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Comparing U.S., English, and German Self-Defense Law EUGENE VOLOKH @ Volokh Conspiracy


Active member
Nov 21, 2018
Washington Island, WISCONSIN. Out in Lake Michigan

"U.S. Self-Defense Law—'Harsh' By International Standards?"

Last November was marked by wall-to-wall media coverage of Kyle Rittenhouse's trial in Wisconsin for murder after he shot three men, two of whom died. Law professors, criminal lawyers, and laypersons alike filled the airwaves with varied legal and moral assessments of Rittenhouse's self-defense claims.

An evergreen aspect of the Rittenhouse coverage were declarations of U.S. self-defense law's purported laxness, particularly by international comparison.

[ … more]


Regular Member
Aug 22, 2013
here nc
really dougie, great thesis topic, but shouldn't readers get concerned when the author immediately states in the third sentence, quote:

I think Markus and I disagree in some measure on how self-defense 2ought (sic) to be defined...unquote.

if the main premise of the topic is "undefined" per se, then there is nothing but a pool of ghee ~ huh!!

in other words [corrected spelling error] comparison of fruits against vegetables!
Last edited:

color of law

Accomplished Advocate
Oct 7, 2007
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
UPDATE 3/16/2022: Because of a miscommunication, the original version of the story said 25 states were duty-to-retreat states; the number is actually about a quarter of the states (12 or 13, depending on how you count them).

United States Supreme Court case of Beard v. United States, 158 U.S. 550, 562, 15 S. Ct. 962, 966, 39 L. Ed. 1086 (1895)

Supreme Court Justice, John Marshall Harlan, in Beard stated that:
“The defendant was where he had the right to be, when the deceased advanced upon him in a threatening manner, and with a deadly weapon; and if the accused did not provoke the assault and had at the time reasonable grounds to believe and in good faith believed, that the deceased intended to take his life or do him great bodily harm, he was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such way and with such force as, under all the circumstances, he, at the moment, honestly believed, and had reasonable grounds to believe, was necessary to save his own life or to protect himself from great bodily injury.” (my emphasis)
Has never been overturned.

Self defense is stand your ground.