Cincinnati: Victims fighting attackers

In a story that varies between the encouraging (law enforcement defending citizens' right to self-defense) to the ridiculous (the media warning of the consequences of defending oneself, while ignoring the often deadly alternative), the Cincinnati Enquirer has published a story examining an apparent increase in self-defense shootings in that city.

From the story:

    It's a split-second decision all crime victims face when confronted by a robber, rapist or burglar: Obey the criminal or fight back.

    A growing number of Cincinnatians have chosen to fight.

    Cincinnati police say at least nine homicides this year could qualify as justified because the killers say they were fending off criminals who intended to harm them. Last year, police reported one justified homicide.

The story goes on to say that police aren't sure why more people are fighting back, but notes that some see a natural response to violent crime in a city where shootings and homicides are on the rise.

    "People just want to protect themselves and their families," said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters. "People are living in fear of what's going on in this community."

    Prosecutors must review every self-defense claim, but Deters already has found that the use of deadly force was justified in at least three of this year's cases.

In the article, police note a theme in several of this year's self-defense cases: normal people in extraordinary circumstances.

    In every case, they say, the killers believed their lives or the lives of others were in danger.

    Under Ohio law, that fear of imminent harm justifies the use of deadly force.

    "What we've seen in recent weeks is not vigilante justice," Police Chief Tom Streicher said. "This is about somebody being involved in an incident that involves an element of self-defense. That's drastically different."

Fulfilling what we have grown to expect from the anti-gun media, under a header "A DIFFICULT CHOICE", the newspaper is quick to offer warnings to anyone who would seek to protect their very lives from a violent attacker:

    Those who defend themselves say the decision is made so fast they rarely have time to consider the risks or the consequences.

    Even if they survive the encounter, they often face significant legal, financial and emotional costs.

Contrary to the many Ohioans who walk about in complete ignorance of their surroundings or their vulnerability, people who have to defend themselves have typically done far more consideration of the consequences - both of defending oneself and also of being attacked while defenseless. When one weighs all the costs, the prudent citizen will realize that one needs life before she can enjoy liberty or pursue happiness.

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