Brazilians want to defend themselves
Prof. Bene Barbosa
The repercussion in national and international media of the case in which 68 year old Maria Dora dos Santos Arbex successfully defended herself from a robbery using a firearm, brought back in to focus the importance of common citizen being able to own and carry firearms. It raises concerns about the whole validity of the Brazilian Disarmament Statute.
When 60% of the Brazilian voting citizens said NO to the prohibition of the legal commerce of firearms, in the Referendum about Prohibition, in October 2005, those who defended the YES vote, argued that the population had been induced by cunning campaign tactics to vote wrongly. Despite what those that defended the YES vote towards prohibition said, the truth is that 60 million citizens said NO to the loss of an individual right – the right to legally purchase and own firearms and ammunition, the right to self-defense.
Practically a year after the Referendum, one unit of the Brazilian media that defended the YES vote during the campaign for Prohibition, today salutes Mrs. Maria Dora dos Santos Arbex, and supports her attitude of defending her self. In their website, they even asked their readers if they supported Mrs. Maria Dora’s attitude of self defense, and the result of the voting was outstanding: 98% of the people that participated said that the lady did the right thing. This proves that the Brazilian public does in deed have the aid to self-defense, now that the “disarmament fever” is passing.
Now the Brazilian public is asking itself: is it right to condemn the victims for defending themselves? Should the law not distinct the victim from the aggressor when applying penalties?
The truth is that an urgent revision of the Brazilian Disarmament Statute and the whole posture of the Brazilian justice of condemning the honest citizen and benefiting criminals are severally needed.
Bene Barbosa, a law school graduate, is the president of Movimento Viva Brasil, and was one of the coordinators of the campaign for the NO vote, in the referendum about prohibition.
The survey, while not scientific, at least shows that some of the media and some Brazilians are becoming more open in their belief that self-defense is legitimate and something to be discussed.