Police Reports Illustrated: Smoke Him If He's Got Them


I guess I have a material misunderstanding on self-defense. Of course this cartoon, which as a regular appearance in SLOG is quite enjoyable, may not be whole the story but the person being punched in the head seems to have had sufficient cause to wield a knife against the attacker.
So he ripped the guy's cigarette out of his hand and punched him in the head afterward? What the hell? I'd stab that asshole too! This country makes me sick.
If you can't stab someone who is punching you in the head, then who can you stab?

Of course, my assumption is if he used a gun instead of a knife, he would have walked.
@3 I think discharging a firearm would bring a storm of shit down on you from the police and prosecutor's office. Especially if you killed the guy. Even if you have all the proper concealed carry permits and were justified. It would be an incredible hassle at a minimum. It would also open you up to civil liabilities from the victim's family. I often think about that when I see people with either concealed or open-carry weapons. You'll never need to use it and if you do, you're basically fucked. Thankfully most people leave each other alone and are mostly pussies when it comes to violence. Myself included. Just run away.
Did we miss something? Maybe there is some nuance to self defense requirements I'm not aware of, but it seems like the guy who stabbed the thief/puncher in the arm was defending themselves. They didn't start the fight in any sense, so why were they booked for assault without mention of the person who started this?
Classic panels. I love that head-puncher still has the stolen cig in the end.

Surely at least head-puncher should be arrested too.
@3 The really funny thing is that, if events were otherwise as described here and the punching were severe enough to justify the use of deadly force (something I don't think is true as events are depicted in the strip, but may have been in real life), shooting the attacker might be legal, but the stabbing might not if the knife were of a type considered too dangerous to be legal.

I know nothing of Washington law on weapons, but here in your large neighbor two states to the south, guns are legal, although you're not likely to get a concealed-carry permit and open carry is also illegal, but brass knuckles and switchblades and butterfly knives over two inches are straight up illegal to carry (or perhaps to own), and dirks and daggers (fixed-blade knives) that are not worn openly are illegal. So, with a concealed carry permit, shooting the guy might not be a problem, but stabbing him with a switchblade or a fixed knife that had been concealed would put you in trouble for carrying an illegal weapon or illegally concealing a legal one.

Batons and the like are also illegal as are most camouflaged weapons (cane knives, belt buckle knives,guns disguised as whatever, etc.).

I think all of these, except perhaps weapons designed to be unrecognizable, should be at least a little bit easier to carry legally than guns.
@2 homeless alcoholic junkies
@5, Self-defense allows the use of force to defend yourself, but not necessarily deadly force. To escalate to the use of a deadly weapon you'd need some real threat of death or something like that to justify it. If the guy just punches you once or twice, doesn't knock you down, and isn't promising to continue beating you until he kills you, you're probably going to have trouble explaining why deadly force was necessary.

Of course, if you punch a cop, or basically anyone carrying a firearm, that essentially automatically creates a life-threatening situation for your armed victim, who can probably legally assume that if he loses the fistfight, there's a pretty good chance that you'll take his gun and shoot him. I think this is part of why our police shoot people so damn often and unarmed police in other countries generally don't get killed as result of being unarmed. Obviously, the prevalence of guns here is also a factor, but carrying a gun makes every physical conflict a potentially deadly one.

Morals: Don't punch people carrying firearms. Don't carry firearms if you don't need to.

Caveat: This is not real legal advice, just a personal opinion based on a general and incomplete knowledge of how the law of self-defense works in most US states. YMMV. Please consult your own lawyer before punching anyone in reliance on my opinions.
the cleancut lads in the panels were not involved - they were from the ranks of ballards' growing army of feral street urchins. this isn't a wild opinion or speculation, but a fact.

wacky hijinks everyday from that crowd.
But he only stabbed the guy in the ARM! Rather civil, as stabbings go, IMO.
Maybe Sloggers can gin up a GoFundMe for Mr. GoFuckYourself's defense?
Despite the impression movies give, where people knock each other out with impunity, punching someone in the head can kill them QUICKLY. A stranger punches me repeatedly in the head, I'm going to use whatever force I have available to get them to desist. Better to find myself in court with big lawyer fees than to find myself dead.
No surprise they arrested the guy. If his self defense argument falls apart, then he'll be charged. If the prosecutor buys it, or he's acquitted in trial, then he'll be let go. But he won't be let go before any of that happens. Has to at least post bail first.

Also, 80% of the guys in jail for assault or homicide will swear the were only defending themselves. The police have good reason to expect that self defense isn't going to cut it.
Dear Internet,
There's a difference between being arrested and being found guilty of a crime.

That is all.
Smoking cigarettes is bad for your health.
@18 Toe Tag: Thank you for beating me to it.
There were once two homeless dudes of Free-attle
Out on the street doing battle.
The cigarette was the cause -
While the blade then gave us pause -
And the misandrists seem like stampeding chattle

Facts @13, Thanks for bringing the statute and some concrete examples to bear. Also, I was surprised about this: "The prosecutor would have to disprove that beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury. I.e. There is NO POSSIBLE DOUBT the actions of the cigarette thief's actions are misdemeanor theft, not robbery." So, I checked - http://volokh.com/2013/07/14/burden-and-… - and learned that almost all states have gone away from the common-law rule that the defense has the burden of proving (by the preponderance of the evidence) the elements of the self-defense defense. Once the defense presents some evidence of self defense, the prosecution has the burden of disproving the defense by the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. This has been the case for a LONG time, so I probably was taught this in law school (I'm old, but not Methuselah old), but the common law rule stuck in my head, probably because I do civil law where the defense carries the burden of proof on affirmative defenses.

I learned something today.


Returning to the crimes as depicted, I still think both gentlemen should have been arrested by the police and the facts presented to the prosecutor on which of the fine young men to charge. There's no question (as depicted) that the stabbing victim committed a crime. The stabber may also have committed a crime, but it might be too hard to prove to be worth charging.

Definitely, when being punched in the head, call your criminal defense lawyer (not me, but maybe facts?) to discuss the nuances of the situation. Well, really no, but try to respond proportionately but definitely in a way to preserve your life.
More importantly, is Police Reports Illustrated dropping to publication once every two weeks?


I need my fix.