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View Full Version : To Kill Or Not To Kill...That Is The Question


TexanAmerican
September 1, 2006, 06:55 AM
I'm pretty much the "new kid" on the block to this forum but since I am retired I do spend a bit of time reading the various input besides I'm a half-ass insomniac and it beats staring at the Tele. For those who have killed another person each carries away their own deep rooted feelings for having done so. Many times in my life I have been asked by one person or another "which gun is the best for home defense". My reply has simply been: The best gun is the one you are willing and capable of killing someone with. Therein lies the rub. My next question to that person is if in their heart of hearts and the deepest recesses of their soul would they without a doubt willfully, knowingly and very deliberately kill someone with full knowledge that you very likely may incur some type of physical damage of your own. If there is any hesitation or if the answer is no then my advice is to invest in better locks and home security and just hope and pray that 911 doesn't put you on hold. After all my bloviating I wonder how many out there in Internet Land have ever really, truly and honestly asked and answered that question for themselves before reading Guns and Ammo and running out to buy a "self defense" firearm. I'm talking without all the moral evaluations and so called legally justifiable hocus pocus. Even if the guy is drenched in blood holding a pick axe with a catch you gut you look in his eye. How many have honestly examined themselves and what they THINK they would do? Just one of the things I ponder when I'm sitting here in the wee hours pondering human behavior. Whatcha' think?

TheBluesMan
September 1, 2006, 07:07 AM
What you are saying is that mindset is more important than the firearm you choose.

I agree completely.

If, when faced with imminent harm or death, one is not prepared to fight back, it makes no difference what tool one is holding.

I think this thread fits better in Tactics & Training. Moving now...

CDH
September 1, 2006, 07:30 AM
Texan, I think your mindset about "to kill or not to kill" is all wrong (no offense intended).

The whole idea of making a committment to your own and family's self defense has to do with "stopping" an attack. If you go in with the idea of killing or not, you have already set yourself up with doubts about whether you can pull a trigger at all, and a moment of hesitation at that point can kill YOU.
Plus, you set yourself up for a lifetime of emotionally crippling guilt.

When you have first made the determination that your life is in danger and that the attacket MUST BE STOPPED, then you do what you have to, to STOP him.
It is not your concern if whatever means you use to STOP him results in his death or not. The outcome is not your fault, but the attacker's. You shouldn't be as concerned about killing an attacker as you are with simply stopping the attack.

Thinking of it another way, you should NEVER use the word "kill" when referring to stopping an attacker. It is more accurate and proper to use the word "neutralize" because by neutralizing the threat, you have stopped the threat which really should have been your ONLY purpose for pulling the trigger in the first place.

Using your example of the guy with a pickaxe staring at you, my only thought is to neutralize him as a threat, not kill him. If he dies during the process, that's his problem, but if he just drops to the ground, STOPPING the attack, I would never think of walking over and putting another round in him for the purpose of killing him. If he got up and continued the attack, then more defensive action would be justified which may very well be additional shots until he STOPS advancing his attack.

Here's a thought provoking piece you might like to read:
http://marinecorpsmoms.com/archives/2004/08/on_sheep_wolves_and_sheepdogs.html
I feel that a lot of this applies to us who have committed ourselves to at least our own defense, even though not in a public service capacity (LE).

Carter

TexanAmerican
September 1, 2006, 08:06 AM
Thinking of it another way, you should NEVER use the word "kill" when referring to stopping an attacker. It is more accurate and proper to use the word "neutralize" because by neutralizing the threat, you have stopped the threat which really should have been your ONLY purpose for pulling the trigger in the first place.

CDH,
Likewise, with all due respect you make make my point for me. Terms such as "neutralize", "extreme prejudice", "stop" etc. are all legalease and nice "civilized" euphamisms for removing someone from their mortal surroundings. I don't know your background, but in any police academy you don't get cudos for leg and arm shots. Your best scores are center mass (heart, lungs, vitals) or good old fashioned head shots. The first thing the military (the real military) does in boot camp or basic training is to break down ones thinking about social and legal issues of "neutralizing" an enemy and teach you to kill or be killed. A "wounded" enemy can still kill you and is now probably ****** enough to do just that. Most CCL instructers teach the "neutralize" or "stop" jargon so that if, God forbid, you should have to shoot someone you can minimize your criminal culpability when top cop rolls up on the scene. If you can muster up at least one crocodile tear that won't hurt either. Reality is that from the very first firearm built the purpose was for killing, not for "neutralizing". It's sole purpose in the history of man was to kill food for the dinner table or kill an enemy that threatens you and/or loved ones. Aside from all that, some people just flat deserve killing. By the way no offense taken. The reason I posted the question was to garnish thoughts from others. One thing I have learned in life is that it isn't one man's world. None the less I'm still a strong advocate of "one shot-one kill". But that's just me.

shield20
September 1, 2006, 08:35 AM
So, are there people here, who when locked in a life and death struggle with an adversary, will actually feel guilty if they win?

Great topic, but one I don't think should be answered in public in writing. Unfortunately, "anything you say may be used against you in a court of law".

BlueTrain
September 1, 2006, 08:48 AM
I should hope there are people here who feel, not guilty, but responsible if they killed someone, whether or not they won. Otherwise, what is the difference between them and the Bad Guy. Here I am assuming everyone here is a Good Guy.

It is a good topic. Perhaps you should keep your opinions to yourself if they aren't nice but the topic is certainly relevant to half the subjects on this forum. In a way, it even applies to hunting, though that is not usually a self defence issue but it involves killing. By the way, I think that thinking that a threat can be stopped with a firearm without killing or danger of killing is fantasy, the sort of thing you used to hear fifty years ago, up there with "flesh wound," "shoot to maim, not to kill," and similar statements. A claim about large caliber handguns like the .45 was that you could stop them with a shoulder wound and not have to kill them. That claim was probably made by someone who was a better shot than I was.

There is more. The biggest advantage the bad guy has over the good guy is his willingness to kill and to do so without remore, so it would seem. The police catch more bad guys than you might think and they have said they would track someone down, go to his house and find him sleeping peacefully in bed. However, be that as it may, the good guy can overcome his natural disadvantage by having the right mindset before hand, not to say this is easy to do. Jeff Cooper has probably written more about this than anyone.

springmom
September 1, 2006, 08:49 AM
I don't think Carter is at all equivocating. What he is saying is exactly what we were taught regarding the use of deadly force when I took my CHL class. You shoot to stop the threat. Heck, if pulling out my gun causes the doofus to drop his weapon and hit the floor, then the threat IS stopped. If shooting him COM doesn't kill him but stops the threat, then the threat is stopped. You don't keep shooting until he's dead, you keep shooting until the threat is no longer a threat. ISTM that you are equating the two, and I would agree with Carter that they are not in fact the same by definition.

Of course, the BG may die. Or he may not. But determining that outcome is not my responsbility. Protecting myself and my family is.

Springmom

tydephan
September 1, 2006, 09:14 AM
To me, the question that is being posed should be "to shoot, or not to shoot..."

It would seem to me that the major decision, if confronted with a late night intrusion, is whether to shoot (i.e. "Could/Would I really pull the trigger and take the risk of taking someone's life, despite their intent).

This was definitely a concious decision I made before I decided to buy my first HD firearm. Without a doubt I will do whatever it takes to stop a threat to me or my family, however there is a line between offense and defense (us footballers call it the line of scrimmage :))

Once this decision has been made, it is only common sense to continue defensive shots until the intruder is neutralized. Although I agree that a BG has given up his right to live if he/she threatens me in my house, common sense (once again) dictates that I would not continue to shoot. As noted previously, if he dies, he dies. And I would have to deal with that, knowing that I did the bare minimum to protect me and my loved ones.

Now, with all that being said, I also know that most LEO are trained that if you must shoot, the situation is bad enough that doubletaps to the head are duely warranted (i.e. no leg or arm shots to stop the threat, or for that matter "shooting over the head."). It's a difficult call, with two entirely different schools of thought. The common thread is the ability to pull the trigger...and I sure as hell will not hesitate once the threat is revealed.

TireFryer
September 1, 2006, 09:16 AM
CDH:
AWESOME article! I am printing it to have on hand with me to give out to some of my "sheep" acquaintainces, and forwarded to a few other forums!

good discussion...

john in jax
September 1, 2006, 09:33 AM
I feel VERY strongly about protecting my familiy. I am sure I would/could immediately eliminate any threat to me or them without any remorse or hesitation. I've noticed that even watching a news story on TV about kids being hurt/abused gets my "fight" response all fired up.

tydephan
September 1, 2006, 09:34 AM
CDH,

Thanks for posting that article. I had read that previously, however when re-reading I noticed a portion that directly applied to this discussion (I think...)

"...Coach Bob Lindsey, a renowned law enforcement trainer, says that warriors must practice "when/then" thinking, not "if/when." Instead of saying,"If it happens then I will take action," the warrior says, "When it happens then I will be ready."

This one statement accurately summarizes the dichotomy of Home Defense.

CDH
September 1, 2006, 09:37 AM
Texan American said:
Terms such as "neutralize", "extreme prejudice", "stop" etc. are all legalease and nice "civilized" euphamisms for removing someone from their mortal surroundings.

TA, I don't mean the use of these terms as "legalease" or being "civilized" at all.
I mean them very literally because I will never go into a situation of defense intending to kill. Those terms very accurately describe the ONLY reasons I would draw a weapon. I would never draw a weapon to intentionally kill someone.
And in all of this, I never once suggested trying to make an arm or leg shot. To stop an attacker, your best option that you should ALWAYS go for is a center of mass aim point. That is the best way to stop an attacker, but there are a lot of cases where COM shots do not actually cause the person shot to die. The point here is that you shouldn't be concerned whether your attacker lives or dies, but mainly that he is STOPPED. Center of Mass shots "stop" best.

What I was trying to explain is that any of us who carry should get not just get the word "kill" out of our minds, but get the notion of "killing" out of our minds.

It may seem like splitting hairs, but the best example I can give you is that I am pretty sure that I would have a really hard time reconciling the fact (emotionally) that I killed someone (even the worst BG you can imagine) if I had even the slightest thought that I should "kill" him because he is attacking me. I am NOT a "killer", I am just defending myself with the most appropriate means available at the time, and my only intent is to STOP the attack.

If a BG happens to die as a result of his attacking me requiring my subsequent and necessary use of a lethal weapon for my own defense, then I assure you that I can live with that.

Think of it in a legal sense being applied to an emotional issue; in a court of law, "intent" has a lot to do with a defense of a crime.
In the case of self defense resulting in the death of the attacker, I did not intend to kill the attacker (just stop him) so I will be much better able to handle the resulting emotional consequences than if I had to look in a mirror and see someone who intended to kill someone.

The emotional part of what I have been talking about is, to me, the most important part of the topic you brought up. And you can maintain the kind of "non" killing mentality without at all compromising yourself when it comes time to pull the trigger. In fact, by taking away the lingering doubt about "killing" someone and instead replacing it with a solid concept of simply "stopping" an attacker, you are less likely to pause when a pause could turn deadly for YOU.

You can take this to the legal side as well and wonder what the outcome of your legal defense would be if you at some point said to an officer on the scene: "He came at me with a weapon so I KILLED him".

Carter

pickpocket
September 1, 2006, 09:47 AM
Can we dispense with all of the back-and-forth about "kill" or "stop"?

We all know that your legal statement should have all the correct buzzwords in them to minimize the possibility that you will be portrayed as a mass-murdering hermetical crazy if your day in court comes.

HOWEVER... it's is really REALLY stupid to sit here and pretend that STOPPING does somehow not equate to KILLING. In fact, I think people's tendencies to give it a kinder, gentler name eventually leads to a little desensitization.

Make no doubt about it people; call it whatever you want. The coroner is still going to call it DEAD.

