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View Diary: The Moral Realities of Self Defense Shootings (238 comments)

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  •  I can live with protecting me and mine. (29+ / 0-)

    Their criminal choice to threaten violence against someone, is their choice to live or die, not mine.
     I don't mean to seem aggressive, or "manly manly", I just don't understand not having the most basic human trait, that of self-preservation. I know my family would be worse off without me. Why would I let someone hurt my family?

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:48:00 AM PST

    •  And I'm OK with that (27+ / 0-)

      It's just a very personal introspection.  Realize, to me, my form of self preservation means I have many options that do not involve killing someone.  

      I've been mugged twice, once very violently the other not.   In the case of the violent one, I wouldn't have had a chance with a weapon.  In the case of the other, I probably would have.

      But it ended up in my mind being a better deal to just turn over my wallet, cancel my credit cards and give up the $50.

      I understand the way that people who favor guns think.   But I think we have 'rambo'd' up the conversation to the point where we are yelling 'hell yeah!' at people shooting criminals first and cheering it on.

      I'm just saying it is a much, much more complex issue than that.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:56:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I think it's simple (16+ / 0-)

        You make your own choices. I guess I'll just never be able to understand that pov.
        Yeh, I do agree on the "hell yeah" mentality, too. Hooray the self defender survived, but the criminal's loss of life is nothing to cheer about.

        PS: Appreciate the civility

        "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

        by meagert on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:05:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you aa well (17+ / 0-)

          I think the part that bothers me isn't the people who make the difficult choice, its that cheering section for those that do.  Even for people in a justified shooting may not need cheers.  They've done something very rough. And that's the discussion I think we are short circuiting

          Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

          by Chris Reeves on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:10:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  For many, human life has an intrinsic value. If (11+ / 0-)

          at the hands of the state a mugging is not a capital crime, how does one justify making it one acting as an individual if there are other possible outcomes?



          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:36:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          simply put I think a true criminal loosing their life is a good thing.  I am a utilitarian. True criminals contribute nothing and actively take from society. In addition to that they loose any sympathy from me by intentionally harming innocents.  They no longer are even "trying" to do good. People like that have no value.

          •  Yeah, and since no one can ever make a mistake (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib

            just shoot any time you think you are being threatened. Since you KNOW before hand how useful they will ever be to society and just know they never will be, you are free to kill them at will with impunity. You are the judge, jury and executioner because it's "utilitarian" to just kill people YOU judge to be worthless.

            Just like George Zimmerman KNEW that a young black man in his neighborhood could be up to nothing but no good and had no right to defend himself when attacked. Boom! Another dead kid because he was useless to society, 'cause Zimmerman just KNEW.

            It's great we have people like you around to assign "value" to human life and make the hard decisions about who deserves to die right now.

            How did you get to be so amazingly perceptive that you just know which lives are useless?

            •  Its called math (0+ / 0-)

              people can add up the amount you contribute to society, vs the amount you take from society.

              And by the laws of math, statistics and averages. A criminal's life is not worth any risk to an innocents.

              •  Bullshit, it's NOT "math" (0+ / 0-)

                Stop trying to convince yourself that you're saying something logical or moral.

                It's not MATH when you're saying, "Um well around, oh, I don't know, 37, I guess, subtracted from something like a gazillion, equals the square root of maybe, like less than that..." which is what you are doing.

                You might as well say, "an apple, minus hope, equals blue! That's MATH!"

                You are claiming that YOU know what a person is "worth" and that YOU know what their actions are "worth" and YOU can derive an equation that allows you to murder someone.

                Bullshit.

                Self-serving arrogant bullshit.

                Stop fooling yourself. Stop trying to fool decent people.

                •  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism (0+ / 0-)

                  Do some reading :)

                  •  Oh so now (0+ / 0-)

                    You're claiming that the ability to read gives you the right to arrogate to yourself the power of life and death over other human beings? To be judge, jury, and executioner without trail or defense?

                    Just amazing. I do wonder what you could be reading that gives you that idea. You do know that you have to understand what you read to make it mean something, right?

                    To quote A Fish Called Wanda: Otto: "Apes don't read philosophy." Wanda: "Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it!"

                    Let me help you a bit before your next silly post: neither math nor reading, not writing, art, music nor philosophy gives you the right to kill another human being.

