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A man awoke to hear someone in his home.  He shot two men walking towards him. Does it matter that they were not armed and were in the act of burglary?

Expert Answers

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First of all, the answer to this can differ from state to state within the United States.  In general, the answer is that it does not matter that the men were not armed.

The general rule is that a person may use self defense if they have a good reason to feel threatened.  If a man wakes up in his own house, and sees two strangers walking towards him, he is certainly entitled to feel that he is in danger.  Most states would not require him to determine exactly how dangerous the men were.

So long as there are no other circumstances that would have made it clear that the men were not a danger to him, the homeowner has the right to shoot them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team