The original question wasn't about whether or not you should call it this or that - it was calling into question whether or not all of you people out there who have decided that you are - in some capacity - capable of defending yourselves or your loved ones have really considered what your feelings are on the fact that you might one day be responsible for the death of another person. Yes, for the faint-hearted, an SD shooting is going to mean that someone probably dies. After all, all of the legal hounds scream from the rooftops that we shouldn't shoot to wound - so that doesn't leave many other options.

Interestingly, I think that all of the hemmig and hawing about using the kinder, gentler, socially pleasing terminology shows that - at some level, and to some degree - we haven't all truly answered that fundamental question.

At the end of the day, if you have not been REALISTIC about what being involved in a shooting really means, then you're deluding yourself. Hopefully that doesn't come back to bite you during the moment of truth.

Stay sharp.

Samurai
September 1, 2006, 09:48 AM
Believe it or not, I've thought about death in self-defense quite alot through my martial arts career. And, I feel that the responses to this question provide a useful insight into the answer itself: Nobody likes to kill people. If you have to kill people, you will find a way to cope with it.

We've heard some people say some pretty well-reasoned justifications for killing people. We heard TheBluesMan say, essentially, that survival is important, and either you're ready to fight back or you're ready to die. This is quite true. Sometimes, you must choose between surrendering your own life and committing a moral atrocity. Personally, I think life is quite precious, and noone's life is more important than my own.

We heard Springmom (a very wise woman, incidentally), and several others, say that the point in firearms wielding is not to "kill," per se, but rather to "stop" or "neutralize." Springmom says that if the assailant dies, it's not her fault. She only means to neutralize the threat. This, also, is true.

But, I think that these things are merely mental and emotional rationalizations. As CCW people, we all have at least considered the possibility that we might, one day, be forced to choose between our life and the life of someone else. And, we have all decided that, painful as it may be, we would rather that we live than the other guy. We carry instruments of death and mayhem on our hips. We aim to kill. We need justifications, we need rationalizations, we need to tell ourselves that when this happens, it is not our fault. THAT'S how you keep from going mad with guilt for refusing to roll-over and die!

Now that I've accused everyone ELSE of mere rationalization, here's MY rationalization: They do it to themselves. If a BG attacks me, then he has chosen to enter my circle. He has chosen to risk life and limb for the opportunity to take my life. He has pitted his life against mine and said, "One of us will not leave here." All I do is give him EXACTLY what he has asked for. If he had chosen to respect me, to respect himself, and to fear for his OWN life, then I wouldn't have to kill him. But, when he chooses to gamble on an attack, he must be ready for the counter-attack. It's sad, and it's tragic, but that's life!

Now, with that said, I would like to think that I would be able to control a situation enough not to have to kill. I often think that I would like to train to place the first shot in the center of the stomach. The attacker should have this ONE opportunity to leave my circle. After that, if he is too crazy with rage/adrenaline/blood-lust to recognize that the fight is over, the next seven shots riddle the upper body. But, I will try to watch the gun, and I will stop shooting when the gun drops. I will call the ambulance, call the police, and render first aid. I don't think this is very realistic, but it's a nice fantasy.

BlueTrain
September 1, 2006, 10:20 AM
It may be that sometimes in order to fight, you have to be ready to die.

garryc
September 1, 2006, 10:39 AM
So, are there people here, who when locked in a life and death struggle with an adversary, will actually feel guilty if they win?

In my case guilt was not a factor. Initial bewilderment, stress reaction after, but not guilt.

pax
September 1, 2006, 11:14 AM
HOWEVER... it's is really REALLY stupid to sit here and pretend that STOPPING does somehow not equate to KILLING. In fact, I think people's tendencies to give it a kinder, gentler name eventually leads to a little desensitization.
I think it's REALLY stupid to sit here and pretend that STOPPING is always the same thing as KILLING.

80% of people shot with a handgun survive. 80%.

If your attacker tosses his weapon away and goes down but is still breathing, are you going to shoot him some more because STOPPING is somehow equated to KILLING in your mind?

I really hope not.

Me, I'm goint to shoot until the threat is no longer a threat -- until he is STOPPED. If he's also DEAD, well, I can live with that.

But unlike what some people appear to be saying, I can also live with it if he isn't.

pax

SOG/MACV
September 1, 2006, 11:38 AM
I have to agree with PAX. My past experience in having to "waste" the Bg was 40 years ago in the military. So from my perspective tyhe question is one of who is going down first, you or the Bg. I have been asked about this topic several times over the years... My response has alwways been the same:

1- "Could" you drop the hammer on someone if you and/or your family are threatened?

2- "Would" you drop the hammer on someone?

These are questions which evoke different answers for each bust the end result is usually the same,,,

This is just my perspect after being in fire fights..

ZeroJunk
September 1, 2006, 11:52 AM
If you REALLY believe somebody is going to kill you, in the final seconds this takes place a primal instinct is going to take over and you are going to be thinking very little about anything but survival.How and when you make that determination is everything.

SOG/MACV
September 1, 2006, 12:01 PM
I see that I need to spell check everything -- good grief

Glenn E. Meyer
September 1, 2006, 12:35 PM
Interesting debate. In a way, it philsophically paraphrases a reported discussion between a North Vietnamese general and an American one years latter. Supposedly the later said that you never defeated on the battle field and the former said that was irrelevant.

I approach the issue as wanting the best possible outcome in a situation. It is irrelevant if you kill or stop the BG or if you flee - you want the best outcome. Maybe you should give the BG the money.

Thus you build a skill and knowledge set that will let you effect the best possible outcome.

If one of the skills is to use an instrument of deadly force which has the probability of killing someone, then you need to able to see if killing someone is one of the outcomes that defines the set of best possible outcomes after an incident. If you cannot deal with the consequences of killing even if it stops the incident - then you probably don't need a firearm.

I just want a good outcome - whether the bad person is killed, flees, is incapacitated is irrelevant. I've accepted that I will use a method that does contain the possibility of death. However, I don't care if I kill, them - I just want a good outcome for me.

Stopping vs. killing is irrelevant, if you take the broader view of the best outcome.

This is a reasoned discussion here. Some folks who argue that stopping is just a PC way to say KILL (not you Pickpocket - you are more reasoned) are a subset of the internet "I wanna shoot someone folks".

spacemanspiff
September 1, 2006, 12:50 PM
It is not your concern if whatever means you use to STOP him results in his death or not.
Yes, and No. In ones own mind, the armed citizen has to accept the fact that he/she may one day take anothers life. This is a heavy thought, and if you are not convinced 110% that you can do such, you should not be carrying.
Part of this comes from our societys obsession with death, and abhorrence of it. Many feel that if they take someones life, justifiably even, they are somehow 'less' of a human.
Each person rationalizes it differently. Me, I realized that defending life from those who don't respect life is acceptable. It doesn't make me a killer, nor a monster. I respect life, and it must be defended from those who don't respect it.
That respect becomes evident when we choose our defensive weapons and the ammunition. We want something that will do the most efficient job, and match it with the best possible practice/training. We realize that overpenetration is to be avoided, and thus we look into using hollowpoints or whatever else will expand quickly from a high velocity. If velocity isnt an issue, then we use whatever we feel will work.

Yes, we may one day have to end someones life.

mack59
September 1, 2006, 01:11 PM
Those individuals who should not own guns to defend themselves are: those who say they just want a firearm to deter and would never load it let alone actually shoot it, those that say that they could never kill someone even if they were threatening the life/lives of the individual and/or their family, and those that say that say they would only shoot to wound.

Such individuals are, in my IMNSHO, in denial of some of the most basic realities of life. Given the physical means, every human being is capable of killing another, that is a reality. Those who feel or believe that they can't are not willing to be honest with themselves. But then generally people in our western culture exhibit a massive amount of denial about death and killing. Look at how many people can't even deal with the slaughter of animals for food - let alone the death/killing of a pet.

TexanAmerican
September 1, 2006, 04:42 PM
TA...would they without a doubt willfully, knowingly and very deliberately kill someone with full knowledge that you very likely may incur some type of physical damage of your own.
"...Coach Bob Lindsey, a renowned law enforcement trainer, says that warriors must practice "when/then" thinking, not "if/when." Instead of saying,"If it happens then I will take action," the warrior says, "When it happens then I will be ready."
Coach Bob actually re-enforces the question posed. He actually carries it one logical step further. You don't approach the issue as "if" it is going to happen; you approach it by being ready "when" it happens. "When" it happens one can only be "ready" by careful self-reflection and practice, practice, training and more training and if in doubt more practice. (No offense intended for anyone) I have notice a few stats quoted in the thread. As we all know there are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics. It's fact that 89.32453% of all stats are made up on the spot (I just did it). I think some are missing the core point of the interrogative. This is a reasoned discussion here. Some folks who argue that stopping is just a PC way to say KILL (not you Pickpocket - you are more reasoned) are a subset of the internet "I wanna shoot someone folks".I agree that this is a "reasoned" discussion and many here have expressed their "reason" for what they feel. To reiterate: It's not one man's world. It has never been suggested that anyone go "medieval" on a perp. If you read the shotgun forum there are many who choose the shotgun for HD and most lean toward the 12 ga.(as probably do thousands more in our nation). Regardless the round of choice in the confines of an average home odds are better than even for a kill shot on the perp; besides, as I was taught all my life, whether you throw 9 pellets or 90 pellets down range it only takes one to kill. The bottom line is that the very second someone makes the conscious decision to acquire a firearm for "protection" it will be an assumption of law the intent for potential of lethal injury is present. Whether one only wishes to wound, stop, incapacitate or have an acceptable outcome; or if someone else could care less the decision to willfully and knowingly kill another must be resolved in the shooter. As Coach Bob put it: are we prepared to do it "when" it happens; not "if". Even in th '60's when a drill instructor could still disassemble you and reasseble you as a "killing machine" there were many guys when sent to Vietnam who for reasons only they know were unable to make the conscious decision to "terminate with extreme prejudice" and either shot blindly or not at all. I do not feel this makes anyone a coward. Even then it wasn't one man's world and each of us can only do the best we can with what we have to work with. It wasn't unusual to see GI's with severe wounds still carrying the fight to the enemy and vice versa. Many times someone would be as good as dead and didn't know they were supposed to fall down; much like perps on PCP who commit major numbers of burglaries and robberies in this nation. I sure as hell never knew anyone who relished in killing or just wanted to "shoot some folks". The point being: A choice exists; either fire for effect or shoot blindly or not at all. If one keeps a firearm for more than sport then it is imperative that one make a conscious effort to reconcile killing another so that "When it happens I will be ready". No one in his right mind expects enjoyment from it, we only want to be able to hug our family tomorrow.

pickpocket
September 1, 2006, 04:53 PM
Glenn - you're right. There are definitely some of the internet subset of "I just wanna shoot someone" population, and anyone who posts something along those lines should be easily spotted and duly ignored. And thank you for the nod.

PAX, although I'm quoting you I'm responding to your words not the person..

I think it's REALLY stupid to sit here and pretend that STOPPING is always the same thing as KILLING.
Good thing I didn't say ALWAYS.

80% of people shot with a handgun survive. 80%.

If your attacker tosses his weapon away and goes down but is still breathing, are you going to shoot him some more because STOPPING is somehow equated to KILLING in your mind?

I really hope not.

You have obviously never had to deal with it, then....and that's my point. We have a lot of people here pontificating on what it is to shoot someone and only a handful of people who have actually done it.

If you cannot admit to yourself that when you pull the trigger that someone WILL die, then you are lying to yourself. Maybe the person you shoot will be in that 80%, maybe not. But I can tell you that nobody intends for the person they shoot to survive...otherwise the States would enact the dreaded shoot-to-wound legislation across the board. Survival is a byproduct of luck and medical response, don't fool yourself into thinking it's because you only STOPPED him instead of KILLED him. Every round that leaves that weapon is fatal. To believe otherwise is simply niave.