                    •  I guess you couldnt do the reading (0+ / 0-)

                      Sorry that your inability to try an analyze and perform critical thinking made you angry.

                      Maybe I should recommend a introductory piece

                      http://www.textbooks.com/...={keyword}&gclid=CNfkjPuSh7UCFUKd4Aod02gAvw

                      Just a quick synopsis for those of you who cant grasp a Wikipedia page.  Utilitarianism  is both a philosophical and economic paradigm that the value of any person action or entity is the summation of  utility it generates. Or the amount of "good" that it does.

                      In this paradigm a person who takes more from society than they generate has no value. Removing them is not considered a negative.

                      There is even a branch of utilitarianism that canl be seen to call for the destruction of the world, "Negative utilitarianism." But dont read that far. From your responses so far I think that level of philosophical discussion would scare you.

                      •  Wow. No, not wow. Hahahahahahahahaha (0+ / 0-)

                        Yeah, derisive laughter seems more appropriate.

                        This may be the first time Jeremy Bentham has been used to justify wanton homicide.

                        Just to get started: You think that you get to decide how "worthy" someone is and, on your say so alone the glorious, infallible YOU gets to kill them if YOU decide they are unworthy.

                        Does a glittery plastic tiara come with that megalomaniacal delusion of grandeur?

                        Killing the people YOU deem unworthy may seem very utilitarian to YOU, but is seems not all that utilitarian to the guys you shoot, now does it?

                        Like most junior-commando "philosophers," you pretend that your pre-exisiting predilections are justified, nay even commanded, by your self-serving misunderstanding of the basics. I ran into people like you all through college. Pampered little "glibertarian" whiners living within the safe confines of college dorms and the enveloping arms of campus security, spending daddy's money while worshipping Ayn Rand and their übermenschen selves unfairly oppressed by authority in the form of RA's and the evil library fine system.

                        You're a cut-rate Paul Ryan. A dime-store Ayn Rand. For that matter, the last guy who decided that he had the moral right to kill anyone he personally deemed unworthy was... Oh, Damn you Godwin!

                        Never mind. You're a silly, pretentious little person. It's only utilitarian of me to ignore you from now on. You're not worthy of my time, anymore.

                        •  You really do not have a good grasp of the reality (0+ / 0-)

                          Not one of your lines was factually correct :)

                          Just a quick counter point to two bits of your nonsense.

                          1) I have never been in the situation to need to defend myself with deadly force. I have been stating that everyone has the right. EVERYONE not ME.  Apparently you either think I encompass every living person in the world, or your just making shit up.  

                          2) You have no idea what a libertarian is.  I am actually nationalistic, believe in nationalization of our healthcare system, education system, and many parts of our energy systems etc.  But none of those aspects of political discussion were brought up here. Thus making your assertions of that I am a Ron Paul, anti government right winger completely baseless, wrong ..... and simply stupid.

                          Your guess has about as much base as me guessing your favorite color is magenta.

                          You also proved in a rather colorful manner that you are completely uninformed by implying that libertarianism is akin to nazism  

          •  How do you sort them? (0+ / 0-)

            As the author notes, two of his muggers have turned their lives around and are not criminals. One is still a criminal.

            How do you know, apriori, which is which?

            Knowing with all certainty another's future life path is not generally within the bounds of human capabilities. Many gods are credited with such omnipotence, but no humans.

            •  You dont need to sort them. (0+ / 0-)

              The odds are far enough not in their favor.

              Ill give you this situation.

              A mugger is trying to mug a surgeon.  

              What do you think is better for society?

              Option A) Simply kill the mugger.
              Option B) Let the scenario play out.

              The answer is option A).

              The truth is the mugger even if they turn their lives "around" will never contribute anything nearly enough to make up for the risk to the surgeon.

              •  I give you a different hypothetical (0+ / 0-)

                A mugger is trying to mug a surgeon.  

                What do you think is better for society?

                Option A) Simply kill the mugger.
                Option B) Let the scenario play out.

                Option A: The mugger was going to take a wallet containing $50 and some cancellable credit cards, because he wanted food. You killed him over a few dollars. If let live would have turned his life around (like 2 of the 3 muggers in the diarist's real world scenario). He would have gone on to become a surgeon himself and saved the life of your grand-daughter 10 years later.

                Option B: It turns out the surgeon is a drug addict who is only in that neighborhood to score something he can't easily steal from work anymore. If he had continued in his purchase, he would have negligently killed a firefighter when called in while under the influence.

