In an effort to engage with your students and create an atmosphere for good classroom or online discussions it is would be beneficial if students analyze various criminal justice topics. The ability for a student to take a specific topic or analyze a specific incident can set the fertile ground for a student to critically think. Critical thinking is an important skill to master in the field of criminal justice. Questions such as:
could help a student to answer the question What would you do?
For quite a long time American society has been dealing with a level of violence that surpasses most Western nations. Incidents of violence transcend from the simple assault to the unfortunate common occurrence of mass shootings. We rely on and look toward the government to protect us from violence and law breakers. Unfortunately, there are many times where those who have sworn to uphold the law and be the ones who took an oath to protect and serve can not respond quick enough to our need for protection.
Under these circumstances we look toward the concept of "Self Defense". The concept of "Self Defense" is not only commonly know to many,but often used, relied upon and thought of as just in many situations. In the area of Criminal Law the concept of "Self Defense" can be used by the accused as a "Justification Defense". In other words defending oneself with physical or deadly physical force in a given situation was justified under the situations specific circumstances.
Now that we have identified Self Defense as a common Justification Defense and defined what Self Defense is. The question that remains is:
When does an individual use Self Defense?
When should one defend or retreat? In order to answer these questions it is important to consider the concept of "Fight or Flight". The "Fight or Flight" concept is our body's natural instinct to either fight/defend or retreat/get away from danger. Additionally, we also must consider the legal concept of "Stand Your Ground" laws that have been adopted in many of our states. The concept of "Stand Your Ground" permits a person not to have to retreat even though they physically have the ability to do so, but remain in place or "Stand Your Ground " and defend oneself.
These concepts of "Self Defense", "Fight or Flight", and "Stand Your Ground" are commonly discussed in many Criminal Justice courses. Creating discussions and activities for your students that will stimulate engagement is imperative to developing and enhancing their critical thinking skills.
Using a current event can illustrate the concepts mentioned above and can be the foundation for skill implementation. By analyzing a specific event i.e... Shooting, use of force, or retreating scenario, your students can see if the concepts of Self Defense Fight or Flight or Stand Your Ground were present. Additionally, while reviewing the specific situation or event, substituting factors that may have altered the actions of those involved could thus change the entire outcome.
An example is the recent incident in which an Uber driver used deadly force to defend himself. This incident could be used to help create discussion and "What if Scenarios" with your students.
Questions (here is a list of questions taken from this post and from suggestions given below from commenters):
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