A lot of people will tell you that everyone in Canada has to walk round like a victim waiting for the criminal. Well, they’ve got a political point to make.
The right to self-defence, along with “use of force to prevent commission of offence” are written into the law over here. The former states:
Self-defence in case of aggression I imagine it’s pretty much the same in most parts of the US.
Every one who has without justification assaulted another but did not commence the assault with intent to cause death or grievous bodily harm, or has without justification provoked an assault on himself by another, may justify the use of force subsequent to the assault if
(a) he uses the force
(i) under reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the violence of the person whom he has assaulted or provoked, and
(ii) in the belief, on reasonable grounds, that it is necessary in order to preserve himself from death or grievous bodily harm;
(b) he did not, at any time before the necessity of preserving himself from death or grievous bodily harm arose, endeavour to cause death or grievous bodily harm; and
(c) he declined further conflict and quitted or retreated from it as far as it was feasible to do so before the necessity of preserving himself from death or grievous bodily harm arose.
The problem is that every two-bit thug has his lawyer try the self-defence argument as a last-dtich effort to keep out of jail after they kill someone, making it the legal equivalent of the dog ate my homework. It rarely works, but then I’ve never seen a genuine case of self-defence.
I once covered a case in which two guys, one a black-belt, attempted to cite self-defence over a guy they beat to death while enforcing a crack house. . . not only did they run out of the building and instigate the assault, but they got false alibis and only ended in court because they implicated themselves in an undercover ‘sting’ operation. Needless to say, both are now behind bars.
Forgetting about legal issues, I’d never advocate defending yourself with a knife. It’s quite obvious that you are going to get cut up pretty bad – the winner of a knife fight being the guy that can lose the most blood and still remain standing.