The Law is an Ass

No doubt you’ve heard the old saying, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” It basically means that if you don’t know about a fact or a problem, you don’t need to worry about it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t hold true about the law in your state or city regarding self-defense. In fact, there is an old saying, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

So what does this have to do with self-defense? My old sensei used to say, “I’d rather be judged by twelve, than carried by six.” And in the 80’s and 90’s, that seemed to work as the jury system of our peers were able to make common sense decisions differentiating self-defense from assault.

Welcome to the 21st century and the lack of common sense! And this is where the law becomes an ass. All you have to do is pay attention to the recent jury cases to know we have lost all common sense in our ability as a society to process facts.

The definition of self-defense is “the use of reasonable force to protect oneself or members of the family from bodily harm from the attack of an aggressor, if the defender has reason to believe he/she/they is/are in danger.” The key term here is reasonable force.

What a lot of martial art studios teach, especially, in weapon disarmament, is to take the weapon away and then use it against the attacker. Unfortunately, by definition of law, you, the victim, have now become the attacker and can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

The same holds true with stun guns or tasers. In NJ for example, possession/use of a stun gun/taser is a crime in the 3rd degree which will get you up to 18 months imprisonment and/or a $7500 fine. So much for protection!

Naturally, you are not going to have time in an attack situation to decide the minutia of whether your actions are going to get you locked up. Your training should have handled all of that. Meaning, your self-defense training should not only protect you against a thug, but also ensure that you survive the legal system.

So the next time you practice a move, make sure that it brings the thug down, keeps him down, and keeps you out of the legal system.


**Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO/Founder of Women's Self-Defense Institute and EasySafety4U.com providing self defense training, education awareness & personal protection products empowering women to fight back against crime.