Call it what you want, whatever name that allows you to continue on with your sense of ease and comfort. Just know that your reality will change if you ever have to go through it. Stopping vs. killing doesn't matter one iota when the end result is the same. Maybe to the legal system it does...but not in the lonely hours by ourselves.


Me, I'm goint to shoot until the threat is no longer a threat -- until he is STOPPED. If he's also DEAD, well, I can live with that.

Hopefully you'll be cognizant of the exact moment the situation goes from threatening to non-threatening and don't send one more round through your weapon. Experience and research say differently. I promise you that your idea of what is and is not a threat will be somewhat skewed in the moments that follow.

azurefly
September 1, 2006, 05:31 PM
I think I've examined myself and what I think I would do. I think I would find in myself the fortitude to use force to protect myself and anyone else for whom I am responsible.

I see criminality all around (by reading and watching the news, and even just driving around here and there) and it infuriates me. I have long since decided that I will not allow a criminal attacker to have his way with me or mine. And if that means I have to kill him to stop him, then so be it. Our society will not long stand if we don't start seriously opposing the lawless criminals in our midst.


-azurefly

TexanAmerican
September 1, 2006, 05:32 PM
pickpocket-
I think you virtually hit the nail on the head. Unlike Robert Duvall, I don't like the smell of napalm in the morning. I don't particularly like it but there's no doubt in my hillbilly mind what I am willing to do. Peace.

azurefly
September 1, 2006, 05:43 PM
Using your example of the guy with a pickaxe staring at you, my only thought is to neutralize him as a threat, not kill him. If he dies during the process, that's his problem, but if he just drops to the ground, STOPPING the attack, I would never think of walking over and putting another round in him for the purpose of killing him.


The fact that many feel this way, added to the fact that the law would then punish the would-be victim of the axe attack, is why we have major crime problems in every single area of our country, and every single area of the world.

No longer are the people of the world willing to do what is really, truly necessary to remove the cancerous evil of criminals from our midst, it seems. We stop short. We give quarter. We show compassion. We "don't want to sink to their level."

Well, that's why we suffer under them. :mad:


In your example, CDH, ask yourself why he doesn't deserve to die. He came at you to try to murder you with a pickaxe. Ask yourself what good is served by leaving him alive.



-azurefly

pax
September 1, 2006, 05:49 PM
pickpocket ~

You're right in that I have not been there and done that.

There is no doubt in my mind as to whether I could kill someone in order to defend my life, or the lives of anyone in my family.

You're horrified because you see, off to one side, an abyss filled with timid souls who never summoned the courage to fight back with all they had, or the even more wretched ones who could not adjust to the decisions their lizard brains made under stress. My post was about the view on the other side, where the abyss is filled with chest-beating fools slavering for human blood they can dance in, and I really am not sure whether to be more horrified by the ones who appear to know what they're demanding, or by the ones who plainly don't.

The walking path between the two pits is kind of narrow.

Peace,

pax

stephen426
September 1, 2006, 06:00 PM
Forget the semantics. Am I mentally prepared to take someone's life to defend my own or that of a loved one. Absolutely.

I am not blood thirsty nor do I have any desire to kill anyone, but in a him or me situation, I hope its him. I don't care about the "how do you know if you've never been in that situation comments". It is a matter of training. You must positively decide that you or your loved ones will be killed or seriously injured if you fail to act. You must act quickly and decisively. Failure to do so is probably the main cause of people getting killed with their own guns that have been taken away by the bad guy.

I do what I can to be a positive member of society. There are predators out there who will simply move on to their next victim with out the slightest remorse for their actions. My defending my life means I go home to my family and maybe save a few families down the road some anguish.

If it comes to going to court, I will get a lawyer to handle the semantics. I guess that is why it is so important not to say anything to the police without a lawyer present. As for posting on this forum, how can they prove one's identity? I wouldn't be too concerned about it.

azurefly
September 1, 2006, 06:06 PM
I should hope there are people here who feel, not guilty, but responsible if they killed someone, whether or not they won. Otherwise, what is the difference between them and the Bad Guy.


You're kidding, right? :confused:

The difference between the good guy and the bad guy?

How about "unprovoked attack"?! :rolleyes:


You do not become the bad guy just because you grab tight to the opportunity to extinguish an evil life that came seeking to end yours and make sure you finish him. That seems to be your thesis, and I strongly disagree with it. There is nothing lost when an evil person who came seeking to do murder is killed by his would-be victim. And I reiterate: even IF the attack could be stopped without involving the would-be murderer's death. Sorry, I just don't see the big need for keeping those who would do murder alive in the world.


What establishes a person as a "good guy" is that if he kills his attacker he does not then go on to make unprovoked attacks on others; does not kill again until such time as another would-be murderer crosses his path with killing intent. (This, by the way, is what I offer to disprove the whole "violence begets violence" mor-antra. If a criminal brings violence, and is stopped by his victim who uses violence to do so, the victim stops the cycle of violence.)


-azurefly

CDH
September 1, 2006, 07:55 PM
asurefly said:
In your example, CDH, ask yourself why he doesn't deserve to die. He came at you to try to murder you with a pickaxe. Ask yourself what good is served by leaving him alive.

I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall because I can't seem to get my thoughts across.

I am totally addressing the personal and emotional aspect and consequences of what it means to INTEND to kill someone. Causing the death of an attacker as a by-product of my defensive actions is NOT the same as intending to kill someone.
It's like people are just reading every 5th word I type and ignoring the rest.

I'll again use an example, this time given by you, to try to be as clear as possible. I don't want to keep going over this time and again so I'm going to make one more stab at it and leave you all to your fates.

You suggest in the quote above that an attacker might "deserve" to die (no argument there), that there is no reason to leave him alive, and therefore as a reasonable extension of those assumptions, I guess you think that I should INTENTIONALLY walk over and put another bullet in his brain to make sure of "the kill".

Well if the attack has been stopped, I can't do that because unlike my attacker, I am NOT a killer. If I were to do that, I would no longer possess the moral high ground that is so important for reasonable people to occupy.
Once a person takes that mental and emotional step to lower themselves down to the level of the animal that preys on others, then I fear for their mental well being. Once the situation is behind them, they will have to more importantly reconcile their behaviour to themselves than they will to others.
I can allow myself to cause the death of another for purely defensive reasons, but to CHOOSE to kill is something I can't do. An attacker dying as a result of my defensive actions is not an intentional killing; it is a consequence of the necessary defensive action that I had to take which makes the attackers death HIS responsibility, not mine. I can easily live with that.

Some of you guys take from what I say that I wouldn't have the courage to pull the trigger when the time comes, but that is totally misreading my posts.
The best way I can say this and then get out of this merry-go-round of a topic is to say that I don't give a damn if my attacker dies or not as long as the threat from him has been stopped.
The simple notion that I'm trying to get across is that I will empty a 14 round magazine of .45's in someones chest if need be, and that may cause his death, but my purpose is not to kill, only to stop the attack.

Perhaps some people who are frustrated by today's crime statistics feel better if they can be judge, jury and executioner. But the act of self defense comes before any of those functions of society.
On the other hand, I can safely say that since I have trained for Center of Mass targeting, preferably with a double tap, then my attacker may not have much of a chance of surviving.

But listen up; all I'm saying is that "the kill" is not my intent and it never will be. But that doesn't mean that I am worried one bit about a BG's survival, it just means that I am going to have to live with myself after I survive.
And survive I will, no matter what it takes.

Maybe I'm making these explanations too long and so I lose the people who like sound bites more than more thought out explanations, so I take the blame for not being understood as I intend.

Either way, I'm outa' here.

Carter

azurefly
September 1, 2006, 08:19 PM
You suggest in the quote above that an attacker might "deserve" to die (no argument there), that there is no reason to leave him alive, and therefore as a reasonable extension of those assumptions, I guess you think that I should INTENTIONALLY walk over and put another bullet in his brain to make sure of "the kill".

Well if the attack has been stopped, I can't do that because unlike my attacker, I am NOT a killer. If I were to do that, I would no longer possess the moral high ground that is so important for reasonable people to occupy.

Carter, I have considered your words, and I do agree with you. I would have my own personal compunctions about going over and putting a final bullet into the guy.

I'm just lamenting hypothetically having it turn out that the guy survives when i think that by virtue of his chosen actions he should die for it, sooner rather than later.

My own mind is made up that I would shoot to stop an attack, not shoot to murder, but overlaid upon that is the realization that I am going to be doing my best to shoot for an instantaneous (and thus safer for me) stop, which will involve shooting for the most vital thing I can manage to shoot. (That would be head/brain, heart or lungs.) That does not equate to shooting to kill; it equates to shooting to make the most effective, sure stop possible.

I'm sure that if I ever caught a guy in the shoulder after he made an attempted lethal attack on me, I'd be pretty dismayed that I had left him alive. But no, I am not going to walk over and finish him off unless there is a true threat remaining.

It's just lamentable to leave a violent animal such as he alive. That's all.


-azurefly

springmom
September 1, 2006, 09:53 PM
I'm sure that if I ever caught a guy in the shoulder after he made an attempted lethal attack on me, I'd be pretty dismayed that I had left him alive. But no, I am not going to walk over and finish him off unless there is a true threat remaining.

It's just lamentable to leave a violent animal such as he alive. That's all.

Holy cow.

This last statement scares the bejeebers out of me, coming after the rest of this thread. Carter has been trying, and Pax has been trying, as I tried, to state the legal requirements of the use of deadly force. Azurefly, I don't mean to pick on you, because that last sentence is just representative of way too much of this thread. But do you all even SEE what the antis who DO READ THESE BOARDS will get out of this kind of statement?????

Captain Charlie's sig line says that we are ambassadors for gun owners, and asks us what kind of ambassador our posts make us. Far too much of this thread makes us bloodlusting killer wannabes, that's what.

I have never had to take a life. The likelihood, even in this town, is that I never will. I will shoot to stop an attack, and if the BG dies, well, he dies. But there is a HUGE difference between that and saying that it is lamentable to leave that BG alive.

Personally, I hope this thread gets closed, pronto, before it gets worse.

Springmom

ZeroJunk
September 1, 2006, 09:57 PM
Is it a good idea to act these scenarios out in your mind to the point that the appropriate response to some future reality may be incorrect because of rehearsed decisions?Is it better to know what you are going to do in a general sense so hesitation doesn't cost you your life?In the instant are you thinking about anything except surviving?

azurefly
September 1, 2006, 10:20 PM
But do you all even SEE what the antis who DO READ THESE BOARDS will get out of this kind of statement?????


Well, I would hope that they see that there are people who think we should be tough on criminals, and that mamsy-pamsy mollycoddling of those who attack us with murderous intent deserve no compassion.

You make a mistake if you think I am bloodthirsty. What I AM, is tired of hearing that we are just as bad as the criminals if we go full bore in defense against them.


And I think we are LONG past the time when we should be trying to tailor our public statements to mollify the antis. Do you really think that there is anything that a CCWer can say that will satisfy a true anti? Really? Fencesitters are one thing, but antis are going to think we are all hillbilly violent bloodthirsty uneducated dolts no matter how we come across. They are bent on believing that. They must believe that in order to sustain their constructs and feel comfortable in their worldview. To allow that we might be articulate, intelligent, reasonable people would throw their belief systems into chaos and shake the foundation of everything they cling to and believe. So no, I don't think that what I said will make antis think any worse of us than they already do. I've read many opinions of pro-gunners written or spoken by antis. They're a lost cause. We can fight for our rights successfully even without convincing them to believe as we do.


-azurefly

pickpocket
September 1, 2006, 10:37 PM
You're horrified because you see, off to one side, an abyss filled with timid souls who never summoned the courage to fight back with all they had, or the even more wretched ones who could not adjust to the decisions their lizard brains made under stress. My post was about the view on the other side, where the abyss is filled with chest-beating fools slavering for human blood they can dance in, and I really am not sure whether to be more horrified by the ones who appear to know what they're demanding, or by the ones who plainly don't.

