Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Belial » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:03 am UTC

And this was hardly the first response.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Dream » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:13 am UTC

Belial wrote:If nothing else will stop the attacker, and he's behaving in a physically and sexually aggressive, threatening way, why not deadly force?

In legal terms, because lethal force has to be reserved for only the most dire of situations, as it is by definition the ultimate response to a situation. If you lower the standards necessary to justify it, you bring in the idea that a person's own opinion of what is the worst thing that could happen to them defines what an appropriate use of force is. So let's say I kick someone's dog, and they shoot me dead because that is the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen to them, seeing their dog suffer. That would be insane. The law takes the opinion that your opinion of what is worst is not part of the definition of appropriate force.* The law, at a glance anyway, does not consider unwanted groping to be such a terrible experience that lethal force is justified in stopping it. Certainly, the hypothetical rape at a later point is not justification, because it remains hypothetical.

No matter how bad you think sexual aggression is it is not a monolithic entity. The law considers it on a case by case basis, and being groped in a bar is not a lethal defence situation. Wish it were different all you want, but the consequences of legally enshrining that would be terrible. We could all just kill people for whatever we felt was really bad at the time.

*It would likely be taken into account as a mitigating circumstance, however.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Vaniver » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:16 am UTC

Belial wrote:Why not? If nothing else will stop the attacker, and he's behaving in a physically and sexually aggressive, threatening way, why not deadly force? Hell, there are jurisdictions where you can be subjected to deadly force for invading someone's home or stealing from them, and I think that's ridiculous, but I consider having someone's dick shoved in my face and being forcibly fondled as a preface to literally who knows what to be somewhat worse than having some of my shit stolen. Might just be me.
I think deadly force is justified once certain conditions are met. Most jurisdictions require that, if the altercation happens in a public place, that any self defense be preceded by an attempt to flee / deescalate the situation. So if a potential rapist is following you when you try to leave the bar and then chases you down the street, shooting him would be appropriate. But if someone is being physically and sexually aggressive, step one should not be to shoot them. As you point out, for this particular incident (according to her account) step two was the set fire to him, after step one of asking him to stop. I am not familiar with Cretan law, but I don't think that's a sufficient first step for most American jurisdictions.

If you object to the "leave the bar" part of the above solution (the attacker is the problem!), there's an age-old solution to this problem- the bouncer. Did the woman in this particular incident try to get him thrown out of the bar and they didn't / he persisted, or did she respond to a continued assault with an assault?

Going back to your example of castle doctrine- I consider "someone else is invading your home" to be a condition that allows you to shoot them, rather than requiring that you give them a chance to flee. That's mostly because of the status I ascribe to private property versus public property.* I have no strong position on "stand your ground" laws which make it so you don't have to attempt to flee before using deadly force, because I'm not sure what impact they have.

*Here we get into an interesting side note- someone's body is clearly the most private property that there can be. But I think the area in question is important, since people and possessions are at risk in all sorts of altercations- and the concern should be more about what we're doing with context. Self-defense on a subway train and in a bar and in a park and in a home are all very different things, even though all involve risk to people's bodies.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Does the assailant's state of mind affect the victim's need to defend hirself?
No- but I think it impacts the proper way to defend oneself.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Belial » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:20 am UTC

So, extract sex from it. Someone has you backed into a corner, and is repeatedly punching you in the stomach. You're physically incapable of hitting them back in a way that stops them. No one is helping you. They're not stopping. At what point are you allowed to use greater (potentially deadly) force to make them stop? Never?

But if someone is being physically and sexually aggressive, step one should not be to shoot them. As you point out, for this particular incident (according to her account) step two was the set fire to him, after step one of asking him to stop. I am not familiar with Cretan law, but I don't think that's a sufficient first step for most American jurisdictions.


Actually, step two was to throw alchohol on him. When he continued, she set fire to him. Step three.

Which is still not deadly force. But had the altercation continued unmitigated, I wouldn't really have a problem with deadly force.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Vaniver » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:43 am UTC

Belial wrote:So, extract sex from it. Someone has you backed into a corner, and is repeatedly punching you in the stomach. You're physically incapable of hitting them back in a way that stops them. No one is helping you. They're not stopping. At what point are you allowed to use greater (potentially deadly) force to make them stop? Never?
My impression is that an inability to flee gets rid of the requirement to flee- and so if you're backed into a corner and being attacked, deadly force is probably authorized (but you may have to warn them first, depending on the area).