                Do you have the omnipotence to know who the people are inside those two strangers on the sidewalk? Do you have the omnipotence to know their pasts, their futures, and all benefits/costs they could ever effect in society?

                How did you become anointed judge, jury, and executioner?

                In the court system, we have levels of punishment relative to the damage done by the offense committed. Your solution eliminates all proportionality, turning every offense, even a minor wallet-jacking, into a death penalty offense.

                •  You kinda missed the point (0+ / 0-)

                  But to answer your two part response.

                  1) You pick two random wild yet  theoretically possible situations and try  use that to support a general position. That is not a very good way to actually try and make a point.

                  Your joking if you think Option A) is really an option.
                  A mugger is never going to be able to turn their life around enough to become a surgeon. That is just not even close to a statistically significant option.  Go ahead maybe you will be able to find one, but that is the rarity people could write books about.

                  B) Is an option but ya so what?

                  2) Its called math
                  "Do you have the omnipotence to know who the people are inside those two strangers on the sidewalk? Do you have the omnipotence to know their pasts, their futures, and all benefits/costs they could ever effect in society?"

                  Go back to my example. Try it a million and one times.

                  Sure that 1 time via some butterfly magic effect maybe It would be good to let mugger do his thing.

                  that other million times. The world would be a better place having that mugger dead.

                  I do not need to know the outcome of each particular case to make a general statement.

                  That million to 1 ratio makes any wild scenario you make up meaningless.

                  Just a FYI if you ever catch yourself supporting an idea because of a "magic butterfly effect" scenario. You need to re-evaluate your opinion. That is no way to make a decision and leads to poor choices and ideas.

                  •  Peace (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tmservo433

                    I believe that killing a person is the absolutely worst and most serious action a human being can take against another, and it must never be taken unless one's own life is in immediate and certain danger. You seem to believe the exact opposite - being willing to cast aside the life of another for nothing more than a petty property crime.

                    I don't believe this conversation need continue, since it is unlikely we will affect one another's opinions. Have a nice life.

      •  "All hat, no saddle." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib

        Civilians killed 232 people in all the justifiable homicides during 2010.

        That includes all the shop owners defending robberies in bodegas, pawn shops, gas stations, you-name-it. About a third of that is at homes.

        Same year, the country had 8,000 "home invasions" where that total includes burglars apprehended with knives.

        310,000,000 people.

        Maybe 300 home defenses that result in shooting somebody.

        1 in a 1,000,000.

        If you consider all defenses together, it's 1:400,000.

        Having a gun involves a cost: risking the 30,000 gun deaths a year. That's 30,000 : 250,000,000 homes that have guns.

        1 : 8,000 odds of getting a gun death by suicide/homicide/accident a year.

        That's counting bodies. No "theory." In 2010 you were 50:1 more likely to get somebody killed by the gun than you were likely to use it for defense at home or at a business.

        50:1.

        Count the damn bodies. www.fbi.gov

        "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

        by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:19:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, that's about where I'm at. (22+ / 0-)

      I don't understand any type of thinking that requires or even expects me to balance my own continued existence, or that of any innocent human being, against that of someone who chooses to compromise their own humanity by committing an inhuman act.
      Would I live with it forever? Undoubtedly.
      But....I'd live with it.

      "Everything I do is blown out of proportion. It really hurts my feelings." - Paris Hilton

      by kestrel9000 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:57:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  response (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eru, Kevskos, splashy, elginblt, Laconic Lib

      I just don't understand not having the most basic human trait, that of self-preservation.

      Killing another human being is not like killing an animal, which imho is bad enough.

      I don't ever want to be a killer.  Do you?

      •  I don't think any rational person does. (7+ / 0-)

        I know I don't.  But if the choice is between that and death or disfigurement the choice becomes obvious.  From the scenario discussed above by the author, having a weapon wouldn't have helped.  It is one of those things that may or may not.  Every situation is fluid and these types of events happen in a matter of seconds.  One can train and prepare both physically and mentally, and it is still a roll of the dice.

        I read once, a while back, something that seems kind of odd on the surface.  I read that it is an irony that those who do carry are less likely to need to use a weapon in self defense than those who don't.  This was partially attributed to the ways in which doing so changes you and requires you to become more aware of your surroundings.  In doing so, you also appear like a less appealing victim to a criminal whose job security depends on the ability to size their targets up.

