Is Violence Ever Justified?

warrior mindset

We do not seek conflict, but when necessary, Your ability to act decisively and with violence can save your life.

With the exception maybe of Shaolin Monks living in a mountaintop temple, violence is part of our everyday life; and it is not unique to humans. Every form of life exists in a constant struggle to survive in a world of unforgiving nature and hungry predators. Think of your daily exposure to violence: news reports almost exclusively focus on violent stories, movies and television shows which depict violence and immoral behavior are popular and make money.

What about video games like Grand Theft Auto (versions 1-5), in which the goal is to unabashedly kill and maim as many innocent civilians and police officers as one can? Ever been part of the equation of road rage on your daily commute? Scan the car radio for some music and I will bet you, out of 10 songs you hear, 3 of them have something to do with harming someone or promoting a lifestyle where the sanctity of human life means nothing. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are exposed to violence every single day.

Screen shot from a popular video game Grand Theft Auto

The impact of Violence in Our Society:

What impact do these things have on youngsters growing up, and our society as a whole? Depending on where you look, you can find facts that suggest these factors are extremely damaging to morality or have no impact at all. I am not claiming scientific proof, but common sense would suggest that they must have SOME impact.

In a society that has become increasingly secular, with a diminished role and importance of a family structure, the moral character that would normally be instilled from religion or attentive parents has diminished. This leaves the opportunity for moral lessons to come from less virtuous places.

Using violence is bad right? I mean in general when defining the term “violence,” we would say that violence is using intimidation or actual physical force to injure someone or destroy something. Unjustified violence is not only immoral but criminal.

But is violence ever justified? Simple answer … YES.

Violence of Action may be the one thing that can tip the scales in your favor

Let me explain my answer to the above question. What a culture deems as violent behavior varies from place to place. Furthermore, what is considered unjustified violence is also subjective to the law of the land. Is the death penalty considered violent? Sure, but is it justified in some instances?

Is stoning someone to death for adultery violent? Yup, but is it considered justified in some cultures? Yes, it is. War is the ultimate expression of violence but without nations willing to shed blood and fight for a just cause, the evil and murderous ideology of Nazism and Communism which are responsible for the genocide of at least 110,000,000 souls, would have been allowed to propagate and lead to less freedom for people around the world.

Violence has its place and when appropriate, extreme, unrelenting, and focused violence may be the only thing that will lead to your personal survival.

Do I Condone Violence?

Before you believe I promote unfettered and indiscriminate violence, let me assure you that I DON'T. It is important to understand that when speaking of using violence, I am not referring to rioting, destruction of property, attacking innocent people or using intimidation because you do not like something. Instead what I speak of is a focused, violent response to someone attempting to end your life. I am a very humble man, and absolutely never go out looking for conflict with anyone. I attempt to avoid or de-escalate every situation I am involved in.

For anyone carrying a firearm, this should ALWAYS be the way we live.

We all must come to the realization that some people are truly evil. These people would just as soon slice your throat and watch you take your last breath, as they would say ‘hello.' There are people who think nothing of killing or seriously harming you in order to take property from you. These people are out there, and to deny this does not make you safer or a compassionate human being. Instead, this mindset absolutely ensures you are setting yourself up to be a soft target for these predators.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who believe violence is never justified. When I say never, I mean NEVER EVER, not even if your life is in jeopardy. These people are ideologues who do not live in reality. They would have you believe that allowing yourself to be killed is morally correct and using violence to defend yourself would be morally wrong. While people are entitled to follow this mantra, it is insane and dangerous. These will be the same people seeking the protection of someone who is willing to defend the sanctity of life (like a concealed carrier or police officer) if that time actually comes and their life is threatened.

It is human nature to want to survive and every human has the God given right to defend themselves against someone or something that would unjustly and gravely injure them or end their life.

Violence of Action:

And this brings me to the crux of what I want you to understand. When you do defend yourself, defend it with a Violence of Action that is unmatched.

Sounds Great, but this is not reality

Violence of Action is a term we used in the Marine Corps Infantry. What it means is that when appropriate:

  • act decisively, swiftly and aggressively in order to repel an attacker(s) who may be of larger size,
  • in the position of advantage
  • or have a homicidal intent to end your life

When faced with possible death or serious bodily harm, your focus should be defeating the assault and surviving by any means. Remember that when responding to an attack, we are reactionary and never on the offensive, so we will already find ourselves in a position of disadvantage. For this reason, you MUST respond decisively, swiftly, aggressively and with this mindset. Failure to respond like this, allows the attacker to remain on the attack and thus maintain a position of advantage both mentally and physically. Many times, only by aggressively and decisively responding to the attack can you shift the balance in your favor.

Please understand that Violence of Action does not mean reckless and inefficient blind rage. On the contrary, Violence of Action starts with a mindset. At the necessary time, the switch flips and your mindset becomes focused on survival and defeating the attack. An instinctual application of your training kicks in and you now fight for your life. Your actions should be unrelenting and violent, yet measured and appropriate.

This is not the time that you question the morality or ethics of deadly force. Nor is it the time to wonder if you are in your legal rights to defend yourself. These are things that you should have addressed prior to carrying a firearm, or tool for self-defense. Regardless of the odds or incident, your mindset should be that you will survive.

El Cajon Police Officer, Slocum's story of surviving being shot in the head.

