Reading the response to my previous post, there's 2 directions I'd like to take this now:
1) What's "reasonable force"?
Honest question here, not being sarky. Taking the base case Malaysian scenarios: Guy holds you up with a parang or mat rempit snatches your bag in a drive by on those wretched little mopeds they ride. What's the reasonable amount of aggression one could unleash upon them in self defense? That is, how much whupass can I have in my Handbag of Doom that will let me get away scot-free?
I'm guessing a decent firecracker blast of paint (for easy identification of the perp) and mace (coz it fucking hurts) should be more or less reasonable. Of course, such a piddly small bang would have to be a bit more cunningly implemented, triggered by opening the bag, say.
And as a rule of thumb, anything causing permanent physical damage to the perp will probably get you in trouble. Am I on the right track here?
2) On a much darker note, what if one could get away with it?
What if the bag was intentionally lethal and untracable? Would anyone give a shit that a common thief was messily wiped off the face of the Earth? It's very tempting to just say, "Who cares? It's just a thief!" isn't it?
In any society, there will be winners and there will be losers. High incidence of crime is indicative of two things:
i) Not everybody is getting their slice of the economic pie; and
ii) Inferior policing.
Don't forget for a moment that thief or not, they're people with lives and stories, just like you or me or anyone else. And I've no doubt at all that many of those whom we label criminals are people who've been on the unhappy end of exactly the wrong set of circumstances. Inadequate education, MP not delivering on promises to spruce up a constituency, economic downturn or just plain bad luck.
They've all got their stories. A thief is not a faceless bad guy (FBG). FBGs do NOT exist outside of fiction and computer games. One would do well to remember that every human is a reflection of the world he's lived in*. So if there's more crime, what does that say about society? Crime should be punished, there's no doubt about that, but one must always bear in mind the underlying socio-economic problems that drive people to crime in the first place.
* Even fundies. Atheists and moderates, please remember this.