The walking path between the two pits is kind of narrow.

I think we have reached an understanding, you and I.
The path is indeed more narrow than most believe. Hopefully everyone here can take that paragraph of yours to heart.

Stay safe -

Capt Charlie
September 1, 2006, 11:08 PM
*sigh* :rolleyes:

You know, TA's question is a good one. It's been asked before here several times over. What's a mystery to me is how this subject always seems to turn into a free-for-all.

And I think we are LONG past the time when we should be trying to tailor our public statements to mollify the antis. Do you really think that there is anything that a CCWer can say that will satisfy a true anti? Really?
You're probably right, Azurefly, but why spoon feed them ammo by giving them some of the things said here, that they can quote, word for word, AND quote the source? ;) The anti's can huff and puff, but they can't blow our house down, unless we help them do it. Some of these statements are doing just that.

We need to stand down from this thread for awhile and take stock of ourselves, I think. But because TexanAmerican's question is a good one, worthy of serious thought, I'm not going to close it... permanently. What I am going to do is something rarely, if ever done on TFL.

This thread is closed for 24 hours. I'll re-open it at the end of that period, after everyone's had a chance to sit back and reflect. During that time, I suggest that, if you can, go to your local library and check out Col. Dave Grossman's book, "On Killing". Whether or not you like the good Colonel, his book is considered the bible on this subject by both the US military and law enforcement experts nationwide.

Capt Charlie
September 2, 2006, 10:51 PM
OK folks, thread's back open, but please!.......

Think twice, post once ;) .

crashresidue
September 3, 2006, 12:04 AM
Thanks for opening this up again - it's been an interesting read.

I'll stop here - or I'll show my a** and pax will yell at me again.

Gentle winds,
cr

pickpocket
September 3, 2006, 12:24 AM
I think maybe there should be some clarification of assumptions and ground-rules before this thread continues.

Assumption #1:
Let us all assume that anyone who posts in this thread is FULLY aware of their respective State's Use-of-Force statutes and that their posts will remain reflective of that understanding.

Assumption #2:
Let us all give each poster the benefit of the doubt by assuming that if their post seems a little aggressive or passive, that they are making an honest attempt to explain their position within the conflicting frameworks of legal intent and psychological effect...which is exactly what this threat started out to do.

Assumption #3:
Since we all might not be on the same page, let us assume that those people who argue the point of Stop NOT Kill are simply trying to ensure that this thread does not turn into a free-for-all for the internet Rambos.


Ground Rule #1:
Any discussion in this thread on the subject of "killing" is to take place within the framework of psychological effect and/or preparedness, NOT legal intent. Any violations of this "rule" will most assuredly get this thread locked down quicker than a muslim virgin on prom night.

Ground Rule #2:
Since we might not all be on the same page, here's an attempt to clearly state what many people here are afraid that some have either forgotten or have chosen to ignore -
That CHL guidelines are that a person does not shoot to KILL, he/she shoots to STOP THE THREAT. This is a small distinction, but important to the progress of this thread. If we can all agree that this is the legal requirement, and that all responses are made with the understanding that this is the legal requirement, then we can move forward and have a productive debate.

Ground Rule #3:
Don't be stupid.

revjen45
September 3, 2006, 10:59 AM
One shoots to live, not to kill. I cherish life- to the point of fishing spiders out of the sink before they go down the drain. God did not appoint me to decide on the value of other peoples' lives- they make that decision by their actions. I do not conduct myself in a fashion to initiate confrontation, but if serious violence is forced upon me and I have no other practicable recourse I will respond with all the vigor and skill at my command without allowing malice to cloud my thought processes. If the BG leaves when I present that is the best outcome. Shooting him is the 2nd worst outcome, him shooting me being the worst. Even if flight is not legally required I would prefer it to shooting, but unfortunately due to numerous orthopedic injuries I could not outrun a drunk on a pogo stick. Taking a life is sure to leave a scar on one's soul (if it doesn't that makes one a sociopath) but it beats dying at the hands of sub human predator.

Glenn E. Meyer
September 3, 2006, 11:21 AM
Nice summary, Dave!

I go back to one of my earlier posts.

1. I care about the best outcome for me and how it impacts the ones I have direct responsibility for.

2. Engaging in a pseudo-law-enforcement view of capturing or eliminating the 'perp' is not my concern or interest. I still want the best outcome for me and mine. Acting altruistically for the abstract whole of society is rhetoric on gun lists and in essays but I am too self-centered to take risks for abstract sacrifice as a civilian. If I were in the service and a warrior for the country, I might have a different view but the street is not a battlefield.

3. Not having been in a life or death situation, as a civilian, I chose to best train as I could and engage in quite a few FOF for a fat old academic. Why is that important - because it places you in a simulation where you have to make a shoot, flee, talk, etc. decision matrix. W

a. Could you pull the lethal trigger if it can to that? I could - and I did see a person or two who froze and couldn't. This is not unknown in FOF.

b. Did it test in a limited situation whether you would act to stop someone with an instrument that clearly would have inflicted fatal or very serious damage?

4. To summarize - the psychological or personal issue is that I want the incident to stop with the best outcome for me and I (without being really tested) have accepted that lethality is possibility. I might prefer it not occur but I accept that it will and in the appropriate situation, its possibility will not deter me.

5. In a previous thread, I posted about being aware of the psychological consequences of a lethal action. Some folks dismiss them. I am aware of them and hopefully will have a handle on such if that situation arises. I think it is better to be knowledgeable than ignore the possibility. Some folks do as they think it will make them weak to think there are such consequences. Nope, knowledge is power.

Walter
September 3, 2006, 09:06 PM
I seem to see a common denominator in some posts. I see it because
I feel drawn to it. TexanAmerican and Pickpocket , from what I get
from their posts, strongly equate self-defense shootings with killing.

You have obviously never had to deal with it, then....and that's my point. We have a lot of people here pontificating on what it is to shoot someone and only a handful of people who have actually done it.

If you cannot admit to yourself that when you pull the trigger that someone WILL die, then you are lying to yourself. Maybe the person you shoot will be in that 80%, maybe not. But I can tell you that nobody intends for the person they shoot to survive...otherwise the States would enact the dreaded shoot-to-wound legislation across the board. Survival is a byproduct of luck and medical response, don't fool yourself into thinking it's because you only STOPPED him instead of KILLED him. Every round that leaves that weapon is fatal. To believe otherwise is simply niave..

Like TA and Pickpocket, I was in the military (Marine Corps), I spent time
in combat (Viet Nam), and as far as I am concerned, shooting at somebody
equates to trying to kill them. Isn't that the definition of "deadly force"?

But almost everyone who has never had military training and/or combat experience seems to believe the "shoot to stop" training advice of the
"CCW" training classes.

I don't doubt that from a legal standpoint, maybe even from a moral
idealism, shooting to stop an attack doesn't amount to killing. But
my experience tells me different. I don't want to shoot anybody,
ever, again. But if I am forced to, I will do so fully expecting them to die.
If they don't, so much the better for them. But either way, I will deal
with the consequences AFTER the threat to me or mine is stopped.

And to paraphrase my CCW instructor, if you are not prepared to deal with the criminal and civil liabilities of killing someone, you had better not carry a
gun.

Walter

James K
September 3, 2006, 09:23 PM
I agree with those who say that anyone who is not willing (not wanting, but willing) to kill should not own a defensive firearm and definitely should not carry one. There is no one who, in a stress situation, can guarantee that a bullet he fires will not kill someone - whether intended or not. The idea of shooting the gun out of an attacker's hand, or shooting the hangnail off his pinkie is nonsense.

We may think it is more politically correct (if anything about guns is PC) to use words like "stop the threat," but we need to understand that killing can and sometimes must be the only way to do that.

Does that make me bloodthirsty? I hope not. I carried a gun for many years as a deputy sheriff and never fired a shot in anger. But I was well aware that I was carrying a deadly weapon, not some video game plastic gun, and that my weapon could kill. My fear was that in a bad corner I might kill or injure the wrong person, not that I might kill someone who was a mortal danger to me or to another innocent person.

Jim

azurefly
September 3, 2006, 09:39 PM
And to paraphrase my CCW instructor, if you are not prepared to deal with the criminal and civil liabilities of killing someone, you had better not carry a
gun.


Here in Florida, we are now supposed to be sheltered from civil liability if we shoot and/or kill in legitimate self defense. That is part of the extension of the Castle Doctrine law that went into effect in October 2005.

Obviously, most of us here are talking about shooting someone when it is not only not criminal, but when it is to save a life (our own or a loved one's).


-azurefly

azurefly
September 3, 2006, 09:47 PM
Jim, it's a good point you raise.

Any shot fired in the direction of another person should be considered to have the strong potential of being a lethal shot. You could shoot someone in the arm and have him bleed to death.

So, whether you're from the "shoot to stop" camp or the "shoot to kill" camp, let's not pretend that the former is not really equivalent to the latter.

A person from either camp, I have to assume, is going to probably shoot for center-of-mass if he is attacked and deems that he must use his gun to protect his own life. So who from the "shoot to stop" camp is going to pretend to me that he doesn't think doing that is tantamount to taking an action he knows may end the life of the attacker? A person from either camp fires, knowing that he may be killing. (That is, unless the shoot-to-stop'er is indeed trying to shoot the gun out of his attacker's hand, or shoot his kneecap, or some such nonsense.)

I understand the difference between making up your mind, "He's attacking me, so now I am going to kill him," and "He's attacking me, so now I will shoot to stop him." But when the action taken is the same, I really don't see much difference: a potentially lethal shot is taken. The shoot-to-stop'er does not know that his shot will not kill, and the shoot-to-kill'er does not know for sure that his shot will. Both take the chance that it does kill.



-azurefly

PythonGuy
September 4, 2006, 10:11 AM
I think the difference they are trying to point out is the "shoot to stop" mindset versus the "shoot to kill" camp which keeps shooting after the threat is neutralized. Big difference, one is defensive, one is murder.

pickpocket
September 4, 2006, 11:12 AM
I think the difference they are trying to point out is the "shoot to stop" mindset versus the "shoot to kill" camp which keeps shooting after the threat is neutralized. Big difference, one is defensive, one is murder.
You're over-simplifying it.
What I'm trying to point out is that people who walk around and pretend that their handguns aren't lethal weapons are a bit deluded.

Deadly force, by definition, is force which is inherently likely to cause death or great bodily injury.

Nowhere in there does it say "likely to stop the threat"...

So by virtue of our decision to use (or willingness to use) deadly force in defense of self or others we have, in effect, declared our willingness (not desire) to do something to someone that is inherently likely to cause death.

So, my point is, "stop the threat" is what is legally required because we simply can't have people out there making bad decisions such as posted by someone earlier: what if the guy drops his gun and is lying on the ground. Obviously there is a degree of response that is necessary; and that comes from understanding escalation of force and the force continuum - that you only use the amount of force necessary to de-escalate the situation at hand. You respond with one level of force higher than that which is presented to you. However, once you decide to use deadly force, the chances that the person from whom you are defending yourself will DIE are greatly increased from, say, a verbal warning. That's just it - deadly force in inherently DEADLY.

So, in effect, the decision to use deadly force means that you have indeed made the decision that you are prepared to kill someone in defense of self or others. If it were otherwise, then it wouldn't be called deadly force, it would be called Stopping Force... all phazers set to stun..

To sit there and say that our only intent is to stop the threat is one thing...because that speaks to INTENT. However, if we are sitting here telling ourselves that we won't be killing someone, that it will be THEY who caused themselves to be killed through their actions, and by virtue of that rationalization we convince ourselves that we are not responsible for their death, I think we are missing a key component of the decision making process. And who knows, maybe it is reflective of society's overall lack of desire to fully take responsibility for our actions, maybe not. The truth is, at the end of the day, no matter what justified the shooting, no matter how much BG deserved it, the fact will remain that it will be OUR brains that decide to shoot, OUR fingers that pull the trigger, OUR bullets that leave the weapon, OUR bodies that aim the weapon, and consequently - that bullet will cause damage to or kill someone by way of OUR actions. That cannot be denied, because no matter what BG does WE still have a choice to not shoot regardless of the terms or desireability of the outcome.