In some areas, if you're threatening to kill me without brandishing a weapon, and then I pull out a firearm, you can pull out a firearm and shoot me in self-defense, despite the fact that you initiated the conflict. So some areas may say it's never legal to escalate the situation to deadly force- and so if someone is beating you up, you have to take it or go to jail for escalating the situation. But a sustained physical assault may count as deadly force.

I mean, self-defense law is a jumble, especially when you try to get a handle on more than one region. Which is bothersome, because the primary purpose of self-defense law is to influence behavior, not just punish people who don't act according to the standard.

Belial wrote:Actually, step two was to throw alchohol on him. When he continued, she set fire to him. Step three.
Right- I'm sorry, when I checked that section to make sure it said what I thought it said I apparently didn't check it very well!
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:49 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Or are we just going to ignore the highly ingrained feminist ideology that's passed around without regard or question to just exactly what is being argued?

What the fuck does feminism have to do with it? I don't know of any feminists who are okay with sexual assault, regardless of who it's happening to.

Vaniver may have a point about us looking only at the (alleged) victim's perspective on this, but you really really don't have a leg to stand on if you're going to continue trying to turn this into some feminist/antifeminist battleground with you on the stupid side.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby A. Akbar » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:30 am UTC

The biggest problem I have with lots of the arguments on this thread is they assume that the women is the victim. As I see it, and from the two articles I've been reading, there is at least 3 possibilities.

A) (told by the woman) Man acts in sexually aggressive and violent fashion, she tries to get him to back off, can't get away, pours alcohol on him and then he (somehow) catches on fire.
--if this is the case then I believe she acted completely correctly and should be cleared--
B) Man acts in sexually aggressive fashion, she thinks *get the fuck out off my face* chucks alcohol at him, then pissed at his englishness, slightly scared and delighted at the poetry of it, grabs a lighter and sets him on fire.
--If this is the case then I believe she acted in a vengeful and overly-violent way, putting the rest of the bar at risk. She did however have some justification.--
C) (told by man) Man enjoying himself at bar with friends, bumps into women. She looks at him, thinks *fucking english tourists, ruining this town* snaps and chucks alcohol at him and sets him on fire.
--If this is the case then the nut-case needs to be locked up for assault etc. and the guy gets my sympathies.

As of now, according to all the sources I've seen it is simply her word against his. She is the only one for whom there is evidence for a crime. When the police have questioned witnesses, examined security camera footage or whatever. Only then will I have an opinion.

And please remember -Innocent until proven guilty is actually pretty damn important.

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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby dedalus » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:39 am UTC

Taking this all back to the original conditions, as the argument seems to be based around the first news report:
Putting it out there, the original report puts the situation at a street bar, so I don't think the argument of 'it might have endangered everyone else' holds. There is a big gap from a small, semi-contained fire and a large life-threatening one, and to bridge that gap we need either a close supply of easily flammable materials or some bad negligence on all parties concerned, and I don't think that either of those would have occurred. Drawing out the idea that 'fire=panic' is extrapolating the case and making a lot of assumptions that we can't prove either way. So instead, I'll focus on the original question; was the severity of her response justified?

We have to consider three things here; actual effect, intended effect and the amount to which the event was planned. The first thing is that the actual effect; second degree burns and potential scarring is about as bad as if she'd pulled a knife and stabbed him in a non-vital area. Note that this is the actual effect!!! Both cause injury that lasts for similar time periods, both have the potential to have permanent side-effects. Now, I'm not just going to turn around and say that since stabbing would probably fall on the side of 'fairly excessive' that this does as well, but it does have to be taken into consideration.

As for the intended effect, this is one of the main causes of debate between both sides. One side is claiming that 'she just wanted to get him off of her' - self-defence, the other claiming that she had intentions otherwise. We can't tell exactly what she was thinking, but there is a point that lighting someone's genitals on fire isn't a typical reaction, and there may have been other available options to her. Going outside is obviously not an option, but certainly asking for someone else's help or kicking/grabbing/punching his nuts might have been a better option. Hell, even threatening him with the lighter is probably a good idea. I agree with Dream in saying that there's a good case for her actions to be with malicious intent rather then purely in self-defence.

