There are several stories in the news as of late that leave me wondering why they’re even controversial in the slightest, but one confuses me beyond belief.

This week, a story surfaced about a man in Texas who beat his four-year-old daughter’s molester to death when he found an acquaintance pinned on top of her in the family barn. Of course, the father is now facing charges for the defense of his daughter. I don’t understand this; maybe I am just a simple person without an extensive formal education in the law, but I don’t know why the defense of another from a heinous criminal act is now considered too harsh. If my dad were to find me in a similar situation, I can guarantee he’d kill the guy and not think twice about the “severe” consequences for a person who is assaulting his child in a very personal, scarring way. It is our instinct to defend a victim, especially if that victim is family. Do you think this father is going to stand there and watch this man rape his daughter because he might get in trouble with the law, or he might go “too far” and kill him?

I am not a parent. However, I do have parents, and I know that their lifestyles and priorities have always been formed with my wants and needs above their own. I know that if my mother or father could mitigate some of the pain and tragedy I’ll experience in my life by going through that pain themselves instead, they would do it without question or complaint. The instinct to protect offspring is inherent, yet still a choice, because of the human ability to rationalize, reason, and make decisions. This man applied the life choice he made to nurture, support, and protect his little girl, and he may be punished for it.

As of now, the state of Texas allows this kind of defense, though this case is still up in the air.  We can add the right to defend your family to the list of the endless perks of living in Texas. Section 2 of S.B. No. 378 (Texas) reads:

“(a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor [he] reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor [himself] against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The actor’s belief that the force was immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed to be reasonable if the actor… (c) was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery…” [emphasis mine]

So why is this an issue? Why is this going to court? A blog post from claims this dad is “[sinking] to the criminal level” by killing the child molester. Since when is it a moral blunder to take action and stop one of the most criminal offenses possible?  So far, this Texas dad has not been arrested, but investigation ensues. Hopefully this man does no time in jail for his “crime,” but he would probably welcome the punishment in exchange for intervening on behalf of his daughter and sparing her the physical, psychological, and emotional aftermath of sexual abuse.

Sydney Phillips | @SydPhillips