I'm sorry folks, but that places responsibility for ending a life squarely upon the shooter, just as inaction would place responsibility for the possible ending of another life squarely upon the shoulders of the person who could have saved them and chose not to act.

"Shoot to stop" was designed as a safeguard so that the idiots out there who think shooting someone in the back after they toss their weapon is acceptable don't get OUR rights restricted. It is a mechanism that allows for prosecution and/or civil liability of said idiots. Unfortunately, it is also a platform from which some lawyers have launched their attacks on people involved in justified and clean shootings. And this is another area where "shoot to stop" has been taken much, much too literally.
Lawyers have attacked police shootings for years on the basis of "excessive force". Why did an officer shoot someone who was clearly not a threat, BG #1 obviously was not a threat because the last two shots were placed in his back as he tried to run.
Research by Force Science has shown that when in a life-threatening situation the rate at which you are firing the weapon is faster than that which you can process a change in the environment...meaning that if you are firing to save your life and BG drops the weapon and turns to run, it could take you up to a full SECOND to process that change, to realize that BG is no longer a threat, and to get the message to your hand to stop squeezing the trigger. How many rounds can we squeeze off in a full second? It varies, but I'll gurantee that you can get off at least three. If those last three shots end up in BG's back, does that mean you were "shooting to stop" or were you "shooting to kill"? Which is it?

What I'm saying is that we all need to understand escalation of force and the force-continuum; we all need to understand that force is applied only in the amount required to de-escalate the situation, and that if deadly force is required that we only use it until we are no longer perceive ourselves to be in the life-threatening situation that caused us to believe we were justified in using deadly force.
However, with that comes the inherent understanding that many people here seem to be missing: that use of deadly force - by it's very definition - means that someone is VERY likely to die as a result of your actions.

This is why I say that some hold too hard to the line when saying "stop, not kill"... no, you may not walk into a situation with the INTENT that someone will be killed, but you MUST accept the possibilities, and with that, the responsibilities of our actions.

Ask any warrior who has killed people in his country's name - no matter how justified or reasonable, no matter the situation or whether they had it coming. No matter how clean the shoot. The fact remains at the end of the day that a person no longer breathes - and you are the responsible party. That burden would be a non-issue if all we were doing was "stopping"....

CDH
September 4, 2006, 12:35 PM
pickpocket said:
What I'm trying to point out is that people who walk around and pretend that their handguns aren't lethal weapons are a bit deluded.
<snip>
However, if we are sitting here telling ourselves that we won't be killing someone, that it will be THEY who caused themselves to be killed through their actions, and by virtue of that rationalization we convince ourselves that we are not responsible for their death, I think we are missing a key component of the decision making process.

Pickpocket, I have read through all the posts in this thread, including re-reading my own, and I don't believe ANYONE is using the thought process you describe in your quote above.

You "almost" got it, though, when you mentioned that: "To sit there and say that our only intent is to stop the threat is one thing...because that speaks to INTENT."
and then you went on and ignored the point you just made.

That IS the point (the INTENT to kill from the get-go as opposed to the POSSIBILITY that someone may die as a result of our defensive decisions), and it's giving me a headache wondering why it's such a difficult concept for some people to understand.

It may seem like a silly "fine point", but even if the outcome of a defensive shooting is the same whether by those who INTEND to kill a BG, and those who just want to STOP an attack (BG still dies), the INTENT of our actions is what makes upright citizens who simply refuse to be a victim different from the low-life scum of the earth that preys on them (us).

Thousands of Japanese citizens died in Hiroshima in a few moments of violence never before known to man. But our intent was not to kill those tens of thousands of people, but to stop a war that would have gone on to claim millions of lives.
The INTENT was not to kill even though everyone KNEW that would happen (and even though many Americans at the time truly believed that the Japanese "deserved" to die); the INTENT was to end a war, which it did.
That may be a pretty vicious example but I hope it finally makes the point.

This isn't about "fooling" ourselves, it's about being human and maintaining human dignity.

Carter

pickpocket
September 4, 2006, 01:13 PM
Pickpocket, I have read through all the posts in this thread, including re-reading my own, and I don't believe ANYONE is using the thought process you describe in your quote above.

Read again. More than one person has stated something to the effect of: I will shoot to stop the threat, if the person dies in the process, that is their responsibility, not mine.

Which fits the quote you pulled out to the letter. Maybe it's not their thought process, but the words they're using to explain their thought process certainly send that message.

When you sit there and argue INTENT with me, then you are ignoring one of the basic assumptions I laid out to guide the progression of this debate:
Ground Rule #1:
Any discussion in this thread on the subject of "killing" is to take place within the framework of psychological effect and/or preparedness, NOT legal intent. Any violations of this "rule" will most assuredly get this thread locked down quicker than a muslim virgin on prom night.

For you to argue INTENT at this point means that you are still trying to fight the battle against the Internet Rambos; you are still trying to convince people why your UN-desire to kill people makes you better than the people you are trying to protect yourself against.

Well...Ok then. There is no argument there.... you are arguing that the "Ground Rule" quoted above is valid...

My argument is based on a very simple premise: that the decision to DEFEND...the decision to STOP THE THREAT... inherently contains the possibility that a person will die.

So, by extension, in order to DEFEND yourself, in order to be willing to STOP THE THREAT, one must also be cognizant of the implied willingness to end one person's life in order to protect another.

This cannot be equivocated, any attempt to do so simply means that we are not agreed on the nature of self-defence nor the conditions that will surround a self-defense situation. And if we cannot agree on these things, then I must suggest that we go back and re-read our use-of-force statutes; which clearly delineate the conditions that must be met in order for us to be justified in using deadly force.

So, the framework of my argument is that our decision to be prepard to defend ourselves inherently contains some element of willingness to end another person's life because we place more value on our lives than on anothers. Because the possibilty exists that another person will die if we shoot them, and because we are not in a position to ensure that they will survive, then the whole risk must be assumed, not just part of it.


Immanuel Kant argued that it is not the results that matter - only the intent. However, purity of intent holds limited value when the results have undeniable moral consequence.
To argue this, I give your example of the WWII bombing of Japan back to you. Does the fact that the intent was to serve the greater good by stopping a war negate the undeniable moral consequence that hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed? Not to suggest that it wasn't the right course of action, but that even pure motives carry consequence.

So, within the context of the original question: have we REALLY thought about this?

The fact that you and others continue to argue INTENT over moral reality suggests that we have not; while at the same time it suggests that perhaps some are beginning to get a bit uncomfortable with the logic.

azurefly
September 4, 2006, 04:04 PM
Thousands of Japanese citizens died in Hiroshima in a few moments of violence never before known to man. But our intent was not to kill those tens of thousands of people, but to stop a war that would have gone on to claim millions of lives.
The INTENT was not to kill even though everyone KNEW that would happen (and even though many Americans at the time truly believed that the Japanese "deserved" to die); the INTENT was to end a war, which it did.
That may be a pretty vicious example but I hope it finally makes the point.


I have to disagree. The intent was to kill thousands of Japanese and destroy a city or two in order to force them to lay down arms and surrender. If our intent was to simply "end the war," we could have surrendered, ourselves.

The intent was to show hey, you don't like losing thousands of your citizens, buildings, etc. to our military might? Then admit that you lose, we win. We most certainly did intend to end those thousands of lives, or else we would have bombed an uninhabited area as a show of force that had considerably less psychological impact on our enemies.


-azurefly

CDH
September 4, 2006, 08:46 PM
Great, let me make it official; I give up. I am clearly not qualified to be as good a writer as I need to be in order to explain things in such a way as to make myself understood.

I usually recognize merry-go-round threads when I see them, but this one got by me way too long before I realized that I really need to leave this for others to explore.
I know exactly where I'm coming from so there is nothing additional I can add here anyway.

Carter

pickpocket
September 4, 2006, 11:47 PM
I'm sorry you feel that way, Carter. This is not an argument about whether one or the other of us is right...it's a debate meant to provoke thought; and the good stuff was just getting started.
Truth be told, we never even got to a place where we could take opposing sides - you are still arguing that the intent to kill equates to murder; which really doesn't require any debate at all. No reasonable person would oppose that view, at least not within the context of this debate.

Hopefully we can continue this on a better day.

Stay sharp -

ZeroJunk
September 5, 2006, 09:15 AM
I guess I misunderstood the discussion.I was trying to imagine what goes on in ones mind the instant they realize that somebody is imminently going to kill them.Self preservation is an elemental instinct.Seems like a lot of this discussion is how one reconciles the emotions of the aftermath.

Glenn E. Meyer
September 5, 2006, 09:30 AM
Does this help? In some FOF, where there is really no risk of killing someone - except through bizaare mishap, I have seen folks twice freeze and not pull the trigger in a situation as they later said they couldn't do it.

In that case, they were training for situations with the use of lethal force but the 'actual' use stopped them. I think Dave is on the money with his analysis that you have to accept that the stop tactic contains the inherent possibility of death and there is no way around it.

Yes, there is the subset that 'wants' to kill folks but I think the discussion is now above that bottom feeder level.

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 10:09 AM
I guess I misunderstood the discussion.I was trying to imagine what goes on in ones mind the instant they realize that somebody is imminently going to kill them.Self preservation is an elemental instinct.Seems like a lot of this discussion is how one reconciles the emotions of the aftermath.
The two are related somewhat in that both aspects are determined to some degree by training and mindset.

A large part of this discussion has centered around not what goes through one's mind during the instant they realize their life is in danger, but in the philosophical manner in which we look at self-defense.

If a person is reasonably sure that their life is in danger from BG and that person uses a handgun to shoot BG until BG is no longer a threat then their response is justifiable under the Law.

There is no argument up to this point; in fact it is here that the debate begins. Some have expressed the feeling that: If BG dies as a result of being shot then that is his fault, not mine.
The result is that the self-defense mindeset becomes defined as purely reactionary, wholly dependant upon external, uncontrollable factors where the resultant consequences are also wholly outside of one's control, and by extension outside of one's sphere of accountability.
Some people are comfortable using only what the Law has defined in terms of acceptable response to also explain their willingness to use deadly force: to stop the threat. They are only shooting to stop the threat, therefore they are unconsciously shifting responsibility for the possible death of the person they shoot to something or someone else.

In essense, it is my argument that this view sidesteps the issue of acknowledging the nature of our "self-defense mindset" - it is the moral equivalent of "Now see what you made me do?!?"

However, it is my belief that there is another unacknowledged element in our decision to be willing to use deadly force, whether justifiable or not. I argue that each of us that has determined ourselves capable of using deadly force to protect either our own life or the life of another has - at some level, to some degree - accepted that we are willing to kill someone in order to survive.
The logic is right there in the definition of "deadly force" itself: inherent likeliness of causing great bodily injury or death. We are willing to use deadly force, therefore by extension we are willing to cause great bodily injury or death.

So this is my argument: that in order to be willing to use deadly force in defense of self or others we must come to terms with the implied willingness to end a person's life in order to save a life. Those that do not come to terms with this relationship will be both mentally and morally unprepared to deal with the consequences of an SD shooting. Why? Because when it's all said and done, a choice that we made will still likely end up causing someone's death.
No matter how you look at it, the choice to pull the trigger belongs to us; and therefore the moral consequence becomes ours to live with.

To put it another way - deadly force is not our only option, even when things go horribly wrong. We could always allow the situation to develop no matter what happens to us, to raise no hand in violence no matter what violence is given to us or our loved ones. However, the Law allows us the opportunity to decide to use deadly force if we so choose...we are not required to use deadly force....it is a choice.
And so we choose to use deadly force rather than submit to violence.

