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Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017

Defending yourself: How far to go?

Posted Friday, August 24, 2007, at 9:12 AM

Two Shelbyville women had the guts to chase down a man who was allegedly part of a trio stealing wallets and purses at Wal-Mart on Wednesday.

A city detective and I were later discussing the safety of individuals pursuing and capturing suspects.

How far is reasonable? I'm in no way criticizing the victims, and neither was the detective. In fact, I applaud them for their actions.

But one of the chasers was a 62-year-old woman. Some of us in the T-G office were discussing the fact that people in their 50s and 60s are not "old" and seem much younger these days than in years past. I agree.

The suspect, however, is in his 20s. Suppose he'd became violent. Could the older victim have been injured by his actions and/or left unable to defend herself effectively?

How far, in general, should someone go in defending themselves, their family and their property? That, of course, would vary depending on the situation and amount of violence involved. Emotions felt at the time and adrenline rush play a part.

But is a relatively small theft, upsetting as it may be, worth exposing oneself to possible long-term injury or death?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

sometimes you just have to handle the situation yourself... life is full of risk; decide your own fate

-- Posted by deathtongue on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 9:19 AM

Material possessions are just that, material. They can be replaced, no matter what the cost. The safety of a person should be more important to that person instead of getting revenge to someone who has done them wrong.

-- Posted by weezie84 on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 9:29 AM

Did they catch this guy? Either way, they most certainly did the right thing. That's not called being a "risk taker" that's called being an active concerned citizen, which we could use more of these days. In New York (or any other large city) people would have just stood by and watched this happen. Most of them wouldn't have even bothered to give a description of the criminal (sorry, "alleged" criminal). I think these two ladies should be applauded and should be awarded some sort of recognition for their actions. I wouldn't say that they were seeking revenge so much as justice. Even though the theft was small, it was the right thing to do. Generally if a thief gets away with the smaller theft he's just going to get bolder and bolder until he sticks a pistol in some cashier's face at a convenience store. Taking people's purses and wallets at Wal-Mart is already a pretty bold step. I hope they caught him and beat him (I mean "restrained" him using appropriate force until the police arrived). It would serve him right.

-- Posted by Thom on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 10:36 AM

It's great to know we have people like this that will stand up to "alleged" criminals.

I think this statement will probably sum up the way I feel about these situations. If someone breaks in my house, then I am going to not know their intentions, but I have to guess that they would do me or my loved ones harm. I really don't mind them breaking in if they don't mind a bullet or shot gun pellets coming in their direction.

Now of course out in public this would be different, but if I don't see a gun or knive I'm going to fight...it would probably be more instinctive than anything else. If I stopped and thought about it I'd probably just give them what they want, but I wouldn't stop and think about it. I no longer actively practice, but I studied Martial Arts for 3 years and came just short of my black belt before an injury forced me to quit for some time. That training would cause me to act instinctively and hopefully I still have what I need to handle such a situation. I also have to agree with Thom I hope they er..."restrained" him until the police arrived...of course if he insisted on running his face into his captors fists...well that just couldn't be helped.


-- Posted by HorseGentler on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 10:52 AM

I carry something in my purse that no amount of money could come close to replacing and like Thom and Revolution's grandmother, you would have to fight me. You may win, but you would most definately know I had been there.

If you break into my house, you had better be ready for the barrage of bullets headed in your direction. I am a pretty good shot too, so watch yourself. :)

-- Posted by sambntn on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 12:14 PM

samb not to be picking on you, but on another blog I asked you if you minded the government coming to your house without cause to check your computer for child porn and you replied that you had no problem with it...giving up your right against unreasonable search & seizure.

Maybe I should have asked you what if the government decided that law abiding citizens like ourselves had to give up our guns because then the general public would be so much safer without guns available to the general public.

Believe it not this day is coming. I would like to point out to you that when this country was founded and for many years after that a citizen could own as many guns as they wanted, unregistered and no questions asked. Now don't get me wrong I do agreed that guns should be regulated, but if it were not for organizations such as the NRA, our gun laws would be much stiffer than they are now.

Without specific citizen watchdog groups to stand up for our rights, our rights guaranteed by The Constitution the government will continue to chip away at individual rights.

Once again even if a person has nothing to hide I truly believe that we must demand our rights not be violated.

Hope you have a nice day :)


-- Posted by HorseGentler on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 1:32 PM

And the whole "It's material things" well that may be the case, but what if that lady was carrying all the money she had to live on? Or personal family pics, I know my grandmother carries a picture of my deceased grandfather and a few of his things in her purse and she would fight you to the death for those things. If only 20-30 year olds were so bold as to fight back once in awhile instead of playing victim.


I really don't think it's fair for you to go ahead and assume that 20-30 year olds don't fight back and aren't bold, especially stating that 20-30 year olds play victim.

I suppose I am one of the few that believes that material possessions can be replaced, and pictures-well, a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes even priceless, but there are also memories behind that picture, and memories are something in our mind, locked away that NOBODY can take from us. It isn't worth it to me, to go after someone taking something of mine, if my safety and well-being is at risk, because they will get their's later on down the road. Now, if one attacks or kills any human, and I am witness to this, I will lay my life on the line for any living human or animal.

In 2002, although it wasn't a person attacking another, my neighborhood was completely destroyed by a tornado. My stepfather rescued our next door neighbors, and their dog, then found one of the "later announced" dead among the trailor park beside us. When it came down to it, the people were not worried about their possessions, they were worried about everyone else's wellbeing.

-- Posted by weezie84 on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 2:12 PM

Ok, wow William. I don't believe that has anything to do with this particular blog therefore, I will not be addressing any of those points. K, thanks have a great weekend! =)

-- Posted by sambntn on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 4:04 PM

I like hearing about fiesty older people fighting back but its so much more dangerous these days. The person stealing is more than likely desperate for drug money. Their conscience is not working if ever they had one and they would have no problem seriously injuring or worse an elderly person or anyone for that matter. I feel for loss prevention personel these days.

-- Posted by countrymom on Fri, Aug 24, 2007, at 10:16 PM

"And the whole "It's material things" well that may be the case, but what if that lady was carrying all the money she had to live on? Or personal family pics, I know my grandmother carries a picture of my deceased grandfather and a few of his things in her purse and she would fight you to the death for those things. If only 20-30 year olds were so bold as to fight back once in awhile instead of playing victim. "

Yes, material things such as makeup and knick-knacks, photos, and such can be replaced. But, we need to see a broader picture as to why she may have felt she needed to fight back. Most every lady keeps personal information in her purse, identification cards, credit cards, etc. You can't replace your identity so easily, once it's been stolen. Kudos to the 62 year old lady! You go, gal!

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Sat, Aug 25, 2007, at 7:29 AM

I'm not saying that she shouldn't have done something about it, and I'm guessing that it was her anger, if not more emotions that got the best of her, to go after the attacker. However, nowadays, we have ways to keep people from stealing our identity, and I understand completely about the cards, such as social security cards, credit cards, bank cards, etc. A person who would stoop as low as to steal an elderly lady's purse in the middle of a public place, obviously has made it up in their head that they already have "justified" excuse for any wrong they do(sarcasticly speaking), what would stop them from pulling out a gun? I wouldn't put my life on the line for things that can be replaced.

-- Posted by weezie84 on Sat, Aug 25, 2007, at 11:11 AM

I agree with Thom. I would put the Whoop on anyone that tried to steal my stuff.

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Mon, Aug 27, 2007, at 3:52 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.