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Going Armed to Confront Protesters: Self Defense?

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The protests taking place across the United States have attracted armed people who are not engaged in the protest. Some say they are present to protect property and life from the protestors, some are counter protestors and some are perhaps merely armed observers. Kyle Rittenhouse seems to have travelled to Kenosha to protect property from the protestors and he allegedly shot protestors. He has been charged with five felonies. While the authorities now seem to be taking the matter seriously, he is claiming self-defense. My adopted city of Tallahassee also saw an armed response to protestors. Fortunately, the incident ended quickly without injury or death. The episode seems to have begun with a confrontation between the protestors and the armed person which escalated into shoving. The armed person then drew his weapon to deter the protestors and quickly surrendered to the police. While Florida is not an open carry state, a person can carry a concealed weapon if they have a permit to do so—so the person, who has a permit, was within his rights to be armed. He also had every right to be in the public space where the protest took place. He also had every right to argue with the protestors—there is the legal right to free expression as well as the analogous moral right. One point of concern is that he is alleged to have taken pictures of protestors’ license plates—which could be seen as threatening. In any case, he seems to have intentionally engaged the protestors while armed. Probably because no one was hurt, as this is being written no one has been charged with any crime—though there have been some calls for charges to be pressed. The official view, as of now, is that the man acted in legitimate self-defense: he felt threatened with violence and drew his weapon to deter the alleged attackers. He might even be credited with showing restraint—Florida has a controversial stand your ground law that might have allowed the man to legally shoot the protestors. These two. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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