, don’t waste ammo.
Nay. As Mr Branca has explained, giving a warning shot is an explicit statement that you are not yet in a situation where you need to shoot to stop; but if you’re not in such a situation then you have no right to shoot at all.
Mistakes that I see, worrying about the burglary at a place not his. Then, camping out showing he is obsessed with the situation. Then when he sees the burglars he should have killed them, not talked. That is what I was told by the local sheriff, then there is only one story, no lability and justice has been served. Finally, never, ever tell the truth, have a good tight story and tell it to your lawyer, not the cops.
While that MAY keep you out of trouble with the police (and in this day of security cameras under every eave I wouldn’t count on only one story), there is nothing that prevents you being sued. Even in TX, where defending property allows you to present a justification for deadly force, you will still need a lawyer (who is not free) and show up for court. And there is no guarantee that a judge / jury will see it your way.
Where are you getting this? Texas law refers to self-defense as “Justice Done” in section 9.31 of the penal code. I have to stand up for my home state of Kalifornicatator and point out that before it got extremely weird and was still part of the west the courts established that self-defense was a privileged act.
Invade my home.
I clean your clock.
IL has this statute. However, I’ve always counseled my students to let them have the property. Insurance is the best defense of property.
(720 ILCS 5/7-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 7-3)
Sec. 7-3. Use of force in defense of other property.
(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in his
possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect.
However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
“that such conduct is necessary” Guess who makes the controlling judgment on whether the use of force in defense of mere personal property was “necessary”? Pro-tip: Not the person who used the force.
“IL has this statute. However, I’ve always counseled my students to let them have the property. Insurance is the best defense of property.”
Concur, for what it’s worth. Jury nullification is a sword that cuts two ways. Technically I can kill you for stealing my TV. But will a jury be happy hearing I couldn’t miss out on the newest episode of “America’s got Talent?”
I may be wrong, and I invite the expert opinions of Professor Jacobson and/or Andrew Branca if you were stealing my dog I would kill you. Other than that keep the TV.
Killing over a dog, is this legal in New England? I have a reason for asking.
Exactly why I cautioned against relying on the statute. A significant portion of IL residents live in a jurisdiction that is hostile to self-defense.
However, as IL certified instructors we were required to teach our students the laws of IL relevant to self-defense, whether or not one could rely on them to avoid wearing an orange onesie.
Sure, understood. Just want people to understand that the black letter of the law is not applied by some computer. It’s applied by other human beings.
I can’t remember his name. Gun writer. New York cop, not NYC
Islamic I gathered.
His advise was to good not to lose. Do not to lose it on the stand. Good advise if I I can’t remember his name. Or even if I could remember. “You’re goddammend right” is not the answer you want a jury to hear when questioned about killing a man over a coffee table.
It wasn’t about the coffee table.
*not to lose it on the stand
I’m curious if there are lawyers who would EAGERLY defend clients who wouldn’t lay down their lives for their pets?
You have to do your jobs. I know this. But still.
What are the odds of me getting representation? I love my pets.
“I can’t believe I got arrested for self-defense!”
People do have some weird ideas.
The notion that pursuing a man—and it makes no difference who he is or what he did or even if he deserves whatever he gets—with the sole intent to gun him down like a deer in season …
… can be called “self-defense” is a really weird idea.
Not unusual-weird, more like stupid-weird.
Tom Swift- The “heat of the moment” can go along, long way. “Stupid weird” may be a bit harsh. Depends a little on what just came before. The bad guys are running only because you temporarily obtained the clear upper hand. If it’s clear they’d do you grievous harm otherwise, and if it was a near thing, your strong primal emotion is certainly going to be to end it with extreme prejudice – making sure you never face that situation with them again. You know they would if they could, so you eliminate that threat.
I will also say that it they only violated your property rights, the same emotion applies only in lesser degree. If you can dismiss this as “stupid weird,” it hasn’t happened to you lately.
Then again, there was the Swedish guy raped by an immigrant who was immediately feeling guilty and sorry that the perp was deported. But that’s not me!
“The “heat of the moment” can go along, long way.”
Yep. All the way to a manslaughter conviction.
Andrew – My issue is not with you or your article. You may well be right. But somehow I have a lot of trouble with the comments here accepting/defending our criminal and crime coddling laws and using them to focus criticism on the actions of the victim. That’s just “not what it’s about” for me.
Three kinds of people might tend towards this. People who have never been victims and can’t envision it. LEOs, some. People who’ve taken a class on self-defense laws and are feeling smartypants.
(As a lawyer, you are a sort of necessary smartypants, licensed to be so professionally, without the pejorative attaching. The law is what it is. Full disclosure – I am a member of the GA Bar.)
Given the name of the article, this tendency might be appropriate. I still don’t favor it. Given the site we’re on – see the descriptive quotation on the masthead – it’s not. It’s the comments by site members I’m on about. They’re offensive to me.
As I see it, there are basically three points of view about this whole issue. The perp’s, the victim’s and society’s. Society wasn’t there. The perp is a bad guy. The proper view – and mine – is the victim’s.
And – I’m hearing you – I’m not one to readily swap perp for victim based on a supposed disadvantaged upbringing, being poor, discriminated against, being an immigrant, etc.
Nor do I think the victim suddenly becomes the perp if he manages to gain the upper hand. If you’re attacked, you should be entitled to finish the fight. Anything else encourages attacks. If an attacker knows he can simply back off at any time and the “bell” will ring, such that the encounter he criminally initiated will be over on his terms, with little or no harm to him, then, well, civilization is not encouraged.
It’s important for some reason that you all know that I kill and eat animals, but I don’t hate them.
“The ‘heat of the moment’ can go along, long way.’”
Why I cool off.