It had the added bonus of making me think about my views on the use of force. Especially as someone who wants to take the teachings of Jesus seriously, but is also considering re-entering the military as an officer after college. I'm at work right now, but if I don't at least start to post something about it now, I never will. I have 3 main thoughts and then one conundrum.
Also, this is more of a personal conviction, I'm not saying all Christians who have the ability should go out buy a gun, and learn BJJ and how to defend yourself.
1. There is a difference between killing someone and stopping someone. If I have to use a gun, baton, bear spray, fists, etc etc etc to either defend myself or others my goal is not to kill the person. It is to stop them from continuing the action that brought me to that point. If they stop what they're doing when I get ready and they realize it, I don't go any further. If not and I shoot/hit/spray them and they stop, I've done my part and now I go try to render aid to them as needed while waiting for the cops to arrive. So the goal should be to stop someone, not kill someone, they are not synonymous with each other. When your goal is only to kill, it isn't use of force, it's blood lust.
2. There is a difference between the desire and willingness to use force. Just because I have the ability and am willing to use a weapon with the intent to stop someone does not mean that it is my first response to that person. Nor is it a desirable outcome. Cops and military guys use escalation of force diagrams and training to cover this. Not every situation needs a gun, some can be solved with some pepper spray, a mean look, or just getting out of the situation. However, if it gets to the point where you have to use force, you need to use it quickly, effectively, and reasonably (I wouldn't stop a five year old beating up a kid in the school yard the same way I'd stop a man from beating his wife senseless) to stop the threat.
3. The self defense in and of itself is not enough to justify the use of force. The defense of others, especially the defenseless is enough to justify action.
Here's where I see it getting a bit tricky though, if someone decides to mug me and take my wallet and watch I believe I would be wrong to defend myself and should comply with them because Jesus DID teach to turn the other cheek. In fact, should I offer them my phone as well? However, if that person is willing to mug me, they would also be likely to mug others, possibly including those who can't defend themselves.
Is defending myself then also preemptively defending others, or would I just be using it as an excuse to give in to a bit of manly chest pounding, "How dare he challenge me? I'll teach him!" thinking?