Finally, the amount of planning/situation. Again, it's a contentious point simply because people are claiming different cases. The main points; did she have no friends around her? (the newspaper mentions 'various girls', and seems to imply that the guy involved wasn't actually with mates, but it doesn't give particulars on exactly who was around them at the time) Was he physically much bigger/stronger/more threatening then her? Was she backed into such a (metaphorical) corner that she had no other option? Was she in a position where she had to take immediate action?

The point here is that if the answers to the four questions above are yes then self-defence is justified - these are the assumptions that people are making when they put a blanket statement over the case and say she was in the right. However, if the answers to these were no, for certain values of no, then the self-defence claim is invalid. If she was with friends, and he was alone, then her friends could well have helped her take action with lesser consequence. If there wasn't an overly large difference physically, then she could well have held him off without resorting to such measures (a lot of the pro-fire people are taking this 'little innocent woman v big macho aggressor' without any proof, and if she stands 10cm taller then he does, and he's not overly strong, then she could well have simply pushed him off). If she wasn't out of options, or she didn't have to take immediate action, doing things such as calling for help or the etcetera are much better alternatives. In regards to the last question, it again depends on both reality and the way she felt; if he was much bigger then her she could have well felt much more helpless then she was.

One of the main points I'd like to make is that The guy should be charged with sexual assault/harassment regardless of the fact that she set him on fire. I'm not in any way shape or form exonerating his actions nor victim blaming here. The point is however, that her reaction has caused lasting damage and physical pain, and it may have been unnecessary. Thus, the questions I put above need to be taken into account whilst thinking about whether she should be charged.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:54 am UTC

Vote: dedalus
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Zorlin » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:15 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Vote: dedalus

/concur
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Lord Aurora » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:28 am UTC

dedalus wrote:One of the main points I'd like to make is that The guy should be charged with sexual assault/harassment regardless of the fact that she set him on fire.
Assuming that he DID sexually assault her, of course.

Which, according to the small amount of evidence we have, seems to be the case. However, new developments may very well reveal that he just stumbled into her---new developments may also reveal that he had a knife and pushed her up against a car, of course, so really we just have to wait and see.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Plasma Man » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:40 am UTC

From the original article:
a police statement... alleged the Briton took down his trousers and started waving his genitals at a number of girls. He then specifically "forcefully fondled" the 26-year old Greek woman, asking her to take hold of his genitals.
1) Sounds like sexual assault to me. I'm not sure how you could stumble into someone while exposing your genitals and forcefully fondling them.
2) He should be charged with sexual assault because there is a reason to believe he committed sexual assault. It is not necessary to prove that someone committed a crime before charging them with that crime. Proving that a crime was committed (or not) is down to the courts. It's the job of the police to determine if there is a likelihood of a crime having been committed - which is the case here.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:40 am UTC

Plasma, other articles contradicted the statement that he behaved in the way the police statement described. There's doubt because we can't say for sure either way, at this point.

@dedalus, well said. I think the main point I would make is that I don't think the woman had the time to act maliciously, and that instead she reacted violently without having time to consider the ramifications of her actions. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that. Further, throwing a drink at someone is a fairly innocuous action, so I doubt she was considering setting him alight at this point. The decision to set light to him (if this was what happened) was probably made hastily and carelessly. My point is only that, although (according to the article) she acted violently and cruelly, I don't think she acted immorally. When you're threatened, excessive force is justifiable because underwhelming force is only likely make matters worse for yourself. That is, if someone is being confrontational, irrational and unpredictable, you're going to want to either beat or shock them into submission (or run away, of course, but that's not always an option).
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby dedalus » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:33 am UTC

@LA: I'm making the assumption that the first report was accurate. The argument seems to be centred around this rather then claims of veracity.

@Pez: I think this is pretty much the point that I was making with the 4 questions. I mean, the situation could quite well have been her on her own at a table in a dark corner, and him 10cm taller and 20kg heavier, in which case I think that the excessive force argument is justified, or it could have been her with a group of other girls, him just jumping around like a drunken idiot and she gets pissed off and pulls the lighter on him (and add into it her being larger then him) - I don't think the same argument holds here because what she did was unnecessary. The point is that yeah, we don't know. The court case needs to go ahead to figure out the specifics here and draw the metaphorical line in the sand between those two cases.

