There’s been a bit of debate on Whale Oil and other places recently on the extent to which a person has a right to self-defense. Well now we have this case, where a Florida teen who stabbed another kid who was bullying him was exonerated by a judge:
Accompanied by several students, Dylan Nuno, a junior, followed Saavedra, a freshman, off the bus. He then punched him in the back of the head, according to court documents and testimony.
Saavedra attempted to get away once, witnesses said. He then stabbed Dylan Nuno 12 times in the chest and abdomen. Two of the blows caused fatal wounds, including one that nicked his heart.
In her decision, signed Dec. 30, 2011, the judge said Saavedra had “no duty to retreat” and was “legally entitled to meet force with force, even deadly force.”
This seems to be at the outer limits of what self-defense entails. On one hand I think that if there is any physical violence against you, you should have the right to exert deadly force. But these are also children, whom we do not credit with the full capacity to act in their own best interests. This makes it a great tragedy for the dead teenager and his family.
However, this is not a rule you can easily exempt teenagers from. I think ultimately the right to self defense is more important than a teenager’s life, ultimately saves more lives, and hopefully eliminates certain folk from the gene pool in the process. Violence is unacceptable, and we should have the right to finish a fight that someone else starts.