The human mind is an unbelievably powerful tool, and when the will to survive has been ingrained in one's mind and becomes part of our being, we are capable of amazing acts of survival. We have all either experienced or read about an incident of extraordinary survival. During my time in the Marine Corps and Police Department, I was fortunate enough to serve with some extraordinary people, who because of their will to survive and their mindset, survived an incident that, had they not fought back, they may not be here today. One such story documented Officer Jarred Slocum's actions and how he Survived Being Shot in The Head. Officer Slocum is a former Officer who I worked with at El Cajon Police Department and his story is incredibly powerful.

Brian McKenna

The incredible book every warrior should read.

Seek information, Read, and Learn From Others:

I also want to refer an author and incredible Officer and instructor by the name of Brian McKenna. When I first decided to leave the Marine Corps and become a cop I started reading as much as I could on tactics and use of force incidents. No book impacted me more than Brian McKenna's Officer Down! Lessons From The Streets. He has been writing a training column under the same name for Law Officer Magazine, documenting use of force incidents and presenting them in an after action report structure, in order to learn from each and every good and bad decision made during these dynamic incidents. He is recognized as one of the best tactical trainers around.

Officer Young's violent, decisive actions allowed him to survive, and defeat this evil predator.

I mention Brian McKenna and his book because it is not only a book for police officers but anyone who may face the reality of a deadly force encounter. There are many incidents analyzed by Brian McKenna, but one has always stuck with me and I think is extremely relevant to this concept of how Violence of Action, coupled with the will to survive won the day.

The incident describes the 2008 shooting of an abhorrent, evil human who was fully intent on killing that day. Officer Marcus Young battled a subject (whom I shall not memorialize with a name) who was armed with a knife, .38 revolver, and a homicidal mindset. After being shot at point blank range in the face and side, and twice in the vest, Young battled the POS who now was trying to remove the officer's shotgun from the patrol car. Officer Young's hand was mangled in the assault but he was able to draw his firearm and place a shot into the attacker's forehead, killing him before the maniac was able to further injure Officer Young and countless others at the mall where the incident occurred.

Injuries Officer Young sustained during the assault

I just mention a synopsis of the incident, but I suggest reading the entire breakdown of the incident here.

Aftermath of Officer Young's Heroic Actions

Officer Young is just a regular human like you or I, except he had the will to survive, and realized he needed to respond with unrelenting Violence of Action to end the fight and survive. Hone your skills, but don't overlook the mental aspect that comes with carrying a firearm for defense. Understand that if the time comes, your inner will to survive and Violence of Action will help you survive. Stay safe and God bless.

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About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Darkwing on August 2, 2017 at 8:03 am

    If I or some one I care about is attacked, you can be sure there will be violence against that attacker. Then again as Bullwinkle said”I love violence, the smell so nice.”

  2. Doug on August 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    This is in line with Target Focus Training, developed by Tim Larkin. One thing I think bears mentioning is during this justified violence, CHEAT. Beyond whatever technique you learn, you will not be fighting a fair fight like one with a referee or in a ring. You have to pull out the stops and use everything you can to survive without hesitation to gain whatever advantage, even unfair advantage, you can in order to not only just survive but to overwhelm your attacker and end his ability to fight at the earliest possible moment. Which translates to you walking away vs. being carried away and hospitalized and just surviving.

    • Matthew Maruster on August 16, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Doug, Awesome pick up as far as the Target Focused Training element. I have read Tim Larken and many other authors on this topic and enjoy studying all things related to deadly force encounters. First, I TOTALLY agree with your comment 100%. And I know exactly what you (and people like Tim Larken) are saying when they say to ‘cheat’. The reason I left the word ‘cheat’ out of the article and I tend not to use that when describing actions during an encounter is that the word has a negative stigma, at least in my mind. I guess you could throw it into the negative stigma that comes along with the word ‘violence’, but as a sportsman, I associate the word cheat to something that is against the rules. But furthermore, I associate the act of cheating to be immoral, and unethical. I feel that while we win at all costs, we do so ethically. I would be worried that some people may be misled by the word ‘cheat’ and believe that it means to do things unethically. It may just be the semantics of the word or a strong personal aversion to people who cheat, but I try to explain the no holes barred, give ’em all the hell you can possibly bring and then some approach without using the term cheat.

      Again thanks for the comment, I am always humbled and grateful when people take the time not only to read my articles but thoughtfully comment on them. Stay safe and God Bless.

  3. Mikial on August 16, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Is violence ever justified? Yes.

    Two and a half years doing DoD close protection contracts in Iraq are evidence enough of that. And now, my wife and I both carry for one simple reason . . . we will not be helpless victims of criminals or terrorists. Period.

  4. Mikial on August 16, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    And BTW, Officer Slocum is a stud. While in Iraq, one of our team members was shot while crossing the Samara overpass north of Baghdad. He was a former Royal Marine who had been on South Georgia Island during the Falkland War and the bullet from and AK came through his open window and literally took his nose off. He turned and emptied two magazines from his AKM back at the enemy shooters while everyone of the Suburban was yelling at him to put pressure on it. Yeah, he survived . . . no surprise there.

    When you’re bad ass, you got nothing to prove.

    • Matthew Maruster on August 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks for mentioning Officer Slocum! I am sure he appreciates the shout out, I’ll make sure to pass it on to him. I agree about doing things for the right reasons, to defend yourself, your family or the guy fighting along side of you rather than to prove a point or look cool in a picture or video. Winning the fight doesn’t come down to looking pretty, it comes from within. Thanks for sharing and I really appreciate the feedback! Stay safe man!!

      • Jason Bradley on February 1, 2020 at 3:12 am

        I read online Neal Beckman (the bad guy) died because officer Marcus Young fired a bullet into Neal Beckman’ s right butt check that tore up Neck Beckman’ s Torso that finally stopped into Neal Beckman’s neck.

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