Now remember, I am drawing a very distinct line between willingness and intent; though this seems to be the very hurdle that many people are having difficulty clearing.

rezmedic54
September 5, 2006, 10:24 AM
Pick is right if you decide that you are going to shoot someone then you have made up your mind in the fact that you are willing to take another persons life whether you shoot to stop or not. They may die so you have chosen to kill that person to save your own or another's life no two ways around it if your not will to take another life in defense of your own then sell your guns and call 911 and hope for the best.Whether your willing to admit it or not if you have a weapon for self-defense then you have chosen to take a life if need be. I think thats what he is saying I maybe wrong but maybe not. Be Safe Out There Kurt

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 10:29 AM
I think thats what he is saying I maybe wrong but maybe not.
You got it, dude. That's exactly what I'm saying....you just got to the point quicker ;)

azurefly
September 5, 2006, 11:47 AM
Isn't the major disagreement in the notion that some who are prepared to shoot in self defense opine that they would prefer that the defense kills the attacker, and others are content that their attacker lives on as long as his attack is halted?

My own feeling is that once an attacker has justified my use of deadly force, I will probably be in a mental state where I do not like him very much (come on -- he's trying to end my life!!), and will be very unlikely to care whether he lives or dies; and in fact, I may at that point prefer that he does not survive my defensive action.

There are moral, emotional, and even financial reasons for preferring that the attacker dies after defensive action is taken. Who wants to be sued by the guy? Who wants to be challenged in court, paying thousands of dollars for defense, because he now wants to claim he was just trying to ask for directions? Who wants him to be lurking out there with a vendetta against them or their family, when you already know he's a violent criminal?

This is about "at what point will the defender be satisfied?" Some here just want the threat ended; some are more indignant at being attacked and aren't so touchy-feely about the attacker, and also don't mind if they have to be the one who takes out humanity's garbage for it.


-azurefly

Glenn E. Meyer
September 5, 2006, 12:01 PM
There are moral, emotional, and even financial reasons for preferring that the attacker dies after defensive action is taken. Who wants to be sued by the guy? Who wants to be challenged in court, paying thousands of dollars for defense, because he now wants to claim he was just trying to ask for directions? Who wants him to be lurking out there with a vendetta against them or their family, when you already know he's a violent criminal?

1. What is the moral reason for preferring that someone dies? I don't get that unless you postulate vengenance as a moral reason. That's the only one I can think of.

2. Emotional - tell me the emotional reasons that you want someone to die. Perhaps you think it will be cathartic to you if they did something terrible. However, this is an empirical question and we have fairly data that most normal folks don't find it emotionally satisfying to kill someone. Many police and military, who are strong folks, aren't happy with killing.

3. Financial:

a. Their relatives can sue and have
b. Even if you kill him - do you think court costs go away? You will be faced with serious investigations and that is going to cost many thousands. 'Killing saves money' is incredibly naive.
c. Revenge - if you kill someone, that stops his or her revenge? However, they have families and acquaintances who can come after you. That has happened in righteous self-defense shoots. I drive by a gun shop that is now a beauty parlor because after a good shoot of a gang member, the owner had to flee.

Sorrry but this is a very naive answer and indicates little real knowledge of shooting aftermaths.

jcoiii
September 5, 2006, 12:18 PM
I'm going to step in with azure here for the sake of intellectual discussion.

The BG comes in, and I shoot him. BG falls to the ground, and for all intents and purposes, is neutralized. I do not fire anymore. Why should I care if he lives or dies? I probably wish he would die simply because I do not wish for people who commit these (and other types of) crimes to live. That's my moral decision.

However, I'm not going to walk over and put one in the guys head either. While part of me might wish that this guy was dead, I'm not going to murder him. In fact, I have some basic first aid training and will probably try and help him. This will not, however, stop me from thinking, in some part of my mind that people like this don't deserve to live.

Take, for instance, this news story that I saw today about the NY/PA police who are trying to catch this guy who broke out of prison and killed a state trooper. Part of me says that I wish, when they caught this guy, they'd just put one in his brain stem. However, that will never happen, nor would I do it myself if I were there. But I still think it.

pax
September 5, 2006, 12:18 PM
1. What is the moral reason for preferring that someone dies? I don't get that unless you postulate vengenance as a moral reason. That's the only one I can think of.
Glenn ~

Mine wasn't the original post, but I could take a stab at this one.

1) Because if the attacker dies, you know beyond all shadow of a doubt that he is NOT going to hurt or kill anyone else, ever again. If preventing harm to other innocents isn't a moral reason, what would be?

2) Because if the attacker dies, each of the attacker's victims are immediately freed from the otherwise-inevitable endless cycle of trial, appeal, sentencing, parole hearings, and the constant fear that the bogeyman will be set free to kill, rape, or maim again. Being set free from this cycle is far more just for the victims. The alternative is that the victims, through no fault of their own, be sentenced to spend the rest of their lives wondering if some soft-hearted parole board will turn their personal bogeyman loose to prey on society once again.

3) Don't under rate vengeance. It was the bedrock underneath most justice systems for millions of years, and human beings are hard-wired to demand it. Working against human nature is usually a losing proposition.

pax

Glenn E. Meyer
September 5, 2006, 12:55 PM
We have been people for millions of years, Pax. Civilization started about 8000 years ago. Even in ancient ones, there has been an emphasis on some for compensation rather than venegence. Depends on the specific group.

We work against human nature all the time, if you mean the more primitive instincts. Not being a sexist, brutal oppressive male towards women is working against human instincts according to the sociobiological view. However, we do it and are better for it than some places as in the Islamic world view of honor killing.

I understand the point that killing the person frees you from parole hearings, etc. However, it is a continuum. If you shoot the burglar who is stealing your TV and kill him or her, I think the consequences are much greater for you financially or emotionally than the positive benefits of taking a petty thief off the street by death.

Killing a brutal rapist caught in the act of attacking someone in your family besides stopping the crime may prevent future crimes and comebacks - if that happens much outside of Lifetime Movies.

Last, to go back to the vengeance model. Would that justified killing the BG after you disable him or her? If you find the criminal in the act, then tell them to stop and they do, or you wound them in a manner that disables them - should you finish them off? Why wait for a trial? If they are out on bond - find them and kill them.

Is vengeance only for the heat of the moment when you think you could get away with it?

Also, I still think that, as a psychologist, internet types underestimate the negative impact killing someone has on you. Killing the brutal rapist might have some mitigation. Killing the burglar may have lasting effects on you and your family. The police research demonstrates the officers even in righteous shootings have troubles. That's really pragmatic and Azurefly doesn't really know what he is talking about if thinking that a killing is uplifting.

Again, I stated before this doesn't mean that I am not accepting of the possibility that killing will occur if I act or that will deter me from using the force I need to effect a positive outcome.

riverkeeper
September 5, 2006, 01:22 PM
Here's what went thru my mind and I suspect (hope) will be going thru yours when/if attacked.

Several months ago I faced and backed down (with pepper spray and a hand on rosco in the jacket pocket) 2 BGs who tried a distract and pincer on me. #3 came in from behind running fast and down hill directly at me ... I picked him up at about 35 ft. He outweighed me by est 20-30 pounds and was about 20 to my 60 yrs ... down town after dark but well lit area.

While the revolver was coming out I automatically focused on his upper middle chest and INTENSLEY WANTED HIM TO STOP. The notion of killing him did not even occur to me then. He veered off 90 deg at about 20 ft just before the gun reached point. There is little doubt I would have shot at him at about 10-12 ft if he had continued. As he ran away I felt RELIEVED and lucky... no jury duty in the srteets that night. (Details left out to simplify)

THEY SAY about 1/3s of gunshot wounds end in death so we should understand that a plausible outcome of a SD shooting is death for the perp. If we have a hard time with that, consider non lethal alternatives ... do not clutter up your mind and limited time with distracting options you will not use.

The emotional and logical decision whether or not to shoot in a legitimate potentially lethal SD situation has been deeply considered and decided by me. The decision may involve killing someone to defend myself or my family ... that decision was not taken lightly.

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 01:42 PM
This is about "at what point will the defender be satisfied?" Some here just want the threat ended; some are more indignant at being attacked and aren't so touchy-feely about the attacker, and also don't mind if they have to be the one who takes out humanity's garbage for it.
The law actually defines for us at which point the defender is satisfied, at least insofar as physical action is concerned. While there is a certain validity to your comment(s), remember that we are walking a VERY fine line between intent and willingness to kill; some of the things you suggest tilt slightly in the direction of INTENT - which is what we have to avoid for the sake of keeping this a legal and audience-appropriate discussion.
Isn't the major disagreement in the notion that some who are prepared to shoot in self defense opine that they would prefer that the defense kills the attacker, and others are content that their attacker lives on as long as his attack is halted?
The primary disagreement has nothing to do with whether or not we would prefer for an attacker to live or die, but whether or not have have fully accepted the probability that the attacker will die by our choice of action.
Preference is a fickle thing, and no matter which side of this you find yourself on - prefer BG lives, or prefer BG dies - if you ever do kill someone you will find yourself questioning the validity of your preferences.

This debate is not about preferences; it is about accepting that our actions - no matter how justified or protected by law - have very real consequences. It is about realizing that we must consciously identify and acknowledge our acceptance of the risk of those consequences as a fundamental component of our decision to remain prepared to protect ourselves.

Self defense is not an accident, nor is it a requirement - it is a choice. And like all choices that we make we must understand that the results are also ours to bear...and that includes the up-front acceptance that our decision to use deadly force means that we are at some level willing to end a person's life.

Lurper
September 5, 2006, 01:56 PM
Not to hijack an interesting thread but,
Also, I still think that, as a psychologist, internet types underestimate the negative impact killing someone has on you. Killing the brutal rapist might have some mitigation. Killing the burglar may have lasting effects on you and your family. The police research demonstrates the officers even in righteous shootings have troubles. That's really pragmatic and Azurefly doesn't really know what he is talking about if thinking that a killing is uplifting.

I find statements like this troubling. I have several friends who have killed people. I have been in three armed confrontations and in all of them the BG backed down. So while I cannot speak to what happens after you kill someone, I can to what happens after an armed confrontation.

I believe that we are socialized (by culture, the press, television, etc), to believe that we should feel guilty after taking another's life. However, most of my friends who have say otherwise. Some go as far as saying it was exhiliarting to survive mortal combat. In fairness, there are a few who say that it adversely effected them. These guys are just normal everyday guys (albeit most are L.E. or military). As for myself, I had no remorse or questions about my actions and do not believe that I would have felt guilty about killing any of the assailants had they not backed down. I just don't buy the idea that it is normal to feel guilty, sorry, etc for killing someone who would have killed you anymore than I buy the idea that it is wrong for me to feel good or exhilirated about killing the same individual.

So, my question is:
How much of this feeling of remorse over killing someone - even though they were trying to kill you - is a product of the socialization process?
and:
What if anything is wrong with feeling good about besting your opponent in mortal combat?

Glenn E. Meyer
September 5, 2006, 02:07 PM
The causality of the results is of course interesting. All I can say is that emotional trauma after killing someone is showing up and can be found in past conflicts. In classes, instructors like Greg Hamilton stresses that it can happen. Police researchers, who have been there, have written extensively on the issue.

I think it is a risk to say that one thinks they won't be affected. The case reports indicate that very strong and able people have developed problems.

If it is socialization, it is still out there today and that's way I caution against folks who glibly (TOM CRUISE!) want to think they will be better off emotionally after an incident. Better to know the risks to deal with them.

PS - I think there is a tendency in some to think that having such problems is weakness - that might be some philosophical perspectives - but I think that is silly.

tydephan
September 5, 2006, 02:30 PM
We have traveled so far and have yet to really go anywhere. I feel like I've read the same thing over and over again (no flame intended). Furthermore, I may still be contributing to the merry-go-round with the comments below. If so, I sincerely apologize...