    •  I will retreat and retreat and retreat (9+ / 0-)

      even to my own safe room, with reinforced walls and metal door and frame, with its own phone line.  One wall is the roof and 2 others are over a steep stairwell.  The steel door with 3 locks and an old fashioned bar constitutes the 4th wall.
      However to protect my grandkids, come through that door and I will injure you to whatever extent necessary, with firearm, with blade, with club, with my bare hands if I can, even after several CVAs.  I will not sacrifice my grandchildren to a moral stance.

      If that offends anyone, I apologize in advance but it is meant as a statement of fact.  Anyone who breaches my safe room can do so only by extraordinary means (I am a fair jackleg carpenter and architect and designed it myself) and anyone who goes to those extremes is there to kill and not simply to steal or intimidate

      •  I'm in agreement. We've had some home invasion (5+ / 0-)

        robberies in my neighborhood. Should that horror happen to me, I'm locking myself in my bathroom with my family and my pistol and calling the cops. The crooks can take what they want anywhere else in my house, as long as they don't come into the room where I've retreated. But if they break into my locked bathroom, I will shoot them. I will hate doing it, but as you say, they aren't there to steal anymore, but to hurt me and mine.

        "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

        by pengiep on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:07:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Safe room does not help when you are away from (0+ / 0-)

        home.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:32:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree in that I would do what I had to do, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmservo433, gerrilea, elginblt

      by no means would I ever "get over it" nor would I ever feel good about having to do it. I am sure that I would eventually come to some peace about it, but if I had my choice, I would definitely choose not have such a horrible experience.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:01:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So what are the odds ???? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      What is the cost/benefit ratio for keeping a gun in the house?

      How many times a year would you use it to defend your home? What is that fraction/percentage ?

      How many times would the gun be used for suicide?

      How many times for homicide against a family member or a neighbor?

      Make it easy on yourself: total population runs 310,000,000 for the country. The answers run to 30,000 gun deaths a year versus fewer than 800 lethal-and-nonlethal shootings in defense of homes and businesses. (232 lethal, by civilians in 2010.)

      The claim that guns are used 1,000,000 times a year for home defense ??? An outright lie. More than 1,000 times exaggerated over reality.

      On the other hand, if you're a raccoon then be damn careful getting into that gun nut's garbage. Ka-pow !!

      "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

      by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:05:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bontemps, you are assuming everyone who owns (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bontemps2012

        a gun suffers suicidal ideations or homicidal ideations.

        •  Suicidal ideations in homes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib

          are overwhelmingly manifested by family members who are NOT the gun owner.

          Older parents, teenagers. Also, Major Depression comes on slowly when it arrives, not an easy thing to handle. You think those patients get with the program asap, getting rid of guns ?

          "Homicidal ideation" is usually rage. Not all that predictable.

          Everyone who owns guns is rolling the same pair of dice. Very few exceptions.

          "Not me !" is a fantasy.

          "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

          by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 06:41:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  My point is: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bontemps2012

            I understand what you are saying, but I want to offer to you that your words seem overly broad, as to include everyone, even those with whom you have no direct interaction.

            If we are all hiding suicidal and homicidal maniacs in our home, then there is no point in having this discussion at all.

            •  People who become homicidal or suicidal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laconic Lib

              in 2013 were not homicidal or suicidal in 2012.

              The exceptions run to diseases such as paranoid schizophrenia -- which is notoriously difficult to diagnose in the early stages.

              It's rolling dice.

              Mental health can collapse overnight.

              And yes, this applies to everyone. You or I could wake up tomorrow morning with Major Depression. The minor strokes produce personality changes more than not. (Not just the major ischemic large-bleed strokes.)

              Bad things happen to good people.

              "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

              by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:17:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, bad things happen to good people (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bontemps2012

                but assuming that we all loose our grip to that degree as a result, with or without TBI or a stroke is a giant assumption and nothing more. A What If at best.

                It's insulting. You have not walked a mile in my shoes, and I have neither killed anyone nor attempted to kill myself with a gun or anything else.

                •  I'm looking at the numbers. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kmfmstar

                  30,000 gun deaths a year is not from criminals. It's folks like us.

                  "We have met the enemy and he is us...."

                  The old Walt Kelly "Pogo" motto.

                  Best to all --

                  "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

                  by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:12:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

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