Interview with Rev. James Lawson
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

HOW DID YOU ANSWER STUDENTS WHO RAISED THE QUESTION OF SHOULDN'T I DEFEND MYSELF? SELF-DEFENSE SHOULD BE EVERYBODY'S RIGHT, IF SOMEBODY ATTACKS ME--

Rev. James Lawson:

Right. Well, of course, obviously everybody believes in self-defense, so we all do. So the issue from the perspective of nonviolence is what are the best tools of self-defense. Well, we know for an example that if you are in a tough situation, one of the first things you have to do is keep your cool if you can, no matter how frightened you are, how ruffled you are by the attack or the hostility, try to keep your head. So obviously the first step is not being swift enough or big enough to deliver a counter blow, but is to, as fast as you can, see your options and stay cool, stay calm in the midst of the anxiety. So self-defense, no matter how you do it, requires, therefore, wit and courage, and poise under duress, being able to see options. So, therefore you know, with that in mind, we then tried to suggest a variety of kinds of options.