As I said before, he needs to be taken to court for what he did, and having his dick set on fire doesn't count as the punishment for that crime. But I disagree entirely with the people who've said 'good for her, he deserves it, I wish she'd cut his balls off'.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby greg57 » Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:48 pm UTC

From this Mirror article:

Dr Katsulis says: "A common injury is burns, caused when young men pour drinks down their chests and set them on fire in a bizarre test of manhood.

"They see how long they can last before the pain is too much - but when you are drunk, you do not feel pain as acutely, so they can be quite burned.


Could look like a combination of drink spilling on the girl's side and stupid bet on the brit's one...

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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Vaniver » Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:46 pm UTC

The first line of that article is "We join the binge-drinking teens shaming our country on the streets of Crete." I'm not sure that makes it particularly credible (and I'm not very familiar with the UK papers to recognize them by name).
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Dream » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:53 pm UTC

The Mirror is not a trustworthy source for anything. As a rule of thumb, all of the UK redtops can be written off as far as unbiased reportage goes. They exist only to exaggerate and scandalise.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:16 pm UTC

Adblock-proof tower ads are enough for me to write it off.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby The Reaper » Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:28 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Adblock-proof tower ads are enough for me to write it off.

Add this to your hosts file :3

Code: Select all

127.0.0.1   bin.clearspring.com
127.0.0.1   m1.emea.2mdn.net
127.0.0.1   www.188server.com
127.0.0.1   www.188premiership.com
127.0.0.1   cache.specificmedia.com
127.0.0.1   ad.uk.doubleclick.net

I've taken up blocking adservers in my hosts file when they seem more like spam than ads.

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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:44 am UTC

I think they'd go a lot better in my Adblock list, but thanks.
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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Ithica » Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:16 am UTC

I can think of very few situations where immolation is a suitable form of self defense, the first course of action is to *always* try and get away first.

There is no defense for this action, there were so many other options available to the woman and she chose to SET SOMEBODY ON FIRE.

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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby Mithorium » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:42 am UTC

I remember kids who used to pour lighter fluid on their hands and set it on fire without injuring themselves. An alcoholic beverage is obviously less flammable than lighter fluid so it probably burns slower? but it would hardly be enough to kill someone.

Also, after reading all the suggestions that she should have hit/grabbed his penis...while being sexually assualted with a penis, I'd assume that if theres anything you dont feel like doing, it would be touching the guys penis, would it not? or maybe I'm just tired. Point being, if she happened to dislike the thought of making physical contact with his manhood, she would find the most accessible way to indirectly attack it. Perhaps in the heat of the moment, she had a spark of inspiration.

I don't really care if her response was excessive or not, if you run around poking people with your penis, you're taking your chances that it will get hurt. He may have gotten the higher end of the hurt scale, but I have no sympathy for this guy.

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Re: Woman Uses Right to Defend herself, pain ensues

Postby The Reaper » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:55 am UTC

Mithorium wrote:I remember kids who used to pour lighter fluid on their hands and set it on fire without injuring themselves. An alcoholic beverage is obviously less flammable than lighter fluid so it probably burns slower? but it would hardly be enough to kill someone.

Also, after reading all the suggestions that she should have hit/grabbed his penis...while being sexually assualted with a penis, I'd assume that if theres anything you dont feel like doing, it would be touching the guys penis, would it not? or maybe I'm just tired. Point being, if she happened to dislike the thought of making physical contact with his manhood, she would find the most accessible way to indirectly attack it. Perhaps in the heat of the moment, she had a spark of inspiration.

I don't really care if her response was excessive or not, if you run around poking people with your penis, you're taking your chances that it will get hurt. He may have gotten the higher end of the hurt scale, but I have no sympathy for this guy.

Ethanol is less flammable than naphtha (lighter fluid), but that doesn't mean it burns slower, per se, it just means it requires higher temperatures to light it.

Ethanol's flash point is 13 °C (55.4 °F), and Naphtha's flash point is 6 °C (43 °F). sauce=wiki

At room temperature, Naphtha may burn a minuscule amount slower, but not enough to matter at all in the case at hand.


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