In a stressful situation, there are two major choices; fight or flight, Of course, to most it is flight. In times of war, a soldier will have a fifty-fifty chance of choosing between fight or flight. You may believe that it would be a higher percentage of fighters, but in reality, having a group of people that fifty percent would confront stress and danger is incredibly high. For the common man, there is only a ten percent chance that they would choose fight. The only similarity between the common man and a soldier was that everyone needs to come to find peace with their decision.
My decision was to fight and I had to come to terms with that decision. It isn’t easy, nothing when it comes to the mind is easy, Every thought is a challenge that provides you with difficulties or delusions. Which is why you must have your moral compass pointing in the right direction. Mine was, but when it came to this situation I was still lost. Murder in self defense is still murder, but preservation of self is essential to been morally sound. How does one decide which side they fall if it feels like you fall smack-dab in the middle.
The trial would be in two days and I wasn’t the one sitting in the chair that the jury would be watching. Someone else was pulled into the trial for that night, a homeless man who was drugged out or just drunk enough to not remember what happened. He looked like me as well, which made him perfect for taking my place. Of course, there is a small amount of pain that one feels seeing someone else on trial for your crime. My moral compass was sure on that act of flight and it constantly reminded me with a sinking feeling when anyone mentioned the trial within hearing distance.
People were discussing whether it is right to murder in self-defense and in our county the law wasn’t sure either. Which is why this innocent man was on trial and trial for something that people wondered like me if the act fell north or south on their compass. I was in my home and I watched as the man was defended by a lawyer who seemed to act as if he had found the golden case. He gave fantastic speeches that would go on for an age, but everybody was capture by them. I remember one section of it in particular.
“There comes a time in every civilisations life-time that it must reevaluate its laws and morals,” he explained. “It is only through such developments that votes for women came about, through such developments that abolished slavery and only through these developments will we realize that it is not murder if the victim fought for their life. From the footage you can see the victim who is on trial for murder fought off his attacker and pushed him aside. There is a series of strikes from the assailant, the victim falls once more to the ground and the assailant makes to kill the victim with the knife. Our victim kicks out here, causing the assailant to trip and fall on his knife. The victim immediately sees his opening and makes a run for it, panicked and afraid.”
The homeless man looked confused on stand. I could tell he wasn’t able to remember what happened and was searching his brain for any hints, but none came. There was no peace inside his mind, but I’m sure there was more hell in mine than in his. Eventually, I realized there was only one way to find my peace. The trial would proceed for another hour or more depending on the lawyers speech. Plenty of time for me to make an appearance, so I did.
I arrived at the courtroom less than an hour later with my legs feeling as unsteady as a childs at the dentist. Of course my crimes were of a higher price to pay than a cavity. I approached the front desk and explained the situation to an official looking woman who left to pass the message to the head of court and the judge. I stood there, starting back at two security guards who stood in front of the court doors. Eventually they opened and the last of my courage began to waver as people looked in my direction. I stepped forward and explained the situation to the judge and jury.
I told them that I was the one in the fight and from my appearance I certainly looked closer to the victim than the homeless man. The judge understood immediately what had happened and released the homeless man after he signed a few documents. The gruff old man gave me a smile of gratefulness and everyone in court gave me a strange look.
“You realize by stepping forward you have left the safety of your home to put on trial and possibly be tried with murder?” the judge asked.
“I...I do,” I replied.
“There is also a high possibility depending on the jury’s ruling that you will be found guilty and be put to death as per our laws,” the judge continued.
“I have to admire your honesty. I don’t believe I know anyone who had another ticket in life and decided to return it to save an innocent man’s life. However, don’t mistake my admiration for reward. You will still be put on trial and face the jury’s scrutiny, do you understand?”
“I do, your honour.”
“Well, in that case, the court is adjourned till we set some paperwork straight. The trial will be postponed until further notice, but if no notice is given the court will proceed on the eighth at ten o’clock. Security, apprehend our man and place him in the right cell.”
The lawyer who defended the old man decided to stay by my side and defend me with the same enthusiasm as the old, homeless man. The trial seemed to lean heavily against me, but through all the odds I was let off on a technicality. I defended myself, but I was not the one who stabbed my assailant, he simply fell on his knife and I ran. That was a different crime and I was sentenced to three months in a low-security prison, but even in death I know I would find my peace.