It seems that now we are speaking solely about accepting the personal consequences of taking the life of another.

I said in my earlier post that, in my humble opinion, someone forfeits their civil right to live when they enter my abode and/or present an imminent threat to me and/or my family. With that being said, I am not cold to the fact that this is a life-changing event for all those involved (and some that are not).

I fully understand and passionately dread the emotional consequences of taking another life, but I accept the responsibility of doing so. After all, despite the threat, the BG is a son/daughter to someone perhaps much more innocent than himself. Or he is the father to a daughter that has no idea that her daddy is scum. Nevertheless, my actions would be the cause of her not having a father.

Perhaps it is the callous-ness that some people exhibit while talking about a hypothetical self-defense situation where the BG is killed that is the point of contention among members. I realize that my first few posts were rather callous and naive, but that was due more to the words I used than the thoughts in my head.

I put a lot of thought into whether I felt capable of taking someone's life if a self-defense situation escalated to where deadly-force was legally warranted. I bought my first gun because I told myself that I was willing to take a life to defend my own. I pray every day that I am never forced into a situation where deadly force is warranted, because of the emotional consequences. However emotional consequences are better than the alternative...

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 02:47 PM
Lurper -
Let me see if I can address a couple of your points.

I've never been in an SD situation that required the use of my handgun. However, I put in two combat tours in Iraq and carry my fair share of demons with me. So I feel marginally qualified to speak when it comes to the psychological effects of killing. There are those who are more qualified, and those who are less so. My opinions come directly from my own experience and those of people I know and served with; YMMV.

Many people prefer not to discuss whether or not they have killed someone. I myself get annoyed when asked. However, I think that this discussion rates an explanation that is not grounded in theory but rather raw experience.

Killing someone leaves a scar, however small. It changes you, however little. At the time it happens the effects go largely unnoticed - it is not until later when we start to sense that something about us is different, when we have time to process that the person we killed was just that: a person. That person, no matter the circumstances, had a mother, a father, possibly a wife, possibly children that depended on them... when you kill a person you assume responsibility for the unfinished business which that person will never attend to.
To deal with it, we don't dwell on it. We lock it away in a corner of our minds that we don't visit every day. I do not say this to make it sound as though these things haunt us every day, every waking moment. But occassionaly we take those moments out of their dusty corner and wipe them off and relive them. We remember that we are all human and that our lives can end in a split second - that the difference between life and death is but an eyelash. We take a short moment to question ourselves, and then we remember that what we live with is far better than the alternative. We remember that those whom we have killed had families, regardless of circumstance and however justified.

And then we put them away again, to reflect upon another day. Some people go through this cycle more than others - but the point is that it is a cycle and that we all do it. I have yet to encounter a single person who does not.

Killing someone changes you - and no one knows to what degree until it happens. Maybe not the next day or even the next week. Hell, it was over a year before I started to sense that something significant was different. Some Vietnam vets took more than a decade to realize what changed inside them. Men will tell their friends that they are unaffected in one breath and in the next they will fight down the names, faces, and places they carry with them to prevent it from showing.

Ending a person's life alters the course of yours - we're starting to see it now with all of the Iraq vets coming back with problems; PTSD being the least of them. Anyone who says killing someone doesn't affect them isn't being 100% honest with themselves.

Like I said, it's not like I think about this stuff all day every day...but it's always there just the same. I don't want this to sound like it's going to ruin you psychologically, because chances are that it won't. My whole point is that I carry those people with me and I know that I am a different person for having killed. Killing isn't glorious. Sometimes it must be done, sometimes it can't be avoided - but that doesn't mean that makes it better.

I do not shy away from the necessity of it, or the possibility of it. I do not regret any of my choices; but that doesn't make the dreams any less real.

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 02:52 PM
We have traveled so far and have yet to really go anywhere. I feel like I've read the same thing over and over again
Such is the nature of a debate - points are repeated and approached from different angles until opposing views can reach some common ground. Unfortunately there's always this feeling of having done a lot of work but not moved very far when that common ground takes a while to reach :)

I put a lot of thought into whether I felt capable of taking someone's life if a self-defense situation escalated to where deadly-force was legally warranted. I bought my first gun because I told myself that I was willing to take a life to defend my own.
And that, my friend, is the crux of the issue. I think you have it :)

Lurper
September 5, 2006, 03:06 PM
Glenn,
I think there is enough evidence out there discrediting the idea as well. B.G. Burkett makes a case for several of these "syndromes" (PTSD for example) being created by phsycologists with agendas or vested intrests. Being a veteran and having been in tons of traumatic situations, I tend to agree with Burkett. I don't however belittle anyone who believes that they suffer from these afflictions, I just remain silent.

Tydephan,
My questions weren't so much about taking responsibilty, but about the after effects being "dictated" to us. To make it into a statement:
I don't believe that feeling guilt for killing someone who was trying to kill me is necessarily a "normal" reaction. I do believe that feeling exhilirated at surviving a mortal confrontation is okay. I also believe that many people have issues with taking another life because they are told that that is how they should feel. Too many times, psychologists tell people "you are going to feel this way" or that way or this will affect you for the rest of your life. Sadly, people believe it instead of assessing how they feel. Look at combat veterans, the vast majority live normal productive lives with no adverse affect, yet we are constantly led to believe by the media that we will have nightmares or be haunted by the faces of the dead on a regular basis. So, I believe a lot of the after shooting "trauma" is manufactured.

My buddy Roger told me that the biggest trauma he had after his shooting is that the department put him on leave for 10 days and wouldn't let him work.

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 03:17 PM
Lurper -
I agree that much of what we "think" we should feel is the result of social conditioning and a handy byproduct of professionals who stand to benefit from the ever increasing list of "syndromes" and "illnesses" out there.
Much of the press and hype about what people should or should not feel is driven by other agendas.

However, I think it is unrealistic to completely discredit the argument that there is a psychological component that must still be dealth with on an individual basis. Whether socially engineered or not, people tend to have an aversion to ending another human life. There are degrees of guilt - and feeling 'guilty' does not automatically mean that we drink ourselves into oblivion every night and cry outselves to sleep; it does not mean that we wander lost in the streets looking for the soul that we lost. It simply means that we remember.

Let's face it, it just doesn't stand to reason that we shouldn't feel somewhat guilty by ending another person's life. If that were the case then we aren't much more civilized than we were two thousand years ago. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to believe that a person can't deal with the after-effects, either. There HAS to be a deterrent for killing people outside of legality, otherwise we'd all be doing it.

tydephan
September 5, 2006, 03:20 PM
Lurper,

I understand your point. It digests very nicely.

While I am not prepared to engage in a conversation regarding how society dictates emotional responses, I can tell you that I would presume after a shooting there would be a certain amount of exhiliration, mainly due to the natural imbalance of adrenaline due to the event. I certainly would not look at someone in disdain for feeling exhilirated for surviving.

I'm no expert, and I've never been involved in a deadly-force scenario. However I would speculate that a majority of people would exhibit a range of emotions from the times the event stops to perhaps decades after the event (much like pickpocket has described).

Because I am no expert and this is somewhat off-topic, I'll go no further with my comments.

Glenn E. Meyer
September 5, 2006, 03:37 PM
Just two things:

1. Talked to a colleague who is a well trained anxiety disorder expert and quite happy with my interests - in fact we work together. The disorder is quite real and not a political construct but I'm not writing a lit review here. We see it in all kinds of folks and cross culturally and historically before we got into the gun world lefty-righty lunacy.

2. Burkett is quite dogmatic about PTSD and thinks some folks fake it. Perhaps a proportion does - however I think as said above, PTSD in veterans and others does happen.

3. Does it happen to everyone - no. A blanket disbelief is not really useful.

Done for the day - other things to do. Figure this all out by tomorrow - guys. I'm going home and try to figure out how to put my 1911 back together as it is giving me bad dreams.

The point was that some folks felt killing someone is emotionally beneficial. I don't view the evidence as compelling to try to justify killing on this level.

The reason is to prevent grievous bodily harm. I guess I will disagree that I think killing someone over my property is an emotionally good thing.

I also will repeat that ignoring the possibility of some emotional sequelae because of a right wing vs. left wing argument is very foolish. Burkett goes that way.

stephen426
September 5, 2006, 03:51 PM
Maybe I am over-simplifying things here. I would only take a life if my life or my loved one's lives were in imminent danger. Failure to act (call it kill, stop, what you will) most likely means my own death or the death of a loved one.

I hate to seem callous, but a bad guy's life means nothing to me in comparison to my own or a loved one's. I did not go seeking trouble, but trouble came seeking me. I will deal with the emotional consequences after the fact, but I WILL act decisively if and when needed.

I mean no offense by this following statement, but is someone has not commited to defend their life with as much force as necessary (possibly taking a life), they should not carry a gun. They can carry non-lethal defense options such as pepper spray and tasers, but they should not carry guns. The reasoning behind this is that they will most likely hesistate in that situation and may have the gun taken away from them. I do not take the loss of human life lightly, even if it a bad guy's, but I do value mine and my loved ones much more.

I'm not sure if this thread is about if I will feel bad afterwards? I'm sure those who have been there and done that can answer that more definitively. As I said, that will be a bridge I will have to cross when and if I get there, and I hope I never will.

rezmedic54
September 5, 2006, 03:53 PM
I have to stick something in here and it's just something that helped me survive the EMS field for 20 years and not all can do this as I have asked friends still in the field. For me I trained myself to shut off all emotions so I could do my job ( kids still mess your head up ) after doing so almost everyday for that 20 years you find one day you come home from work and have no emotions to turn on they are still there but you can't turn the on to use them.I have been retired now for going on 6 years and to this day they have no come back fully who knows if they ever will it may so cold hearted but it was the only way to survive that job without loosing your own mind in the process. There are some out here that can do that at the drop of a hat and some that can never do it. I myself can as I like like some here have made that decision as to who lives and who dies and the only faces I can remember are those of kids, adults are just another number on a run sheet and thats all. But this is just me. Be Safe Out There Kurt

springmom
September 5, 2006, 04:05 PM
Much energy expended, but it has gotten nowhere. We are still reading things like:

My own feeling is that once an attacker has justified my use of deadly force, I will probably be in a mental state where I do not like him very much (come on -- he's trying to end my life!!), and will be very unlikely to care whether he lives or dies; and in fact, I may at that point prefer that he does not survive my defensive action.

and

Some here just want the threat ended; some are more indignant at being attacked and aren't so touchy-feely about the attacker, and also don't mind if they have to be the one who takes out humanity's garbage for it.

The act of taking a life in self-defense is not one that has room for preferences or emotional states. You do not shoot the intruder because you are angry with him, you shoot the intruder because he presents a danger to yourself and your family. That there will BE emotion is, in fact, not even a given...some people become extremely non-emotional under extreme stress and only LATER experience the emotional reaction from the events they've survived. To say that we prefer the attacker not survive because we don't want to be bothered with the consequences if he does misses the point altogether that consequences will follow the act of self-defense and that those consequences will include emotional, mental, and spiritual issues that will need to be addressed and dealt with, as well as financial and legal issues.

And to claim our willingness to "take out humanity's garbage" is callous, macho posturing. I'm sorry, but it is. You want to take out humanity's garbage? Get a job in the death chamber of Huntsville...you'll get your chance a couple of hundred times per year. This sort of statement gives me the creeps. I am utterly aware of the fact that carrying a gun requires a willingness to use it, and the corollary that it requires a recognition and acceptance that to do so may well take a human life (not take out humanity's garbage). I carry, I have a handgun on the bedside and a shotgun in the closet for home defense at night. I am willing to use that gun to defend myself or my family or another innocent if I must. I will worry about the consequences later, and I will do what needs to be done at that time. But I will not sit around and gab about how I'm willing to take out humanity's garbage. This is disgusting.

Like Carter, I'm outta here on this thread. This is not worth continuing.

