War is just when it is necessary; arms are permissible when there is no hope except in arms.– Niccolò Machiavelli
What does that mean?
I know this quote, and my explanation of it, will rub some the wrong way, but I sincerely believe we have a right to self defense. If we are forced to defend ourselves, the quote claims we are justified, and the action is just. The quote goes on to say that the use of arms (an archaic term for weapons) are permissible when there is no hope for winning (or surviving) without them.
If a big guy like me attacked someone smaller, as an example, a petite woman, they would be justified in defending themselves. If I proved to be too much for them to handle without a weapon, then, according to the quote, they are permitted the use of a weapon to defend themselves and counter my advantage in strength and size.
Why is self-defense important?
As a martial artist, this is something I hold very strong opinions on. I welcome other points of view in the comments section below or on my page on gPlus. (or is it G+?)
To me, defending myself is doubly important, as I am responsible (in my mind) for my own health and safety, as well as that of my family. That makes my ability to defend them dependent on my ability to defend myself. Stated in reverse, if I’m dead, I can no longer protect my family.
As nice as it would be to live in a world where there is no violence or crime, it’s not the norm in the world in which I live. There are reports, daily it seems, of people being shot, robbed, raped or otherwise harmed by criminals. I do what I can to deter them, but I try to be ready in case they are not detered.
Where can I apply this in my life?
As someone who is both tall, large and fairly well muscled, I don’t often run across a person who is stupid enough to try to pick a fight with me. I also tend to stay away from the places where fights are likely to break out, like bars and hockey rinks (just kidding).
While spending two or three days a week studying at a dojo for a few years may sound like fun to a few of you, most of you probably aren’t interested in that level of effort, nor desire that level of expertise. There are plenty of personal defense courses that can teach you the basics of fending off an attacker in just a few classes. Hopefully they will also go over when to cooperate in the hope of saving your life.
One of the more important things I’ve been taught (from several different sources) is to be aware of your surroundings. If you never see them coming, it’s going to be hard to describe them to the police. They are counting on just this fact, and often look for the ‘sheep’ (people not paying attention).
It would probably also help to stay away from the more dangerous parts of town and to stay out of convenience stores late at night (only half joking). A good class in basic self defense should cover this aspect of personal safety in more detail than I can go into here.
Moving up in the spectrum is pepper spray and taser type devices. Both are considered ‘less than lethal’ even though sometimes people die when these devices are used. Local laws regarding the use of these devices should be covered in any reputable self defense class.
That brings us to firearms. Love them or hate them, they are the great equalizer. Even an old lady can fight off a professional body builder bent on doing harm with a pistol in her hand. Some would rather not shoot another person, and those people shouldn’t keep a gun, as they will simply be buying it for the first robber to take away from them, right?
Grab some paper and write down the places you go where you don’t feel comfortable, as well as the time of day (if that makes a difference). Take a moment and look at each and write down an alternative place to go where you can get the same things done, but with less risk.
Now consider how far you are willing to go to protect and defend yourself and those around you. Would you keep a gun in the house, but feel uncomfortable carrying one with you outside the house? Would you be willing to use pepper spray, but not a taser type electrical device? Write that down as well. You will want to review this from time to time, as your situation changes.
When you are fairly certain about the level of violence you are willing to use to defend yourself and others, get training. How much depends on what level of response you’re willing to take. Trying to rescue a stranger is different from defending your home. Different risks, different rules. Know the rules and regulations or you could be the one who ends up in jail.
As you get a little training, and learn more about the legal limits of self defense, you may find yourself changing where you draw the line. You might also have different ideas on what to do depending on who was involved (family vs strangers, adults vs kids, men vs women).
Very few people enjoy fighting, but sometimes it’s forced on us, and sometimes it is the lesser of two evils (doing nothing is considered worse). Know your abilities, know your limits, be aware of your surroundings and don’t look like food.
From: Twitter, @philoquotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/niccolomac138207.html
Photo by Picture Youth