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