Springmom

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 04:55 PM
Mods -
I think this one has run its course. There are members who are still reacting to stated opinions emotionally rather than philosophically...and once it is decided that we can't get past that point, the debate is over. Perhaps it was over before it started.
For the sake of all, let's allow this one to die with what validity and dignity it has left.

stephen426
September 5, 2006, 07:05 PM
There are members who are still reacting to stated opinions emotionally rather than philosophically...and once it is decided that we can't get past that point, the debate is over. Perhaps it was over before it started.

pickpocket,

Is there a reason why emotional opinions are less valid than philosophical ones? Emotions and feelings are what makes us human. We are not simply cold calculating machines that can always do the rational thing. This debate calls for reason and feeling. To deny that one may feel regret over ending another person's life is just denial.

Denial may lead to long term mental problems such as post traumatic stress disorder. Why do people go postal? Because it is the rational thing to do? The mind is a very complex thing and as much as I would like to shut off the emotional part sometimes, it helps me make judgements that may not necesarily be rational. For example, why not disown a child that has turned to alcoholism or drugs. That child a liability rather than an asset. Love for that child is an emotion, not a rational decision. Suicide could be seen as a rational decision if emotions were not considered. Life is bad, you're in a dead end job, your in a failed relationship, etc... Is it rational to continue suffering? Emotions, such as a sense of self worth or a sense of hope balances rationality. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but emotions are where our morals and values lie.

bennnn
September 5, 2006, 07:40 PM
OK, you got me goin......

I used to be a Hunter, hunted and killed nearly everything breathing and living on the continent of North America, even the tweety birds.....

I'm not an old guy,,,31,,but I've gotta tell you, latley I'll go out of my way to Not kill anything...Sounds strange huh?? Does to me too...Now I even care about the toads I used to chop up with my lawnmower...Gettin so I can't squash a spider for my wife,,,...
For the world:: I LOVE FIREARMS!!!
Mostly, I am addicted to mil-surp rifles,,,(really, is there a support group I can join!!??) I burn alot of powder,, alot,,, but these days I don't kill anything but bud light, in bottles...
Guess you can tell where I'm going with this huh?

I'll shoot the dumbass as many times as I have to, to stop him/(her),.
But Probably not kill, I practice shooting as an art, not that I'm an artist, (coffee) But anywhere in my house,,,or yard...,,,Hey y'all,, Might sound brutal, but I'm gonna aim at bones,,, all you EMT guys know where those are at right?

pickpocket
September 5, 2006, 08:43 PM
Is there a reason why emotional opinions are less valid than philosophical ones?
They're not less valid, simply less productive in a debate because no amount of logic or reasoning is going to penetrate.
It is precisely the control of emotional response that allows a conversation to progress beyond that in which two 5-year olds might engage.

To deny that one may feel regret over ending another person's life is just denial.
I think you missed the rest of my posts.

Stay sharp -

bennnn
September 5, 2006, 09:03 PM
To deny that one may feel regret over ending another person's life is just denial.

yeah pickpocket,, I agree, that's the same type of language as "quitting is for quitters"....

Back to taking human life; Here's my motto;

I won't do anything I'm not forced to do.

Been saying it for years....

bacardisteve
September 5, 2006, 09:12 PM
its a touchy subject with a lot of people. on the job i only use the force necessery. that being said if i have to fire my weapon i double tap in the chest. if the perp is still resisting the third shot is for the brain. if you only shoot to wound your attacker can still attack. I have seen first hand what someone on pcp can shakeoff like it didnt happen. true you may have some pshycological after affects of taking a life but just think how you would fell if you only wounded that home intruder and he was able to cause harm to a famimly member.

Lurper
September 5, 2006, 09:20 PM
To deny that one may feel regret over ending another person's life is just denial.

I don't buy that. I have enough friends both as police and military who have killed and feel no regrets or remorse. As I stated earlier, I believe much of that type of response is a product of socialization. If not, then how do you explain the willingness of other cultures to take life without second thought (the Japanese in WWII come to mind). We are socialized through our culture to believe it is wrong to kill. I don't believe it is (under certain circumstances) and know several others who do not. It is wrong however to murder. But to say that someone should or is going to feel remorse because they killed someone who was trying to kill them is not accurate. We are told by the media, religious figures, political figures, celebrities and others how we are supposed to feel, so many people feel that way. However, many people will assess how they feel then state it not vice-versa. This leads to a climate where it is not socially acceptable to voice your true feelings for fear of being ostracized. Most of the guys I have talked to are very pragmatic about it - they were just doing their job. Most have no regets or remorse and to say that they do but just won't admit it is doing them a disservice. It is just as natural to be elated about surviving a confrontation as it is to be remorseful about it. To say otherwise is to ignore reality.

stephen426
September 6, 2006, 02:59 AM
Hey guys... I mentioned To deny that one may feel regret over ending another person's life is just denial in response to pickpocket's emotion vs. philosophy arguement. My point is that this topic cannot just be viewed from an "intellectual" view point only.

BlueTrain
September 7, 2006, 03:58 PM
I made one post in this thread already but here is another thought or two.

Assuming for a moment that we are speaking of a first time event, I believe that one's reaction to an event, in this case a shooting, is nearly unpredictable. Chances are, any given person is unlikely to have two such events. It is true that the circumstances may make a great difference but they are unpredictable as well. This doesn't really add much to the conversation, really.

I am not referring to one's reactions during the event, however. That can be related directly to any training one may have had beforehand, though only law enforcement personnel are likely to have had such training and they are also more likely to have had previous experiences.

Thought the thread is about shooting, the aftermath of a non-shooting fatality as the result of an accident would probably be pretty much the same, if not worse. Who knows?

As far as WWII Japanese soldiers go, however, I don't believe there was anything about (pre-war) Japanese society that produced soldiers to be especially blood thirsty. They had to be trained to be that way. It is very likely true, however, that previous generations were a little rougher than we think we are today but I am referring to two hundred years ago and before.

azurefly
September 7, 2006, 07:44 PM
This just occurred to me:


What if, by some magic, it could be known who among the population of humanity has murder and harm against other people in their hearts, and we could magically will them out of existence? Would that be something that would be a benefit to humanity?

Of course, I'm talking about an infallible judgment made by some mystical force, so remove the possibility of being wrong about them from your consideration.

I'm asking if it is right for the good people of the world to wish that the bad people just were not around anymore. And I think, "Yes."

(I guess it sounds like I'm describing a "pre-crime unit" like in that movie, but I am stipulating that in my imagining, it would be infallible.)

So, short of having a magical "who's-going-to-be-a-murderer detector," we are left with a situation in which we have to let the murder attempts happen. And what I am saying is that when someone exposes himself as a would-be murderer, his would-be victim has the right to fight back with force up-to-and-including lethal force: and I am going a step further and saying that it should be hoped for that the force used by the would-be victim ends up being fatal to the would-be murderer. The simple reason is that we should be glad for any opportunity that presents a moral and legal justification for removing a would-be murderer from society's midst.


-azurefly

azurefly
September 7, 2006, 07:51 PM
There are moral, emotional, and even financial reasons for preferring that the attacker dies after defensive action is taken. Who wants to be sued by the guy? Who wants to be challenged in court, paying thousands of dollars for defense, because he now wants to claim he was just trying to ask for directions? Who wants him to be lurking out there with a vendetta against them or their family, when you already know he's a violent criminal?

1. What is the moral reason for preferring that someone dies? I don't get that unless you postulate vengenance as a moral reason.

Vengeance? No. The moral reason is that now that the attacker has exposed himself as a would-be murderer and criminal, there is justification to wish society to be rid of him as permanently as possible. He is a flawed specimen: he wishes to engage in murder (as distinguished, of course, from legal killing in self defense). He is "the dog that needs to be put down" for its own, and the public's, sakes.

So I view it as a moral and a practical matter. We are all that much more protected when someone takes full advantage of the justification of self-defense to eradicate one more threat to people's safety (embodied in a would-be murderer). Would I say, "Kill a guy because you have a feeling he might some day murder or attempt to murder someone"? No. Would I say, "Now that he's actually made the attempt, [i]get rid of him since the law allows you to"? Yes.

-azurefly

azurefly
September 7, 2006, 08:52 PM
I'm going to step in with azure here for the sake of intellectual discussion.

The BG comes in, and I shoot him. BG falls to the ground, and for all intents and purposes, is neutralized. I do not fire anymore. Why should I care if he lives or dies? I probably wish he would die simply because I do not wish for people who commit these (and other types of) crimes to live. That's my moral decision.

However, I'm not going to walk over and put one in the guys head either. While part of me might wish that this guy was dead, I'm not going to murder him. In fact, I have some basic first aid training and will probably try and help him. This will not, however, stop me from thinking, in some part of my mind that people like this don't deserve to live.


Thank you, jcoiii -- this is essentially the pith of what I've been trying to articulate. I wouldn't go over and "put one more in him" either. Not sure, personally, what proportion of that decision is based on morals and what portion is based on fearing I'd be then tried for murder. The moral part of me still says, "The guy was trying to kill me, and would have if I had not successfully fought back. He has forfeited his right to life directly to me, the person whose life he tried to end." I'm sure there have been periods in history where the "right thing to do" was to finish the guy off.

So, this brings up the subject of whether you are morally, legally or otherwise obligated to provide or call for lifesaving help. I'm sure many will say YES, you are obligated to call an ambulance.

What do you do if the 911 operator starts telling you to press on his wounds to stanch the bleeding, or do chest compressions, or mouth-to-mouth or what have you?! :eek: On the bloody mess of a guy who just tried to kill you!

Thoughts on that?


-azurefly

azurefly
September 7, 2006, 09:35 PM
I am willing to use that gun to defend myself or my family or another innocent if I must. I will worry about the consequences later, and I will do what needs to be done at that time. But I will not sit around and gab about how I'm willing to take out humanity's garbage. This is disgusting.

I'm sorry you feel the need to remove yourself from the discussion.
You and I come from different backgrounds and have very different perspectives.

You've said intelligent, articulate things before, and for that I respect you; I just don't think you should be this judgmental.

I don't see why you feel you should condescend to me and others who feel the way we do, for feeling the way we do. We have our view on it and you have yours.

I am not out on the streets hunting humanity's garbage as some sort of vigilante, which seems to be what you might be thinking. I am not bloodthirsty. I am simply recognizing that there ARE people out there who are "human garbage," who prey on the weak and the meek and anyone they feel they can get over on. Is it impossible to admit that there are people who live, but who don't deserve to because of the choices they make in how to treat their fellow humans?


-azurefly

rezmedic54
September 8, 2006, 08:22 AM
I have read and heard a lot of thing hear. I read a book by Mas I believe it was The truth about self-defense in there he states that he interviewed a bunch of BG's and they pretty much all had the same thing to say the only reason they where put on earth was to take what ever it was you had by any and all means. Also ever class I have ever taken the instructors had pretty much all made the same point in any confrontation you will be scared somewhere in that mess you have to turn that fear into a controlled anger and when you get your turn to respond you as much force and aggression to bare as you can possibly muster and when you get that turn you don't give it back until the fight is over and you have won or are dead. Be Safe Out There Kurt

Glenn E. Meyer
September 8, 2006, 09:07 AM
I think I'm out of this one also as debating with irrational and thinly disguised
'I wanna shoot 'ems' is a waste of time.

PythonGuy
September 8, 2006, 11:07 AM
Glenn E. Meyer, the voice of reason here on TFL. I couldn't agree more and these few people who will do anything that will allow them permission to draw their weapons will, if left unchecked, take the guns out of all of our hands.

Capt Charlie
September 8, 2006, 11:39 AM
I think we've reached an impasse, folks, and there isn't much more to be gained here. I'm closing this one for that reason, but I want to thank you for keeping this civil.

The subject matter here will always be controversial at best, and while the opinions expressed here were strongly polarized, most of you did a super job at keeping this surprisingly polite.

Good job, TFL'ers! :) :cool: